The Armchair Quarterback’s Guide To The NFL: Week 3

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The Armchair Quarterback’s Week 3 Predictions

Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines during the third quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

After a very “meh” week one where I went 9-7 in my predictions, I redeemed myself last week going 13-3 including predicting the exact score of the Bills/Panthers game and coming close on the Raiders/Jaguars (I had Oakland 19-13). Let’s hope it just took a week for me to get my bearings on the 2013 season and that last week was more typical of my overall accuracy.

Chiefs at Eagles

(Homer Alert) It’s a good thing that this game is on Thursday night, because it means we won’t have to hear about Andy Reid returning to Philadelphia all week long. This really is an intriguing match up. The Eagles have offensive fire power and the Chiefs appear to have an up and coming defense. Lost in the media hype of Andy Reid and Alex Smith coming to KC is how well their defense is playing. Through two games, they are only allowing 9 points and 54 rushing yards per game. They are also tied for the league lead in sacks. While part of this is due to picking on Jacksonville in week one, containing a talented Cowboys offense in week two does say something. For those that haven’t been paying attention, nose tackle Dontari Poe has been flat out dominant thus far. He’s tied for third in the NFL with 3.5 sacks in two games. 3.5 sacks is a decent season total for a NT. Poe came into training camp already in peak physical condition and that combined with new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s attacking style has turned Poe into one of the NFL’s best young defensive tackles.

Meanwhile, Chip Kelly’s offense, while still good, hasn’t looked especially “high octane” since that opening half against Washington. This game will come down to what happens when Philly has the ball. If they can score 30+ points like they have in the first two games, then the Alex Smith led KC offense may not be able to keep up. If KC’s defense can contain Kelly’s offense, then Smith and company have shown that they can put up enough points to win, especially against a Philly defense that has struggled the last three halves. In what will come as a shock to no one, I think the KC defense is the real deal and therefore am taking the Chiefs to win.

Chiefs 23
Eagles 17

Texans at Ravens

This game is hard to get a read on. Originally, a match up between the defending Super Bowl champs and a team considered to be an AFC power house would be a great match up. The problem is that neither team has played a great game yet after two weeks. Baltimore was blown out by Peyton Manning and the Broncos and then won an ugly game at home against the Browns. The Texans on the other hand have had to come back late to win against two teams that most people thought weren’t very good (those predictions may prove to be wrong, we’ll see). So what to do here? Baltimore is at home, but they struggled at home with Cleveland and their best offensive player, Ray Rice, is day to day with a hip flexor. Even if Rice plays I have a hard time seeing the Ravens pound him up the middle at JJ Watt and company 25 times. With the running game in question that puts the weight of the offense on Joe Flacco and I’m just not sure they have enough weapons in the passing game to pull it off. Andre Johnson is also a question after a concussion last week took him out of the game. However, rookie DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins gives Houston a legit target to throw to even if Johnson can’t go. Despite Houston’s non spectacular start to the season, look for them to pull this one out and drop the defending champs to 1-2.

Texans 27
Ravens 24

Giants at Panthers

The Giants have been a turnover machine on offense so far this season. They are averaging a crippling 5 turnovers per game. That having been said, in those games the offense had the pressure of keeping pace with the other team’s offense. The Panthers simply lack the offensive firepower of either Denver or Dallas. In fact, through two games the Panthers rank 27th and 28th respectively in Yards Per Game and Points Per Game. The Giants defense has been bad thus far, but this is still a team that is averaging 27 points and 427 yards thus far. Plus, the Giants blew out the Panthers in Carolina last season by the score of 36-7. This one shouldn’t be that lop sided, but look for the Giants to break their losing streak in this one.

Giants 30
Panthers 24

Lions at Redskins

A LOT has been made about the play of Robert Griffin III thus far. However, let me share some numbers with you regarding the Washington defense. They have given up 35.5 points per game, have allowed opposing QBs to complete 73% of their passes with 6 TDs and 0 INTs and a QB Rating of 135.4. Now Calvin Johnson is coming to town. Make no mistake, the Redskins are capable of winning this game, but they must run the ball with Alfred Morris to keep the Skins defense off the field and take some pressure off of RG3. If the Lions get a couple of scores early and the Skins start throwing every down to play catch up, this game could get away from them. On the other side of the ball the Lions will be greatly effected by Reggie Bush’s status. Without Bush they become more one dimensional and easier to defend. This game is a toss up, but I’m giving the home team a slight edge because of the question marks around Bush’s health.

Lions 27
Redskins 30

Chargers at Titans

This is another tough game. Both of these teams lost very close games against the Texans. The Titans went on the road and beat the struggling Steelers and the Chargers knocked off Chip Kelly’s Eagles team in Philly. Normally in an evenly matched game its smart to look at who has home field advantage (Titans) and who has the better quarterback (Chargers), but since those are split, it’s still a toss up. Ultimately, I think the fact that the Titans have been better on defense will be the difference in a close game.

Chargers 20
Titans 23

Cardinals at Saints

This one is pretty simple. Neither the Cardinals or the Saints have great defenses (although the Saints have been better than I thought they would be) or running games. These teams are built around their passing games. Ultimately, you have to take Drew Brees playing at home over Carson Palmer playing on the road. End of story.

Cardinals 24
Saints 31

Buccaneers at Patriots

A team can’t win in today’s NFL if the head coach and the starting quarterback aren’t on the same page. It’s gotten so bad in Tampa that there was a report out on Monday that Josh Freeman may request a trade because of his broken relationship with coach Greg Schiano. The problem is that rookie Mike Glennon is no lock to even be able to play as well as Freeman. Now there is even a report that new star CB Darrelle Revis is unhappy with Schiano as well. This has the makings of a mutiny (ironic given the pirate ship in their stadium). It’s a shame, because with an improved defense and two great offensive weapons in RB Doug Martin and WR Vincent Jackson the Bucs have the makings of a good team. The Patriots are the opposite. They are set at QB and coach, but the supporting cast leaves a LOT to be desired. The Patriots’ wins against the Bills and Jets were far from the offensive performances that we have all come to know from this team. However, do you really want to pick against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at home against a team on the verge of a mutiny? I didn’t think so.

Buccaneers 17
Patriots 23

Packers at Bengals

After getting beat by the 49ers in week one, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers got right against the Redskins and their poor pass defense last week. The Bengals rebounded from a close loss at Chicago by beating the Steelers on Monday Night Football. While Andy Dalton is no Aaron Rodgers, he does have a better all around team around him, especially on defense. The Packers defense is giving up staggering numbers against the pass again this season. Also, despite James Starks good day on Sunday, you have to give the edge in the rushing game to the Bengals with Eddie Lacy likely out this week with a concussion. The Bengals will make a statement here that they are for real this season.

Packers 27
Bengals 30

Rams at Cowboys

Will the real St. Louis Rams please stand up? In the first half on Sunday they had their doors blown off by the Atlanta Falcons, being outscored 24-3. Then in the second half they were the superior team outscoring Atlanta 21-7. Did they just get off to a horrible start or did the Falcons just mail it in after they got a big lead? Sam Bradford on his current pace is set for 5,200 yards passing and 40 TDs and has yet to be sacked after getting sacked 105 times in his first three seasons. So I’m picking the Rams to upset the Cowboys, right? Well, no. If Bradford can go into Dallas and out duel Tony Romo, I’ll officially get on the band wagon. In the mean time, the Rams were absolutely torched by Julio Jones and now have the equally talented Dez Bryant to deal with.

Rams 24
Cowboys 27

Browns at Vikings

The Vikings lost a heartbreaker in Chicago last week and are likely glad to be headed home after beginning the season with two road games. Cleveland has played well defensively, but the offense has really struggled. The quarterback match up of Christian Ponder versus Brandon Weeden definitely leaves a little something to be desired. A low scoring game is probably to be expected. Ultimately, this will probably come down to which running back can find success between Adrian Peterson and Trent Richardson. The Vikings were a playoff team last year and are playing at home, so give them the edge.

Browns 13
Vikings 17

Falcons at Dolphins

I’ve picked against the Dolphins in each of their first two games and they proved me wrong both times. Third times the charm, right? I am 100% on board with Miami being an improved team, but I still feel like they are a step below the better teams in the NFL, like the Falcons. If the Dolphins defense can shut down the high powered Atlanta passing game then I’ll officially get on board and promise to pick them to win next week. Although, if the Dolphins are 3-0 at that point, Miami fans may not want me to jinx it by actually picking them to win.

Falcons 27
Dolphins 23

Bills at Jets

These teams both went toe to toe with the Patriots and ultimately lost close games and then beat an NFC South team by one point. It’s also a battle of rookie QBs in Geno Smith and EJ Manuel. Look for another close game here. The Jets deserve the benefit of the doubt in this one since its at home and they have the better defense.

Bills 16
Jets 17

Colts at 49ers

There were varied opinions on the Colts coming into this season. Some believed they would take a step back from their emotionally charged season last year. Others believed Andrew Luck and the gang would only get better in his sophomore season. The early signs are that they may be regressing a little after having barely escaped the Raiders and losing to the Dolphins (and both games were at home). Now they have to go on the road to face a 49ers team that was embarrassed on Sunday night against Seattle. Look for Jim Harbaugh to get the better of his former college quarterback.

Colts 20
49ers 31

Jaguars at Seahawks

The Seahawks have allowed only 10 total points in two games. The Jaguars have only scored 11 points in two games. This game could be over mid way through the first quarter. Hide the women and children, this is going to get really, REALLY, ugly.

Jaguars 3
Seattle 42

Bears at Steelers

The Steelers offense has only scored 8 more points than the Jaguars. It’s not been pretty in the Steel City thus far. Meanwhile, the Bears have found ways to win two close games against the Bengals and Vikings. Are the Steelers really 0-3 bad? Are the Bears really 3-0 good? I don’t know, but it’s hard to imagine the Steelers offense fixing its issues against a still very talented Chicago defense. This game may end up looking a lot like the Steelers/Bengals game on Monday night.

Bears 20
Pittsburgh 13

Raiders at Broncos

I get that this is a classic rivalry, but this is a bad Monday Night Football match up. The Raiders have scored 36 combined points against the Colts and Jaguars. The Broncos are averaging 45 points per game. Wherever you hid the women and children during the Seahawks/Jaguars game, send them back on Monday night.

Raiders 17
Broncos 41

Now on to my tailgating/food/drink tip of the week…….

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Topics: Arizona Cardinals, Armchair Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

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  • gib

    What were you doing in Chicago ?

    • Lyle Graversen

      I was actually there as part of a Verizon sports blogger program. They hooked me up with free tickets to the game.

  • Houston Rockets Harrison

    Red Birds win in NO. Honey Badger retursn to Louisiana he might do something great.

  • Dr Muon Funk

    Of course you’d pick the chiefs to win. I hope Philly smokes KC. Philly O is better than Dallas and Jacksonville. Holding them to 17 points will be chore.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Hey, at least I’m open about my Chiefs fan status. They are the one team I can’t be very objective about. I’ve embraced it. I picked them to win vs Dallas and had someone make a similar comment about picking them. That worked out well for me so I’m rolling with them again.

  • Rod

    on your comment about the cardinals and the saints…I agree with your score, but your assessment of their defenses is not evidence based…Arizona is 16th in total defense and Nola is 11th in total defense…Arizona 3rd against the run, but 21st vs. the pass. Nola is 27th vs. the run but 8th vs. the pass…given Nola’s ability to put points up I say their lack of performance vs. the run will be irrelevant vs. a poor run offense…this game matches up well for the saints, but I will be certain to throw caution to the Larry Fitzgerald effect impacting their ability to put up points unanswered (as you indicated earlier)…and I hope drew doesn’t sleep on the honey badger…

    • Lyle Graversen

      I wasn’t trying to say that their defenses were terrible, just that neither of those teams rely on their defense to be the strength of their team. Will their defenses be factors? Of course, but I stand by my assessment that these teams both live and die by their passing attack and I like Brees to out perform Palmer here.

  • Lem

    On the Chiefs / Birds game, can KC’s offense control the tempo of the game like Rivers did by changing the play calls at the line, not so much with Alex. The Eagles OF will make some plays, just weather the storm! Constant pressure on Vick will provide a win because the Eagles D sucks. Chiefs will be able to establish the running game and win the short passing match-ups because of play action. Chiefs defense is better than SD’s, offense not yet, the Andy factor will bring home a WIN.

  • Alter Ego

    Hmmm…I don’t believe the Titans can win against the Chargers. I believe the Chargers win by no less than 10 points. The Titans got a boost in watching the Chargers play the Texans…if not for some critical mistakes the Chargers win that game. The Titans don’t have the defense or the offense to pull this out.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Look, you could be right. This was one of the games that I struggled with this week. That having been said, you say the Titans don’t have the defense to pull this out?

      Titans: 19.5 PPG allowed, 323 YPG allowed, 4.9 YPP allowed
      Chargers: 30.5 PPG allowed, 480 YPG allowed, 7.2 YPP allowed

      • Alter Ego

        The stats are relative to who they are playing. That whole defensive stat line will look much different after the Bolts top four offense meets the Titans.
        Sometimes you have to do the eyeball test.
        Case in point – Chris Schroeder’s comments on how the Raiders D is going to keep the Broncs Raiders game close is just a fan wishing. The Raiders lose huge in that game – there is no chance barring 50% of Denver’s team going down with injury in the first quarter that they remain even competitive. The Raiders are horrible. They barely beat Jacksonville and they lost to the Colts – Manning hangs more than 41 points on them.

        • Lyle Graversen

          You are 100% right about the stats be relative to who they are playing. I just have doubts about SD’s defense. That having been said, I basically think this is a pick ‘em game. So I won’t be surprised at all if SD wins.

  • Jesse R

    Thank you for not basing your Cowboys Rams prediction on what DeMarco Murray did to Steve Spagnolo’s defense 2 years ago. Rams are little different up front now then they were on that Sunday 2 years ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.schroeder.161 Chris Schroeder

    Okay well I will say this about your article. I know you’re a big Kansas City Chiefs fan so for that reason I hate to tell you this. You guys will not beat the eagles this Thursday. I can guarantee you that buddy.

    Also if you think Peyton Manning is going to put up 41 points against the sixth best defense in the NFL you are smoking crack. So far peyton Manning has faced two very subpar defenses in teams that were “defense depleted” and has very inflated numbers because of it. That won’t even be close to the case on Sunday. If the Broncos do end up winning, it will be of a margin no more than 10 points, another thing I will guarantee you. A realistic prediction is 24-17 broncos but with the possibility of a upset because they are the leagues leading rushing team. In other words, the Raiders are more versatile than anybody Manning will play this year and can show him more things to confuse him. Manning is a guy who needs his games scripted and in this case he won’t have a clue what’s going on.

    Other than that all your predictions are pretty close.

    • Alter Ego

      Fat chance the Raiders come within 20 points of the Broncos…Chris – go to your AAA meeting – and don’t be late – your’e embarrassing yourself – sober up.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Let me ask you this Chris, if Manning does get Denver up a few scores in the second half, do you have faith in Pryor’s ability to throw the ball when everyone knows he has to throw? I don’t. That’s why I think this game will get away from Oakland down the stretch. Denver’s offensive passing attack is as good as any in the NFL in several years. For what it’s worth, as big of a Chiefs Homer as I am, I still won’t pick them to beat Denver with a healthy Peyton Manning.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chris.schroeder.161 Chris Schroeder

        Lyle, to say that pryor does not have a good ability to throw is inaccurate. Remember he is only two games into the regular season and this will be his third career start. The Raiders did not have a standout wide receiver in training camp so he does not have a number one target yet. Against the Colts I saw him thread needles in some of his passes so he can throw spot on when he wants. Denarious Moore has also had trouble dropping passes. If he uses Rod Streeter, Michael Rivera, and Nick Kasa on short yardage situation i think he will be fine. Despite what the clown thinks, the Raiders will not get blown out by the Broncos on Sunday and it will be a closer game then a lot of people are anticipating. The Raiders are proving themselves this season and will compete in every game. I won’t even respond to the clowns AAA comment. He probably meant AA, unless he was talking about insurance. Sounds like a bronco fan so I would expect nothing less considering the high altitude.

  • Matthew Marcella

    I honestly think Miami could pull this one off

  • Santee Jack

    We’ve used flour tortillas for pizza

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