Tennessee Titans versus New York Giants — This will be hard-nosed, smash mouth football. Neither team has really gotten their offense cranked up. Both defenses have a very aggressive front seven. Momentum and turnovers will be the key to this game. The game is being played in the new Giants Stadium, which I think will give the Giants a slight advantage. Last week I was looking for Vince Young to really have a breakout game. It didn’t happen. Both teams need to get their running game going. In spite of the fact that the Giants are playing at home, I give a slight edge in this game to the Tennessee Titans and Chris Johnson.
Cincinnati Bengals at the Carolina Panthers — I think one of the common themes in the NFL is what happened to the offensive production? When you look at the Cincinnati Bengals, you begin to scratch your head. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have combined for not much. You have to have more offensive production from these guys. This will free up the running game. I look for the Cincinnati Bengals to come out and throw the ball. If they’re able to complete some 15-20 yard passes, look for them to come back and pound the ball. I think this is a good plan in theory but Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati Bengal offense has been anemic at best over the last two years. I’m not sure that the Carolina Panthers are going to get the much-needed adrenaline that they are looking for. I give a slight edge in this game to the Bengals.
Pittsburgh Steelers at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Pittsburgh Steeler defense appears to be in championship form. I think it’s going to be a long day for Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay offense. Look for turnovers. In spite of the Steelers’ offensive woes I think the Steelers will win this one big.
Buffalo Bills versus New England Patriots — The Buffalo Bills continue to be a rebuilding team. They have yet to find a quarterback. They really just cannot win in this league without a viable quarterback. The New England Patriots will cruise to an easy victory.
Cleveland Browns versus Baltimore Ravens — I look for Joe Flacco to pull his head out of the sand and start playing good solid football. He’s been a turnover machine so far this year. If he is able to prevent turnovers, I think the Baltimore Ravens will roll. The Ravens’ front seven, on defense, are playing as well as anyone in the league right now. Look for their defense to create a couple of Cleveland Browns turnovers.
The San Francisco 49ers versus the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs — Do you believe it? The Kansas City Chiefs are currently undefeated. They’ve won ugly, extremely ugly. They have turned the ball over. They have somehow gotten their running game going and made just enough plays in the passing game to win. I don’t think it’s going to happen against the San Francisco 49ers. I think the 49er defense is going to stiffen. I think they’ll shut down the Kansas City offense. Kansas City’s defense has been plenty porous. I think the 49ers can move the ball. The pressure is on Alex Smith. He showed some flashes of brilliance in last week’s game and gave 49ers fans some hope that he can actually play the quarterback position at a high level. He must build on this performance. I look for the 49ers to dominate.
Dallas Cowboys versus Houston Texans — It is not impossible for the Dallas Cowboys to win this football game. They have to fix their problems inside the 20. Tony Romo simply has to play better. If he’s able to play better, this will open up the running game. The Houston Texans have been playing fantastic offense. They put on a show last week against the Washington Redskins. They simply didn’t show up in the first half and then crushed the Redskins in the second half. Matt Schaub has been on fire. All of the football gurus are picking the Houston Texans at home to beat the Cowboys. The Cowboys are 0-2. They cannot go down 0-3. I look for somebody on this Dallas Cowboys football team to step up. Everyone is talking about the Cowboys offensive line. Mario Williams, All-Pro defensive end, will have an opportunity to go up against new left tackle, Doug Free. This does not look good for the Cowboys on paper. Maybe Doug plays better in actuality than he does on paper. The Cowboys are probably going to have to give Doug some help. Look for the Cowboys to figure out a way to win. (Yes, I’m a diehard Cowboys fan, but also a realist. This is a longshot.)
Detroit Lions at the Minnesota Vikings — What is wrong with the Minnesota Vikings’ offense? We have seen the bad Brett Farve each of the last two weeks. Look for him to break out of his slump and have a good game. This should open up more running lanes for Adrian Peterson. Detroit has been playing better but I don’t think they have the weapons to stop the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings, like the Cowboys, have their backs against the wall.
Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints — Although the New Orleans Saints have been wanting to, they have not been able to unleash their much feared offensive machine. They just haven’t been able to sustain drives. This is a big rivalry. Anything can happen. In order for the Falcons to win, they have to run the ball well. Matt Ryan has to play like he did two years ago. He really needs to torch the Saints in order for the Falcons to win. Finally, the defense of the Falcons has to create turnovers. I’m not sure that the Atlanta Falcons are going to be able to do all of this. Look for the New Orleans Saints to figure out a way to win.
The Washington Redskins versus the St. Louis Rams — Donovan McNabb had one of his signature games last week. If he had just a little bit of help from his defense he would’ve won that game going away. Look for him to shred the St. Louis Rams’ defense. This will take the St. Louis Rams out of their running game and nullify Stephen Jackson. Sam Bradford appears to be maturing as a rookie. He seems to have a quick release. He throws the ball with great velocity. Yet I think the Redskins defense will hold up well. Look for the Redskins to roll.
Philadelphia Eagles versus Jacksonville Jaguars — for some reason the Jacksonville Jaguars have not been able to get out of their own way. Turnovers, missed cues, more turnovers (this sounds a lot like the Dallas Cowboys) have been killing the Jacksonville Jaguars. I have no idea what is wrong with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense. I need to spend more time watching their tape. They just have not been as dominant as they were a few years ago. They had a winning formula – dominant defense and ball control offense. It is possible to play this kind of football and win in the NFL, but you cannot turn the ball over. Jacksonville seems to like making mistakes at key times in games (this does sound like the Boyz). The Eagles are starting Michael Vick at quarterback. Vick played pretty well last week but you could see his tendency to run first and throw second got in his way a couple times. I believe this game is truly a toss-up. If Michael Vick can make more positive plays than negative plays the Eagles will win.
Indianapolis Colts versus Denver Broncos — I still don’t know who the Denver Broncos really are. Are they a throwing team or are they a running team? Is Kyle Orton the real deal? What about Denver’s defense? They played so well at the beginning of the year last year by giving up an astounding 56% third-down conversion rate. Look for the Indianapolis Colts to roll. Peyton Manning will find the crack in the defense and take advantage of it. By the way, did the Colts find a running game last week?
Oakland Raiders versus Arizona Cardinals — Two teams with huge question marks at quarterback. Both teams have some talent, but… Arizona’s playing at home. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald. Look for Arizona to figure out a way to win this game.
San Diego Chargers versus Seattle Seahawks — I’m not sure that we know exactly who the Seattle Seahawks are as a team. They have a new coach. Are they going to run? Are they going to throw the ball? Is Matt Hasselbeck the right quarterback for them? Does he have anything left in the tank?I think the San Diego Chargers have too many weapons. Look for them to dominate this game.
New York Jets versus Miami Dolphins — The Miami Dolphins are a surprising 2-0 team. They seem to figure out a way to win. I wonder if they could share their secret with the Dallas Cowboys. The big question in this game is can Mark Sanchez play consistent football? If he can throw the ball down the field, that will open up running lanes and the New York Jets will roll. I’m just not sure that he can do that. I think this is gonna be an excellent Sunday night matchup. This game will hinge on turnovers.
Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears — Even though the Chicago Bears have a new souped-up offense, which they pounded the Dallas Cowboys with last week, I just don’t see the Bears getting by the Green Bay Packers. In my opinion, Green Bay has become one of the elite teams. They have a fantastic defense. Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as any quarterback in the league right now. Chicago will try to stuff the run and make the Packers one-dimensional. Good luck. I think the Packers will pass in order to open up running lanes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out enough four-wide set. The Green Bay defense will hold up to Jay Cutler. I look for the Packers to have a convincing Monday Night win.