Have your say on all week three’s games in the NFL, plus take part in our Pick Six predictions game Welcome to week three on the NFL Talkboard. Many of you will know the drill by now, but for those that don’t, the Pick Six competition works as follows: every week I will select six games – usually the ones I think will be toughest to call – and post my predictions. You are invited you to submit your own picks below the line.
Have your say on all week three’s games in the NFL, plus take part in our Pick Six predictions game
Welcome to week three on the NFL Talkboard. Many of you will know the drill by now, but for those that don’t, the Pick Six competition works as follows: every week I will select six games – usually the ones I think will be toughest to call – and post my predictions. You are invited you to submit your own picks below the line. We will keep track of everyone’s scores over the course of the season, so as to determine an overall winner.
Once again we had 269 people post their predictions for week two. Unlike week one, one person actually got all of their predictions correct. Hats off to Darrell Cushion, the first this season to go six for six. As usual, I will post full standings below the line. With a group of leaders presently sat level on nine points, it’s still not too late to join in.
This week I will be live blogging Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos. Kick-off is at 4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST on Sunday, so here’s hoping you’ll join me for that. Now, without further ado, here are this week’s games:
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (Sunday 1pm ET/6pm BST)
After two weeks, each of these teams has enjoyed one highly encouraging win; and each has also endured a deeply dispiriting loss. Miami had looked set for a very long season as they flatlined against the Houston Texans, but a week later Reggie Bush would enjoy one of the best games of his NFL career against Oakland. The Jets, meanwhile, followed up an unexpected demolition job on the Buffalo Bills by getting mauled in Pittsburgh. With a rookie quarterback going up against an opportunistic defense, the match-up does not look great for Miami on paper. But the Dolphins have quietly won five of their last six at home going back to last season, including one over New York. I think they can squeak a close one.
Dolphins to win
Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins (Sunday 1pm ET/6pm BST)
All eyes will be on Robert Griffin III once again as he prepares for his first home game, but the key to this match-up could be on the other side of the ball. In the last week Washington have lost two critical pieces on defense: outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and end Adam Carricker. Having combined for 14.5 sacks last season, their absences will be felt. The Bengals have their own problems on defense, though, and this should be a high-scoring game. I’ll take the home team by a nose.
Redskins to win
Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals (Sunday 4.05pm ET/9.05pm BST)
Remarkably, just six teams in the entire league remain unbeaten after two weeks. Even more remarkably, the Arizona Cardinals are one of them: having pulled off the upset of the week (and eliminated about half of our Survival Pool contestants, including yours truly) by beating the Patriots in Foxboro. The defense is good enough to mask significant offensive shortcomings, and now comes up against an Eagles offense which has turned the ball over nine times in two games. More such miscues can be expected – but is Kevin Kolb (a former Eagle himself, of course) capable of taking full advantage when they arrive? If nothing else, Philadelphia have shown an impressive capacity to recover from their mistakes.
Eagles to win
Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers (Sunday 4.05pm ET/9.05pm BST)
Another match-up of undefeated teams. The Falcons went some way towards confirming their status as contenders with a win over Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos last week, even if the celebrations were marred by running back Michael Turner getting himself arrested for drink-driving. The Chargers’ opponents to date – Oakland and Tennessee – might be slightly less heralded but San Diego’s performance on defense has nevertheless been impressive, giving up just 266.5 yards per game. They also have running back Ryan Mathews back in the line-up as he returns from a broken clavicle, but the greater challenge for Atlanta may be dealing with a long trip on a short week.
Chargers to win
Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos (Sunday 4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST)
Guardian live game!
As for Manning, he returns home from his three-interception game against the Falcons to face a Houston defense which is among the best in the league. The Texans defensive lineman JJ Watt has stated his intention to add No18 to the list of quarterbacks he has sacked; his team-mates in the defensive backfield may be licking their lips after seeing Manning struggling to generate sufficient power on a number of key throws in Atlanta. The Broncos will be the first significant test of this Houston team, but I like the Texans to seal their first ever 3-0 start to a season.
Texans to win
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 8.20pm ET/Monday 1.20am BST)
A re-match of last year’s AFC Championship game, and though the circumstances might not be do-or-die this time around there is certainly a huge pressure on each team to avoid falling to 1-2. New England’s offense went awol last week against Arizona, but Baltimore’s vaunted D has likewise failed to live up to billing so far this season – missing a combined 14 tackles against the Eagles. The loss of Aaron Hernandez to injury hurts New England, and despite their signing of Kellen Winslow Jr this week seems likely to mean a shift in focus away from a two-tight end offence. Bill Belichick is a smart coach with plenty of different options up his sleeve, but even so: a road game Baltimore is nobody’s ideal place to go experimenting.
Ravens to win
And the rest:
In case you were wondering, here are the rest of this week’s games. These are not included in the Pick Six, just for informational purposes. Feel free to post your picks for these as well, but if you do so then please keep them separate from your Pick Six predictions, as it will make life a lot easier when tallying up your scores.
1pm ET/6pm BST
St Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears
Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints
Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Oakland Raiders
8.30pm ET/Tuesday 1.30am BST
Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks