Here are my picks:
Detroit (1-2) @ Chicago (2-1)
My pick: Chicago
-The Lions snapped a 19-game losing streak last weekend, beating the Washington Redskins, but look for Jay Cutler to continue his strong play and lead the Bears to victory. The Lions will be coming into a game on a winning note for the first time in a long time, but Chicago has a higher ranked offence and defense.
Cincinnati (2-1) @ Cleveland (0-3)
My pick: Cincinnati
-Derek Anderson gets the start for the Browns this week after Brady Quinn kind of tanked in the first three games of the season – it won’t be the spark they need though, facing a Bengals team that has surprised a lot of people so far this season. Look for Carson Palmer to continue his hot start.
Oakland (1-2) @ Houston (1-2)
My pick: Houston
-This one will come down to Oakland’s run game against Houston’s passing game – the Raiders defense is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the pass defense, while the Texans have given up the most rushing yards of any team through three weeks. JaMarcus Russell hasn’t played very well so far, so I’m going with Matt Schaub and the Texans.
Seattle (1-2) @ Indianapolis (3-0)
My pick: Indianapolis
-The Colts have won twelve straight coming into this game and Peyton Manning is off to one of the best starts of his impressive career, so I think this one goes to Indie. The Seahawks will likely be going with backup QB Seneca Wallace, with Matt Hasselbeck still nursing an injured rib – between them they have less passing yards and less touchdowns than Manning. Look for that to be an issue in this one.
Tennessee (0-3) @ Jacksonville (1-2)
My pick: Tennessee
-These are two teams that sit in the bottom four when it comes to pass defense, while the Titans are second when defending the rush and the Jaguars are 14th, so I think this one will be won in the air. These teams are pretty evenly matched when you look at the stats, but the Titans are in desperation mode after starting out 0-3 so I think they’ll come out on top.
New York Giants (3-0) @ KC Chiefs (0-3)
My pick: New York
-Matt Cassel and the KC Chiefs will be facing the top-ranked pass defense in the league on Sunday, so look for his struggles to continue. Both teams aren’t great at defending the rush, but the Giants have a stronger ground game so look for them to dominate and remain undefeated.
Baltimore (3-0) @ New England (2-1)
My pick: New England
-Even though Baltimore is playing very inspired football through the first three weeks of the season, I find it very hard to bet against the Pats, based on their recent history. The Ravens have the best run defense in the league, while the Pats are middle of the pack when it comes to their ground game, but I think Tom Brady will win the battle of the quarterbacks.
Tampa Bay (0-3) @ Washington (1-2)
My pick: Washington
-The question here is: who is more embarrassed. The Bucs were shutout last week and will be turning to a new quarterback, while the Redskins lost to a team with a 19-game losing streak. I think the fact that Tampa is going with a QB that started the season as a fourth stringer swings this one in favor of Washington.
Buffalo (1-2) @ Miami (0-3)
My pick: Buffalo
-Miami hasn’t played as bad as their 0-3 record makes it seem, but they’re now without their starting quarterback, Chad Pennington, for the rest of the season – a huge blow to the offence. Terrell Owens has yet to make a real impact in Buffalo, but you have to think it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out of this slump. Could this week be the week?
New York Jets (3-0) @ New Orleans (3-0)
My pick: New Orleans
-This could be the game of the week – the high scoring Saints against a Jets team led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez and a defense that has shut down three veteran pivots to start the season, including Tom Brady. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has thrown a league-high nine touchdowns in the first three weeks, but he’ll be tested against the Jets D. Home field advantage should be key for the Saints.
Dallas (2-1) @ Denver (3-0)
My pick: Dallas
-Denver’s number one ranked defense goes up against one of the top ranked offenses in the league this week in the Dallas Cowboys and both teams are coming off big wins last week where they shut down their opposition and held them to less than 10 points. I think Dallas will take this one though.
St. Louis (0-3) @ San Francisco (2-1)
My pick: San Francisco
-San Fran is coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Vikings last week that saw Brett Favre throw the game winning touchdown in the final seconds – so look for them to try and bounce back from that. The Rams run defense isn’t very good, so I expect the 49ers to try and win this one on the ground.
San Diego (2-1) @ Pittsburgh (1-2)
My pick: Pittsburgh
-The Steelers can’t afford to lose again, Super Bowl hangover or not, and their defense will have to be at their best to slow down the Chargers. San Diego QB Philip Rivers leads the league in passing yards and the Steelers have been sloppy in the fourth quarter – but you’ve got to think that the defending champs will find a way to win.
Green Bay (2-1) @ Minnesota (3-0)
My pick: Minnesota
-Brett Favre plays his former team for the first time since leaving the Packers – and I think he and his new club, the Minnesota Vikings, will come out of this one with a win. Adrian Peterson is tearing it up on the ground and will likely continue that against the 23rd ranked rush defense of the Packers. Should be a good battle between Aaron Rodgers and Favre though.