NFL Week 3 Preview
Week two is in the books and there have been many surprises throughout the first 32 games of the NFL Season. With week three upcoming, it will be interesting to see if the surprise teams continue to stay hot. On the other hand, it’s a big week for the teams that are struggling to get it together and find a way to win. With that being said, let’s take a look at the five key matchups of week three.
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1). 9/23/18, 1 p.m. – FOX
The Colts come into this game after beating the Washington Redskins 21-9. Although not really known for their defense, the Colts held the Redskins without a touchdown all game and evened their record at one after a tough loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Andrew Luck has shown some rust after missing the entire 2017 season, but expect him to play a factor this Sunday vs. the Eagles.
The Eagles come into this game after a 27-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Nick Foles running the show at quarterback, the Eagles struggled on offense for the second straight week. The defense got exposed by Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles, however, do get franchise quarterback Carson Wentz back after tearing his ACL last season. Expect the Eagles offense to be explosive with Wentz back in the lineup.
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Indianapolis 17
New Orleans Saints (1-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-1). 9/23/18, 1 p.m. - FOX
Both the Saints and Falcons come into this NFC South showdown with wins last Sunday.
Drew Brees and the Saints barely held on to beat the Cleveland Browns 21-18. The Falcons held on to beat division rival Carolina Panthers 31-24. This will be the Saints first road game of the season. Last year, the Saints went 4-4 on the road, including a tight three-point loss in their first ever visit to Mercedes Benz Stadium.
The Falcons have been very difficult to beat in divisional games at home winning their last six NFC South matchups in Atlanta. Brees has weapons on offense in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas that have been explosive in the first two games so far. On the other hand, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan looks to stay strong after his solid performance vs. the Panthers. It always seems to come down to the final possession when these two teams play, so expect another close game on Sunday.
Prediction: Atlanta 28, New Orleans 24
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (2-0). 9/23/18, 4:05 p.m., CBS
The Chargers and Rams will battle each other in the first ever battle for Los Angeles. Both teams came into the 2018 season with big expectations. Despite an 0-4 start to the season last year, the Chargers finished the season winning nine of their last 12 games.
The Chargers come into this game off a 31-20 win against the Buffalo Bills. Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon have put up big numbers in the first two weeks, but the defense has been a question mark.
The Rams come in with back to back dominating wins to start the season. Head Coach Sean McVay has these guys clicking on all three phases of the game. Running back Todd Gurley had an amazing performance against the Arizona Cardinals with three touchdowns. On defense this offseason, the Rams resigned Aaron Donald, and brought in Ndamukong Suh and Marcus Peters as free agents. They look like legitimate early Super Bowl contenders. Expect a quick-paced offensive game in this one as both teams like to air it out but the Rams have the better defense and should prevail in a high scoring game.
Prediction: Los Angeles Rams 30, Los Angeles Chargers 20
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-0). 9/23/18, 1 p.m. - FOX
After trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last season, the 49ers went from losing to winning very quickly. Garoppolo is 7-1 as a starter and took the once 1-10 49ers to 6-10 by the end of last season. This week, Garoppolo and the 49ers take the field against a hot Kansas City Chiefs football team.
The Chiefs have been a surprise so far. Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes has looked unstoppable so far with 10 touchdowns. This will be the first home game of the season for the Chiefs, and expect Arrowhead Stadium to be rocking for this one. Defense has not been a strength for either one of these teams in the first two weeks so look for another shootout again this week. Kansas City has better playmakers with Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce, and the team should make enough plays to win their home opener.
Prediction: Kansas City 27, San Francisco 17
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0). 9/24/18, 8:15 p.m. - ESPN
It’s been a total disaster so far for the Pittsburgh Steelers. First Le’Veon Bell hasn’t even reported to the team because he wants to get paid. Then to open the season, they tie the Cleveland Browns, who haven’t won a game in over a year. Last week, they got smoked by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-37, giving up six passing touchdowns to a young quarterback starting his second career game. Now, All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown isn’t showing up for practice, which is creating more controversy in Steel City in the days leading up to a must-win game against the Bucs.
The opposite is going on in Tampa Bay. To open the season, starting quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended three games for violating the NFL’s conduct policy. To step in his place was veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and he is taking advantage of every opportunity throwing for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in each of the first two games. Both of those games were wins against the highly regarded Saints and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles with Fitzpatrick. This should be an interesting game Monday night with a red-hot offense in Tampa facing a Pittsburgh defense that was embarrassed last weekend.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Tampa Bay 21
Predictions for other Week 3 NFL Games (Home Team in CAPS):
CLEVELAND 24, New York Jets 16. 9/20/18, 8:20 p.m. - NFLN
Green Bay 27, WASHINGTON 17. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – FOX
MINNESOTA 31, Buffalo 6. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – CBS
CAROLINA 23, Cincinnati 17. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – CBS
New York Giants 20, HOUSTON 17. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – FOX
JACKSONVILLE 23, Tennessee 14. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – CBS
Oakland 23, MIAMI 20. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m. – CBS
Chicago 27, ARIZONA 7. 9/23/18, 4:25 p.m. – FOX
SEATTLE 20, Dallas 13. 9/23/18, 4:25 p.m. – FOX
New England 35, DETROIT 20. 9/23/18, 8:20 p.m. – NBC
BALTIMORE 24, Denver 14. 9/23/18, 1:00 p.m.- CBS
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.