By Marvin A Azrak Heinz Field Sunday should be a reason why many should be stoked to see Cincy on “Thursday Night Football” in week four against the Jaguars, with Joe Burrow going 14/18 for 172 yards, and three touchdowns, two of them landing in the hands of JaMarre Chase, while the defense picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice in the win.We are three weeks into the season and we already have enough teams to make two extra divisions, so allow yours truly to do so by putting giving you the TFC (Tank Football Conference) and the EFC (Elite Football conference). The teams that are winless will be put into the TFC, as those fans must wonder how there team can quickly become irrelevant so much so that the final week of the MLB regular season outdoes them in radio talk shows. Meanwhile, these elites still have kept the 1972 Dolphins from making their annual toast as the only team to ever go unbeaten at 17-0.
You can call this team the “Fighting Darnolds” if you want because he’s a completely different QB in Carolina. The revelation tour continued on Thursday in Houston, when Sam fought through the losses of star RB Christian McCaffrey to injury, going for 304 yards, and rushed in for two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 24-9 win. The defense meanwhile manhandled Texans backup QB Davis Mills, who was sacked four times and only threw for 168 yards, and a TD in the contest. The undefeated Panthers are the only team that hasn’t trailed whatsoever in this 2021 season.
Cardinals 31 Jaguars 19
Prediction: (Cardinals 45 Jaguars 14)
Kyler Murray last week was incredible going 29/36 for 400 yards and three TD’s, as the Cardinals rallied to benefit from a Greg Joseph FG, winning it 34-33 over the Vikings. Trevor Lawrence meanwhile, struggled to go 14/33 for 118 yards, one TD, and two INt’s as the Jags fell again 23-13 to Denver. This wasn’t expected to be close, yet the Cards found themselves trailing 13-10 at the break on a 109-yard “kick six” by Jamal Agnu to the other length of the field. But in the second half, Arizona found their form and received two touchdowns by James Conner, and a pick-six by the defense for a 31-19 win.
Falcons 17 Giants 14
Prediction: Falcons 17 Giants 24
It’s Eli Manning day, as #10 will get his number retired and inducted into the Ring of Honor at Metlife Stadium. It’s appropriate as it was the team against who Eli made his first start, and in 2011 notched his lone home playoff win 24-2. I expect the NYG to come out with vengeance after last week’s loss, and the stakes of the day. As for the Falcons, they were overwhelmed in last week’s 48-25 loss in Tampa Bay, and I didn’t expect them to ruin a memorable day in Giants history being they’re 0-2 as well.
However, they did as after a TD by Saquon Barkley but the G-men in front, a dropped INT on the defensive end, followed by a pass interference penalty on Logan Ryan, allowed QB Matt Ryan to lead the Falcons l and even the game at 14, before a Younghoo Koo 40 yarder as time expired gave Atlanta a win and sent the Giants to 0-3 on Manning Day. After the loss, owner John Mara took out his frustration on trash cans.
Bears 6 Browns 26
Prediction: Bears 17 Browns 31
The Bears outdid the Bengals at staying afloat in their ugly 20-17 win, but will now face a hungry Browns team who were looking to find themselves after just barely defeating the lowly Texans for their first win of the season.
They ultimately did as Baker Mayfield went 19/31 for 246 yards, and a TD, including a three Field Goal performance by Chase McLaughlin, helped Cleveland roll.
WFT 21 BUF 43
Prediction: WFT 21 Bills 27
Buffalo rebounded after their disappointing week one loss to the Steelers with a 35-0 balanced demolition of the division-rival Dolphins, and the expectation was they would keep that going on Sunday.
In week 3, that’s what happened as QB Josh Allen had his “Breakout game” of the season, going 32/43 for an astounding 358 yards, and four touchdowns for Buffalo, who routed the Football team 43-21. Taylor Heinicke was inefficient for Washington, going 14/24 for 212 yards, and two touchdowns, but threw for two interceptions and Buffalo took advantage.
NOLA 28 NE 13
Saints 28 Pats 24
Jamie Winston was a shell of his former self, as the offense could never get going against a mightily impressive Panthers defense, with NOLA falling 26-7. Meanwhile, Mac Jones let the run game do the talking in the Pats 25-6 win over the Jets in New Jersey. But here, Winston was INT-less, and threw for two touchdowns, in a well-balanced wine, with another team containing Mac Jones yet again, who was picked off three times in the loss.
Chargers 30 Chiefs 24
Prediction: Chargers 21 Chiefs 38
That was a crushing 36-35 defeat in Baltimore for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in a contest where they led 35-24 and had the ball. But a rare Patty pick turned the entire game around, and a crucial fumble by Clyde Edwards-Here put the thriller to bed. But it’s a new week, and being back in Arrowhead means KC is likely going 2-1 today. As for the Chargers, they fell on a 56 yarder to Greg Zuerlein and the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. Expect Justin Herbert to get going for the first time this season, but it wasn’t expected to be enough to stop the two-time reigning AFC champions.
But we were proven wrong, because KC got off on the back front quickly falling behind 14-0, before roaring back in the third quarter with two TDs with Patrick Mahomes finding himself when the time called for him, as the Chiefs took a 17-14 headed into the fourth. The final frame saw Herbert, and Mahomes exchange blows, with Mecole Hardman catching an 11 yarder over the middle to regain a three-point Kansas City advantage. But similar to week two, Mahomes caved under pressure by the defense, making the crucial mistake of throwing an interception with 1:55 to go, allowing the Bolts to go down the field and with 36 seconds remaining hit paydirt and walk off the field a 30-24 winner. With the loss, Kansas City drops to 13-1 in September during the Patrick Mahomes era and is under 500 for the first time in that span as well.
As expected, Justin Herbert did have himself a show going 26/38 for four touchdowns, and 281 yards for the now first-place Chargers, who are clearly “Charged up” for their Monday Night Football clash with the 3-0 Raiders in week four.
Colts 16 Titans 25
Prediction: Colts 10 Titans 34
Carson Wentz is great at finding Zach Pascal for touchdowns like he did in week 2, and went for 247 yards to help put up a fight against the Rams, but came up short in their 27-24 loss, throwing an INT with the game on the line to Jalen Ramsey. Now, they march into Tennessee against a Titans team coming off an exhilarating 33-30
overtime win on the back of Derrick Henry who went for 35 carries, 182 yards, and three touchdowns simply not letting the Titans fall to 0-2. Now back home, they were bet on ride the wave to 2-1 over a Colts team still trying to find themselves. Ryan Tannehill went 18/27 for 197 yards, and three touchdowns to outdo Carson Wentz who went TD-less in the Titans 25-16 victory, placing them at 2-1.
Bengals 24 Steelers 10
Prediction: Bengals 14 Steelers 28(Survivor pick)
Cincy outdid the Bears in “How low can you go” in their week 2 loss, as Joe Burrow threw three straight picks late in the fourth quarter, but Pittsburg also left last week with a sour taste in their mouth, falling to Vegas 26-17 at home. Big Ben(27/40, 295 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was outclassed by Derek Carr, and the running game didn’t do him any favors. However, this is a hapless Bengals bunch the fans planned to go watch a thrashing over their division rivals. But the upset that transpired at
Ravens 19 Lions 17
Prediction: Ravens 40 Lions 17
Nobody was taking down Lamar Jackson on Sunday, lifting himself past Mahomes for the first time in his career, and going 18/26, 239 yards(Also rushing for 107 yards, and two TD’s) in a performance for the ages. Battling a Jared Goff-led team that was embarrassed on national television 35-17 in Greek Bay, Baltimore could have a week 3 laughter. What they did instead treated us to a historic ending as a record-setting 66 yard FG by Justin Tucker bounced off the crossbar, and dropped in lifting Baltimore to victory and a 3-1 record.
Jets 0 Broncos 26
Prediction: Jets 20 Broncos 36
Zach Wilson was taken for a whopping in his 4INT day, to the jeers of the Metlife Stadium crowd falling to the Patriots 25-6 accounting for just two FG’s. Now they go on the road and face an undefeated Broncos squad that just did a number on NO 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, in their 23-13 win over the Jacksonville. The trajectories told you all you need to know, and if you HOf Melvin Gordon and Teddy Bridgewater on your Fantasy teams, please continue starting them.
On Sunday, it was an absolute outclassing for the Jets looked like a high school team in their 26-0 loss to the 3-0 Broncos. Maybe with a rookie coach, rookie, QB, and a rookie offensive coordinator that’s exactly what they are. But perhaps the most astonishing stat of this throttling by hosts, was that Teddy Bridgewater didn’t throw for any touchdowns, letting the running game do all the talking.
Dolphins 28 Raiders 31 (OT)
Prediction: Dolphins 26 Raiders 34
PREVIEW: Miami won’t get shut out again for the Raiders are a more vulnerable defense and overall team. However, they’re riding a red-hot QB in Derek Carr who backed up his victories week one performance with an encore against the Steelers, going 28/37 for 382 yards and two touchdowns to bring his football team to 2-0 on the season, and I expect to be 3-0 against a Dolphins team trotting out Jacboey Brisset instead of starter Tua Tagovailoa, who’s out due to a rib injury.
RECAP: In hindsight.. that was what I was expecting and then some. Yes, it was odd to see the Dolphins have a basketball- score like 14-2 lead in the first quarter, but isn’t it also awkward to see a football team in Vegas, and the Raiders(!!!) being 3-0 when most pundits expected nothing more than mediocrity entering the season? Well to remain unbeaten, John Gruden’s crew tightened up their game for a 19-14 lead entering the fourth, and when Payton Barber rushed in for the TD with 13:37 to play to make it a 25-14 ballgame, it seemed all but certain Vegas would remain perfect. But the Phins had other plans in store for us and allowed us to witness another overtime game by coming from behind late to even the game on a Brisset running TD, and Will Fuller two-point conversion. But as they did in week one, the Raiders regrouped and outlasted the opposition in a shootout with Daniel Carson backing up his special teams player of the week honors in the AFC, by knocking a 22 yarder through the uprights for a 31-28 Las Vegas win.
Bucs 24 Rams 34
PREDICTION: Rams 38 Bucs 34
PREVIEW: TB12 lit up the Falcons In Tampa’s 48-25 victory, throwing for five touchdowns and 276 yards (Two to Rob Gronkowski), while also extending the Bucs win streak to 10 dating back to last season. Meanwhile, Mathew Stafford has found a new home in Los Angeles, as his Rams are off to a quick 2-0 start to the season. He went 19/30 for 278 yards, and a touchdown, but will be without his main RB in Derrick Henderson who went for 13 carries,53 yards in last weeks 27-24 win in Indianapolis. Expect WR’s such as Cooper Kupp to be given more opportunities already with three touchdowns and 271 yards in the first two weeks of the season. It’s going to be tight, but I expect an LA home shocker, mainly because Brady is due for a loss after 10 straight wins, and the Rams have the defense to test him.
Recap: Mathew Stafford went for 343 yards and four touchdowns, outdueling TB12, and handing the Buccaneers their first loss after a 10 game win streak dating back to last season. The highlight-reel play came when Mathew found Desan Jackson for a 75 yard TD, that he stopped after running to the Bucs 30, and ran the distance to put LA up 21-7. Jackson would haul in two more, while Stafford(27/38) also had great synergy with Cooper Kupp who caught the ball nine times, and found the endzone twice to keep the distance between the Buccaneers and Rams throughout the game. As for Brady, he went 41/55 for 432 yards and a touchdown which is something he can take against Bill Bellichek and the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in week four. For the 3-0 Rams, they got the 3-0 Cardinals on deck in California.
Seahawks 17 Vikings 30
Prediction Seahawks 33 Vikings 24
Preview: You can’t possibly blame Vikings Kirk Cousins for the team 0-2 start to the season, for their defense and special teams have tremendously let him down in big spots during the week one OT loss to the Bengals, and last weeks heart-wrenching 34-33 defeat in Glendale, Arizona. Russel Wilson did all he could as Seattle built a 24-9 halftime lead, but saw their defense become undone by Derrick Henry, and wound up watching a 22/31/343/2 TD’s go to waste. However, Minnesota is a team where Russ thrives entering Sunday undefeated (6-0) against the Vikings in his career. When you factor in that star running-back Dalvin Cook is inactive, I’m rolling with the Seahawks.
Recap: It finally happened in week three, for the Vikings as the defense contained Russel Wilson who finished under 300 yards, while Kirk Cousins kept true to his MVP campaign going 30/38 for 323 yards, and three touchdowns in a stunning Minny demolition, which is the first time Wilson has been victimized of that in his career.
Packers 30 49ers 27
Prediction: Packers 27 49ers 35
Preview: AR12 rebounded from a horrific week one by going 22/27 for 255 yards, and four touchdowns but most importantly no turnovers in a 35-17 home demolition of the Lions on Monday. But now he heads to the house of horrors in San Francisco, a team he’s 5-6 against in his career and 2-4 on the road. As banged up as they are, San Fran will show depth, and experience to improve to 3-0 with a Sunday night shocker, as Jimmy G targeting WR Debo Samuel numerous times, with George Kittle doing just enough to get by, so the defense can pressure Aaron Rodgers authority early, and often.
RECAP: AR12 found himself in a familiar situation with his team trailing late in the fourth and delivered finding Davante Adams for two big plays, leading to a Mason Crosby 51-yard field goal to give Green Bay a 30-28 win. This came after San Francisco rallied for the 28-27 lead, after Jimmy Garrapalo completed a 25/40 performance for 257 yards and two touchdowns, by finding Kyle Juszcyk with 37 seconds remaining to give out the 49ers on top. Overall, this was a contest that featured multiple lead changes, with the Packers going on an early 17-0 clip, and still led 24-14 in the fourth and final stanza before San Fran made it a classic.
Eagles 21 Cowboys 41
Prediction: Eagles 23 Cowboys 42
PREVIEW: Both teams had sluggish offensive weeks, so I expect the opposite to happen here. Both teams are 1-1 and are battling for first place in the NFC East so that only adds onto to the urgency of this clash. Dak Prescott will face Jalen Hurts for the first time, and if you ask me why am I picking that score here? It’s because of the Cowboys’ explosiveness led by Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliot, as well as the defense showing the ability to at least show they can handle a mobile QB in Justin Herbert as they did in LA last week against the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Eagles were silenced 17-11 by an injury-riddled San Francisco team at home.
Recap: Dak Prescott made his long-anticipated return back to Dallas for the first time since the ACL tear five games into last season, and on that same field threw three touchdowns leading the way for NFL’s newest offensive juggernaut, as the Cowboys ran roughshod over the Eagles 41-21 to take over first place in the NFC East. With the “Dak Attack” in full fight, Ezekiel Elliot has begun to elevate his play once again as well backing up a two-touchdown performance with two TD’s for 95 yards, while Danny Schultz hauled in two for the first multi-score game of his pro football life. Dak went 21-26 for 238 yards against his NFC East foe and showed no signs of rustiness back home aside for the fumble in the red zone looked in mid-season form. On the other hand, the defense has remained the unsung hero of this first-place bunch, helping themselves out with a 59-yard pick-six by Trevon Diggs off of a rattled Justin Hurts(25/39, 326 yards 2 TD’s, 2INT’s) three plays into the second half with Philly already down two scores having allowed 20 straight points. Ultimately, the Cowboys were the deeper team and showed they’re on a mission to be what they weren’t last season which is a playoff team.
PREDICTION W-L: 11-5
WEEK 1: 8-8
WEEK 2: 9-7
SCORE REPORT: Correctly predicted the number of points the Saints, and Lions scored this week!