NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 3

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Washington @ NY Giants (-3½)

The Giants fell to 0-2, suffering a 24-20 home loss to the Falcons. Julio Jones had 13 receptions for 135 yards to power Atlanta.

"We've had 10-point, fourth quarter leads in both games this year," Tom Coughlin said, "and have lost both. That's two double-digit leads lost. I tell ya, it's not a good year for 'double-digits' in New York this year.

"Jones was unstoppable, and Matt Ryan had all day to throw. Lobster hand or not, we need a pass rusher like Jason Pierre-Paul in our lineup. I hear the spread for this game is 3½. I hear that's also the over/under, for JPP's left hand."

The Redskins upset the visiting Rams last week 24-10. Washington limited Nick Foles to 150 yards passing, while the 'Skins pounded out 182 yards on the ground, 123 of those from Matt Jones.

"We made Foles look terrible," Jay Gruden said. "I'm pleased we could do that to an opposing quarterback.

"What you saw against the Rams is our blueprint for success — a strong running game, a stout defense, and a starting quarterback who knows his role, not to mention a third-string QB who knows his role, as well."

Can the Giants stop the Redskins rushing attack? The duo of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones gives the 'Skins a formidable two-headed beast, a perfect complement to their two-faced head coach. The G-Men will stack the line to stop the run, forcing Kirk Cousins into too many third and long situations.

Prior to kickoff, Coughlin delivers a rousing speech on "urgency," and this time, it's not to his incontinence support group.

Giants win, 23-20.

Atlanta @ Dallas (+1)

The Falcons are 2-0 and tied with the Panthers atop the NFC South. Last week, Atlanta knocked off the Giants 24-20; they'll try to hand the undefeated Cowboys their first loss.

"Julio Jones may be the NFL's most dangerous wide receiver," Dan Quinn said. "He's strong, has good footwork, and boasts a great set of hands. But it's his hamstrings that instill the most fear in people, especially Matt Ryan.

"Unlike Jerry Jones' hip, Julio is irreplaceable. Usually, it's easy for the Cowboys players to keep up with the Joneses, because Jerry is everywhere. That won't be the case during the game. Julio is a Jones whom you can't keep up with, because you can't be everywhere."

The Cowboys 20-10 win over the Eagles came at a cost — Tony Romo broke his collarbone in the third quarter. Romo suffered a similar injury in Week 7 of 2010 and missed the rest of the season.

"These are times when you're mettle is tested," Jerry Johnson said. "Sometimes, you have to take a hard look in the mirror. When I take a hard look in the mirror, I know it's time for surgery. There's nothing that surgery can't fix, or augment. Luckily, Tony doesn't need surgery.

"While Romo heals, Brandon Weeden has been given control of the Cowboy offense. So while Tony's arm is in a sling, our ass is in one."

Weeden won't be intimidated by the Falcons front seven, not when he's protected by the Cowboys talented offensive line. The Cowboys commit to the run, freeing Weeden to take advantage of play action. Meanwhile, the Dallas defense frustrates Jones with chants of "Hotty Toddy."

Dallas wins, 27-24.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (+3½)

Marcus Mariotta lost 2 fumbles and was sacked 7 times in the Titans' 28-14 loss in Cleveland last Sunday. It was a far cry from Mariotta's Week 1 performance, in which he tossed 4 TD passes.

"Marcus still has a lot to learn," Ken Whisenhunt said. "Veteran quarterbacks know what to do when they sense pressure. Let's look at some former Titan quarterbacks. For example, if Steve McNair felt pressure, he would run. If Vince Young faced an overwhelming rush, he would disappear without taking his cell phone. If Kerry Collins got blitzed, he would go to rehab."

The Colts are in disarray after Monday night's 20-7 loss that left them winless on the season. Andrew Luck was pressured into 4 turnovers and threw only 1 TD pass.

"Disarray," Luck said. "Discord. Disappointing. Disbelief. There are a lot of words beginning with 'dis' that describe this team. However, most of the 'dis-ing' in this organization is coming from head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson.

"Understand, I'm playing behind a makeshift offensive line. Actually, I'm not playing, I'm working back there. I'll tell you who's not working — it's. Because it's not working."

Titans win, 27-24.

Oakland @ Cleveland (-3½)

Johnny Manziel outdueled fellow Heismann Trophy winner Marcus Mariotta last week as the Browns pounded the visiting Titans, 28-14. Manziel passed for 2 touchdowns, both times connecting with Travis Benjamin on long scores.

"It feels like I'm back in college," Manziel said, "cause I'm playing for cash. Just like I used to say at my alma mater, 'Texas Autographs & Money,' 'It's all about the Benjamin's.'

The Raiders outscored the Ravens, 37-33, to pick up their first win of the season. Derek Carr passed for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns to give Jack Del Rio his first win as Raiders head coach.

"Derek doesn't get the publicity than Manziel does," Del Rio said. "He's a very private person, whereas Sebastian Janikowski is a 'privates' person. Derek doesn't talk a lot about his personal life. It's pretty boring. If he does start talking to you about it, you'll find yourself getting very sleepy. That's the same thing young ladies experience when they talk to Janikowski."

Browns wins, 27-14.

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-2½)

The Bengals ground out a tough 24-19 win over the Chargers last week. Andy Dalton passed for 3 touchdowns and the Cincy defense forced 3 turnovers.

"Our defense was sensational," Marvin Lewis said. "They were always in position and punished the Chargers. One of our mottos is, 'Put a helmet on somebody.' One of Pacman Jones' mottos is 'Put somebody on a helmet.'"

The Ravens lost to the Raiders 37-33 last week, giving up 448 yards of total offense to Oakland.

"That was just a pathetic performance," John Harbaugh said. "We did nothing right. I guess the best thing for us to do is forget everything that happened in Oakland, so we've conveniently disposed of all the clothing we were wearing. That's called 'losing your identity,' and that's what happened to our defense.

"On offense, our running backs are hurting. What they need is time to heal, or a nice hose down with deer antler spray. I heard from a very good source that the stuff works. For Ray Lewis, that stuff's like Frank's Red Hot Sauce, because he puts that 's' on everything."

Baltimore wins, 26-23.

Jacksonville @ New England (-14)

The Patriots took down the Bills 40-32 in Buffalo last week, building a 37-13 lead before withstanding a late Bills rally. Tom Brady passed for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"We're now 2-0," Tom Brady said. "I like to say we're undefeated against the NFL. Roger Goodell hates when I say that.

"We took the crowd out of the game early. Nothing silences a Bills fan like a New England win, or the years 1990-1993.

"You've probably heard that I'm endorsing Donald Trump. I like the way the Donald peaks: vaguely, while ignoring the questions, with not a hint of substance or detail. Much like Trump, I'm not even sure who our competition is. I mean, I'm generally aware of the other candidates, but I can't say for sure that I know them."

The Jaguars beat the Dolphins 23-20 last week, winning on Jason Myers' 28-yard field goal with 40 seconds left.

"That win meant a lot to our team," Gus Bradley said. "It was a confidence booster. And speaking of 'booster,' anyone who visited the pool in the north end zone of Everbank Field's upper deck should get a booster immediately. After all, they call that body of water the 'Hep Sea.'

"We won't back down to the Patriots. We're very confident, and we have nothing to lose really. Is that so hard to believe? It's not like it's the first time someone's said 'no pressure' in New England."

New England wins, 34-13.

New Orleans @ Carolina (-3)

The Panthers topped the visiting Texans 24-17 as Cam Newton accounted for all three Carolina touchdowns. The Panthers are 2-0, tied with Atlanta atop the NFC South.

"My rushing score was a thing of beauty," Newton said. "I somersaulted over a Texans defender and almost landed on my feet. If left to Olympic judges, I think they would have scored it a '10.' If the scoring was left to my father Cecil Newton, he would have scored it a '10' as well, and added a few zero's and commas."

The Saints lost 26-19 to the Buccaneers in the Superdome, as Jameis Winston captured his first win as a pro. Drew Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the loss, and is expected to miss Sunday's game.

"Drew will be okay," Sean Payton said. "However, the injury will limit his ability to throw downfield. Cam Newton has a similar condition. It's called 'Philly Brown and Ted Ginn, Jr.'

"Defensively, we're a lot like Rob Ryan's hair — a mess. It was tough day for Buddy Ryan's twin sons. I never thought I'd compare Buddy to Antonio Cromartie, but Buddy seems to be questioning paternity.

"Our offense couldn't find its way out of a wet paper sack. Now, our fans can find their way in to a paper sack, because it looks like the 'Aints' are back."

Carolina wins, 27-14.

Philadelphia @ NY Jets (-2½)

Is it time to panic in Philadelphia? The Eagles are 0-2 after last week's 20-10 loss to Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field. Sam Bradford had 3 turnovers, and DeMarco Murray gained only 2 yards on 13 carries.

"DeMarco obviously misunderstood when we told him he'd be running behind the Philadelphia offensive line," Chip Kelly said. "He is running 'behind' it, literally.

"There have been system-wide failures so far this year. I would give everyone on this team a failing grade. In other words, 'a cluster 'F.' I just wish we could have kept Tim Tebow around. Without him, we don't have a prayer."

The Jets overpowered Andrew Luck and the Colts 20-7 in Indianapolis Monday night. The fearsome Jets defense forced 5 turnovers, four off Luck, and register 11 quarterback hits.

"Not many people envisioned the Jets starting the season 2-0," Todd Bowles said. "To some, that was a jaw-dropping scenario. Not to me."

Jets win, 24-17.

Tampa Bay @ Houston (-6½)

Jameis Winston passed for a touchdown and ran for another in the Bucs 26-19 upset win over the Saints last week.

"The Saints defense had no answer for me," Winston said. "Before the game, I received a note that read, 'You're free to go.' I thought it came from the New Orleans defense. It didn't. It came from the Tallahassee Police Department.

"With each game I play. I learn more about our offense. And that's to key to success — understanding. As they old saying goes, 'know means know.'"

The Texans dropped to 0-2 after last week's 24-17 loss to the Panthers.

"Ryan Mallett did enough to keep the starting job," Bill O'Brien said. "Some say Ryan has a cannon for an arm, and the accuracy to match."

Early in the first quarter, Winston meets J.J. Watt, and unlike a package of crab legs, he pays for it. Watt records the first of 3 sacks, and later, Winston gets sandwiched between the NRG Stadium turf and Vince Wilfork's belly, the video of which later makes the rounds on Internet "squashing" websites.

Houston wins, 27-23.

San Diego @ Minnesota (-3)

The Vikings rebounded from their lopsided loss in San Francisco in Week 1 with a convincing 26-16 win over the Lions. Adrian Peterson rushed 29 times for 134 yards, and Teddy Bridgewater passed for a score and rushed for another.

"Adrian Peterson received a huge ovation from the home crowd last week," Bridgewater said. "If A.P.'s children give him an ovation, it would have to be standing, because they can't sit down.

"As you probably know, there were a few well-known starting quarterbacks that went down with injury last week. Their teams are finding out that good backup quarterbacks are hard to find. Not so good backup QBs? They're a dime a dozen. In fact, there's a web site where mediocre free agent quarterbacks contemplate their future. It's called 'Christian Ponder.'"

San Diego wins, 28-24.

Pittsburgh @ St. Louis (+1)

The Steelers blew out the 49ers last week 43-18, led by Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Brown recorded 9 receptions for 195 yards and a score.

"There must have been a radio broadcast coming through our headsets," Mike Tomlin said, "because we scored with 'frequency.'"

A week after knocking off the Seahawks, the Rams lost 24-10 in Washington.

"Despite the loss," Jeff Fisher said, "I like our position. 1-1 means we're just one game out of first in the NFC West. It also means we can go 7-7 over our last 14 games and still finish 8-8. That's success in my book, as well as that of owners that keep hiring me."

The Rams defense comes alive, sacking Ben Roethlisberger 5 times. The Steelers still get their points, but so do the Rams.

St. Louis wins, 34-28.

San Francisco @ Arizona (-7)

The 49ers were blown out 43-18 by the Steelers last Sunday.

"That's not the same team you saw in Week 1," Navorro Bowman said. "We got away from our style of defense in Pittsburgh. Coach Mike Tomsula has us playing physical defense. And that mindset is spreading. Even our fans are beating up people."

The Cardinal blew past the Bears in Chicago last week, winning 42-23 behind 5 touchdown passes from Carson Palmer, two to Larry Fitzgerald.

"In deference to Carson Palmer and his knees," Bruce Arians said, "let's not call it a 'blowout.'"

Arizona wins, 28-23.

Buffalo @ Miami (-2½)

Buffalo lost last week to AFC East rivals New England, who dealt the Bills a 40-32 home defeat at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills surrendered over 500 yards of total offense and had 3 turnovers.

"We got outplayed," Rex Ryan said, "and out-coached. I guess Bill Belichick has my number. By 'number,' I mean my social security number.

"I'm not willing to admit that Belichick is smarter than me. That being said, it is a matter of 'intelligence.' Belichick is just better at gathering it."

The Dolphins lost to the Jaguars, 23-20, spoiling a 359-yard, 2-touchdown passing day from Ryan Tannehill.

"Tannehill was great," Joe Philbin said. "It's our defense that worries me. Is Ndamukong Suh worth the money we spent on him? Is Albert Haynesworth's picture on a $100 million bill?"

Buffalo wins, 19-13.

Chicago @ Seattle (-14)

The Seahawks are 0-2 after last Sunday night's 27-17 loss in Green Bay.

"That's right," Pete Carroll said. "We're winless, and according to Russell Wilson, that's God's will.

"It's obvious our defense misses Kam Chancellor. When he plays, Kam puts the 'Boom' in 'Legion Of Boom.' Ironically, his absence lowers the 'Boom.' Luckily, Kam is back. It's the '12th Man' that makes the noise, but it's the '11th Man' that makes the difference.

"Marshawn Lynch's mother called for the firing of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. I commend her passion, but I wonder why she feels she needs to speak for her 29-year-old son. He's far from being a baby. I guess she went 'Teats Mode' on us."

The Bears were pummeled 42-23 by the Cardinals. Jay Cutler was injured in the second quarter trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception.

"Jay's injured his hamstring," John Fox said. "And he'll miss at least two weeks. It's really nothing to be alarmed about. No, not the injury, but Jay being out for two weeks.

Even at 0-2, the Seahawks will be okay. Why? They've played the Packers; now they get to play the rest of the NFC North.

Seattle wins, 38-13.

Denver @ Detroit (+3)

The Broncos survived a shaky start from Peyton Manning in a 31-24 win at Kansas City. Manning was ineffective in the first quarter before responding with 3 touchdowns in the final three quarters.

"Peyton Manning's back!" said Manning. "Actually, it's Peyton Manning's neck, and his right arm. Plus, I have no feeling in my fingertips. But at least I have fingertips. You know I don't play with fireworks. Heck, I can't even throw a firecracker, much less a bomb."

Denver wins, 24-20.

Kansas City @ Green Bay (-7)

Led by 249 yards passing and 2 touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers, the Packers sent the Seahawks home with their second straight loss. One of Rodgers' TD passes went to James Jones, who has 3 TD catches on the year.

"We killed the Seahawks with our crossing patterns," Rodgers said. "They couldn't stop it, and that ultimately cost them the game. Russell Wilson will be pleased to hear this, because you could say they 'died on the cross.'

"I thought the Seahawks played well, save for a few mistakes. They need not worry. They still have one of the top three defenses in the league. Wilson would appreciate this as well, because most defenses in the NFL are 'holier than thou.'"

The Chiefs turned the ball over five times in a 31-24 loss to the Broncos last Monday night. The final miscue, a Jamaal Charles fumble, was picked up and returned 21 yards by Bradley Roby for a touchdown.

"I take full responsibility for the loss," Charles said. "and I'll answer any questions about my performance. I'll never run and hide in the face of adversity. For some on this team, J.J. Watt is the 'face' of adversity."

If the Chiefs learned anything from the Packers victory over the Seahawks, then they know that it's not enough just to get pressure on Rodgers. You have to close the deal. K.C. gets to Rodgers early, and Jamaal Charles has his way with the Packer defense. But Rodgers comes up big late, escaping a heavy rush to find Richard Rodgers for the clincher.

Green Bay wins, 30-20.

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