Thursday, September 24, 2020

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 3

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Miami @ Jacksonville (-3)

The Dolphins hung tough at Buffalo before losing 31-28 to the Bills. Miami moved the ball well on offense, but their defense could not stop Josh Allen, who passed for 4 touchdowns.

"If Josh Allen passes for 4 TDs on you," Brain Flores said, "you know your defense is lacking. Allen made our defense look like our defense last year.

"This game might be of interest in the Sunshine State, but I imagine the rest of the country would tell NFL schedule-makers to stick it where the sun don't shine."

The Jaguars rally from a 30-17 third quarter deficit came up short in a 33-30 loss to the Titans. Gardner Minshew passed for 339 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions.

"We may have traded away many of our best players," Doug Marrone said, "but I 'tank' my lucky stars that Gardner is still part of this team.

"Gardner is great. I don't know if his ability will take him to the Hall of Fame, but it will surely get him to the latest remake of 'The Longest Yard.'"

Miami wins, 27-24.

Chicago @ Atlanta (-3½)

The Falcons blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Cowboys, 40-39. Atlanta is now 0-2 and has given up 78 points, worst in the league.

"When it comes to recovering an onside kick," Dan Quinn said, "we have a lot to learn. Like, for example, the definition of onside kick. Obviously, that failure was something from which we couldn't 'recover.'

"It was a shootout, and we blew a game we should have won. Many are calling it the 'Gunfight at the O.K. Collapse.'"

The Bears built an early 17-0 lead and held on to defeat the Giants 17-13. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 190 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

"Allen Robinson is not happy," Matt Nagy said. "He wants a new contract. Is he even an elite wide receiver? I mean, who does he think he is? Other team's general managers have similar questions. Like, 'Who is he?'"

Falcons win, 30-27.

L.A. Rams @ Buffalo (-3)

The Rams are 2-0 after their 37-19 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia. Jared Goff passed for 3 touchdowns, all to tight end Tyler Higbee.

"Unlike some famous Rams team of old," Jared Goff said, "we're not relying on the big play. Four of our five touchdowns were 5 yards or less. Call us the 'Somewhat Decent Show on Turf.'"

The Bills are 2-0 after knocking off the Dolphins, 31-28. Josh Allen passed for 4 touchdowns, and Buffalo is currently in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

"As you would expect of a quarterback known mostly for running," Sean McDermott said, "Josh has really made 'strides' as a passer. A lot of that has to do with the arrival of Stefon Diggs. Stefon is one of the fastest players in the league, as evidenced by how fast he got out of Minnesota."

Bills win, 27-23.

Washington @ Cleveland (-6)

The Browns rebounded from their Week 1 38-6 loss to the Ravens with a 35-30 win over the Bengals on Thursday night.

"We're definitely not the same team that gave up 38 points to the Ravens," Baker Mayfield said. "Now, we're the team that gave up 30 points to the Bengals. That's called 'progress,' I think."

The Cardinals battered the Redskins 30-15 as Kyler Murray rushed for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also added a passing TD.

"Daniel Snyder and his wife are in quarantine after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19," Ron Rivera said. "Snyder's not disclosing who that 'someone' is. Obviously, that 'someone' was not a Native American. Why? Because if that someone was a Native American, Snyder would have no problem 'naming' them."

Browns win, 29-24.

Tennessee @ Minnesota (+2)

The Viking were embarrassed at Indianapolis, losing 28-11. Kirk Cousins struggled, completing only 11-of-26 passes with 3 interceptions.

"After a day like that," Mike Zimmer said, "I have to ask myself, 'If Kirk was drowning, would I save him?' I guess I'd give it a shot, but if he dies, he dies."

Vikings win, 26-24.

Las Vegas @ New England (-6½)

The Raiders beat the Saints 34-24 on Monday night in the first game at Allegiant Stadium. Derek Carr passed for 3 touchdowns, and Darren Waller had 12 catches for 103 yards and a score.

"Apparently," Jon Gruden said, "we put the 'spank' in 'brand spanking new.'

"Unfortunately, there were no fans in the stadium to witness this historic win. So, 'what happens in Vegas, no 'yay's' in Vegas.'"

The Patriots lost 35-30 at Seattle on Sunday night, as Cam Newton accounted for 3 scores, but was stopped on fourth and goal from the Seahawks one-yard line on the last play of the game.

"I think everyone knew Cam was getting the ball," Bill Belichick said. "That's mostly because he's our quarterback.

"Robert Kraft will likely have his sex solicitation charges dropped. Probably not as fast as he dropped his drawers, but fast nonetheless.

"I'm sure you've seen my Subway commercial. What do you call the league's tiniest second-string player? A 'six-inch sub.'"

Patriots win, 30-27.

San Francisco @ NY Giants (+4)

The Giants lost 17-13 to the Bears, and suffered a devastating loss when Saquan Barkley was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

"That is really a blow to our offense," Joe Judge said. "But I'm confident Jason Garrett can make the necessary adjustments. Jason's task is to do more with less, which is the exact opposite of what he did as head coach in Dallas."

The 49ers beat the Jets 31-13, but the win was costly, as Jimmy Garappolo, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Raheem Mostert all left the game with injuries.

"This is what's known as 'attrition by subtraction,'" Kyle Shanahan said. "That may sound funny, but I say that with a straight face. And you can tell because I'm not wearing a mask."

Giants win, 22-21.

Cincinnati @ Philadelphia (-6)

Joe Burrow's 316 yards passing and 3 touchdowns weren't enough as the Bengals lost 35-30 at Cleveland on Thursday night.

"Joe's got a bright future," Zac Taylor said. "His future's so bright, he'll need a trade, if he ever wants to win a Super Bowl."

The Eagles are 0-2, last in the NFC East, after a humiliating 37-19 loss to the visiting Rams.

"Tension was high after the game," Doug Pederson said. "There was a lot of screaming in the locker room. But that was just from Zac Ertz contract negotiations.

"The notion that I should bench Carson is ludicrous. Carson's problem is he tries to do too much. He's our best player. When he tries to be the other team's best player is when he gets in trouble."

Eagles win, 30-19.

Houston @ Pittsburgh (-4)

The Steelers held on to beat the Broncos 26-21 in Denver. The Pittsburgh defense recorded 7 sacks and forced 3 turnovers.

"No one in the league disrupts an offense like our defense," Mike Tomlin said, "now that Antonio Brown is out of the league."

The Texans are 0-2 after losing 33-16 to the Ravens, and now face the undefeated Steelers in Pittsburgh.

"We faced the Chiefs and Ravens in back-to-back weeks," Bill O'Brien said. "That's like going from the frying pan to the fire. Now, I guess we're going back into the frying pan, now with a side of ketchup, because we get the Steelers at Heinz Field."

Steelers win, 24-17.

NY Jets @ Indianapolis (-9)

Jonathan Taylor rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown as the Colts dispatched the Vikings, 28-11.

"If Phillip can get Jonathan the ball 25-30 times," Frank Reich said, "limit his turnovers, and convert on third downs, then we'll be very successful. Hopefully, Phillip can do that again and again and again. And if anyone can succeed at reproduction, it's Phillip."

The Jets lost 31-13 to the 49ers and are 0-2 in the AFC East.

"Injuries are piling up for us," Adam Gase said. "Sadly, some of those may be categorized as 'season-ending.' That's not good. The only thing 'season-ending' that could help this team is my employment."

Colts win, 24-13.

Carolina @ L.A. Chargers (-6½)

The Chargers upset bid fell short in a 23-20 overtime loss to the visiting Chiefs. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, starting for the injured Tyrod Taylor, sparked Los Angeles with 311 yards passing, a passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown.

"Justin played like he's our quarterback of the future," Anthony Lynn said. "And if I don't start him against the Panthers, I should be a coach of the past.

"Even if we lose to the Panthers, we'll still have more wins in our last three games than the Clippers."

Chargers win, 27-14.

Tampa Bay @ Denver (-2)

The Bucs beat the Panthers 31-17, led by a harassing defense that forced 4 turnovers and sacked Teddy Bridgewater 5 times.

"Our defense features Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul," Bruce Arians said. "They love to get after the quarterback, and if one of them gets his hands on the QB, there's a 25% chance that hand is missing some fingers.

"I like the way Tom Brady responded to a lackluster Week 1 performance. Now, he didn't throw 5 touchdown passes, but so what. Russell Wilson may be 'cooking;' Tom's thing is 'grilling,' when he's under investigation by the NFL."

The Broncos lost 26-21 to the Steelers at Heinz Field. Quarterback Drew Lock injured his shoulder and will miss 3-5 weeks.

"I'm confident Jeff Driskel can fill in for Drew," Vic Fangio said. "To back him up, we signed Blake Bortles. We signed Bortles not necessarily for his talent, but to reinforce to the rest of the team the idea that you can still win with a well-below average quarterback."

Tampa wins, 25-14.

Detroit @ Arizona (-5½)

Kyler Murray rushed for 2 scores and passed for another as the Cardinals whipped the Redskins, 30-15.

"Kyler may one day be the best quarterback in the NFC West," Kliff Kingsbury said. "But not now, because Russell Wilson is cooking. Kyler may not be cooking, but he's heating up. So, right now, Kyler leads the 'Desert Warm' offense."

Cardinals win, 30-26.

Dallas @ Seattle (-5)

The Cowboys completed a miraculous comeback, recovering an onside kick, then winning the game on Greg Zuerlein's 46-yard field goal to stun the Falcons 40-39.

"You wouldn't believe the reactions Dallas fans had to this win," Dak Prescott said. "Many were dancing in the streets. Heck, Jerry Jones crapped his pants, which was totally unrelated to our comeback.

"As you've probably heard, Ezekiel Elliott Zeke's has a new 'Feed Me' tattoo on his belly. I heard it was inspired by Hollywood Henderson's tattoo back in the day that said, 'Eat me.'"

Russell Wilson threw 5 touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks to a 35-30 win over the Patriots on Sunday night. Wilson leads the NFL with 9 touchdown passes.

"I'm letting Russell 'cook,'" Pete Carroll said. "And he's really cooking like no other NFL quarterback, except for maybe Ryan Leaf, who's cooked many things, all illegal."

Seahawks win, 31-30.

Green Bay @ New Orleans (-3)

The Packers offense continued to roll, piling up 488 yards of total offense in a 42-21 win over the Lions.

"Aaron Rodgers is playing angry," Matt LaFleur said. "He's treating defenses like his family.

"We're averaging 42.5 points per game, which is roughly Eddy Lacy's BMI."

Saints win, 30-29.

Kansas City @ Baltimore (-3½)

The Chiefs nipped the Chargers 23-20, winning on Harrison Butker's 58-yard field goal in overtime.

"This is a dream matchup," Andy Reid said. "And I'm excited to be a part of it. I'm so excited, my face shield is fogging up as I speak. And nobody fogs a face shield like Andy Reid."

The Ravens stomped the Texans 33-16 in Houston as Baltimore's run game registered 204 yards.

"Our success is predicated on our running game," John Harbaugh said, "and we're certainly going to rely on it against the Chiefs. If we're rushing successfully, we're keeping the Chiefs offense off the field. That's called 'running an offense into the ground,' and nobody does it better than a Harbaugh. That Harbaugh is 'Jim,' and that offense is 'Michigan's.'"

Ravens win, 28-27.

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