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- Week 3 Predictions: Pit/NE

Chris Pokorny September 24, 2005
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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I still cannot believe some of the upsets that we have witnessed in the first two weeks of the NFL season. My prediction record does not look too good at 16-16, but that would rank way better than some other analysts out there. I had actually penciled myself for a 10-6 record last week, only to find out that the Washington Redskins scored 14 points at the last second. Unbelievable.

We are starting to see who the contenders are in the league, but there are only a few teams that have been downright embarrassing at times. That includes the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, and the Detroit Lions. Of those teams, the Vikings probably have the best chance of making a complete turnaround.

The Bye weeks begin this week, meaning that there will be less football to watch until after Week 10. Let's start off with the Week 3 games of the week.

(Red = Prediction).

The Series is Tied
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last year the Steelers won in the regular season, but the Patriots got the job done when it counted. There is one major difference this year though: the Patriots are not the talk of the league. While it's still early, the Patriots' Corey Dillon cannot get it going. The defense has made some plays but have not taken over a game yet.

On the other side, the Steelers have been playing near perfect football despite my claim that they had "Week 1 and Week 2 Byes". Ben Roethlisberger is playing efficient and Willie Parker has come out of no where. The defense is overwhelming oppositions and made David Carr and the Texans look like a high school team last week. The Patriots will make this a close game, but the Steelers will be able to ice this game with the running attack before New England can rally one more time.

#1 Receiver vs. #2 Receiver
Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The big story in this game is the great showdown between Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Both men have contributed big plays for their teams this year and have had near-identical performances heading into Week 3. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they probably started the season with the toughest schedule in football. They have already lost to New England and Kansas City, and are now facing McNabb and the Eagles who pitched five touchdowns with ease last week.

Brian Westbrook may be unable to play in this game, but the Eagles won't need to use the running game. McNabb will find Terrell Owens and his other options for some big plays since the Raiders have shown that they are effective against the run. Kerry Collins will be facing a tough secondary, so it'll be even harder for him to connect with his receivers. The Eagles pull away in the second half, sending a talented Raiders team to 0-3.

Two Defensive Contenders
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets
This could be a game full of punts or a game full of field goals. I would take the chance that is it full of field goals. Neither offense has been able to catch on fire yet, but both defenses have thrived. The Jaguars held Peyton Manning without a touchdown last week while the Jets hung on to beat the Miami Dolphins.

Chad Pennington did not make a critical mistake last week and he'll need to do the same thing if he wants to win this week. The Jets will be able to run the football against Jaguars - which is a weakness that the Colts were able to exploit fairly well last week. In the end it may come down to rookie Mike Nugent having to send the Jets to victory; something he was accustomed to at Ohio State.

Heading in Opposite Directions
Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills
J.P. Losman had a good start to the season but he looked like a dear in the headlights last week against the Buccaneers. The Falcons desperately need Michael Vick to start making some good throws so that their defense can take over a game. Willis McGahee needs to be the person on the Bills that takes over the game if the Bills want to win.

Both defenses have their bright spots, but this game will depend on which offense starts off with a spark first. My guess is that it will be Atlanta due to the running tandem of Warrick Dunn, TJ Duckett, and Michael Vick. Hopefully the Falcons work on a playaction fake after all of that so Vick can either run or pitch it to someone who is open.

And now, the rest of the week...

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chicago Bears
This will be the first defensive test for the Bengals. To the contrary, this may be the first offensive test for the Bears. The Bengals have been so good that at times it seems like the punter doesn't even need to come onto the field. The Bengals only have to score two touchdowns to win this game, and then pound away with Rudi Johnson for the rest of the game. Kyle Orton has been good for the Bears, but don't let the Bears' 38 points last week fool you.

Tennessee Titans vs. St. Louis Rams
This will be the week when the Rams offense finally explodes. If not, then there's definitely something wrong with Mike Martz. The Titans completely shut down the Ravens last week, but the Ravens have been a joke offensively. This game has the chance to turn into a shootout since the Rams defense isn't very good either, but the Rams have a significant advantage offensively.

Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins
Listen to what's happened between these two teams this season: one of the worst teams in football last year, Miami came out and blew out Denver, a playoff team from last year. Then they nearly beat the Jets last week, another playoff team. The Panthers, who may be on the verge of a Super Bowl this year, lose to the Saints and lose Kris Jenkins in the process. Then they come out last week and beat the Super Bowl champions convincingly. That shows how confusing this season can be. Panthers win, as Jake Delhomme will finally have a good game.

Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts
This will be a very interesting match-up. Peyton Manning has not been able to get going this year, but their defense has been outstanding. The Browns defense has done ok, but their offense ranks as one the league's best right now. As much as I'd love to pick the Browns though, I fear that this will be the game where Manning and the Colts play like they did last year. In other words, this will be a shootout with the Colts winning.

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
I was ready to pick the Vikings this week until I learned that Nate Burleson is out. If I were the Vikings, I would slip Koren Robinson into the starting role even if he is known for his drops. The Saints made the mistakes they have made so often under Jim Haslett last week, but the Vikings defense has not shown anything to cause mistakes. Aaron Brooks will be able to rocket the ball to his receivers all day. While the Vikings offense will finally get it going, the Saints will feel like their home in the dome again.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay's offense looked sharp last week, but now they have to face the red-hot Buccaneers defense. Tampa Bay will force Favre into some miscued throws and win this game with good field position. Not to mention that Carnell Williams should be able to run for 100 yards in his third straight game.

Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers
Despite being on the road, the Cowboys, as should every team, should run away with this game. The Cowboys have a good defense which is good enough to put the game away though. The Cowboys running attack and aerial attack will have some fun as well, as the 49ers should experience yet another blowout.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Cardinals main problem right now is the inability to establish a running game. They are one-dimensional with the passing game, which can't score touchdowns if the run can't be taken seriously. The Seahawks key against the Falcons last week was to get an early lead, and they will do the same thing this week.

New York Giants vs. San Diego Chargers
This will finally be the game where the Chargers finish off a game properly. The inside story in this battle is between Eli Manning and the Charger fans, who will probably be livid at him. This game also features two of the league's best tight ends going head to head in Jeremy Shockey and Antonio Gates. If the Chargers win, they'll need to get Gates a touchdown or two early on.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
The Chiefs will blow this game wide open when it's all said and done. Their defensive line will not be able to contain the "Church Backfield" of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. Despite the Broncos' victory last week, they should be 0-2 right now. The Chiefs defense will cause Jake Plummer to have another inconsistent game and Denver's backfield will look below average yet again.

That's it for this weeks predictions. I won my survivor pick last week after being upset in Week 1. Last week I took the Steelers to crush the Texans, and they did. This week, I'm taking the Dallas Cowboys to beat the San Francisco 49ers. If the 49ers win like they did in Week 1, then I will never pick them in a survivor game this year again.

Predictions Record to Date: 16-16
Last Week: 9-7
Survivor Streak: Won 1(Pit over Hou)

Once again, let's see if the NFL parity comes to a halt this week or if it'll venture into Week 4.

-Chris Pokorny

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