After two weeks, the New Orleans Saints find themselves with a 1-1 record, which may seem disappointing on the surface, but represents the best start the team has had over the first two weeks since 2013. The Saints started the season with two games at home but now hit the road to face their most hated rival, the Atlanta Falcons, in the Saints’ home away from home.
No week gets Who Dat Nation’s blood pumping like “Falcons Hate Week” and the opportunity to take the Falcons down in their own house would be just what the team and the fans may need to kick this season into high gear. The Saints may be travelling to Atlanta for the first time this season on Sunday, but if everything breaks right this year, they’ll be back in February, so they should get used to the place.
Last week I went 9-7
I told you so: Chiefs over Steelers!
What do I know: Eagles over Bucs?
Thursday, September 20th - Thursday Night Football
The stout Jets defense will take away Cleveland’s ability to run the ball, effectively taking away the one weapon they have. Cleveland’s woes continue into this week. Jets win 17-14.
Sunday, September 23rd - Early Games
Aaron Rodgers and company face stiff competition from the Washington defense in this one, but Green Bay will steal a quality win on the road. Green Bay wins 30-24.
Following a tough road loss last week, Philadelphia returns Carson Wentz to the field for the first time since his severe knee injury late last season. The reception at home should help Philly rebound nicely this week against Indianapolis. Philadelphia wins 30-17.
Buffalo just can't catch any breaks this year, now they face one of this year’s Super Bowl favorites in one of the toughest buildings in the league to play in. This one will be all Minnesota. Minnesota wins 31-7.
Oakland’s defense will have a tough time slowing down the Miami ground game. Jon Gruden will continue to wish he had a first-rate pass rusher. Miami wins 31-17.
After two weeks, it’s strength on strength as Denver’s rushing attack faces the Baltimore defense. This has the markings of a slow it down, grind it out game, but sometimes those games go the other way, and this one will come down to the passing games. Denver wins 34-26.
Despite a good start to the season, Cincinnati will struggle on the road against Cam Newton and the Panthers offense in Charlotte. Carolina wins 27-21.
Giants(0-2) at Texans(0-2)
The Giants’ early-season woes continue in Houston as they struggle keeping up with the Texans rushing attack. Houston wins 26-17.
Jacksonville is riding high after a huge win over New England last week and the only thing that could keep them from winning their third game in a row here is overconfidence. Tennessee, a division rival, won't make it easy for the Jags, but they're outclassed on the road in this one. Jacksonville wins 26-13.
49ers(1-1) at Chiefs(2-0)
San Francisco’s inconsistant passing game will keep them from keeping this game close against the dominant Kansas City offense. Kansas City wins 40-20.
Saints(1-1) at Falcons(1-1) - Game of the Week
Nothing will come easy for the Saints in Atlanta this week, and they’ll need their defense to provide a consistancy they have struggled with so far. The biggest leaders on defense will need to come through in this one. Cam Jordan will need to get pressure, keeping Steve Sarkesian’s offense off balance. Another timely pick by Marcus Williams would be welcomed, and a huge interception or two by Marshon Lattimore would really kick things into overdrive. In fact, if Lattimore wanted to use his hands to pick off Matt Ryan this time, he could do it that way if he wanted to mix things up a little.
The keys for success in this game are clear, the Saints have to force a few turnovers here and take advantage of the opportunities those turnovers present. In the matchup of the NFC South’s most dominant receivers, Michael Thomas needs to be the bigger factor than Julio Jones. Thomas has been unbelievable early this season, but this is the week he can make believers out of the doubters. The X-Factor is Alvin Kamara. If Kamara can have more consistant success in running the ball and controling the clock than he’s had so far in Mark Ingram’s absence, it would give the Saints all the boost they may need.
Although there are exceptions, Saints/Falcons is usually a tense, tight affair, as both teams know how important a win over the other is. It may make the difference in the division race, in playoff seeding, and potentially in homefield advantage, but just as important, there’s bragging rights. This will be another close game with a razor-thin margin for error. The Saints have been far from perfect this season, but like last year, this week is where they’ll start to hit their stride in the first quarter of the season. Saints win 31-30.
Sunday, September 23rd - Late Games
Chargers(1-1) at Rams(2-0)
It’s the first regular season Battle of Los Angeles since these two franchises relocated a season ago. Both teams entered the season with serious aspirations and have done little to assuage those aspirations in the first few weeks. Even though this matchup should prove to be good between these future stadium-mates, the biggest thing to look for on Sunday is who the fans in attendance will be rooting for. Both teams have had the stadiums overrun by opposing fanbases since coming to LA a year ago. It could potentially be a lame atmosphere in the air for this one. Rams win 35-21.
Dallas will lean on Ezekiel Elliott to grind out a win in Seattle, while their defense make things difficult for Russell Wilson. Dallas wins 17-12.
Chicago will face little resistance from the NFL’s worst team in Arizona. Chicago’s defense will make Arizona’s terrible season even worse in this one. Chicago wins 27-3.
Sunday Night Football
The big headline in this matchup is all about Detroit’s head coach Matt Patricia facing his former mentor, Bill Belichick, but the real story will be how quickly Tom Brady and newly acquired wide receiver, Josh Gordon get on the same page. New England will rebound from their Week 2 loss while Detroit continues their struggles. New England wins 38-17.
Monday, September 24th - Monday Night Football
Steelers(0-1-1) at Buccaneers(2-0)
Defense need not apply in this matchup of the two top passing offenses in the NFL. Passing yards will be through the roof against these terrible defenses, but Tampa will make a few more crucial plays than Pittsburgh here at home. Tampa remains undefeated, while Pittsburgh remains winless. Tampa Bay wins 34-27.
That’s how I see it, tell us how you see Week 3 playing out. Leave your comments and insight below!