After two weeks, the New Orleans Saints find themselves with a 1-1 record which, like the last four years, represents the best start the team has had over the first two weeks since 2013. That’s about where the good news ends. The Saints are still trying to find their offensive identity here in Week 3 after only playing one great offensive quarter over the first two games. Now the Saints head to Charlotte to face their third-consecutive NFC South rival in the Carolina Panthers.
Despite the struggles of the first two weeks, the Saints have a huge opportunity this week to not only go 2-1 to start the season, but to start 2-1 in divisional play. The Panthers may have beaten the Saints in Carolina early last season, but now is the time to remind Matt Rhule’s team that it is the Saints who make the rules in this rivalry, and it is the Saints who still have a chance to rule the NFC South once again.
Last week I went 9-7
I told you so: Eagles over Vikings!
What do I know: Saints over Bucs? (ugh.)
Thursday, September 22nd - Thursday Night Football
In a surprising turn of events, it will be the Pittsburgh defense that dominates this game by focusing on Nick Chubb and taking away the Cleveland rushing attack, taking away their strengths and controlling the clock. Pittsburgh wins 21-13.
Sunday, September 25th - Early Games
Texans(0-1-1) at Bears(1-1)
Chicago can't really get their passing game going, but they really won't need to in order to win this one. Chicago wins 20-14.
Bills(2-0) at Dolphins(2-0)
This AFC East showdown will definitely garner a lot of interest, but Buffalo has owned this matchup, and they will again in this one. Buffalo wins 37-17.
Chiefs(2-0) at Colts(0-1-1)
Patrick Mahomes will easily keep his team rolling against the sputtering Colts in Indy. Kansas City wins 44-16.
Lions(1-1) at Vikings(1-1) - Game of the Week
Minnesota lost a huge amount of steam getting flattened in Philly, following their win vs Green Bay. Detroit, meanwhile, saw their offense come alive against Washington last week. Both teams know the season is very young, but both also know a loss here puts them in a tough spot in a very competitive NFC North. This one will come down to the last play, and it will be Minnesota that make that play in the end. Minnesota wins 23-21.
Ravens(1-1) at Patriots(1-1)
Baltimore may still be reeling from their close loss against Tua and company in Miami. Mac Jones won't have a game that incredible, but he will play surprisingly well against this Ravens defense. It just won't be enough, as the Ravens hang on to win this one. Baltimore wins 27-26.
Bengals(0-2) at Jets(1-1)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are reeling after two straight losses to start the season, while the Jets are flying high following a stunning comeback win a week ago. Both teams see their fortunes change in this one. Cincinatti wins 27-20.
Raiders(0-2) at Titans(0-2)
These playoff teams from a season ago are floundering to start this season, but Las Vegas turns their fortunes around in this one thanks to their passing attack. Las Vegas wins 32-21.
Eagles(2-0) at Commanders(1-1)
Philly arguably looks like the best team in the NFC to start this season and that continues in this NFC East matchup. Philadelphia wins 24-14.
Saints(1-1) at Panthers(0-2)
For one quarter, two weeks ago, the Saints offense seemed to live up to the promise of their talent. One quarter, in two games. It’s gonna take a hell of a lot more than that for the Saints to compete for the NFC South title this year.
Getting back Alvin Kamara and Paulson Adebo will be massive for this team, who needed both of those players desperately last week. Getting them back on the field will help get the Saints back on track. Speaking of “back”, it is the back of Jameis Winston that may be the biggest question coming into this game. Regardless of Winston’s playing status, we all know his back will be nowhere close to 100%. The biggest question is how much pain will Winston have to manage and how effective will he be. Whether he starts or comes in for relief, will Andy Dalton be ready for the moment? A lot of questions to answer.
One question that doesn't need to be answered is whether the Saints are the better team in this matchup. There is no doubt about that. The talent is there. The defense is stout. The receivers are fantastic. All of these parts need to come together in one game and set the Saints on course for success. They will do that here, with a solid win over a longtime rival on the road. Saints win 21-17.
Sunday, September 25th - Late Games
Jaguars(1-1) at Chargers(1-1)
The dangerous Chargers passing attack led by young superstar Justin Herbert will get the best of Jacksonville and their young star-in-progress in Trevor Lawrence. Los Angeles wins 42-20.
Rams(1-1) at Cardinals(1-1)
After nearly blowing a 28-3 lead against Atlanta of all franchises, the Rams will hang on in a tight matchup against their NFC West rivals. Los Angeles wins 28-24.
Falcons(0-2) at Seahawks(1-1)
Seattle will win this matchup of mobile signal-callers by attacking Atlanta through the air. Seattle wins 32-23.
Packers(1-1) at Buccaneers(2-0)
Tampa and Green Bay have been two of the NFC’s top contenders over the past two seasons, but during that time, Tom Brady has simply owned Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. Although Brady will be missing some weapons at receiver, Rodgers simply has no weapons to work with. Brady keeps his win streak vs Rodgers alive. Tampa Bay wins 35-17.
Sunday Night Football
49ers(1-1) at Broncos(1-1)
Russell Wilson has historically had success against San Francisco but the Niners are going to control the clock and keep the ball out of his hands by grinding the game to a halt with their ground game. San Francisco wins 23-17.
Monday, September 26th - Monday Night Football
Cowboys(1-1) at Giants(2-0)
The recipe for success in this one is simple, old school football, run the ball and stop the run. They will do just that in this NFC East rivalry game. Saquon Barkley will lead his Giants to victory, keeping the G-Men undefeated. New York wins 23-13.
That’s how I see it, tell us how you see Week 3 playing out. Leave your comments and insight below!