Week three of an NFL season goes a long way towards revealing who is for real and who’s been really lucky. As always I try to highlight games which may not be obvious and might surprise.
First a review of how my predictions did last week. I judge myself as correctamundo as the Fonz used to say, yes I’m old, except the Redskins line stepped up and proved me wrong which makes me happy because I cheer for all these guys every week.
O-Lines That Should Dominate
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Chicago Bears) – The Bears will be leaving their D on the field too much as usual plus they’re down ILB Nick Kwiatkoski which makes them much more vulnerable to the run. David De Castro and the Steelers romp.
Carolina Panthers (vs New Orleans Saints) – This is the most fascinating game on the schedule. I believe that the Panthers offense finally starts to click in this game and that they score into the high 20’s low 30’s. The reason it’s fascinating is that normally with that level of domination you would expect the very stingy Panthers D to be a great choice to start but not so fast! The Saints are still a potent offense and they have yet to turn the ball over this season and are tied for the league lead in fewest sacks surrendered with two. Carolina could win handily and have the D not generate a lot of fantasy points.
Cleveland Browns (vs Indianapolis Colts) – The Browns have faced two ferocious fronts in their last two games but Indy’s D is far from fearsome. They’re 28th in yards surrendered and the two teams they’ve played so far are bottom third in rushing I believe the Browns run game wins them this contest.
O-Lines That Could Struggle
New England Patriots (vs Houston Texans) – The Patriots pass blocking is decent and that’s likely how they’ll win but I see them really struggling to run the football. So far they’re only averaging 3.7 yards per carry and the last quality defense they faced held them under that. I wouldn’t be surprised for this to shape up as a pass to White and Lewis game as the Texans DB’s will struggle to tackle either at full speed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Minnesota Vikings) – One game against the Bears tells you nothing about the Bucs line, this week against the Vikes however will. Bradford being back under center means we have a level playing field from which to judge. Buried in all the gaudy offensive stats from last weeks pasting is a pedestrian 117 yds rushing and a poor 3.4 yds per carry average. If Tampa Bay can’t run the ball against Minnesota’s top ten rush D life will get a lot harder for Mike Evans and the rest of their talented pass catchers.
Buffalo Bills (vs Denver Broncos) – I know, how is featuring the Bills a challenge? But Buffalo can actually move the football via the rush which is 50% of an O lines job. Last week the Panthers held them to 40 yards under their average. This week against the Broncos doesn’t get any easier. The Broncos front seven held Ezekiel Elliot to eight yards, eight. Be wary Shady owners.
Two other games of note – I think the Chiefs line struggles mightily against the Chargers. The Chargers vs Chiefs in general has the strong potential to generate lots of fantasy points for both D’s and the Ravens vs Jags is going to reveal the truth about both teams defenses.