Season Predictions Record: 21-10
Week three of the NFL 2016 season is now over, there were many great games to watch this past weekend with results no one could have guessed. After two weeks of double digit picks correct, I am beginning to gain confidence as the season moves forward. There were some major upsets this week(a few not in my favor), and we saw some great performances by teams that needed a big win. Others, faltered under the pressure. But overall I was satisfied with this week’s results. Here are the game recaps for this past weekend.
Thursday Night Football
Texans: 0 Team Grade: F
Patriots: 27 Team Grade: A+
Game Recap: The Patriots prove yet again that great coaching, and a good defense can win games even with the odds stacked against you. The Patriots came into this week after losing not only Tom Brady (suspension) and Garoppolo to injury but had a rookie starting quarterback and a wide receiver serving as his backup. Even I had the Patriots losing in this one because it just seemed impossible for them to beat J.J. Watt and the Texans. But somehow some way this team was able to not only win, but blow out a good Texans team in route to their 3-0 start this season. Jacoby Brissett wasn’t amazing in his first start, but he got the job done in this game. You might see a significant rise in the Power rankings from this Patriots team this week. Great game for the Patriots and a good lesson for the Texans, who looked stagnant on offense and playing catch up on defense.
Player of the Game: LeGarrette Blount was the player of the game in this one which saw him rush for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries for the Patriots. Look for him to continue to put up big numbers until the return of Brady.
Game of the Week
Vikings: 22 Team Grade: A
Panthers: 10 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: This week’s game of the week was nothing short of surprising and special as the Vikings went into Carolina and got a much deserved win on the back of their great defense. The Vikings dominated this game causing celebrated Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to throw three interceptions in the Panther’s first loss at home since November 16, 2014. The Vikings look like true contenders after this very impressive win over the Panthers. Bradford looks to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Vikings as they continue to impress this year.
Player of the Game: Vikings Defense which caused three important turnovers from Cam Newton gets the nod at player of the game here. This defense looks like one of the best in the league right now.
Cardinals: 18 Team Grade: C
Bills: 33 Team Grade: A-
Game Recap: The Buffalo Bills looked nothing like a team that lost its first two games of the year as they earned a victory against a good Cardinals team this week. LeSean McCoy looked like his former self this week dominating on the ground against the Cards defense. The Bills looked like a team determined to prove the haters wrong, and in essence did just that. This was one of the games I got wrong this week as I predicted that the Cardinals would dominate this week, but with this strong showing you never know what could happen next week when the Bills face the Patriots.
Player of the Game: LeSean McCoy earns player of the game behind his 17 carries for 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Broncos: 29 Team Grade: A
Bengals: 17 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: Another powerhouse matchup, and yet another good game. The Broncos looked like an offensive juggernaut this week in Cincinnati as they came to town and dominated a good Bengals defense in route to another win to start this season. This offense which had been less than impressive through the first few games came to life behind the arm of Trevor Siemian who threw a career high four touchdown passes in this win for the Broncos. The Broncos do not look like they are slowing down any time soon as they continue to dominate quality opponents. The Bengals will get a break from what has been a very rough opening schedule this week and will bounce back with a win.
Player of the Game:. Trevor Siemian is the player of the game here as he throws for 312 yards and four touchdowns through the air to earn his team the win.
Lions: 27 Team Grade: B
Packers: 34 Team Grade: A-
Game Recap: A great NFC north matchup between the Lions and the Packers turned out to be a one sided affair as the Packers cruised to victory over the Lions in this game. Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns in the first half in this victory. This was a good game to watch as it was an offensive showdown between two quarterbacks looking to bring the win to their respective franchises. With the game pretty much in the bag for the Packers, the Lions tried to mount a comeback with three touchdown passes behind the arm of Matthew Stafford pulled the game close, but the result was never in doubt for the Packers.
Player of the Game: Rodgers finally looked in rhythm this game throwing for four scores and connecting well with Jordy Nelson for two. The Pack just might be back.
Ravens: 19 Team Grade: B+
Jaguars: 17 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: The Ravens may not do it in the most appealing fashion, but they get the wins that they need. And sitting at 3-0 to start this season, they are in good position going into week 4. I am still waiting for this Jaguars offense to come alive, but they are still struggling to get things going. The Jaguars were not without opportunity to win this game as they probably should have, but the Ravens were able to pull out another close one and win on the road.
Player of the Game: Justin Tucker is the second best kicker in the NFL and showed just how good he is by hitting four field goals including a 54 yard game winning kick to seal the victory for the Ravens.
Browns: 24 Team Grade: B
Dolphins: 30 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: A thriller in Miami as the Dolphins and Browns squared off in a wild one that ended with a Jay Ajayi game winning 11 yard rush in overtime to clinch it for the Dolphins. A game that could have gone either way showed the weaknesses of this Dolphins team, and the promise of this Browns team. I have sympathy for the Browns as they have had their fair share of setbacks this season, but somehow they are staying in games and almost winning them. Terrelle Pryor became the first Browns player since 1977 to have multiple receptions, rushes and passes in the same game. It looks like Hue Jackson is getting creative in trying to find a way to win for the Browns. This was another game in which they could have won, but didn’t. Poor, poor Browns.
Player of the Game: Terrelle Pryor was a jack of all trades in this game practically playing every offensive position to try and give his team the edge in this game. He even lined up at safety at the end of the regular time. Is this high school? What an Athlete!
Redskins: 29 Team Grade: A-
Giants: 27 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: The game we were all waiting for with the matchup we were waiting for in Beckham Jr. vs. Norman. This game in New York was an NFC East classic in which the Redskins were able to come out with the win. This was my Ballsy call of the week since the Giants were 2-0 and skins 0-2 coming into this matchup, but I knew Kirk Cousins would come up big in this one and he did earning his team the win. Say what you want about Beckham winning the matchup between himself and Norman, at the end of the day the true winner is the one whose team has the most points on the scoreboard at the end of the game and in this one the Redskins came out on top. So in the Beckham vs. Norman matchup, Norman is 2-0.
Player of the Game: I’m giving the nod to Kirk Cousins in this matchup as he did enough to earn his team the win in this game. He did not play perfect by any means, but he was able to get the win which is the most important thing.
Raiders: 17 Team Grade: B
Titans: 10 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: This game in Tennessee was a close one as the Raiders were able to edge out the Titans. Derek Carr was able to do just enough to earn his team the win, and we saw DeMarco Murray continue his fine form for the Titans. A game which seemed to be a close matchup on paper which could go either way, went just enough in favor of the Raiders who edged out the Titans and another Mariota comeback. A great win for this young and talented Raiders team.
Player of the Game: Derek Carr earned his team the win in this game throwing for 249 yards and one touchdown in this victory.
49ers: 18 Team Grade: C+
Seahawks: 37 Team Grade: A
Game Recap: I think that this whole Chip Kelly experiment in the NFL might just need to end. The guy who was an offensive guru in Oregon before making the jump to the NFL has not really lived up to his hype thus far in his coaching career. The 49er offense, depleted, and lacking true talent for Gabbert to work with looked terrible against this good Seattle defense. Seattle looked great from the get go and dominated this NFC West matchup in route to winning 37-18 at home. The Seattle offense finally came alive with Christine Michael recording a couple of scores and Russell Wilson accounting for two of his own in this win. Seattle is holding their breath over Wilson’s injury as they look forward to improving next week.
Player of the Game: Christine Michaels who rushed for 106 yards and two scores earns the nod for player of the game in this one. Russell Wilson would get the player of the game if he had not had to exit the game because of injury.
Rams: 37 Team Grade: B+
Buccaneers: 32 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: How about those LA Rams?! They actually can put up some points! They came out and beat a pretty good Buccaneers team who has been sliding as of late and registers their second loss of the season in this game. Los Angeles was finally able to get things going on offense with Todd Gurley getting into the end zone twice and Keenum throwing for two touchdowns as well. This Rams team is now sitting at 2-1 after their embarrassing 28-0 loss to the 49ers on opening day, and they look to continue to get better as the season goes on.
Player of the Game: Todd Gurley looked good in this game as he was finally able to post a respectable stat line in route to 85 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns to earn player of the game in this matchup.
Chargers: 22 Team Grade: B-
Colts: 26 Team Grade: B
Game Recap: What a heartbreaker for the Chargers. They have had their fair share of bad luck this season, but poor tackling proved to be their doom as T.Y. Hilton dashed for a 63 yard score with 1:17 to play to finish off the Chargers. A battle between gun slinging quarterbacks who both threw for over 300 yards ended in dramatic fashion as the Colts were able to earn the victory at home against a decent Chargers team. Luck and company looked improved and determined this week to get a victory and they earned it.
Player of the Game: T.Y. Hilton is the player of the game with a dominating performance in this close matchup. Hilton had 174 yards receiving and a game winning touchdown.
Jets: 3 Team Grade: F
Chiefs: 24 Team Grade: A
Game Recap: Another gutsy call by me this week as I said the Chiefs would bounce back and get a win against the Jets at home. Fitzpatrick looked confused and horrible all game in route to throwing 6 interceptions and losing embarrassingly on the road to the Chiefs. Credit to the Chiefs for executing their game plan and dominating this game behind their talented defense. Alex Smith finally looked comfortable and in control behind center in this game as he was able to throw for 237 yards and a touchdown through the air. With Charles due to come back soon, the Chiefs look to be on the rise in the weeks to come.
Player of the Game: Marcus Peters is turning into one of the game’s best Cornerbacks. Peters recorded his second straight two pick game. Peters has 12 interceptions in his first 19 games in the NFL, the third fastest total in NFL history.
Steelers: 3 Team Grade: F
Eagles: 34 Team Grade: A+
Game Recap: One of the biggest surprises of the week and a game that was frustrating for me to watch was this dominating win by the Eagles over the Steelers. The Steelers have looked completely unstoppable in recent weeks dominating in their first two games. Many thought (including me) that his game would be more of the same, but we found out fast that it would not be the case in Philly. The Eagles dominated from start to finish in route to a blow-out victory over the highly touted Steelers. Carson Wentz is looking like the franchise quarterback that the Eagles hoped he would be when they picked him at Number two overall in the draft this past April. Wentz looked poised and confident throwing virtually perfect passes all game to his receivers. The Steelers had no answers for this Eagles defense as Big Ben was under constant pressure all game. Do not count the Steelers out though as this week they get their playmaker Le’Veon Bell back from Suspension. The Eagles improve to 3-0 and might just be better than we all give them credit for.
Player of the Game: Carson Wentz looked fantastic behind center for the Eagles throwing for 301 yards and two touchdowns through the air in this victory.
Bears 17 Team Grade:C+
Cowboys: 31 Team Grade: A-
Game Recap: A game that was not as close as the scoreboard shows in Dallas as the Cowboys were able to dominate their way to their first home win in 9 games. The Cowboys, behind the leadership of Dak Prescott and the ground attack of Ezekiel Elliott were able to dismantle the Bears defense in this game in route to a great start without Tony Romo. The Cowboys looked great at moments and only seem to be getting better as players will start to come off suspension in week four and the defense will continue to improve. Things do not look good for the Bears as injuries continue to mount up, and their performance was less than inspiring. If this continues, I am not sure that the Bears will win a game this season.
Player of the Game: Dak Prescott continues to impress, yes he was the eighth quarterback selected this past draft, but he is playing like a seasoned veteran. Prescott threw for 248 yards and his first touchdown through the air and added one more on the ground in this win.
Both of my predictions for this game came true as Prescott was able to throw his first touchdown pass and Elliott ran for 140 yards in this one.
Monday Night Football Game
Falcons: 45 Team Grade: B+
Saints: 31 Team Grade: B-
Game Recap: Always a classic NFC South matchup as the Falcons took on the Saints in New Orleans in a matchup between two offensive juggernauts. The Falcons went with a two running back system of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in this game and it proved to be the difference a the tandem combined for 296 yards on the ground and Coleman had three scores. The Saints continue their slide in the 2016 season, but are sure to grab some wins soon as their offense is productive; they just need to stop someone soon as well. Great matchup and we all can look forward to when these two teams meet up again later this season.
Player of the Game: Combination of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman earn the nod for players of the game in route to 296 yards rushing and three touchdowns between them.
Look for my game predictions for week 4 this Thursday as we begin another week in this exciting season of the NFL. What do you believe will be the biggest upset in week 4? Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear and read your comments on this week’s games and recap.