Thursday, 24 September 2015

NFL 2015 Week 3 Preview

Last week, in my predictions I went 8-8 which is an improvement of the week before. So overall for the season I am a sterling 14-18. Probably the longest I have been under .500. I feel like the Chicago Cubs, but at least they are resurgent.

In week 2, a record eight teams remained winless including possible Super Bowl contenders Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.

The Seahawks can be forgiven as they have faced a tough opening road trip to St. Louis Rams (who oddly lost on the road to Washington) and the Green Bay Packers, they now have Cam Chancellor back from his contract hold out to help the defence and a team which will still win 7-8 games at home and should get the 10 wins required to make the playoffs. The Colts are an odd creature, giving Andrew Luck weapons on the wideouts but failing to realise he needs to be upright to hold the ball as the Jets again brought pressure and blitzes to confuse the MVP candidate who had another bad outing on Monday night. The Jets are 2-0 tied with the Patriots.  The Ravens, I have discussed at length, in my blog and need to get a better balance which hopefully the returning Lorenzo Taliaferro at running back will do.

The other teams winless are New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. Can you see any of those teams making a significant push? The Saints look to be in a bad way considering Drew Brees has a rotator cuff shoulder injury, it is anything but easy in Louisiana currently.

Washington @ NY GIANTS
Cincinnati @ BALTIMORE
New Orleans @ CAROLINA
ATLANTA @ Dallas
Tampa Bay @ HOUSTON
Indianapolis @ TENNESSEE
Jacksonville @ NEW ENGLAND
Philadelphia @ NY JETS
San Francisco @ ARIZONA
Chicago @ SEATTLE
DENVER @ Detroit
Kansas City @ GREEN BAY

Match of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)

Le'Veon Bell is back from suspension
Big Ben is ringing it up

This is a great match up to look forward; a real clash of a high tempo offense versus a vaunted defence.  Last week the Steelers destroyed a buoyant 49ers side at home with Ben Roethlisberger showing his high class going down fields and De'Angelo Williams gaining three touchdowns for himself.  They did all this without Le'Veon Bell who returns from suspension this week and is expected to slot right in to the system but perhaps in a more catching role out of the backfield.  The Steelers defence has also brought its game this season versus Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick, but this team is about the offence which seems able to score a lot more than you can.

St. Louis meanwhile showed a great defensive display at home to Seattle in their season opener, then they could not replicate that form on the road in Washington as Kirk Cousins and running back Matt Jones ate up the defence. Washington might not be as bad as feared on both offensive and defensive lines, yet St Louis to not back up such a resounding victory with a complimentary performance is worrying. 

Can the Rams match up with the Steelers offence, probably not but can they get pressure to Roethlisberger, yes.  Can they attempt to stifle the run game of Williams and Bell, yes.  It makes for an intriguing match up nonetheless. I see the Steelers winning on the road by 7.

Upset of the Week

After last week's two golden picks which I did not pick myself. I am picking one game only and that is Tennessee at home to Indianapolis.  The Colts are in big trouble and this will be a big test of their offensive line to make sure Andrew Luck stays upright in the pocket and can control the flow and tempo of the game, and find his targets; it would help if they avoid penalties for holding so Frank Gore can get some yardage and avoid third and long situations.

Tennessee themselves need to bounce back from coming up short at Cleveland. This is their home opener versus a division rival, and they will want to make a statement in Marcus Mariota's first home game. Both teams will have to avoid turnovers and it could easily descend into a shoot out, if that is the case my upset may not happen but are the Colts running out of luck?

Fantasy Advice
- Lorenzo Taliaferro is back for the Ravens. He vultured a touchdown from Justin Forsett last week and is the red zone RB for Baltimore who need to make some red zone visits count for once.
- Charles Clay (Buffalo) a good TE pick up. A legitimate red zone target for the Bills who are throwing a lot with Tyrod Taylor, and with Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin getting attention outside, Clay can benefit in the slot.
- Seattle Seahawks defence. Cam Chancellor is back. And so is the Legion of Boom.
- Cam Newton (Carolina). He has no-one to throw to. So he will be running a lot in red zone.

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