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Week 3 NFL Picks: What if Kolb and the Cardinals Go 3-0?

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:   Dave Zastudil #9 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after  Kevin Kolb #4 scored a touchdown in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16: Dave Zastudil #9 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after Kevin Kolb #4 scored a touchdown in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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For the second week in a row, I finished last week with a 9-7 record in my weekly predictions. I thought on was on track to have a better week, but losses by teams like the Patriots and Saints really took my by surprise. With my record now sitting at 18-14 on the season, can I crack the 10-win barrier in Week 3? My Week 3 picks are after the jump, featuring two games that will guarantee that two of these four teams will start the season at 3-0 (unless a game ends in a tie): Arizona, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Diego.

Week 3 Games Explanation Pick
vs. Eli Doesn't Need All His Weapons: The Giants may be without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but as long as they have Eli Manning and one receiving threat (Victor Cruz), their offense can still continue to roll. I think Cameron Newton and the Panthers will put up a good fight offensively, but the Giants' front four will come up with a big stand late to help put the game away. Giants 27, Panthers 20
vs. 'Luck'y to Play in the AFC South: The Jaguars are a mess offensively. At the very least, I expected Justin Blackmon to make an impact on offense. Last week, he was targeted four times but did not catch a single pass. The Colts seem to have a decent flow going offensively with Andrew Luck and his top two receiver, Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery. Neither team has an overwhelming defense, but the Colts will win at home to become one of the lesser ranked 2-1 teams in the league after a soft schedule in Weeks 2 and 3. Colts 19, Jaguars 12
vs. Revis' Return is Trouble for Tannehill: I think it is moderately disappointing that Tim Tebow has not had a larger role on offense. Maybe after last week's lackluster effort against the Steelers, Tebow will see an increased workload against the division rival Dolphins. Reggie Bush really went off on the Oakland Raiders last week, and he has exceeding my expectations from his time with the Saints. The Jets could have cornerback Darrelle Revis back for this Sunday's game. Even though the Dolphins don't have a threatening No. 1 receiver, having Revis gives the Jets more flexibility on what they can do defensively. Jets 20, Dolphins 10
vs. Falling Behind Too Early: I am so confused about the Chiefs. Something has to give in this game, because the Saints and the Chiefs have had two of the worst defenses in the league to start the season. It has really prevented each team's offense from getting into a good rhythm, particularly the Chiefs. Jamaal Charles has yet to break out because Kansas City has been blown out early in games to the point where they basically need to abandoned the ground game. I have to believe the same thing will happen this week, which is dooming for the Chiefs' offense again. Saints 41, Chiefs 17
vs. Shootout of the Week: This is another game where I expect to see very little defense; the difference is that each team's offense is well-balanced, which could make for another back-and-forth shootout. I am loving the multi-dimensional threat that Robert Griffin III has brought to the table right off the bat as an effective passer and runner. Despite the success that Andy Dalton had against Cleveland a week ago, I thought he missed out on quite a few opportunities in the first half to put the game away. If that happens again this week, the Bengals won't be able to come away with a win on the road. Redskins 34, Bengals 28
vs. No Madden Curse in Another Blowout: The Titans are officially my "guaranteed blowout team of the week." There aren't many bright spots on offense or defense. I would have credited their special teams unit, but then Marc Mariani broke his leg in the preseason. Even though the Lions are 1-1, Matthew Stafford has been "off" to begin the season. With how funky the regular season has started for a few teams this year, maybe this could be another one of those upset type of games. Then I think about Stafford and Calvin Johnson going up against the Titans' secondary, and any thought of an upset goes away. Lions 38, Titans 9
vs. Simply Overwhelming: The Vikings have proven to be a scrappy team over the first two weeks. They had a chance to go 2-0 against the Colts last week after two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but their defense allowed a couple of big plays in the final minute of the game. The 49ers are the best team in the NFL right now, and the way they are playing takes "efficiency" to a whole other level. The Vikings' only threat on offense is Adrian Peterson, and the 49ers' tough group up front will take that away. 49ers 24, Vikings 6
vs. Upset of the Week: Bears fans have to be very concerned with the performance of Jay Cutler to start the season and how their offensive line continues to play terrible. This week, Cutler faces a secondary that has really been revamped, led by Courtland Finnegan, who will surely be matched up against Brandon Marshall. The Rams have been a pleasant surprise through two games. If Sam Bradford continues to stay away from the mistakes, I think St. Louis comes away with the upset. Jeff Fisher was the key to sparking this team. Rams 20, Bears 17
vs. All About Class: The Buccaneers are going to gain some publicity for how last week's game against the Giants ended. I personally had no problem with what they did, but a lot of people were upset by it. The Cowboys were on top of their game in Week 1, but you knew it couldn't last. Tony Romo has been way too inconsistent in his career, and he didn't do anything to diminish that trend last week in a loss to the Seahawks. The Buccaneers are a tough team to read right now, so I'll just take Dallas at home. Cowboys 23, Buccaneers 17
vs. Who Moves to 3-0? There aren't many 2-0 teams right now. If you would have told me before the season that this would be one of the few 2-0 vs. 2-0 matchups, I think I would have been a little surprised. The Chargers have faced two opponents who have looked very weak (Oakland and Tennessee), and have blown them out in impressive fashion. The Falcons have faced two opponents who did have high expectations (Kansas City and Denver), and beat them with ease. Random note: how unusual is it for the Falcons' first three games of the season to be against AFC West opponents? Since the Falcons' wins have been more impressive to this point, I'll take them on the road to move to 3-0. Falcons 21, Chargers 20
vs. Does Either Team Deserve to be 3-0? This is another odd one: the Eagles being 2-0 might not surprise many people, but...the Cardinals? How did Arizona beat the the Patriots last week? Over the first two weeks of the season, their defense has risen to the challenge, and they have minimized the mistakes on offense (minus Ryan Williams' fumble that should have cost them the game last week). The Eagles, meanwhile, should not be a 2-0 team with nine turnovers on offense. Like the Cardinals, the reason they have pulled away with wins is their defense. The Eagles' offense won't win this game, but their defense will be good enough to force Kevin Kolb into some mistakes. Eagles 17, Cardinals 13
vs. The Hated vs. the Pitiful: Pittsburgh's defense still looks old and slow, and they are expected to be without James Harrison and Troy Polamalu again. I would like to think the Raiders could pull off an upset, but Darren McFadden has had zero running room to start the season, and Oakland in general just seems to have zero chemistry. Unless Ben Roethlisberger throws the game away, this should be a comfortable win for Pittsburgh. Steelers 23, Raiders 13
vs. Battle of the AFC's Best: This game is equally as intriguing as last week's Broncos vs. Falcons match-up, and it will represent the Texans' first legitimate opponent of the season. The Texans haven't turned the ball over on offense and have played fierce all-around on defense. Peyton Manning will be looking to avenge his three-interception quarter from Monday Night, and he is more than capable of doing that. The Texans have a much better defense than what Manning faced as a member of the Colts two years ago, but I think he rebounds enough and leads the final drive of the game. Broncos 28, Texans 24
vs. Belichick Looking to Bounce Back: I'm not sure what is going on with the Wes Welker situation in New England. Between his lack of playing time and losing Aaron Hernandez last week, one might wonder if the Patriots could be in for a slump. Instead, at least for this week, I think the opposite will happen: Bill Belichick is going to make sure his team clicks on all cylinders after a major letdown at home to the Cardinals a week ago. The Ravens' fast-paced offense still has some potential, but we saw a few wrinkles in it last week against a tougher Eagles defense. I think Belichick will be able to scheme against Joe Flacco, leading to a decisive win for the Pats. Patriots 31, Ravens 21
vs. Getting Back on Track: Much like the Lions' offense has struggled to begin the season, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense has struggled as well. Maybe there is some type of weird bug going around in the NFC North? Seattle has looked pretty good in their first two games, but I think they'll encounter a Packer team that is clicking on all cylinders this week. If they face an early deficit, I don't think Russell Wilson will rise to the challenge, because the threat of Marshawn Lynch is lessened. Packers 31, Seahawks 14
vs. Go Root for...: These two teams face each other often by virtue of finishing in the same place in the division. Each team's offense thrived a week ago, and C.J. Spiller has been one of the most explosive running backs in football. After I doubted the Bills' offseason acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball in Week 1, guys like Mario Williams really stepped it up in Week 2. Can Cleveland's defense -- particularly the secondary -- shake off the struggles they had a week ago? They will certainly need to tackle better to take down guys like Spiller and Stevie Johnson. My full preview for this game and prediction will be posted on Saturday.

Survivor Pick:
I picked the Patriots to win as my survivor pick last week, and they lost. I think it is mathematically impossible to be 0-2 in your survivor picks to start the season. It's probably not even worth doing this anymore, but I'll go ahead and take the 49ers. Surely I won't go to 0-3 in this category, right?