Eoin Purcell previews week three of the NFL, which has some quite intriguing encounters to keep an eye on. There are seven teams who remain unbeaten and seven teams who are still searching for their first win of the season. There are six divisional matches and a repeat of last season’s Superbowl. Week three promises to be full of drama and excitement.
Game of the week
Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks
This match stood out from the moment the schedules were released in the off-season. The last time these two teams met was in Superbowl XLVIII, no more than seven months ago. The outcome on that occasion was a convincing win for the Seattle Seahawks. As much as the Broncos will tell the media that revenge is not on their minds this week, and that this is just another game on their schedule, this week means slightly more than other weeks for this Broncos team.
The contrasting style of play of these teams makes for such an enthralling battle. Last season Seattle’s physical defence was too much for Denver’s high powered passing game. Both teams have made adjustments since that meeting in an attempt to gain an advantage over one another. Denver have strengthened their defence by adding pass rusher Demarcus Ware and corner back Aqib Talib. Seattle have a fully fit Percy Harvin to unleash offensively so this match promises to be a tough one to call.
The Broncos have had the perfect start to the season winning both of their matches so far and will hope to continue this run while exacting revenge for last season’s humiliating superbowl defeat. Seattle stumbled in a week two loss at San Diego and they will be hoping the familiar sights and sounds of their home stadium, Century Link Field and the famous 12th man will lift them over the Broncos. Both teams need the W for different reasons, but only one will emerge victorious. Who that will be is anybody’s guess.
Must see matches
1) Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions
This NFC North battle could have a massive bearing on the overall standings in this division come January. The four teams in this division all have realistic play-off ambitions and tie breaking scenarios could easily come into effect. Getting one up on your rivals this early in the season could prove to be the difference between play-off football and an early off-season.
Both of these teams have an offence first philosophy so this could be a high scoring game. The winner of this game will at worst have a share for first place in the division, and will have bragging rights until they meet again in Week 17.
2) San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
Another NFC divisional match, this time in the NFC South, as the 1-1 49ers travel to Arizona to face the 2-0 Cardinals. The 49ers are fresh from losing a match in which they were 13 points up heading into the 4th quarter, a match which saw their starting QB turn the ball over four times.
The Cardinals on the other hand won their latest contest comfortably, forcing four turnovers in the process. A loss for the 49ers this week would put them two games behind the Cardinals and a game down in the head-to-head. Although it’s only week three this would be a difficult situation for the 49ers to overcome, and a very strong position for the Cardinals to find themselves in. This is not yet a do or die game for San Francisco, but it’s more of a must win for them more than it is for Arizona.
Predictions for week three
A sentence this writer never thought he would read, let alone write is the following: The San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills are two of the stronger, better coached teams in football this season! When they meet on Sunday in Buffalo, the Bills will continue their great start to the season with a win and put themselves in a position to make a real push for the play-offs.
The Buccaneers, Giants, Jaguars and Raiders will all slip to 0-3 this weekend. The battle for the number one pick in the 2015 draft is well and truly under way, and unless the Redskins have anything to say about it, one of these four teams will grab that honour.
Cincinnati vs Tennessee and Cleveland vs Baltimore will occupy the top two spots in the AFC North following wins this weekend and losses for Baltimore at Cleveland and Pittsburgh at Carolina. This will represent a complete changing of the guard from the days when Baltimore and Pittsburgh dominated this division year in, year out.
The Dallas Cowboys’ already up and down season will spiral back down in a narrow loss at the St. Louis Rams. Following this loss people will (yet again) call for Tony Romo to be axed, until he wins another match and is reinstated into the MVP race.
The New Orleans Saints have somehow found ways to lose from improbable positions in their first two matches. Week three against the improved Minnesota Vikings will be different. The Saints play their first home game of the season and back in the Superdome Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham will easily dispatch the Vikings.
Eoin Purcell, Pundit Arena.