E.J. Manuel has done some really good things for his Buffalo Bills through three week but has still looked like a rookie at time. The trial by fire should continue against the always dangerous Baltimore Ravens defense led by Terrell Suggs. Expect Buffalo try to counter their effective pass rush by feeding C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. However, once the Ravens adjust, Manuel will need to hit Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods on the outside and Scott Chandler down the middle. On the other side, Joe Flacco continues to struggle through the air but should get help on the ground from Bernard Pierce and maybe Ray Rice.
Final score: BAL 20, BUF 17
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Brian Hoyer strikes again
Turnovers aside Brian Hoyer deserves a ton of credit for the Cleveland Browns victory last week in Minnesota. Still, he draws a pretty tough assignment at home against a Cincinnati Bengals team flying high after their comeback win over Green Bay. Their defense played very well while their offense overcame a number of bad mistakes. Talent should win out here, but could Hoyer catch his division rivals in a trap game backed by a strong defense of his own? Being at home this time, YES HE CAN!
Final score: CIN 20, CLE 23
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh meeting his doppelganger
Ndamukong Suh doesn’t have any sacks but according experts is playing the best season of his career thus far. It is reflected in a 2-1 record for the Detroit Lions but everyone is already looking ahead to a huge divisional showdown with the Chicago Bears. Aside from watching for his trademark penalty plays, fans really want to see him throw down with Bears rookie guard Kyle Long. The first round pick is big, athletic, strong and comes with a nasty streak. In other words he sounds like the offensive version of Suh himself, which should make for an entertaining matchup. This game will be close, but Jay Cutler is 7-1 against the Lions and he has the best offense around him yet with the Bears.
Final score: CHI 30, DET 24
Their drubbing in Baltimore was a wakeup call for the Houston Texans, and they will learn that lesson well as they return home to host the surging Seattle Seahawks. Matt Schaub will find it tough to pass with Andre Johnson banged up but what he’ll really look for is to get Arian Foster and Ben Tate going on the ground. Doing so could make life difficult for the Seahawks secondary. On the other hand, Russell Wilson may have to do a lot of running. He lost left tackle Russell Okung and plans to see plenty of J.J. Watt from the opposite direction too. If Seattle can’t establish Marshawn Lynch, Wilson might be in for a long day.
Final score: SEA 21, HOU 24
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: Andrew Luck gets softball
It may seem like a trap game after such a huge win for the Indianapolis Colts in San Francisco but the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t even worth that consideration. They are a bad team who actually plans to start Blaine Gabbert again. Andrew Luck could get a better softball if he asked for it. Unless he goes on a vacation to the Bahamas, the Colts offense should move the ball just fine while their defense will remind everybody again how useless Gabbert is.
Final score: IND 35, JAC 3
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs: Eli Manning the Pancake
Getting sacked seven times in Carolina was bad enough for Eli Manning and the New York Giants. To think they’re heading into one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL with no running game, a bad offensive line against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that leads the league in sacks borders on capital punishment. Alex Smith won’t dissect the Giants defense but he will keep it away from them, chew the clock and follow the lead of Andy Reid who knows exactly how to beat Tom Coughlin. Manning won’t be any help as he’ll be busy trying his new diet of turf.
Final score: NYG 10, K.C. 24
Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings: Ben Roethlisberger reinforced
Since this game is in London the Pittsburgh Steelers already have an advantage in that they don’t have to worry about crowd noise. Ben Roethlisberger got back his tight end last week and could get another boost on the ground from Le’Veon Bell. The Minnesota Vikings bring in a defense ranked near the bottom against the pass, especially sacking the quarterback. Never mind Christian Ponder might be out, leaving the offense in the hands of Matt Cassel. All the Steelers must do is stop Adrian Peterson and not turn the football over five times like they did last week.
Final score: PIT 28, MIN 14
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Glennon era begins
Carson Palmer is in for a rough day. He faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense with their solid pass rush fresh off getting banged around by the Saints. His Arizona Cardinals have struggled to keep their offensive line intact due to injuries and Bruce Arians will need to be careful with how much he asks Palmer to do. Luckily the Cardinals defense should have some chances to make that easier with the Bucs replacing Josh Freeman with rookie Mike Glennon. The young quarterback looked good in preseason but his inexperience will show against a talented, opportunistic Arizona defense.
Final score: ARI 23, TB 13