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Game Capsules: 2007 NFL Game Capsule-Week 3

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

NFL Game Capsules
By Dalton Del Don
RotoWire Staff Writer



Arizona (+8.5) at Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: The Cardinals got into the win column last week, but their joy may be short-lived. This week they travel to Baltimore, where the Ravens have won 12 of their last 13 games. Extra work in the film room led to a solid performance from Matt Leinart last week, but he figures to be pressured throughout Sunday. Expect Arizona to continue its concentrating on the ground game, as Edgerrin James has already seen more holes to run through this year than he did all of last season. He may have lost a step from his days in Indianapolis, but James looks rejuvenated this season and a bounce back campaign appears to be in store. However, the Ravens' front seven is a tough group to run on…Steve McNair (groin) hopes to return to the lineup Sunday, and Baltimore hopes his play improves dramatically from when he was last on the field. He committed four turnovers Week 1, against a Bengal secondary that surrendered five touchdown passes to Cleveland one week later. A healthy Mark Clayton might help get Baltimore's offense in gear. The third-year wideout has been hampered by injuries so far, and has negative yardage through two weeks of the season, but he's expected to move back into the starting lineup this week. Hopefully he's feeling closer to full strength. Arizona's secondary is a good way to get his season kick started. The Ravens will likely win this one with defense, as usual.


Predictions: Matt Leinart struggles, netting just 160 passing yards with a couple of interceptions. Still, he does find Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone. Edgerrin James gains just 70 total yards, while Willis McGahee answers with 90 yards and a TD. Steve McNair returns to action and throws for 190 yards and a scoring strike to Todd Heap, as the home team prevails. Ravens 23-13.


Buffalo (+17) at New England, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: The Bills are off to an 0-2 start, and the Patriots look like the NFL's best team after winning their first two games by a combined score of 76-28. The Bills' defense has its share of problems, but the offense has been the team's biggest weakness so far. The team's passing attack ranks dead last in the league, getting a dreadful 96.5 yards per game through the air. After getting 7.5 YPA over the second half of last season, Buffalo's J.P. Losman has started off 2007 with just 5.5 YPA and zero touchdown passes. Lee Evans' numbers have suffered as a result, with just four caches on the season. He's going to turn it around at some point, but Week 3 might not be when it happens -- in six career games against New England, Evans has been held to fewer than 25 yards receiving four times…Instead of letting the recent "camera-gate" controversy distract them, the Patriots are using it as motivation, as last week's 38-14 drubbing of the Chargers revealed. Through two weeks of the season, New England ranks second in the NFL in total offense (419 YPG) and first in total defense (214 YPG). Tom Brady is playing with the precision of a surgeon, completing 79.7 percent of his passes for 9.8 YPA and six touchdowns. Randy Moss could not have gotten off to a better start, his 17 catches lead the NFL; he also has three TDs, has caught a remarkable 94 percent of the targets thrown his way and presents a nightmare of a matchup for an overwhelmed Buffalo secondary…New England has won 12 of its last 13 games against Buffalo.


Predictions: J.P. Losman's early season struggles continue, as he manages just 180 yards and no TDs Sunday. Marshawn Lynch gets just 70 yards combined, but he does score. Tom Brady counters with a third consecutive big game, throwing for 260 yards and two touchdowns, with Randy Moss and Wes Welker being the recipients. Laurence Maroney totals 100 yards, but Sammy Morris gets the TD run, as both teams continue to move in opposite directions. Patriots 27-13.


Detroit (+6.5) at Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: That one team is undefeated while the other is winless is hardly surprising - though most fans would have expected the records to be reversed. The Lions have reached the 2-0 mark by relying on their aerial attack -- the team's 321.5 passing yards per game leads the NFL. Last week, Mike Martz called 56 pass plays and just 16 run plays. Everyone snickered when Jon Kitna predicted the Lions would win 10 games this season, but if Detroit goes into Philadelphia and wins its third straight, maybe Kitna will be the one with the last laugh. Still, the Lions are hardly a team without flaws; the defense still gives up too many big plays, and the ground game is virtually non-existent. Though the return of Kevin Jones (foot) could eventually rectify that problem, it will take some time for him to get back into game shape…Donovan McNabb looked bad Monday night, and it looks like his return from knee surgery isn't going to go as smoothly as hoped. Confidence may be a bigger problem than anything physical, as McNabb's mechanics were out of whack and many of his passes sailed as a result. Shockingly, he is now 1-6 in his last seven starts and 9-12 since the Eagles lost the Super Bowl in 2005. Detroit's porous secondary should help get Philadelphia's passing game on track, as will incorporating Reggie Brown more into the gameplan. Brian Westbrook leads the NFC with 293 yards from scrimmage, but he missed practice this week dealing with a knee injury, which is becoming a common theme throughout his career. Make sure he's healthy for Sunday, as his absence would be a big loss to a team desperate to get into the win column. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's blitz-happy scheme means there's a pretty good chance Kitna gets knocked out of the game for a second straight week, especially given how little emphasis Detroit puts on protecting the quarterback. The Eagles simply need this game more…Philadelphia has won the last four contests against Detroit.


Predictions: :Jon Kitna is harassed into throwing a couple of picks, but he reaches 250 passing yards and finds Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson for scores. Tatum Bell has an unsuccessful day, while Kevin Jones is productive in his limited touches. However, he doesn't get enough chances to be worth considering in fantasy leagues just yet. Donovan McNabb has his best game of the season, throwing for 275 yards and two TDs - one to Kevin Curtis and the other to Reggie Brown. Brian Westbrook guts it out and suits up, resulting in 150 total yards and a TD run, as Philadelphia breaks into the win column. Eagles 27-20.


Indianapolis (-6.5) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: Houston enters this battle of undefeated teams missing a key member of its offense -- Andre Johnson (knee). While there's a tendency to overrate skill position players, this is a loss that's likely to be devastating, as Johnson is one of the very best wide receivers in the league. The Texans ended a nine-game losing streak to the Colts the last time they played but will have to turn to untested WRs Kevin Walter, Jerome Mathis and Jacoby Jones and might also be without Ron Dayne (ribs) Sunday. Matt Schaub (9.0 YPA) has been a huge upgrade at the quarterback position, but Houston's defense has been equally impressive. After years as a doormat, the unit looks like the real deal, led by DeMeco Ryans and impressive rookie Amobi Okoye. However, their pass defense remains a weak spot, and Peyton Manning figures to take advantage of that Sunday…After falling to every team in the AFC South last season, the Colts have lost some of their invincibility inside their division. Still, the Super Bowl champs have won seven straight games since their last loss (which was incidentally to Houston) and look primed to make a run at defending their title. Many believe Bob McNair is owner of the Texans, but really, it's Manning, who has thrown an incredible 25 touchdown passes in just 10 career games against them. If that's not enough to worry about, the Colts' defense has been playing great so far, holding opponents to just 5.5 YPA and just one passing TD through two games. Indianapolis is far more vulnerable when playing outdoors, but it's going to take a near perfect game to beat them.


Predictions: Matt Schaub misses his No. 1 wideout, throwing for just 200 yards and one TD, which goes to Owen Daniels. Ahman Green totals 80 yards and a score, while Joseph Addai counters with 125 yards and a TD of his own. Peyton Manning continues his dominance of Houston, reaching 275 yards passing with scoring strikes to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, as Indy possesses too much firepower. Colts 27-20.


Miami (+3) at New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments:With both teams entering the week winless, you can bet Miami and New York will play with desperation Sunday. The Dolphins bring the league's worst rushing attack, averaging just 3.1 YPC so far. The team has stated its desire to increase Ronnie Brown's workload, but it will also need improved play from Trent Green, who threw four interceptions last week. Chris Chambers has been the team's most productive player so far, thanks in no small part to the league-high 16 targets last week. If he continues to receive so many looks, he'll rack up solid numbers, no matter how inefficient he is…Kellen Clemens is clearly the Jets' quarterback of the future, but for the present, it looks like Chad Pennington (ankle) will be back under center. Pennington is 6-1 during his career against Miami, but Thomas Jones may be the focal point of the offense this week, as the Dolphins' rush defense ranks 31st in the league. Both teams are clearly flawed, but facing a potential 0-3 start, it should be a hard-fought game, with home field being the difference.


Predictions: Trent Green throws for 175 yards and a TD to Chris Chambers, while Ronnie Brown gets a season-high 20 touches and turns those into 90 total yards. Chad Pennington returns with moderate success, throwing for 220 yards and a scoring strike to Jerricho Cotchery. Thomas Jones adds 80 yards and a TD run, leading New York to its first victory of the season. Jets 17-13.


Minnesota (+2.5) at Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: The Vikings' shaky quarterback situation gets even more muddled this week, as starter Tarvaris Jackson (groin) is unlikely to play against Kansas City. That may not be terrible news, as Jackson threw four interceptions last week and is still rather raw. Brooks Bollinger isn't a great alternative, so the team will likely turn to Kelly Holcomb, who was acquired just before the season opener. Either way, the Vikings figure to rely on their running game and opportunistic defense. Minnesota has eight defensive touchdowns since 2006 - the most in the league. The Vikings have lost 12 of their last 13 road games against AFC opponents…The Chiefs have really struggled this season, but their defense certainly isn't to blame. An underrated unit will welcome the return of Jared Allen (suspension) Sunday, and this team is never easy to beat when playing in Arrowhead Stadium. Larry Johnson's disappointing start doesn't figure to end this week, as the Vikings' stout run defense comes to town. Still, expect Johnson to remain heavily involved in the passing game, along with rookie Dwayne Bowe. Damon Huard has stumbled out of the gate after an impressive 2006, but he's 6-0 during his career at home as a starter, and Minnesota's secondary can be exploited. The Chiefs will be hungry to get their first victory of the season in front of the home crowd.


Predictions: Kelly Holcomb starts but turns in a forgettable performance, throwing for 150 yards but no scores. Adrian Peterson totals 80 yards and reaches paydirt, while Larry Johnson combines for 90 yards and scores as well. Damon Huard passes for 220 yards and finds Tony Gonzalez in the end zone, as Kansas City triumphs. Chiefs 20-13.


San Diego (-4.5) at Green Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: The Packers have won six straight games dating back to last season, thanks in large part to their emerging defense. With ball-hawking corners led by Al Harris, a strong linebacking corps in Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk, and a tough defensive line with Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins, this defense is fast becoming one of the NFL's elites. On the other side of the ball, things don't look so bright. The run blocking has been brutal so far, and rookie Brandon Jackson has started to lose carries to seventh-round pick DeShawn Wynn. Brett Favre turned back the clock last week against the Giants, getting 7.5 YPA and three TD passes. However, this week's opponent, San Diego, possesses a much better defense than New York's, so Favre is going to have to limit the turnovers for Green Bay to have any chance of winning…After scoring in the first half of every game last season, the Chargers have been shut out during the first two quarters of both their games this year. LaDainian Tomlinson is averaging a paltry 1.9 YPC so far, but don't expect that to last; he only rushed for 100 yards once during the first six weeks of last season -- so slow starts are nothing new to the NFL's best running back. Philip Rivers has shown a tendency to struggle against tougher opponents, and Norv Turner continues to prove he's a better offensive coordinator than he is head coach. Still, this roster is loaded with talent, and after last week's embarrassing defeat, San Diego will be highly motivated.


Predictions: Brett Favre throws for 240 yards with two picks and two TDs. Donald Lee and Donald Driver haul in the scores, with Driver adding 100 receiving yards. The ground game continues to struggle, as Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn split carries and only total 60 rushing yards. Philip Rivers counters with 210 passing yards and a TD to Vincent Jackson, while LaDainian Tomlinson gets on track with 120 total yards and two TDs, as San Diego hands Green Bay its first defeat. Chargers 24-20.


San Francisco (+9) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: Both teams are undefeated, but Pittsburgh been the far more impressive team thus far. The 49ers have been resourceful, but there's no doubt luck has played a large part in their 2-0 start. San Francisco's offense ranks dead last in the NFL, and the passing offense has yet to muster a single touchdown. Alex Smith has done a passable job of managing games, but the lack of progress in his third year suggests he may not reach the level the Niners envisioned when they made him the number one overall pick. Getting Vernon Davis more involved would help. After the tight end complained about his role in the offense this week, expect it to happen Sunday. After racking up nearly 2,200 yards from scrimmage last season but with a modest touchdown total, Frank Gore has gotten off to an opposite start this season - scoring three times through two weeks yet with just 136 rushing yards on 3.6 YPC. The yards will eventually come in bunches, but this week's matchup with Pittsburgh will be a challenge. The loss of last year's first round pick Manny Lawson (knee) for the season is devastating to an improving defensive unit…The Steelers' schedule has been relatively easy, but that doesn't make their early-season performance any less impressive. Ben Roethlisberger has just one interception after throwing 23 last year, but expect the team to attack San Francisco primarily on the ground Sunday, as Nate Clements has really improved the Niner secondary. Willie Parker is on pace for 400 carries this season, so Najeh Davenport is going to have to share some of the load at some point. Expect another heavy does of Parker this week, and a big statistical game should follow…San Francisco has won four of its last five meetings with Pittsburgh, but the Steelers have been victorious in 11 of their last 12 games against the NFC.


Predictions: Alex Smith turns the ball over twice, but he does throw his first TD of the year, with Vernon Davis hauling it in. Frank Gore runs for 80 yards and a TD, but he's outshined by Willie Parker, who runs for 130 yards and two TDs. Ben Roethlisberger throws for 230 yards and connects with Santonio Holmes on a deep score, as the home team's record remains unblemished. Steelers 24-14.


St. Louis (+3.5) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.


Comments: After losing consecutive home games to open the year, the Rams' season might be over before it even really started; four of their next five games are on the road, starting this week in a balmy Tampa Bay. St. Louis' defense has its problems, but that's hardly new for this franchise. The offense is also sputtering, something rare since Marc Bulger has been quarterback. With the offensive line in shambles, the run blocking has been poor, and the protection has been nothing short of terrible. Bulger was sacked six times last week and is unlikely to stay healthy if that trend continues. Facing a resurgent Bucs' D, away from the turf that highlights the team's speed, the Rams could be in for another rough game Sunday…It's taken a while, but coach Jon Gruden may have finally found a quarterback that fits his West Coast Offense in Jeff Garcia. He's gotten 10.3 YPA and has a 2:0 TD:INT ratio so far this season. The Rams, however, appear to be more vulnerable to the run than the pass, so Carnell Williams figures to be featured heavily Sunday. He showed some toughness last, week playing through sore ribs and scoring two touchdowns. Another big game could be in store this week.


Predictions:: Marc Bulger gets hurried all game long, resulting in numerous sacks, a couple of turnovers and just one touchdown pass, with Torry Holt the recipient. Steven Jackson totals 100 yards and scores for the first time in 2007, while Jeff Garcia manages 225 passing yards and a long TD to Joey Galloway. Carnell Williams runs for 90 yards and scores another TD, as the Rams stay winless. Buccaneers 20-17.


Cincinnati (+3) at Seattle, Sunday 4:05 p.m.


Comments: The Bengals and Seahawks are fresh off disappointing losses last week. While Cincinnati lost while scoring 45 points and putting up 531 yards of offense, Seattle fell in bizarre fashion,when a fake audible by Matt Hasselbeck confused Shaun Alexander, leading to a botched handoff and fumble. The Seahawks were close to 2-0, but that doesn't mean the team is without problems. The run blocking has been rather poor so far, and the ground game has suffered. Alexander has 20 first half carries this season, resulting in just 49 yards (2.5 YPC). He has gotten better as each game progressed, and his matchup this week against the Bengals is a favorable one. Hasselbeck hasn't been picked off in 108 passes - the second longest streak in the league. After being held without a catch Week 1, Deion Branch had a much better effort last week, as he was targeted 13 times. Facing a secondary that ceded five touchdown passes to the (not so) vaunted Cleveland passing attack, expect Seattle to have success through the air Sunday…The Bengals are 1-1, and would be undefeated if their defense was even mediocre. Carson Palmer tossed six TD passes in a losing effort last week. T.J. Houshmandzadeh leads all wide receivers with 27 targets so far this season, while Chad Johnson paces the NFL in receiving yards with 304. The team is going to have outscore their opponents, and pitted against a Seahawks squad with a better offense than defense, expect another track meet Sunday.


Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 280 yards and two TDs, with Deion Branch and Bobby Engram the recipients. Shaun Alexander adds 90 rushing yards and a score, while Rudi Johnson answers with nearly identical numbers. Carson Palmer passes for 300 yards and finds both Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone, as Cincy comes out on top in a shootout. Bengals 27-24.


Cleveland (+3) at Oakland, Sunday 4:05 p.m.


Comments: Maybe the Brady Quinn era will have to wait, after all. New QB Derek Anderson surprised last week, throwing for 328 yards and five touchdowns. As good as the numbers look, he actually left yardage on the field with a few errant throws. Life gets tougher this week against Oakland. The Browns haven't won back-to-back games since 2003 and typically struggle while on the road. Jamal Lewis erupted for 216 rushing yards last week, but the performance looks more like an aberration than a harbinger of things to come. Before the effort, Lewis hadn't rushed for more than 115 yards in a game since 2004…The Raiders lost a heartbreaker Week 2, when Sebastian Janikowski had to retry a made field goal after Mike Shanahan called a last second timeout. He missed, and Oakland's losing streak reached 11 games. Thus far, the defense hasn't been nearly as good as it was last year, but coach Lane Kiffin has improved the offense dramatically, led by LaMont Jordan -- the No. 1 rated fantasy back in most PPR leagues through the first two weeks. However, he missed practice this week while dealing with a back injury and looks like a game time decision Sunday. Josh McCown remains the starter, but he figures to be on an extremely short leash moving forward. Daunte Culpepper is getting a better grasp of the offense and should get his chance before long, maybe even this week.


Predictions: Derek Anderson comes crashing back down to earth, committing a couple of turnovers while also throwing two TDs, one to Braylon Edwards and another to Kellen Winslow. Jamal Lewis returns to reality, gaining just 60 total yards without scoring. Josh McCown gets pulled at halftime, and Daunte Culpepper takes over, throwing for 120 yards and a TD to Ronald Curry. LaMont Jordan suits up and totals 120 yards and scores, as Oakland tastes victory for the first time since Week 8 of last season. Raiders 20-17.


Jacksonville (+3) at Denver, Sunday 4:05 p.m.


Comments: If the Jaguars don't get their ground game going soon, it's going to be a long year in Jacksonville. Facing a Denver team that has allowed 156 rushing yards per game, including 5.1 YPC, this week looks like a good time to start pounding the rock. The Broncos have allowed a miniscule 62.5 passing yards per game this season, and David Garrard has been sacked seven times so far, the most in the AFC. Fred Taylor is the starter, but Maurice Jones-Drew is the team's best offensive player and needs to get more touches …Denver barely won both its games so far this year, despite having the most prolific offense (455.5 YPG) and second best defense (218.5 YPG) in the league. The Broncos have accumulated an NFL-high 911 total yards yet have only scored three touchdowns through two games. The Jaguars defense hasn't been as strong as in years past, especially the interior. Mike Shanahan has finally found a running back he can trust, evidenced by Travis Henry's 54 touches -- most in the league -- as is his 319 yards of offense (267 rushing, 52 receiving). Teammate Javon Walker leads the NFL with 28 targets, so Denver is rife with fantasy options. Jason Elam already has more missed field goals (three) and game-winning kicks (two) than he did in all of the 2006 season.


Predictions: David Garrard throws for only 140 yards and no TDs, while Fred Taylor runs for 70 yards and a score. Maurice Jones-Drew adds 80 total yards and scores, but Jay Cutler responds with 225 yards and two TDs, which go to Javon Walker and Brandon Marshall. Travis Henry gets 115 yards combined and finds paydirt, as Denver wins another close one. Broncos 21-17.


Carolina (-4) at Atlanta, Sunday 4:15 p.m.


Comments: With the signing of Byron Leftwich, this could very well be Joey Harrington's last chance to save his job. It doesn't look good for Harrington, who has been sacked 13 times this season -- six more than any other QB. He'll be facing a defensive line that has registered just one sack on the year - none by a starter. With Harrington looking over his shoulder after each errant throw, he'll need better support from the running game…Jake Delhomme has put up some impressive numbers so far, tallying 7.6 YPA with a 6:1 TD:INT ratio. He'll need to continue doing so as long as the run blocking struggles, as Carolina's ground game never got going last week. Steve Smith is the best receiver in the NFL, period. He's bound to make a big play Sunday; Atlanta as no answer for him.


Predictions: Joey Harrington throws for 180 yards and tosses his first TD of the year, which lands in the hands of Alge Crumpler. Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood combine for 90 rushing yards, but neither finds the end zone. Jake Delhomme counters with 225 yards and two TDs, one to Steve Smith and the other to Jeff King. DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams total 100 yards rushing, as Atlanta loses its home opener. Panthers 17-16.


New York Giants (+3.5) at Washington, Sunday 4:15 p.m.


Comments: The Giants have opened the season in an ugly fashion, losing both games and allowing a whopping 80 points. The secondary is the main culprit, as New York has allowed seven passing touchdowns and an embarrassing 10.2 YPA. The pass rush has disappointed as well, but they will get to face a Washington offensive line missing both Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas. Eli Manning looks like he'll be able to play through his shoulder injury, but he'll need a healthy Plaxico Burress (ankle) in order to succeed. Derrick Ward has been impressive while subbing for Brandon Jacobs (knee), averaging 6.4 YPC and totaling 241 yards through two weeks. The Giants have dominated the Redskins on the ground in recent years, so expect another fine performance from Ward Sunday…Jason Campbell's 1:3 TD:INT ratio isn't pretty, but he has gotten 8.6 YPA so far this season, so there's definitely some potential here. That number could be much bigger if he didn't miss a wide open Santana Moss deep down the field last week, but the two should make up for it by abusing the Giants' secondary this week. Clinton Portis has put any injury worries to bed, at least for now, by getting 4.9 YPC and two TD runs to begin the year. The Giants need this game more than their division rivals, but the deficiencies in their secondary might be too much to overcome.


Predictions: Eli Manning passes for 230 yards and a TD to Plaxico Burress. Jeremy Shockey adds 80 receiving yards, while Derrick Ward totals 110 yards. Jason Campbell gets 250 yards passing, with TDs to Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. Clinton Portis again gets the majority of carries in Washington's backfield, leading to 80 yards and a third straight week in the end zone. The Giants miss a potential game-winning field goal at the buzzer. Redskins 21-20.


Dallas (+3) at Chicago, Sunday 8:15 p.m.


Comments: There isn't a team in the NFC that has looked more impressive than the Cowboys through two weeks, but Dallas faces a big challenge traveling to Soldier Field. The Bears are dominant at home, and have held 12 of their last 15 opponents to 10 points or fewer in Chicago. Tony Romo leads the conference with a 119.3 QB rating, getting 10.0 YPA with a 6:1 TD:INT ratio. Led by Marion Barber, the ground game has been equally impressive, getting 154 rushing yards per game. However, the defense has its holes and will need to improve if Dallas wants to reach the Super Bowl…Defense certainly isn't a problem for Chicago, as the Bears have held LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson to a combined 80 yards on 33 carries over the first two games, good for a 2.4 YPC clip. Rex Grossman's play just keeps getting uglier, but the Cowboys are susceptible to big plays. Look for a long TD from Bernard Berrian Sunday. Cedric Benson is averaging just 3.3 YPC and has yet to reach the end zone so far this season, although he did show improvement last week. In a battle for early NFC supremacy, home field looms large.


Predictions: Tony Romo gets 240 passing yards with TDs to Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, while Marion Barber and Julius Jones are held to just 70 rushing yards combined. Rex Grossman mixes head-scratching throws with a long score to Bernard Berrian, while Cedric Benson runs for 75 yards and a score. Devin Hester does it again, returning a kick to the house, as Dallas falls. Bears 21-17.


Tennessee (+4) at New Orleans, Monday 8:30 p.m.


Comments: It's difficult to call any game in Week 3 a must-win, but the Saints sure do need this one. There's a college theme here, with Reggie Bush battling Rose Bowl rival Vince Young and former USC teammate LenDale White. The Titans enter with the league's best rushing attack, running for 211.5 yards per game. Except for Vince Young, no one Titan really jumps out at you, yet the team is nearly undefeateed and stays competitive in almost all circumstances. The offensive line is an underrated unit, and Young could put up a big rushing performance on a fast track…After finishing 2006 with the NFL's best offense, New Orleans didn't score a touchdown this season until the second half of Week 2. Still, this team will be hungry and playing with a sense of urgency. Getting Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister more involved would take some pressure off Drew Brees, who has really struggled so far this season after turning in an MVP-caliber campaign in 2006. He's gone from 8.0 YPA last year to just 5.3 this season and hasn't been able to go downfield like before. Returning back home to New Orleans for the first time this year will be a boost, so expect this offense to get back on track Monday night.



Predictions: Vince Young has a big game, throwing for 235 yards and a TD to Brandon Jones. He also adds 50 rushing yards and a score on the ground, while LenDale White gets 60 yards rushing and a TD. Drew Brees responds with 280 passing yards and touchdown tosses to Marques Colston and Reggie Bush. Deuce McAllister runs for 70 yards and a score, as New Orleans finally gets into the win column. Saints 24-21.


Article first appeared 9/21/07