The Jets are the class of the AFC East; stick a fork in the Titans

Remember when the Titans started last season 10-0 and amassed the league’s best record? Well that’s nothing but a distant memory because the 2009 version of the Titans is done.

That statement might be overblown given that it’s only Week 3 of the season, but after their 24-17 loss to the Jets on Sunday, it’s clear that this isn’t the same Tennessee team that was among the NFL’s best last season.

Look, I realize that the Titans started 0-6 in 2006 and still made the playoffs. And I also realize that had rookie corner Ryan Mouton not fumbled twice on kick returns today (both resulting in scores by the Jets), Tennessee might be 1-2 and fighting its way back into contention.

But there’s just something missing on this Titans team and it’s not only Albert Haynesworth. Kerry Collins has lost a lot of that veteran magic that he had last year, the secondary is an absolute mess and while Chris Johnson is a superb player, this team is still lacking offensive playmakers in the passing game.

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NFL Week 3 Snapshot Previews

Here are quick-hit previews for all the Week 3 games in the NFL.

Redskins (1-1) at Lions (0-2), 1:00PM ET
Don’t be shocked if the Lions end their massive losing streak today at home against a very average Redskins team. Thanks to Jim Zorn’s conservative play calling, Washington’s offense has become unimaginable and bland. If Matthew Stafford limits the turnovers, the Lions have a shot.

Packers (1-1) at Rams (0-2), 1:00PM ET
St. Louis played well defensively last week and Green Bay has major issues along its offensive line – could this be an upset in the making? Probably not. The Rams’ offense has looked atrocious in the first two weeks of the season and although Dom Capers’ defense looked horrendous last week, the Packers should manage to beat a bad St. Louis team. (Although this game might be tighter than most expect.)

49ers (2-0) at Vikings (2-0), 1:00PM ET
This is the only matchup in Week 3 that features two 2-0 teams. This game will be the Vikings’ first real challenge after earning victories against the lowly Browns and Lions in the first two weeks. The key for the 49ers will be stopping Adrian Peterson, because Brett Favre won’t find much success through the air against San Fran’s solid secondary. Can Shaun Hill make enough plays in the passing game to lead his team to victory once the Williams Wall takes away Frank Gore?

Falcons (2-0) at Patriots (1-1), 1:00PM ET
This game will be a great test for both teams to see where they are at this point in the season. A win for the Falcons and they’ll be viewed as one of the elite teams in the NFC, while a loss for the Patriots means that it could be panic time for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Conversely, if Atlanta loses then everyone will question whether or not the Falcons can beat the top teams in the league, while a win for New England will quiet some of the concerns surrounding the Pats.

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2009 NFL Picks & Predictions: Week 3

Here are my four predictions for Week 3 in the NFL. Last week I went 3-1 straight up (friggin’ Titans) and 1-3 against the spread so as usual, gamblers should have no qualms about fading. (These are also my season totals since I didn’t make any predictions for Week 1.)

Titans (0-2) at Jets (2-0), Sunday, 1:00PM ET
It would be foolish to pick against a hot team with everything working in their favor right now…right? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. Jeff Fisher’s team is too good to be 0-2 and while I love what Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez have brought to the Jets, the law of averages suggest that a rookie quarterback is going to struggle at some point. Tennessee’s defense has a way of making opposing quarterbacks look bad (save of their performance last week against Matt Schaub, who threw four touchdown passes) and I’m willing to bet Sanchez suffers some growing pains this week. The key for the Titans is whether or not Kerry Collins can avoid turnovers while facing a New York defense that will use multiple fronts and attack him from all angles. Getting Chris Johnson involved in screen and draw plays would be beneficial for Tennessee, especially if the Jets’ defense continues to be aggressive under Ryan. I don’t see the Titans falling to 0-3 and I think Ryan and Sanchez’s come down to earth a bit this week.
Odds: Jets –3.
Prediction: Titans 16, Jets 13.

Falcons (2-0) at Patriots (1-1), 1:00PM ET
This is the most intriguing game on the Week 3 schedule because it will serve as a great indication of where both of these teams are right now. The Falcons are 2-0 after beating two playoff teams from a year ago (the Dolphins and Panthers, respectively) and Matt Ryan is off to a tremendous start (108.5 QB rating). But Atlanta’s defense will be tested this weekend against a New England offense that was held to only nine points a week ago and will no doubt be focused on rebounding. Tom Brady hasn’t looked comfortable on his surgically repaired knee and seemed confused by the amount of looks that the Jets’ defense gave him last week. If the Falcons can get creative with their front seven, they might be able to generate pressure on Brady and come up with a couple of turnovers. If that happens, Ryan has more than enough weapons (Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, etc.) in the passing game to pick apart a Patriots’ defense that is riddled with holes right now. It’s usually unwise to go against Bill Belichick and the Patriots when they’re pissed off and needing a win, but this isn’t the same New England defense that we’ve seen throughout the years and I think Ryan will lead Atlanta to a huge victory at Foxboro.
Odds: Patriots –4.
Prediction: Falcons 30, Patriots 27.

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NFL Week 3 Odds & Point Spreads

Along with the odds and over/under totals, here’s a look at some of the marquee matchups for Week 3 in the NFL.

Falcons (2-0) at Patriots (1-1), Sunday, 1:00PM ET
This will be a great test to see where both of these teams currently lie. The Falcons are 2-0 with wins over two struggling 2008 playoff teams, while the Patriots could very easily be 0-2 right now. Behind quarterback Matt Ryan’s (108.5 QB Rating) great start, Atlanta’s offense is gearing up for big things this season, but the defense is giving up 5.1 YPC and just lost starting DT Peria Jerry for the year. New England has its own defensive problems without middle linebacker Jerod Mayo and Tom Brady still hasn’t looked comfortable on his surgically repaired knee. It would be unwise to doubt Bill Belichick and the Patriots, but the Falcons would go a long way in proving that they’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender with a win at Foxboro.
Odds: Patriots –4.

49ers (2-0) at Vikings (2-0), Sunday, 1:00PMET
Who would have thought that the only matchup this week featuring two 2-0 teams would be the 49ers at Vikings? San Francisco’s defense has been solid in the first two games, yielding less than 300 total yards per game and limiting opponents to only 13 PPG. But neither Arizona nor Seattle posed the rushing threat that Adrian Peterson and Minnesota will provide this Sunday. This will be a great test to see where Mike Singletary’s team is and whether or not the Niners are legitimate playoff contenders. Can Shaun Hill beat the Vikings through the air if/when the Williams Wall takes away Frank Gore?
Odds: Vikings –7.

Titans (0-2) at Jets (2-0), Sunday, 1:00PM ET
Panic hasn’t set in yet for Jeff Fisher and the Titans, although a loss this week in East Rutherford would make things unsettling in Tennessee. Jets’ rookie Mark Sanchez has looked more like a five-year pro than a quarterback with only two career starts under his belt, but will this be the week that he finally suffers some growing pains? Tennessee’s defense has a way of making opposing quarterbacks look bad, although that certainly wasn’t the case last week when Houston’s Matt Schaub threw a career high four touchdown passes against the Titans. If Fisher’s squad falls to 0-3, the Titans may never recover. On the flip side, if the Jets start 3-0 they’ll set themselves up for making a run at the AFC East crown.
Odds: Jets –2.5.

(2-0) Colts at Cardinals (1-1), Sunday, 8:20PM ET
If you like watching quick-tempo offenses, then the Sunday night game will be right up your alley. The Colts defeated the Dolphins on Monday might despite only running 35 plays, which means Peyton Manning and the rest of Indy’s offense is already in midseason form. The Cards bounced back from their opening week loss to the 49ers by pounding the Jaguars last Sunday thanks to Kurt Warner’s amazing 24-for-26 passing day. Watching Manning and Warner dissect the opposing defense is going to be one of the more intriguing things to watch in Week 3.
Odds: Cardinals -2.5.

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