By Doug Halberstadt
I’m not sure any football fan would have thought going into week No. 3 of the NFL season the NFC North division would have the Bears and the Packers at 2-0 and the Vikings and the Lions would both be 0-2.
As scheduling would have it, week No. 3 has the Packers visiting Chicago on Monday night in the battle of the unbeaten, and on Sunday, the Lions are in Minnesota to square off against the Vikings. That assures that either the Bears or the Packers will end up with their first loss and that the Vikings or the Lions will end up with their first win.
I like Jay Cutler and the Bears to stay on a roll and win at home and take sole possession of first place in the division. The Lions are 1-15 in their last 16 trips to Minnesota. The Lions will drop to 0-3 and the Vikings will get their first win of the 2010 season.
The Tennessee Titans travel to the Big Apple to face the Giants. The Titans have won four in a row versus the Giants. I look for them to make it five in a row. The Buffalo Bills are 1-18 in their last 19 games against the New England Patriots. The Patriots will drop them to 1-19 following Sunday’s game.
The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland is 0-4 in their past four games against the black birds. I like Baltimore to win at home and make it five in a row. The Steelers are on the road to meet the surprising 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers are 6-1 in the last seven versus the Bucs since 1980. I’m looking for Pittsburgh to hand Tampa their first loss this year.
The Panthers are at home against the Bengals. I’m going with the home team in this game. The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints host the dirty birds from Atlanta. The Saints are 7-1 in the past eight against the Falcons. I’m taking New Orleans. The San Francisco 49ers are in Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The home team has won the last seven straight meetings in this match-up. Why go against the trend? I’ll take K.C.
In the Lone Star State battle, it’s the Cowboys facing the Texans in Houston. I have a good friend who lives near Dallas and she assures me the Cowboys will drop to 0-3. Last week, she told me the Cowboys would lose at home against the Bears. I didn’t listen to her, and it cost me a win. This week, I’m taking her advice and taking the Texans.
Since 1980, the Redskins are 12-5 against the St. Louis Rams. Look for Donovan McNabb to lead his team to another victory. The Jacksonville Jaguars have faced the Philadelphia Eagles three previous times since joining the NFL. They have never lost to the Eagles. This game is in Jacksonville. I look for them to stay undefeated against Philly.
I usually like Denver in their home games. This week, they host Peyton Manning and the Colts at Mile High Stadium. The Broncos are 1-5 in the past six versus Indy. The Colts looked very good last week, and I think they’ll remain hot and win on the road in week three.
Seattle is at home against San Diego. The Chargers have lost five out of the last six in Seattle. I like the Seahawks at home in this one. The Oakland Raiders visit Arizona. The Cardinals have lost four of the past five against Oakland. I look for the Raiders to prevail.
The New York Jets head to south Florida to take on the Dolphins. Both teams are coming off wins in week two. I’ll take the visitors.
I’m embarrassed to admit that last week I had seven losses heading into the Monday night game. I sure hope week three goes better for me.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue