The AFC West may be one of the most compelling divions in sports; it certainly is that right now in the NFL, even after two weeks.
… and that, friends, is a sentence I didn’t see myself writing. Welcome to week 3’s Aaron It Out.
That’s right: Kansas City, Denver, and Oakland are all currently undefeated. Denver may have gotten away with one in week one, but they dominated a very good Cowboys team last Sunday with solid performances all around. Kansas City has beaten two well-regarded teams in New England and Philadelphia. Even more impressive is how soundly they have beat them, and Permanent Game Manager/Dump Off Pass Label Carrier Alex Smith is playing some of the best football of his career. And Oakland… ah, yes, Oakland. They may be one of my favorite teams this season. Why?
Hopefully that is evidence enough. Yeah, one of the teams they played was the Jets, but they are looking every bit like a favorite to win the AFC this year.
The cool part about Denver is that their quarterback, a very underrated Trevor Siemian, is making great strides and in a great, QB-friendly system. Nobody thought he would be a true successor to Peyton Manning there but he is doing his thing.
One of the biggest surprises of the last couple of weeks is how bad the Packers look. They are constantly one of the favorites to win the NFC but they haven’t put together more than 23 points in each of their 2 games, and also they got pretty soundly beat by the Falcons. They play the Bengals and Bears in their next two games and have a chance to build their egos back up somewhat, but if they lose to either of those teams, look out – it may be a long winter in Green Bay, especially with the Lions at a rollicking 2-0.
Speaking of the Falcons, they definitely needed a bit of a spark on offense after their morale-draining Super Bowl defeat last season. Take away the “P” and you’ve got just that: Sark. Steve Sarkisian, who has bounced around a couple of places over the last years after a less than stellar exit from USC, appears to have provided Matt Ryan and company the required amount of mojo to get them scoring at least 23 points per game in their first two games. They should be able to continue, but having a risk-taker like Sark will help the Falcons’ chances to make another championship appearance.
In Jacksonville, week one brought elation, optimism, and even downright excitement about the Jaguars, all to see it crashing down completely as the Same Old Jags gave the game away to the extremely disliked
Mayo Warriors Titans last week. Oh, man. The game started out well enough, only for things to go completely off the rails as a turnover happened, Blake Bortles lost his confidence, and all of a sudden the team was asking Blake to make plays with his arm: a thing that he sucks at.
Some optimism is warranted: the defense is legit, and Leonard Fournette, so far, is an absolute beast and completely worth the number four pick. The defense is scary good and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them carry the team through some games… but the Jags’ offense has to do its job, even if it is only called on to run the ball and eat up 6-8 minutes of clock each possession. The offense has to regain its confidence, which will be hard with the loss of Allen Robinson for the year. Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns HAVE to be those trusted weapons for Bortles. And he can’t throw at peoples’ feet. The Ravens aren’t great offensively, but they have a defense that can throw down as well. This week will be a good barometer of whether the Jags can continue their success, or if they’re headed down the road of another long season of disappointment.
AARON’S TOP FIVE
- Broncos/Steelers (tie)
WEEK 3 GAME PICKS
RAMS @ NINERS: God bless the people willingly watching this game. In a world of mediocre matchups, I guess I’ll take the home team – 49ers win.
RAVENS @ JAGUARS: Pip pip, spot of tea, guv’na? I gave some thoughts above but this will likely be a low-scoring affair. London likes soccer, so that’s okay. I don’t think the Jags will do enough to win so I think the Ravens win.
BRONCOS @ BILLS: As long as Denver keeps playing like they have been, there is no way Buffalo has a chance to beat them. Broncos win.
STEELERS @ BEARS: The Bears have more problems than just being quarterbacked by Mike Glennon, but man, that’s a good start. I don’t think Chicago has a chance against Pittsburgh – Steelers win.
SAINTS @ PANTHERS: The Panthers beat the Niners pretty decisively but barely squeaked one past the Bills. The Saints have gotten trounced two weeks in a row. Carolina wins.
BUCS @ VIKINGS: Oh, hey, this is one that is actually tough to pick. If Sam Bradford plays, the Vikings are more likely to win. However, the Bucs came out firing on all cylinders last week and should continue on that trend. I’ll say that the Bucs will win.
BROWNS @ COLTS: Until Andrew Luck returns, once again, the Colts will have trouble even with the Browns. However, Jacoby Brissett looked way more confident than Scott Tolzien even though he hasn’t even been in that offensive system for very long. Colts will grab their first win.
DOLPHINS @ JETS: Jay Cutler looked pretty good, and Jay Ajayi looked really good, against the Chargers last week. The Jets don’t stand a chance – Dolphins win.
TEXANS @ PATRIOTS: For some reason, Houston always gives New England fits. However, this year, the Texans are banged up offensively. I’ll take the Pats to win.
FALCONS @ LIONS: Another compelling matchup here – both of these teams have solid offenses that can be scary to their opposing teams, and both are led by really solid quarterbacks. I like Atlanta a little more here, because of their defense’s ability to be disruptive, but I very well may be wrong. Falcons win.
GIANTS @ EAGLES: It’s an opportunity for Eli Manning and company to right the ship, and against their old foe Philly I think they will. Everything should come together and they’ll grab their first W of the season – Giants win.
SEAHAWKS @ TITANS: I have an uncontrollable dislike of the Titans due to being a Jaguars fan, but they should be favored here, because their defense can bother an offensive line and Seattle’s o-line is in shambles. I’ll say that the Titans win.
CHIEFS @ CHARGERS: A great divisional matchup but Kansas City is absolutely rolling right now, and deservedly so. The Chargers will give them a challenge but I predict a Chiefs win.
BENGALS @ PACKERS: As I said above, the Packers need to win this in order to right their ship, but the Bengals have a similar situation. They are hungry for a win and definitely have the ability to take it, if they have their heads right. That being said, it is still a game at Lambeau, so I will say that the Packers win here.
RAIDERS @ REDSKINS: Both teams look good so far – but it’s only week 3. I think the Raiders have a decisive advantage here, because they have so many weapons on offense that if one isn’t working, they can move to another and not skip a beat. Oakland wins.
COWBOYS @ CARDINALS: The Cowboys just got orange crushed at Denver and the Cardinals barely squeaked out an overtime win against the Colts. Who is more poised to rebound? The Cowboys – they at least have a solid run game, and the Cardinals still have more questions than answers offensively. Cowboys win.
See you next week!