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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hoot picks NFL winners

Published: September 22, 2006
Section: Sports

Three weeks into the 2006 season and already some things are clear: Oakland, Houston, and Tennessee are dead in the water, Carolina and Washington have no offense without Steve Smith and Clinton Portis respectively and the Jacksonville Jaguars are for real.

With that, here are predictions for Week 3 of NFL action.

Carolina v. Tampa Bay: Both teams have been struggling horribly, each team having no offense. The fact is that Carolina doesnt have Steve Smith and Tampa Bay doesnt last years version of Chris Simms. Assuming Smith doesnt return, expect the Panthers to prevail in a low scoring game because Simms makes too many mistakes.

Chicago v. Minnesota: In a division match-up, one of them will have their first loss and it is going to be the Vikings. The Bears defense has been superb and the offense, lead by QB Rex Grossman is more than capable of winning the game themselves. As well as the Vikings have played, theyre average at best.

Green Bay v. Detroit: Another division match-up but unlike Minnesota and Chicago, its the battle of the underachievers. Given how Green Bay has blown their first two games at home, I dont expect them to earn their first win in front of a raucus Detroit crowd at Ford Field.
NY Jets v. Buffalo: Buffalo has been the surprise of the league so far, nearly upsetting New England in week 1 and defeating Miami on the road in week 2. Given the strength of the Bills defense and the weakness of the Jets offense, I expect the Bills to prevail but they will need JP Losman and the offense to hold on to the ball.

Tennessee v. Miami: Tennessee has all but waived the white flag on the season, trading QB Billy Volek and giving Vince Young playing time last week. Miami will be hungry for a win and the Titans provide their best chance so far but Daunte Culpepper needs to avoid costly turnovers.

Washington v. Houston: Unfortunately for Houston, Clinton Portis looks like hell be ready to run. Even worse for the Texans, their offensive line is in as bad a shape as ever. If Portis falters however, the game will come down Mark Brunells shaky left arm.
Baltimore v. Cleveland: This one has upset potential given how Cleveland has defeated Baltimore at home before. Frankly I dont see it happening because Baltimores defense is rivaled only by Chicago and Clevelands offense is awful and their o-line is not going to hold up to the blitzes Baltimore will launch.

NY Giants v. Seattle: The Giants are riding the momentum after their dramatic win against Philadelphia and take on Seattle. . Expect a high scoring affair of power house offenses and mediocre defenses. Ultimately, I like the Giants riding their momentum though Matt Hasselbeck could make life miserable for New York.

Atlanta v. New Orleans: Both teams are 2-0. New Orleans however, got both their wins against weak teams (Cleveland, Green Bay) while the Falcons are looking like one the upper echelon teams of the NFC. The Falcons offense of QB Michael Vick and RB Warrick Dunn are more than enough to destroy an awful Saints defense.
Philadelphia v. San Fransisco: San Fransisco has improved thanks to the performances of QB Alex Smith and WR Antonio Bryant but even without Bryant Westbrook in the backfield, Dononvan McNabb is too much for the 49ers to handle.

Louis v. Arizona: St. Louiss offense stinks and Arizonas offensive line is awful. However I like Arizonas offense more than the Rams defense but that can change if Kurt Warner gets rattled. As of now though, I like the Cardinals to pull it out.

Denver v. New England: This is not good for the Broncos: their offense, especially QB Jake Plummer have been awful and theyre on the road against the Patriots. The Broncos couldnt get a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Patriots have a better defense.