It's now or never for the Carolina Panthers. At 1-2 they can not afford another divisional loss, especially to the first place Falcons (2-1). Who knew we would be here with the Panthers, but the Super Bowl hangover is real. The Panthers got punched in the mouth last week at home against Minnesota, ending a 14-game home winning streak. Atlanta, meanwhile outlasted New Orleans in a track meet 45-32. I don't buy the Falcons, and neither should you. Prediction: Panthers 31, Falcons 20.
Something about fall, October and Raiders that just sounds about right. Yes, the Raiders are turning their fortunes around. They are 2-1, have a nice complement of talent young players, and they will head to Baltimore for an early 1:00 kickoff. Normally this is not an easy trip for the Raiders, and the Ravens (3-0) are a formidable team. Yet, a lot of people point to the fact that not only did the Ravens beat three bad teams (Buffalo, Cleveland and Jacksonville), they barely beat those teams. Last week they had to comeback to top the Jaguars 19-17. I got a feeling a mini upset is in the making. Prediction: Raiders 21, Ravens 17.
It's Brees Bowl III and it will be live from San Diego for the first time. It is hard to believe that in the 10 years since Drew Brees left the Chargers that the Saints have yet to make an appearance in San Diego. That is the case. The previous two outings were in London and New Orleans, respectively. In both games, both Brees and San Diego quarterback, Philip Rivers put on a clinic. In 2008 the two QBs combined for 680 yards and six touchdowns. In 2012 they combined for 724 yards and six touchdowns. Expect a lot of milage in this one too, as neither defense is any good. Both of these teams are desperate, New Orleans at 0-3 and San Diego at 1-2, so this is going to be an all out slugfest. Both of these teams also have head coaches on the hot seat. I just got a gut feeling Brees has something to prove in this one. Prediction: Saints 41, Chargers 38.
I can't believe I am taking all these road teams so far; that ends here. The Steelers (2-1) got smashed last week by the Eagles 34-3 in one of the most lopsided losses in franchise history. The Steelers are due for a rebound performance against a good and pesky Chiefs team. This will be close early, but I expect Pittsburgh's D will be too much for Alex Smith and company. The Chiefs still have questions about Jamaal Charles availability, and both starting corners, Marcus Peters and Phillip Gains, are dealing with the flu. Prediction: Steelers 28, Chiefs 10.
And last, but certainly not least we got the Vikings and Giants. The Vikings are off to a somewhat surprising 3-0 start, especially considering they are 3-0 without their starting quarterback and all pro running back in the lineup. Let's be honest when Teddy Bridgewater and AP went down, nobody though the Vikings would beat the Packers and Panthers in consecutive weeks. They did. Now they get the potentially lethal/potentially self-distructing Giants into town. The Giants blew a 14-3 lead last week in a 29-27 meltdown against the Skins. Eli Manning never plays well against Minnesota, and Odell Beckham Jr. is becoming a headache for new coach Ben McAdoo. This is not the team, nor the defense the Giants need to face right now. Prediction: Vikings 27, Giants 17.