It is officially another “Football Friday” at Noontime Sports, which means it is time to dish out our three games to watch on Sunday. Matt Noonan is currently 4-2 with his picks, but let’s see how he fairs this weekend. Enjoy week three of the NFL and root for Noonan and Noontime Sports!
Dallas [0-2] at Houston [2-0] – 1:00pm: They say everything is bigger in the state of Texas, but this game is definitely… BIG! Both teams have come out of the gates in different directions, but in all honestly, who would have imagined the Texans would be in first place entering week three of the 2010 season? Their 2-0 record may not be a fluke, especially since they’ve exhibited the fact that they can rally when trailing an opponent, which was demonstrated in week two against the Washington Redskins.
Quarterback Matt Schaub is the proud owner of a passer rating of 102.6 and has already thrown four touchdowns. His offense ranks first in points (32.0), overall yards (440.5) and rushing (157.5), as well as sixth in passing yards (283.0). Although, the focal point has been running back Arian Foster who has recorded three touchdowns and 300 yards on the ground. Foster will be an important part of the Texans offense, yet the Cowboys rank sixth in the league for their run defense. Also, defensive end Mario Williams could cause nightmares for the Cowboys offensive line because he has already recorded 4 sacks in two games. Look for Williams to cause matchup problems for both the left and right tackles.
The Dallas Cowboys have shown signs of greatness, but the biggest issue that needs to be addressed is their running game. Running backs Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice have under performed in the past two games, combining for 132 yards and no touchdowns. Quarterback Tony Romo was very vocal this past week and demanded that the running attack needed to be more balanced and incorporated more into the various plays that are chosen by offensive coordinator and former Cowboy quarterback, Jason Garrett. The Cowboys running attack was a vital part in ’09, so look for Barber, Jones and Choice to receive more attention on Sunday.
Despite their failures to produce first downs or touchdowns on the ground, wide receiver Miles Austin has recorded 20 catches for 288 yards and one touchdown. Austin currently leads the league in receiving yards. If the offense can put points on the board early and often, it will take the pressure of their struggling defense who has allowed an average of 297 yards per game.
This matchup has all the makings for both teams to air it out constantly, but most importantly, the Cowboys need to shut down Foster, early and often, otherwise, it will be a field day for the second year back. In the end, the Cowboys will earn their first victory of the 2010 season and head into their bye week with a record of 1-2. Prediction: Cowboys 28 – Texans 24
Atlanta [1-1] at New Orleans [2-0] – 1:00pm: The New Orleans Saints escaped a close, but exciting Monday Night affair with the San Francisco 49ers in week two, as kicker Garrett Hartley secured the victory with 2 seconds remaining the fourth quarter. The Saints return to the Super Dome on Sunday to face their NFC South foe, the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons are flying high after their week two wallop against the Arizona Cardinals, this matchup seems pivotal for both squads.
With Reggie Bush sidelined, the Saints will need to rely heavily on Pierre Thomas and fullback Heath Evans to lead their ground attack. The Falcons have not appeared equipped or able to stop the run thus far this season, especially since they have allowed an average of 130.5 yards per game on the ground. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one, they couldn’t stop running back Rashard Mendenhall, who scored the game’s only touchdown.
Quarterback Drew Brees will need to pick his spots perfectly, since the Falcons defense ranks 10th in passing yards allowed. Although, the Saints offense may not appear as they did in ’09, but the defense has clearly been the catalyst in securing two difficult wins this season. Pressuring the running backs and receivers is a must for the Saints defense.
The Falcons looked unstoppable against the Cardinals. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes and running back Jason Snelling scored twice on the ground too. The offense will need all of their players, including running back Michael Turner, receivers Roddy White, Harry Douglas and tight end Tony Gonzalez to play up to their potential if they are to beat the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Saints have won seven of their last eight games against the Falcons. If the Falcons defense can force the Saints to run the ball, it could turn into a victory for the men dressed in red and black. Prediction: Falcons 30 – Saints 26
New York Jets [1-1] at Miami [2-0] – 8:20pm: An early meeting that could decide the faith of the Jets and Dolphins 2010 season. The Dolphins have defeated the Jets in three of their last four meetings, which included a win on Monday Night Football in ’09.
Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Dolphins defense prevented quarterback Brett Favre from having one his magical field days. Favre threw three interceptions and did not toss a single touchdown pass. Running back Adrian Peterson tallied 145 yards of offense on the ground, but scored only once against a Dolphins defense that ranks first in points allowed. The defense has been a major factor, but so has outside linebacker Cameron Wake, who has recorded two sacks, one in each of the past two games.
Both quarterback’s for each team hasn’t been incredibly sensational, but have at least kept their teams in each game. Chad Henne is off to a slow start with only one touchdown toss, while Jets signal caller Mark Sanchez has connected for three touchdown passes. Both Dolphins running backs, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have combined for 237 yards on the ground, but yet to cross the pylon. The Jets defense has held their opponents to an average of 50.5 yards on the ground, which could be an issue. Yet, against the Jets in week five in ’09, Brown ran 21 times for 74 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Overall, if the Jets can ignore the paparazzi and buzz surrounding wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who was arrested this past week for a DWI, as well as allow Sanchez to spread the ball around, then expect a “Gang Green” to earn a victory. Although, sloppy mistakes and errors will allow the Dolphins to escape with a 3-0 record. Miami’s defense will be the biggest factor in this contest, which is why the Dolphins will be victorious and earn their third “w” of the season.
Prediction: Dolphins 24 – Jets 16