Week 3 NFL Game Previews: Late Game

Updated: Sep 23, 2018



Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) vs. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)


Preview

The game to watch in week 3, as 2018’s battle of Los Angeles is set for Sunday when the Rams host the Chargers. This has the potential to be a high scoring affair, as two dominant offenses clash. Both teams are coming off impressive wins filled with offensive production, but the Rams defense may be the unit to watch when they take on Phillip Rivers and co. Rivers, who is averaging 340 yards, 3 touchdowns and a passer rating of 119.6, will attempt to throw the first touchdown allowed in 2018 against the vaunted LAR secondary. It will certainly make for an exciting thriller at Memorial Bank Field.


Players to watch

Both quarterbacks will be on full display, as the Rams play their first game against real competition. Jared Goff has been solid during the first two weeks of the season and his chemistry between Brandin Cooks could continue to gain traction after a hot start to 2018. The Rams pass rush has been stymied only recording 2 sacks in as many games, but there 31 pressures paint another story. If stopped once again, and Phillip Rivers has all day to throw, it may be a long day for the LAR defense. Aaron Donald will need to increase his production, as he has yet to record his first sack in 2018. The Matchup between Keenan Allen, the leagues premiere route runner, and one of the NFL’s top cover corners in Marcus Peters will be interesting to watch could be the deciding factor on the final outcome.


Keys to the game

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Stop Todd Gurley

  • Pressure Jared Goff

  • Spread the Ball around

Los Angeles Rams

  • Pressure Phillip Rivers

  • Stop the Run

  • Shut down Keenan Allen


Injury list

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Travis Benjamin, WR - Foot (Questionable)

  • Antonio Gates, TE - Illness (Questionable)

  • Derek Watt, FB - Thumb (Questionable)

  • Joey Bosa, DE - Foot (Out)

  • Joe Barksdale, OT - Knee (Out)

Los Angeles Rams

  • Mark Barron, LB - Ankle (Doubtful)

  • Greg Zuerlein, K - Groin (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Todd Gurley, RB (LAR)

  • Melvin Gordon, RB (LAC)

  • Brandin Cooks, WR (LAR)

  • Jared Goff, QB (LAR)

  • Philip Rivers, QB (LAC)


Prediction

This game is likely to turn into a shootout, but it is expected that the Rams come out on top. The Chargers aren't exactly healthy, and the Rams are too dangerous on both sides of the ball. Expect this game to come down to the wire, but for LAR to pull away in the closing minutes. The Chargers defense won’t be able to outlast Gurley and Co. without their best pass rusher, Joey Bosa.


Final Score: Rams, 31, Chargers, 27


Written by: Jason Feiner



Dallas Cowboys (1-1) vs. Seattle Seahawks (0-2)


Preview

Coming off a Monday Night Football loss at Chicago, a game that was even worse than the final score indicated (24-17), the winless Seattle Seahawks will finally get back to CenturyLink field for their home opener against America’s Team. The Cowboys are looking to build momentum after picking up their first win of the season last week against the division rival Giants. Dak Prescott and the rest of the Dallas offense finally showed some signs of life, particularly with Prescott getting more involved in the ground game, and the defense was outstanding and has given up the 3rd fewest points in the league after the first two weeks. Russell Wilson and Co. have a major challenge in front of them after struggling against Khalil Mack and the rest of the Bears, especially with their leading receiver Doug Baldwin unlikely to play.


Players to watch

Seattle will need to find a way to get their most explosive offensive skill player, WR Tyler Lockett, the ball in space without Doug Baldwin in the lineup. In order to do that, Russell Wilson will be up to the usual tall task of extending plays despite his porous offensive line. With that said, look for Demarcus Lawrence to be a force throughout the game. Last week it was Tavon Austin that sparked the Cowboys’ offense, but for them to maintain any consistency on that side of the ball, Dak Prescott needs to stay efficient both throwing the ball and on the ground with read-option runs to create chunk plays and keep the chains moving. The return of Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner will be huge to help counter Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys ground game.


Keys to the game

Dallas Cowboys

  • Generate chunk plays on offense

  • Take advantage of their pass rush vs. Seattle’s porous offensive line

  • Win turnover battle

Seattle Seahawks

  • Make Dallas one-dimensional - stop the run

  • Stay ahead of the chains on offense (limit sacks/penalties)

  • Control field position


Injury list

Dallas Cowboys

  • Cole Beasley, WR - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Xavier Woods, S - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Maliek Collins, DT - Knee (Out)

  • Travis Frederick, C - Illness (Out)

Seattle Seahawks

  • Doug Baldwin, WR - Knee (Out)

  • Justin Britt, C - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Mychal Kendricks, LB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Ethan Pocic, OL - Ankle (Out)

  • K.J. Wright, LB - Knee (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB (DAL)

  • Russell Wilson, QB (SEA)

  • Dallas D/ST

  • Tyler Lockett, WR (SEA)

  • Cole Beasley, WR (DAL)


Prediction

Russell Wilson once again will be asked to carry the Seattle offense due to poor play from the offensive line that has given up the most sacks in the NFL through two weeks (12), and is going against the defense that has the second-most sacks in the league so far (9). Expect the Dallas defense to get another 4-5 sacks this week. However, the Cowboys offense has a lot to prove themselves, and Seattle still has real gamers on each level of their defense (Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner, and Earl Thomas). This is going to be another ugly game where both offenses will likely struggle to find any true rhythm. The difference will likely come down to two things; turnovers and field position. Advantage goes to the Dallas defense and special teams, leaving the Seahawks 0-3 to start the year.


Final Score: Cowboys, 23, Seahawks, 20


Written by: Greg Lehr



Chicago Bears (1-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-2)


Preview

The Cardinals are coming off an abysmal offensive performance that saw their offense cross midfield once, and their luck isn’t going to start turning around in week 3. With Chicago’s high flying defense coming into Arizona, the Cardinals will have their hands full. The Bears currently lead the league with 10 total sacks and currently rank 6th in takeaways with four in the early goings of 2018. If the Cardinals fail to find any traction on offense an 0-3 start to the season could be around the corner.


Players to watch

Sam Bradford has struggled to start the 2018 season, and if he continues to do so, a similar scenario from Thursday Nights game could be in line for this week 3 matchup. Having thrown for 243 yards, 2 interceptions and a 55.6 passer rating, the Josh Rosen era may be closer than some may think. David Johnson has managed to record a lowly 3.9 yards per carry and corral only 6 receptions in two games. With Steve Wilks saying he wants to be more “creative” when using the talented back, DJ will be one to watch this Sunday. Khalil Mack is already showing John Gruden exactly what he is traded, having already accrued 2 sacks, a forced fumble, 1 interception and a defensive touchdown and his production should not come to a halt in week 3. Mitch Trubisky still hasn’t figured everything out, and although he hasn’t been bad, he hasn't been great having posted a passer rating of 80.0. He will need to improve if he wants to bring this Chicago team to the postseason and a weak Arizona team may be the week to begin rolling.

Keys to the game

Chicago Bears

  • Pressure Sam Bradford

  • Stop David Johnson

  • Control the clock

Arizona Cardinals

  • Get David Johnson involved

  • Spread the ball around

  • Stop Jordan Howard


Injury list

Chicago Bears

  • DeAndre Houston-Carson, DB - Forearm (Out)

  • Marcus Cooper Jr., DB - Hamstring (Out)

Arizona Cardinals

  • Jermaine Gresham, TE - Achilles (Questionable)

  • Markus Golden, DE - Knee (Questionable)

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Rudy Ford, S - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Dennis Gardeck, LB - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Andre Smith, OL - Elbow (Out)

  • Olsen Pierre, DT - Toe (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Jordan Howard

  • David Johnson

  • Allen Robinson

  • Larry Fitzgerald

  • Trey Burton


Prediction

This is not a favorable matchup for the Arizona Cardinals who are playing one of the most dominating defenses in the league. If they can get David Johnson involved early the outcome may be different, but they have yet to use their talented running back correctly through the first two games; I don’t expect them to start now. The Bears will take this early and put Arizona in a hole that is almost impossible to claw out of at 0-3.


Final Score: Bears, 27, Cardinals, 16


Written by: Jason Feiner


New England Patriots (1-1) Vs. Detroit Lions (0-2)


Preview

With the New England Patriots losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, the chances of Tom Brady taking back to back L’s are slim to none. When TB12 is under center, the Patriots are 36-6 after coming off of a loss, that’s an incredible .857 win percentage. Now factor in that they are playing the 0-2 Detroit Lions, who happen to have New England’s former defensive coordinator as their head coach, well that makes for a hell of a storyline. It is worth noting that Belichick coaching proteges have a .266 win percentage against the Pats, which happens to be a 6% improvement compared to the rest of NFL head coaches.


Players to watch

Obviously, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks in this match up. Both defenses have been susceptible to the pass, and the Lions run defense is the worst in the league. Meaning, Tom Brady will feed his stable of backs, setting up the play-action, and opening up the passing game even more. If Blake Bortles was able to have his way with the Patriots; expect Matt Stafford and his talented WR core consisting of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay to have success against a banged up New England defense.


Keys to the game

Patriots

  • Limit the Lions passing attack

  • Exploit Detroit's awful run defense

  • Feed Gronk the ball

Lions

  • Run the ball & limit Brady’s time of possession

  • Shadow and/or double team Gronk

  • Limit mistakes & turnovers


Injury list

New England Patriots

  • Jacob Hollister, TE - Chest (Out)

  • Josh Gordon, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Marcus Cannon, OT - Calf (Questionable)

  • Keion Crossen, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

  • Trey Flowers, DE - Concussion (Doubtful)

  • Patrick Chung, S - Concussion (Doubtful)

  • Nate Ebner, S - Undisclosed (Questionable)

  • Eric Rowe, CB - Undisclosed (Questionable)

  • Julian Edelman, WR - Suspended (Out)

Detroit Lions

  • Darius Slay, CB - Concussion (Questionable)

  • Eli Harold, OLB - Hip (Questionable)

  • Ezekiel Ansah, DE - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Andrew Donnal, OT - Knee (Out)

  • T.J. Lang, OG - Back (Questionable)

  • Marvin Jones Jr., WR - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Michael Roberts, TE - Knee (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Tom Brady NE

  • Rob Gronkowski NE

  • Matt Stafford DET

  • Golden Tate DET

  • James White NE


Prediction

The Lions are desperate for a win and Matt Patricia is on the verge of completely losing his locker room after two straight losses. If the Lions have any chance of winning this game it’ll be by playing small ball. They’ll need to get the run game going against the Patriots in order to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. Sadly, this won’t be the case, and New England’s offense is just too much for Detroit to slow down. Both teams are susceptible on defense, amounting to a shootout in which Tom Brady and company will out gun and outscore Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions.


Final Score: Patriots 35, Lions 23


Written by: Jack Bourgeois


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