Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

ESNY’s Week 3 preview tells you what to watch for in the NFL this week, predictions for each of the games, and a recap of Week 2.

The NFL is in full swing at this point, as Week 2 is in the books. Thursday Night Football on FOX/NFL Network is back. There have been injuries to numerous quarterbacks. And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s been a benching of one specific quarterback in New York.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in the last seven days around professional football, and we’re here to recap all of it for you. We’ll also be looking towards Week 3, which is packed with great matchups around the league, including one duel of new-age quarterbacks that’s sure to please.

That’s being said, let’s get to it.

Week 2 Final Scores // Prediction Results

Tampa Bay Buccanneers: 20 at Carolina Panthers: 14 // Incorrect
Arizona Cardinals: 17 at Baltimore Ravens: 23 // Correct
San Francisco 49ers: 41 at Cincinnati Bengals: 17 // Incorrect
Los Angeles Chargers: 10 at Detroit Lions: 13 // Incorrect
Minnesota Vikings: 16 at Green Bay Packers: 21 // Correct
Jacksonville Jaguars: 12 at Houston Texans: 13 // Correct
New England Patriots: 43 at Miami Dolphins: 0 // Correct
Buffalo Bills: 28 at New York Giants: 14 // Incorrect
Seattle Seahawks: 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers: 26 // Correct
Indianapolis Colts: 19 at Tennessee Titans: 17 // Correct
Dallas Cowboys: 31 at Washington Redskins: 21 // Correct
Kansas City Chiefs: 28 at Oakland Raiders: 10 // Correct
Chicago Bears: 16 at Denver Broncos: 14 // Correct
New Orleans Saints: 9 at Los Angeles Rams: 27 // Correct
Philadelphia Eagles: 20 at Atlanta Falcons: 24 // Incorrect
Cleveland Browns: 23 at New York Jets: 3 // Incorrect

  • Week 2 results: 10-6
  • Overall 2019 results: 19-13

Recap: What we saw during Week 2

Starting with the Thursday night game, we saw a below-average performance from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. It’s opened up numerous questions about Newton’s injury and how his future in Carolina stands. He was only 25-for-51 through the air in a 20-14 loss to Tampa Bay.

Still making jokes about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo? This past week, we saw the former Tom Brady backup complete 17 of his 25 throws for 297 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in a 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Niners are now 2-0 to start the year with two straight road victories. Is Jimmy G the answer for this team? Seems like he very well could be.

We saw that the $84 million-based jokes are still existent for the Minnesota Vikings and their quarterback, Kirk Cousins. The veteran, who was given an $84 million deal prior to last season, struggled mightily. He completed 14 of his 32 throws for 230 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in a 21-16 loss to Green Bay. For the Packers, new head coach Matt LaFleur is now 2-0. Is the new head coach the final piece to get this team back to the postseason for the first time since the 2016 season?

We saw the Miami Dolphins prove once again they’re winning the sweepstakes for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. We kind of already knew that would be happening anyway.

The New York Giants are 0-2 for the sixth time in the last seven years with a 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Their defense didn’t improve at all from their Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Their offense, on the other hand, should be running through Saquon Barkley, but isn’t. Then again, when you’re down by as many points as they’ve been down by, you can’t run the ball too much. Nonetheless, they have a new quarterback this upcoming week.

It’s officially a crisis in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers are 0-2 to start the year. Not only did we see them fall 28-26 to the Seattle Seahawks, their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went down with a season-ending elbow injury. He’ll require surgery. Just like that, the Steelers’ 2019 season is headed downhill. Mason Rudolph will now start at quarterback for Pittsburgh.

For the late afternoon games (if you’re on the East Coast), we saw New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees also go down with an injury in a loss against the Los Angeles Rams. He tore a ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand, as he’ll be out approximately six weeks. Surgery is required for the injury. We also saw a team (LA) who’s focused on the future play against a team (NO) who’s stuck complaining about a call from a playoff game last year. Guess who won?

And, finally, we saw the quarterback situation get even worse for the New York Jets. After Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis and had to miss Monday night’s game against Cleveland, backup quarterback Trevor Siemian went down with an ankle injury. Luke Falk came in to close out the 23-3 loss to the Browns. With Siemian now out for the season, Falk will have to lead the Jets offense until the eventual return of Darnold.

Preview: What to watch for during Week 3 of the NFL

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET

This is a matchup that the Cincinnati Bengals will have to win in order to show that they’re an organization with any sort of potential. As a team in the same division as Lamar Jackson and the first place-Baltimore Ravens, starting out 0-3 will be tough to come back from. Quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Joe Mixon need to be the rocks of this offense and step up against this 2-0 Buffalo team.

Speaking of Buffalo, are they the real deal in 2019? They already have a pair of wins under their belt, but the competition they’ve gone up against include the New York Giants and New York Jets. Both teams are 0-2 and aren’t exactly looking like contenders this season. Nonetheless, a win on their part would be huge. Starting out 3-0 is a huge step forward from finishing the 2018 season at 6-10. Especially in a division that includes the New England Patriots and eventually a Jets team returning Sam Darnold.

Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET

On Sunday Night Football during Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons finished off a huge win over the Philadelphia Eagles. A 24-20 victory that went down to the wire. Now, can they build off that victory and take down the Indianapolis Colts on the road?

Both teams are 1-1. However, don’t overlook this Colts squad. They lost a one-possession game to the Los Angeles Chargers, a playoff team last year. Not to mention they came away with a big won over the division rival-Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Tennessee defeated the Baker Mayfield-led Cleveland Browns by 30 in Week 1.

Matt Ryan and Jacoby Brissett could be a good quarterback battle in this one, as it’ll be interesting to see if Brissett will be able to come into his own as the Indianapolis starting quarterback. Which team will head into Week 4 with a winning record and which team won’t? We’ll find out this Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET

Will this be an early foreshadowing of an AFC divisional-round matchup? Maybe foreshadowing the AFC Conference Championship?

The Ravens and Chiefs have both emerged as two of the top teams in the AFC thus far in 2019, along with New England. Both are coming into Week 3 with records of 2-0, with great quarterback play from each team’s individual at the helm of their respective offenses.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is leading the NFL in quarterback rating at 145.2 through the first two games. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is leading the league in passing yards with 821. Both quarterbacks are tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with seven.

Needless to say, one of these quarterbacks will need to outplay the other. Whichever one should end up coming away as the one on the winning team. Nonetheless, this is your game of the week in the NFL (in my opinion).

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. ET

Will Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finally step up for this team and lead them to their first victory of the season? That’s if he does indeed play. The veteran is currently dealing with injuries that could keep him out. Carolina is coming off a disappointing Week 2 matchup in which they were defeated by the Jameis Winston-led Buccanneers 20-14.

At the end of the day, a great game is needed from Cam if he does end up playing. As I said earlier, an 0-3 start is very tough to come back from. That’s something Carolina certainly wants to avoid this week.

On the other side of it, it’ll be interesting to see if Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury will be able to get their first victories for the Arizona Cardinals.

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccanneers – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. ET

It’s finally happened for the New York Football Giants. A quarterback switch has finally been made. On Tuesday, Big Blue announced that rookie first-round draft pick Daniel Jones would be starting at quarterback for them in Tampa Bay. He’ll be going up against a Bucs defense that has had 10 days to prepare for this game, being that they haven’t played since last Thursday.

Is this the beginning of a new era? Will the Giants offense be any better with Jones at the helm? Will Giants fans see Eli Manning ever play again? A lot of questions will be answered soon enough, and it starts with the Giants and Bucs this Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. ET

It’s now Mason Rudolph’s time in Pittsburgh. Will that continue into next year? Ben Roethlisberger needs surgery for his season-ending elbow injury, and it’s still unclear if he’ll return in 2020. He wants to, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll happen.

Big Ben is under contract through the 2021 season, so his ability to come back and lead his team in what could be his final two seasons (2020-21) is still a question to be answered.

The 49ers have emerged as one of the top teams in the NFC thus far in 2019. A 3-0 start would be huge for them, especially in a division that includes the Seahawks and the Rams. Both division rivals are 2-0 as well.

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. ET

Teddy Bridgewater officially takes over for Drew Brees in New Orleans, at least for the time being. Brees will be out for approximately six weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb.

Bridgewater has been in a starting role before, as he went to the Pro Bowl in 2015 as the starter for the Minnesota Vikings. Don’t forget, the Vikings were a playoff team that year. Teddy B will need to win some games though, and it starts with their matchup in Seattle this Sunday. If at least a few games aren’t won in this stretch without Brees, the Saints’ playoff chances will become slimmer and slimmer.

Predictions (Winner)

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) – Thursday, Sept. 19, 8:20 p.m. ET
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Denver Broncos (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
New York Jets (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Detroit Lions (1-0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. ET
New York Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay Buccanneers (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:05 p.m. ET
Houston Texans (1-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. ET
New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) – Sunday, Sept. 22, 8:20 p.m. ET
Chicago Bears (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2) – Monday, Sept. 23, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.