The Raiders Face a Primetime Test — NFL Week 3 Preview
From bad football in London to Tom Brady vs. J.J. Watt to a Black Hole near Washington, here’s a preview of what to expect in Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season:
Sunday, September 24
Another Terrible NFL Game in London
Baltimore at Jacksonville | Wembley Stadium, London; 9:30 a.m. (ET) on Yahoo
Face it: Consistently terrible NFL games in London are another reason for the world to hate America. If the English soccer teams who play friendlies in the U.S. were the talent equivalent of the Jaguars, the EPL’s ratings might not rival the Cornhole World Championships. Yet, the NFL is once again sending lowly Jacksonville (1–1) to Wembley on Sunday. Ugh.
The Jags will face the Ravens in what should be an ugly, undisciplined grind of a game. Baltimore (2–0) must find a way to stop Jacksonville rookie running back Leonard Fournette from setting the tempo with power runs. Getting a solid performance from quarterback Joe Flacco would help the Ravens force the Jags to keep up. Fans won’t care, but at least they’ll sing and chant.
Tom Brady Takes on the Texans Defense
Houston at New England | Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
So which Tom Brady will we see this week: the one who looked every bit of 40 years old in a first-week loss against Kansas City or the one who seemed 28 in last week’s rout over New Orleans? New England (1–1) better hope the avocado ice cream-eating, 25 glasses of water drinking, 300-yard passing Brady shows up against a Texans defense led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. It would also be nice for the Pats if Gronk’s groin has healed (we’re sure he didn’t make any immature comments about it this week).
Houston (1–1) needs rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to be every bit as dynamic against New England as he was while beating Cincinnati last Thursday. A complementary ground game will help. This should be a war.
The Falcons & Lions Go to the Matt for their Offense
Atlanta at Detroit | Ford Field, Detroit; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Consider Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford ‘bro-totype’ NFL quarterbacks. They extend plays, pass accurately and stretch opposing defenses. They also seem like the type of guys who would do keg stands with fans if given the chance. This Sunday, they’ll be dueling to see which of their teams becomes the early front-runner for the NFC title.
Ryan and Atlanta (2–0) have looked sharp so far, especially in last week’s rout of Green Bay. If the Falcons defense can continue to match the intensity of its offense, they could get a chance at Super Bowl redemption. Detroit (2–0) has beaten up on Cardinals and Giants teams that weren’t very good, but Stafford has been great, tying Denver’s Trevor Siemian for the league lead in touchdown passes with six. He’ll need to be even better to get the win this Sunday.
Can Marcus Mariota Deliver a Win over Seattle?
Seattle at Tennessee | Nissan Stadium, Nashville; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Tennessee (1–1) is developing into an AFC powerhouse, but all the potential in the world won’t get them a playoff spot. The young Titans need wins, especially against a declining Seahawks team that suddenly looks a bit older and slower than expected. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota needs to continue to be as smart with the football as crotchety Seattle head coach Pete Carroll thinks he is for the Titans to win this week.
Just as important: can the Tennessee defense prevent Russell Wilson from keeping the Seahawks (1–1) in the game? Without Wilson, Seattle would be 0–2 and struggling in the very weak NFC West.
The Raiders Return to Prime Time
Oakland at Washington | FedEx Field, Landover, Md.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
no one everyone is watching, Raiders fans: your team is 2–0 for the first time since 2002. And, you’ll get to celebrate in prime time this week. Oakland (2–0) has looked very good in wins over the Titans and Jets, but the Raiders will have to win in the Eastern Time Zone when they face Washington (1–1) this Sunday night. The Redskins defense has been weaker against the pass (26th) than it has versus the run (9th), so Derek Carr and his receivers should be able to move the ball.
Oakland’s defense has to stuff the run and keep Washington’s Kirk Cousins in check. The longer the Raiders defense stays on the field, the greater the chances are of their rediscovered mystique becoming a mirage.
Thursday, September 21
L.A. Rams 41 at San Francisco 39 (final)
Sunday, September 24
Tampa Bay at Minnesota | U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Denver at Buffalo | New Era Field, Buffalo; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
New Orleans at Carolina | Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Pittsburgh at Chicago | Soldier Field, Chicago; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Cleveland at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia | Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Miami at N.Y. Jets | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Cincinnati at Green Bay | Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc.; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Kansas City at L.A. Chargers | StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Monday, September 25
Dallas at Arizona | U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN