Five Players to Watch in Week Three of the NFL

Posted: September 26, 2010 in NFL
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The NFL season is kicking into gear, already in week three.  The landscape of the league is starting to appear, with the pretenders being exposed and the contenders getting their legs under them.  Here are five players I’ll be watching this weekend.

5.  Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

All the talk in Baltimore is about Joe Flacco and the disappointing passing game.  But the Ravens, at heart, are a pound the ball running team.  If their offense is truly going to get back on track, Rice has to be the guy to get going.  He had a solid game on the ground in the loss to Cincinnati last week, but has been no factor as a receiver, and has yet to reach the end zone this season.  Baltimore hosts Cleveland in week three, and look for Rice to hit paydirt at least twice.  The Browns are giving up almost 130 yards rushing per game, and send an anemic offense out against a typically strong Baltimore defense.  Rice should get plenty of opportunities and could crack the century mark for the first time in 2010.

4.  Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman has been very good for the Bucs so far, leading them to two wins, completing 56% of his passes and four touchdowns against only one interception.  However, things are about to get a whole lot tougher for the young QB as the vaunted Steeper defense comes to town in week three.  Pittsburgh has harassed and embarassed both Matt Ryan and Vince Young this year, even leading to Young’s benching.  They’ve only allowed one touchdown pass, and that was to Kerry Collins in relief of Young, and have four interceptions.  Look for a long day for Freeman, and the Steelers to add another quarterback’s head on their mantle.

3.  Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ season is in serious trouble.  Two bad, mistake filled losses and a huge game in Houston against the Texans.  Romo hasn’t been horrible, although he did throw two picks against the Bears last week.  The real problem is protection as the o-line has been a sieve.  If Romo is to have a big game, Houston is the team to do it against.  The Texans are giving up an average of 411 passing yards per game right now.  Let that sink in for a second.  Peyton Manning threw for 433 yards in week one and Donovan McNabb tossed for 426 last week.  They also have yet to get an interception.  Somehow, they managed to win both games, but defense that bad will catch up with them eventually.  Look for Romo to put up big yards but turn the ball over as Dallas falls to 0-3.

2.  Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

The early rookie of the year favorite, Best had a breakout game last week against the Eagles.  In two games, he has almost 270 total yards and five touchdowns.  Five!  This week, however, the Lions visit an extremely desparate Minnesota team.  The Vikings held the Saints running game largely in check in week one, but Miami had some success on the ground last week.  Best’s big game last week might have been his coming out party, but Minnesota is not the Eagles.  I look for Best to struggle to find space, the Vikings to jump out to a lead, and a game more like week one against the Bears where he had about 40 total yards.

1.  Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are a slightly surprising 2-0 this season, even more so because key off season acquisition Marshall hasn’t yet erupted.  He has only 124 yards and no touchdowns in the first two games.  If it wasn’t for the one long catch early in the Viking game, those numbers would be even worse.  The Jets, who the Fins are playing this weekend, have issues of their own.  Darrelle Revis is out, and their pass defense wasn’t exactly clicking anyway.  They’ve given up two hundred yard receiving games to Anquan Boldin and Aaron Hernandez.  Antonio Cromartie will have to keep Marshall in check, which he can do, but it will be tough.  I look for a breakout game for Marshall as Miami takes control of the AFC East.

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