Panthers vs. Saints
Sunday 24th September, 6pm (UK time)
|Panthers vs. Saints||
The Carolina Panthers are 2-0, but they look like arguably the weakest 2-0 team in the league. Quarterback Cam Newton has struggled, compiling only one touchdown against weak Buffalo and San Francisco defences. Star tight end Greg Olsen left last week’s game with a broken foot, and rookie running back Christian McCaffrey has been lacklustre at best. Carolina dispatched the Bills 9-3 on Sunday, but the win was hardly reassuring. They’ll have to lean on their strong defensive front, led by Thomas Davis and Luke Keuchly, if they want to beat New Orleans on Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints are currently 0-2, but they have to be licking their chops as they stare down their divisional matchup with the Panthers this week. They lost a tough road game to the Vikings in Week 1, and fell to a Super Bowl-bound Patriots team last week. The addition of Adrian Peterson to the backfield hasn’t affected their offence, but it’s potent nonetheless. The combination of Drew Brees and Michael Thomas gives the Saints a chance to find the end zone every time down the field. Also, veteran running back Mark Ingram has provided a nice change of pace on the ground.
Even though the Panthers are favoured by the bookies, the Saints offence should lead them to their first victory of the season. Cam Newton looks nothing like he did two years ago when he led his team to the Super Bowl, and the Panthers can’t seem find a rhythm on offence. Expect Drew Brees to have his best road game of the season in this one.
Packers vs. Bengals
Sunday 24th September, 9:25pm (UK time)
|Packers vs Bengals||
Though the Packers fell in Week 2 to a strong Falcons team in Atlanta, they're still one of the national favourites to win the Super Bowl. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, it’s certainly possible. He became the fastest quarterback to 300 touchdown passes on Sunday in the loss, bringing his team back from a huge deficit to get the game to 11. Jordy Nelson did suffer an injury, but Randall Cobb and DeVante Adams stepped up in a big way. Clay Matthews and the rest of Green Bay’s defence looked strong in their Week 1 win against Seattle, so they should rebound at home in Week 3.
The Bengals can’t seem to get anything right. They were shut out by the Ravens in Week 1, and lost to a weak Texans team at home in Week 2. Worst of all, they have yet to score a touchdown. Andy Dalton has already thrown four interceptions and been sacked eight times, and none of their backs have more than 50 total rushing yards. Their defence has been good enough to keep them in games, but that will be much more difficult at Lambeau Field.
The Packers are looking for vengeance after their first loss of the year, and they'll be happy to take it out on the Bengals. Aaron Rodgers and his receivers should decimate the defence, and Dalton will be hard-pressed to get throws off against a tough Green Bay front. Expect the Packers to run away with this one.