The 2018 NFL season rolls into Week 3, featuring a host of keys clashes as teams look to build early-season momentum. Palmerbet Sports Team previews the eight most intriguing clashes this weekend.
History: Played 25: Browns 13 V Jets 12
Last meeting: October 8, 2017: Jets 17 d Browns 14 at FirstEnergy Stadium
Final Thoughts: The New York Jets were unable to back up their stunning 48-17 win at Detroit in Week 1, crashing to a 20-12 defeat at home to the Dolphins last weekend. The Jets trailed 20-0 at halftime before adding some respectability in the last two quarters.
The Cleveland Browns, winless in 2017, have been an early surprise-packet with a 21-21 tie against the Steelers and a narrow 21-18 loss to another heavyweight in the Saints.
The Jets are on a five-match winning streak against the Browns, but their encounters in the past two seasons were decided by three-point margins.
The Browns are warm favourites to chalk up their first win since 2018 but that albatross around the home side’s neck here put the Jets in a pretty handy position as underdogs.
History: Played 98: Falcons 52 V Saints 46
Last meeting: December 24, 2017: Saints 23 d Falcons 13 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Final Thoughts: The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons both face their second big NFC South showdown of the season.
The Falcons bounced back from their season-opening loss to the Eagles with a 31-24 victory over division rivals the Panthers, with QB Matt Ryan completing 23 of 28 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. After a 48-40 loss to surprise division leaders Tampa Bay in Week 1, the Saints rallied from a nine-point deficit at three-quarter time to pip the unfancied Browns 21-18 as Drew Brees conjured two TDs.
The Falcons have won their last two at home against the Saints, who racked up a handy 23-13 win in New Orleans last season. The Saints defence sacked Ryan five times.
The Saints are tempting underdogs, but with Ryan and Brees in good touch and so much offensive firepower on show the overs shapes as a sound play.
History: Played 38: Raiders 20 V Dolphins 17 (1 Tie)
Last meeting: November 5, 2017: Raiders 27 d Dolphins 24 at Hard Rock Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Miami Dolphins have made a promising 2-0 start to the season, accounting for the Titans 27-20 at home and the Jets 20-12 on the road. Ryan Tannehill had a mixed passing day against the Jets but his running game proved invaluable.
Conversely, the Raiders are struggling at 0-2 after a 33-13 home thrashing at the hands of the Rams in Week 1 and a 20-19 loss at Denver in Week 2. They were outscored 23-0 in the second half by the Rams and 10-0 in the second half by the Broncos.
The Raiders have won just three of their last 14 against the Dolphins, but snapped a five-game losing streak in the rivalry with a thrilling 27-24 away win last season.
While Oakland have started well before fading in their two games so far before fading, expect Miami to get on top early and go on with the job.
History: Played 19: Colts 10 V Eagles 9
Last meeting: September 15, 2014: Eagles 30 d Colts 27 at Lucas Oil Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Indianapolis Colts responded to their 34-23 Week 1 loss at home to the Bengals by putting away the Redskins 21-9 last weekend. After missing the entire 2017 season, quarterback Andrew Luck is slowly working his way back to form.
It’s been a mixed start to the Philadelphia Eagles’ title defence, grinding out an 18-12 season-opening win over the Falcons before going down 27-21 to the Buccaneers. But the big news is Carson Wentz has been cleared and is expected to start this week.
The Colts have won four of their last six in Philadelphia, though the teams have not met there since 2010.
Wentz’s return is massive for the Eagles in the long run but the Colts loom as a solid option with the start coming off a good win.
History: Played 36: Packers 20 V Redskins 15 (1 Tie)
Last meeting: November 20, 2016: Redskins 42 d Packers 24 at FedEx Field
Final Thoughts: It’s been a nerve-shredding start to the season for Green Bay Packers fans. First up, they produced a 21-3 final quarter to edge the Bears by a point. Then in Week 2 the Packers were run down by the Vikings after leading by 13 at three-quarter time, the match finishing in a 29-29 tie after a scoreless overtime period.
The Washington Redskins kicked off impressively with a 24-6 defeat of the Cardinals at home but crashed 21-9 to the Colts at home.
The Packers have won six of their last eight against the Redskins, but the Redskins romped to an 18-point win at home two seasons ago. Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins both threw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns that day, and the match-up between Rodgers and the Redskins’ new QB Alex Smith will be an intriguing one.
It’s a huge individual match-up between 2005 draft rivals Alex Smith, who is still finding his way in the Redskins line-up, and Aaron Rodgers, who is battling injury but will play. Even at less than 100 percent, we have to give the edge to Rodgers and the Packers.
History: Played 11: Rams 6 V Chargers 5
Last meeting: November 23, 2014: Chargers 27 d Rams 24 at Qualcomm Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Chargers and Rams have both been relocated to Los Angeles (from San Diego and St Louis respectively) since the franchises last met in 2014.
And the crosstown rivals both bring good momentum into this showdown. The Rams have picked up from where they left off in 2017 by smashing the Raiders (33-13) and Cardinals (34-0) so far, with Jared Goff in superb touch under center and the secondary in ruthless form. The Chargers bounced back from a 38-28 loss to the Chiefs in Week 1 by recording a 31-20 road win over the Bills.
The home side has taken out the last seven encounters between the Rams and the Chargers, but the Rams are just 5-11 at LA Memorial Coliseum since the move.
But the Rams’ performances so far are impossible to ignore and they should take out this derby comfortably.
History: Played 90: Bears 56 V Cardinals 28 (6 Ties)
Last meeting: September 20, 2015: Cardinals 48 d Bears 23 at Soldier Field
Final Thoughts: After winning just five games last season, the Chicago Bears have signalled they are a team to be reckoned with in 2018. The shook off a gut-wrenching fourth-quarter collapse in a 24-23 loss to the Packers in Week 1 by overwhelming the Seahawks 24-17 on Monday Night Football in Week 2.
Meanwhile the Cardinals have been arguably the worst performed team in the NFL over the opening fortnight of the season, thumped 24-6 by the Redskins and 34-0 by the Rams. The Cardinals’ issues go well beyond new QB Sam Bradford’s struggles.
The Bears have won six of their last nine against the Cardinals, including their last two in Arizona, and it’s difficult seeing the hosts bucking that trend this weekend.
History: Played 18: Cowboys 10 V Seahawks 8
Last meeting: December 24, 2017: Seahawks 21 d Cowboys 12 at AT&T Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Dallas Cowboys are 1-1 after bouncing back from their 16-8 loss to the Panthers in Week 1 with a 20-13 win over the Giants last weekend. Their defence has been a feature so far and that should only improve with Randy Gregory and Xavier Woods expected to be available.
The Seattle Seahawks are under early pressure after losing both of their first two games to the Broncos (27-24) and Bears (24-17), with their Russell Wilson-led offensive line out of sorts. They are at home for the first time in 2018, but have lost four of their last five at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks have won three of their last four against the Cowboys, including a 21-12 away victory last season. Despite passing for just 93 yards, Russell Wilson produced two touchdowns on a forgettable day for Dak Prescott.
The value lies with the unders and the Cowboys as slight outsiders in this one.