September 16, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) passes the ball against the Houston Texans during the first quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Under-The-Radar Games Of Week 3

Sep 16, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) reacts after scoring during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Browns 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

There is never any love for the “little” guys.

Face it, every week the experts constantly debate over that week’s top contests among the favorite teams. They rarely, if ever, give more than 30 seconds to a minute of time to the smaller matchups of the weekend because one or both of the teams involved are the “lovelies” of the NFL.  This week, that changes.

I’m going to be the guy that gives love to the games that most won’t watch, nor talk about because, quite frankly, they often prove to be the most exciting games each week.


Buffalo at Cleveland

Why watch: The number one reason to watch this game is for the high-stock running backs from both teams. On the Browns side there is 2012 third overall pick Trent Richardson.

After a sub-par performance in week one, Richardson showed just how dominant he can be in the NFL. Against a defense that was ranked No. 7 in 2011, Richardson put up 109 yards rushing and a touchdown in his team’s week two loss against Cincinnati. He caught four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown as well. Now that he is starting to get his feet under him, Richardson should continue to be a spark for a Browns offense that needs all the help they could get.

For the Bills, it’s C.J. Spiller, the ninth overall pick in 2010. Spiller has been the darling back of the NFL through two weeks after record-setting performances against the Jets and Chiefs that has him averaging 10.1 yards per carry through two games. A feat that no one has accomplished since Hall of Famer Jim Brown did for Cleveland in 1963.


Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Why watch: Sure, Andrew luck is involved in this game, and the media loves talking up Luck, but I’m more focused on watching the Jaguars in this one. Jacksonville was involved in one of the most exciting week one games when they lost to overtime against Minnesota, and last week they were blown out by arguably the best team in the AFC, Houston.

The Jacksonville offense looked impressive during the preseason with Blaine Gabbert running the offense. Seventh overall pick Justin Blackmon looked as good as expected during the preseason, but has yet to make an impact through two weeks. I’m expecting Blackmon to show up in a big way on Sunday against a still suspect Colts defense. After holding all Summer, Maurice Jones-Drew has started to get back into the swing of things, and has, at times, shown flashes of his former self. The Jaguars will need him to be his former self if they want to get their first win of the season which I predict will happen.


St. Louis at Chicago

Why watch: Everyone is talking about Chicago and the Jay Cutler/Offensive line issues. However, what they really should be talking about is how well Sam Bradford has been playing for the Rams so far this season.

Bradford has completed nearly 72% of his passes this year, and is on pace for over 4000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns.  He has much better weapons around him, and has the raw ability to take over a game with his arm. Sunday’s game has the makings of a straight up shootout, and should be a very fun contest to watch between two very good quarterbacks.




Tags: AFC Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears Cleveland Browns Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars NFC St. Louis Rams

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