Jack Dempsey/AP/Press Association Images Peyton Manning has thrown 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in three games.
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Philadelphia Eagles @ Denver Broncos (-10.5)

IT’S HARD TO know if it was a sign of brilliance from the Broncos or incompetence from the Raiders on Monday night but, when you start an NFL game by being able to pick out five different receivers on the opening drive and finish it with your running backs playing rock, paper, scissors to decide who gets to score the final touchdown, you know you’re doing something right.

Peyton Manning and company have started the 2013 NFL season on fire. The Hall of Fame bound quarterback has thrown for 1,143 yards in just three games, completing 73% of his passes for 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. Even better, he faces an Eagles team this week who are giving up an average of 323 yards per game through the air.

This is a game the Broncos are undoubtedly going to win but the most fascinating aspect of the match-up is how Chip Kelly’s lightning fast offence copes with the thin air of Mile High. A lot was made of the Eagles running 77 plays in their first game under Kelly (the NFL average is around 65) but they only ran 58 and 63 in weeks two and three respectively so maybe Michael Vick is struggling with parts of the playbook?

Verdict: The Eagles’ number one rushing offence may hit a brick wall against Denver’s top ranked rush defence but, even if it doesn’t, Manning’s form is just too good. Broncos by 12.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) @ Minnesota Vikings

There are better games taking place this weekend, 12 or 13 of them in fact, but there won’t be any closer than Wembley Stadium where the 0-3 Vikings will host the 0-3 Steelers in what must be the most underwhelming International Series encounter to date. Of course, when the game was announced, it was a huge deal. The Steelers are the most successful team in the NFL – in terms of Super Bowls – and the Vikings have Adrian Peterson so, on paper, it looked an attractive match-up.

However, while many would have suspected these two could have come into the game with a losing record, few would have predicted Wembley would play host to two winless teams. For the Vikings, as good as Peterson is, his talents are offset by Christian Ponder, a player so out of depth in the NFL he should be wearing armbands. The quarterback has five interceptions to just two touchdowns so far this year and Vikings fans must already be looking towards the 2014 draft for a replacement QB.

As for the Steelers, where to start? They’ve looked terrible on offence both on the ground and through the air and while their much-lauded defence has been one of the shining lights of the NFL, it’s now coming very close to collapsing in on itself and forming a black hole from which Troy Polamalu and company may never escape. Shockingly, while the Steelers have turned the ball over nine times this year (one less than the Vikings), they are the only team in the NFL yet to force a single fumble or interception.

Verdict: Their ineptitude is making it virtually impossible to separate these two so I’m going to do something I’ve never done in The Redzone before and predict for a tie.

Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints (-6.5)

From two of the worst teams in the NFL to two of the best as the Dolphins and Saints battle it out to go 4-0 in the Super Dome on Monday night it what will be Miami’s third game against probable playoff teams in as many weeks.

The ‘Fins are 3-0 for the first time in 11 years and look a completely different franchise to the one that’s posted a losing record for four straight seasons. Just how they’ve got here is something of a mystery. They’ve no run game to speak of — their 3.2 yards per carry ranks just 26th — and their offensive line has allowed Ryan Tannehill eat dirt (14 sacks) more than any other quarterback in the NFL this year. That their defence ranks just 22nd in the league too shows that, when it boils down to it, the only statistic that really matters is the win column.

That’s not something you’d probably say to Sean Peyton’s face. The Saints head coach must take immense pride from the fact his team have improved from the worst in the NFL — giving up 440 yards and 28 points per game — during his season long suspension in 2012 to a top five (296 yards, 13 ppg) one this year. The addition of Rob Ryan and a new defensive scheme has been key to New Orleans reaching 3-0 but, facing the unbeaten Dolphins, Bears and Patriots in the next three weeks will be a real test of their playoff hopes.

Verdict: This one could be well worth staying up for. New Orleans by 6.

The rest*

San Francisco 49ers (-3) @ St Louis Rams
Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals (-4) @ Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (-3)
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts (-8.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)
Arizona Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
Washington (-3) @ Oakland Raiders
Dallas Cowboys (-2) @ San Diego Chargers
New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcons (-2)

*Note the team in bold has been picked to beat the spread, not necessarily win the game.

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