Every year, as an NFL insider and analyst, I breakdown the NFL’s 16 game schedule into four quarters, with four games in each quarter. The goal is to win all 16, while that is not reality in today’s NFL, winning 2-3 games within each quarter makes your chances of becoming a divisional winner high, or worst case scenario, puts teams into the wild card picture.

Here we are already heading into week three of the 2012 NFL season, the halfway point of the first quarter of games. While every year brings something different, only a small percentage of teams start out the season undefeated, and the total overall number varies from year to year. This season there are six teams that achieved 2-0 records (Arizona, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco).

In the NFL, getting off to a fast start is really the key to a successful season. What makes the NFL so exciting, aside from the big plays through the air, the mind games within strategic planning of X’s & O’s and all the explosive hits, is there are only 16 games in a season. Every Sunday is considered a playoff game and all carry the same value; win at all cost, don’t feel sorry for the other teams, work hard to create an uneven playing field and remember no one is coming to your rescue.

The following teams are 1-1 in the standings; Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Miami, Minnesota, New England, NYG, NYJ, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington. Some of these teams don’t deserve to be in this category, but it is what it is. Then there are other teams that have made great strides and a 1-1 record is a giant step in the right direction and did a great job during the off season in building a championship foundation through free agency, the draft, or a change in leadership at the top.

For the team’s 0-2; Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Oakland and Tennessee, is it time for major concern? Yes! If they go 0-3, with one game remaining in the 1st quarter, true panic will set in and their fans will turn into boo birds, the locker room a negative work place and the local media will start brush fires looking for the firing of the head coach or GM, maybe both. Let’s take a look at this week’s games:

Softli’s NFL Picks Week 3

St. Louis @ Chicago = Bears

NYG @ Carolina = Panthers

Buffalo @ Cleveland = Bills

Tampa Bay @ Dallas = Cowboys

NYJ @ Miami = Jets

San Francisco @ Minnesota = 49ers

Kansas City @ New Orleans = Saints

Detroit @ Tennessee = Lions

Cincinnati @ Washington = Bengals

Philadelphia @ Arizona = Eagles

Atlanta @ San Diego = Chargers

Houston @ Denver = Texans

Pittsburgh @ Oakland = Steelers

Jacksonville @ Indianpolis = Colts

New England @ Baltimore = Ravens

Green Bay @Seattle = Packers

I found this week’s matchups to be the toughest thus far when making my picks. As the season progresses evaluating team rosters, production, road game history and injuries start to mount, I always take into consideration, luck. Remember, I’m not a professional odds maker. Please, please don’t bet the farm or mortgage the house on the above information (even though I’m 22-10 after Week 2).