NFL Week 3 Picks

Well, all things considered last week was an improvement on the previous week, but I’m still underwhelmed with the 11-5. That’ll bring the running total to 21-11, solidly in the middle of the pack with the ESPN experts. So we’ll move on and try to make this ship perfect. Let’s hit it.

Kansas City Chiefs (+3) @ Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, 8:25 pm

Quite a lot happening with this one. Big Red’s return to Philly. Number 5 is getting his number 5 retired at halftime. The Eagles are looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance on a short week. And the Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0. Plenty to be excited about, and everything points to this one being a fantastic showdown. I expect Reid to hear a mixture of cheers and boos—maybe a “Fire Andy” chant gets brought out for an encore, who the hell knows. But when you look at the actual football that’ll be played—despite the amount of points being left on the board (which is scary considering they’re already putting up over 30 a game), I love what Chip Kelly is doing. Michael Vick is in line to have a career year, at the age of 33 mind you, so long as he can play close to a full season. As long as the defense can hold the Chiefs (or any defense for that matter) under 30 points, the Birds will always have chance. Eagles win 38-27

Green Bay Packers (-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1 pm

Huge win for the Bengals on Monday night. They showed the world that they may just be ready to grab the AFC North by the jugular in a season where the division is clearly up for grabs. Unfortunately for them, they have one less day this week to prepare for an offense that is the class of the NFL. Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are coming off of a matchup in which they finally found a running game, but still managed to put up record-high yardage through the air. That spells danger for opponents moving forward. Packers win 32-24

St. Louis Rams (+4) @ Dallas Cowboys, 1 pm

Despite spotting the Falcons a 21 point lead after just over one quarter of play, the Rams showed some resolve and worked their way back into a contest against a strong opponent. The lack of a true number one running back (i.e. one who can pick up more 40 yards a game) puts a lot of pressure on Sam Bradford, but the kid has handled it well so far this year—the Rams have the 4th ranked passing attack through two weeks. For the Cowgirls, turnovers continue to be an issue, and so does Tony Romo. I’m tempted to pick against and it’s for an odd reason—the teams have alternated wins over their last 10 meetings dating back to 1986. So with that… Rams win 24-23

San Diego Chargers (+3) @ Tennessee Titans, 1 pm

Bleh, I don’t wanna talk about the Chargers. Phillip Rivers sat back in a cozy pocket last week and simply picked apart the Eagles “defense.” He made all the right decisions and found an incredible new weapon in Eddie Royal. This week he gets to take on a Titans team that has been a tough out during the early part of 2013, winning on the road in Pittsburgh and forcing overtime at Houston. With the NFL’s worst passing attack, the Titans will lean a lot on CJ2K to barrel through a Chargers team that ranks only 21st against the run. It’ll be a close one, but I expect the Titans to pull out a win in their home opener. Titans win 17-16

Cleveland Browns (+5.5) @ Minnesota Vikings, 1 pm

Cleveland is pretty terrible. There’s no denying that. Their defense ranks pretty high, but they can only do so much to help an offense that is run by Brandon Weeden. Minnesota isn’t in a much better position with Christian Ponder, but they at least have the league’s best running back to offer some support. One of these teams will finally get their first win of the season, and I’m thinking home field advantage is going to help the Purple People Eaters. Cleveland’s last win in the Twin Cities came back during the Reagan era, and that was their only win there (they’re 3-11 all-time against the Vikings). Vikings win 27-10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7.5) @ New England Patriots, 1 pm

I think in their visit to the Meadowlands the Bucs may have caught a little Jets-fever. Players are disgruntled and going public with their feelings (Josh Freeman and their new toy Darrelle Revis),  and the passing attack has been nonexistent. Two tough last-second losses aren’t helping things either. Meanwhile, Tom Brady is clearly missing Wes Welker and Gronk and Welker’s replacement Dannny Amendola. The future HOFer looks like a shell of his former self with a bunch of rookies on the outside. I’m sure that’s something they worked on this week, and Bill Belichick will have them ready to go. Pats win 31-21

Arizona Cardinals (+8) @ New Orleans Saints, 1 pm

The Saints didn’t make things easy last week, relying on a last-second field goal to steal a win at Tampa Bay. Drew Brees doesn’t struggle often (and by struggle I mean he still threw for 322 yards and a TD, but had two untimely INTs), so I imagine he’ll have a much better day on Sunday. It’ll help that they return home to take on a Cardinals team that hasn’t won on the road since Week 2 of last season (a 20-18 stunner against the Pats which completely fooled everyone cause they would go on to lose 11 of their final 14 games). That won’t change here. Saints win 34-23

Detroit Lions (+1.5) @ Washington Redskins, 1 pm

Could this be the week that Washington finally gets off the shnide and gives their fans the win they’ve so been longing for? (As soon as that happens [maybe this week] their fans attitudes are gonna go from “this season’s over already” to “Super Bowl here we come baby!”) The only thing that could stop that from happening is the fact that their secondary will be going against the league’s 7th ranked passing attack. Washington ranks dead last in total yards against (they’ve already given up over 1,000 yards of offense—the only team to hit mark so far), and a major reason for that is the horrendous play of their secondary, and the fact that they can’t get things going in the first half of games—they’ve been outscored 50-7, and that 7 was the result of a defensive TD on the first drive of the season. I don’t like Detroit on the road, but Washington hasn’t done much to give me the faith to pick them. Flip a coin here. Lions win 24-23

New York Giants (+1.5) @ Carolina Panthers, 1 pm

Eli Manning is on pace to throw 56 interceptions this season. Laugh. Out. Loud. He has, however, thrown for 812 yards in the first two weeks, second best in the NFL, and his 5 TDs ranks fifth. If he can work on getting the ball to the guys who wear the same jersey as he does, things should work themselves out. No better time to start than against a team that has given up 294 yards per game through the air and has the second worst completion-percentage against (72.2). The Panthers have been in a position to win each of their first two games but fell short against a shorthanded Seahawks defense that was playing on the road and the Buffalo Bills. Giants win 28-24

Houston Texans (-2) @ Baltimore Ravens, 1 pm

This week is just filled with coin flip games. I don’t want to go heavy on the away teams, but this seems like the perfect storm for Houston. They’re coming off of a close one in Tennessee and may have lost Andre Johnson for at least a week (which could be the key that undoes this), but Baltimore looks like a team on the ropes. They got pounded in their opener, and struggled to eek out an 8 point win against the Browns at home. They’ll likely be without Ray Rice in this one as well, which will basically turn them into a one-dimensional team, and Flacco hasn’t quite been the Super Bowl MVP-caliber QB we saw in the playoffs last year. Texans win 30-27

Atlanta Falcons (+1) @ Miami Dolphins, 4:05 pm

Are the Dolphins for realz? Sorry to throw ice-cold water on your Miami-boner, but I’m not ready to crown their asses yet. Here’s why: Their two wins came against the Browns and a still rebuildingtooling, but semi-legitimate Colts team. Don’t forget that the Cardinals started 4-0 last seasons; the same Cardinals who finished 5-11. The line in this one suggests Vegas is buying it just a little, giving them a point at home against a tough Atlanta team. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled out a win here, but I like what Matty Ice and Julio Jones were able to do last week and think it’ll carry over here with Roddy White still ailing. Falcons win 34-27

Buffalo Bills (+2.5) @ New York Jets, 4:25 pm

The Bills are the Bills, and the Jets are the Jets. If it wasn’t for a little bit of rain last Thursday, the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets might’ve been able to pull off quite a dramatic upset against a New England team that was struggling to get anything going in the passing game (Tom hates his rookies). Geno Smith has shown flashes of a possible brilliant future, but he’s also shown flashes of being an NFL rookie. He gets a Bills team this week that has a well defined running game, but can’t get it together on the defensive side of the ball. Key matchup here: Jets run defense (4th in the league with only 60 yards per game allowed) going up against Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (the league’s 4th ranked rushing attack). Jets win 17-14

Indianapolis Colts (+10.5) @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 pm

My sincerest apologies and sympathies and all that happy BS to Andrew Luck in this one. They’re going to be running into a 49ers team that’s pissed off after being essentially shut out on offense, that played one of their worst games in quite some time on both sides of the ball, and that was a part of a world-record-breaking performance in Seattle. In this battle of the former number-one-overall pick and the guy who’s played like he should’ve been the number-one-overall pick, I gotta lean in favor of the team with the better weapons on offense. 49ers win 35-28

Jacksonville Jaguars (+19.5) @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 pm

LOL Jacksonville. Seahawks win 35-6

Chicago Bears (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:25 pm

Another prime time battle, and another opportunity for Pittsburgh to show the world just how far they’ve fallen from their perch. These kinds of things happen when you don’t have a real offensive line, which has resulted in them giving up seven sacks through two weeks, and having the league’s 31st ranked rushing “attack.” Defense can only do so much, and if the offense (which is historically bad by their standards) fails to show up on a week-by-week basis, these things are going to happen. This week they get the joy of hosting a Bears team that is coming off of a tough divisional game against Minnesota and has been just about average on both sides of the ball. Chicago hasn’t recorded a sack yet, but could find themselves among the league leaders by the time this one’s through. Bears win 20-16

Oakland Raiders (+14.5) @ Denver Broncos, Monday, 8:30 pm

No analysis needed, but I will offer an over/under. 6.5—the number of TDs Peyton Manning throws for. (I’d take the over here). Broncos win 49-9

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