Saturday, September 26, 2009

Week 3 NFL picks

(Home team is in caps.)

Titans (+2.5) over JETS

Are the Titans (0-2) really that bad? And are the Jets (2-0) really that good?

The Titans’ two losses have been by three points each, so it’s not like they’re getting blown out. But they have struggled to stop the pass: They’ve given up 678 passing yards -- worst in the NFL. But they can stop the run: Opponents have gained only 99 yards on 52 rushing attempts -- a 1.9-yard average (best in the NFL). The Titans also have the explosive Chris Johnson, who ran for 197 yards and two touchdowns and caught nine passes for 87 yards and a touchdown in last week’s high-scoring loss to the Texans.

The Jets, meanwhile, have yet to give up 10 points in a game against two strong offensive teams (the Texans and Patriots) and are ranked first in yardage allowed per game (241) and second in points allowed per game (8). Mark Sanchez has also done well in his first two NFL games, throwing for 435 yards and two touchdowns (and one interception).

The Titans are going to force Sanchez to have another strong game and will try to put lots of pressure on the rookie. And the Jets will try to contain Chris Johnson. I think Sanchez is due for a bad game and that the Titans are due for a win. I like the Titans in a close game on the road to get in the win column.

TEXANS (-3.5) over Jaguars

The Texans couldn’t stop Chris Johnson last week, but they still won. This week they face the Jaguars and Maurice Jones-Drew, who is similar to Johnson. They’d like to stop Jones-Drew, but it’s not really necessary if the Jaguars’ defense can’t stop Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Steve Slaton. I expect another shootout, but the Texans come out with another win.

RAVENS (-13.5) over Browns

The Browns won’t be able to run the ball, so they’ll need Brady Quinn to come through against the Ravens’ defense -- good luck with that.

Giants (-6.5) over BUCCANEERS

The Bucs are really a different team now than they’ve been in the last few years -- and that’s not a good thing. Their defense hasn’t stopped anyone, but they can put some points up on the board. The Giants, on the other hand, have a pretty balanced team. The offense is seventh in points per game (28), and the defense is 21st in points allowed (24), though that number will go down. The defense has also forced six turnovers, converting two of them for touchdowns. Byron Leftwich will need to take care of the ball for the Bucs, but he’ll be under pressure all game from a strong Giants’ defensive line.

EAGLES (-7.5) over Chiefs

The Eagles let the Saints embarrass them at home last week. The high-powered Saints’ offense put up 48 points on a decent Eagles’ defense, but then again, New Orleans is going to score a lot of points on everyone. Still, the Eagles’ defense has to be angry and will be looking to attack Matt Cassel.

Redskins (-6.5) over LIONS

The Redskins have heard criticism from all angles this week. Fans have been jumping off the Jim Zorn bandwagon in droves, and all of this is coming after a win -- granted, an ugly win -- but a win, nonetheless. Now, the offense doesn’t deserve any praise until it starts scoring touchdowns, but the defense has been pretty good -- special teams too. Anyway, more than enough experts (Mike Florio, Michael Wilbon, Don Banks, Peter King, Eric Allen, Mike Golic, Seth Wickersham, Jason Cole, Charles Robinson, Michael Silver, and Bill Simmons (taking the points)) are picking against the Redskins this week, choosing to side with a team that has lost 19 games in a row. I think the Redskins are angry and that they play that way this week -- and finally put a decent amount of points up on a bad defense. With that being said, a loss to the Lions would be really, really bad.

Packers (-6.5) over RAMS

In two weeks, the Packers’ offensive line has allowed 10 sacks. Yes, 10. The Rams, though, have only registered one sack (against Washington). Defensive ends Leonard Little and Chris Long have the potential to get to the quarterback, but neither has done so yet. If the line gives Aaron Rodgers time, he should be able to shred the Rams’ secondary -- but that’s a big if. Still, if I were doing any Online Betting, I'd take the Packers on the road.

49ers (+7.5) over VIKINGS

Just a hunch. The Vikings still win, though.

Falcons (+4.5) over PATRIOTS

The Patriots (1-1) should be 0-2, and if they lose at home to Atlanta this week, they’ll be 1-2 heading into a Week 4 showdown with Baltimore. The Falcons, meanwhile, are 2-0, have forced six turnovers on defense, and have looked solid on both sides of the ball. I’ll take the points.

Bears (-2.5) over SEAHAWKS

Seneca Wallace is 5-7 for his career as a starter and has a career quarterback rating of 83.0. That’s not too bad, but I’ll still take the Bears.

Saints (-6.5) over BILLS

Now is not the time to pick against Drew Brees.

CHARGERS (-6.5) over Dolphins

The Dolphins (0-2) need a win, but I don’t see the Chargers losing two in a row at home.

Steelers (-3.5) over BENGALS

The Steelers haven’t lost to the Bengals under Mike Tomlin, and the games haven’t been close either.

RAIDERS (+2.5) over Broncos

The Broncos have done a pretty good job of stopping the run so far -- 10th in the NFL at 70 yards allowed per game. Their defense has also only allowed 6.5 points per game -- best in the NFL -- though that’s mainly because they’ve played the Bengals and the Browns.

JaMarcus Russell has been awful so far (46.6 quarterback rating, 35.2 percent completion percentage), so the Raiders don’t have much of a choice other than to focus on the running game with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.

I think the Raiders will be able to run the ball, so I’ll go with them. However, this is certainly an important game for the Broncos, who have a chance to go 3-0 before their schedule starts to get much more difficult.

Colts (+2.5) over CARDINALS

The Colts have beaten the Jaguars and Dolphins by a combined six points. They can’t really run the ball, and their defense hasn’t looked that great either. But Peyton Manning has been the best quarterback in the league not named Drew Brees through the first two weeks, and doing any Monday Night Football Betting against him would be very difficult. He usually shines in prime time, especially last week against the Dolphins.

Panthers (+8.5) over COWBOYS

Surprisingly, the Cowboys’ defense has yet to force a turnover or pick up a sack. Then again, facing Jake Delhomme should change that. Anyway, expect a lot of points and a competitive game.

Last week: 9-7
Season: 19-13

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