Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 3 picks

So last week didn't turn out so well. Let's see what happens this week.

Titans (+3) over GIANTS

Chris Johnson ran for only 34 yards last week against the Steelers defense. Can he be shut down in consecutive weeks? I doubt it.

PATRIOTS (-15) over Bills
RAVENS (-11) over Browns

Two home favorites against bad teams? Run it up!

BUCCANEERS (+3) over Steelers

This matchup is the week's first of two battles between 2-0 teams. The Bucs probably aren't as good as they've looked -- they've played the Browns and Panthers, after all -- but the Steelers will be starting Charlie Batch. Expect lots of field goals.

Bengals (-3.5) over PANTHERS

So Jimmy Clausen gets his first NFL start, just three games into his rookie season. He can thank Matt Moore, who has been awful. If the Panthers can't block for him and establish a running game, he's going to be under attack all day against an experienced defense. The Bengals aren't exactly a team that blows other teams out, but they should win comfortably in this game against a rookie QB and a mediocre defense.

SAINTS (-4) over Falcons

The Saints didn't cover last week against the 49ers on Monday Night Football, but they did go on the road and tough out a victory. For a team with a bullseye on its back after winning the Super Bowl, that's good enough for me. I'm rolling with them until further notice, especially when they're at home.

49ers (-3) over CHIEFS

In Week 1, Matt Cassel threw for 68 yards and a touchdown, and the Chiefs beat the Chargers, 21-14. In Week 2, Cassel threw for 176 yards, but he also had two interceptions. Still, the Chiefs slipped past the Browns, 16-14. So, yes, the Chiefs are 2-0 with a quarterback with a QB rating through two weeks of 55.8. Even if they continue to play decent defense and run the ball effectively, the Chiefs need Cassel to play better if they're going to keep winning. A win this week would allow the Chiefs to go into their Week 4 bye with a 3-0 record, but I don't think it's happening. And that's saying something, considering I have very little faith in Alex Smith.

Lions (+11) over VIKINGS

It's hard to believe, but both of these teams are 0-2. Through two weeks, the Vikings have scored 19 points. The Lions, meanwhile, have scored 46 points and have been in two close games. Are the Vikings a better team? Yes. But something seems wrong with them, and it's hard to think they can beat anyone right now, let alone win by 11 points. Adrian Peterson scares me in this game, and he'll probably have a big game. But whatever, I'm going with the Lions on the road. And no, I don't think I've ever said that before.

Cowboys (+3) over TEXANS

At 0-2, the Cowboys really, really need to win this game. The Texans, though, are riding high and sitting at 2-0 after a dominating win over the Colts and an outstanding comeback win over the Redskins. Unfortunately, they're going to be without their starting left tackle, Duane Brown, for the next four games because he violated the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy. That hurts. Expect the Cowboys to do everything they can to take advantage of that and avoid going into their Week 4 bye week with an 0-3 record.

Redskins (-4) over RAMS

The Redskins fan in me says that no matter what, this is going to be a close game. But even if the Redskins defense gives up significant chunks of yards at times, they do have the ability to force turnovers and generate sacks, meaning lots of confusion for rookie Sam Bradford. Donovan McNabb also looked great last week against the Texans defense, meaning that he'll more than likely be able to carve up the Rams as well. Of course, having said that, this will be a 9-7 game, or something. Whatever.

Eagles (-3) over JAGUARS

Who to side with: a rejuvenated Michael Vick or David Garrard, who's coming off a four-interception stink bomb against the Chargers? That's what I thought.

Colts (-6) over BRONCOS

I really don't know what to think of the Broncos, but I do believe the Colts will find a way to frustrate Kyle Orton, who has a 103.9 QB rating through two games. For what it's worth, Peyton Manning has a 121.0 QB rating and already has six touchdown passes.

SEAHAWKS (+6) over Chargers

I'm not about to pronounce the Chargers contenders again just because they blew out the Jaguars at home. Yes, they have a great offense, but now they're going to be without Ryan Mathews this week -- another tough blow for a team (willingly) missing some pretty good pieces on offense. If they dominate an average team like the Seahawks on the road, then maybe I'll change my mind.

Raiders (+4.5) over CARDINALS

The Raiders have benched Jason Campbell this week and are starting Bruce Gradkowski in his place, so that's something, I guess. Even better for him, he'll be facing the Cardinals defense.

Jets (+2.5) over DOLPHINS

The Dolphins are 2-0, so this is a big game for them. Honestly, I have no read on this game, but it should be pretty interesting to watch on Sunday night.

BEARS (+3) over Packers

This is the week's second matchup of 2-0 teams, and it should be a great game. The Packers can move the ball and score on just about anyone, but losing Ryan Grant for the season will make it harder for them to run the ball against good defenses. That puts a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. The Bears also seem to have significantly improved their offensive attack this season, with Matt Forte putting up solid numbers and Jay Cutler already throwing five touchdown passes (and just one interception). Cutler has also already thrown for 649 yards and has a fantastic 121.2 QB rating. Whether or not he'll be able to play that well against the Packers is another question, though. Still, this should be a close game.

Last week: 5-10-1
Season: 13-16-3

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