Saturday, September 24, 2011

NFL Week 3 Picks

Its Saturday. That means NFL Picks! Lets get to it!

Last Week's Record: 12-4
Year to Date Record: 23-9

Houston Texans vs New Orleans Saints
If the Texans win this game, there is no doubt that they are for real. The Texans have looked good during this 2-0 start. The offense is clicking without star RB Arian Foster. They've avoided major injuries other than the Foster one. The defense is much improved under Wade Phillips. The Saints rebounded from their loss at Green Bay by destroying the Bears. Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams cranked up the pressure and took advantage of the Bears poor offensive line. Williams will have to do the same thing this week if he plans on stopping Matt Schaub. This game will be a chess match. It's going to come down to who makes the right move to stop the other. I'll take the Saints and Sean Payton here. Payton isn't afraid to go for the big play, and I expect him to take some calculated risks in this one.

New Orleans 27  Houston 23

New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
The last time these two teams played it was the "Miracle at the Meadowlands Part 2." The Eagles were down 24-3 late in the game before they went on a monstrous rally, capped off by DeSean Jackson's punt return for a touchdown with under 10 seconds left to give the Eagles the victory. The big question in this one is whether or not Mike Vick will play this week. He suffered a concussion last week against the Falcons and needs to past some test in order to play this week. He practiced Thursday and Friday, so I don't see why Vick doesn't play. The Giants took care of the Rams Monday night, but not without facing some questions. Rams players were questioning some of the Giants injuries, claiming they were faking them to slow down the Rams No-Huddle offense. If the Giants couldn't hang with the Rams No Huddle, what makes me think they could hang with Mike Vick, even at less than 100%. I think even if Vick doesn't play that the Eagles still win here. Mike Kafka played well in relief last week, he will be better if given a full week to prepare.

Philadelphia 24  NY Giants 16

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Carolina Panthers
It's the Battle of Rookie QBs. Cam Newton is just lighting it up in his first two starts as a NFL starter. Newton threw for over 400 yards last week against a very good Packers defense. He plays a Jaguars defense this week that isn't really the greatest. I expect Newton to put up very good numbers again. The Jags roll out rookie QB Blaine Gabbert for the first time after Luke McCown's abominable performance against the Jets. I thought Gabbert should have started the whole year after David Garrard's release, but coach Jack Del Rio didn't think so. Now Gabbert has the reigns for the rest of the year, and there could be some growing pains. The Panthers are going to be fun to watch the rest of the year, and I think they win their first game of the year in a shootout.

Carolina 35  Jacksonville 27

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Well, it's gut check time for the Bills. They've lost 15 straight against the Patriots, and this may be the best opportunity the Bills have had to finally win one. Both of these teams offenses have been very effective in the first two games. Tom Brady is on pace to shatter the NFL's passing yards in a season record. The Bills are lighting up the scoreboard with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Both team's defenses have played well at times, but also have been torched for big plays. The Bills secondary had a rough go of it last week, and they will have to play much better in order to get the Patriots off the field. The Pats are also banged up in the secondary, with safety Patrick Chung reportedly out and both starting corners game time decisions. This has shootout written all over it, but in the end, the Patriots squeak one out in a close one in Buffalo.

New England 42  Buffalo 38

Miami Dolphins vs Cleveland Browns
The Dolphins must be ecstatic. They are finally going out on the road to play a football game. Given their recent struggles and poor attendance at home, going on the road might be what the Dolphins need. The offense struggled last week against Houston. The Browns won on the road against Indy after pounding it out on the ground with Peyton Hillis. The Browns are a better team and should use Peyton Hillis to run all over the Dolphins defense.

Cleveland 20  Miami 17

San Francisco 49ers vs Cincinnati Bengals
Despite the 1-1 record, the Bengals have been playing some surprisingly good football the first two weeks of the season. Rookie WR A.J. Green looks right at home on the NFL turf, scoring a TD in each of his first two games. The Bengals offense has been good, but they may be without WR Jerome Simpson, who is the subject of a drug investigation. The 49ers almost beat the Cowboys last week but fell short in overtime. The offense didn't look to good again, and you have to wonder how much longer Alex Smith has left as the team's starting QB. I expect another high scoring game here, with the Bengals pulling it out in front of whatever kind of crowd they have at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincinnati 31  San Francisco 21

Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans are coming off a very surprising upset of the Baltimore Ravens last week. The Titans shut down the Ravens offense, and the offense found holes in the Ravens secondary. Kenny Britt has had an outstanding first two games. The Broncos struggled again last week before finally putting away the Bengals. If the Broncos were looking for a week to finally get the run game going, this could be it. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno should be able to find some holes in the Titans run defense, but Chris Johnson should be able to find just as many in the Broncos defense. Johnson finally has a breakout game and the Titans move to 2-1 and remain competitive in the AFC South.

Tennessee 26  Denver 21

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
Everybody seems to he hopping on the Lions bandwagon. I was on it before the season started, so I'm sitting near the front while watching everyone else jump on in the back. The offense is scary good. There's nothing else I can say about it. They wiped the floor with the Chiefs last week. The Vikings blew a 17-0 halftime lead last week against Tampa. Donovan McNabb has looked old and sluggish in his first two starts. The Vikes need to rely on Adrian Peterson in this game, and for the rest of the season. But Matthew Stafford should find some holes in the Vikings secondary, which is performed poorly this year. I expect a close game here, but the Lions move to 3-0 in the end while Vikings fans begin to call for rookie QB Christian Ponder.

Detroit 24  Minnesota 19

Baltimore Ravens vs St. Louis Rams
You have to wonder if the NFL had it out for the Rams or something. Starting with the Eagles, then at the Giants on Monday night, and now they get a pissed off Ravens team. The Rams are still banged up, with Steven Jackson a game time decision. If Sam Bradford watches the tape from last week's Ravens game, he should find the same holes Matt Hasselbeck found last week. Expect a heavy dose of Ray Rice from the Ravens. Lee Evans is out for Baltimore, which means Anquan Boldin will likely face some double coverage from the Rams secondary. The Rams will be playing with a sense of desperation in this game. Even in the NFC West, starting at 0-3 is never a good thing. I think the Rams pull of a surprising upset here.

St. Louis 20  Baltimore 17

New York Jets vs Oakland Raiders
The Raiders offense didn't cost them the game last week against Buffalo. Jason Campbell tore apart the Bills secondary and Darren McFadden found holes in the Bills front 7. The Raiders are no slouches this year. The offense is holding up its end, now the defense has to do its part. If the Raiders front 7 can put pressure on Mark Sanchez, that should help out the secondary. The Jets dismantled a terrible Jaguars team last week and now finally go on the road to face a challenge. The Raiders won't be afraid to take chances against the Jets defense. The home crowd should help the Raiders out here, and I expect them to play just as well as they did last week. The Raiders win by a field goal.

Oakland 24  NY Jets 21

Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs have lost Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry. The offense has scored 10 points in two games. The Chargers have looked good on offense despite some struggles last week against the Patriots. The defense should pressure Matt Cassel into some mistakes and Philip Rivers should be able to pick apart the Chiefs secondary for an easy win.

San Diego 35  Kansas City 13

Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have to be happy to be heading home. After going scoreless against Pittsburgh and losing in San Francisco, the home crowd in Seattle should give the Seahawks a boost. The Seahawks will also have WR Sidney Rice back, which is bad news for an already weak Cardinals secondary. The Cardinals almost pulled out a win in Washington last week. Larry Fitzgerald has a terrific track record against the Seahawks, and there's no reason to not see him do the same thing here. I expect the Cardinals to put up points, but I think Seattle does the same in their first home game of the year. Seattle knows they can't start 0-3 either, and play with desperation to pull out a win here.

Seattle 30  Arizona 28

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These two teams played a pretty good game in Tampa last year that saw the Falcons come back late and pull out a win. I expect another close game here. The Falcons defense shut down Mike Vick for the most part last week. A heavy dose of Michael Turner should be expected in this one. Adrian Peterson ran all over the Bucs defense last week, no reason to expect Michael Turner can't do the same. The Bucs showed a lot of poise in their comeback over the Vikes last week. Even with the Vikings shutting down Mike Williams, the Bucs found a way to win. But Tampa needs to rely more on LaGarrette Blount to take some pressure off of Josh Freeman. I like the Falcons here with Michael Turner shouldering the load.

Atlanta 27  Tampa Bay 23

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
A rematch of last year's NFC Championship game. I expect Jay Cutler to have a chip on his shoulder heading into this game. After leaving last year's game early, he will want to go out and prove something. The Packers defense, while good, has been torched in the secondary the first two games of the year. Jay Cutler needs to take advantage of that. But the Packers will also put pressure on Cutler because of a weak Bears offensive line. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will probably not be as smooth as they have been in the first couple weeks. The Bears defense will get in Rodgers face more than the Panthers and Saints did. But in the end, Aaron Rodgers finds a way to put a few more points on the board for the Pack.

Green Bay 21  Chicago 20

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts
This game has lost a whole lot of intrigue without Peyton Manning huh? The Colts have looked lost without their star QB this year. The offense just can't get anything going. The run game has been stopped, and Kerry Collins looks like he should have stayed retired. The Steelers dominated a much weaker Seahawks team last week, but Big Ben didn't look like the normal Ben. The Steelers heavily relied on Rashard Mendenhall, and they should do the same thing again this week. Expect a heavy pass rush from the Steelers front seven as well. With the game being in prime time, I think the Colts will keep it close early before the Steelers find a way to pull away in the end.

Pittsburgh 27  Indianapolis 17

Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys
The Redskins are a surprise at 2-0 this year. Mike Shanahan has Rex Grossman looking like a relevant NFL QB again, and Tim Hightower is the next running back to benefit from being in Shanahan's offense. The Cowboys are banged up on offense. Miles Austin is out, and Felix Jones, Dez Bryant, and Tony Romo are all listed as questionable. The Cowboys secondary is still struggling, and Rex Grossman should expose that in this match-up. You have to wonder if injuries will haunt the Cowboys here, especially Tony Romo's. Playing with a punctured lung is not an easy thing. I think the Redskins surprise people here and upset the Cowboys in Jerry Jones palace.

Washington 24  Dallas 23

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 1-2-1
Year to Date: 3-4-1

Kids, I don't endorse gambling. But if you feel the need to bet on some games this week, here are my picks:

Buffalo +9.5 vs New England: This one will be a shootout, but a close shootout.

San Francisco vs Cincinnati OVER 40.5: Both offenses should be able to put up points

Washington +6 vs Dallas: Redskins should hang with an injured Cowboys team

San Diego -13 vs Kansas City: Chiefs offense is almost non-existent

That's all from me this week.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

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