Saturday, September 22, 2012

NFL Week 3 Picks

Week 2 is gone, Week 3 is here. Computer problems are fixed, so I will get back to my regularly scheduled posting starting now!

Last Week's Record: 10-6
Year to Date: 18-13

St. Louis Rams vs Chicago Bears
I don't know if any quarterback will have a worst performance this season than Jay Cutler did in Week 2: 11-27 for 126 yards, 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions. That works out to a QB rating of 4.7. Cutler was also sacked seven times. He was getting in the face of his offensive line as well, which may cause some problems. While some of the blame can lay on the O-Line, Cutler also held on to the ball a bit too long at times. Cutler's leadership has always been a question mark. And the Bears also lost Matt Forte for a couple weeks with a high ankle sprain. The Rams scored a mild upset last week over Washington. They slowed down Robert Griffin enough and the offense made big plays through the air. I'm sure they sent a big thank you gift to Josh Morgan for his bonehead play to put the Skins out of field goal range. The Rams offense is nothing to look down on. I think they keep it close, but the Bears defense wins out in the end.

Chicago 27  St. Louis 23

Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns
Fred Jackson is often looked on as the heart and soul of the Bills franchise. C.J. Spiller, however, is looking to ch age that. Spiller has come on in a big way this season. He has gone over 100 yards and scored 2 touchdowns in both games so far this year. Spiller has helped take the offensive burden off of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has struggled a bit to start the year. The Bills defense played well last week completely shutting down the Chiefs until garbage time. Mario Williams has still yet to make an impact. Cleveland showed signs of improvement last week against Cincinnati but still came up short. Trent Richardson had a solid game and even Brandon Weeden played well, but the defense was torched by Andy Dalton and definitely missed CB Joe Haden. The Bills haven't won a road game since Week 1 last year. If they want to be a Playoff team, they have to win on the road. And I think they do here.

Buffalo 28  Cleveland 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys
Different season, same inconsistent Dallas Cowboys. Dallas goes in to New York on Wednesday night and beats the Super Bowl Champs on opening night. Then they go to Seattle the next week and get beat by a mediocre at best Seattle team. And they were beat badly. When will the Cowboys ever change their ways? And if the Cowboys keep it up, will it be the end of the line for Coach Jason Garrett and QB Tony Romo? The offense sputtered last week and could just not get anything going. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, put up a fight against the Giants right until the end of the game. I know much has been said about the end of the game, but I have no problem with what the Bucs and coach Greg Schiano did. A kneel down isn't a free play, especially when it is still a one possession game. Tampa Bay looks like a team that will be competitive in every game this year. I'm tempted to go with the Bucs here, but I think the Cowboys defense can stop the Bucs. The Boys win their home opener.

Dallas 31  Tampa Bay 21

New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins
So who are the Jets? Are they the team that played great in Week 1? Or the team that looked terrible last week against Pittsburgh? I think they are somewhere in between. But the Jets definitely need to get their offense on the right page. The run game has not been good in the first two games. And on the opposite side of the ball, the defense needs to do a better job of stopping the run. The good news for the Jets is that they get Darelle Revis back after missing last week's game do to a concussion. That is bad news for Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill doesn't have many weapons on offense to throw to. I would expect Reggie Bush to shoulder the load for the Phins. Remember Miami is where the Jets had their huge blow up last year to end the season. I like Miami here. I expect another big day from Reggie Bush.

Miami 17  NY Jets 14

San Francisco 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings
Two weeks into the season and I feel confident saying that the 49ers are the best team in the NFL. Their defense is still great, and Alex Smith continues to do all that is asked of him to keep his team and the offense going. This game also marks the return of Randy Moss to Minnesota. I just love everything about how Jim Harbaugh coaches this team and gets them ready for a game. That's why it will be a long day for Christian Ponder and Co. I expect the 49ers to throw a variety of blitzes at Ponder, who still struggles at times when faced with pressure. The Vikings will try to get Adrian Peterson going, but San Fran has been great at stopping the run too. Enough said here, 49ers win.

San Francisco 30  Minnesota 10

Kansas City Chiefs vs New Orleans Saints
This is a battle between two 0-2 teams that many did not expect to be here. The Chiefs have not looked good in their first two games. In Week 1 they were thrown on all day by Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. Last week, they were run over by C.J. Spiller and the Bills. And the offense just can't seem to get going. Matt Cassel has yet to live up to the part of a very good starting QB. All of the hype that surrounded last year's team is gone. The Saints, meanwhile, have looked surprisingly bad on defense. They have yet to look good on that side of the ball. And on offense, Drew Brees hasn't quite looked himself. It almost feels like Drew Brees is trying to do too much for the Saints. Brees has the weapons on offense and he needs to relax and let his team help him out. The good news for the Saints is that they are at home, and should win here against the Chiefs.

New Orleans 35  Kansas City 21

Cincinnati Bengals vs Washington Redskins
Washington could easily be 2-0 right now if not for Josh Morgan's bonehead play last week. Now there is no guarantee that the Skins would have won, but I like their chances with Robert Griffin as QB. Griffin still played well last week. The Redskins defense, however, took a huge blow last week. Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were both lost for the season. That cripples what was a very good Redskins front seven. And Washington is also still waiting to see if WR Pierre Garcon can go this week. Cincinnati rebounded off a bad opening week loss by taking care of the Browns. Andy Dalton carved up the Browns defense. The Bengals defense, however, still didn't look as good as they did last year. The Browns offense that looked terrible in Week 1 looked better in Week 2. I like Robert Griffin and the Skins to rebound here and win their home opener. But long term, their defense will struggle with the loss of Orakpo and Carriker.

Washington 26  Cincinnati 24

Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are not who we thought they were. I thought they would look better than they have in their first two games this year. Jake Locker is struggling in his first couple games, and Chris Johnson looks like a guy who just got paid and is raking in the money. And the defense has been run over the first two games. The Lions have also struggled a bit. They had to make a late comeback to beat the Rams at home and were shut down by the 49ers last week. The Lions running game will get a boost this week with the return of Mikel LeShoure to their line-up. Detroit has never been a great road team and I think the Titans now the importance of not starting 0-3, but I think Calvin Johnson is too much for the Titans secondary to handle, and the Lions eek out a win on the road.

Detroit 27  Tennessee 24

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis ColtsHmm, what is there to say about this game. Andrew Luck has played okay in his first two games as QB. He would be better if he had a good running game behind him. Unfortunately Donald Brown has not lived up to the pre-season hype he had around him. Luck is also going up against a Jacksonville team that has yet to give up a passing touchdown this season. Jacksonville's offense struggled last week against Houston but they should find some success here against the Colts in the air. If Blaine Gabbert is going to have a good game, this one would be it. I'm picking the Colts here.

Indianapolis 21  Jacksonville 20

Philadelphia Eagles vs Arizona Cardinals
This is an interesting game to me. The Cardinals are 2-0 and are coming off a huge win last week against the New England Patriots. They shut down Tom Brady and won with only getting one catch from Larry Fitzgerald. Now the Cardinals go against Kevin Kolb's former team. Most critics say that the Eagles got the better end of the trade, so you know Kolb will be out to have a good game against his former team. The Cardinals defense has played surprisingly well too. But they will have a tough time containing Mike Vick. Vick was having another average game last week until late. Vick will also be without WR Jeremy Maclin this week. That will allow the Cardinals to focus on stopping DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. The Cardinals showed that they can win without production from Larry Fitzgerald, and I think they do it again here. The Eagles play has been inconsistent the first two games.

Arizona 30  Philadelphia 26

Atlanta Falcons vs San Diego Chargers
Another battle between 2-0 teams. The Falcons have looked good in both of their games this year. The passing offense has been playing well and Julio Jones and Roddy White have looked unstoppable with Mat  Ryan throwing to them at times. But sooner or later, the Falcons will need to get some type of running game going. And it didn't help the Falcons that Michael Turner went and got himself arrested after Monday nights game. The Falcons defense played especially strong last week, picking off Peyton Manning three times. San Diego is 2-0 and they are about to get better with the return of RB Ryan Matthews. Matthews missed the first two games and his return will already better a very good Chargers offense. San Diego's defense has also played well, but they also haven't faced an offense like the Falcons yet. If the Chargers can get a pass rush going on Ryan, then maybe the Chargers can rattle him. But until they are stopped, I think the Falcons will be a tough team to beat this year.

Atlanta 31  San Diego 28

Houston Texans vs Denver Broncos
So, which Peyton Manning is the real Peyton Manning we will get this year. The good Peyton that played well against Pittsburgh, or the Peyton that was picked off three times against the Falcons. Manning has been know to try and force things at times during his career, but some of those throws he made Monday night were just awful. The defense was also carved up by Matt Ryan. The Texans have steam rolled over two soft opponents, and Denver will be their first real test of the year. It looks like the Texans now have a two headed monster at running back with Arian Foster and Ben Tate in the backfield. That will help take some pressure off of Matt Schaub. I would expect Wade Phillips to bring some heavy pressure on Peyton Manning and try to get him to make some mistakes like he did on Monday. I think the Texans are a very strong team overall and they will force Peyton Manning into a few mistakes and pull off a win on the road.

Houston 23  Denver 17

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Oakland Raiders
The Steelers were without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison last week and still shut down Mark Sanchez and the Jets. They will be without those same two guys this week and they should not have a problem. The Oakland Raiders offense has done very little this year and they now face the best defense they've seen all year. Expect the Steelers to load up the box and shut down Darren McFadden. And Carson Palmer has done very little this season to show that he can win games with his arm. How long until the Raiders see what Terrell Pryor has to offer? If you can't tell, I don't like the Raiders chances here. I think this will be an easy one for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh 28  Oakland 13

New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens
So was that simply a blip on the Patriots radar? Or a sign of things ahead? New England was shut down by a far inferior team in the Cardinals. What made it worse was that the Patriots shut down Larry Fitzgerald and they still allowed the Cardinals to pull out a victory. New England also suffered a blow on offense with the loss of Aaron Hernandez for a couple weeks. They signed Kellen Winslow, but he is no Aaron Hernandez. I would expect the Pats to lean more on Wes Welker with Hernandez out now. The Ravens lost a close game last week against Philadelphia. They place a lot of the blame on the replacement refs, but it is no excuse. But the Ravens offense is still playing well, I would say they are better than the Patriots offense at this point in the year. Joe Flacco is still not an elite QB, but he is playing some of the best football in his career. Baltimore has a handful of weapons on offense for the Patriots to focus on. Ray Rice will be the focal point, but if the Pats focus too much on him they will be exposed in the secondary. I like the Ravens to win here on the road. They almost one in Foxboro last year, and they will win here at home.

Baltimore 31  New England 23

Green Bay Packers vs Seattle Seahawks
The Packers offense still doesn't look like the same offense we saw last year. Maybe teams have figured them out, but Aaron Rodgers hasn't put up the same impressive number he did last year. Teams are getting pressure on him and taking advantage of a weak Packers offensive line. The good news for the Packers is that they got Cedric Benson going last week and may have found the run game they were missing last year. And the defense played big last week, getting constant pressure on Jay Cutler. Expect them to bring a lot of pressure on rookie Seattle QB Russell Wilson this week. Wilson still hasn't played well in the first couple weeks. I would expect Seattle to lean on Marshawn Lynch again. But if the Packers get up early, an Russell Wilson keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers? I don't think so. I'm going with the Pack here.

Green Bay 34  Seattle 24

If I Were A Betting Man, I Would Make These Four Bets
Buffalo -3 at Cleveland: If the Bills lean on Spiller, this line shouldn't be a problem
Arizona +3.5 vs Philadelphia: Eagles have been living dangerously first 2 weeks
Pittsburgh -4 at Oakland: Raiders have no offense to speak of
Atlanta +3 at San Diego: Game will be close either way

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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