Friday, September 25, 2009

Searching for trends: NFL Week 3 Predictions

The third week of the NFL season is often the hardest to predict. That's because, after only two weeks, it's hard to wrap your head around whether the teams are as good or as bad as they have looked. We also aren't far enough into a season to be able to look at a teams record and tell anything from it. Just look at the Broncos, who aren't any good despite being undefeated, and the winless Dolphins, who are a victim of a tough schedule. Several NFL teams have also looked completely different from one week to the next as teams are searching for an identity. Just look at the Bears and the Packers who have looked both bad and good in subsequent weeks. We just aren't far enough into the season to really be able to gauge whether the things we are seeing are trends or simply random happenings.

With the idea that maybe I don't have any idea who to select, here are my picks for Week Three. All picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 10-6, .625
Overall Record: 23-9, .719

Sunday Day Games:

Steelers (1-1) @ Bengals (1-1) The Bengals may be better than we all thought, especially on defense, but the Steelers still own them. Pittsburgh will need to figure out how to run the ball at some point this season, though. Their shoddy offensive line play might finally be catching up to them. My pick: Steelers

Redskins (1-1) @ Lions (0-2) My upset of the week, although if you have watched these two teams the last few weeks you wouldn't be able to tell which team hasn't won a game since 2007. I like Detroit to finally get a W against a Redskins team that is in for a loooong season. His stats may look respectable, but the only thing keeping Jason Campbell from being the worst quarterback in the NFL is JaMarcus Russell. My pick: Lions

Packers (1-1) @ Rams (0-2) I like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to bounce back in a big way against the Rams. Green Bay wasn't ready to play against the Bengals but they won't let that happen again. These poor, pathetic Rams are going to get a beating. My pick: Packers

Niners (2-0) @ Vikings (2-0) The Niners are the definite surprise team in the NFL. They have already beaten the other two "good" teams in the NFC West, giving them a solid early division lead. They are well-coached, have a stout defense and Frank Gore can run the ball on anyone. Sprinkle in a better passing game and this team has the makings of a real contender. Of course, the Vikings are already built in a similar mold to what the Niners are trying to be, although you can forget about the well-coached part when it comes to Brad Childress. Look for the Vikings to squeak out a win over the upstart Niners. My pick: Vikings

Falcons (2-0) @ Patriots (1-1) This is one of the more difficult games to predict this week. Are the Falcons actually really good or have they played two bad teams? Are the Patriots really bad or have they just played two bad games? Clearly, Tom Brady isn't close to being 100% or he would have willed his team over the Jets on Sunday. I have to believe that the Pats are going to be better so I pick them to win this high-scoring affair. My pick: Patriots

Titans (0-2) @ Jets (2-0) Before the season, if I told you the Titans would start the season 0-3 and the Jets would start it 3-0, how hard would you have laughed at me? Better yet, how much money would you have tried to bet? The Jets are for real, the Titans are not. My pick: Jets

Chiefs (0-2) @ Eagles (1-1) All of the talk in Philadelphia this season has been about the quarterbacks but it won't matter who lines up at QB for the Birds this week, they are going to win this game. It could be Koy Detmer, Bobby Hoying or Ron Jaworski under center, the Eagles would still beat the Chiefs. It won't matter who plays at QB because the defense is going to bounce back in a big way. The Saints embarrassed Sean McDermott and the rest of the defense last week so expect the Chiefs to pay for that this week. Besides, who on the Chiefs scares you? They lost to the Raiders, after all. My pick: Eagles, and Kevin Kolb will do just fine

Giants (2-0) @ Bucs (0-2) Another battle of a winless team and an undefeated team that seems like an obvious pick. The Giants are quickly becoming the class of the NFC again while the Bucs are quickly finding themselves in the Lions/Rams category. I also really hate to admit this, but how good did Eli Manning look last week for the G-Men? Maybe he is worth at least some of that mega-contract he signed. My pick: Giants

Browns (0-2) @ Ravens (2-0) The Browns are just like the aforementioned Bucs, they are quickly diving downwards into the lower depths of the NFL. They will learn sooner or later that Brady Quinn just isn't that good. Derek Anderson isn't much better but at least he knows how to put some points up. Needless to say, the Ravens defense will feast on Quinn. My pick: Ravens

Jaguars (0-2) @ Texans (1-1) The Texans offensive explosion against the Titans last week was a big surprise to me. Houston has some weapons but to do what they did against a supposedly top defense was remarkable. What the Texans couldn't do last week was stop the run and unfortunately they are playing a Jaguar team that has no offense besides Maurice Jones-Drew on the ground. This one could be another high-scoring affair. My pick: Texans

Bears (1-1) @ Seahawks (1-1) I'm not sure what to make of these two teams, they looked equally bad and good in the first two weeks. Jay Cutler proved me wrong and did a complete 180 against the Steelers and showed he is still an elite quarterback. With Seneca Wallace likely in for the injured Matt Hasselbeck, the edge has to go to the Bears. My pick: Bears

Saints (2-0) @ Bills (1-1) Opposing defensive coordinators must be having nightmares about Drew Brees. If a top defense like the Eagles can do nothing to slow him down, what can anyone in the league do? Of course, we all know that the league eventually figures things out and comes up with a gameplan to slow down elite offenses. Unfortunately, the Bills aren't going to be that team that has figured it out, although this game might be closer and lower scoring than expected. My pick: Saints

Broncos (2-0) @ Raiders (1-1) Might the Broncos be the worst soon-to-be 3-0 team of all time? With JaMarcus Russell attempting to play quarterback for the Raiders, there is no way I'm picking them, so I'm forced to go with Denver, who are going to ride an easy schedule to an early divisional lead. Just like last season, though, the Chargers will take it from them in the end. My pick: Broncos

Dolphins (0-2) @ Chargers (1-1) Might the Dolphins be the best soon-to-be 0-3 team of all time? They have had the toughest schedule to start a season in recent memory, having to play three quality playoff teams in a row. They do get to play the Bills next week, so their first win will come then. The Chargers are good pretty much every other week, so they are due. My pick: Chargers

Sunday Night Game:

Colts (2-0) @ Cardinals (1-1) The Colts continue to prove they can beat you any number of ways. On Monday Night, they barely even needed the ball and they still brushed aside the Dolphins. The one thing Miami did continue to prove against the Colts, however, was that they can still be run on all day. The Cardinals don't have the right personnel to take advantage of that, though, so you have to like the Colts in this one. Besides, as Bill Simmons of ESPN says, you never go against Peyton Manning in a prime time game. My pick: Colts

Monday Night Game:

Panthers (0-2) @ Cowboys (1-1) What, you are already sick of seeing and hearing about the new Cowboys stadium? Well, get ready for another week of size comparisons and announcers going on and on about the behemoth of a field built for a mediocre football team. The Cowboys will escape prime time defeat this time, however, because the Panthers are coming to town. Jake Delhomme looked way better in Week 2 but he's still Jake Delhomme. The Cowboys defense will slow down the run attack and not even Tony Romo can screw this one up. My pick: Cowboys

Those are my picks for Week Three of the NFL Season. Check back every Thursday during the season for the latest predictions. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comment section!

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