Thursday, September 23, 2010

Surprising Starts: NFL Week 3 Predictions

With two weeks in the books, we already have some surprises in this NFL season. Who would have thought that the Chiefs, Bucs and even the Bears would be 2-0? And, on the other side of the coin, who would have thought the Cowboys and Vikings would be 0-2? Perhaps even more surprising are the huge number of quarterback changes throughout the league as starting QB's have even shorter leashes than ever.

Here are my picks for Week 3. Remember, picks this year are made against the spread and I'll be using the spread values that ESPN uses in their Pigskin Pick'em game. I did a little better in Week 2 but I'm hoping to be above .500 this week.

Record Last Week: 8-8, .500
Overall Record: 15-17, .438

Sunday Day Games:

Niners (0-2) @ Chiefs (2-0, +2.5)
I would never have guessed, even two weeks into the season, that the Chiefs would be undefeated and the Niners would be without a win. Given how close they came against the Saints, I think this is the week the Niners get their first W, winning by at least a field goal. My pick: Niners

Browns (0-2) @ Ravens (1-1, -10.5)
With questions about which of their mediocre quarterbacks will face off against the vaunted Ravens defense, there is no way the Browns win this game. After being held back for the last two weeks, I think Joe Flacco and Ray Rice break out and lead the Ravens to a win by two touchdowns. My pick: Ravens

Cowboys (0-2) @ Texans (2-0, -2.5)
Things look pretty rough for the Cowboys right now, what with a tough game against the Texans this week followed by a bye, then games against the Titans and Vikings. If they lose this game and fall to 0-3, Wade Phillips might want to spend some time updating his resume during the bye week. I like the Texans to get the job done at home. My pick: Texans

Lions (0-2) @ Vikings (0-2, -10.5)
If you've spent any time watching Brett Favre this season, you know that this line is way too high. Unless Favre magically starts playing like he did last year, the Vikings offense is going to be pretty one-dimensional. I like Minnesota to win, but only by a touchdown. My pick: Lions

Bills (0-2) @ Patriots (1-1, -13.5)
You should have pity for the Bills this week. After getting stifled by the Jets last week, look for the Patriots to put up 40+ on Buffalo. My pick: Patriots

Falcons (1-1) @ Saints (2-0, -4.5)
If this game was in Atlanta, I might be picking the Falcons to win outright. As it is, given how average the Saints offense has looked so far this season, I definitely think the Falcons make this a close game. While Reggie Bush isn't the game-changing player we thought he would be after he left USC, the Saints offense is going to miss his versatility. My pick: Falcons

Titans (1-1) @ Giants (1-1, -3.5)
This is one of the tougher matchups of the week to pick. Despite how good they looked in Week 1, the Giants might actually suck. Chris Johnson is probably pissed about not getting 100 yards last week so expect him to bust a long run this week. My pick: Titans

Steelers (2-0) @ Bucs (2-0, +2.5)
The Steelers got this far without Big Ben, what makes you think they are going to lose now? The Bucs might have played the two worst teams in the NFL in the Browns and Panthers so I wouldn't read much into their 2-0 record. My pick: Steelers

Bengals (1-1) @ Panthers (0-2, +3.5)
The Panthers have been brutally awful in the first two weeks. And they're starting a rookie quarterback. My pick: Bengals

Eagles (1-1) @ Jaguars (1-1, +2.5)
Despite all the questions surrounding the decision, it's hard to deny that playing Michael Vick in this game gives the Eagles a better chance to win. Really, though, it's going to be up to the Eagles defense to prove they can stop Maurice Jones-Drew if the Birds want to knock off the Jaguars. Luckily, the Jags don't have much else on offense, so the Eagles can put a ton of guys in the box and dare David Garrard to beat them. My pick: Eagles

Redskins (1-1) @ Rams (0-2, +3.5)
As an Eagles fan, I was happy to see Donovan McNabb put up some big numbers but even happier to see the Redskins blow the game against the Texans. Not even being able to beat the Raiders means the Rams are in for a long season. My pick: Redskins

Colts (1-1) @ Broncos (1-1, +6.5)
Don't the Colts always blow out the Broncos? While Denver will likely have a bit of an emotional boost as they play for Kenny McKinley, they just don't have the talent to keep up with the Colts. My pick: Colts

Raiders (1-1) @ Cardinals (1-1, -4.5)
Why is it that every Raiders game seems like the worst game of the week? With the Jason Campbell era already over in Oakland, I actually like their chances better. My pick: Raiders

Chargers (1-1) @ Seahawks (1-1, +5.5)
Each of these teams looked both really good and really bad in the first two weeks, so it's hard to get a gauge on either one. What we can say is that they both should be competitive in terrible divisions. My pick: Chargers

Sunday Night Game:

Jets (1-1) @ Dolphins (2-0, -1.5)
The Jets really made a statement last week against the Patriots, can they make another statement this week and hand the Dolphins their first loss? With their defense, as long as Mark Sanchez plays like he did in Week 2, they should win this game. Or at least cover. My pick: Jets

Monday Night Game:

Packers (2-0) @ Bears (2-0, +3.5)
This should be quite an early battle for first place in the NFC North. While the Bears are putting up some great numbers, how long will it be until Jay Cutler starts turning the ball over? I like the Packers two win by at least a touchdown. My pick: Packers

Those are my picks for Week 3 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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