Week three in the NFL shapes up to be a good one with six unbeaten teams headed into the weekend with four facing other unbeatens and the two others facing road tests. There are also six teams still searching for their first win with only one game between 0-2 teams. It’s sure to be another fascinating week with plenty of surprises all across the league.
Last week I improved from my tough opening week but still was just 8-8. My .500 record was a point above the average entry, but I’m still only in the 39th percentile overall. Hopefully I can improve my standing with another solid week. Here’s the picks I’m making:
Picks for the week
St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears (-7.5)
Reason: The Bears didn’t inspire much confidence by getting crushed in Green Bay. They’ll be without Matt Forte for this one and the Rams looked pretty decent last week. I’m just not confident enough in Chicago to give more than a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (+2.5)
Reason: The Bills bounced back from a rough first week with a big win over Kasas City. The Browns looked better but I don’t think they have the personnel to contain Stevie Johnson and C.J. Spiller and they may struggle with the Bills improved pass rush against Brandon Weeden.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Reason: 7.5 is too many points to give to a Dallas team that got hammered in Seattle last week. They should be able to handle Tampa Bay, but Greg Schiano’s team has looked much improved so far this season beating the Panthers in week one and leading for most of the game last week against the Giants before losing late. This should be an interesting game to watch as two 1-1 teams look to establish their identity in the early season
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans (+3.5)
Reason: Detroit lost to the 49ers in San Francisco and looked less than impressive in their win over the Rams in week one, but I think Lions offense will be too much for the Titans wo have allowed 34 and 38 points the last two weeks.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
Reason: Andrew Luck has been impressive so far and the Jags’ second-year starter Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been impressive very often since taking over in Jacksonville. I’ll take Luck at home and give the points.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (+3.5)
Reason: The Dolphins made the AFC East even more intriguing by thrashing the Raiders last week and putting the whole division at 1-1. Reggie Bush, Ryan Tannehill, and a solid defense got Miami a huge win just before Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and the Jets got beaten in Pittsburgh. The Jets road-woes could easily continue if the Dolphins can play like they did last week. I’ll take Miami as the home dogs in this one.
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (+7.5)
Reason: San Francisco’s defense is the best in the league and the Vikings even at home won’t be able to keep it close.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)
Reason: An 0-2 team giving 8 1/2 points seems crazy, but the Chiefs have looked that bad and New Orleans will be ready to break out offensively at home in the dome. They should win by 14+ barring a back door cover by Cassel and crew.
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Reason: Cincinnati’s offense was back last week against a decent Browns defense after no-showing week one in Baltimore. I’m just not sure I’m all in on this Redskin team. I’d stay away from this matchup if possible.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (+4.5)
Reason: I’m not all in on Arizona either, but they deserved to win last week right up until they fumbled trying to run out the clock. The Eagles turnover problems will catch up with them and the Cardinals defense is the real deal. Arizona won’t stay unbeaten much longer, but I’ll take the 4.5 points here and go against Phily.
Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers (-2.5)
Reason: Atlanta is on a short week going all the way to the West Coast to face an unbeaten Chargers team. Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates are both expected to be back following their injuries so the Chargers offense will be close to full strength. The Falcons have been impressive in their first two wins, but I can’t get their playoff road collapse from last year out of my mind until they prove it on the road against a good team.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (+1.5)
Reason: The Texans defense will put pressure on Peyton who showed last week that he was right in saying he had a long way to go before he’s “back” to the level where he was pre-injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders (+4.5)
Reason: Pittsburgh looked solid last week in their dismantling of the Jets and now get a Raiders team that lost to Miami. Big Beg and the Steelers receivers will be in for a big day and Oakland will end the day still seeking their first win.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
Reason: Confession-I’m a big-time Pats fan. This just seems like the kind of game they seem to win when everyone counts them out and thinks they’re “a bit down.” Tom Brady will need to play better, but with a week to plan around Aaron Hernandez’s absence expect Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels to be ready to roll and the Pats D to show how improved it really is.
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (+3.5)
Reason: Seattle’s defense isn’t quite as good as San Francisco’s, but they’re pretty good and will give Aaron Rodgers a hard time on Monday Night Football. Seattle’s home-field advantage is one of the best in the NFL and at home I think Seattle can give the Packers a great game. I think they’ll at least keep in within a field goal.