21-11 straight up
Quick word for the noobs; when I say that somebody’s going to win by a TD, I mean by at least a TD. I’m into analyzing sports, not soothsaying 😉
Anyway, just like that, it’s Week 3! We’ve got some surprise undefeated teams and winless teams and, for some, their fortune will change by Monday. But who?
Niners at Chiefs
Alex Smith finally looked good. He was mobile, smart and tough. His only mistake was leaving Drew Brees too much time to operate. So which Alex Smith shows up this week? It better be that scrambling, smart one if the Niners and their stifling defense hope to win their first game of the season. The Chiefs’ defense has also been effective through two weeks and the Chiefs could be lookin’ at their first 3-0 start in 7 years if they can wrestle this one at home. The 2 ½ point spread is right; this is going to be decided by field goals. Except I have the Chiefs winning at home.
Lions at Vikings
I think the bigs in Vegas want to make us all rich. And I mean it, too, because the 11 point favorite Vikings are just as likely to lose this game as they are to win it as far as I’m concerned. The Lions are going to get gauged by Adrian Peterson but if they’re able to keep Favre and that passing offense scrambled and out of whack, they’ll have a chance to win as Jahvid Best has emerged as the talent everyone expected him to be. And they can do it! The Lions have a considerably upgraded pass rush now with Suh and VandenBosch and that Viking offensive line is weak. The Lions saw what the Dolphins did last week and will look to repeat it with swarming defense and a heavy dose of the run. Even if the Vikings win the game, the Lions will cover.
Bills at Patriots
This is a big spread that will, in fact, hold. The Pats are coming off a icy, painful loss to the rival Jets and will be welcoming the hapless Bills into Foxborough where I’m guessing a 3 or 4 TD cushion should do the trick. The Bills aren’t even utilizing their running game, which is their strength, up to maximal capacity. And even if they were to run it well… ok, what are we talking about here?
Falcons at Saints
This will be fun to watch. The Saints have dominated the Falcons in the past, 7-1 since Brees came to Nawlins, but are coming off of a tough win over San Francisco and have yet to look like the offensive juggernaut from prior seasons. Instead, it’s the Falcons who exploded all over the Cardinals after being bottled up by Pitts the week before. This matchup could prove troublesome for the Saints who might be dealt their first loss when Michael Turner returns and combines with Jason Snelling to run all over New Orleans who struggled with Frank Gore this past Monday. That could then open up the game for Matt Ryan. Atlanta’s defense is the key matchup here. The Falcons will be able to score points on offense but will they be able to slow the Saints? My guess, actually, is yes. I think by week’s end, we’ll have a 3 way tie in the NFC South.
Cowboys at Texans
This is do or die for Dallas, you better believe it. It’s nice of Jerry to come out and announce that Wade Philips’ job is safe and all that but if you think Jerry will be alright falling to 0-3 at the hands of the Texans, you’re a damned fool (as Jerry would likely say). Dallas is in trouble. They can’t run the ball as well as they used to and relying on Romo to carry the whole offense is scary. That said, they’re only really a couple of plays away from being undefeated so it’s a little more confusing with them than it is with a team like, say, Minnesota that has outright sucked. Dallas will certainly play a spirited game this weekend against the Texans but remember that the Texans dramatically beat the Cowboys in their first ever game and right now have some nice momentum going on with opening wins against Indy and Washington. This is a huge game and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Texans show up for the lights. They’re favored by a field goal but I’m taking them by a TD.
Titans at Giants
The Titans were so awful last week, they’re almost certainly going to be pretty good on Sunday. Vince Young will come out with something to prove, Chris Johnson is going to run all over the G men and the 3 point dogs Tennessee will walk away with what Vegas is considering an upset. In reality, it would be an upset if the Giants won. The Giants did not look very good last week, neither but they looked pretty meh in week 1 too. In fact, it just seems like the Giants can’t run the ball like they used to, can’t stop it either and can’t protect Eli Manning who has come back down to Earth again and is just average. Don’t know what they’re doing in Vegas, this one’s a near lock in my book.
Steelers at Bucs
It was nice, Tampa. But 2-1 you will be. They’ve looked surprisingly good in two games against a bottom feeder and a team heading there. The Steelers are one of the top 5 teams so far this season for sure and they don’t even have Big Ben Roethlisberger back yet. And it isn’t as though they have great options behind him… they’ve been getting it done with Batch and Dixon and that nutty Steel Curtain of theirs (does that thing ever fade or rust or get old? Ever?). The Bucs are not going to be able to run the ball any and that will force young Josh Freeman to force some passes against the wrong secondary to be doing that sort of thing.
Steelers by more than a field goal
Bengals at Panthers
What would compel you or I to think that the Panthers are suddenly going to clean up one of the messiest teams I’ve seen all season (I mean Bills and Browns messy) and beat the Bengals who just went smash mouth mode with the Ravens and won. Sorry but no dice. The Bengals will put up monster offensive numbers on the other cats the same way everybody else has so far and the Bengals will win easy.
Bengals beat spread
Browns at Ravens
The perfect remedy for an ailing QB, like Joe Flacco, is being visited by an ailing franchise in disarray, like the Cleveland Browns, and this weekend that is exactly what is happening. Flacco will finally have a strong day hooking up with new acquisitions Boldin and Housh and Ray Rice will reward all his fantasy owners with some of that good ol’ love from last year. The Browns? It’s hard enough to move the ball on the Ravens D with a well-oiled, experienced offensive machine… they will have the exciting task of trotting out a radio flyer.
Redskins at Rams
My favorite characterization of this match up is Michael Silver calling for “the angry Redskins” to beat up on the Rams. That’s really great; they are probably still hot over their loss against the Texans in OT and will probably smash the Rams (who couldn’t beat the Raiders last week) into the turf. McNabb will finally deliver a TD pass to Santana Moss and the Skins will likely roll to a two score victory.
Eagles at Jags
What’s certain is that the Jags are not likely to defend Michael Vick particularly well. He’ll slash n dash and roll it out and do all sorts of quick maneuvers that the Jags will simply have no clue what to do with as they looked completely lost against San Diego last week. What will work to their benefit is that the Eagles defense isn’t what it used to be, at all and you can count on JAX fixing up some of the holes and miscues in the offense that turned the ball over five times last week. With less turnovers, the Jags are poised to ‘pop’ Maurice Jones Drew (his words) and remember that Jacksonville is really awful on the West coast… they’re actually a surprisingly good home team so don’t be surprised if this is close. Philly is favored by a field goal. But I’m taking the
Colts at Broncos
The Colts are one Arian Foster away from being 2-0 and entrenched at the top of power rankings. The Broncos are 1-1 and looking like more of a .500 team than the Colts do. Orton has found some life in the passing game but the rush is not there and that is a bad omen against the Colts. It’s also very likely that Peyton will shred the banged up, questionable secondary of the Broncos so lock this one down even in Denver.
Colts by a TD
Raiders at Cardinals
Ah yes, a matchup of similarly matched teams. Both teams have had little success moving the ball through the air, therefore relying on the run instead where they’ve found pleasant surprises from the guys who came in to replace the injured top guys. McFadden has impressed more than Hightower but one must make note that running shod on St. Louis is not too challenging and Hightower is effectively rushing to a 6 yards per carry clip. Who gets the edge? Honestly, the edge is with either Beanie Wells or Michael Bush both coming back from injury this weekend. My guess is the Raiders run the ball better than the Cards and win the game. I’ll be watching this snoozer fa sho!
Chargers at Seahawks
The Chargers got a lot of their demons sorted out with an offensive explosion and some hardcore ball hawking on defense last weekend against the Jags. They’ll need to continue that here against a Seahawks team that couldn’t muster much offense against Denver. The Hawks play much better at home and this will surely be a tough game early on but the Chargers should still be able to move the ball through the air if the run isn’t there (which it might not be with Mathews possibly out). The Chargers should come away with a victory here.
Chargers by a TD
Jets at Dolphins
The Phins have looked solid through two but will they have enough offense to beat New York? I’m not sure. The Jets and the Dolphins are practically in the same boat; their defenses have been doing most of the heavy lifting while their offenses look bland. The Jets sorta broke out in a very little way against New England but largely has been ineffective. The Dolphins didn’t even need offense to beat Minnesota, they beat themselves. Who does the edge go to here? I’m going to have to say Miami. This is one of the tougher calls of the week as they’re actually evenly matched and, as rivals, are not going down without a fight especially in a primetime game on Sunday Night. Dolphins get the edge mostly because they’re at home and their defense can keep them in it while the potentially explosive Miami offense tries to put up enough points to win
Dolphins beat spread
Packers at Bears
This will be a close one. The Bears can suddenly move the ball pretty well as Cutler is starting to get accustomed to his offensive line and is getting rid of the ball a lot quicker and with some good accuracy. He’ll need to continue doing that if the Bears are to have a chance against the Packer D which will be coming headhunting. The Bears are tough on D and might bottle up Jackson/Kuhn/whoever but I don’t think that will have any bearing on Aaron Rodgers. He may be impeded slightly from putting up blazing points but I don’t think the Bears team can even suffocate him as much as San Francisco suffocated Drew Brees last week. Rodgers should do enough to edge the Bears in the windy city on Monday night.
Packers by a FG
That’s it, folks!