NFL Picks: Week 3
Told you the Rams wouldn’t go scoreless again.
The first few weeks of an NFL season can be a confusing experience. Those hours of preseason research become worthless fast as teams smash your hopes and dreams or surpass your expectations.
Week 2 brought its share of surprises. Can someone explain how the Seahawks lost to a Rams team that couldn’t move the ball at all the previous game? And just how did Carson Wentz look like a salty vet in just his second career start?
It’s football. I stopped trying to make sense of things years ago.
Alrighty, before we look ahead to Week 3, let’s take a quick look back.
Week 2 picks: 10-6
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
I managed to shrug off my sub-.500 start to the season and I’m back in the black. The Vikings and Texans made me look brilliant, while the Lions brought me back down to earth with their offensive stinker at home against the Titans.
On a side note, I refuse to make picks against the spread because I’m terrible at it. I’m in a pool where we pick five games ATS each week. I went 0-5 in Week 2, even though I had the correct game winner in four of the five. Vegas odds are evil and built to take your money. And I don’t trust banks either (puts on tin foil hat).
Raise your glass to: Dak Prescott
I’ve made fun of the hysteria surrounding the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback, but I have to give credit where it’s due. Prescott doesn’t look intimidated by the NFL spotlight in the slightest and he hung tough and got Big D a big road win. Kudos, young man!
Boo this man: Rex Ryan
The Buffalo Bills head coach, who watched his team give up 37 points to the Jets on Thursday night, decided the best course of action was to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
I’ve been the biggest Rex apologist over the years, because I find the guy too damn entertaining. Football is supposed to be fun and Rex is always good for an amusing quote or a bombastic speech.
But, dude … come on. You’re about to flame out of the NFL and you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself. Start looking in the mirror.
OK, on to Week 3!
TEXANS AT PATRIOTS
Who will be under center for New England? Will it be Jimmy Garoppolo and his strained AC joint? Will it be third-stringer Jacoby Brissett? Stay tuned, people! There’s never a dull moment with a Bill Belichick-coached team!
Now, I’m tempted to go with the Patriots here, because I believe in the sorcery of the Dark Hoodie. But, I’m going to go the other way this week, even though I can totally see myself regretting it.
The Texans are led by Bill O’Brien, a former Pats offensive coordinator and have an offense that seems as though it can manage the game while even putting some points on the board.
And while Houston hasn’t had much success against New England over the years, this week is different. Still no Brady, still no Ninkovich and I just can’t see Brissett pulling a Carson Wentz on short notice. Especially against a stout Houston defense.
BROWNS AT DOLPHINS
Miami found a way to lose to two backup quarterbacks in Week 2 and now it gets another third-stringer, rookie Cody Kessler, this week.
Will we see a repeat of the Dolphins’ Week 2 horror show? No way. These are the Browns we’re talking about. Even the Fins can’t screw this one up in their home opener.
CARDINALS AT BILLS
The Cardinals offense looked like its potent self against the Buccaneers in Week 2 and there’s no reason to think they can’t keep it going on Sunday.
The Bills have yet to put together an even performance this season and now they just fired their offensive coordinator. How are things going to get better against an elite opponent? Expect the jeers to grow louder in Upstate New York after this one.
RAIDERS AT TITANS
The Silver and Black can definitely put points on the board, but that was against the Saints and Falcons – both of which are the Glass Joe (too dated a reference?) of NFL defenses.
And what’s more, the Raiders D hasn’t showed up yet this season. This will be a rough one on the road against a Titans team that loves to pound the ball on the ground.
Expect DeMarco Murray to carry the ball early and often and for Tennessee’s defense to put a stranglehold on Derek Carr and Co.
RAVENS AND JAGUARS
Anyone else annoyed at Jacksonville? The Jaguars looks great with their late rally against the Packers in Week 1, only to follow that with a truly ugly 38-14 loss to the Chargers that wasn’t as close as the final score made it seem.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are 2-0, but if I had to sum their first two games of the season, my analysis would be: Ehhhhh.
I’m going to hate myself for doing this, but for some reason, I see the Jaguars pulling out their first win of the season in front of their home crowd.
REDSKINS AT GIANTS
I’m about to be “that guy” right now, but this is panic time for the Redskins. They’re 0-2 and didn’t look great in either of their first two games.
Now, they get a trip to the Meadowlands against the 2-0 Giants and a loss here would put them in quite the hole, even with a bunch of games left on the schedule.
Kirk Cousins needs to start stretching the field a bit more and that’s going to be a tough against a Big Blue defense that’s playing well. And while everyone will make a big deal of cornerback Josh Norman reigniting his feud with Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., let’s see if Norman is actually matched up against OBJ most of the day.
If media reports are to be believed, we will see a healthy dose of Norman vs. Beckham, but I have doubts if this showdown will mean much in the end.
VIKINGS AT PANTHERS
I’ve never been a Sam Bradford hater, so I was happy to see the man throw some darts in the Vikings’ big Sunday night win over the Packers. And Sammy will undoubtedly be a sexy fantasy waiver wire pickup this week and could even get some starts from some brave souls.
And all of those people are going to be really upset after this week’s game is over. The Vikings just lost Adrian Peterson for a while and the Panthers D are going to bring the heat on Bradford.
Expect a slight regression from Bradford this week, but don’t be quick to lay all the blame on him. Carolina is always a tough matchup on the road.
BRONCOS AT BENGALS
Yes, it’s super crazy to think that a team that lost Peyton Manning could actually be better in 2016. But, let’s not get carried away. Peyton was all bones and forehead by the time last season ended. This is pretty much the same team, except now they have a QB who can drive the ball down the field.
That being said, Trevor Siemian (I have to look up the spelling of his name every time) is still a first-year starter who had his first two games at home. He hits the road this week and the Bengals are no slouch.
This game will be tight, but expect to see Siemian make more mistakes than Andy Dalton.
LIONS AT PACKERS
Finally, the Rodg HAS COME BACK TO … LAMBEAU.
The Packers offense has struggled at the start and everyone is worried. However, they get their home opener against a Lions team they’ve dominated in front of the Cheeseheads.
Aaron Rodgers and Co. have some things to iron out, yes. But they’ll be fine. They’ll look like it this week.
Side note: It would be really nice if the Pack could get Eddie Lacy some touches and it would be lovely if the latter could run just a tad faster and look more athletic. I’m asking for a friend who is definitely not me. And this is definitely not about fantasy football.
RAMS AT BUCCANEERS
My Rams won last week! And they still haven’t scored a touchdown!
They’re going to lose this week. However, I predict they WILL get in the end zone, even if it is via defense or special teams.
49ERS AT SEAHAWKS
Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly have quite the history, stretching back to their days at the college level. And while Carroll’s Seahawks resemble his Trojans from days of yore, Kelly is still putting together his squad, one Duck at a time, it seems.
The Seahawks’ offensive line is a mess and there are some banged-up skill position players. However, they’ve handled their Bay Area rivals with ease at CenturyLink Field and I don’t see this week being any different.
The score should be close though.
STEELERS AT EAGLES
While people have been making a fuss over Carson Wentz, the Eagles defense has been strong, as well.
Things will change this week as the Steelers come to town and they’re not pushovers like the Browns and Bears. Philly’s secondary is going to get tested early and it will be a challenge to keep guys like Antonio Brown from getting behind the coverage.
Wentz is lucky because the defense he’s facing isn’t the Black and Gold of years past. The Steelers have just one sack through two games, but have two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Ball security will be the key.
Wonderful analysis, Sid. Who are you taking this week? Screw it, I’m going with the home team in my upset of the week.
JETS AT CHIEFS
The Jets are on the road again this week, but they’re coming off a long break after playing last Thursday. And they have the added confidence that comes from a solid offensive showing against the Bills.
Gang Green has quite the three-headed monster at wide receiver in Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa. When was the last time you could sing the praises of a Jets offense, eh?
And it appears Kansas City will be without Jamaal Charles for another week. If this game took place in Week 9, I’d be Chiefs all the way. But … it’s not.
CHARGERS AT COLTS
The Chargers blew a huge lead in Week 1, but managed to hold on to one the following week. I still don’t know what to make of this team.
However, one thing I know for sure is that running back Melvin Gordon is making big strides in his second season and is making his touchdown-less rookie campaign a distant memory with every carry.
Meanwhile, the Colts continue to be a disaster, and even though I couldn’t imagine a few weeks ago that they’d start the season 0-3, here we are.
BEARS AT COWBOYS
So, no Jay Cutler for a few weeks. How many people in Chicago are happy their starting quarterback suffered a thumb injury? A considerable amount.
Poor guy. Sigh.
Anyway, Brian Hoyer will pilot the Bears offense with his typical adequateness while Smokin’ Jay and his Marlboros cool their heels.
I wish the Bears were better, because the NFL is better when Chicago is relevant.
FALCONS AND SAINTS
This would have been quite the barnburner a few years ago. Now, it’s just a matchup of two teams with bad defenses who are going to get drowned out by the Trump-Clinton debate on Monday night.
Does anyone care who wins this game besides me?
Eh, give me the home team.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.