17 September 2014

2014 NFL Predictions: Week 3

(AP)
So, not much going on in the NFL, right? It's only been likely the worst week in the history of the league with the botched Ray Rice situation by the league (and the Ravens), the botched Adrian Peterson situation by the Vikings (which they only fixed today), and significant concerns regarding how the league reacts to domestic violence.

Fun times indeed. Here are my Week 3 picks.

Last Week: 6-10
2014: 15-17
Locks: 1-1

Thursday, September 18th
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-1) - CBS/NFL Network, 8:25
Weren't the Buccaneers going to be a quality team this year? Well they have lost two in a row to Derek Anderson and Austin Davis, and they allowed both to look really sharp! Doug Martin has been hurt and looked horrible and Josh McCown hasn't looked much like he did a year ago. Meanwhile the Falcons looked very feckless in Cincinnati as Matt Ryan looked much worse than he did in the opener. I think he will look like more of how he looked in the opener and Atlanta gets a win.
Falcons 30 Buccaneers 19

Sunday, September 21st
San Diego Chargers (1-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (2-0) - CBS, 1:00
As they say, nobody circles them wagons quite like the Buffalo Bills. And after an emotional victory over the Dolphins on a day in which they celebrated the late Ralph Wilson, they sit here as a surprising 2-0. They will host a club that did just smack the defending Super Bowl champions at home in San Diego, but also a team playing at 10:00 am local time. With a solid defense and running game, the Bills can attempt to slow down Philip Rivers but it will not be enough to get to 3-0.
Chargers 25 Bills 17

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) vs. St. Louis Rams (1-1) - Fox, 1:00
Speaking of Austin Davis, he did show a lot of poise and made some nice throws in Tampa en route to a victory. The defense for the Rams looked much better than it did in the opener as well. St. Louis gets to host a Cowboys team that ran the ball extremely well in Nashville en route to a easy win over the Titans. I do think DeMarco Murray can run the ball well against an inconsistent Rams run defense but I also think the Rams will get after Tony Romo and force him into some mistakes, the likes of which Davis (and I can't believe I'm writing this) won't.
Rams 20 Cowboys 18

Houston Texans (2-0) vs. New York Giants (0-2) - CBS, 1:00
Eli Manning struggled once again last week, which of course means he got little help from his supporting cast while this time he himself played well, and of course the Giants lost. They get to host the Texans who have looked pretty good thus far. I think the Houston pass rush will get after Manning, Arian Foster will show more power running the ball and the Texans will get another road victory.
Texans 24 Giants 20

Washington (1-1) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) - Fox, 1:00
All of those people who have overrated Kirk Cousins were somewhat justified with his sharp performance against the Jaguars after Robert Griffin III suffered an ankle injury early on. Of course, Cousins was going up against a feckless Jacksonville defense but know we can see what he can do as he's a more natural pocket passer for Jay Gruden's attack. I don't think he will look as sharp as he did last week and I don't think the Washington pass rush will get to Nick Foles as much as they got to Chad Henne. Philly wins.
Eagles 31 Washington 20

Tennessee Titans (1-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) - CBS, 1:00
How about the Bengals? They rallied late against the Ravens in the opener and dominated the Falcons at home last week. The defense has shown a lot of pop and while the offense hasn't been great, particularly without A.J. Green last week and he's questionable to play this week, they have been able to get the job done. The Titans took a step back last week and I think there isn't much question who is the superior club here.
Bengals 24 Titans 14

Minnesota Vikings (1-1) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-2) - Fox, 1:00
How many folks saw the Saints sitting here this week at 0-2? I certainly did not when I picked them to win the Super Bowl. But they have a great opportunity here against a Vikings team surrounding in controversy regarding Adrian Peterson and a Vikings team that looked terrible against the Patriots at home. Now they are going to one of the tougher places to play in the league without much of a running game or much of a passing game.
Saints 35 Vikings 18

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) -  CBS, 1:00
For a matchup of winless clubs, this still seems like a tough matchup. The Colts have been in a couple of games that have come down to the wire with a big rally job against Denver and then blowing a 17-6 halftime lead to Philadelphia. The Jaguars have looked very feeble save for the first half against Philadelphia as their defense has struggled at times, Chad Henne hasn't looked good and the tremendously mediocre Toby Gerhart, who is really good at running into the line. Even on the road, Indy wins big.
Colts 28 Jaguars 6

Oakland Raiders (0-2) vs. New England Patriots (1-1) - CBS, 1:00
While New England smashed the Vikings in Minneapolis, the Raiders looked terrible once again, this time at home against the Texans. The offense has struggled to move the ball and the defense has been gashed on the ground. Now they have another early start on the East Coast and you can see where I am going with this. The Patriots are my Lock of the Week.
Patriots 28 Raiders 6

Green Bay Packers (1-1) vs. Detroit Lions (1-1) - Fox, 1:00
We are getting a matchup of two teams that have looked like the opposite in how they have played this year. In Week 1, the Lions smashed the Giants while the Packers were overwhelmed by the Seahawks in Seattle. Last week, the Packers got a big comeback win against the Jets while the Lions were held in check by the Carolina defense. We will see a showdown of quarterbacks with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford getting after it under center. Detroit has looked good defensively but I think they will struggle to hold Rodgers and his friends in check. I like the Pack to win in a shootout.
Packers 35 Lions 31

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (1-1) - CBS, 1:00
Both teams got an impressive home win this past week to even up their records with Baltimore, amid the Ray Rice mess, taking out the Steelers on Thursday while the Browns surprised a lot of folks in upsetting the Saints at home. Who will get the better of each other here? I think Baltimore is better overall than the Browns and I think with Joe Flacco having a nice performance on the road, the Ravens will get the win.
Ravens 27 Browns 20

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (2-0) - Fox, 4:05
Can the 49ers rebound from a disappointing loss in the opener of their new stadium to the Bears, one in which Colin Kaepernick looked awful? In order to do so, they will have to get past the undefeated Cardinals, who didn't look all that impressive in the Meadowlands with the immortal Drew Stanton under center. It looks like Stanton will be getting the start again and thus I don't see the Cardinals being able to move the ball all that well against Frisco.
49ers 24 Cardinals 18

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) vs. Miami Dolphins (1-1) - CBS, 4:25
It looks like Jamaal Charles either may not go or certainly will not be 100% this Sunday and that will hurt the Chiefs as he basically is the team's offense. That said, they had some success running the ball in Denver and Alex Smith made some plays as well but ultimately, they failed to take advantage of many chances to get the win. I think the offense will take a step back more towards what they looked in the opener and I think Miami will bounce back and get the win.
Dolphins 19 Chiefs 12

Denver Broncos (2-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) - CBS, 4:25
Hey, remember the Super Bowl? Here's the rematch we were all looking for and we have got a Seahawks team that really disappointed last week in San Diego. Yes, they are not as dangerous on the road but their defense was thoroughly shredded by Philip Rivers. However, I don't think Peyton Manning will be able to do that in Seattle. Denver is better than they looked in the Super Bowl and it will be a fun game but (this definitely sounds lazy) but Seattle just has a different edge at home.
Seahawks 27 Broncos 24

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-0) - NBC, 8:20
Carolina is 2-0, how bout that? The defense has looked really good, which should surprise no one, Cam Newton has been playing well and the receiving corps has not been the fiasco many folks thought. They get a crack on SNF at a Steelers club that looked mediocre on TNF last week. I think they will look better this go-around with a long layoff and get a road win behind a strong performance from both Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell.
Steelers 21 Panthers 20

Monday, September 22nd
Chicago Bears (1-1) vs. New York Jets (1-1) - ESPN, 8:30
The Jets surprised many an observer by taking an quick lead on the Packers at Lambeau but they ultimately blew an 18-point lead to Aaron Rodgers and crew en route to a tough loss, one made worse by the Marty Mornhinweg/Sheldon Richardson timeout from hell. Now New York has to come back and take on a Bears club that played well down the stretch in San Francisco for their first win at the 49ers in many years. I like Chicago but a little closer than the experts may think.
Bears 30 Jets 25

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