NFL Pick ‘Em: Week Three Breakdown
Week three in the NFL is poised to have a lot of great matchups for just about everyone to enjoy this week. I winded up going 11-5 in last weeks picks, bringing my overall record on the season to 21-11. With that being said, let’s take a look at who I have winning in this weeks NFL Pick ‘Em Series:
Houston Texans (2-0) at New England Patriots (2-0)
For The Texans: After an impressive start to their 2016 campaign, the Texans have proven to be an early favorite to snag a playoff spot in the AFC. While I am a huge fan of this diverse offense, the one thing holding this franchise together is their defense. Allowing only a mere 13 points allowed per game, the Texans will need a strong defensive front to rattle the Patriots this week.
For The Patriots: After already losing Brady for the first four games, the Patriots may be in a slightly deeper hole after potentially losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a right shoulder injury. The “next man up” approach as always worked for Bill Belichick and company, but how well Jacoby Brissett can handle himself will be the key factor for this team.
Prediction: While I do like the Patriots ability to win this game under Garoppolo at home, it’s more than likely he won’t be starting on Thursday. If Brissett is the starting quarterback for the Patriots, I’m going to go with the Texans in a low-scoring game.
Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-2)
For The Cardinals: The Cardinals finally looked like their 2015 selves last Sunday, holding the Bucs to only 7 points. The defense was a major key in that game, recording 4 interceptions, a forced fumble, as well as 2 sacks. If the Cardinals win this game, it will be because of their diverse talent on both sides of the football.
For The Bills: After an 0-2 start to the season, the Bills decided to fire their offensive coordinator, which is interesting because they actually were a top 10 offensive unit in the NFL for the first 14 days. With changes to the staff already happening, I wonder how long it will take for the Bills to finally take control of their destiny.
Prediction: Firing Greg Roman was the worst scapegoat I have seen in awhile, and because of that, I think the Bills will struggle with their offense. Expect the Cardinals to take this game and improve to 2-1, while the Bills will remain winless by the end of the week.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
For The Raiders: While the offense is continuing to rack up points, this Oakland defense has turned out to be all hype thus far. Averaging 31.5 points per game (3rd in NFL) is a great stat to have on your side, but it won’t matter when you allow 34.5 points per game (30th in NFL).
For The Titans: The Titans stole a game from the Lions last week, edging them out 16-15. My problem with the Titans doesn’t revolve around their quarterback, but it’s around the weapons he has around him. While I am a fan of Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray, their best receiving option is Delanie Walker. Walker currently ranks 44th in the NFL in receiving yards with 125, but is the team leader currently.
Prediction: While Oakland’s defense is appearing overrated for now, I think they’ll be able to pick up the pace against a run-heavy Titans team. I’ll take the Raiders, but don’t be surprised if it’s another close one.
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-2)
For The Browns: The team has started 5 different quarterbacks in their last 5 regular season games, and that happens to be the story of their franchise unfortunately. With McCown out for a few weeks, the team will turn to Cody Kessler to lead them to their first victory on Sunday. I personally believe the Browns will wind up as one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, even with the addition of Josh Gordon in a few weeks.
For The Dolphins: After yet another loss, this time to the Patriots, the Dolphins are a team that puzzle me. With an offense and defense that seems so talented on paper, how in the world do they continue to struggle? The team continues to claim Ryan Tannehill is “their guy”, but how long will it be before they realize the coaching and defense haven’t been the problem every game for the last few years?
Prediction: This is more like a game of which team will perform worse than the other, and for me, the answer is the Browns. I have the Dolphins winning by 10-13 points in this one, while Kessler may end up seeing very limited games early on in his career.
Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
For The Ravens: I said this before the season even started, but the Ravens are a solid football team this year. After an underwhelming campaign in 2015, many would be shocked at their numbers. The Ravens are actually in the middle of the pact in just about every category, but Joe Flacco is playing great football right now. While beating the Bills and Browns isn’t much to celebrate, the Ravens do a have chance to beat the Jaguars.
For The Jaguars: I was impressed by the offseason additions that the Jaguars made, and many even went as far to say that they could be a division favorite this year. With an 0-2 start to the year, a game against an aging Ravens offense is a game that you have to win. If they start off 0-3, I think a lot of folks will take back what they said in relations to their playoff hopes.
Prediction: I do like the fact that Flacco is utilizing Steve Smith Sr more as the weeks go on, but I think Jacksonville has the upper hand in this one. It is only week three, but I can’t emphasis enough that this is a must-win for the Jags.
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Green Bay Packers 1-1)
For The Lions: From beating the Colts by 4, to losing to the Titans by 1, the Lions once again show that they are unpredictable. While I did have them winning last week against the Titans, I think this matchup in Green Bay will be an uphill battle.
For The Packers: I’m baffled at the fact that the Packers let Sam Bradford and the Vikings beat them last week, which only makes me question Aaron Rodgers more and more. Those are the type of games that may come back to haunt them later in the season, but for now, they need to focus on executing their offense against a suspect Lions defense.
Prediction: While I’m actually not a believer in the fact that Aaron Rodgers is claimed to be the best quarterback in the league, I am going to choose him to have a solid game in a win over the Lions.
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
For The Broncos: With an average defense, this is probably a team I would have predicted would start 0-3 on the season. Give them the #1 defense in the NFL? I may even pick them to start 3-0. Trevor Siemian currently has a 1:3 TD:INT ratio, and he obviously won’t be the long-term answer in Denver (cough cough Paxton Lynch). With that being said, the defense is going to need to contain Andy Dalton, who is currently #1 in passing yards per game with 366.
For The Bengals: After a 1-1 start to the season, this may be a true test if the Bengals are able to play well against the top defense in the NFL. I do like their chances in this game, and I think the potential this offense has poises them to be top 5-10 by the end of the season.
Prediction: This is going to be a great battle between one of the (early) best offenses, against what I believe to be the best defense. This may turn out to be a three-point game, but give me the Broncos on the road.
Minnesota Vikings (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)
For The Vikings: Sam Bradford surprised everyone in a win at home against Green Bay, yet I do question what he will be able to accomplish with the likable absence of Adrian Peterson. Bradford, to me, has rarely come up in the clutch before, so this is going to be the hardest game of his career when he faces a top-five defense on the road.
For The Panthers: I was positive the Panthers would win against a struggling 49ers squad, and they did. This week? They’ll go up against a crippled Vikings team, which should add up to a victory. If the offense continues to play like they did last week, expect a big game from a lot of players.
Prediction: I’ll keep this one short and sweet; I like the Vikings defense, but I love the Panthers offense. The Panthers should be able to pull this one off. If not, Bradford just lead his team to a victory over the Packers and Panthers in back to back weeks.
Washington Redskins (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)
For The Redskins: After yet another loss in week two, the Redskins are now one of eight teams seeking their first victory this week. Kirk Cousins has reportedly been complained about, and I’m looking for him to have confidence in himself before others can be confident in him.
For The Giants: I expected last week to be a much higher scoring game, but I did pick them to win because I believed they would be able to contain Mark Ingram, who had 9 carries for only 30 yards. This week they’ll need to rely on their offense to outscore Cousins, who is currently third in passing yards per game (347).
Prediction: I think the Redskins may even finish last in the NFC East this season, so give me the Giants in a heated battle. The Giants will be able to contain Matt Jones with ease, but the bigger story will be Josh Norman against OBJ.
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
For The Rams: After a low-scoring victory over the Seahawks, I think we can all agree that the game between the two was more about the Seahawks not being able to execute properly on offense. Todd Gurley has really been the only useful player on offense, and I’d be surprised if they can keep up, points wise, to a Bucs team that has a chip on their shoulder from their blowout loss last week.
For The Bucs: After a huge loss to the Cardinals, the Bucs will look to bounce back against a Rams defense that has been able to hold its own. While Tampa Bay does tend to struggle on defense, if Jameis Winston can play like he did in week one, this contest shouldn’t even be close.
Prediction: The Rams have only scored 9 points all season so far, and I can’t imagine they’ll eclipse over lets say 16 this game. Look for Winston to bounce back and lead the Bucs to a 2-1 record by the end of week three.
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
For The 49ers: After their defense let up 46 points in a loss to the Panthers, the 49ers will be on the road to play a team that has only scored 15 points all season. With that note aside, the team will need to figure out a way to keep this offense cold, while also being able to utilize their receivers a bit more throughout the game.
For The Seahawks: After only managing 3 points last week against the Rams, the Seahawks continue to prove that their offense is not the same without Marshawn Lynch. If the Seahawks want to prove to the nation that they can contend in the NFC, they’ll need to make this a statement game.
Prediction: I’m not a fan of the way the Seahawks play on offense, especially with Wilson’s high ankle sprain. With that being said, I’ll still pick them to win in a game that should be easy to win at home.
New York Jets (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
For The Jets: The Jets really turned things around for themselves on Thursday night, as Matt Forte was able to be fed the ball like old times. If this team can keep producing on the offensive side of things, they could lock themselves up with a wild card slot.
For The Chiefs: Still without Jamal Charles, I think we can all agree on the fact that this team isn’t the same, no matter how well Spencer Ware is doing right now. They continue to refuse to utilize Jeremy Maclin, and this more so reminds me of the Alex Smith that didn’t throw touchdowns to receivers. While I do believe they are a strong regular season team, I want to see adjustments with the way the offense is being run. ‘
Prediction: I think the Jets are red-hot after last weeks win, and they continue by having a big game in Kansas City. This is another 50/50 game that either team can win, but I expect the Jets to edge the Chiefs out.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
For The Chargers: After losing yet another piece on offense (Danny Woodhead), the Chargers continue to be a team that is hanging by a thread. After a blowout victory last week, their defense will go against one of the better young passers in today’s game, Andrew Luck.
For The Colts: The problem isn’t as much the offense as it is the defense at this point. With two straight losses, the Colts will need to figure out a way to stop a crippling Chargers offense. If they can’t stop them this week, who will they be able to stop in future weeks?
Prediction: I don’t see Indy being able to execute in the postseason, but I do see them being able to score some points on the Chargers. I’ll take the Colts in a 7-point win this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
For The Steelers: The Steelers have been off to a solid start, and this is even including no Le’Veon Bell or Martavis Bryant on the roster. The Eagles have been scary good on both sides of the football, but they haven’t faced the same offensive talent that the Steelers will be presenting them with.
For The Eagles: Carson Wentz deserves all the credit in the world for being able to succeed in his first two NFL games, but has he really faced a half decent defense? Once again Wentz will be playing against a Steelers squad that is consistently struggling when it comes to their secondary.
Prediction: Although the Eagles are the home team, I am going to stick with the Steelers in this one. Wentz would need to have a heck of a game to be able to keep up with a Steelers rushing game that ranks #1 currently.
Chicago Bears (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
For The Bears: After being ridiculed as one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, Jay Cutler right now is proving to be a disappointment once again for the Bears. With Alshon Jeffery and Jeremy Langford on the offensive side of things, the only reason Cutler is even still in the league is because of how expensive it would be to cut him at this point.
For The Cowboys: After a close win with the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys finally proved that they could win a game without Romo under center. With that being said, Dak Prescott needs to learn how to convert from field goals over to touchdowns.
Predictions: 95% of the time, you’ll see me bet against the Bears, simply because their group is disorganized, not because they aren’t talented enough to win games. I think the Cowboys will be slow on offense to start (once again), but may pick up the pace in the second half of things.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
For The Falcons: The Falcons offense is looking bright, although it is unclear to whom the lead back is as of now; Coleman or Freeman. With that being said, the Falcons biggest issue is their defense. With a coach like Dan Quinn, you would think they would improve at least a little bit?
For The Saints: Drew Brees doesn’t look a day over 25 with the way he has been this season, yet his defense has lead him to an 0-2 record this season. Year after year, management refuses to give Brees the support that is needed to clinch a division title.
Prediction: I think the Falcons are going to have a really hard time stopping Drew Brees on Monday night, as I predict for the Saints to win this divisional battle.
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