Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 3 Picks

Something tells me this Jay Cutler isn't as worried about taking sacks as the other one...

Hey, remember when I said the NFL was totally unpredictable and we still didn’t know anything after just one week’s worth of games? Yeah, that was true (Please see Ravens vs. Titans). Guess what? We still don’t know anything! After an extremely small sample size of 2 games, we might know approximately 5-10% more than we did to start the season. As is always the case, there will likely be at least 2 or 3 “shocking” results that turn the NFL world upside down. You’d think after decades and decades of this, we’d be a bit more conditioned to it, but then how would the “experts” find ways to continually pat themselves on the back and appear to be intelligent every week?

Speaking of patting one’s self on the back, check our Week 2 results! After a disastrous Week 1, Prince and I rebounded nicely to make ourselves look at least moderately respectable. Let’s see where we stand after two weeks.

Remember, Prince and I are going head to head with our picks. No prize has been determined yet, but ideas are happily accepted.

Week 2 Results (point spread in parentheses)

Landrum: 12-4 (7-8)
Prince: 11-5 (7-8)

Week 2 Winner: Landrum +1

Results through Week 2 (point spread in parentheses)

Landrum: 18-14 (13-15)
Prince: 18-14 (11-17)
Overall Leader: Landrum +2

The results were much, much better than Week 1. Still, our performance against the spread leaves something to be desired. What is truly disappointing is that I emerge the victor in both Week 1 and Week 2, and yet lead by only 2. Such a waste. Let’s go to the Week 3 picks.

New England at Buffalo (NE -9)

Jon: New England (NE -9)
Prince: New England (NE -9)

Taking down Kansas City and Oakland is one thing, but hanging tough with the New England Patriots is completely different animal. Look, I’ve made it known that I’m openly rooting for the Bills to have a successful season and to finally give their fans something to cheer about for the first time in forever, but not even I can rationalize a scenario in which the Bills pull this one out. No way, no how. Ryan Fitzpatrick and his Harvard education are simply no match for Tom Brady. While I’m on the topic, is it too early to predict a 6,000 yard season from Brady? I mean, he’s on pace for 7,520 at the moment. Just sayin’.

San Francisco at Cincinnati (CIN -1)

Jon: San Francisco (SF +1)
Prince: San Francisco (SF +1)

So, this is awkward, 49ers fans. Look, I’m sorry that my guy Tony Romo had his breakout performance (at 31…in Week 2) against you, but it’s time to move on. After all, it’s not like you had a potentially season-making opportunity to get to 3-0 before hitting a tough 3 game stretch featuring a home game against Tampa Bay and road games against Philly and Detroit. OK, so it was a somewhat devastating loss! Even still, a road game against Cincinnati is a great chance to get some momentum heading into the tough part of their schedule. I’m not buying Andy Dalton’s big performance against a crappy Denver defense, and I think San Francisco rolls in this one.

Miami at Cleveland (CLE -2.5)

Jon: Miami (MIA +2.5)
Prince: Miami (MIA +2.5)

I was initially leaning towards Cleveland in this game until Prince pointed out the obvious. After a potentially season saving victory over Indianapolis and with an opportunity to gain some traction for the first time in over a decade, this is exactly the type of game the Browns will lose. The stadium will be loud, the fans all fired up, and the Browns will come out and lay an egg. You know what? I can’t disagree with that assessment. Dolphins it is.

Denver at Tennessee (TEN -4.5)

Jon: Tennessee (TEN -4.5)
Prince: Tennessee (TEN -4.5)

In one corner, I give you a team quarterbacked by a 70 year old bald man, and just 2 short weeks removed from a horrendous loss to Jacksonville! In the other corner, I give you a team whose “QB of the Future” is lining up at receiver while the entire fan base openly plots ways to assassinate the starter! Who will win this titanic struggle for football supremacy? Well, definitely not the fans. After seeing the amount of yards Denver allowed to Oakland on the ground and Cincinnati in the air, I can only surmise that any organic being can score a TD on these guys. With that in mind, I will “boldly” predict that Chris Johnson finally breaks out of his early season slump and has a huge day, leading to countless “witty” comments by ESPN personalities about how Johnson is finally justifying his new contract. Several of these comments will be from Merril Hoge, and I will immediately want to punch him (and then run very fast, because he’s far larger and tougher than I).

Detroit at Minnesota (DET -4)

Jon: Detroit (DET -4)
Prince: Detroit (MIN +4)

No, they haven’t gotten a true signature win yet, but I’m totally buying the Detroit Lions. It’s still too early to pencil them in the playoffs, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see them beating the Vikings. My biggest struggle was figuring out whether I wanted to take the points or not. On one hand, Minnesota has held second half leads against two teams with a combined 19 wins last season. On the other hand, Donovan McNabb looks pretty bad, and the 2nd half meltdowns are clearly symptomatic of some significant problems. Getting Kevin Williams back could be a huge factor, and the Vikings should have no problem running the ball (do they ever?), but the fact that this is an indoor game makes me think the Lions have the advantage. If any team in the NFL resembles the old “Greatest Show on Turf,” it’s the Lions. Stafford has been beyond impressive so far, and his endless arsenal of weapons makes it nearly impossible for defenses to adequately cover everybody. Above all, Stafford and Co. most assuredly have a strong motivation to stick it to Prince, who’s still recovering from last weeks debacle (Which I had the pleasure of witnessing in person, going so far as to openly rejoice when LeGarrette Blount scored the game winning TD. Yes, I know I’m a horrible person. I don’t care.).

Houston at New Orleans (NO -5.5)

Jon: New Orleans (NO -5.5)
Prince: New Orleans (NO -5.5)

Of the 1:00pm games, this might be the most interesting, as it gives us our first chance to gauge just how good the Texans really are. Let’s face it, beating Indianapolis and Miami isn’t much of an accomplishment. Beating New Orleans on the road? Yeah, that would definitely win over some believers. As for me, I’m not willing to count the Texans among the NFL’s elite until they literally slam my face into the mat and force me into submission. Hey Texans! Win more than 8 games in a season! Meanwhile, our good friend from, Nate Dunlevy, mentioned on a recent podcast that Houston might win 13 games this season. As would be expected, I initially thought that sounded like a dumb statement. Then I checked the schedule. Their next four feature games against New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. After that, they play only one team that made the playoffs last season (and no, I’m not counting the Colts). 2 against Jacksonville, 2 against Tennessee, and 1 each against Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. Basically, they could end up being the worst 13 win team of all time!

New York Giants at Philiadelphia (No Line)

Jon: Philadelphia
Prince: Philadelphia

After all the fears and concerns regarding Michael Vick’s propensity to get hurt while running around all over the field, how ironic is it that Vick gets injured while hanging in the pocket?! What’s that, Michael Vick fantasy owners? You don’t think it’s ironic at all? Hmm…interesting. Thanks to Vick’s uncertain status for Week 3, there is no line for this game. According to reports coming from the team, Vick passed a concussion test and appears likely to play against the Giants. We’ll see if that proves accurate or not. Mike Kaffka actually looked pretty good in relief of Vick, and I think I’d pick Philly either way. It’s not that I hate the Giants…wait, no, that’s exact it. I hate the Giants.

Jacksonville at Carolina (CAR -3.5)

Jon: Carolina (CAR -3.5)
Prince: Carolina (CAR -3.5)

Let’s not waste much time on this garbage-fest. Blaine Gabbart (still spelled wrong) makes his first NFL start this Sunday against “The Next Coming,” Cam Newton. The real question is, how many Cam Newton interceptions will it take for Carolina to lose this game? I’m saying 5. While I would never want to sell Cam short on his potential (for being bad), it’s hard to see how Jacksonville stays competitive in this one.  

New York Jets at Oakland (NYJ -3.5)

Jon: New York (NYJ -3.5)
Prince: New York (NYJ -3.5)

What’s to say about this one? The Jets easily dispatched Jacksonville last week, and I expect more of the same here. While it’s technically true that Oakland could easily be 2-0 right now, that doesn’t mean much when the opponents are Denver and Buffalo. The vaunted Jets defense should have no trouble shutting down the Raiders passing game, effectively limiting the Raiders offense to 60+ yard Sebastian Janikowski field goals. Jets win by double digits.

Baltimore at St. Louis (STL -3.5)

Jon: Baltimore (BAL +3.5)
Prince: Baltimore (BAL +3.5)

I think we’re all still trying to figure out what the heck went wrong for Baltimore last week. I mean, how do you come out like that only a week after laying the wood on the defending AFC champion, Pittsburgh Steelers? The answer…they’re the Ravens. It’s what they do. Last year, they started the season with a road win against the New York Jets. Impressive. They followed that up with an ugly loss to Cincinnati. Not impressive. Still, the fact that they’re a 3.5 point underdog to the St. Louis Rams MASH unit is a severe overreaction to last week. I look for the good Ravens to come out this week and handle business.

Check-down Joe update: Of Joe Flacco’s 32 completions, 23 have been to RB’s or TE’s. (This Joe Flacco update brought to you by the Libertarian party. Be as conservative as you can be!)

Kansas City at San Diego (SD -15)

Jon: San Diego (KC +15)
Prince: San Diego (SD -15)

WHOA! 15 POINTS?! That’s a lot. Look, I know the Chiefs have been beyond horrible. I know they’ve driven their collective fan base to drink large quantities of battery acid. I know they don’t have any good players left on the active roster. I get it. But 15 points? To Norv Turner? I just can’t go that far. Chargers win the game, obviously, but too much has to happen for this to be more than 2 touchdowns. (Now that I’ve made that statement, the Chiefs will most assuredly lose by 30.)

Green Bay at Chicago (GB -4)

Jon: Green Bay (GB -4)
Prince: Green Bay (GB -4)

If you enjoy seeing Jay Cutler taken off the field on a stretcher, then this is the game for you! Last season, Cutler was sacked a league high 52 times (Collins and Hanie were sacked twice each) for a sack rate of 10.7%. After working hard to patch up the line and having another offseason with brilliant OL coach Mike Tice, the Bears have allowed Cutler to be sacked 11 times! In only 2 games! That comes out to a dreadful sack rate of 12.5%. We can argue all day about whether it’s the line’s fault or whether Cutler hold the ball too long…the point is, something is terribly wrong with the Bears offense. I highly doubt an afternoon of visiting with Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji will make things any better. The Packers came out flat against Carolina, giving the BDT crew quite a scare, but the Bears should have their full attention.

Arizona at Seattle (ARI -3)

Jon: Arizona (ARI -3)
Prince: Seattle (SEA +3)

I picked Tarvaris Jackson against the spread in Week 1…and lost. I picked Tarvaris Jackson against the spread in Week 2…and lost. After seriously considering taking Jackson TO WIN OUTRIGHT in Week 3, I finally came to my senses and picked Arizona. So, why am I nervous about this pick? Well, for starters, the Arizona defense has given up 932 total yards in their first two games. That’s bad on its own, but it looks even worse when you figure that they gave up those yards to Carolina and Washington. If Tarvaris Jackson is going to have a decent game, it’s probably going to be against Arizona. For another, Seattle’s home field advantage is a significant one. I’m not a huge Kolb believer, and there’s a chance that he’ll melt down in this game. Basically, it’s starting to look like Tarvaris will burn me the entire season. Great. I’ve wasted too much time on this game…let’s move on.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (TB -1)

Jon: Tampa Bay (TB -1)
Prince: Atlanta (ATL +1)

This is the 4:00pm game I’m most looking forward too. Both teams needed major comebacks to avoid a disastrous 0-2 start to the 2011 season. Most people seem to think Atlanta will use that game as a springboard to major success, but I’m still unconvinced. Don’t forget, they needed Philly’s best player to leave the game in order to orchestrate that comeback. If that fluke event hadn’t transpired, the narrative of this one would be totally different. For Tampa Bay, their first two games have to be discouraging. Much like last year, they consistently look bad in the first half. Of course, if we’re looking at last year, it has to be mentioned that they gave Atlanta two tough battles, albeit they lost both. In both games, they lost by less than a TD, and wasted golden opportunities late in the game. Call it a gut feeling, but I think Josh Freeman has a good outing and Tampa Bay takes it home this time.

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis (PIT -11)

Jon: Pittsburgh (PIT -11)
Prince: Pittsburgh (PIT -11)

This would have been a terrific game last year. This year, not so much. After another rough outing against the Browns, I see no reason to think Indy will be able to keep this remotely close. Kerry Collins will once again be Captain Turnover, and the Steelers defense will score 50 fantasy points.

Washington at Dallas (No Line)

Jon: Dallas
Prince: Dallas

Look, I’m a Cowboys fan, so watching this game is very important to me. No matter the record, it’s always a big deal to beat the Redskins. But that’s me, a Cowboys fan. For the rest of the world, I’m guess it’s not such a big deal. Why should everyone else be subjected to watching this irrelevant rivalry year after year? I mean, if it weren’t the Cowboys, I’d never watch the Redskins! Ever! So please, MNF, stop scheduling this game until both teams are relevant. Not for my sake, but for everybody else’s. As for the game, it’s hard to really figure anything out until we know who’s playing and who’s not. We already know Miles Austin is out for a couple weeks, but we don’t know about the status of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Felix Jones. Personally, I don’t care about Jones. He could miss the rest of the season and I wouldn’t care. But Romo and Bryant are absolute necessities. If they play, I think we win…no matter how many times DeAngelo Hall tries to hit Romo in the ribs. (By the way, there’s nothing wrong with what he said. If a guy is hurt, you have to go at him and test it. It’s called sports. If you have a problem with that, please go back to watching baseball, where this topic may or may not be covered in the mythical “Un-written Rules.”)


  1. Of course it's okay to hit Romo in the ribs (as the Redskins' DC snarkily pointed out, that's the only place the NFL will LET you hit a QB anymore!). The real question going into the game is, would it be okay to shoot him? Reports indicate that Romo will be wearing Kevlar!

  2. Well, Romo has been shooting the Cowboys in the collective foot for years, so it's only fair.