|I'll make you a deal, Matt Ryan. If you take down Tarvaris Jackson for me, I'll consider giving your nickname back to you. No promises though!|
If only every Sunday could be as entertaining and eventful as Week 3. Any way you slice it, last week provided some of the most entertaining football I’ve ever seen. Most of all, the sheer volume and magnitude of the comebacks was incredible. Every 1pm game involved some sort of comeback, highlighted by Detroit’s from down 20 and Buffalo’s from down 21. Yes, Week 3 was a fantastic week of football for many, many reasons.
Most of all, it was great because my picks were good! OK, so maybe that isn’t a reason, but I was pretty happy. Considering that pretty much EVERYONE got the Jets and Pats wrong, I feel pretty darn good about 11-5. Of course, knowing that Prince was also 11-5 takes away most of that feeling. Oh well. Let’s see how we did in Week 3.
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: 11-5 (8-6)
Prince: 11-5 (8-6)
Week 2 Winner: Tie
Results through Week 2 (point spread in parentheses)
Landrum: 29-19 (21-21)
Prince: 29-19 (19-23)
Overall Leader: Landrum +2
For the 2nd week in a row, Prince and I come out looking pretty good. The best part is that we finally had some success against the spread, breaking .500 for the first time this year. The worst part is that I still can’t extend my +2 lead! Darn you Tarvaris Jackson!!! Let’s get to the Week 4 picks.
Carolina at Chicago (CHI -5)
Jon: Carolina (CAR +5)
Prince: Chicago (CAR +5)
Well, let’s start this week off with a bang, shall we? I know this pick seems crazy after all the negative things I’ve said about Cam Newton, but I have to be honest…he’s starting to win me over. I mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. I was much more impressed with Newton’s performance last week than I was with either of his 400 yard games. Keep in mind, its one thing for Newton to surprise everyone in his first career start, it’s another thing to adjust and continue being successful after teams have some tape on you. At Chicago will obviously be a much stiffer test than Jacksonville, but I don’t think the Bears are anywhere near good enough to impose their will on Carolina. As long as Newton can avoid turnovers (still a big if), the Carolina front four should be in Cutler’s grill all day long. Hey, at least I had the cajones to make this pick! Unlike Prince, who took the cowards way out and hedged! Go Cam Newton (and I just shot myself with a rifle…)
Buffalo at Cincinnati (CIN -3)
Jon: Buffalo (BUF +3)
Prince: Buffalo (BUF +3)
You read that right, Cincinnati opened as a 3 point favorite. What Cincinnati has done to earn that, I have no clue. Needless to say, I’m picking the Bills. However, I have a sneaking suspicion this game might be closer than people think. The Bengals play ugly football, and that seems to be contagious. Also, Cedric Benson is angry, and when Cedric Benson is angry, people at the bar get punched in the face. No seriously, they do.
Tennessee at Cleveland (CLE -2)
Jon: Cleveland (CLE -2)
Prince: Tennessee (TEN +2)
Thus far, Cleveland is 2-1 in close games against crappy teams. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. The real reason I’m taking Cleveland is…umm…uh…wait, why am I taking Cleveland? It could have something to do with Kenny Britt’s injury. Or it could have something to do with Peyton Hillis’ return. Or it could be because Chris Johnson thinks this is the 4th and final preseason game before the regular season begins. Or it could be because I’m stupid. You decide.
Detroit at Dallas (DAL -3)
Jon: Detroit (DET +3)
Prince: Detroit (DET +3)
Here are some interesting stats for you to digest heading into this game.
Week 3 vs. Redskins – 5REC 64YDS
Week 1 vs. Jets – 6REC 94YDS 1TD
2010 Week 15 vs. Redskins – 6REC 89YDS 1TD
2010 Week 13 vs. Colts – 5REC 55YDS
2010 Week 11 vs. Lion – 9REC 85YDS
2010 Week 10 vs. Giants – 7REC 93YDS 1TD
2010 Week 8 vs. Jacksonville – 2REC 51YDS 2TD
Those were the 7 worst examples I could find in the last 16 games. Just in those 7 alone though, the Cowboys surrendered 40 receptions, 531yards, and 5 touchdowns. And really, it could have been much worse, as Dallas faced Green Bay without Jermichael Finley and Philadelphia two times without Brent Celek.
So, what’s my point? Well, if I included the numbers from how much success bigger receivers had against us (Calvin Johnson, Mike Sims-Walker, Kenny Britt, Marques Colston, Plaxico Burress, and others torched us), the case against Dallas would be crystal clear. The secondary is too smallish and non-physical to handle the Brandon Pettigrew’s and Calvin Johnson’s of the world. Also, the secondary is just plain bad. That’s fine against Rex Grossman, but not against Stafford. I’ll be rooting with all my heart, but I don’t see how this ends well for Dallas.
Minnesota at Kansas City (MIN -3)
Jon: Minnesota (MIN -3)
Prince: Minnesota (MIN -3)
By now, you’ve heard enough about how the Vikings are able to rack up big half time leads. I won’t bore you with that again. Clearly the Vikings have something on this team, while the Chiefs clearly don’t. After a lot of talk from Adrian Peterson, I expect the coaching staff to give him all the touches he can handle, and I expect Adrian Peterson to show them exactly why they’re so stupid for ignoring him on 4th and 1.
Washington at St. Louis (STL -1.5)
Jon: St. Louis (STL -1.5)
Prince: St. Louis (STL -1.5)
To put it rather bluntly, this is St. Louis’ entire season. Right here, right now. Even in the lowly NFC West, the Rams cannot afford to drop to 0-4 and have any hope at keeping the division in their sights. Your team is banged up, I get it. Your team is facing a tough schedule, I get that too. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. A loss is a loss, and the Rams can’t afford to take too many more. At this point, I’m sure Sam Bradford and company are well aware of that fact. Playing Rex Grossman at home is too big an opportunity for them, and I imagine they’ll be playing as if it were the Super Bowl. Bradford blows up and the Rams win in a route.
San Francisco at Philiadelphia (No Line)
I guess we’re just going to be playing the “Michael Vick is banged up” story line all year. What a surprise. According to Vick, he’s 100% ready to go on Sunday. Coming from a guy who spent the better part of his Sunday clutching his helmet like he had a beetle in his ear, I’m not sure he’s the source I’m looking to bank my pick on. Still, it’s hard to see him sitting out this week, and it’s even harder to see “The Dream Team” fall to 1-3 at the hands of Alex Smith.
New Orleans at Jacksonville (NO -6)
Jon: New Orleans (NO -6)
Prince: New Orleans (NO -6)
DREW BREES! BLAINE GABBART! IT’S THE NFL ON FOX!
And you wonder why I’m more than happy to take NO -6…
Pittsburgh at Houston (HOU -3)
Jon: Pittsburgh (PIT +3)
Prince: Pittsburgh (PIT +3)
I can’t believe I’m about to say this so early in the year, but I think we’re going to learn a tremendous amount about both these teams. Houston pulled a Houston last week and threw away what should have been a huge victory. Pittsburgh has looked old and bad in two of their first three games. Something has to give here! Since I’m steadfastly refusing to buy into the Texans until they finally win a big game, I’m saying that the Steelers will get things rolling. Honestly, it’s hard to really understand what has been plaguing Pittsburgh against the likes of the Colts, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve gotten off to a sluggish start. Just a few years ago people were saying the same type of things after Pittsburgh struggled through an ugly Week 2 win vs. the Browns and an even uglier Week 3 loss to the Eagles. That team went on to win the Super Bowl. So yeah, let’s hold off on the doom and gloom for now, OK?
New York Giants at Arizona (ARI -3)
Jon: New York (NYG +3)
Prince: New York (NYG +3)
Don’t even ask me how this line makes sense because I have no clue. Arizona looked completely awful against the Seahawks, so I don’t know how anybody could think they’ll take down a Giants team that just dismantled the Eagles. Heck, even 4 Eli Manning INT’s might now be enough!
Atlanta at Seattle (ATL -3.5)
Jon: Atlanta (ATL -3.5)
Prince: Atlanta (ATL -3.5)
Thus far, Tarvaris has dealt me a loss in either the pick or the spread (or both) for three straight weeks. It ends now! Considering the competition in their division, Atlanta would be all but sunk after a 1-3 start. There is NO WAY they drop a vital game to Tarvaris Jackson. None. Not possible. I swear, if Tarvaris takes me down again, I might hire someone to take out his ACL’s.
Denver at Green Bay (GB -13)
Jon: Green Bay (DEN +13)
Prince: Green Bay (GB -13)
I struggled to pick the spread on this one, but eventually decided that Kyle Orton would probably have some success against a pass defense that has thus far been pretty bad. After hearing about Ryan Grant’s and Bryan Bulaga’s injuries, I feel even better about my decision.
New England at Oakland (NE -4)
Jon: New England (NE -4)
Prince: New England (NE -4)
Tom Brady can’t suck for two weeks in a row. It’s just not possible. Against an Oakland defense that has surrendered all kinds of points this year, I expect the Patriots to come out with a vengeance. Also, I expect them to actually attempt to run the ball occasionally, giving their offense some much needed balance. The only thing that worries me is a 200+ yard game by Darren McFadden. He’s torched everyone thus far, and the Pats run defense (or any defense) is pretty bad. Just a thought.
Note: Despite his 4 INT’s, Brady still threw for 387 yards against Buffalo. That brings his season total to 1327 yards and 11 touchdowns. At his current pace, Brady would throw for 7077.3 yards and 58.6 touchdowns. Also 26.7 interceptions, but hey, who’s counting?
Miami at San Diego (SD -9)
Jon: San Diego (MIA +9)
Prince: San Diego (MIA +9)
Seriously NFL odds-makers, why do you keep giving San Diego these huge lines? It’s Norv Turner for goodness sakes! Last week, the Chargers made it a point to keep the lowly Chiefs in the game, right down to the end. This week, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to make Chad Henne look like the 2nd coming of Dan Marino. To be totally honest, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Miami found a way to win this. Or rather, I wouldn’t be shocked if San Diego found a way to lose it.
Note: While we mentioning record paces set by QB’s, Philip Rivers is currently on pace to throw 32 interceptions. I thought you needed to know that.
New York Jets at Baltimore (BAL -3.5)
Jon: Baltimore (BAL -3.5)
Prince: Baltimore (BAL -3.5)
Which Joe Flacco will we get in this one? Will we get Week 2 Joe, who couldn’t find a WR to save his life? Or will we get Week 3 Joe, who torched the Rams downfield all day? Then again, we could rightly wonder about the Jets as well. They’ve looked pretty bad for the majority of the season, and are one Romo 4th quarter away from being 1-2. My preseason gut feeling on the Jets was that their defense was definitely aging and that they would likely decline quickly. I’m not calling victory on that yet, but it looks good so far. Baltimore, on the other hand, might have legitimately found something in Torrey Smith. I’m sure he won’t be catching 3 TD’s every game, but he does give them a legit downfield threat (apparently Lee Evans passed away a couple years ago). With Ray Rice looking like an All-Pro, the Ravens offense is extremely balanced and extremely dangerous. I like them to continue playing well against the Jets.
Indianapolis at Tampa Bay (TB -10)
Jon: Tampa Bay (TB -10)
Yet another Monday Night game they probably need to flex out. Is ESPN doing some sort of consumer loyalty test by seeing how many people are willing to watch anything they put on? Sure seems like it. Anyways, it looks like Curtis Painter is starting, and that spells disaster for the Colts. Tampa Bay is coming off a big win against Atlanta and I think they’re going to walk all over Indianapolis.