I know I am two weeks late in starting up my picks for NFL games, but I started the blog directly following week one and last weekend I was out of town and unable to get a post up. I was also riding high on Louisville’s big W over Kentucky and nothing could distract me from the glory that came from that win. It was long overdue; as the last time the Cards came out on top I was a senior in high school. They also won the Orange Bowl that year. Oh how times have changed…KRAGTHORPEEEEEE!
Anyway, I digress. Week two left a pretty sour taste in my mouth as a Ravens fan. It never feels good to follow up an enormous, tone setting win with an ugly, bad loss. Since I’m already talking about them, what better place to start than with the Ravens week three matchup.
Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (0-2)
Tennessee came out and embarrassed the Ravens last week. While they held Chris Johnson to next to nothing, they let Old-Man-Hasselbeck throw for 358 yards. This is unacceptable against a team that isn’t supposed to be good with a new quarterback who didn’t have any offseason training programs to get comfortable with his new offense.
This game clearly isn’t going to be a measuring stick for the Ravens season, and I hope it will actually help them in the long run. They are a very good team, but it is still the NFL and if you let your guard down for one second, you will get beat. No matter how bad the team you are playing is, they are still professionals for a reason.
The Rams at 0-2 are still trying to find their identity and are already pretty banged up. Danny Amendola is most likely out again, and even if they can go, Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, and Cadillac Williams will all not be playing at 100%. With that being the core of their offense, I don’t foresee any drastic improvements coming from them this week. The good news for the Rams is they are never out of the race for the NFC West.
I believe the Ravens will come out Pissed off and ready to knock some heads around after getting embarrassed last week and the Rams might be the unfortunate sacrificial lamb. 27-10 Ravens.
New England Patriots (2-0) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0)
I must admit, I never would have expected the Bills to open up at 2-0. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been outstanding so far, and Fred Jackson leads the NFL in rushing yards after two weeks. Their offense has seemingly been unstoppable, but they have benefitted from playing Kansas City and Oakland.
The Patriots are who we thought they were. They are still very good. As much as I hate him, “The Golden Boy” has been absolutely on fire so far. I do feel this team should enjoy its overwhelming success while it lasts. Not to say they won’t be there until the very end this season, but this is not a running team, and once it gets cold out and the field shortens, I see them having some trouble. By that time, teams will be more cohesive and have significantly more film on what Belichick is doing. That said, for now, I don’t see anyone slowing Brady down.
This game should see a lot of points being put on the board, but I just don’t see the Bills ready to take that step yet. It’s been 15 straight losses for them, and if there is one pick this week that I hope I am very wrong on, it’s this one. I would love to see the Bills pull it out in front of their home crowd, but I just don’t see it happening quite yet. 42-38 Patriots.
Jacksonville jaguars (1-1) @ Carolina Panthers (0-2)
If ever there were a player in the NFL who didn’t deserve to start 0-2 based on his level of play alone, it’s Cam Newton. I wrote about him after week one, and he continued his record setting start in the NFL, this time against the defending champs defense. I look for him to absolutely shred Jacksonville.
The Jags are a very bad football team and I can’t see them getting any better in the short term by starting Blaine Gabbert. I don’t think “Sunshine” will turn out to be much of an NFL QB, but I also said that about Newton, so that probably means he will be great. For now though, MJD can’t do it all. Cam will get his well-deserved first win with ease. 27-7 Panthers.
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
The 49ers better hope that Alex Smith can play. They can feel sorry for themselves all they want about that demoralizing loss to the Cowboys last weekend, but if Smith doesn’t play, this game might become unwatchable. Neither of these teams are very good to begin with, and Colin Kapernick will not help that cause in any fashion. That said, I’ve been impressed with these teams so far. Despite all of their glaring flaws, they both play hard and don’t want to believe they are part of the armpit of the league, unlike Kansas City and Seattle. It might be ugly, but this should be a close, hard fought game. 17-13 49ers.
Miami Dolphins (0-2) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1)
The Dolphins confuse me. They have a bunch of good pieces in place. Their defense is strong, they have a good receiving core, and Chad Henne seems to at the very least be improved from the last two years, which might not be saying much. Their running game definitely needs help, but I feel Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas complement each other nicely for the time being. And yet, for some reason, they sit at 0-2.
The Browns are definitely a team on the rise and will continue to improve throughout this season and the next few years. This team will definitely beat teams is has no business beating, but it will also blow some games it shouldn’t loose. I believe they have finally made the transition from one of the leagues really bad teams to one of the leagues good-bad teams.
This game will be close, but I see the Dolphins coming out with a sense of desperation. If they loose this game, I could see the team slowly quitting, and Tony Sparano winding up unemployed before the season is over. They need this one more and will find a way to step up and win. 24-17 Dolphins.
Detroit Lions (2-0) @Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
The Lions are one of the most fun stories in the NFL this year. You can’t help but hope they succeed. They have been so awful for so long, it’s actually fun to see them winning games. I’m calling it now; Matthew Stafford will be a Pro Bowl quarterback IF he can stay healthy. Calvin Johnson sure helps his cause. Also, just because I feel like mentioning him, Ndamukong Suh is an absolute monster and a new idol of mine.
As for Donavan McNabb and the Vikings, this will not be the week they turn it around. They have a different problem than other bad teams in the league. They can compete, they just can’t seem to finish games. They have talent, but just can’t seem to put all the pieces together. The Lions are on a roll and will continue to win. God I hope they make the playoffs. 31-17 Lions.
Houston Texans (2-0) @ New Orleans Saints (1-1)
This has the potential to be the game of the week. I love watching games with that have two of the most explosive offenses in the league and two extremely mediocre defenses. It always sets up for a fun game, unless you really want to see defense.
I don’t really see the Texans getting threatened in their division this year unless they collapse and allow themselves to be threatened, but the Saints are a different story. Atlanta and Tampa Bay are both playoff contenders, and even though Carolina isn’t there yet, Cam has proven he will at least keep them in ball games thus far. This game will be close, but not only does New Orleans need this big game more, I think they are a superior football team, and they do not loose in the dome. 38-31 New Orleans.
New York Giants (1-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
The Giants have more injuries than they know what to do with. You can’t help but to feel sorry for them that only two weeks into the season they are already in dire straights. I also have unbelievably little faith in Eli Manning. I just don’t trust him and that damn body english kills me slowly inside every time I see it.
The Eagles are very good and I’m sure since he has already been practicing, Michael Vick will play. I don’t really think this one will be very close. Not only is it in Philly, but, injuries aside, the Eagles are just better. 31-13 Eagles.
Denver Broncos (1-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)
The Titans are staying at home this week coming of their huge win over the Ravens. This Titans team could wind up surprising a lot of people if they can play at a high level, as they did last week. Kenny Britt is a very good young receiver and Matt Hasselbeck may be old, but he still has some tricks up his sleeve. The scary thing about the Titans is they haven’t even been able to get Chris Johnson going. Look out when he finally gets his game legs under him.
The Broncos are another team that isn’t very good this year. I feel like I have said that a fair amount already and still have some bad teams left to cover, but I think the lockout had much more of an effect on the amount of bad teams than many realize. The Titans will continue to play strong and handle business at home. 24-13 Titans.
New York Jets (2-0) @ Oakland Raiders (1-1)
I think I’m going to go out on a limb here. This is going to be my upset pick of the week. The Raiders offense has been extremely efficient thus far and yes, the Jets defense is great, but everyone has an off week. I might be delusional, but look for Darren McFadden and Michael Bush to have big games in Oakland’s backfield and I’m feeling like Mark Sanchez will have one of those terrible Mark Sanchez games. I’m probably wrong but what the hell. 27-23 Oakland.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) @ San Diego Chargers (1-1)
The Chargers are coming off a big loss to the Patriots that I’m sure they were none to happy about. The Chiefs absolutely SUCK and now their best player, Jamal Charles, is on IR. They will loose badly…again. 45-10 Chargers.
Green Bay Packers (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (1-1)
This game is also up there for most intriguing game of the week. In a rematch of last years NFC title game, Chicago will most definitely be out for some revenge on one of their biggest rivals. After a strong showing in week one, the Bears really struggled last week against the Saints. I’m sure being back at home will re-energize them and they will come out much sharper.
As great as the Packers have looked so far, I see the Bears stealing this one, as they need to keep pace with the Pack and the Lions (?!?). 24-21 Bears.
Arizona Cardinals (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (0-2)
Arizona is a better team than they have played like in the first two weeks. They have a new quarterback and I think as the season goes on they will continue to improve and Kevin Kolb will come into his own. The Seahawks and Tarvaris Jackson will not. They are right up there with Kansas City and Indy in the battle for the top pick. I haven’t seen anything positive to say about them yet. 31-9 Arizona.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
This is an extremely important game and one that could play in as the season goes on. These two, along with the Saints will be jockeying for position all season long in the NFC South. Both teams are coming off huge comeback wins last week and are certainly riding high. This game will be close but I like Josh Freeman and the Bucs in this one. 23-20 Bucs.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
I can’t believe that with some of the good games on this is the Sunday night game this week. I know Peyton was supposed to play when they scheduled this game, but really? This is such an uninteresting game and I think the score will only add to that. The Ravens pissed the Steelers off in week one and the Colts are really bad. They should really sign David Garrard already. He may not be great but he will certainly be better than that Fossil Kerry Collins. 31-13 Steelers.
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) @ Washington Redskins (2-0)
I can’t believe the Redskins are tied for the division lead with Rex Grossman as their starter (side note- a buddy and I shared a drink with the Bloomington native’s wife at Kilroy’s when we were there a few weeks ago. I’m not sure anyone will care, but it’s kind of cool). These two teams absolutely hate each other and I’m sure this will be a hard hitting, close game.
I believe if Tony Romo plays, he will not finish the game. They should really be smart and save him. It’s a long season and they will be in far worse shape if he gets injured further. Healthy Romo or not, I for some reason am buying into the Redskins. 27-24 Redskins.