A week ago I was in this spot talking about how I believed some winless teams were going to win last week. Those teams were Washington, NY Giants, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. I picked all four of them to win. All of them lost. Of course they did. As a result I didn't have a great week picking games. It happens. Hopefully not too often.
Before we get to this week's games, here are some thoughts on the Thursday night game.
San Francisco 35 - St. Louis 11: I was wrong on this one, that's for damn sure. I thought my Rams would be up for this game and they weren't. The Niners kicked their ass in every aspect of the game. They ran the ball very well with Frank Gore having a huge game. Colin Kaepernick didn't have a monster game, but he was efficient throughout and they dominated the game. The Rams offense looked pathetic. Defensively they were exposed again. Credit to the Niners for dominating like they did and the Rams showed that they are clearly not ready to compete for a playoff spot unless they turn things around really fast.
Last week straight up: 7-9. Season: 29-19 (.604)
Byes: Green Bay, Carolina
All game times are in the Eastern time zone.
Baltimore (2-1) at Buffalo (1-2) 1:00 pm
This feels like one of those games where the better team finds a way to win at the end of the game by making a big offensive play or a key stop while the weaker team manages to make a key mistake to cost them the game. The Ravens are that better team while the Bills are still a level or two below them. I'll take the Ravens on the road because I think their defense has woken up after an awful performance in week one. They will make things difficult for the Bills offense all day long. Ravens 23-17
Arizona (1-2) at Tampa Bay (0-3) 1:00 pm
Since the Bucs are starting Mike Glennon at QB the offense could be better just because Josh Freeman was playing so badly that anybody would be an improvement at this point. The Cardinals only scored 7 points last week and with star WR Larry Fitzgerald still hobbled I think they will struggle again especially because the Bucs defense is doing well despite their record. The Bucs have to win at some point and this is a winnable game at home, so I'll take them. Buccaneers 23-13
Pittsburgh (0-3) at Minnesota (0-3) 1:00 pm (in London, England)
Hey England, you want a NFL game? How about two 0-3 teams? Enjoy! At least they get to see reigning league MVP RB Adrian Peterson play. It's not like he's going to be a repeat winner of that award with the way his team is playing. The Vikings are starting Matt Cassel at QB because Christian Ponder has a rib injury. I don't know if it's an improvement. Give me the Steelers due to better QB play and for their sake I hope rookie RB Le'Veon Bell can spark their offense in his first game. Steelers 24-14
N.Y. Giants (0-3) at Kansas City (3-0) 1:00 pm
I'm done picking the Giants until they show some heart and more effort. They got destroyed by the Panthers last week. I had them winning 11 games and the NFC East before the year. Oops. The Chiefs play sound football by taking care of the ball. It's a boring offense to watch, but it works. Defensively they are a talented group that has finally put it together since they are healthy. It's hard not to like what the Chiefs are doing right now. Chiefs 27-13
Indianapolis (2-1) at Jacksonville (0-3) 1:00 pm
There are a lot of bad teams in the NFL right now, but I think the Jags are the worst of them all. Could they improve their play at home against a divisional rival to win this game? It's possible. I just don't think they have enough talent to get the job done. I love the Colts style of running the ball down people's throats (the addition of Trent Richardson certainly helps) and when the time is right they have Andrew Luck to pick them apart with the passing game. I think Indy continues to roll. Colts 31-10
Seattle (3-0) at Houston (2-1) 1:00 pm
I think the Seahawks are significantly better than the Texans despite some people thinking this might be a Super Bowl matchup. The Texans barely escaped with wins against the Chargers & Titans earlier this year. Last week they were dismantled by the Ravens 30-9 and looked awful offensively against a physical defense. What do the Seahawks have? A very physical defense that is the best in the league, in my opinion. While I expect the Texans defense to play better than last week, I still think the Seahawks will win. They're the better team and I feel confident in saying that. Seahawks 24-16
Cincinnati (2-1) at Cleveland (1-2) 1:00 pm
I was very surprised by the Browns win last week. I'm not sure if it was due to them playing well or if the Vikings are that terrible right now. I think the Bengals have one of the five best defenses in the league, so I think inexperienced Browns QB Brian Hoyer is going to have some trouble. I expect the Bengals defense to create a few turnovers, which should be enough to give them the lead. The Browns defense is good enough to keep this from becoming a blowout. The Bengals are clearly the better team, though. Bengals 24-17
Chicago (3-0) at Detroit (2-1) 1:00 pm
Hey Chicago, I believe in you now! Hopefully for Bears fans that's not a kiss of death. I like the way Jay Cutler has played this year. He's making big throws and they are not turning the ball over as much. The defense is still very good. I think the Lions offense might struggle at times against them although I expect it to be a close game too. Give me the Bears in a tough divisional road win. Bears 24-20
N.Y. Jets (2-1) at Tennessee (2-1) 4:05 pm
Who predicted these two teams would be sitting at 2-1 heading into this game? Not very many people, I assume. The Titans are playing a conservative offensive game where they aren't making mistakes and they are taking advantage of opportunities. The defense is stout as is the Jets defense. Low scoring game, most likely. I think the home team wins it. Titans 17-14
Washington (0-3) at Oakland (1-2) 4:25 pm
The Raiders are likely without QB Terrelle Pryor, who is dealing with a concussion. I don't really trust Matt Flynn, so I'll go with the Redskins again to finally win a game. At some point they have to win, right? Their offense is good enough that they should score a lot against a bad Raiders defense. Redskins 31-20
Philadelphia (1-2) at Denver (3-0) 4:25 pm
The incredible Broncos offense at home against the Eagles terrible defense? This won't be close. I think Peyton Manning is going to break Tom Brady's record of 50 TD passes in a single season (Brady broke Manning's 49 TD passes record). Playing home games against a hapless defensive team like the Eagles will help him get there. I expect the Eagles to put up some points too, but it won't be enough. Broncos 41-24
Dallas (2-1) at San Diego (1-2) 4:25 pm
San Diego's defense might be the worst in the league if you look at the numbers. They give up 340 yards per game passing (last in the NFL) and 130 yards per game rushing (29th), so it's hard to like them too much going forward. Their offense has been better than expected, so this one has shootout potential. The Cowboys look they are in the driver's seat to win a weak division as long as they continue to have balance on offense and the defense continues to force turnovers. I like Tony Romo and company to win this one on the road. Cowboys 34-23
New England (3-0) at Atlanta (1-2) 8:30 pm
I believe in the Falcons and in saying that I pick them to win this game. My concern with the Patriots is their running game. They don't seem to believe in RB Stevan Ridley too much as the featured back, so I think they're an easier team to defend as a result. Of course Tom Brady is still a great QB who makes everybody better, but they don't have a WR group that scares teams. The Falcons have shown that despite their injuries they will keep fighting. Their two losses are road games against good teams in the Saints & Dolphins, both of which were close games. The Falcons are also the best team that the Patriots have played so far and the only one I would say is a quality opponent. I think the Falcons are better than their record and the Patriots are worse than theirs, so give me the home team in a close game. Falcons 27-23
Miami (3-0) at New Orleans (3-0) 8:40 pm (MON)
Whenever I see the Saints at home I always want to pick them and I usually do. They are one of those teams that are significantly better at home thanks to the noise in that dome of theirs. It also helps to have a very powerful offense led by QB Drew Brees. The Dolphins are tricky, though. I think they're legitimately a good team that has wins against quality opponents like the Colts & Falcons so far this year. People may not know a lot about them, but they are a balanced team that's good in every area. They may not be "great" at one particular thing, though. That's why they don't stand out. I still like the Saints at home to find a way to win, but I think it will be a very close game. Saints 24-20
Five Favorite Bets of the Week
Last week: 1-4 Season 5-10. I hate this season. The lines come from SportsBook.com.
Seattle -3 over @ Houston - I think a field goal spread is too low. Seahawks are too damn good.
@ Kansas City -5 over NY Giants - Jump on that number now before it goes over 7 points.
Washington @ Oakland OVER 44 - Two bad defenses, so give me the over.
Dallas -2.5 over @ San Diego - Clearly the better team to me.
@ Denver -11.5 over Philadelphia - I think they win by two TD's or more. Don't see the Eagles getting closer than that.
That's all for me this week. Enjoy the games and good luck to you.