Saturday, September 26, 2009

NFL 2009 Week 3 Picks

AP Photo/ J. Pat Carter

The NFL season has started and I feel it's time to include on the blog a picks segment.Expect me to go through Sunday's games and pick you a winner every Saturday. Disagree? Make sure to leave a comment then.

Washington (1-1) at Detroit (0-2)
Last week the Redskins scored a total of nine points against the Rams. Nine! St.Louis looks like it’s headed for another miserable year, but the Redskins barely squeaked out with a win. Meanwhile, while the Lions aren’t good, they will have the best offensive player—Calvin Johnson—between both teams, and can put up points on occasion. I like them here, at home, to get their first win since December 23, 2007.

Green Bay (1-1) at St.Louis (0-2)
Sure, Green Bay lost to Cincinnati last week. Sure, the Rams didn’t get embarrassed last week. But quite frankly, the Rams are one of the bottom three teams in all of the NFL and Green Bay is one of the top contenders in the NFC, and they’ll be looking to bounce back from last week against a much weaker opponent. Green Bay wins easily.

San Francisco (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0)
Tossup. I’m not buying Minnesota as a legitimate contender yet. They beat the Browns and the Lions. Whoop-de-doo! Those teams aren’t even average. But it is their home opener, and you can believe the Metrodome will be pumped to see Adrian Peterson and the home debut of Brett Favre. The Niners beat the defending NFC champion Cardinals and the Seahawks, and I like their defense, but the NFC West is the weakest division in football. I’ll go with my gut here and take San Francisco.

Atlanta (2-0) at New England (1-1)
Have the Patriots looked bad or what? Tom Brady certainly doesn’t have that killer instinct in his eye this year; he looks more nervous about getting hurt again. The Pats defense just looks old. Atlanta has gotten off to a nice start, trying to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. Atlanta looks like the hungrier team, and I still don’t think the Patriots realize what is wrong with them yet. I’ll take Atlanta to steal one here.

Tennessee (0-2) at NY Jets (2-0)
If Mark Sanchez’s performance and win in week one wasn’t enough to get Jets fans excited, then leading the Jets to victory against the rival Patriots while throwing no interceptions should definitely have done the trick. Meanwhile, Chris Johnson had an amazing performance against Houston last week, but they still lost. That a week after losing the opener to Pittsburgh in OT. The balls are bouncing the right way for the Jets, while the Titans don’t have any luck at all. I’ll keep going with the streaks and take the Jets.

Kansas City (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1)
McNabb may still be out, but it shouldn’t matter. The Chiefs can’t seem to put it all together. In week 1, even without Matt Cassel, the offense puts up 24 against a strong Ravens defense, but their own defense surrenders 38. Last week they give up only 13 points to Oakland, but score only 10 themselves. The Eagles win, no question. The more intriguing storyline is what will Michael Vick do in his first regular season game since 2006?

NY Giants (2-0) at Tampa Bay (0-2)
The Giants ruined Dallas’ home debut in primetime last week. Surprisingly, without Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, the wide receivers have stepped up and played well enough to help out Eli Manning win games. Tampa Bay, after years of being famous for a stingy defense, is now getting further and further away from that distinction, allowing the second most points (67) in the NFL, behind only Detroit (72). Giants win this game.

Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (2-0)
Since when does Baltimore have a good offense? After years of inconsistency at the quarterback position, Joe Flacco has finally solidified the most important position on the field. Ray Rice has looked very good as the starting running back. The two second-year players have transformed the Ravens into a complete team. They easily dispose of a bad Cleveland squad.

Jacksonville (0-2) at Houston (1-1)
Matt Schaub had the game of his life last week, although it’s easy to do when you are throwing to the most underrated wide receiver in the game in Andre Johnson (how does this guy not get the publicity that Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and even Chad Ochocinco get?). Now if they could only get last year’s surprise Steve Slaton going strong again, they’d have something going on down there. In Jacksonville, all David Garrard has to throw to is an over-the-hill Torry Holt. I like Houston here.

New Orleans (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1)
Drew Brees is amazing. We knew that. The Saints score a lot of points (93 points in two games; second is Baltimore with 69). We knew that. However, the Saints defense has done a good job of bending but not breaking this year. How far New Orleans goes depends on how well the defense does, not how well Drew Brees does. Buffalo is one Leodis McKelvin fumble away from being 2-0. The Saints are stronger though, and they win this game.

Chicago (1-1) at Seattle (1-1)
I liked Seattle in the (poor) NFC West this season. I liked their pickup of T.J. Houshmanzadeh. I thought they’d return to prominence, at least in their crummy division. With Matt Hasselback injured, I don’t like them as much. Sorry Seneca Wallace, but you just don’t cut it for me. Not even against a Bears defense without Brian Urlacher. Chicago wins.

Miami (0-2) at San Diego (1-1)
Miami’s performance against Indianapolis was surprising. It even almost resulted in a victory. The defense has played fairly well this season. San Diego will be missing LaDanian Tomlinson, but Darren Sproles has looked really good in his place. A tough call here, but I’m not confident in any team where Norv Turner is the head coach. Miami gets its first win of the season.

Pittsburgh (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1)
Yes, we all know the Bengals are a miracle catch from Brandon Stokley away from being 2-0. Yes, it looks like Ochocinco is back to his old self after a rough season last year. No, I don’t think they are a better team than Pittsburgh, and they don’t win this game. Pittsburgh does need to get their running game going though if they are going to even beat Baltimore this year, let alone defend their Super Bowl championship.

Denver (2-0) at Oakland (1-1)
After all the offseason drama, the Broncos are looking ok and sitting atop the AFC West standings, and I’m still waiting for Knowshon Moreno to burst onto the scene. Meanwhile, the Raiders don’t have a clue, and if it wasn’t for playing Kansas City, they wouldn’t have a win either. Denver is the victor in this one.

Indianapolis (2-0) at Arizona (1-1)
This will be the most exciting game of the week. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin. Expect a lot of points. Both teams have great offenses and average defenses. I like Indy’s rushing game more, to mix it up, but with those quarterbacks and wide receivers, I wonder if it really matters that much. Still, I believe Indy is stronger and expect them to win.

Carolina (0-2) at Dallas (1-1)
The battle of the turnover quarterbacks. Both Jake Delhomme and Tony Romo have cost their teams a game this season because of a high number of interceptions. This one could get ugly. So I like the team with the stronger defense to pull out in this one, and I think that team is Dallas.