by Ryan Meehan
Week three features some odd matchups between teams that don’t play each other very often, with the only exceptions still not being any of the classic rivalries that has made the NFL famous. Let’s dive in and see if there’s any whiskey in this here swamp…Here are my picks for week three.
Thursday Night: New York Giants (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)
The Giants were able to steal one at home from a Tampa team that had abused them the entire first half last week. But since Tampa beat Carolina already, I’m not really sure how to do this. The Panthers were able to get off 35 points against that hoax of a defense the Saints are putting on the field these days, I’m not sure they’re going to do that against New York. If they are to win, they have to get up early and they have to come out and dominate the third quarter, then they can do it. I hope that’s not the case as I’m taking the Giants. Big Blue will be without David Diehl and Hakeem Nicks, but my wish is that Ramses Barden will have a big night and they will still be able to stave off Carolina’s pass rush. Oh, and Ahmad Bradshaw is also hurt and will not be playing. Something tells me I’m going to regret this pick…
Prediction: Giants 22, Panthers 20
Buffalo Bills (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Even though I can’t get stoked about the Bills on virtually any level, I have to think that 90% of the teams in the league are better than the Browns right now and Buffalo is in that 90%. I don’t really have a whole lot to even say about this game because I’m not familiar with them, but I don’t feel guilty – I believe most of America shares a deficiency when it comes to information about the Browns and the Bills.
Prediction: Bills 27, Browns 18
Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
This may fly under the radar as being one of the more exciting games this week. Sometimes in the process of predicting these games I like to also predict little things in addition to just the score, so just hear me out on this one. This should be an interesting test for Cincinnati on both sides of the ball. The Redskins have a very solid defense so right away the Bengals are going to have a much more conservative gameplan than they did against the Browns last week. They know they aren’t going to be able to run up 34 points on Washington, so their defense is going to have to compensate by containing Robert Griffin. Because the Bengals are going to likely change their gameplan (and run more than they have been) this going be the game where we see some discourse start to happen on the sidelines and see Andy Dalton possibly have words with the offensive coordinator and head coach. Remember when you are in your early twenties and you thought you knew it all? This could get ugly, and because of that I’m taking the Skins.
Prediction: Redskins 31, Bengals 21
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-2)
Much like the Browns, I’ve seen very little positive things out of the Titans camp so far. Even though you may not be able to have a team pegged after two weeks, I think it’s apparent the Titans have a lot of problems. They will look slightly better in this game, but not by much. Detroit will be rebounding from a tough game against the 49ers which I’m guessing required a lot of ice packs after the fact.
Prediction: Lions 31, Titans 22
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Yeah right. Instead of wasting your time analyzing this (which we all know I’d be doing if I went into detail about this game) here’s a couple of facts you can randomly spew at the next party you attend:
1. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words
2. A snail can sleep for 3 years
3. More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes
4. Butterflies taste with their hind feet
5. In the United States, a pound of potato chips cost two hundred times more than a pound of potatoes
6. If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death
7. Although “Cheers” is the greatest show in the history of television, “Down Periscope” is proof that Kelsey Grammer can’t act worth a fuck.
There. Now you can’t say you didn’t learn anything today.
Prediction: Colts 24, Jaguars 19
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Although I’m usually the last one to pull the panic lever, if the Saints lose here you’d better crank that shit as far back as it will go. Drew Brees would like you to believe that all of this off the field chaos going on between Jonathan Vilma, Roger Goddell, and Gregg Williams isn’t affecting them, but I can’t buy that unless I start to see the Saints winning some games. From everything I understand Vilma’s meeting with Roger Goddell did not go the way he would have liked it to, and now the commish has a sworn affidavit from Williams that basically states Jonathan is guilty as hell. Even with all of that, the Chiefs aren’t half the team that Brees has under his arm. I’m calling New Orleans in a shootout. Bonus note: The more that NO keeps saying that they have to win every game, the worse it gets if they don’t. This could send them into a tailspin if they lose a couple more consecutive games.
Prediction: Saints 36, Chiefs 31
New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
As much as it pains me to say it, it’s my belief that we’ll find out what the Jets are really made of in this game and it’ll be much better than I’d like to admit. Just because the Dolphins ran all over the Raiders doesn’t mean anything, this will be much more challenging. The Jets are going to be mad as hell and have the perfect team to take it out on this week. Watch for a possible Tebow-related fake in this game as the Dolphins aren’t exactly known for their special teams prowess.
Prediction: Jets 20, Dolphins 17
San Francisco 49ers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Some of these games are just begging to be trap bets, but I can honestly say I see no conceivable way that the Vikings don’t get worked by the Niners. The Vikings could be doing a lot of things right, but we’d never know it. We know that the 49ers are doing pretty much everything correctly and they deserve every ounce of attention that they are getting in the sports media right now. We’ll find out if they are for real here as I expect them to cover the spread handily. As a matter of fact, I’m calling it a lock.
Predicition: 49ers 33, Vikings 10
St. Louis Rams (1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
Although I’m well aware it’s not the most popular choice around these parts, I’m taking the Rams here. Before you pelt me with Fraiser DVDs, just know this: The Rams beat the Redskins last week, and they came dangerously close to also beating the Lions opening weekend. The Redskins are a team that people still aren’t sure about yet, and the Lions were a playoff team last year but people are suspect of them as well. Great things are expected out of the Bears this year, and St. Louis has to be chomping at the bit knowing that if they win this game everyone might see them in a different light. Whether or not it’s still undecided that Chicago feels an overall sense of urgency when it comes to this game (you can make your own Jay Cutler joke there) I am simply not accepting that they want this one more than the Rams do. This is not an upset pick, it’s not a pick designed to piss off acquaintances of mine, it’s just simply saying that Ram is hungrier this week. That’s all…
Prediction: Rams 26, Bears 23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Both of these squads won the first week only to fall last Sunday. Although the Bucs were able to hang with the Giants and had control of most of that game, Dallas was not so lucky in Seattle. They suffered a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown right off the bat and they never really recovered. Now, I’m not trying to backpedal here and suggest that Tony Romo is a quitter. But I have noticed that this tends to happen to the Cowboys more often than it should. No team poised for a legitimate Super Bowl run loses to the 2012-2013 Seahawks. I always like to see that part where the middle of the season is coming up and Dallas is falling apart, so I am taking Tampa here.
Prediction: Bucs 27, Cowboys 25
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at San Diego Chargers (2-0)
You could make the argument that the Atlanta Falcons had the most shocking win in week 2 when their defense had Peyton Manning running for his life, which we all know he isn’t the best at doing. Their defense was stifling, picking him off three times in the first nine minutes. The Chargers have also won their first two games but they were against awful opponents, and we all know the tendency they have towards getting hot early only to blow it the second half of the season. They’ll be dealt their first of many losses on Sunday as the ATL is hot.
Prediction: Falcons 29, Chargers 27
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
The analogy that I’m going to use here may be extremely rude, but I’m going to do it anyway. Both of these teams remind me of a girl we all know. They are the girl that has always been attractive, has two kids with two different dudes, and still thinks she can be a Hollywood actress. In other words, she’s having a major identity crisis. The Cardinals are having an identity crisis because at the rate they’re going, they’re going to have to specifically tailor each individual game depending who they’re playing that week – which is never good. The Eagles I think sort of know what they need to do, but keep in mind anytime you have that mobile of a quarterback you’re just one ankle injury from “Godammit…Well, what do we do now?” The bottom line here is, somebody’s going to end up being 3-0, and unless I see something incredible they aren’t going to deserve that record. And there will never be anything sexy about dirty diapers.
Prediction: Cardinals 24, Eagles 18
Houston Texans (2-0) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
Man, there are some great games this week. This one should be at the top of the list, as Manning will try and rebound from a relatively disposable Monday Night matchup against the Falcons. If he can take anything at all from that loss, it will be his renewed awareness from reacting to such defenses and hopefully for him it will mean he’ll be able to read the Houston Texans better. Much like the Chargers Houston has played two very poor teams, but the difference is they are in it for the long haul.
Prediction: Broncos 21, Texans 20
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-2)
This one has blowout potential written all over it, as the Steelers gave one of the most impressive week two performances in that drubbing of the Jets. So when you consider that even the Jets could spank the Dolphins at the moment, the Steelers shouldn’t have a lot of obstacles to over come against Oakland.
Prediction: Steelers 36, Raiders 17
Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots (1-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Both of these teams have one fundamental thing in common – they are both kicking themselves because they should be undefeated. The Ravens’ inability to convert in the redzone late last week (as well as a questionable penalty) cost them the game. The Patriots’ loss last week as well as the questionable nature of which they’re handling Wes Welker’s return to the field has me a little worried about them. Baltimore is not friendly territory for New England right now, so I’ll have some trashbird please.
Predicition: Ravens 26, Patriots 20
Monday Night: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are riding high off of their victory over Dallas, but even at home I don’t think they’ll be able to contain the Packers passing game. They’ll keep it close (and I’m hoping this will be a great matchup) but I just don’t think they will get lucky with something like the special teams play that gave them so much momentum last week. The Packers are going to be on a roll for the next month or so.
Predicition: Packers 28, Seahawks 24
The thing I will be keeping a close eye on will be if New Orleans loses and Altanta wins. If that happens, the power in the NFC South will have began to shift, and it will be interesting to see how that pans out. Before I send you on your way to week three, there is one more football related issue that I would like to discuss. The picture that someone photoshopped of Jay Cutler shaking hands with Aaron Rodgers after that NFC Championship game wearing a dress. You’ve all seen it, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t I’m not going to post it here because I hate it so much. Guess what? I’m saying right here and now, that’s over with for good. Photoshop stuff is tacky, so if you either 1) used a photo of this in your blog, or 2) Posted it as a Facebook status just know we all think you’re a total clown. Use a real, untapped image and come up with something remotely creative. Or just stay off the internet altogether, you’ll never see me shed a tear about it.
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