by Ryan Meehan and Coach Ryan
Week three is here, and that’s great news at First Order Historians because that means the return of Coach Ryan to our weekly picks. Coach Ryan has had a long offseason, but he’s even more eager to get back into action than I am to go to that Furry Convention in Novemeber for my birthday. So without furr-ther ado, take a look look-takers!!!
Thursday Night: Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) +3 at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) (50.5)
Meehan: This would be a big game for the Chiefs if it was on Sunday, but I just don’t think that Alex Smith and the rest of that team is seasoned enough to get the job done. But if they are, this still won’t prove to the doubters that Andy Reid knows what he’s doing – because he knows who he’s doing. If the Chiefs win this game, every analyst in the country outside of Missouri and Kansas (which I’m still not sure is a real state) is going to continue to doubt the Chiefs because of their resume. Think about it – if Andy Reid can go into Philadelphia and win this game (which may or may not be a watershed moment in Chiefs history, but whatever…) his first three wins are going to be against the Jaguars and two teams that he is very familiar with when it comes to decoding their offensive schematics. I still don’t know what to think about the Eagles, other than for the most part what they are doing seems to be working. It should be interesting to see how the crowd not only reacts to Andy Reid returning wearing different colors, but also how they’ll respond towards Donovan McNabb – whose number will be retired at halftime. It never ceases to amaze me how an entire fan base can derive so much pleasure from such hateful buffoonery. I think the Chiefs’ party stops here – at least for this week.
Meehan’s Prediction: Eagles 26, Chiefs 24
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Eagles 17, Chiefs 16
Green Bay Packers (-1) -2 at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) (48)
Meehan: Both of these teams are coming off of big wins, but the Packers look to be the tougher squad. That being said, this is a hard one to call because the Bengals will remain at home and have the exact type of defense that could be a problem for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. But returning to my flip-flopping nature, did you see Rodgers last week? He was dangerously good. He was a lit fuse the whole game and if the Packers can get that guy back, they might prove me wrong after all. But I do believe that the Bengals are going to come out and establish defensive dominance early. They’ll pull it off, but just barely…
Meehan’s Prediction: Bengals 28, Packers 27
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Packers 30, Bengals 24
St. Louis Rams (1-1) +3.5 at Dallas Cowboys (1-1) (47)
Meehan: Hear me now – the Rams will win this game. Why? Well, let’s take a look at two of the reasons…First off, they don’t have a bunch of over-inflated egos like Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware, and of course their owner. Second, Dallas hasn’t won either game. The Chiefs beat them fair and square and the Giants beat the Giants. The Rams are a more complete team anyway. They are in a rough spot because they have no chance at making it out of that division for years to come, so they are a very bitter and angry group of guys. St. Louis doesn’t get the credit they deserve, mostly because of the crime and popularity of that rapper a few years back who wore a band aid on his face all the time. That’s a scrappy team that just so happened to get good when two other teams in that same division just suddenly got better than everybody. Tough draw, but that’s life in the big city.
Meehan’s Prediction: Rams 27, Cowboys 19
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Rams 20, Cowboys 17
San Diego Chargers (1-1) +3 at Tennessee Titans (1-1) (44)
Meehan: My gut tells me to take the Chargers because I hate them. My mind tells me to take the Titans, but then I think about how long they’ve been down and out. The Chargers are down and out, but they’ve had success in the past decade so it’s still fresh in their mind. The Titans look better than I expected but they aren’t headed anywhere. The Chargers aren’t either, but at least they know what that crime scene smells like. Tennessee has put up a serious fight in both of their games, beating the Steelers and playing very respectively on the road against the Texans. While the Titans aren’t really in a position for them to become much of anything, San Diego still believes that they are what they were 5 years ago so I am taking them but not by much.
Meehan’s Prediction: Chargers 23, Titans 21
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Titans 28, Chargers 24
Cleveland Browns (0-2) +5.5 at Minnesota Vikings (0-2) (41)
Coach: Hooray! We have the battle of the winless this Sunday as my Cleveland Browns head slightly west to take on Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. It just wouldn’t be the start of another football season if the Browns weren’t looking anemic on offense and had a good losing streak going. This week the Browns do have something to look forward to as they get their number one receiver Josh Gordon back off a two game suspension after taking Codeine for strep-throat. As much as you all are probably laughing I actually think the return of Gordon will make a nice difference in the Browns offensive attack. In the first two games the Browns were desperately lacking playmakers. The new coaching staff hasn’t figured out that Trent Richardson is a beast and have completely underused the face of the franchise. Instead they have relied completely on Brandon Weeden who surprisingly hasn’t looked awful in the first two games. Instead he has done what he could after running around constantly from defenders and thrown nice balls in tough situations only to have them bounce of the hands of his receivers like Greg Little who continues to baffle on how he could be in the NFL if he’s allergic to a football.
Minnesota returns the best running back in the league in AP and he hasn’t disappointed running for 4.4 yards a carry so far this season. At almost 200 yards already against two tough division opponents there is no need to think that he is once again off to having an amazing season. The problem with Minnesota thus far is how many yards their defense has allowed both on passing and rushing compared with lack of talent outside of the running game. Yes Peterson helps the passing game as well but with an over the hill Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and Christian Ponder under center you have to think that changes will be coming to Minnesota in the near future. Unfortunately they are a team that just can’t hang in the very tough NFC North.
I think even as a Browns fan on paper I would almost call this game a stalemate while everyone else will be betting on the -5 spread for the Vikings. The difference in the game however will come not from the Vikings but from the Browns. So far this year the Browns have the 5th best run defense in the league allowing only 59.5 yards and don’t forget that includes Ray Rice (at least for three quarters). The Browns defense has shown signs of greatness only allowing touchdowns late in games after going three in out due to the fact that their receivers are either hiding from the ball or are politely tipping them up in the air for interceptions. Although I’m not calling all of the Browns problems to be solved I do think the return of Gordon will free up the other receivers which hopefully being wide open helps them catch the ball a little. In the end I do expect Peterson to run for over 100 yards and a score but somehow I think this is an upset waiting to happen.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Browns 17, Vikings 13
Meehan’s Prediction: Vikings 13, Browns 11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) +7 at New England Patriots (2-0) (44.5)
Coach: Welcome to the weekly “this is a disaster” bowl. I know the Pats are coming into a home game sitting 2-0 with two wins in the division while welcoming a 0-2 team that has more drama than an episode of “Breaking Bad”, but they clearly are not the Pats of old. To make matters worse news broke Sunday evening that Danny Amendola has torn adductor muscles in his hip that may require surgery. If it turns out the Amendola doesn’t need surgery he could still miss close to a month of football but maybe he can return around the same time as Gronk and the Pats can be as loaded as they will be this season for at least a couple plays before some other disaster happens to them.
As bad as things are for the Pats, two weeks into this season and no team has as much internal trouble as Tampa Bay. I can’t help but feel that most of the blame falls on the shoulder of Head Coach Greg Schiano and the way he has handled quarterback Josh Freeman. For a team that has a solid young quarterback the “I’m not making you a captain” and already whisperings of “I want to be traded” begins what could be the most nauseous disaster the NFL has seen in a while. Remember Tampa Bay actually has a lot of young talented players who should be clicking right now but it seems that everything that is going on behind closed doors has their pirate ship sinking fast.
To be honest I’m not really sure how to pick this game, do you go with Tom Brady and his one weapon of Julian Edelman or do you go with the Tampa Bay Drama? Tampa does have one of the top young running backs in Doug Martin who is going up against a New England defense that has allowed over 130 yards rushing in two games but the Pats have Tom Brady. In the end I think I have to pick New England but I am definitely not buying into that 9 point spread.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Patriots 20, Bucs 16
Meehan’s Prediction: Patriots 26, Buccaneers 20
Coach: Even though both these teams are coming off big wins the Saints late game heroics on the road against division rival Tampa Bay definitely was the more impressive in week 2. Unfortunately for the Cardinals even though they won last week against the Lions they had to do so without the help of their biggest weapon. Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring struck again during the third quarter and he took himself out of the game that he was questionable to play in to begin with. Head Coach Bruce Arians is on record of saying that the hamstring isn’t that bad but that comment came after the game while he was riding high on getting his first win as Cardinals coach and soaked in Gatorade. We all know that hamstring injuries have a tendency to stick around especially if you don’t give them time to heal.Even if Fitzgerald does suit up on Sunday you wonder if it would even matter as the Saints have been one of the more impressive teams this young season showing signs of greatness especially in week 1 against the Falcons. The Cards have a great run defense which would be something if they were playing the Vikings but this is the Saints and as you know that means the trio of Brees, Graham, and Colston are going to have a field day against a pass defense that has been less than stellar thus far.The spread on the game is -9 to New Orleans and although I generally stay away from spreads that big with this game in New Orleans and with Fitzgerald’s health issues I’m picking a big day in the Big Easy.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Saints 31, Cardinals 20
Meehan’s Prediction: Saints 29, Cardinals 15
Detroit Lions (1-1) +1.5 at Washington Redskins (0-2) (49)
Coach: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Redskins fan base is probably the most stunned and frustrated in the NFL. In the first two weeks of the season their defense has looked absolutely wretched and it looks like RGIII might just have rushed back a little too early. I understand the Skins are coming off a game where Aaron Rodgers threw for astronomical numbers but they also made the Eagles look like the best team in the NFC and I’m definitely not buying that. You have the think that RGIII will eventually get back into a rhythm but I’m not sold that he could be back to 100% for the entire year. What is most concerning for the Skins though lies on the other side of the ball as for the first two games they have given up an average of over 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Sure part of that sounds worse than it actually is after Rodgers threw for over 400 yards in week 2 but it’s still not good. Detroit is another team that after last season I’m just not sold on especially after their “huge acquisition” was Reggie Bush. Every year there is some player who everyone gushes over in fantasy and for that team after he joins that I just don’t agree with, this year that player is Bush. He has never been able to come close to duplicating what he did in college and going to a team that is known for its wide receiver’s ability to get open. Let’s also not forget that he is scheduled to get an MRI on his left knee this week which at best will limit his carries (so far he has 30 for the season) and at worst could be out an extended period. The spread on the game is -1 Washington and I have to agree this is going to be a tight one but in the end I’m actually going to go Skins with the assumption that Bush will be limited on what he can do which will seriously hurt the Lions chances. I mean can you really see the Skins going 0-3?
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Redskins 14, Lions 13
Meehan’s Prediction: Lions 33, Redskins 31
New York Giants (0-2) +1.5 at Carolina Panthers (0-2) (46)
Meehan: Finally a game that my beloved Giants actually have a shot at winning. Oh, who am I kidding? This is a complete trap game. Whoever you are , WHEREVER you are…Don’t gamble on this one. Please, I beg of you. Conventional wisdom will tell you that there is no way the Giants will leave Charlotte 0-3, but isn’t that sort of the type of thing you’ve come to expect from them?
The problem for the Giants here is that Ron Rivera’s defense it the exact opposite of who they want to see. It’s a defense where creating turnovers is preached a lot more than it is elsewhere. And as we’ve all seen, saying that the Giants are prone to turnovers is like saying the Pope is Catholic. (Editor’s note – since there are so many problems with the diocese…Don’t you think it’s a good idea to try a non-Catholic pope for a change? Just a thought…)
The Panthers hung in there against the Seahawks in week one, and came extremely close to beating what is turning out to be a very good Buffalo Bills team. Eli Manning is still a good quarterback and a lot of the picks he’s thrown have been “tip drill” types of picks. in other words, they aren’t his fault. However, he’s too good to be forcing those throws that are turning out to be interceptions.
Meehan’s Prediction: Panthers 20, Giants 16
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Giants 17, Panthers 16
Houston Texans (2-0) -2.5 at Baltimore Ravens (1-1) (44.5)
Meehan: This is a “show me” game for both teams. Baltimore is going to have to show me that they deserved to win the Super Bowl this February, and Houston is going to have to show me that they deserve to represent the AFC in the next one. As much as I hate the Baltimore Ravens, as much as I can’t stand to see them win even though purple is my favorite color – I do believe that the Texans finally get exposed in this one. I do believe that they will bounce back, and I also believe that if they meet in the playoffs this game will be in Houston they will win. I want to see that Houston HAS that Super Bowl drive, and a big win here would prove it. Watching Philip Rivers carve up that defense in the first half of that Monday night game kind of frightened me, because I do really like them and I think that franchise is at a turning point if they don’t get a conference championship this year. So I’m taking the Ravens, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
Meehan’s Prediction: Ravens 22, Texans 16
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Texans 27, Ravens 21
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) -2 at Miami Dolphins (2-0) (44)
Coach: Out of all the games I am writing about this week this matchup is my game of the week and also is the hardest to predict. Atlanta is gearing up to try to make a run in the NFC and Miami for the first time in a while has realistic playoff aspirations especially with a down Patriots team. So far Miami’s defense looks to be better than advertised and Mike Wallace has made a huge difference in the offensive attack. He’s definitely happier this week than he was after the Cleveland game as he is coming off a 100+ yard performance against the Colts. What Wallace doesn’t seem to understand is how much he is helping Miami’s other weapons such as Brian Hartline who I still think will have his best year as a pro. Atlanta is coming off of a decent win against the Rams although Falcons fans still have to have a sour taste in their mouth after their explosive offense only put up 17 at New Orleans in week 1. More concerning was all the injuries that took place against St. Louis this past week including their new offensive weapon Steven Jackson who went down after scoring a touchdown in the first with a hip injury. As of today they don’t know exactly how sever it is but losing Jackson could be terrible for one of the better teams out of the NFC. Not only did the Falcons lose Jackson last week (and maybe this week) but they also lost Asante Samuel, Kroy Biermann, and Sean Weatherspoon all on the defense. Every team gets banged up throughout the season but having this much trouble after only week 2 has to make you wonder how durable this team is. The spread on the game is -2 Miami which would have made odd makers laugh in the past but is very possible with the talent of this young Dolphins team. I think the changing factor of this game is that it’s being played in Miami and although the Falcons are the better team I think the September heat will take a toll on the already banged up Falcons. Does that mean Miami is better than Atlanta? Not necessarily, if this game was in Atlanta later in the season or if the Falcons were healthy I think they would pull it out but I think there’s just too much going against them at the moment and they are going up against a very hot (literally) Dolphins team.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Dolphins 28, Falcons 24
Meehan’s Prediction: Dolphins 27, Falcons 23
Buffalo Bills (1-1) -2.5 at New York Jets (1-1) (39)
Coach: This may be the most shocking thing that you read all day but it appears that the Buffalo Bills have found a quarterback and may be heading in the right direction. They along with Miami may be on their way up while the Patriots and Jets (well obviously) may be on their way down from dominance. I still think it’s New England’s Division until proven otherwise but their days of cruising to a 6-0 record in the East are coming to an end. Buffalo is coming off a miraculous win over the Panthers and even though it’s the Panthers they’re walking with a little more swagger this week. Think about this the Bills could easily be 2-0 if they wouldn’t have let the game slip away against the Patriots in week 1. I still think EJ Manuel has a long way to go but as long as CJ Spiller keeps up his rate Manuel should be able to give a lot of teams a headache. Am I saying that Spiller is going to continue to average 4.4 yards a carry? No, sorry fantasy owners but he is still going to end up over 1,000 yards rushing and continue to be one of the premier backs in the NFL.Am I the only one shocked that the Jets even have a win let alone continued to expose the Patriots last week? This team not only is 1-1 but so far they have had one of the top defenses in the league in both passing and rushing. Granted they played a disaster of a Tampa Bay team and a struggling Patriots team but still they are definitely better than the Rex Ryan train wreck I was expecting. Do I think they’re a good team? No. Do I think they’re an absolutely awful team like I thought they were? Let me just say not yet but that’s still better than I thought. Geno Smith definitely has benefited with the injury to Mark Sanchez but it’s clear he is going to have a huge learning curve if he every hopes to be the man in New York…I mean New Jersey.The spread on this game is -1 Jets which leads me to believe the odds makers are impressed with how “not God awful” the Jets are and aren’t yet willing to admit that Buffalo may have the start of something good. I think they may not be willing to admit it but I am and am taking the Bills to go into New York…I mean New Jersey and take care of their division rivals.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Bills 16, Jets 10
Meehan’s Prediction: Bills 20, Jets 13
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) +10.5 at San Francisco 49ers (1-1) (46)
Coach: I know I have already called Miami and Atlanta the game of the week but this matchup is right on par. Once again we have a NFC power taking on an up and coming AFC team, the only difference being we are learning that Miami is good and we already know the Colts are SOLID. Both these teams have impressed and disappointed in a sense. I really thought the Colts were a more talented team going into their game last weekend with Miami and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened. Was it a bad game for Indy, proof that Miami is way better than anyone thought, or just too damn early to jump to any sort of conclusion? One thing is for sure and that’s something has to happen to Indy’s rush defense as they are currently ranked 29th in the league. Andrew Luck will be fine and Ahmad Bradshaw has fit in nicely with the Colts but if you can’t stop the two headed rushing attack that is Colin Kaepernick Indy will be in for a long game.Will the real San Francisco please stand up? Yes after last year’s Super Bowl team we know they are talented but like Indy I am left with a TON of questions after their blowout loss to the Seahawks. I don’t know if I should believe the team that whooped on Green Bay in week 1 or the team that went running out of Seattle after being dominated by the Hawks and their 12th Man crowd. I think that the Niners are a good team but I don’t know just how good they really are. In their first two games they have let up 28 and 29 points respectively which is plain out unacceptable if they want any chance of making it back to the Super Bowl Sunday.Even though the Niners looked like a second rate football team last week I think Coach Harbaugh is good enough to get them back in shape for this huge matchup. I also think Andrew Luck and company will be out for blood after being upset at home to the Dolphins but in the end I just think that San Fran has more talent and the advantage of having an east coast team travel west. As I look ahead at Indy’s schedule I think they have enough winnable games to once again be playing into January I just don’t think this is one of them. The spread on this game is an amazing -11 to San Fran which even though I’m picking the Niners to win (and big) 11 is just too much for me.
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: 49ers 24, Colts 17
Meehan’s Prediction: 49ers 18, Colts 16
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-16) +19.5 at Seattle Seahawks (2-0) (40.5)
Meehan: How could I not have a field day with this one? The Seattle Seahawks set the world records for loudest audible noise at a sporting event this past week against the 49ers. This week should be different, because even with as rabid as Seahawks fans are this might be the game you skip if you’ve got season tickets. There is absolutely no chance that the Jaguars can win this game. They will be getting Maurice Jones-Drew back, he’s probably not going to be 100% but even if he was he’d have to be eight of himself for this game to even be close. I would advise against taking them to cover just because Carroll is going to pull most of his guys at the end so the Jaguars can practice. (Which they clearly need a lot of) The second half of this game should be wretched boring.
The Jaguars are sort of at a fork in the road. And what complicates that is in Jacksonville, they are so used to taking that fork and stabbing their eyes out with it that they can’t see ten feet in front of themselves anymore. If the Jaguars were an ice cream flavor, they’d be “Dumpster Juice”. It’s too bad they are so blind to see what the rest of the league views as success, because on Sunday they will be on the same field as a bunch of guys in green jerseys who are perfect examples of what great football players look like.
Meehan’s Prediction: (Cue Mr. T voice “Pain…”) Seahawks 36, Jaguars 19
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Seahawks 30, Jaguars 6
Chicago Bears (2-0) -2.5/2.0 at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) (40)
Coach: I don’t keep it hidden in my picks that I’m a Browns fan and with that comes the hatred for the Steelers. Don’t get me wrong I respect the Hell out of their organization and the way it’s been run forever. I respect the Rooney family, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, and if you don’t have respect for Dick LeBeau then you can’t call yourself a fan of the NFL. All that being said this is weird for me say, the Pittsburgh Steelers time of dominance is over. They will still be a decent to good team but their dominance over the NFL has passed. Never has that been more evident than over the past two weeks as they got dominated by the Bengals and the Titans, yeah the Titans. They’re a team that doesn’t have an offensive scheme but have an aging defense that has lost key components. Ben Rothlisberger isn’t the young mobile quarterback he used to and the one thing he is seriously lacking is offensive weapons, he just doesn’t have any. Think about this in two games the Steelers have rushed for a TOTAL of 37.5 yards. Yeah they’re struggling that much. That doesn’t mean that they won’t win some games this year or be competitive but it does mean that unless some drastic moves happen the Steelers of old are no more. Come Sunday night the Chicago Bears will be rolling into Heinz Field, the 2-0 Chicago Bears. If you’ve watched the Bears this season you know that their record is slightly deceiving because they easily could be 0-2 as well. That has been avoided by the late game play of “Cardiac Cutler” and company being able to manufacture both wins in the closing minutes. They have impressive victories over the Bengals and Vikings and they’ve done it without being spectacular in any one area but decent all around. I don’t think the Bears are an NFC power especially with a new coach but I do think they are on their way to finding an identity, an identity that the Steelers are quickly losing. The spread on the game is -2 Steelers which has to be because the game is in Pittsburgh but the Steelers have looked so God awful I just don’t see that happening. When is the last time you could say they weren’t going to win a prime time game in Heinz Field? In the end though I think that Jay Cutler and the Bears are just younger and will outlast the aging Steelers, what will be interesting to see is what all those Steeler bandwagon fans are going to do now that the mighty is falling. You want to hear something REALLY scary? At least Pittsburgh fans have the Pirates.
Coach’s Prediction: Bears 17, Steelers 10
Meehan’s Prediction: Bears 23, Steelers 9
Monday Night Football: Oakland Raiders (1-1) +15 at Denver Broncos (2-0) (49.5)
Meehan: This game is going to be interesting because it will likely tell us how Terrelle Pryor is going to respond when he sees what a real football team looks like. Now I know a lot of writers are bagging on the Raiders and TP, but I’m actually being sort of patient with him. He could be good, it’s just going to take some time. On the other side of the field, you have the man who is getting all of the love and all of the fantasy glory that one might expect from having the word “Manning” on the back of his jersey. The Broncos’ defense still has some holes, but the rest of that team is firing on all cylinders. If I had to pick the Super Bowl based on just what I’ve seen so far the first two weeks, they’d be there for sure. Another thing you have to consider is the disconnect between what these teams know about themselves. The Broncos know exactly who they are and the Raiders have no idea who they are. That’s why you’re seeing a two touchdown plus spread here.
Meehan’s Prediction: Broncos 30, Raiders 22
Coach Ryan’s Prediction: Broncos 31, Raiders 16
Meehan: If you’re into fantasy football that’s fine. Personally, I don’t get it but anything that draws more fans to the game is good for football. However, this stupid story ESPN won’t lay off of about the fantasy nerds out East who sign an agreement that they have to get a tattoo of the winner’s picking makes me sick to my stomach. This shit is exactly what’s wrong with America. Why would you want that for your friends? Why would you want that for anybody? Why would you want somebody who you’re going to be around to have something that’s terrible to look at permanently inked on their bodies? Those guys are morons. I was thinking about sending them an email telling them that, but none of them can probably read…
Meehan: Now this feels like the collaborative pieces we’re used to during the NFL season. Great to have Coach back, and make sure to vote in the polls. You don’t need to log in and it’s a fun thing to do in order to pass the time.
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