The National Football League is more popular than ever, irrespective of how many domestic violence or DWI cases attempt to take it down. Most of us don't agree with harming loved ones nor driving while intoxicated, but that doesn't stop just about everybody in the country from tuning in every week.
Regardless of how incompetent and transparent the league’s commissioner is (as so hilariously laid out here by grantland.com’s Bill Simmons.)
While it’s still early, the big picture is beginning to become less foggy. The Seahawks are still great, the Jaguars still aren’t so great. Robert Griffin III is still made of glass and Calvin Johnson may have been created in some NFL laboratory.
What’s it all mean? Well, I’m here to decipher whether or not somewhere underneath Peyton Manning’s giant landing strip of a forehead is a better plan of action to attacking the Seattle defense than what he showed in the Super Bowl last year.
Without further ado, here are my Week 3 Picks. (Picks in bold)
Minnesota +10 @ New Orleans
As more facts about the Adrian Peterson domestic violence story continue to come out of the woodwork combined with the sheer fact of Minnesota not being very good at all is enough for more to swallow the points here for New Orleans. The Saints are a totally different team indoors at home than anywhere else. For the Vikings, somehow Matt Cassel is still an NFL starting quarterback. That’s a real anomaly and I’d like to take advantage of this while it lasts, because it certainly cannot be much longer.
San Diego +2.5 @ Buffalo
History tells you teams from the west traveling east don’t fare well. The eye test tells you the 2-0 Bills are still riding the highs of the team staying in Buffalo instead of relocating plus Buffalo hero Jim Kelly miraculously kicking cancer and being in attendance last week to totally charge up an already charged up crowd. But, the Chargers can somehow still sneak up on teams this year despite being very talented. Just ask the Seahawks last week. I’m taking the better team and the points.
Tennessee +7 @ Cincinnati
Red Rocket Andy Dalton will be slinging the ball all over the yard Sunday against an over matched Titan team. Tennessee could be in for a long season if Jack Locker doesn’t stop playing like he wants to be a backup quarterback.
Baltimore -1.5 @ Cleveland
This is a tough one. Cleveland average 152 yards per game on the ground while Baltimore only allows 89 rushing yards per game, something has got to give. This’ll be a typical AFC North grind-it-out game that could come down to the last possession and I’m riding the Brian Hoyer bandwagon to victory
Green Bay +2.5 @ Detroit
Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really been Aaron Rodgers yet this year. He showed flashed of his MVP form last week against the Jets and I like him rolling into Detroit and picking up where he left off. Green Bay doesn’t have anybody that can cover Calvin Johnson but to be fair, no one in the world can cover Calvin Johnson. Meanwhile Rodgers has an array of weapons in his arsenal and he’ll need every one of them in this high scoring affair.
Oakland +14.5 @ New England
Full disclaimer: the Raiders are awful. Less reliable than expecting grade A meat from McDonalds. However, seeing the 2014 Patriots and “-14.5” aren’t two things that should be next to each other. In week one the Raiders were as bad as they are now, traveling cross country as they are now and they only lost by five. New England have only beaten the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings, who aren’t much with Peterson.
Indianapolis -7 @ Jacksonville
Similar to the Raiders, the Jaguars also are not very good. I’m still dumbfounded Andrew Luck blew a lead last Monday at home but he’ll be hungry and ready to ensure he won’t lose three consecutive games. Additionally, as long as Chad Henne is still a starting quarterback in the NFL, I’ll still bet against him. Henne has barley completed half of his passes this year and his running back is averaging a whopping 2 yards per carry. Andrew the Giant to cover here.
Houston -2 @ New York Giants
The Giants are desperate for a win after essentially beating themselves last week. Last year the Giants weren’t very good but feasted on below average quarterbacks and they’ve got themselves another one here in Ryan Fitzpatrick. On the New York side of things, they’ve got a new offense that looked much better last week and they still have a two time Super Bowl champion head coach-quarterback tandem.
Washington +6 @ Philadelphia
Pundits Colin Cowherd and Bill Simmons are each calling this the upset of the week and I’m right behind them. The Redskins were much maligned in drafting Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the same draft they took franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, but now they look brilliant. Debates have surfaced as to who’s really the better player while Cousins has filled in rather brilliantly whenever Griffin has been absent. Philadelphia are coming off another comeback win and a short week. They're 2-0 yet they’ve held the lead for just six snaps this season.
Dallas -1.5 @ St. Louis
The Cowboys are average but the Rams are bad. Dallas has played just as good if not better away from Jerry World in Dallas. Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant each had monstrous games last week and seemed unstoppable while the Rams defense can’t stop a nosebleed.
Kansas City +4 @ Miami
Kansas City have had a terrible start to their season while Miami are hoping to bounce back from a loss to the city of Buffalo. Not just the Bills, but the entire city. They can’t be faulted too hard there. The Chiefs are without star back Jamaal Charles which makes Alex Smith’s play action much less threatening, unfortunately for the Chiefs that's about all he's got.
Pittsburgh +3.5 @ Carolina
The Steelers just aren’t the same smash mouth powerhouse we’ve been so accustomed to seeing the last 10 years. Carolina are the smash mouth team in this game and they’ll handle the Steelers at home with that stellar defense. They’ll beat Pittsburgh with a brand of football Pittsburgh will recognize.
San Francisco -3 @ Arizona
The 49ers have a great defense and great defenses generally do well against backup quarterbacks. With Carson Palmer out for the Cardinals the Niners D will give their offense every chance to be successful.
Denver +4.5 @ Seattle
The Seahawks still have most of the same team from their Super Bowl 43-8 drubbing of Manning and the Broncos. Also, Seattle have lost just once in the past two years in Seattle.
Chicago +2.5 @ New York Jets
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey will torment the Jets secondary on Monday night. The Bears offensive line has been giving Jay Cutler enough time to find his twin towers this season and they’ll keep rolling right through New York.