Friday, September 22, 2006

The Picks: Week 3

Alright I’ll admit it; my 5-0 start may have been somewhat of a fluke. 1-4 last week was pretty bad, but in my defense there were some really lopsided lines that I fell in love with. Thank god New Orleans came back to save me from a winless week. Here’s week 3.

Chicago Bears (-4) at Minnesota Vikings
To me, the easiest pick on the board. Chicago looks like a Super Bowl team, utterly dominating on defense and lighting up the scoreboard on offense. Will Grossman come crashing down to Earth? Probably, but he doesn’t have to throw 4 TD’s every game for the Bears to win. All he has to do is stay away from catastrophic mistakes (picks for touchdowns, fumbles.) and the Bears should cruise in this division. Meanwhile the Vikings have won their first two games on a fake field goal touchdown pass and a missed field goal by the Redskins. Don’t get me wrong, Brad Johnson looks like the game manager we all know he is, but the team did not look impressive in their first two games. They could easily be 0-2.

Atlanta Falcons (-4) at New Orleans Saints
Atlanta has steam-rolled opponents on the ground this year. Last week Dunn and Vick both ran for over 100 yards and have something like 260 rush yards per game this season. The Saints defense doesn’t exactly strike fear into anyone and will certainly have trouble stopping Vick and company. Atlanta’s defense has also played exceptionally well, especially cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Arguably the leagues best corner has the ability to shut down his side of the field, as shown by his two picks last week. New Orleans’ offense has looked good, with Bush and McCalister running the ball effectively. Brees showed guts against the Packers and looks like he is adjusting well to his new team. I just don’t think the defense will be able to contain Vick, both running and passing. Look for the Falcons to dominate on both sides of the ball.

Tennessee Titans (+11) at Miami Dolphins
This game promises to be an ugly one. Both teams are in disarray. Miami is having problems offensively; Culpepper seems lost and is making horrible decisions. Ronnie Brown has been alright at running back but he needs to produce more to take some pressure off of Culpepper. The Titans are a mess. With the Billy Volek controversy casting a cloud over the team and the Kerry Collins/Vince Young quarterback by committee, things just are not clicking in any way. Jeff Fisher needs to make a move, either Young (the future) or Collins (the present?) for this team to have any chance at winning a few games this season. Talent wise Miami should have no problem winning this game, but eleven points is far too many for a team this shaky.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-7)
Denver has gotten off to a horrible start this year. When your team has a quarterback controversy after week 1, you are in trouble. Jake Plummer has played so terribly that fans and some media are calling for untested rookie Jay Cutler to take his spot. The defense and patchwork running game are still good, but scoring only one touchdown in two games is alarming. New England has played in two squeakers thus far, most recently narrowly surviving a Jets comeback last week. Corey Dillon and rookie Laurence Maroney have been a monster tandem on the ground, giving the Patriots a great running game to go along with Brady. With the Deion Branch business behind them the Patriots will win this game.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) at Indianapolis Colts
Maybe I am just in love the Jaguars after they obliterated the Steelers on Monday night. Or maybe it’s the fact that Byron Leftwich is the toughest QB in the NFL. Jacksonville’s defense is superb as usual, with Stroud and Henderson in the trenches, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks/running games. The backfield, led by Rashean Mathis, shut down Hines Ward and picked off two passes. Indy is very dangerous through the air and could put some points up against the Jags defense. Jacksonville always plays the Colts tough and I think they will win in a medium scoring game, 20-14.

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 6-4

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