Week 2 brought even more surprises, with Buffalo remaining undefeated, the Saints remaining winless, and the Falcons looking completely ordinary against a tight Cincinnati defense. The biggest one was the Seahawks losing a 9 point game to the Chargers in San Diego. They’re just not the same team on the road. Of course they’re back at home this week against the Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch, which is easily the game of the week.
Here are my picks for Week 3…
TAMPA BAY @ Atlanta – Divisional games are usually tough, although neither team has quite played to expectations. One thing I know about Thursday night contests is that usually the team that can run the ball better has a better chance of winning. It’s a statistical advantage in most respects. Bobby Rainey has proven he can get the job done even if Doug Martin does make an appearance. And that Atlanta defense has been abysmal. That’s the difference here as Matt Ryan tries to do too much at home. Pick: TAMPA BAY. This game is my UPSET SPECIAL!
Washington @ PHILADELPHIA – This matchup has become the one to watch because DeSean Jackson comes back to town, but he’s beat up, and he can’t beat the Eagles on his own anyway. With Cousins as the starter, will the team come out with passion, and can they shut down the Eagles when they traditionally roll, at the end of the game? I think the Eagles defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves for forcing that final turnover in Indy and helping the Eagles win a close one on the road. I think their offense comes ready to go, and the defense handles Cousins. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.
SAN DIEGO @ Buffalo -Is this Buffalo team for real? The key is if they can run the ball against a Chargers defense that effectively shut down Marshawn Lynch last week. The other key is if EJ Manuel can keep playing relatively flawless football. I think after the emotional win against Seattle last week, San Diego might be in for a bit of a letdown, but Buffalo has been playing above their heads. They don’t go to 3-0. Pick: SAN DIEGO.
Tennessee @ CINCINNATI -Let me say it again. I love the Bengals this year. With that running game, and the sudden relevance of Andy Dalton, Cincinnati has a complement to their tough defense, especially at home. Which is where they are this week against a Tennessee team that has… Delanie Walker. That’s pretty much it. That spells checkmate for me. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Baltimore @ CLEVELAND -Don’t look now, but I think the Browns might just have a winning streak in them. In fact, they could, and probably should, be 2-0 coming into this matchup. They almost beat Pittsburgh, and Baltimore is coming off an emotional win against Pittsburgh. All roads lead through Pittsburgh, huh? But Hoyer has been great, and Flacco has been… Flacco. I think the Browns get it done and quiet the Manziel conversation for one more week. Pick: CLEVELAND.
Green Bay @ DETROIT – Will the real Matthew Stafford please stand up? Is he the gunslinger who slots the ball into small windows and plays to his receivers’ strengths, or is he the hand off captain for Reggie Bush and Joique Bell to shine? In this matchup he should be handing off the ball and often. Green Bay’s defense hasn’t proven it can defend the run, so why not? Even with Calvin Johnson at the other end of a pass, because turnovers lurk that way. I think Detroit avoids those turnovers and runs (pun very much intended) all over the Packers. Pick: DETROIT.
INDIANAPOLIS @ Jacksonville -Poor decision making led to that loss against Philadelphia last week, that and Darren Sproles. But the Jaguars don’t have a Sproles, and they do have a Henne, who will turn the ball over against an opportunistic Colts defense. Even in Jacksonville, I don’t see Indy having too much of a problem making this the Andrew Luck show. Pick: INDIANAPOLIS.
Oakland @ NEW ENGLAND -Making that cross-country trip is never easy, especially if you’re a team starting inexperienced Derek Carr, playing a New England team that just blew out similarly quarterback challenged Minnesota in Minnesota last week. I think the Patriots lean on the running game that should shred this Raiders’ defense and this one won’t even be close. Pick: NEW ENGLAND.
Minnesota @ NEW ORLEANS – Are you worried about the Saints after an 0-2 start? You should be because their defense is atrocious, and the offensive line hasn’t given Brees the time he needs to throw the ball, a recipe for disaster. But the cure for all ills is the Big Easy for this team. Heading home will make some of that right, most noticeably Brees. He plays better at home. It’s a proven fact. And Minnesota has some focus problems at the moment. Oh yeah, and Matt Cassel. Pick: NEW ORLEANS.
Houston @ NY GIANTS -I can’t stand the Giants, but they’re not as bad as they’ve looked for the past season and two games. Those turnovers can be controlled, but what has Eli done for this team lately? He’s become a liability. But is this Houston defense for real? They’ve done enough to win games, but the offense isn’t talented enough to keep this up. We’ll see when they head into New Jersey, and I think Eli wakes up enough to win a close one at home. Pick: NY GIANTS.
Dallas @ ST. LOUIS -Well, we finally got to see that Dallas defense last week and they weren’t as bad as we were led to believe. Either that or the Tennessee offense is just going to be hot and cold this year. And the Rams showed some life taking out a Tampa Bay team that was listless. It will come down to which team holds onto the ball the best, and I believe in most teams more than I do Dallas when it comes to that. Romo also isn’t a hundred percent, and I think they lose on the road. Pick: ST. LOUIS.
SAN FRANCISCO @ Arizona -Arizona beat the Giants last week without Carson Palmer and they might be without his services again this week. But the 49ers lost one they shouldn’t have let get away at home against the Bears. They come out aggressive here and expose that Arizona defense. Arizona drops its first game, with or without Palmer. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO.
Kansas City @ MIAMI – At this point I don’t even know what to make of these two teams, and Jamaal Charles may not even suit up for the game. Kansas City cannot stop the run game, though, and Miami has the services of Lamar Miller, who stepped up in the absence of Knowshon Moreno last week. I think he exposes that Chiefs’ defense and Miami wins another close one at home. Pick: MIAMI.
DENVER @ Seattle -Maybe I didn’t learn anything from the Super Bowl, or maybe I remember that this isn’t the biggest game of the year, and Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning in these regular season games. I don’t even care that this game is in Seattle because Philip Rivers showed that you can come after that Seahawks defense and come out ahead. Manning learned a lot from that Super Bowl showing, and he always makes good adjustments. This one will be close, but with Welker back, Denver wins it. Pick: DENVER.
PITTSBURGH @ Carolina – This Steelers team is on the road where they haven’t played well lately, and Carolina looked solid in beating Detroit last week, but I’m still a believer in that Steelers defense, and in Le’Veon Bell. Carolina will be without DeAngelo Williams, and the rest of their run game hasn’t impressed me. I like Antonio Brown to have a monster game against that Carolina defense, and the Steelers to win one on the road. Pick: PITTSBURGH.
Chicago @ NY JETS -The Jets blew a big lead last week in Green Bay, while Chicago came back from a big deficit on the road in San Francisco. But Jay Cutler is like a western wind; he blows hot and cold. I don’t see Chicago beating two teams in a row on the road, and the Jets play excellent run defense. That’s a great way to force Jay Cutler into making poor decisions in the passing game, and those turnovers will be the difference here. Pick: NY JETS.
The Fantasy Ace