6-10. Wow, so last week kicked my butt when it comes to picks, and it reminded me once again why they play the games. I don’t know what I was thinking about Miami, although they made a game of it at the end (you know, when it ended up not even mattering). I have no clue why Oakland just can’t gel already on defense. And for some reason the Seahawks forgot they were actually supposed to be playing a game in L.A.
But that was last week, and with the quick turnaround of the Thursday game it’s already time for another Picks. I’m feeling much better about this week than last because the picture is getting a bit clearer on whose defense is actually improved (the Giants), on which quarterback needs a good matchup (Blake Bortles), and on the team that might only win against the Seahawks all year (the Browns).
Now, on with my Ace Picks for week 3…
Houston @ NEW ENGLAND – Perhaps I should finally realize, after two weeks of picking against the Patriots… maybe they won’t lose at all this year. Maybe this will be a wasted pick every single time I go against them, but the numbers don’t lie. With Jacoby Brissett likely to start, and with Julian Edelman as his backup, even in New England, I don’t see Bill Belichick working magic against a solid Houston team that is just hitting its stride on both defense and offense. Pick – TEXANS (by 2).
Arizona @ BUFFALO – When you’re the Bills and you can’t even take out the Jets at home, what hope do you have against a strong Arizona front that just shut down Jameis Winston when he had been so hot in game 1. That offense is no slouch either. I don’t care where the game is being played, this one will be high scoring in favor of the team from the desert. Pick – CARDINALS (by 12).
Denver @ CINCINNATI – If there’s any game I’m worried about the Broncos losing it’s this one. The Bengals got beaten last week in Pittsburgh (by DeAngelo Williams, pretty much), and they will come into this one angry. My problem in picking them is that the Denver defense has looked downright filthy through two games (filthy is a positive term, you millenials), and I don’t see them getting beaten here. Siemian is a good game manager, and even if he has a turnover or two, Denver will return the favor. Pick – BRONCOS (by 3).
Cleveland @ MIAMI – Can you say “trap game”? This one has all the markings. The Browns are starting their 3rd quarterback (a rookie, no less) in as many games. They’re on the road against a Miami team that almost came back against the Patriots last week, and the Browns are sitting at 0-2. But as much as I want to say these things spell trouble for the Dolphins, I can’t bring myself to do it. Miami big. Pick – DOLPHINS (by 12).
Detroit @ GREEN BAY – Lost in all the rhetoric this week is the fact that the Lions took out the Packers at Lambeau last year in a close defensive battle. The Lions look pretty good on defense against this year, and the Packers showed they’re still solid as well. I see this one turning into a shootout, though, for some reason, and I’ll take Aaron Rodgers any day in a shootout. Pick – PACKERS (by 3).
Oakland @ TENNESSEE – I have absolutely no idea what to do with Oakland this year. They’re going to be wildly unpredictable because that defense just hasn’t lived up to expectations yet. Maybe it never will, and perhaps Marcus Mariota will shred them this week. But I have a feeling that Derek Carr will be able to keep this Raiders team in it against a porous Titans defense that I feel got lucky against Detroit last week. Carr will orchestrate the winning drive in the last two minutes. Pick – RAIDERS (by 4).
Minnesota @ CAROLINA – Now comes the real test for the Vikings. Can they take out the defending NFC champions who looked so solid on offense last week (the defense left a little to be desired). Sam Bradford had an otherworldly day last week, but can he replicate it in this offensive scheme? I think he comes a little short against the Panthers in a close one. Pick – PANTHERS (by 3).
Washington @ NY GIANTS – Is Kirk Cousins as bad as he’s looked so far this season, or was that the famous regression we all saw coming and now it’s over? This is a division rivalry, and the Redskins (despite Cousins and his ineptitude) nearly took out a Cowboys team that barely lost to the Giants in week 1. This one will be close throughout, and for one week at least the Skins will show they’ve still got pride. Pick – REDSKINS (by 3). Upset Special.
Baltimore @ JACKSONVILLE – Sure, the Ravens took out the Browns last week, but they got down by 20 early. To the Browns. This Jacksonville offense is high powered, and has been in comeback mode itself through the first two weeks. At this point I trust Blake Bortles a bit more to be a front runner at home, and they won’t melt down like the Browns did. Pick – JAGUARS (by 7).
LA Rams @ TAMPA BAY – Traveling cross country is never easy on the visiting team, and even though the Rams beat a wounded Seattle team last week I don’t know if they have the firepower to take out the Bucs. If Case Keenum can be the same game manager he was last week against the Seahawks, and Todd Gurley gets unleashed, they have a shot. I think they start slow but they will shock the world and get on a winning streak. Pick – RAMS (by 3).
San Francisco @ SEATTLE – Even when this was some sort of a real rivalry (when Kaepernick was still Kaepernick), the Seahawks manhandled the 49ers, especially in the cozy confines of Seattle. Yes, the Seahawks looked depleted last week, and who knows how healthy Russell Wilson is, even at this point, but that defense has held teams to 10 and 9 points, respectively. Do you see the 49ers mustering more than 10 points on the Seahawks? I don’t. And the ‘Hawks will do just enough to pull this one out. Pick – SEAHAWKS (by 4).
San Diego @ INDIANAPOLIS – Do you believe in this San Diego team with the Philip Rivers resurgence? Do you think this Colts offensive line is one of the most horrendous in the NFL? That doesn’t make for a good combination. The Chargers keep losing players and putting up monstrous numbers regardless. I think they keep it rolling in Indy and make Colts fan boo their own team in this one. Pick – CHARGERS (by 6).
NY Jets @ KANSAS CITY – The problem with the Chiefs is that they let both teams get huge leads on them because their defense hasn’t been as good as advertised. Not having Justin Houston hurts. A lot. And now they face a rested Jets squad that looked solid in beating the Bills last week. But I think the Chiefs step up here, with or without Jamaal Charles, and win a close one at home. Pick – CHIEFS (by 3).
Pittsburgh @ PHILADELPHIA – Now comes the first big test for Carson Wentz… and for that surprising Eagles defense. Although, I guess Wentz playing well is the only real surprise. When that defense had rest time last year they played just like this, and were opportunistic. But Big Ben has been ruthless so far this year, even when Antonio Brown did almost nothing in week 2. Wentz gets his first loss. Pick – STEELERS (by 7).
Chicago @ DALLAS – All the experts are picking the Cowboys in this one because it looks like Brian Hoyer gets the start, but with a week’s worth of first team reps under his belt I think he plays better than we saw on Monday night. I think the running game also gets untracked, and they take a close one in Texas. Pick – BEARS (by 3).
Atlanta @ NEW ORLEANS – Let’s face it. Brees wasn’t great last week in a matchup against that renewed Giants defense, but that one was in New Jersey, and this one is back home, where Brees has been dominant for most of his career (let’s forget about the last couple of seasons). I think this one is high-scoring, but the Saints find a way to pull it out, under the lights, in the Big Easy. Pick – SAINTS (by 2).