Well, 12-4 in Week 2 is definitely more like it. It was as if teams were trying too hard in Week 1, but Week 2 was much more fluid, even if it included a lot more injuries as well. And generally, the better team won out (even though Seattle had me worried for quite some time in their game).
This week, though, there are some teams that almost never play each other (like the Raiders vs. the Redskins), there are some teams that can’t possibly be as bad as they’ve looked (like the Bengals and Jets — well, I guess the Jets really are as bad as they’ve looked), and there are some undefeated teams that aren’t quite as good as their records suggest (like the Ravens and Broncos — or maybe the Broncos are as good).
How will things shake out? Here are my picks for Week 3:
L.A. Rams @ SAN FRANCISCO – So I’m 0-2 on Thursday night games, and that generally leads to overthinking things. I’m not going to do that here. To me these teams are evenly matched in most facets, but with Goff willing to toss the ball to Gurley out of the backfield I see that being the deciding factor in a close game. Pick: LA RAMS.
Baltimore @ JACKSONVILLE (really in London) – This is another tricky one, as the Ravens come in undefeated, but Flacco hasn’t done much. The Jaguars are also difficult to gauge because their defense was all world in Week 1, but came back to earth in the second week. But the Jags have experience in London (they’ve been there the most times of any NFL team), which will show out here. Pick: JAGUARS.
Atlanta @ DETROIT – After a bit of a slow start against Chicago, the Falcons dialed up some major offense against the Packers, and their defense did just enough to pressure him into some mistakes. That’s generally the recipe for success in Atlanta. Detroit still doesn’t have an identity on either side of the ball, even though they come in undefeated. I like the Falcons to take it big, even on the road. Pick: FALCONS.
Cleveland @ INDIANAPOLIS – Do we even have to watch this game? These look like two teams going in opposite directions. The only problem is that the Browns, while they look better than they have recently, are still not a good team. Without Andrew Luck, these Colts are also not a good team. But the game’s in Indy, so even though I don’t feel good picking them to take this one, that’s the call. Pick: COLTS (by a field goal).
Denver @ BUFFALO – I believe this Denver offense is for real, that Siemian might just have found something. It helps too that CJ Anderson has gotten going early this season, and that he’s healthy right now. It opens up everything else. We already know about that Broncos defense, which will stuff McCoy and whatever Tyrod has in store. Pick: BRONCOS.
Houston @ NEW ENGLAND – The last time these two met was in the playoffs when the Texans went into New England and didn’t really have a chance. Not much has changed since then. DeShaun Watson is young, and athletic, but Belichick has had a whole week to plan for him. Who else you got, Houston? Pick: PATRIOTS (and it won’t even be close).
Miami @ NY JETS – The Jets are playing for that number one draft pick, even though they looked okay through a quarter and a half against Oakland last week. But wave the white flag on this one, even against an inconsistent Miami team. Pick: DOLPHINS.
New Orleans @ CAROLINA – Yes, the Saints defense is bad. Really bad. And yes, the Panthers have the reputation of an offensive team capable of taking advantage of the bad defense. But something still isn’t quite right about Cam Newton, and he’s without Greg Olsen in this one. Yes, I know it’s the Saints on the road, but I smell an upset. Pick: SAINTS.
NY Giants @ PHILADELPHIA – Eli & the Beckhams head into the City of Brotherly Love desperate for a win after starting 0-2 (and after looking like the Cleveland Browns while doing it). The Eagles have been winning through the air, and through the strength of their pass rush. The Giants have a poor offensive line. Look for Eli to be desperate a lot, and to cough up a few turnovers. Pick: EAGLES.
Pittsburgh @ CHICAGO – Ben Roethlisberger on the road. I know. I know. But he’s still better than whatever the Bears are rolling out there these days (Mike Glennon? Yawn). Chicago will either be without Jordan Howard, or he’ll be playing hurt, and does anyone know who their starting wideouts are at this point? Yeah, me either. Pick: STEELERS.
Tampa Bay @ MINNESOTA – This really comes down to whether or not Sam Bradford plays. If he plays this is an easy call, as that Minnesota defense can shut down the Tampa Bay offense. If Bradford doesn’t play, then I don’t see how the Vikes will generate any offense. I think he plays, though, and I think Minnesota takes it at home. Pick: VIKINGS.
Seattle @ TENNESSEE – That offensive line. Wow. It’s just not fair to Russell Wilson right now having to scramble on every single play. And as much as people are playing up Chris Carson, if you can stack the box effectively, as the Titans can do, then you can shut down the running game as well as Wilson. I think Mariota does just enough to put his team over the top in a close one that will come down to the wire. Pick: TITANS.
Cincinnati @ GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers must be salivating over this one, but I wouldn’t be so quick to anoint this Packers team in this one. After all, they will probably be without Jordy Nelson, and maybe even Randall Cobb, the Bengals can rush the QB, and Cincy’s in a desperate situation at 0-2. But, well, it’s in Green Bay, and I just don’t see them taking it. Pick: PACKERS.
Kansas City @ LA CHARGERS – Many are calling for a Chargers upset, and I understand that. They’re playing at home (eh hem, in front of the 20 folks who will show up), they are also desperate for a win, and KC has been playing over their heads. But have they? I don’t see the Chargers stopping Hunt, Hill, or Kelce. Look for the Chiefs to keep it going. They’re legit. Pick: CHIEFS.
Oakland @ WASHINGTON – Have we seen the real Redskins yet this season? They sit at 1-1, but Kirk Cousins hasn’t looked great, Terrelle Pryor hasn’t flashed his unique talent, and the running game has pretty much carried them. But this is a step up in competition over the Rams, and I’ve seen absolutely nothing from the Oakland offense that says they will have a letdown. Carr all day. Pick: RAIDERS.
Dallas @ ARIZONA – Were the Cowboys exposed last week, or was it just that dynamic Denver offense that forced them to make bad choices in their own passing game? Oh, wait, Elliott only had eight rushing yards. Hmmm. The Cardinals aren’t that kind of defense, even though they’ve supposed to be good. I don’t see them posing too much of a challenge for an angry Cowboys team on the road. Pick: COWBOYS.