Home > Uncategorized > Week Three Picks

Week Three Picks

September 22nd, 2016

Well, I’m consistent if nothing else. Another week, another 11-5 finish straight up. I did improve slightly against the spread in week two, but was hardly a meaningful improvement. I landed at 9-7, exactly one game better than my week one performance. So here I sit (broken hearted? maybe not so much), 22-10 (.688) straight up, 17-15 (.531) against the spread. And who knows? Maybe in a few weeks I’ll look at those results and wonder how I managed to do so well.

Here’s what not to expect in week three.

Houston (-1) at New England
The Patriots have already accomplished everything they really needed to accomplish during Tom Brady‘s suspension. Arguably more. With the greatest quarterback of all time spending the first quarter of the season in his living room, it would have been ridiculous for the team or its fans to expect anything better than a 2-2 start. With the best tight end in football sitting out with a hamstring injury, the defensive front missing key players (including the leader of the unit), and the backup quarterback leaving with an injury less than halfway through game two, even a 2-2 open should have been out of reach. But 2-2 is the worst New England can do before Brady’s return. And 3-1 seems like a solid bet. But 4-0 doesn’t, mainly because you simply can’t expect the Patriots to come up with a win this week. You just can’t. Not with rookie third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett making his first NFL start on just four days rest and preparation. Not with Gronk still uncertain to play. Not with the well balanced Houston Texans bringing what has so far been one of the best pass defenses in the league into Foxborough. There has to be a tipping point for every team — even if it’s just a temporary tipping point — and you have to believe the Patriots have hit it. That’s simply the pragmatic point of view on this game. And yet, I remain mindful of what I wrote a week ago: “There’s no value in picking against New England. No matter whom the Patriots are playing. No matter where they’re playing. No matter what the circumstances. As long as Bill Belichick is on the sideline, the Pats more often than not are going to find a way to win.” I can’t imagine what that way might be this week. But if anyone can devise a path to victory under these circumstances, it’s Belichick. So I’m closing my eyes, holding my breath, crossing everything I can comfortably cross and taking New England. I’ll be truly awestruck if the Patriots win by more than a point.

Denver (+3) at Cincinnati
I’m not sure I understand the line on this game. I mean, I know the Bengals are at home. And I know we haven’t yet seen whether Trevor Siemian can be effective in a hostile stadium. But we know the Broncos defense can perform on the road. It appears that Denver has a balanced offense. And it appears that Cincinnati does not — and that the Bengals’ inability to move the ball on the ground thus far this season poses a particular problem given that they face a defense that doesn’t let you move the ball through the air. Young Mr. Siemian may find a way to cause me to regret it, but I’m going to take my chances with the visitors here. Broncos by a touchdown.

Oakland (+1.5) at Tennessee
The Raiders can’t seem to stop opponents from scoring. Maybe it will help to face a team that stops itself. Oakland by six.

Arizona (-4) at Buffalo
I’m sure getting three extra days to prepare and a new offensive play caller will make all the difference for Buffalo in this game. I expect to see an absolute magic show as the Bills transform from a struggling 0-2 team to a hopeless 0-3 team before our very eyes. Arizona by 10.

Baltimore (even) at Jacksonville
I don’t think the first two weeks of the season have told us anything useful about either of these teams. I’m not sure this game will get the job done either. All I can say is that if I’d seen any indication whatsoever that the Ravens were capable of running the football, I’d take them to win this one. Jaguars by a field goal.

Cleveland (+9.5) at Miami
One difference (and, yes, it’s one of very, very many) between Cleveland and New England is that the Browns weren’t able to win behind either the first or second quarterback on their depth chart. It’s possible that Cody Kessler has some special mojo, but considering that Cleveland quarterbacks have been sacked once every 10 dropbacks so far this season, I’m not sure he’s going to get much chance to put it to use. Dolphins by 14.

Washington (+4.5) at NY Giants
The Racists are just not a good team. Giants by six.

Detroit (+7.5) at Green Bay
If the Packers are going to have any kind of sustained success this season, they’re going to have to do a much better job of protecting Aaron Rodgers. But that shouldn’t be much of a worry this week. Green Bay by a field goal.

Minnesota (+7) at Carolina
I know everyone thinks losing Adrian Peterson to injury is a huge deal for the Vikings. I’m not so sure I agree.


Not having any kind of a run game to begin with might be a somewhat bigger deal. But maybe that’s just me. Panthers by ten.

San Francisco (+9.5) at Seattle
You have to believe the Seahawks are going to right the ship at some point, right? Or maybe not. But you’ve still got to like them to overcome the 49ers at home. Seattle by a touchdown.

Los Angeles (+5) at Tampa Bay
I know they beat the Seahawks last week and everything, but the Rams still look like a pretty bad football team to me. Hard to see them traveling across the country and beating a solidly mediocre squad like the Buccaneers. Tampa by three.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Philadelphia
One of these teams is for real. The other one is the Eagles. Pittsburgh by nine.

NY Jets (+3) at Kansas City
Here’s another game featuring two teams I don’t quite know what to make of. I know the Chiefs are at home, though, so I guess I’ll take them. Kansas City by a field goal.

San Diego (+3) at Indianapolis
One gets the feeling it’s going to be a long, difficult season for the Colts. Uneven though they may be, the Chargers win this one by four.

Chicago (+7) at Dallas
There’s nothing impressive about the Cowboys. But there’s nothing that isn’t downright awful about the Bears. Dallas by 13.

Atlanta (+3) at New Orleans
There’s an outside chance someone on one of these teams will make a defensive play at some point during this game. That players’ team wins. New Orleans by a point.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
Comments are closed.