Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 NFL Week 3 Predictions

Through 2 weeks of the season - we know even less than what we know when the season started, except for the fact that these replacement refs need to be replaced as soon as possible. The Patriots and Ravens square off this week to avoid going 1-2, the Packers will be in a dogfight against the Seahawks to avoid going 1-2, the Giants are battered on offense and will need to beat the Panthers to avoid going 1-2, and I'll need to beat Shalin in fantasy football to avoid going 1-2. Football as we know it, simply doesn't make sense. 

Thursday September 20th - 8:20 ET, NFL Network
NY Giants (-1) vs. Carolina
The line on this game has shifted significantly in Carolina's favor after the announcement that the G-men will be without 4 of their key players on offense (Bradshaw, Nicks, Hixon, and Diehl). I already put in my bet at the above line so I'll stick with it for gambling purposes. It's pretty well known that Eli Manning doesn't show up for the first three quarters of football games and will then attempt to pull some sort of Houdini-like escape in the fourth similar to his feat last week against the Bucs. I don't see that happening this week. If the Panthers can get their run game going with Newton and their platoon of RBs, they are a dangerous team regardless of the competition. Given that the Giants will be on the road for the first time this year - I like my chances with the Panthers to get off to a surprising 2-1 start, while the Giants will have to do with they do best and play catch up from 1-2. I'll roll with the Panthers at home tonight.

Sunday, September 23rd - 1PM Kickoffs
St. Louis at Chicago (-7)
Here's a matchup that I'll be looking to seek revenge against the player in the NFL that I detest the most. Is this a good way to gamble? Never. Do I care? Nope. I just can't continue to back Smokin' Jay Cutler. He's time and time again proven his douchebaggery on and off the field and quite frankly it's no way to lead a team. The injury to RB Matt Forte also gives the Rams and advantage here, but they'll be waiting until the start of the game to announce their own RBs fortunes (Steven Jackson). Regardless, I like the stingy Rams to continue their strong 2012 campaign. I'll grab the Rams and the points here. 

Buffalo (-2.5) at Cleveland
It's true, C.J. Spiller has given the Buffalo Bills hope for the rest of this season. Spilla Spills as I like to affectionately refer to him as, has led the NFL in rushing through two weeks with his 292 yards to date. Through the first two weeks, he's averaged an amazing 10.1 yards / carry, a feat which hasn't been accomplished since a former Cleveland Brown, Jim Brown, accomplished in 1963 (11.3 yards / carry). The Bills will need to win this game to remain atop the AFC East and because losing to the Browns almost negates anything else you do as a team all season. Seriously, good teams win these games. Let's see what the Bills are made of.

Tampa Bay at Dallas (-7)
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from disappointing week 2 outcomes. The Bucs dropped a heartbreaker to the Giants after leading by 18 points, and the Cowboys seemingly forgot they were scheduled to play a football game in Seattle. The Boys return back home this week for the first time in 2012. I expect Romo and Co. to find some comfort and put up a big day against a weak Bucs secondary. Ride the Cowboys to get back on track this week.

Sunday, Septmber 23rd (4 ET Kickoffs)
Philadelphia (-4) at Arizona - Best Pick
The Eagles have a +2 margin of victory on the year. That's what you call winning by the skin on your bone. Or something like that. The point is, they've won, and they continue to find ways. Sure the Cardinals Defense looked really good against the Pats last week, but their offense shouldn't impose any fear into the Eagles today. I like the Eagles to cover their first game of the season with an easy road victory in Arizona.

Atlanta at San Diego (-3)
Could very well be the best game of the early games on Sunday. Two 2-0 teams square off in what should be a battle of cock-measuring. The Falcons have looked impressive going to a no-huddle offense led by Matty Ice spreading the ball all over the place. The Chargers have put up 30 ppg and will get back their lead RB Ryan Mathews. I don't expect to see much defense in this one - but I trust the attack of the Falcons a notch more than the Chargers. I'll continue to ride on the Falcons bandwagon.

Houston (-1.5) at Denver
Is it the year of the Texan? With the Texans (NFL) and Rangers (MLB) looking to make runs for their respective championships this very well could be the year that Texas teams get long awaited championships. The Texans are the only team in the past 3 years to start 2-0, however they've never started 3-0. Going into Mile High Stadium will be no easy task against a stout Broncos Defense. However, Peyton Manning hasn't quite looked like he's on the same page with his Receivers just yet. He struggled to make the right reads last week against the Falcons on MNF which led to an abysmal start  (3 INTs in the first quarter). I look for the Texans to continue to disrupt Manning's rhythm and will take them on the road to start 3-0. 

Sunday, September 23d (8:20 ET)
New England at Baltimore (-3)
Just like everyone envisioned it - The two AFC Championship game contenders battling to avoid a 1-2 start to the season. The Patriots will be without half of their monster TE duo this week with the injury to Aaron Hernandez. The last time they started a football game without their star TE, the Pats lost to the Bills and Brady threw 4 INTs. The Ravens have looked good in both games this year, but the offense stalled late and the defense was unable to fend of the Eagles last week on the road. It was just reported the WR Torrey Smith lost his brother late last night in a Motorcycle accident, so the tight-nit Ravens will be playing with heavy hearts. For the game, I just can't see the Pats with a losing record. In fact they've gone 145 straight games without a losing record. I look for the Pats to continue that streak, and get another W against the Ravens. 

Monday, September 24th (8:30 ET)
Green Bay (-3) at Seattle
I'm absolutely torn on this game. The Packers are coming off a 15-1 season and play against a Rookie QB on Monday Night Football, yet they only lay 3 points? I know that Russell Wilson has only been asked to manage the game for the Seahawks - but he's still a pretty special player. And if you didn't like him before - try not to like him after watching this clip. Goosebumps for all of us short guys out there. I just can't root against my favorite rookie QB on prime time. I doubt I'll wager on this game, but if I did - I'd have to side with the Seahawks Packers (changing pick prior to kickoff). The Packers are 0-4 on MNF away from Lambeau - so we have that going for us, right? - disregard previous paragraph, too many upsets this week to get too cute and hope for another one on MNF. Take the Pack.

Best of the Rest - quick hits for the rest of the games:
NY Jets (-2.5) at Miami - I really really don't think the dolphins could put together a two game win streak. Sanchez better hope so or the whispers for Tebow will turn into belligerent screaming. Take the Jets.
San Francisco (-7) at Minnesota - Looks too good to be true, right? It's probably not, take the Vikings.
Kansas City at New Orleans (-8) - The Chiefs are the perfect recipe to get your season started (see Falcons, Bills). 
Cincinnati at Washington (-3.5) - RGIII bounces back at home against the Bengals
Detroit (-3.5) at Tennessee - Chris Johnson has been the worst, but I look for the Titans to hold their ground today. Take them plus the points at home. 
Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-3) - Won't be watching this game. You shouldn't either. Take the Jags for no good reason.
Pittsburgh (-4) at Oakland - Average Gambler: The Steelers on the road, against a weak Raiders team? Sounds like money to me. I'll ride the Raiders, because I'm probably a subpar gambler. 

Enjoy the games this week!

This Week: 0-1
Season: 19-13-1

Best Picks: 2-0

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