The NFL’s third week was a tough one here at headquarters, and even the most sure bets (Patriots winning over the Bills, Steelers covering the spread against the Manning-less Colts) would not raise their arms (get it, because they weren’t Sure).
The losses did help us understand a little bit more how the league might shape up this year, though. Of last year’s successful teams, only the Packers really look as good, or better than they were last year. The Eagles’ Dream Team aspirations take a hit each and every time Michael Vick does, and every time Andy Reid has to make a play call in the Red Zone. The Patriots defense, which has been in decline for years, finally looks just about broken. And the Lions and Bills both look like they’re for real.
But this is the National Football League, and all of that could change in an instant. Matthew Stafford’s duct-taped shoulder could fall off again. Aaron Rodgers could take a hit in the head and miss more time, as he did last year, due to concussion. The Steelers defense can become the force it once was. And the Patriots, because I hate them, will probably turn it around too. Or maybe not. Who knows? The below video encapsulates my thoughts on the season thus far, then come the picks:
This shit is still funny to me.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Week 3 Record: 4-11-1
My Record So Far: 20-25-3
Sunday Early Games (10/2 1PM ET)
Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears (-6.5)
The Bears lost their HISTORIC RIVALRY (wank motion) game last week to the Packers 27-17 in one of the few games I picked correctly. The Panthers beat the Jaguars in a nineties expansion team grudge match during a monsoon, in one of the other games I picked correctly. It stands to reason, then, that maybe I actually have figured out what is going on with these two teams. Probably not, but it sure looks like Cam Newton is the real deal as an NFL quarterback, while we’re still figuring out that Jay Cutler is not. Even though the Bears have the home field advantage, they’re reeling.
My Pick: Panthers (+6.5)
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
Part of me tells me this will be a classic let-down game, where the Bills, coming off of a huge comeback win over the Patriots, lay an egg against the impossible-to-be-emotional-about Bengals. That said, I still think that this team playing an off game should grab the win by more than a field goal.
My Pick: Bills (-3)
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (-1)
Last week the lowly Browns beat the lowlier Dolphins, but did not cover the spread. The Titans beat the lowliest Broncos and also did not cover the spread. With the Browns favored by only one point at home, this game is pretty much a toss-up. Chris Johnson is due to break out of his holdout hangover at some point, so maybe that’ll be this week, giving the Titans a win on the road, hopefully by more than one point.
My Pick: Titans (+1)
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-1)
Though the Cowboys have won their last two games, they didn’t really look good doing so. The Lions are a real football team at this point, having won both by blowing teams out and by coming from behind on the road. Add to this that the Lions are beasts in the pass rush and Tony Romo is still recovering from fractured ribs and a punctured lung, and we may actually see a quarterback die on the field this week.
My Pick: Lions (+1)
Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs (+1.5)
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley seems like the kind of guy who’d really enjoy those Miller Lite MAN UP commercials, where a guy is not drinking Miller Lite so his bros make fun of him both for that, and for doing something else unmanly, and there’s usually a hot waitress there to emasculate him as well, the whole thing about this being the absurd premise that Miller Lite is the manliest beer on earth. This is the Miller Lite of football games. MAN UP Vikings.
My Pick: Vikings (-1.5)
Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams (even)
The Rams are going to start out losing their first seven games, then still compete for the division title, because the NFC West is, in the words of Sir Charles Barkley, chrrble.
My Pick: Redskins (even)
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
The Eagles are still favored by more than a touchdown even though Michael Vick is banged up, they can’t score in the red zone, and they’ve lost two straight games. It’s like they’re really tempting me to bet against them here, but the 49ers just aren’t good.
My Pick: Eagles (-7.5)
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)
In the battle of the rookie starting quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert lost out to Cam Newton. Drew Brees is better at quarterback than Cam Newton. Therefore, by the transitive property, Drew Brees is better than Blaine Gabbert. It’s proven with math!
My Pick: Saints (-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans (-4)
Can the Steelers get back the magic weembus? Is this the year the Texans finally womm the squimbo? Derg.
My Pick: Texans (-4)
Sunday Late Games (10/2 4:05/4:15PM ET)
New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals (+1.5)
The Giants might be kind of good? The Cardinals aren’t good. It seems like Eli Manning will look like Peyton Manning against the Cards’ secondary. Larry Fitzgerald will probably make some ridiculous awesome catch that makes no physical sense in terms of gravity, but the Cardinals will still lose.
My Pick: Giants (-1.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (+4.5)
Seattle is one of the better home field advantages in the league, but that shouldn’t matter. The Falcons will right the ship here.
My Pick: Falcons (-4.5)
Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers (-13)
Since the Packers only beat the Bears by ten last week, this one is tougher than it seems, but the Broncos just are not good at football and the Packers are good at football. Aaron Rodgers will throw at least two touchdowns to Jermajesty Finnebuckles on route to a rout.
My Pick: Packers (-13)
New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders (+4.5)
The Patriots will be angry and prepared after their loss to the Bills, but the Raiders looked tough and hungry against the Jets, and the Patriots don’t really play well against tough. Tom Brady may leave this game with an owie.
My Pick: Raiders (+4.5)
Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers (-7)
Because I live in Los Angeles and don’t have any of the spiffy NFL watch all the great things happen at once channels, this will be the game I am forced to watch in the afternoon time slot. Philip Rivers will throw for over 400 yards and the Chargers will wipe the turf with Dolphin Lundgr.
My Pick: Chargers (-7)
Sunday Night Game (10/2 8:25PM ET)
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Before last week’s games, I would have picked the Jets in this game, but after seeing them get outmuscled by the Raiders, it’s a much tougher pick. That Ravens loss in Week 2, though, still rankles, so I’d say Sexy Rexy wins this round.
My Pick: Jets (+3.5)
Monday Night Football (10/3 8:35PM ET)
Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10)
The Colts proved they could stay in the game on a big stage last week, even without Peyton Manning. Though they eventually lost to the Steelers. And they were at home. The Buccaneers are confusing. But they should win this one easily. Which means they probably won’t, but I’m picking them anyway.
My Pick: Buccaneers (-10)
Another weekend, more football. And hey, it’s October! Which means that this month I turn thirty, and will likely be unemployed while doing so! But at least there’s football. And liquor. See you next weekend!