Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 3

Owens 

Last week was a downer, going just 6-10 to bring the year mark to 13-16-1. This week we see some big games on the board, so let’s get to it with picks for week 3 around the NFL.

Indianapolis (-4.5) at Houston – The surprise team of the year so far is the Texans, who start 2-0 for the first time in their franchise history. I don’t like their chances to start 3-0 though, as they will be without star WR Andre Johnson, which will put a lot more pressure on QB Matt Schaub and the running game. The Colts have played two solid games, and while they were in a pressure cooker last week at Tennessee, they won, which they might not have done a season ago. Peyton and the Colts are in a groove, and I think they have too much talent here to fall to the Texans. Take the Colts minus the points. Indianapolis 27 Houston 13

San Diego (-5.5) at Green Bay – The Pack appears to be back. At 2-0 the Packers have won two games many felt they would lose, vs the Eagles and at New York vs the Giants. I love how Brett Favre has settled in his role now as a QB that does not need to be trying to make a big play everytime out there. This is a tough spot though for the Pack, as an upset Chargers team comes in after getting blown out in New England last week. This is a big week for Phillip Rivers of the Chargers, as he needs to bounce back vs the Pack. I like San Diego here, but I think the Pack rides some emotion and keeps it close. San Diego 20 Green Bay 17

Minnesota at Kansas City (-3) – Both these teams have struggled somewhat on offense, more the Chiefs so far, who stick with QB Damon Huard for now. Larry Johnson has to start running more for KC, but against a solid Vikings run defense that will not be easy. The Vikings might be without QB Tavaris Jackson, and if that’s the case, look for journeyman Kelly Holcomb to get the nod at starter. Both teams will run, run, run, and overall I like that running game of the Chiefs just a little bit more. A very tough game to call, but the Chiefs are desperate for a win at home. Kansas City 16 Minnesota 10

Detroit at Philadelphia (-6) – The Eagles have scored just one TD in two games, and now they go up against a Lions team that is sky high after starting out 2-0. Donovan McNabb is showing his age, and he and the offense simply need to start playing better. That will be tough as RB Bryan Westbrook may be limited with a knee injury. Look for the Eagles defense to try and keep them in this one with some help from the special teams. Jon Kitna said 10+ wins for the Lions, so far so good, but this week they lose their first. Take Detroit though and the six. Philadelphia 24 Detroit 20

Buffalo at New England (-14.5) – The Pats have put up 38 points in each of their first two games, while the Bills have scored just 17 points in two games. Despite that, the Bills usually play tough vs the rival Pats, and I think this week they start to show some signs of life. Marshawn Lynch is going over just four yards per carry, and his running attack should finally give J.P. Losman some time to throw and find his wide outs. For the Pats, it will be much of the same, a solid running game that is at about 140 per game, and Tom Brady throwing to guys like Moss, Walker and Watson. Call me crazy, but after two massive wins I think the Bills defense finds a way to make this competitive. New England 23 Buffalo 13

Miami at New York Jets (-3) – New York seemed to be sleep walking through the first three quarters Sunday at Baltimore, but then had a furious rally and came very close to tying the Ravens in an eventual 20-13 loss. The Dolphins were up 13-10 in the third quarter on the Cowboys at home, but then Dallas woke up and Trent Green played giveaway and Miami ended up being blown out 37-20. The Dolphins are not very good, as Green is average at best, the wide outs have a ways to go, and RB Ronnie Brown has little help finding holes, the running game is putting up just 63 yards per game. The defense for Miami, with linebackers Jason Taylor, Joey Porter and Zach Thomas have just three sacks, and they are looking old fast. I like the Jets to get their offense off to a fast start here, and to win and cover. New York 20 Miami 7

San Francisco at Pittsburgh (-8) – The Steelers have blown out the weak Browns and Bills, and now face a bit stiffer competition in the 49’ers. The 9’ers will need to get Frank Gore to have a big day running, but that is next to impossible as the Steelers D does a good job vs the run. If Gore can get some early yards, it should open up the play action for QB Alex Smith to find TE Vernon Davis, who they need to have a huge day after just two grabs last week. For the Steelers, they are buying into this new offense, and Ben Roethlisberger seems to be confident throwing the ball. Look for Willie Parker to have another solid day, and for the Steelers to go to 3-0 with the win and cover. Pittsburgh 27 San Francisco 14

Arizona at Baltimore (-8) – Last week the Ravens were dominating the Jets, when they suddenly took the 4th quarter off, almost allowing them to tie the game. As for the Cards, they got a huge lift with a last second win over the Seahawks at home. They will need to spread that offense this week vs the tough Ravens D, and use everything they have from Edgerin James and that passing game and Matt Leinart. The Ravens on offense is slated to get QB Steve McNair back, and his passing should get the home team a boost. A 9-point boost? I wouldn’t bet on it. Baltimore 17 Arizona 14

St.Louis at Tampa Bay (-3.5) – The Rams hit the boiling point last week in their one-point loss to San Fran, as running back Steven Jackson was seen yelling on the sideline at coach Scott Linehan. He said sorry, but that does not excuse the Rams for dropping two games at home to start the season. Tampa Bay got a shot of confidence last week with a solid game over the Saints. Look for this to be a bit of a shoot-out, as I can see Jeff Garcia and Marc Bulger each over 300 yards. Tampa Bay did look good enough last week for me to believe they can get another win here. Tampa Bay 31 St.Louis 24

Jacksonville at Denver (-3) – Last week at home vs the Falcons the Jags looked sluggish, and needed a strong 4th quarter passing to garner a win. The running game has been stuck in the mud, and I don’t think on the road in a hostile setting they do much better here. Denver also needs to start playing better on offense, as in two games they have put up plenty of yards, but not a ton of points. The Jags D has got to pressure Jay Cutler and hold down Travis Henry. I think Denver’s defense will be the story here, and the offense will do enough to win and cover. Denver 19 Jacksonville 10

Cincinnati at Seattle (-3) – After watching the Bengals live last week allow 51 points to the Browns, it’s hard for me to think that they will rebound this week vs the Seahawks. Seattle fumbled away a shot to beat the Cardinals last week, but always seem to play better at home, and that Bengals defense is still pours and can allow a big play at anytime. Sure the offense with Palmer, Johnson and Johnson is good, but until that defense gets better, the Bengals will struggle. Seattle 27 Cincinnati 23

Cleveland at Oakland (-3) – How bout those Browns?! After getting shell shocked opening day vs the Steelers in a 34-7 loss, they put up a 51 spot on Cincy last week at home. This week on the road things will get back to normal, as I think the Browns won’t be scoring anywhere near 51 against the Radiers. Oakland is still fuming over the timeout in OT that caused them to have to re-kick what should have been a game-winning field goal. This is a tough game to call, and I think that the Raiders have played well enough to squeak out a win at home. Take the three though with Cleveland. Oakland 21 Cleveland 20

Carolina (-4) at Atlanta – Boy are the Falcons a bad football team. Last week in Jacksonville once again their offense was weak, and the running game is not getting any push from the O-line, and the passing game is not hitting at all. Atlanta signed Bryon Leftwich this week, and look for him to be the teams new starter by week six. Carolina was up 14-0 on the Texans before Andre Johnson made a few big plays, and a huge special teams miscue did the Panthers in at home. I think this week Carolina rebounds nicely, and Steve Smith gets free a couple times for scores. Carolina 28 Atlanta 14

Washington (-4) at New York Giants – Tom Coughlin is doing all he can to keep the Giants together, but in the end it won’t be nearly enough. The defense is just awful, allowing 80 points in two games. Last week they hung in for about 2 and a half quarters, but then imploded and gave up some big plays in a loss to the Packers. Washington is a surprise so far, going 2-0 and playing solid defense and doing a good job rushing the football. If QB Jason Campbell can keep from making mistakes, the Skins will go to 3-0. Washington 23 New York 17

Dallas at Chicago (-3) – A classic here, as the storyline will be can the Bears D stop the Cowboys high powered offense. I think they will shut them down better than the Giants and Dolphins did, but I think the real story here will be can the Bears finally produce some offense? How long can the Bears continue to stick with Rex Grossman as he keeps holding this team back? I think in the end, Dallas’ offense will do enough to get a big road win over the NFC Champs. Dallas 21 Chicago 16

Tennessee at New Orleans (-5) – The Saints are scrapping after two bad losses to start the season. They have yet to produce much on offense, and it will fall on that unit to start the turnaround Monday night at home vs the Titans. Look for them to try and get that running game in motion, and for Reggie Bush to get plenty of shots to make a few big plays. For the Titans, they hung tough with the champion Colts, but they are going to have to keep fighting for everything they can get, as their offense just does not have the weapons to put up big numbers. I think it’s safe to say the Saints finally get on the right path here at home. New Orleans 26 Tennessee 17


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