Editor Stephen Rhodes’ Picks – Week 3

Jay Cutler 

Week 2: 9-7

Season To Date: 18-14

Indianapolis (-4.5) at Houston

Before Texan’s wide receiver Andre Johnson sprained his knee this past weekend, I truly thought this was going to be a close game.  Not any more.  The Colts’ offense will be its usual self and the improved defense will benefit from Johnsons’ absence.  Colts to cover easily.  Indianapolis 27, Houston 14

San Diego over Green Bay (+5.5)

An interesting matchup – San Diego’s high-powered offense (until recently) vs. Green Bay’s much-improved defense (so far).  Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson should be effective against the Packers run defense; look for 130-140 yards and 2 TD’s.  The Packers playing at home this week will give them a home-field advantage, but the team’s lack of a running game will be their undoing yet this game will be close.  San Diego to win, but the Pack will cover the spread.  San Diego 21, Green Bay 17

Kansas City over Minnesota (+3)

I’m not quite sure why the Chiefs are favored by 3 here.  What I do know is this – The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson will do his best impression of LaDanian Tomlinson this weekend (135-140 yards, 2 TD’s), and the Vikings’ secondary will come through in the 4th quarter.  Neither QB for either side will do anything special.  The Chiefs’ Larry Johnson will do a little better this week, but it won’t mean a thing this Sunday.  Minnesota 17, Kansas City 10

Philadelphia over Detroit (Pick’em)

In seasons past this would be a lock.  But thanks to some lackluster QB’ing by the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb as of late, this game is not the rout that it typically would be.  The Lions’ Jon Kitna should do fine vs. the Eagles secondary (250-260 yards, 2 TD’s).  The Eagles win at Detroit not because of McNabb or Westbrook, but because of a late game-winning FG by kicker David Akers.  After the game, McNabb will find another reason to whine (maybe it is hereditary).  Philadelphia 17, Detroit 14

New England over Buffalo (+14.5)

The Patriots will for the umpteenth time show why they’re the class of the AFC East, yet I do expect Buffalo to put up a fight this weekend.  The Bills’ Marshawn Lynch will do fine vs. the Pats’ secondary (85-95 yards, 1 TD) and WR Lee Evans will finally score a TD.  Meanwhile, the Patriots will do their damage through the air; expect around 310-320 yards and 3 TD’s from the Pats’ Tom Brady.  The Patriots win, but it won’t be like last week.  New England 31, Buffalo 17

New York Jets (-3.5) over Miami

Miami in their current state are so bad that even 43 year old Vinny Testaverde could beat the Dolphins this week.  They’re that bad.  That aside, do not expect monster numbers from anyone on either side.  Whoever the Jets’ QB is this week (Clemens I’m sure) will be just effective enough to pull out the win.  In Miami right now, there is an online campaign calling for former Dolphins’ head coach and Hall of Famer Don Shula to take over as the team’s coach; Shula will gracefully decline – I can’t say that I blame him.  New York 21, Miami 13

Pittsburgh over San Francisco (+8)

If you look at the matchups between these two, it screams, “Pittsburgh”.  But hold the phone.  The 49ers’ secondary is getting better week-by-week; because of this, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger will have problems.  Willie Parker will get his 100+ yards, but it will be the 49ers’ secondary that will allow the team to pull off the upset of the week.  San Francisco 24, Pittsburgh 21

Baltimore over Arizona (+8)

I like this matchup between the Cards-Ravens.  What I do not like is the lack of offense between the 2 teams.  Leinart and Co. will pretend it is Week 1 vs. San Francisco (meaning they should be lucky to gain 300 yards in total offense).  But on the flip side, the Ravens wouldn’t know an offense if it bit them in the butt.  Defense rules the day for both teams; Baltimore wins, but Arizona will make it close and beat the spread, as well.  Baltimore 17, Arizona 10

St. Louis (+3.5) over Tampa Bay

I’m not sure what to make of this game, to be honest with you.  The Rams are underachieving at this stage, while Tampa Bay pulled out a win over New Orleans.  All things being equal, I think the Rams will finally revert to their old form.  Expect 300-315 yards and 2 TD’s from Rams QB Marc Bulger and 90-100 yards and a TD from Rams RB Steven Jackson.  The Bucs’ Joey Galloway should do well vs. the Rams’ secondary, but the Rams’ offense this week should overwhelm the Bucs this weekend.  St. Louis 34, Tampa Bay 24 

Denver (-3) over Jacksonville

A total mismatch.  You have the Broncos’ running attack vs. the Jags’ D-line and questionable LB’s.  You also have the Broncos’ Jay Cutler vs. the Jags’ secondary.  Folks, this game isn’t gonna be pretty at all.  If there’s a bright spot for the Jags, it may be that Jags’ RB duo of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fraud Taylor will improve over last week.  Not that it will mean anything Sunday afternoon. Broncos in a rout.  Denver 28, Jacksonville 13 

Seattle (-3) over Cincinnati

The hangover that was the Browns’ upset victory over the Bengals lasy Sunday will continue this weekend.  True enough that the Bengals have the offense, but the defense is questionable at this point.  But what wins the game for the Seahawks is their secondary.  Expect some decent numbers from the Bengals’ Carson Palmer but he’ll throw 3 INT’s which will make the difference in a Seahawks’ victory.  After the game, there will be an increase in crime in Cincinnati, in honor of the team.  Seattle 24, Cincinnati 17

Oakland (-3) over Cleveland

This game will be low-scoring, nip-and-tuck – in a phrase,  a “snooze-fest”.  The only offense (if any) will come from Lamont Jordan (90-100 yards, 1 TD).  The defense will not stand out insomuch as sloppy play by both teams’ offenses.  The Browns’ Derek Anderson will revert to his former self, and Jamal Lewis will be lucky to eclipse 75 yards.  The Raiders to win by exactly 3 – a push here.  Oakland 17, Cleveland 14

Carolina (-4) over Atlanta

I think the oddsmakers were being generous in giving the winless Falcons 4 points this week. The Falcons’ abysmal passing attack, combined with the Panthers’ pass rush, will make this game academic around the mid-3rd quarter range.  Expect newly signed Falcons’ Byron Leftwich to be the team’s starter in the next week or 2 and if they’re smart, make RB Jerious Norwood their feature back.  Carolina covers the spread easily.  Carolina 27, Atlanta 17

Washington over New York Giants (Pick’em)

This game isn’t going to be as close as the oddsmakers have it to be.  The Redskins’ ofense is slowly improving; QB Jason Campbell is getting better each week, not to mention the tandem of RB’s Clinton Portis and LaDell Betts being one of the better RB duos in the NFL.  The offense (or lack thereof) of the Giants will rear its ugly head; QB Eli Manning will IMO have a subpar game (200-210 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT), and the Redskins’ pass rush will make Manning’s day a living hell.  Washington in a rout.  Washington 27, New York Giants 14

Dallas (+3) over Chicago

As much as I hate to admit it, the Cowboys have made believers out of me.  A renewed Tony Romo won’t post numbers like ha edi the last 2 weeks, but he won’t need to.  I think that RB Marion Barber will post big numbers this week (160-170 yards, 2 TD’s), and the Bears’ offense (or lack thereof, tyvm Rex Grossman) will prevent the Bears from winning this week.  The Bears really need to look into perhaps starting reserve QB Brian Griese soon.  Dallas to cover.  Dallas 21, Chicago 13

New Orleans over Tennessee (+5)

The Saints, if they even hope to have playoff aspirations, need to get their offense and defense clicking as soon as possible.  What the Saints do have on their side is QB Drew Brees, RB’s Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush and WR Marques Colston.  Brees should be able to pick on the Titans’ secondary easily (280-295 yards, 3 TD’s).  The Titans will somehow keep it close; they almost beat the SB champion Indianapolis Colts with some clutch defensive play near the end of their game last week.  The Saints win their first game but the Titans will make it interesting.  New Orleans 27, Tennessee 23

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