NFL Picks Week 3: From New England Patriots Fans' Perspectives

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NFL Picks Week 3:  From New England Patriots Fans' Perspectives

PHOTO BY STEVE FRITH (yes, that's me!)

Here we are again with our Patriots fans picks for week three of the NFL. No BS...let's get right down to business...

Sunday, September 27

Cleveland @ Baltimore

TR

The Ravens will just dominate this game, period. Anything Joe Flacco doesn’t get in the air, Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will easily get on the ground. Defensively, the Ravens lead the league with 41 yards per game on the ground, and no matter what Brady Quinn does, there is no overcoming that little stat, especially with Cleveland’s Jamal Lewis questionable for this game. Baltimore wins handily.

SF

Look for the Browns to be bullied by the Ravens, with Ray Lewis as the head bully. The Browns are lacking in multiple areas on both offense and defense. Look for the Ravens to take advantage of thison both offense and defense. Sorry Browns…looks like you’ll be 0-3.

Washington @ Detroit

TR

Poor Detroit. Rookie QB Matthew Stafford is undergoing what I believe is called a “baptism of fire.” With one TD and five interceptions to his name, he is learning his way around the NFL the hard way. Things aren’t any better for the Lions on the other side of the ball. Washington’s defense has stepped up occasionally, holding their opponents to an average of 15 points per game. Unfortunately, opposing defenses have held the ‘Skins to a mere 13 points per game. I don’t think this is Detroit’s week as Washington wins with a baseball score.

SF

This won’t be much of a game. This years No. 1 draft pick hasn’t thrown a TD in 2 games. In his defense, he has managed throw 5 interceptions…oh, wait a minute…and how much is he making this year? Anyway, the good news is that the Redskins offense isn’t much better. They’ve manage a single TD…whoopty-doo. I’m going to give this snoozer of a game to the Skins.

Jacksonville @ Houston

TR

Houston is the most frustratingly inconsistent team in the NFL. I never can get a handle on them, and I know I’m not alone. I pick ‘em to win, they lose, and vice versa. I don’t have much better luck with Jacksonville, so can I use my Get Out of Jail Free card here? No? All right, look, Houston’s run defense is almost non-existent. MJD is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. You do the math, and you will come up with Jacksonville finally gets a win.

SF

I’m giving this one to the Jaguars. I hope Schaub has a great game because he’s my fantasy QB,and Andre Johnson is my main WR, but I just don’t see the Houston Defense containing the Jags running game. On the flip side, the Jags Defense will have to shut down Johnson to take this game. This should be a game decided by defense.

Atlanta @ New England

TR

The popular thing would be to go with the Falcons. Matt Ryan is on a roll, and he has really benefited from the off-season acquisition of Tony Gonzalez. Oh yeah, and then there is Michael Turner. The Pats’ defense is likely to have a long afternoon, but this unit has not been as bad as some doubters would like us to believe. They are ranked third in the league in total yards given up.

I remain convinced that the longer they play together, the more effective they will become. Tom Brady’s woes are well-documented, but Atlanta can be had on the ground, and I’m looking for the Belichick to trot out that running-back-by-committee we have been looking for the past two weeks. Who knows, maybe Law Firm even gets a touch. I look for the Patriots to rebound at home.

SF

POP! Ok, now that the Pats have pulled their head out their collective ass, expect to see a solid game plan from Belichick. Two games into the season and the Pats weakness’ have been made apparent to Belichick…expect him to fix them. The Falcons are no jokethey’ve got a nice passing game, and their running game is nothing to scoff at. The Pats have looked…mediocre at best. I just vomited in my mouth while typing that.

Look for the running game to pick up. Once that is established, there will be less pressure on Brady to make plays when it’s 2nd and 10 or 3rd and 9. Look for the young and speedy Pats defense to be the bright spot for them. This one should be close through the third quarter, but the Pats will take a nice lead in the 4th to coast to a win.

Green Bay @ St. Louis

TR

It is tempting to write off the Rams in this one, but they showed enough improvement last week to catch my eye. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has already been sacked ten times this year, and now comes the news that LT Chad Clifton will be out a couple of weeks with a sprained ankle. Defensively, the Pack is giving up too much on the ground and in the air. St. Louis will win at home.

SF

Upset of the week-Rams take this one. The Rams haven’t looked to shabby lately, and the Packers are looking kinda shabby. This game should be a nail bighter-but I’m telling you right now that errors will cost the Packers the game. Look for Rodgers to get flustered early on and start making those game changing mistakes.

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay

TR

The Bucs are giving up too many big plays and not making nearly enough. They just signed a couple of DFs in Corey Lynch and Marcus Hamilton, but they will not have any immediate impact. Eli Manning has his passing game going, but Brandon Jacobs has yet to hit his stridethis could be Jacobs‘ week. Any way I look at this, Tampa Bay is too weak to contain the G-Men, who will win in a trot.

SF

I hope the Giants lose this one. I’m not bitter about the whole 18-1 thingy. I just hope that the Bucs have what it takes to stop Brandon Jacobswho hasn’t been none to impressive thus far in the season. You can expect the NYG recievers to make difficult catches to keep the G-men in it.

With any luck the Bucs defense will make stops when it needs to, allowing their offense to take to the field…then to the air. If the Giants can’t stop the Bucs passing game (currently ranked 6th…and you thought I was crazy picking them to win), then the Bucs will run away with the game.

Tennessee @ New York Jets

TR

How times have changed. The Titans were scary last year, and now they can’t buy a win, losing close games to Pittsburgh and to Houston. Offensively, they don’t look bad on paper, but their defense has not worked well at all, other than against the run.

Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been on fire, and now he goes up against the worst team in the league in pass defense. It was the Jets who handed Tennessee their first loss last season, and it will be the Jets who hand them their third loss this season.

SF

This should be an all defense game. I’m hoping that the Titans pull this one out-if they do, it’ll be just barely. They’ll need to contain the Jets running game, and keep Sanchez from making big plays on the 3rd downs. With any luck, the Titans will figure out a plan for Rex Ryans’ rushing schemes. If they do, the Titans will easily take the win…

Kansas City @ Philadelphia

TR

And the winner is… I have no idea. McNabb, Westbrook and Jackson are all banged up for the Eagles, and I don’t know if any of them will even play. Two weeks in a row, the Chiefs have lost close games, lacking firepower in every aspect offensively. Their defense is mediocre at best.

Vick is eligible for Philadelphia, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The only certainty is that the Eagles are at home, so I’m picking them to win this one.

SF

The Chiefs winning this one is somewhat dependant on if Vick plays or not. If Vick does play, then this could go either way. If Vick doesn’t play, then the Chiefs easily take this win. If Vick does play, then you can expect a billion wild cat formations and a ton of Vick running the ball, with very few throws.

He hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2006, but he’s very athletic and very quick on his feet. On the other hand, Cassel is looking for his first victory since being with KC. He’s had a pretty good performance so far, but mistakes have cost him games.  He’ll be a good field General this game, showing the KC fans why he’s their new face of the franchise…assuming that he can get some help from the defense.

San Francisco @ Minnesota

TR

Who needs Michael Crabtree? Maybe the Jets, but that’s another story. San Francisco has surprised almost everybody by coming out of the gate to a 2-0 start. It goes without saying that Adrian Peterson knows how to move the ball for the Vikings, but the 49ers are stingy on the ground.

Offensively, they’re not putting up amazing numbers, but the defense has ensured that they don’t have to. If this game comes down to Brett Favre’s arm, we know it could go either way. But it’s early yet, Favre should have the arm strength to keep Minnesota undefeated. Should be a good game.

SF

The Vikings know they have a great running game. They know they have a QB that can lead. What they don’t know is if their new QB is able to avoid adding to his current NFL record of most interceptions thrown. Favre has seemed to calm down a bit this year, relying more on the running game and less on crazy 40 yard passes that usually result in interceptions.

Look for the Vikings to alternate between runs and passes, with no rhyme nor reason, just to keep the 49ers on their toes. If they can keep the 49ers from completely stopping their running game, they should take the win. If the 49ers can hold the running game to a minimum, and if the 49ers have a great running game, then the 49ers could take this one.

New Orleans @ Buffalo

TR

Oh good, an easy one. I think. The Saints have a pretty balanced offensive attack going, and even though the Bills have some halfway decent defensive stats, Brees, Colston and company will be all over them. Defensively, NO will have their hands full with Fred Jackson, but in the end Buffalo will be worn down enough to lose big.

SF

As much as I like the Bills, I don’t think they can fend off the passing attack of the Saints. The Bills will hold them off for a short while with a stout defense, but they’ll find themselves in the hole by half time, spending the rest of the game trying to play catch up.  Sorry Bills-but Drew Brees is going to pick you apart.  

Chicago @ Seattle

TR 

Last I heard, Hasselbeck’s rib injury remains a problem, so the Seahawks will go with Seneca Wallace. He played well in relief against San Francisco last weekend, even though the ‘Hawks lost the game.

Chicago is pumped up after knocking off the defending champion Steelers last game, and I’m guessing that Cutler’s performance did a lot to instill confidence in his teammates. While Matt Forte has yet to find his groove, he will need to step up here because Seattle is much more effective defending the pass than the run. Chicago in a tight one.

SF

Last week, Da Bears surprised many in the NFL world by defeating the SB champs, the Steelers (YIPPY!!!) and they did it without Brian Urlacher. Some would blame the loss on the Steelers missing Troy Palomalu. I could care less. The Steelers lost, that’s all that matters…even if it was a late field goal that cost them the game.

As TR said, Cutler is gaining the confidence of his teammates, so that’ll only help the team as a whole.  The Seahawks got chewed up by the 49ers running game last week.  You can bet that the Bears will try to run the ball down their throat over and over again. This game might be a close one, but I’m going to side with Da Bears.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati

TR

After losing to the Bears last time out, the Steelers will be looking to make a statement. Trouble is, Cincinnati can actually play a little. However, their leading rusher, Cedric Benson has not participated in practice this week because of an ankle injury. His status is not known for this game.

Pittsburgh’s ground game has been woefully lacking, and the Bengals have a pretty good rushing defense. Carson Palmer is improving all the time, but at the end of this one, Steeler pride will carry the day.

SF

The Steelers are coming off a loss, and don’t want another one. The Bengals are looking to improve their record and make a statement letting the rest of the NFL know that they’re on the scene.

If the Bengals defense can have a great game like they did against the Packers, then you can bet that they’ll pull the win. The Steelers are lacking without Palomalu, and you know that Cinci will attempt to exploit the middle. I’m hoping that Cinci pulls this one out and stomps the Steelers.

Denver @ Oakland

TR

Another divisional matchup where almost anything could happen. Oakland is a much improved team from last season, but Denver has improved even more. Statistically, the Broncos should be all over Oakland, but if JaMarcus Russell can keep some poise about him, the Raiders have a shot. Nevertheless, I’m calling this a win for the 2-0 Broncos.

SF

This game should be good-definitely one to watch. The Raiders Defense will be the star of the show, and if they win, it’ll be because of the dominating defense. The Broncos on the other hand, spanked the Browns last week, and are looking to improve their record to 3-0. This may very well be a rugged divisional fight to the end.

Miami @ San Diego

TR

The Dolphins made for an entertaining game while losing to the Colts Monday night, pulling out every trick in the book and dominating the clock. While great teams are seldom deceived by trickery, San Diego at the moment is not a great team.

Injuries have piled up on them, but Philip Rivers has thrown for a league-leading average of 330.5 yards per game. Sproles has performed admirably in place of the injured LT, but it has been nowhere near enough. Bottom line: I’m picking the Bolts at home because Miami’s pass defense is just not good enough.

SF

Chargers. The ‘Phins don’t have what it takes to stop them. Sorry Dolphinsyou’re gonna go 0-3. The Chargers have a good passing game, and are hoping to improve their running game. No, I’m not still bitter about last season. Ok, maybe I am. Nonetheless, I don’t see the Fish beating the Chargers on their own turf.

Indianapolis @ Arizona

TR

I see two keys to this game. For one, Arizona has yet to impress anyone with their passing attack, and the Colts lead the league in pass defense. For another, the Cardinals haven’t shown much on the ground either. The Colts’ problem now is that it is a short week, after playing a pretty physical game Monday night. Could go either way, but I’m looking for Indianapolis to win a tight one.

SF

TR summed it up pretty well. I’m going to give the upset victory to the Cards. Look for Manning to choke in the fourth quarter, surendering a small lead to lucky Cardinals offense.

Monday, September 28

Carolina @ Dallas

TR

Both teams are looking to rebound from losses to division rivals. The Panthers looked a lot better in losing to the formidable Falcons than they looked in the beatdown the Eagles put on them in week one. Dallas has some impressive stats on offense, leading the league in rushing, but we don’t really know how healthy Marion Barber is.

Delhomme has those five interceptions, and the Cats’ overall numbers are mediocre at best. Dallas has been vulnerable against the run, and with the Williams-Stewart rushing tandem, Carolina could do some damage. In the end, however, the Cowboys pick up their first win in their new crib.

SF

Look for the Panthers to jump back and forth between the passing game and running game. This will keep the Cowboys defense from getting into any type of rhythm. Romo needs to not make such costly mistakes in order for the cowboys to pull this one out.

I’m giving this to the Cowboysall those people in that stadium making all that noise…hope the cats brought ear plugs. The 13th player will definitely be a factor.

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