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NFL Picks Week 3: 10 Shockers You'll Never See Coming

RM HeroldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2010

NFL Picks Week 3: 10 Shockers You'll Never See Coming

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    NFL week 3 is upon us and desperation is setting in for teams that haven't won as of yet, while some of the 2-0 teams are feeling pretty good about themselves.

    Most of teams know that going 0-3 pretty much means you have to play almost perfect ball and hope for help the rest of the way if you are going to try in win your division, so this week is big.

    But as we all know, NFL could easily stand for Not For Long as off-field incidents, injuries, and suspensions can make a difference on any given Sunday.

    Here's my version of this week's games, with our shocking scale listing them from 1-10.

Tennessee at NY Giants

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Titans lost to the Steelers while a benched Vince Young watched from the sidelines. Meanwhile the Giants were treated like they were all Peyton's kid brothers on national TV.

    Why Tennessee Will Win

    Vince Young has to prove to himself and the team that they can count on him staying focused and locked in, even when things go bad. And Chris Johnson won't have to run against that Steelers defense again this week.

    Why New York Will Win

    Eli will remember his old pal Steve Smith, the guy who he threw to last year with lots of success. And the running game will focus on taking out defenders with big runs instead of fans with their helmets (Hey now, Mr. Jacobs!).

    Keys to the Upset

    The Titans running game and that includes Vince Young. If he and Johnson get their mojos back, they win big.

    SHOCKER METER

    Five. Yes the G-Men are at home, but how are you really feeling about them right now? Meh, right?

    Final Score

    Titans 24 Giants 17

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Bucs are the surprise of the year so far, at 2-0. While Pittsburgh's 2-0 feels more like a sigh of relief to their fans, someone gets a blemish on their record this week.

    Why Tampa Bay Will Win

    Josh Freeman will continue to prove that he is the real deal. They won't run on the Steelers, but so what, Cadillac hasn't gotten over 75 yards in either game and they won both.

    Why Pittsburgh Will Win

    Because they will impose their will on the young Bucs. They'll run the ball, then they'll run the ball and after that, fake a pass and run the ball. Big Ben is almost back.

    Keys to the Upset

    If Tampa Bay can take an early lead and make the Steelers have to pass to come back. Then this game gets interesting.

    SHOCKER METER

    Five. Because it will be close. I want to pick the young Buccaneers, but Pittsburgh has been playing the three yards and a cloud of dust game for much longer.

    Final Score

    Steelers 27 Buccaneers 24

Cincinnati at Carolina

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Bengals played Ravens ball against the Ravens and won. While Carolina welcomes a new King to the throne. Let the Clausen era begin!

    Why Carolina Will Win

    Because Clausen won't turn the ball over as much as his predecessor. He'll get it to his playmakers: Williams, Stewart, and the angry little guy, Steve Smith.

    Why Cincinnati Will Win

    Because they are starting to figure out what kind of team they are going to be, tough defense, tough running, and passing when necessary.

    Keys to the Upset

    Jimmy Clausen. He is the unknown in the equation. If he goes out there and lights the up the Bengals' defense, Charlie Weis will feel vindicated. 

    SHOCKER METER

    Three. Old QB usually wins over young QB if all things are equal. And they aren't.  The Bengals are better.

    Final Score

    Bengals 27 Panthers 17

Cleveland at Baltimore

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    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    Do fans in Cleveland still see this as the old Cleveland Browns play the newer Cleveland Browns? Anyway, Baltimore wants to get back on the winning track, while Cleveland just wants to get some traction.

    Why Cleveland Will Win

    Because the Browns watched tape of the Bengals game and will try to ugly the game up, force some Flacco turnovers while running the ball with Harrison and Hillis.

    Why Baltimore Will Win

    Ray Ray is probably upset over losing and is going to treat several Browns like Dustin Keller. And Flacco will make positive plays.

    Keys to the Upset

    Josh Cribbs. It's a lot to put on the guy since he is still learning the wide receiver position, but if he can make some big plays and keep the game close...

    SHOCKER METER

    Two. I just don't trust whoever it is the Browns are putting under center this game.

    Final Score

    Ravens 27 Browns 10

Dallas at Houston

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    Heads will roll... maybe literally, if the "Super Bowl bound" Cowboys start 0-3. Meanwhile Houston is proving to the league and to themselves that they aren't going to roll over this year.

    Why Dallas Will Win

    They have to. If not, the season will quickly start to come apart. Romo will play better, the runners will run harder, the offensive line won't pick up any dumb penalties.

    Why Houston Will Win

    They have won coming from behind and by taking the lead early. They won one game passing, the other by running. They are on a roll.

    Keys to the Upset

    Big Plays and turnovers. If Dallas wins both of those categories they will win the game. Only thing is Houston is just as talented as them.

    SHOCKER METER

    Six. This is the intestinal fortitude game. Does Dallas have the stones to go into Houston and win?

    Final Score

    Cowboys 31 Texans 28

San Francisco at Kansas City

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    San Fran is another one of these teams that really needs a win. Meanwhile KC is the AFC version of Tampa, 2-0 with a lot to prove.

    Why Kansas City Will Win

    Big special teams play. Big games from both of their featured backs, Cassel getting better slowly. All very possible.

    Why San Francisco Will Win

    Because they played really well against the defending champs and Alex Smith might have turned the corner. They know what Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are bringing. Just too many weapons.

    Keys to the Upset

    Shut down Frank Gore and force Alex Smith to regress.

    SHOCKER METER

    Three. Road favorite will finally get their first win of the season.

    Final Score

    49ers 21 Chiefs 13

Detroit at Minnesota

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Lions are this close to winning their first game. While Minnesota is this close from their season falling apart. 

    Why Detroit Will Win

    Ladies and gentlemen, Jahvid Best. His 230 yard, three touchdown game had fantasy folks everywhere running to the waiver wire. One game blip or signs of things to come? And that Calvin Johnson guy is pretty good, too.

    Why Minnesota Will Win

    Brett Favre will stop tossing back-breaking interceptions in the end zone. Adrian Peterson will convert a couple of 3rd and ones and maybe even a 4th and one.

    Keys to the Upset

    Detroit has to make this a shootout and hope that Best and Johnson can out gun Favre and Peterson.

    SHOCKER METER

    Four. If it was in Detroit I swear I'd go Lions. I swear.

    Final Score

    Vikings 28 Lions 21

Buffalo at New England

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Pats are licking their wounds after the Jets' second half disaster, while Buffalo goes to the Ivy League for their new leader.

    Why Buffalo Will Win

    Ryan Fitzpatrick uses some of those Harvard smarts to do to Tom Brady what Mark Sanchez did last week, outplay him. Also if they figure out a way to get the most out of their running game with that three headed monster of Jackson, Lynch, and Spiller.

    Why New England Will Win

    Tom Brady will go back to normal and now with Kevin Faulk unfortunately gone, the remaining backs will know their more defined roles.

    Keys to the Upset

    Hitting Tom Brady seems to be the way to beat the Patriots. So the Bills must sell out on the blitz.

    SHOCKER METER

    Two. Business as usual here, folks.

    Final Score

    Patriots 31 Bills 10

Atlanta at New Orleans

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Falcons found their offense against the Cards, while the Saints might keep that Brees guy, he might be pretty good.

    Why Atlanta Will Win

    Their running game is coming together and Matty Ice is finding his form from two years ago.

    Why New Orleans Will Win

    Drew Brees spreads the ball around, Pierre Thomas will run hard and it will be same as it ever was, right?

    Keys to the Upset

    Matt Ryan has to play big, and almost match Brees, pass for pass.

    SHOCKER METER

    Eight. I got Atlanta going into the Bayou and coming out with a win. The Saints figure out that Reggie Bush was actually important. Who knew?

    Final Score

    Falcons 28 Saints 24

Washington at St. Louis

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Redskins snatched defeat from the jaws of victory while Sam Bradford just keeps keeping it close.

    Why St. Louis Will Win

    After being close in two games, the Rams break through with clutch running from Steven Jackson and clutch passes from the rookie Bradford.

    Why Washington Will Win

    Donovan McNabb, it turns out, isn't the question mark. It's the defense. If they can stop some people, the 'Skins have as good a chance as anyone of coming out of the NFC East.

    Keys to the Upset

    Can Steven Jackson take over the game and force the Redskins to come from behind and possibly turn the ball over?

    SHOCKER METER

    Three. The Rams are too young and Donovan won't let it happen two weeks in a row.

    Final Score

    Redskins 27 Rams 17

Philadelphia at Jacksonville

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    After further review, Kolb will be starting, scratch that Vick is our starter, no wait... Meanwhile, I bet at times the Jags wish they had a quarterback controversy.

    Why Jacksonville Will Win

    Maurice Jones-Drew finally shows us why he picked himself number one in his fantasy draft. The defense stays at home and dares Vick to pass.

    Why Philadelphia Will Win

    Michael Vick proves Andy Reid right by leading the Eagles in both rushing and passing.

    Keys to the Upset

    The Jags must make Vick turn the ball over. Make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket and they have to put up some points and keep the Eagles more explosive offense off the field.

    SHOCKER METER

    Eight. Vick presses now that he knows he is the starter, and throws some picks late to give the game away.

    Final Score

    Jags 27 Eagles 24

Oakland at Arizona

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Cards start to think that Matt Leinart might not have been so bad after all, while a quarterback controversy might be brewing in Oakland.

    Why The Cards Will Win

    Derek Anderson has flashbacks of his Pro Bowl season of 2007 and starts to use all those weapons he has on offense.

    Why Oakland Will Win

    Darren McFadden and the running game bulldozes over the Cards, so that it doesn't even matter who throws the occasional pass on third and three.

    Keys to the Upset

    Oakland has to jump on the Cards early and make Anderson a volume passer. The more times he drops back, the more times he might fumble or throw an interception.

    SHOCKER METER

    Seven. Oakland starts to fulfill all that promise of the preseason by winning one comfortably for a change.

    Final Score

    Raiders 28 Cardinals 13

San Diego at Seattle

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    Seattle fans are wondering "wha happened" team from the week before while San Diego starts to find their mojo.

    Why The Seahawks Will Win

    Pete Carroll pulls out another trick from his sleeve. Matt Hasselbeck flashes back to his Super Bowl year and the defense plays out of their minds.

    Why The Chargers Will Win

    Rivers continues to adjust to live without Vincent Jackson.  And Ryan Mathews comes back strong from his ankle injury.

    Keys to the Upset

    The Seahawks get turnovers. Lots of them. And their ground game takes some of the pressure off of Hasselbeck. Also, they might need a healthy Mike Williams to have a big game.

    SHOCKER METER

    Three. The Chargers just have too many weapons on offense, even without their star wideout.

    Final Score

    Chargers 34 Seahawks 14

Indianapolis at Denver

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    The Colts got back on the horse, by way of beating up Peyton's little brother, while Denver did some pounding of their own.

    Why The Broncos Will Win

    Kyle Orton continues his stellar play. The defense causes Indianapolis to turn the ball over and some of the old school Mile High Magic comes back into play.

    Why The Colts Will Win

    They continue to make the Broncos one dimensional, but pick off some of Orton's passes. Meanwhile if they have to shoot it out, the Colts are more than willing to.

    Keys to the Upset

    Knowshon Moreno has his first break out game of the year and pulls an Arian Foster on the Colts run defense.

    SHOCKER METER

    Eight. The Colts continue their roller coaster ride, and give up big yards on the ground again.

    Final Score

    Broncos 31 Colts 28

NY Jets at Miami

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    While everyone was worried about the Jets and the Patriots, the Dolphins took over first place in the division by themselves.

    Why The Jets Will Win

    Mark Sanchez has turned the corner and is going to play more consistently now that they have opened up the play book. Combine that with their great running game and things are looking good. On the field at least.

    Why The Dolphins Will Win

    The Wildcat. No one runs it better and when Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown hold on to the ball, the 'Phins are tough to beat.

    Keys to the Upset

    Sanchez has to get protection. When he is rushed he tends to make mistakes. If the line blocks and he can make his progressions, the kid is dead on accurate.

    SHOCKER METER

    Four. Miami protects its house by running the ball, killing the clock and Chad Henne proving he's also a talented young quarterback.

    Final Score

    Dolphins 21 Jets 17

Green Bay at Chicago

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Lowdown

    Everyone was wondering how the Mike Martz and Jay Cutler marriage would work. Well they are still on the honeymoon. Meanwhile, the Packers seem to be who we thought there were, pretty damn good.

    Why The Bears Will Win

    Jay Cutler continues throwing the ball well and Matt Forte continues impersonating Marshall Faulk during his St. Louis Rams years.

    Why The Packers Will Win

    The running game does just enough to keep the Bears defense honest and the line keeps Urlacher and Peppers off of Rodgers long enough for him to find receivers down field.

    Keys to the Upset

    Hit Rodgers and stop the running game. Make the Packers miss Ryan Grant.

    SHOCKER METER

    Eight. Cutler and Forte lead the way as the defense harasses Rodgers all game, and gets plenty of sacks.

    Final Score

    Bears 24 Packers 17

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