NFL Week 3 Quick Picks: Battles, Locks, and Upsets

J. BrunoCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2010

NFL Week 3 Quick Picks: Battles, Locks, and Upsets

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    Week Two of NFL action was chock-full of surprises and unbelievable plays, and fans should expect nothing less out of Week Three.

    Unless I am way off base, this week could see the largest number of home teams lose to visitors in recent memory, as you will see from the following selections.

    I have fared pretty well in my picks for Week One and Week Two, with a combined score so far of 21-11. For anyone unaware, that is exactly the same record as AccuScore, and one game better than any of ESPN's human "experts".

    So, one could say that apart from the compulsion (and unwavering loyalty) to pick my Dolphins to win every single game they ever play, I am a somewhat trustworthy source.


    Here are my picks from Week One, and Week Two, for those of you who need hard evidence. I actually made the Week One selections in July, and still ended up 11-5.


    I encourage all Dolphins fans to follow me on Twitter @DolphinsRuleAll, and to visit My Archive to read more about the Dolphins. Fins Up!

Jets @ Dolphins: Battle

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    Normally I'd save the best for last, but this week I'm putting it first, because that is where the Dolphins now sit in the AFC East.

    The greatest amount of respect that the Jets will get from me (all Dolphins since '86!)  is naming this contest a battle. Games between the Jets and Dolphins tend to be decided in the final minutes, more often than not.

    That being said, any Jet that thinks they are going to be able to step into Sun Life Stadium and trounce the Dolphins, is in for quite the disheartening shock. The Patriots offense broke down last week, giving the New Jersey squad the go-ahead, but do not expect that to happen this Sunday night.

    The "Orange Offensive" will be underway, and the Dolphins have never lost a game while donning their alternate jerseys, the most recent victory being against-- oh, well, I guess it was the Jets, wasn't it?

    Miami has succeeded in being the most under-the-radar 2-0 team right now, mainly due to the fact that the Fins are not loved by the mainstream media. Something tells me that after this game, people will begin to take greater notice.

    Mark Sanchez is no Brett Favre (have your head examined if you believe otherwise), and you all saw what the Dolphins' new-look defense did to him on Sunday. Suffocation was the name of the game.

    Miami simply has too many tricks up its sleeve to succumb to the Jets broken, yet still impressive D. You'll likely see a close game, either way-- this isn't Week Three's primetime match-up for nothing.

    Still, I wouldn't pick the Jets to beat the Dolphins if:

      a. I was paid millions of dollars to do so.

      b. My very life depended on it.

      c. Hell froze over.

    Winner: Dolphins

    Game Rating: (Epic) Battle

Titans @ Giants: Battle

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    This is an interesting game, to be played between two teams that are struggling to find their identities early on this season.

    Both are coming off of hugely disappointing losses that left onlookers wondering what they are made of, and both will be looking hard to avoid falling into a 1-2 hole in week three.

    My intuition tells me that the Giants have no real answer for Chris Johnson, but in all honesty, who does?  We've already seen that road wins at New Meadowlands Stadium are going to be difficult to come by, but not impossible.

    If all things were equal, I'd say that this game was well within the grasp of the Tennessee Titans, but as they are tinkering with the QB position at present, I believe that the game will be close.

    I'm still going to give the slight edge to CJ & Co.

    Winner: Titans

    Game Rating: Battle

Bengals @ Panthers: Battle

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Bengals are another hit-or-miss sort of team at the moment. They were humiliated by the Patriots in Week One, and yet turned around last week to tidily handle the Ravens. This is a bit confusing, as the Ravens bested the Jets in week one, only for the Jets to take it to the Pats last week.

    In short, the Bengals are a tough team to gauge right now.

    Luckily for them, the Panthers present state is far easier to descry. Matt Moore, after looking great in five starts last season, has been a joke at quarterback, to the point where he has been benched in favor of a rookie. It's a move that will certainly be up for scrutiny, but nevertheless Jimmy Clausen will get the chance to earn his sea-legs.

    I hope his first start in the NFL will go smoothly enough to make this a tight contest, as I will be in attendance at B of A Stadium (fully attired in my aqua and orange- Fins up!) and rooting for players on both teams!

    Alas, there can be only one winner, and on Sunday, I have a feeling that it will not be the home team, barring an amazing debut performance by Jimmy Clausen.

    Winner: Bengals

    Game Rating: Battle (hopefully)

Steelers @ Buccaneers: Lock

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    Though this is my first "Lock" of the week, it is the third straight selection of a visiting team to end up the victor.

    The fact that Dennis Dixon is out, and Byron Leftwich is in shouldn't play too big a part in the outcome here. The difference between the two is negligible; neither one is Big Ben. That being said, the Steelers defense is simply too tough to drop one to the Bucs, especially after having successfully held the Falcons and the Titans at bay.

    Division opponents have to be concerned about the Steelers' quick start. The first place aspirations of the Ravens and the Bengals have been disrupted by a Steelers team that was not supposed to be faring this well in the opening weeks.

    If they can continue to pull themselves out of the fire until Ben returns, the Steelers will be unlikely to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.

    Winner: Steelers

    Game Rating: Lock

Bills @ Patriots: Lock

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    Do I even have to say who the lock is here? The Buffalo Bills are nothing short of a hot mess. There is no way that they can ride into Foxborough and get the win, no matter how many fingers I have crossed.

    The Pats are simply that much better, and at home they tend to play flawless football against even the most difficult opponents.

    After a loss to a Jets team that certainly does not look as good as advertised by their loudmouth head coach, I am beginning to wonder if the Pats should be concerned for the remainder of the season.

    Concern may be in order, but not versus arguably the worst team in football (who is starting Ryan Fitzpatrick), and with a division win at stake.

    Winner: Patriots

    Game Rating: Lock

Browns @ Ravens: Lock

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    There seem to be quite a few games that are cut-and-dry no-brainers with regard to the eventual winners. Is there any doubt about this match-up?

    I have to admit, I was impressed by Cleveland's pre-season performance, to the point where I actually thought the Panthers had misjudged Jake Delhomme.

    Turns out, they may have judged him just fine. He dropped the opener, and got injured, forcing the none-too-skilled Seneca Wallace into the fray. To no avail, of course.

    The Ravens will be hungry to prove that a division loss last week was a mere hurdle, and that their shutting-down of the Jets offense in week one was more a matter of skill, than a pathetically impotent Jets offense.

    This division game will play out differently than last week's, to the chagrin of the Browns.

    Winner: Ravens

    Game Rating: Lock

49'ers @ Chiefs: Upset

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    I almost have no idea how to handle this pick. The Chiefs looked great against the Chargers for the home opener, but suffered a poor performance and a road loss last week.

    The 49'ers looked bad in week one, but despite a last minute loss to the Saints on Monday night, they really held their own, and forced the reigning champions to win by a last minute field goal that was tipped at the line, and inexplicably made it through the uprights anyway.

    I dismiss the concepts of both "football gods" and "destiny" however, it sure did seem that the Saints were fated to win that game... or perhaps San Fran was fated to lose.

    Either way, between the disheartening losses, and the short week they have to prepare for as hostile an environment as New Arrowhead, I think the Bay Area bunch will fall again, this time to an inferior opponent.

    If KC can upset the Bolts at home, I think they can also handle the 49'ers.

    Winner: Chiefs

    Game Rating: This Week's Upset Special

Cowboys @ Texans: Battle

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    This is the week that we find out which Texas team's current scenario is more closely in-line with reality. Either the Cowboys are far worse than anyone gave them credit for, or the Texans have gotten lucky thus far.

    This cross-state match-up should be close, as both squads have more than a little something to prove.

    I am of the school of thought that the Cowboys are this year's most overrated NFC squad, and that the Texans could very well be at the beginning of their first-ever playoff season.

    Couple that with the fact that the Cowboys have looked like a joke thus far with two losses and almost twice as many points allowed as they have forced, and the home team starts to look like a pretty safe bet.

    It sucks to be the 'Boys right now, as a Dolphins diehard of the past 24 years, I can tell you that 0-3 feels just awful. This was almost rated a "Lock", but I think Dallas will go down swinging.


    Winner: Texans

    Game Rating: Battle

Lions @ Vikings: Lock

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    A lot of people want to say the Vikings are in big trouble after a loss to my Dolphins last week, but if they had actually seen it, they'd know that this is not the case; Miami's defense simply controlled that ball-game. It doesn't mean Brett and the Vikes are in hot water, it means that the Fins wanted it more on Sunday.

    The Lions desire will not be enough, as they are not the only team entering this game at 0-2. The Vikings are going to have a chip on their shoulders that I do not believe Detroit can knock off.

    This is a division game, but don't count on it to get too exciting. The Vikes are still the Vikes, I promise you. I would not be at all surprised to see a blowout here.

    If by some unbelievably strange occurrence Detroit pulls this one out, expect to see Vikings faithfuls behaving as if the world is coming to an end... and be justified in doing so.


    Winner: Vikings

    Game Rating: Lock

Falcons @ Saints: Battle

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    Imagine a team as promising as the Falcons getting off to such a rocky start. I had them over the Steelers last week, and as you all know, that one was stolen in overtime by Rashard Mendenhall on a beautiful touchdown run.

    The Saints, conversely, got off to exactly the start everyone imagined for them, despite nearly falling to an absolutely tenacious 49'er team on Monday Night Football.

    Do you honestly think that Drew Brees & Co. are going to drop a division match-up in the Superdome? Well, I sure don't. The Saints offense hasn't looked very potent, but who needs 40+ points when your defense shows up in top form?

    The only reason I don't have this as a lock, is that I believe that technically the Falcs are better than the 49'ers, who gave the Saints a little scare on Monday night, and in all actuality, have a small shot at this one; but not in New Orleans.

    Winner: Saints

    Game Rating: Battle

Redskins @ Rams: Battle

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    This is another tough one to call. Both of these teams were a joke last year, and both could end up with the same fate in 2010, but not by so great a margin. There has definitely been significant improvement to both outfits, despite having only one win between them.

    The Rams just barely missed out on a victory last week, but it was to the Oakland Raiders. This suggest that the Redskins have a noticeable edge as they prepare to descend upon St. Louis.

    I think a nail-biter could be in the cards, and the Rams will have the home crowd behind them, but my gut tells me it is not enough. Bradford floundered in Oakland, and the team fell to 0-2, fulfilling many people's expectations for them this year.

    Not being as awful as you were last year will not be sufficient to win this game for the Rams.


    Winner: Redskins

    Game Rating: Battle

Eagles @ Jaguars: Battle

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    Andy Reid finally did what I thought should have been done from the start, and named Mike Vick as Philly's number one QB. You just don't start a Kevin Kolb when you have a Mike Vick (especially when it was costing you upwards of five million dollars to sit him) .

    I like the Jaguars more than a Dolphins fan should; Maurice Jones-Drew is a monster (in a good way), Mike Sims-Walker is a prime target, and David Garrard is almost as mobile as, well, Michael Vick. Almost.

    The Eagles have looked better to me than I expected this year, and Vick is a big part of that. It is for that reason that I am picking the Eagles to steal one in Jacksonville. Just know that the game could easily swing in favor of the talented home team.

    Nevertheless, there can be only one.


    Winner: Eagles

    Game Rating: Battle

Colts @ Broncos: Lock

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    I don't think I have ever picked this many home teams to take a loss in one week, but is there anyone who thinks the Broncos can upset 2009's second best football team?

    No one that isn't wearing navy and orange.

    Peyton Manning found his groove against baby brother last Sunday, and I wouldn't expect him to lose it now. The Texans managed a win over the Colts in Week One, but I counted it as a mixture of homefield advantage, opening-day excitement, and luck.

    It'd be really nice to see Denver steal the win and dedicate the performance to the late Kenny McKinley, who tragically decided to end his own life this week (Rest in Peace, Kenny), but realistically, this is the Colts we are talking about here.

    Peyton is not going to let his team's record fall below .500 this week, or any other week this season, for that matter.

    Winner: Colts

    Game Rating: Lock

Raiders @ Cardinals: Lock

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    The Raiders have shown me absolutely nothing to suggest that they are going to win this game. University of Phoenix Stadium is going to be a sea of red, and Jason Campbell simply does not look as if he has yet gelled with his new team.   

    Do not be misled by the fact that both of these squads are 1-1. Arizona is the better team, even with the issues they have been having at quarterback.

    The home team should have no trouble at all putting this game away early.

    Winner: Cardinals

    Game Rating: Lock

Chargers @ Seahawks: Battle

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    Whenever a match-up is this close, I would normally go with the home team, but I think the Chargers are hungry for a win here, and will avoid posting a losing record this week.

    The Seahawks stumbled last week in Denver, and when it comes down to it, the Bolts simply have more weapons to get the job done.

    Mike Tolbert is one of the most intriguing downhill runners I have seen in awhile, Antonio Gates is arguably the best tight end in the league, and even without Vincent Jackson in the mix, San Diego's receiving corps is more than adequate.

    If Phillip Rivers can maintain his cool, and keep a lid on childish displays of frustration, the Chargers should not have too much trouble bringing home a win.

    Winner: Chargers

    Game Rating: Battle

Packers @ Bears: Battle

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    The Bears look surprisingly sharp, and Soldier Field is a difficult place to win on the road, and yet I am still giving the slight edge to Green Bay in this final Week Three contest.

    Aaron Rodgers' passing game is too explosive, and the defense, led by insane-man Clay Matthews should be enough to hold Chicago at bay on its own turf. The game taking place at Soldier Field is the only thing keeping this selection from being a "Lock".

    The Pack is a threat to go deep into the playoffs this year, especially since their main division rival has fallen to 0-2. This is also a division game, but that is precisely the reason why I think the Bears are in for a rude awakening.

    Chicago "Bearly" bested Detroit and Dallas in Weeks' One and Two, neither an impressive feat, considering that the Cowboys have failed to live up to any of the off-season hype which surrounded them, and the Lions are, well, the Lions.

    I am going with the team that clearly has the most talent, even if Julius Peppers succeeds in giving Rodgers a run for his money. The Bears are not as good as they have appeared to be so far, and it will take playing a team like Green Bay to expose that fact.

    Winner: Packers

    Game Rating: Battle