NFL Week Three Picks: Desperation Time for Dallas, Minnesota and San Francisco

Andrew Tonge@@lwsportsnewsAnalyst IISeptember 24, 2010

Romo will have to play big if Dalls is going to rise up.
Romo will have to play big if Dalls is going to rise up.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Week three of the NFL season is upon us, and we have a full slate of action on the gridiron before we go to the bye's every week.

Some teams are still searching for answers, and others believe they have found theirs, but the truth of it is that nothing has been decided yet.  Minnesota had designs on a Super Bowl this year, but they have started off 0-2, and don't look good.

Brett Favre looks like a shell of himself and is not moving well, not to mention that he is out of sync with his receivers.  I wonder if coming to camp earlier would have helped with that? 

They are in a must win game with Detroit, and they are home.  They need to get it together quickly if they are going to be a factor.  I am still trying to figure out which 49er team is going to show up this week, and which quarterback.

Will it be the confident Alex Smith that we saw against the Saints, or the inaccurate, mistake prone quarterback we saw against Seattle.  The defense is aggressive and capable, but until Smith strings together several good games in a row they will be inconsistent.

Dallas is in more disarray than any of the other win-less teams.  They look poorly coached and are not prepared mentally in all facets of the game.  The offense has been especially unreliable, as they have not been able to run the ball consistently, and Tony Romo looks like his old, over-rated self.  

The poor play of their offensive line has a lot to do with it as Romo is forced to throw before he is ready and run for his life.  History has shown that he can be had if you pressure him, so this is not a good recipe for their offense.

Dallas can't even figure out who they should feature at the running back position, and I think is a mistake the way they are doing it now.  Splitting the carries between three good backs doesn't help the team.  Running backs need to get into a rhythm, and they need continuous work to be effective.

For my money I would start Marion Barber and give him most of the carries.  Wade Phillips is running out of time to get Dallas' act together.  They are a poorly run team where the owner interferes too much from behind the scenes.

Let's get to the games this week:

Tennessee (+3) at NY Giants

Big game for Vince Young this week, as we will be curious to see if he has not lost any of his confidence as a result of being pulled last week against the Steelers.  This game will hinge upon the Giants stopping the run.  If they can, Eli and company should win.  The Giants will be back to their regular defence as their gimmick defense didn't work against the Colts.  Take the Giants and give the points.

Pittsburgh (-2 ½) at Tampa Bay

These are two good defensive teams.  Tampa is young and hungry, but they have not been in against a group like the men of steel.  Pitt will try to force Josh Freeman into a couple of mistakes and take away the running game, which has been their formula the first two games.  This will be a tight one, and the defense will have to win it, but take the Steelers.

Cincinnati (-3) at Carolina

Rookie quarterback starting for Carolina.  Clausen played well last week, but Cincinnati will be too much for the Panthers, and should cover the spread easily.  The John Fox watch will continue.

Cleveland (+10 ½) at Baltimore

Joe Flacco hasn't gotten it in gear yet even with all of the new weapons he has on offense.  This is their home opener, and Cleveland's defense doesn't resemble the Jets, or Cincinnati's.  Baltimore should be able to make a statement in this game.  Take the Ravens and give the points.

Dallas (+3) at Houston

One of the marque match-ups of the weekend.  I am a big believer in the fact that teams play better when they are desperate.  Houston has stepped up, and Matt Schaub is showing that he is capable of winning games with his arm when the defense is not at its best.  These two teams look like they are going in different directions, but I am taking Dallas and the points because their defence will be jacked, and they do not want to lose to their interstate rivals.  The Houston secondary can be had as well IF Romo gets time.  Dallas' season may be in the balance.

San Francisco (-2) at Kansas City

This is one of the toughest games to call, because you don't know which 49er team will show up.  The Saints were not able to dominate San Fran's defense which is their strong point, but Alex Smith worries me.  They have to have this game so I will take San Fran and give the points.

Detroit (+10 ½) at Minnesota

The Vikings would just settle for a win at this point, regardless of the margin.  Detroit will not lay down, even without their number on quarterback.  They should compete and make a game of this, and could keep this one close.  Minnesota has to have this game and will probably win, but will not cover.  Take Detroit and the points.

Buffalo (+13) at New England

New England will be chomping at the bit after their disappointing loss to the Jets.  Buffalo can't score, so Brady and company should win and cover with ease.

Atlanta (+4 ½) at New Orleans

Another great match - up as these two teams played two very close games last year.  Until Matt Ryan proves he can win games on his own and put his team on his back when necessary, I will take the other team if they are good.  I am not jumping on the Falcons bandwagon until Ryan shows me more than he has.  Brees hasn't broken out yet, and this could be the game.  Take the Saints and give the points. 

Washington (-3 ½) at St. Louis

The Rams show promise and Sam Bradford looks like he can shoulder the load as the franchise quarterback, but the Redskins  defense will be too much and will win this one, and cover.

Philadelphia (-3) at Jacksonville

The Eagle defense is more leaky than we have been used to over the years, but Michael Vick is playing at a level that Jacksonville will not be able to deal with.  If Vick plays well, they should win and cover easily.  Take Philly and give the points.

Indianapolis (-5) at Denver

We still don't know how good or bad the Colt's defense is, but we do know that the Bronco's cornereback's are banged up, and if they are not healthy, or can't go, Peyton is going to have a field day.  This game has to potential to be a shoot-out, and if that happens you have to like Manning to beat Kyle Orton.  I like Denver's defense though, but not enough to pick them.  Indy should cover.

San Diego (-5.5) at Seattle

Still trying to get a gauge on Seattle.  They do play better at home, but they are not a better team than the Chargers from top to bottom.  Even with a less a underwhelming receiving corp, take the Bolts and give the points.

New York Jets (+1.5) at Miami

Can the Jets have more off the field distractions?  It doesn't seem to affect their play on the field as many were ready to write them off last week against the Pats.  Miami is intriguing, as their defence has stepped up and quietly become one of the better ones in the league.  They will go after Mark Sanchez and try to make him look like he did against the Ravens.  Chad Hene hasn't impressed anyone either, and even though Revis is out for this game Hene could be in for a rough outing.  This could go either way, but I will take the Jets and the points.  The better running game should decide this one.

Oakland (+4) at Arizona

Arizona can't possibly look as bad as they were last week, but with Derek Anderson as their starting quarterback maybe they can.  I like the Raiders running game, but that is about it.  Take Oakland and the points, as this may be the snooze bowl this week.

Green Bay (-4) at Chicago

Jay Cutler is playing great, but this game comes down to who do you trust more, Aaron Rodgers or Cutler?  Cutler has to show me a little more before I jump on the Bears bandwagon.  He will be playing against a better team than Dallas, and this will be a good test.  If Chicago's defense can continue to play well, this could be the upset pick of the week.  I am not buying it yet though.  Take Green Bay and give the points.

We will know a lot more about the win less and undefeated teams after this week.  We may find out what we already know about the NFL.  Except for the very best and the very worst, the league is about parity.


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