NFL Observations and Week Three Picks
I usually try to stay away from handicapping NFL games, as we all know the cliché about any given Sunday. Although I went 7-8 in Week One and 9-6 last week (spread included), I felt obligated to give you all a little advice for the coming weeks.
Before I get to the games, I have to address two issues that bothered me (and NFL fans around the country) last Sunday.
The first issue is beefed up referee Ed Hochuli's inadvertent whistle during a crucial point in the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers game. Now, I can't stand San Diego at all, and if this happened to any other team, I would be livid.
However, it was still irresponsible for Ed Hochuli to blow his whistle when the play was clearly a fumble. San Diego was robbed of a chance to get a win, and unfortunately, could not stop the touchdown pass or the two point conversion.
Now, what really gets me is the NFL's decision to "downgrade" Hochuli based on his blown call. Let me get this straight. The guy has been in the NFL for 19 years and is far and away one of the most liked and well-respected members of the NFL's officiating crew.
Wouldn't a fine be a better punishment rather than a downgrade? This downgrade won't do much to change people's opinions of him, probably because he can break them in half. My guess is he still will ref playoff games, as he has done for the last two decades.
Next up is DeSean Jackson's premature celebration, which brought back images of Leon Lett in the Super Bowl getting chased down while high stepping it into the end zone. The only person that was more upset than fantasy owners was probably Andy Reid.
Mike Tirico called it "one of the all time bonehead plays," a line he clearly stole from Ace Ventura, in reference to Ray Finkle's epic shank in the Super Bowl.
This kid needs to grow up and start playing like a man instead of a 10-year old with an Xbox controller. Earn your stripes first before acting like T.O.
And now the picks...Home teams in caps.
ATLANTA FALCONS -4.5 over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are simply embarrassing to watch, and Coach Herm Edwards is even more embarrassing to listen to. Look for Matt Ryan and Michael Turner to get back to speed versus the Chiefs. I like the Falcons.
Oakland Raiders +8.5 over the BUFFALO BILLS.
The Bills have been playing great football the past two weeks, but Darren McFadden had a monster game against KC and is slowly but surely getting used to life in the NFL. I think the Bills win the game, but I'll take the Raiders and the points.
CHICAGO BEARS -3.5 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bears' Kyle Orton still hasn't thrown a touchdown pass, but their running game with Matt Forte is looking pretty formidable. Forte is averaging 4.7 YPC and has one TD so far. The Bears' D is still pretty strong, and the Bucs are starting Brian Griese. So I'll take the Bears in a game that will be won by their defense.
TENNESSEE TITANS -4.5 over the Houston Texans.
The Texans are back in action after their stadium took a beating at the hands of the hurricane. Their team should take a similar beating at the hands of the Kerry Collins-led Titans, who will become the league's worst 3-0 team with a victory. I'll take the Titans and hope that they can beat the Texans by a touchdown or more.
Carolina Panthers +3.5 over the MINNESOTA VIKINGS.
I normally would take the Vikings in this game, and I still can't believe they are favored in this game. After last week's humiliating defeat at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Colts, it should take a while for the Vikings to get back to normal.
Peterson will get his yards, but Gus Frerotte (yes, that Gus Frerotte) will start for the Vikings.
On the Panthers' side of the ball, Steve Smith has stopped punching teammates in the face long enough to start playing football again. Look for him to make a statement. Take the Panthers and the points.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -12.5 over the Miami Dolphins.
This is a bigger spread than I had thought, but there is no doubt in my mind that Matt Cassel's Patriots beats Miami by two touchdowns. Chad Pennington can't beat the Pats, and that doesn't change now that he's on the Dolphins. Look for the Pats to air it out a little more than last week, as they will head into the bye week 3-0. Take the Pats.
Cincinnati Bengals +13.5 over the NEW YORK GIANTS.
The Bengals probably won't win this game, but someone has to step up on this team, whether it be Ocho Stinko or Carson Palmer. Giants will win, but take the Bengals and the points.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS -3.5 over the Arizona Cardinals
Kurt Warner partied like it was 1999 last week, but the Redskins are coming off decent performances from Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, and Jason Campbell. I can't see Warner repeating his performance from last week, and the Redskins seem energized by the come-from-behind victory over the Saints. 'Skins should win by a TD and stay competitive in the NFC East.
New Orleans Saints +5.5 over the DENVER BRONCOS.
The Saints should bounce back from their Week Two loss to the 'Skins, and the Broncos will have to win this game without the help of Ed Hochuli. I like the Saints and the points.
Detroit Lions +3.5 over the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS.
The Lions fought hard versus the Packers until the fourth quarter, when John Kitna imploded. Look for Kitna to get the ball to Calvin Johnson early and often, and maybe Rudi Johnson will get more carries versus San Fran. I like the Lions to win outright, so take them and the points.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -9.5 over the St. Louis Rams.
Are the Rams so bad that the Seahawks are almost double-digit favorites? Yes.
BALTIMORE RAVENS -1.5 over the Cleveland Browns.
With each passing week, Derek Anderson is passing weak. The Ravens' D should shut down the Browns' offense, and hopefully Willis McGahee will be ready to play. Take the Ravens and give up those measly points.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -2.5 over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In what could be the game of the week, I expect Philly to continue to score points in bunches against the Steelers D. The question is how healthy is Big Ben, and can Willie Parker run hard against the gritty front 7 of the Eagles. I like the Eagles at home here.
Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 over the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS.
The Jags were early-season favorites to win the AFC south, and winning this game will put them back on track. David Garrard needs to settle into the offense and should have a decent time moving the ball against the Colts' defense, who are now without Bob Sanders for six to eight weeks.
Jaguars and the points are a no brainer here.
GREEN BAY PACKERS +2.5 over the Dallas Cowboys.
The 2-0 Packers are the only home team to be the underdogs this week, which will rub some Packer fans the wrong way. Remember, last year it was Aaron Rodgers who played rather well against the Cowboys in relief of that other quarterback...What was his name again?
The Pack are at Lambeau, where the fans will be ready to go on Sunday night. Take the Pack, in the upset of the week.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -8.5 over the New York Jets.
The Chargers will beat the Jets on Monday night, soundly. They played well last week, and although they got the loss, they got good performances out of Philip Rivers and Darren Sproles.
It remains to be seen how much LDT will be used in this game, but look for the Chargers (who should be 1-1) to get their first win of the season in convincing fashion.
Thanks for reading and take these picks to the bank ya'll.
Last week 9-6
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