Matt's Can't-Miss Picks for Week Three: Gus Frerotte???, Also; 'Boys up 3-0

Matthew ByasContributor ISeptember 20, 2008

In Week Two, I made a few boneheaded picks.  I thought San Diego would absolutely walk away with their game.  I thought Indy would destroy Minnesota.  I thought Kansas City would win (they're playing Oakland, people).  Let's hope I can avoid similar boneheadedness in Week Number Three.

Early Games

Kansas City @ Atlanta

The Story: I was right about Matt Ryan in Week Two.  He completed less than half his passes, made several ill-advised throws, etc., etc.  Speaking of quarterbacks, do you think the Chiefs need some?  They're starting Tyler Thigpen, their third starter in...three weeks.  Scary stuff.

The Breakdown: Basically, you've got a lot of the same looks here.  Two young, inexperienced quarterbacks throwing to two not-so-great WR corps while handing the ball off to two above-average running backs.  This one is hard to pick, and not because both teams are fantastic, either.

The Prediction: Kansas City by a nose.

Who to Watch: Larry Johnson.  I say this is the day he shakes off the cobwebs and turns in a sterling performance.

Oakland @ Buffalo

The Story: Buffalo comes into this one after knocking off two superior teams: first playoff-favorites-by-default Seattle then playoff favorites Jacksonville.  They're really looking like a scarily comprehensive unit - I just say it's because they read my Pro Bowl picks column and wanted to make me look good.

Oakland, on the other hand, is 1-1 by virtue of the fact that they got to play Kansas City last week.  JaMarcus Russell threw for a sterling 55 yards in the win.  It was all McFadden, all the time.

The Breakdown: When Oakland played a legit team in Week One (Denver), they malfunctioned as a cohesive unit.  All I need to say is that they're playing a legit team again, so you can expect more of the same.

The Prediction: Buffalo by a solid margin.

Who to Watch: Roscoe Parrish.  The guy just looks really, really good.

Tampa Bay @ Chicago

The Story: Chicago must want that game back - they had it locked up for so long, then watched as Carolina blew right past them for the win.  Tampa Bay, on the other hand, was never in doubt - they just let Matt Ryan be Matt Ryan and it was victory city.

The Breakdown: It's really hard to call this one - both teams have solid defenses while not offering too much on offense.  I'm going to give Tampa the nod because they're better as a whole.

The Prediction: Tampa Bay by a solid margin.

Who to Watch: Brian Griese.  The announcers are going to be milking the "playing his old team" angle for all it's worth.

Carolina @ Minnesota

The Story: If, at the outset of the season, I told you this game would be played between a 2-0 team and an 0-2 team, you probably wouldn't question me.  If I told you the 2-0 team was Carolina, you'd ask me what exactly I was on.  But it's true - Carolina shocked San Diego in Week One, then went to work against Chicago in Week Two.  Minnesota has notched two frustrating losses - frustrating in that in both weeks they were a touchdown away from the win.

The Breakdown: Gus Frerotte.  That's all you need to know.  The 37-year-old caretaker QB will officially be running the offense for this game.  That's right, rather than give your young, fleet-footed QB a chance to play what is the most winnable game of your season thus far, you're giving a guy who's bounced around the league a chance to do something he's never proven he can do - win.  Congratulations, Brad Childress.

The Prediction: Carolina in a blowout.

Who to Watch: Gus Frerotte.  It's not going to be amusing watching him, but it'll be interesting.

Miami @ New England

The Story: A team that went 1-15 last season is playing a team that went 16-0 last season.  Gee, I wonder what'll happen.

The Breakdown: Matt Cassel quickly had New England asking "Tom who?" in a solid performance.  Truth is, he's surrounded with too much talent to look bad - and Miami isn't surrounded with enough.

The Prediction: New England in a blowout - this one is my prediction for largest point differential of the week.

Who to Watch: Randy Moss.  I'm predicting a big day for him.

Cincinnati @ New York Giants

The Story: New York comes into this one after absolutely dismantling St. Louis last week.  Cincinnati comes into this one after being absolutely dismantled by Tennessee last week.

The Breakdown: If I told you at the start of the season that Cincinnati would lose their first two games, you'd probably believe me.  But if I said that "oh, by the way, they're losing not because of defense, but because of poor play on the part of Carson Palmer", you'd be less apt to believe me.  But it's true.  And against the sack-happy Giants, the Bungles aren't going anywhere.

The Prediction: New York in a blowout.

Who to Watch: Choose a player on the Giant D-Line.  He'll have a big day.

Houston @ Tennessee

The Story: You've gotta feel sorry for Houston - and not just for all that Ike stuff.  See, their very winnable game against Baltimore gets postponed, so their second game comes against the very hot Tennessee Titans, who are looking good without Vince Young.

The Breakdown: Tennessee comes into this one 2-0, firing on all cylinders.  Houston is 0-1, losing their first game and somehow blaming it all on an early attempt on 4th & 1.  Interesting stuff.

The Prediction: Tennessee by a solid margin.

Who to Watch: Nobody, really: all anyone can talk about is Vince Young.

Arizona @ Washington

The Story: Don't worry folks - unlike Chris Cooley, I'm wearing pants.  Seriously, though, Arizona has looked scarily good in their 2 wins - and Washington, lack of pants aside, looked scarily good in their Week Two win.

The Breakdown: This one is really tough to call.  Both teams are similar on paper, and both have a proven track record of not showing up just enough to where I don't really want to call this one...

The Prediction: Washington by a nose.

Who to Watch: Chris Cooley.  Just 'cause.

Late Games

New Orleans @ Denver

The Story: Who'd have thought that Denver would be 2-0?  Sure, they got to play Oakland, but they legitimately outplayed San Diego.  I'll save my thoughts on the Hochuli call for the San Diego prediction...

Anyway, New Orleans was within a few minutes of victory, but a solid two-minute drill from Washington turned that right around.

The Breakdown: It's really hard to argue with what Denver's been doing.  Jay Cutler has looked good.  The defense has looked...solid.  And they stopped San Diego.  I say they go up 3-0.

The Prediction: Denver by a solid margin.

Who to Watch: Is Ed Hochuli an option?

Detroit @ San Francisco

The Story: Hoo, boy.  Both of these teams are not so good.  San Francisco surprised Seattle, but they needed to score 33 points to do so.  Detroit looked good for most of the Green Bay game but collapsed in the last few minutes.  Tough call.  Also, this is a personal game for Mike Martz: old team versus new.

The Breakdown: Defense has never been Detroit's strong suit, so I'm going to say they're not going to be able to stop Frank Gore - which in turn, opens up the pass for J.T. O'Sullivan.  San Francisco has just enough D to stop Jon Kitna.

The Prediction: I'm reluctantly calling this one for San Fran.

Who to Watch: Tough call.  Calvin Johnson?

St. Louis @ Seattle

The Story: I may have to stop blogging at some point and go play wideout for Seattle - they're probably to the point where they're going to start having open tryouts.  Your starters for Week Three?  Keary Colbert and Koren Robinson.

As for St. Louis, I'll say what Bleacher Report Power Rankings said: "How can a team with Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, and Torry Holt only score 16 points in two games?"  How indeed...

The Breakdown: If there's one game where you don't have to worry too much about the state of your wideouts, it's this one.  St. Louis has barely looked competent at all - they'll allow all kinds of scoring.  Do I even need to cover this?

The Prediction: Seattle in a blowout.

Who to Watch: Julius Jones.  He'll be called on more than a few times.

Cleveland @ Baltimore

The Story: Cleveland has not at all looked like the juggernaut everyone was predicting them to be - hey, just like Minnesota!  They should play each other at some point in what would be called the "Disappointment Bowl".  Anyway...

Baltimore didn't play in Week Two.

The Breakdown: You've got Baltimore's stingy D playing Cleveland's solid O with Cleveland's suspect D facing down Baltimore's suspect O.  It's really a tough one to call.

The Prediction: Baltimore by a nose.

Who to Watch: I dunno.  Braylon Edwards?

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis

The Story: Last week, I predicted Indy as blowing out Minnesota.  Boy, was I wrong.  Well, at least they still won.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, has gone 0-2 against two solid-looking outfits and is facing all kinds of O-Line injuries.

The Breakdown: Peyton Manning comes into this one looking for his first true stud performance yet.  I think he'll get it.

The Prediction: Indy by a solid margin.

Who to Watch: Manning.

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia

The Story: Who is Pennsylvania's superior team?  Philly gets the points, but it's the Steelers who are playing the smashing defense.  The unstoppable force meets the immovable object...

The Breakdown: And the immovable object wins.  That's right, look for Pittsburgh to shut Philly down cold and everyone to wonder if the solid McNabb of Weeks One and Two was a fluke.

The Prediction: Pittsburgh by a nose.

Who to Watch: Willie Parker.  He will be huge.

Dallas @ Green Bay

The Story: Dallas won basically by scoring at will - a thought that delighted and scared their fans at the same time.  (Letting the opposition put up that many points?)

Green Bay is 2-0, but their defense has allowed the opposition to come back into games for one last shot at scoring.  This is Aaron Rodgers' first true test...

The Breakdown: ...and he doesn't pass.  Sure, it'll be close.  No one's arguing that.  But Green Bay's defense just gives up in the fourth quarter, and this isn't Tarvaris Jackson or Jon Kitna throwing the ball here.

The Prediction: Dallas by a nose.

Who to Watch: Romo.

New York Jets @ San Diego

The Story: Ah, San Diego.  Should that call have been reversed?  Well, should it have mattered?  If the Chargers were half the team they were supposed to be, that fumble call would have been less a game-changer and more an amusing clip for SportsCenter.  Sorry, San Diego, you have no one but yourself to blame for your 0-2 start.

New York doesn't really warrant much discussion.  They played New England last week.  They lost.  Shocking.

The Breakdown: San Diego is playing the injustice card in this one.  Every single call from the refs will warrant a five-minute discussion of Ed Hochuli - it's going to get real irritating real quick.  Jets win.

The Prediction: Jets by a nose.

Who to Watch: Favre.

There's Week Three.

Matthew Byas' week two record: 11-4

All-Time: 11-4


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