The Above-Average Guide to Week 3 of the NFL
Last week in this column, we began this column. Feedback from the initial launch was overwhelmingly capricious, ranging from "Well written, very entertaining—I look forward to the rest of the series" (thanks Tom Morris) to "bad read." At the seeming urgency of the American public, I will drudge on with this column, week after week, until my fingers are crippled from a debilitating nervous system disorder.
The Games That Are Affecting America:
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Carolina Panthers
In case you haven’t heard, Cam Newton is a quarterback from Mars with the arm of a malfunctioning robot. Luke McCown is a quarterback who still has trouble with the “throwing” aspect of passing, something he hopes to overcome in four to six weeks. McCown is now gone (but why?) and rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be thrown to the mild-tempered wolves of Carolina.
Luckily for Gabbert, he is playing Carolina, a team that will likely allow him to not be mentally crippled afterward. This all sets up a game where two rookie quarterbacks could possibly throw for 600-plus yards combined, due to the fact that the pass defenses for both teams are decrepit.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Matthew Stafford has played extremely well so far this season (47-72, 7-2 TD/INT, 112.0 QB Rating) and Donavan McNabb has ranged from crime-against-humanity to average. This game is one of those “must-win” games for the Vikings, a certification that has rightfully been cattle branded into Adrian Peterson’s left thigh. The Lions have looked strong so far, despite the fact that at any moment, the trio of Stafford/Jahvid Best/Calvin Johnson could all suffer season-ending injuries.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton (WHO HAS RED HAIR!) has played well so far for Cincinnati and is setting them on a path for a “mediocre” season, a feat thought impossible three months ago. This game sucks.
Miami Dolphins vs. Cleveland Browns
Another game best left to the announcing duo of Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein, Miami—Cleveland leaves little desired in the “exciting” or “interesting” categories. I would suggest watching the shows you taped on the DVR if this game is forced upon your media market.
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
My friend Anthony thinks the Bills have a decent chance in this game and he may have a point. Ryan Fitzpatrick seems able to do various things and the Buffalo offense has been extremely impressive in the first two weeks against bad defenses. But then again, the Patriots have also been appealing so far, and this seems like a game where Belichick will want to stomp on the throats of a division rival.
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
If you see a Giants fan this weekend, make sure to yell “Matt Dodge” or “DeSean Jackson” or “I hate you” in his ear.
Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans
God, there are a lot of crappy games this weekend. Ugh. The two players who usually would draw interest in this game are Chris Johnson and Tim Tebow. Johnson hasn’t even broken 80 yards so far this season, and Tebow was dehumanized by playing wide receiver last week.
Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints
NFL SUPER-FUN GAME LOCK OF THE WEEK SPONSORED BY FREEDOM.
This game will have little to no defense and Drew Brees and Matt Schaub should carve up the defense like a (Thanksgiving analogy).
New York Jets vs. Oakland Raiders
Peter King seems to think the Raiders will win, but that’s wrong. The Raiders are better than normal, but any passing resurgence they’ve had will be neutralized by the intricacies of the Jets blitz schemes and Rex Ryan. If the Raiders do win, I’ll apologize for taking King’s prediction so lightly.
Baltimore Ravens vs. St. Louis Rams
The Rams need a win, as they are in last place in the worst division in football. Going 0-2 in the NFC West isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it is more demoralizing than anything else.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers:
The Chiefs are on pace to be historically bad, and any opposing pass held under 15 yards is a moral victory for this defense. The Chargers, led by perhaps the offense with the most potential to score 60 points in a game, could actually reach this plateau in this. Philip Rivers is an overwhelming huge douche whose disdain for his teammates should cut the team in half, but the Chargers will still annihilate the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Two quarterbacks that are widely considered to be two of the most “clutch” in football. No one can lose this because they are two quarterbacks who thrive under extreme pressure and can save burning babies from buildings. They are firefighters in football uniforms.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
NBC is surely wishing they could change the Sunday Night Football schedule after they found out Peyton Manning will be slightly decapitated during surgery.
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Seriously, ESPN doesn’t even try with these games.
Fantasy Guy To Watch:
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers. Sure, he scored zero points last week, but the Chargers are playing Kansas City this week. You know, the team that is already all in for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes?
Oblivious Tweet of the Week:
From @ChrisJohnson28: What's this troy davis stuff I keep hearing about
It’s called Google, Chris. Welcome to America.
Movie I’m Seeing This Weekend:
Probably Moneyball or Drive. Which one should I pick? I’m too indecisive.
Thing to Read Sunday Morning:
Bryan Curtis’s story about the Tijuana Sports Hall of Fame for Grantland. Curtis is one of the five best sportswriters alive when he writes about sports. He makes me ashamed of the burning babies joke I just made.
Brendan’s Eliminator Pick
I picked the Chargers this week in Zerkle’s suicide pool. I’m still alive, but the noose is getting tighter.
Brendan’s Picks Against the Spread
You want the opposite of solid gambling advice? Come back tomorrow, as you can see my picks, where I am 15-17 so far this season. I hate everything.
UPDATED: Here are the picks: http://games.espn.go.com/pigskin-pickem/en/entry?entryID=133277&message=picksSuccess
Email me if you have suggestions for this column: firstname.lastname@example.org
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