Week 3 NFL Picks

OK, sports fans… I missed weeks 1 and 2, but I’VE GOT A NEWBORN SO LAYOFF ME!

Sorry, that was aggressive. Sleep, it turns out, is somewhat important.

Anyway, onto the picks. Each week, I’ll give you four games against the spread–keep in mind, I’m going with the spreads published on Tuesday, so if they change in the meantime, make your adjustments as necessary. Also, at the end of each analysis I’ll put my confidence measure on a scale of ten. A one means I wouldn’t bet it (I doubt I’ll have many of those, otherwise I’d choose another game), and a ten means if I’m wrong I probably owe money to the mob.

LOCK OF THE WEEK!

San Diego (+2.5) at Minnesota

Take San Diego all day in this one. To begin with, we’re talking the NFL’s third best offense vs. an overrated Minnesota defense. Remember when the Vikes got gashed by the San Francisco 49ers? I do too. Sure they looked better last week against Detroit, but Detroit’s offense turned the ball over three times, is so far 7th worst in the league, and QB Matthew Stafford is channeling bad Jay Cutler.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s been moving the ball and has a ton of weapons on offense. Stevie Johnson has been resurgent, Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead are an effective 1-2 combo at RB, and Phillip Rivers continues to be steady at QB.

If that isn’t enough, Minnesota’s offense has been dreadful (29th in total yards). Child beater A.P. keeps putting the ball on the ground, and though Teddy Bridgewater looks like he’ll be a good NFL QB eventually, he hasn’t been very good so far. He’s thrown for only 380 yards and one TD in two games. I’m pretty sure I could do that (OK, that’s a horrible lie, but you get the point).

Anyway, I have San Diego as a seven point favorite to win and they’re getting 2.5. Yes, they’re on the road, but Minnesota’s not ready for prime time and San Diego will make the playoffs this year. Take San Diego and the points.

C0nfidence (8/10–like I said, I think it’s the lock this week)

Atlanta at Dallas (+1.5)

I know, I know. Brandon Weeden. And no Dez. And RB by committee.

But you know what I didn’t mention? Defense. The Cowboys are the number three defense in the league. So far they’ve been disciplined, experienced, mean. So there’s that.

Still. Brandon Weeden.

OK, OK, but what’s the best possible thing an inexperienced backup quarterback can have? How about the best offensive line in professional football. Again: disciplined, experienced, mean. I mean they can run the ball with Josephine¬†fucking Randle (alas, he’s on my fantasy team).

So yeah, it looks like a shitty situation on the outside for the Cowboys–and make no mistake, it is–but they still have a great defense and a great offensive line. Teams have won the Superbowl with that combination. Because of that they’ll have a chance in every game they play even without Romo and company, and hey, in this one they’re playing at Jerry World.

Also, I’m not as high on the Falcons as everyone else is. Yes, their offense is good, but they’ve played the same teams Dallas has, and their defensive rank is 24 below the Pokes (that’s 27th overall, math majors). That’s bad.

Point is, Dallas is the better, more complete team, and they’re GETTING points at home. How you like that, Jerra?

Confidence (6/10–would be higher, but again, Brandon Weeden)

Cincinnati (+2.5) at Baltimore

Just gonna throw it out there: Baltimore lost to the Raiders last week. THE RAIDERS.

So they can’t be all that good.

But the main thing with this game is that Cincinnati is simply much, much better on both sides of the ball. They have the NFL’s no. 7 offense and no. 6 defense, whereas the Ravens are no. 20 and no. 11 respectively.

Plus, so far, Andy Dalton looks good (cross your fingers). He’s averaging 250 yards a game, and to this point has five touchdowns and no interceptions. If Dalton’s play continues, the Bengals are damn tough to stop on offense: they’ve got one of the best offensive lines in football, Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard at RB, and AJ Green and Tyler Eifert on the outside.

On the other side of the ball, who exactly scares you? Steve Smith and Joe Flacco are the only established names on offense, and Smith is retiring next year. So far, the supposed to be fantasy RB stud Forsett has looked plodding at best, and much of the Raven’s offense in the Raider game came on trick plays.

That might work against a pedestrian defense, but Cincinnati’s for real. In week 1, they smashed the same Raiders that scored 37 on Baltimore, and in week 2 they contained a very good San Diego offense–an offense I’m high on for reasons described above.

Finally, like Dallas and San Diego, Cincinnati–the better team–is getting¬† points. Take ’em.

Confidence (6/10–slightly worried bad Andy might show up any day now)

Eagles at Jets (-1.5)

Not going to lie–this pick scares me for obvious reasons…

But look at the numbers: the Eagles have the NFL’s 25th ranked offense and 24th ranked defense (Jets are 17th and 10th respectively by the way). That’s bad. They’ve had one good half of football in two games, Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray (who might be injured anyway) look like huge busts, and who the hell else do the Eagles have? The Matthews boys? Wake me up when they live up to their hype.

Look, I think Chip Kelly’s a genius, but this is a damned tough game he and Philly are heading into. The Jets defense has ten takeaways in two games and their fans are going to be jacked. Plus they have veterans everywhere (Marshall, Revis, Cromartie, Fitzpatrick, Decker) and one of the best offensive lines (notice a theme here?) in football with a back in Ivory (assuming he plays–if he doesn’t, drop my confidence by at least one) that runs angry and often.

Honestly, I’m buying the Jets–I think they’re for real, and I think they’re going to win on Sunday. Cue Philly fans everywhere freaking out, for once with good reason.

Just don’t bet the farm on this one, OK big boy?

Confidence (4/10)

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About The Author: Jay Scott

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