I only went .500 against the spread last week, but who cares, because once again I was able to emerge triumphant in my office football pool. Why is that money you win is so much sweeter than money you earn? I was jumping for joy when I got my winnings. I don’t do that for my paycheck, and it’s bigger than my winnings (so far anyway).
On to week 3, and aren’t there some truly interesting matchups amongst the rubble of the NFL’s early season. The league may be completely screwing up right and left, but a Super Bowl rematch is still a marquis game, plus DeSean Jackson back in Philly, the Saints and Colts playing for their lives, and the Bills and Texans trying to keep their momentum going. What a slate!
Last Week’s Picks: 8-8 Best: 1-2
Season Total: 16-18-1. Best: 3-3
San Diego (+1) @Buffalo (5Dimes)
I feel like both of these teams are coming off a high and are poised to fall. The Bills have started 2-0, a big deal for them, and they soundly beat a division opponent last week in Miami. The Chargers, on the other hand, really manhandled the Seahawks, and that’s a big deal for anyone. The Chargers are also traveling East for an early game, so they’ve got the double whammy. It’s not that I like the Bills here, I just like the Chargers even less.
Buffalo Bills 23 San Diego Chargers 20
Dallas (+1) @St. Louis (MGM Mirage)
I think we learned something about the Rams last (Thursday) night. What we learned is that beating Tampa Bay by two points isn’t really any kind of achievement. The Cowboys have no real shot at anything this year, but they certainly aren’t going to go into games believing that, and their schedule takes a notorious turn towards the difficult after this game. The Cowboys can beat the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys 27 St. Louis Rams 24
Washington (+6.5) @Philadelphia (Las Vegas Hilton)
I always say you have to take a particularly close look at divisional games, and that’s especially true in the ones that have the really long standing rivalries like the NFC East. I think the Eagles are just about a touchdown better than the RacialSlurs but will the rivalry nature of this game make it tighter than that? Once upon a team, these teams played something like 6 years worth of games all decided by 4 points or less, but in the last 4 years, most of the margins have been 7 or better. I’ll give the points.
Philadelphia Eagles 30 Washington RacialSlurs 23
Washington @Philadelphia o/u 49.5 (Las Vegas Hilton)
These are two offenses that can move the ball and usually score, and two defenses that have glaring weaknesses or are just plain bad at times. Accordingly, an over/under hovering at 50 is low hanging fruit.
Philadelphia Eagles 30 Washington RacialSlurs 23
Houston (-2.5) @NY Giants (MGM Mirage)
Houston has a great defense, right ? It’s unbeatable, right? Would it surprise you to learn that the Texans’ defense is ranked 25th in the NFL? It surprised the hell out of me. Of course, that’s in yards. They’re #1 in points allowed. Call it a quirk of having only played two games. Call it a further function of having not played anyone all that good. My point is, the Texans are what I thought they were – a middling team with a good defense but not much offense that would win games against bad teams but…Enter the Giants. Their season is pretty much on the line here. The Texans aren’t that bad, but they’re not that good either.
New York Giants 20 Houston Texans 17
Tennessee (+7) @Cincinnati (MGM Mirage)
Cincinnati has looked great thus far, but AJ Green is out this game and there’s no way to overstate how much he means to that offense. Green is to the Bengals what Calvin Johnson is to the Lions. There’s only a handful of guys like this in the league at any one time. Bengals win, but it stays close.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 Tennessee Titans 17
Baltimore (pick ‘em) @Cleveland (5Dimes)
How much do you REALLY believe in the Browns? Yeah, me either.
Baltimore Ravens 20 Cleveland Browns 16
Oakland (+14) @New England (Las Vegas Hilton)
This is too many points to give and be happy, but the Patriots are the only side to even think about here. The Raiders are essentially on autopilot right now, letting Derek Carr get his feet wet and giving him only safe easy plays to run. As a result, Oakland is literally playing their games with one hand tied behind their back – and they aren’t good enough to win with both hands anyway.
New England Patriots 28 Oakland Raiders 10
San Francisco (-2.5) @Arizona (5Dimes)
It’s too bad for Arizona about this game, because they’re in a great spot with their bye week coming up and a chance to drop a tough divisional opponent to 1-2. Instead, they come into the game with Carson Palmer out and Andrew Ellington questionable and banged up even if he plays. You can’t beat the 49ers if you’re at half strength.
San Francisco 49ers 20 Arizona Cardinals 17
Denver (+4.5) @Seattle (Bookmaker.eu)
Stay away from this game. I’m telling you right now. This is not a game to bet – this is a game to watch and enjoy and appreciate. Peyton Manning has had a year to think about the Seahawks’ defense. Peyton is possibly the smartest quarterback ever to play in the NFL. And he’s had a year to think about how he will try to beat these guys. And the Seahawks? They lost last week, so they’re pissed off. And they’re at home, where they don’t lose. At home, they crush people. Watch this game and enjoy it for the greatness that it is.
Seattle Seahawks 26 Denver Broncos 21
Kansas City (+4) @Miami (Las Vegas Hilton)
Both of these teams are banged up, but I like the Chiefs to stay in this game because I just don’t see the Dolphins running away from anyone. Figure on a close game.
Miami Dolphins 24 Kansas City Chiefs 21
Jesus H. Christ this is a lot of games. When do the bye weeks start?
Pittsburgh (+3) @Carolina (MGM Mirage)
I don’t like the way the Steelers look at all, and I haven’t going all the way back to the preseason. This team is just off, and the Panthers have looked extremely workmanlike in their two victories thus far. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Pittsburgh snaps out of it here.
Carolina Panthers 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Chicago (+3) @NY Jets (Las Vegas Hilton)
I get the feeling the Bears’ season really isn’t for the faint of heart. It hasn’t been so far, has it? Nevertheless, I liked this team enough to pick them to win their division, and that certainly included winning a game like this one on Monday night.
Chicago Bears 27 New York Jets 24
BEST PICKS OF THE WEEK
Houston @NY Giants o/u 42 (Wynn Las Vegas)
The Giants have scored 14 points twice, while the Texans are only allowing 10 points per game. On the other side of the ball, you have Ryan Fitzpatrick. This game screams under.
New York Giants 20 Houston Texans 17
Minnesota (+9.5) @New Orleans (Bookmaker.eu)
There is no way, and I mean NO WAY IN HELL the Saints are going to go 0-3. Not at home. Not against the Vikings without Adrian Peterson. No way. And more than that, the Vikings are a team that’s been ripped to shreds. Peterson was basically their whole offense, and they certainly played like it without him last week. And then to have ownership say he was playing, then say no he isn’t playing and the entire way he’s been completely disgraced. It’s hard to imagine the Vikings are going to have their heads completely in this game. Especially after the Saints jump out to a 14-0 lead on them in the 1st quarter. This one will be uglier than Peterson’s child abuse allegations.
New Orleans Saints 42 Minnesota Vikings 7
Green Bay (+3) @Detroit (Bookmaker.eu)
I don’t know how Detroit is a standard home field favorite here. Granted, the Packers didn’t look great last week – except for the last 48 minutes of the game when they erased a big deficit, took a lead and then won. Besides that, they didn’t look good. The Lions, meanwhile, make more mistakes than the girls on that website who try to put on makeup while blindfolded. They do it again and again. My best advice for this game is start your fantasy guys like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson because the offenses will both have big days. Then watch the Lions find a way to lose in the 4th quarter. It will happen.
Green Bay Packers 31 Detroit Lions 28
Indianapolis (+7) @Jacksonville (Las Vegas Hilton)
You know, once upon a time, an over-matched Jaguars team gamely covering a touchdown spread against the Colts was a damn good bet. Not this year. Other than the first half against Philadelphia, the Jaguars have looked inept. They gave up 10 sacks last week and the team has no spark at all. The Colts, meanwhile, will be playing with the kind of desperation that typically results in a blowout win over a lesser opponent. All bets might be off if Blake Bortles eventually sees some action, but that’s probably a second half deal (second half of the season, that is).
Indianapolis Colts 28 Jacksonville Jaguars 16