2010 Weekly Predictions: Week 3

September 23rd, 2010 - 8:45 pm

And the Week 2 curse continues. As I mentioned in my picks last week, Week 2 has given me problems for the past two years and this year made it three in a row as I finished with a 9-7 record, and only 6-9-1 against the spread. I think Week 2 is probably a difficult week to make picks because, as Lovie Smith says, teams make the biggest improvement between the first and second games so some teams that looked bad in Week 1 just might play much better the following week. That case can be made for the Bears, Bengals, Jets, Falcons, Broncos, Chargers, and Colts. All of those teams but the Bears lost in Week 1 — some by big margins — and yet looked impressive this past week.

Here’s a look at how I see Week 3 panning out. There are quite a few rivalry games, which always makes for tough decisions.

Point spreads come from Vegas.com as of Thursday afternoon.

Last Week: 9-7
Last Week against the spread: 6-9-1

This Week: 9-7
This Week against the spread: 9-7

Overall: 29-19
Overall against the spread: 23-22-3

San Francisco 49ers (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
I don’t think many people expected these two teams to be in the positions that they’re at right now. The 49ers have a lot of offensive problems but their defense plays tough and I like them to go on the road this week and pick up their first win.
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Kansas City 23
Actual Score: Kansas City 31, San Francisco 10
Spread Pick: Kansas City +2 1/2
Actual Score: Kansas City 31, San Francisco 10

Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)
I’m willing to bet the Patriots will score the most points this week especially after the sour taste they must have in their mouths losing to division rival New York in Week 2. Buffalo has a whole lot of problems and the Patriots are just the team to exploit them.
Prediction: New England 35, Buffalo 13
Actual Score: New England 38, Buffalo 30
Spread Pick: New England -14
Actual Score: New England 38, Buffalo 30

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
I like this rivalry and I think it should be a fun game to watch. The Falcons played the Steelers tough in Week 1 and took them to overtime. They destroyed the Cardinals last week. Meanwhile, the Saints haven’t been that impressive so far. I’m looking for the upset here.
Prediction: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24
Actual Score: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24
Spread Pick: Atlanta +4
Actual Score: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Who would have thought the Buccaneers would be 2-0 at this point? And a 2-0 start for the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t a guarantee, either. I’d expect Pittsburgh to keep rolling at this point and put an end to the magical start for the Bucs.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Tampa Bay 14
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 13
Spread Pick: Pittsburgh -3
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 13

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New York Giants (1-1)
The Giants rank No. 24 against the run after allowing the Colts to gain 160 rushing yards last week. They’ll have their hands full this week against Chris Johnson. The Titans also have the No. 1 pass defense after two weeks and should slow down Eli Manning and the Giants’ aerial assault.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, NY Giants 20
Actual Score: Tennessee 29, NY Giants 10
Spread Pick: Tennessee +3
Actual Score: Tennessee 29, NY Giants 10

Detroit Lions (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
What a way for the reigning NFC North division champions to start the season. The only thing better would be a loss to the Lions this week and sole possession of last place in the division. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. The Vikings, while not as dominant as usual, have a tough run defense and should contain Lions rookie Jahvid Best. Jared Allen might have a field day.
Prediction: Minnesota 31, Detroit 20
Actual Score: Minnesota 24, Detroit 10
Spread Pick: Detroit +11 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Minnesota 24, Detroit 10

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Joe Flacco will be looking for redemption after tossing four interceptions last week against the Bengals. The Ravens aren’t putting up many points, but they should be able to move the ball better against a bad Browns team.
Prediction: Baltimore 17, Cleveland 9
Actual Score: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 17
Spread Pick: Cleveland +10 1/2
Actual Score: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 17

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
After a very slow start to the season, the Bengals knocked off a tough Ravens team last week. The Bengals are tied for the league lead with 4 interceptions on defense and will face rookie Jimmy Clausen in his NFL debut. I like the Bengals on the road.
Prediction: Cincinnati 23, Carolina 20
Actual Score: Cincinnati 20, Carolina 7
Spread Pick: Carolina +3 1/2
Actual Score: Cincinnati 20, Carolina 7

Dallas Cowboys (0-2) at Houston Texans (2-0)
Houston has the No. 2 run defense but they have the worst pass defense. That could spell trouble for them against Tony Romo. The Cowboys, likewise, have the same defensive strengths and weaknesses. I expect this to be a high-scoring game and the Texans to maintain Texas supremacy.
Prediction: Houston 31, Dallas 24
Actual Score: Dallas 27, Houston 13
Spread Pick: Houston -3
Actual Score: Dallas 27, Houston 13

Washington Redskins (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)
The Rams still can’t get off the schneid and still have a lot of improvement to make. The Redskins looked good in their Week 1 win over the Cowboys and even in their Week 2 loss to the Texans (except for their pass defense, which allowed 497 yards to Matt Schaub). I don’t see Sam Bradford duplicating that mark, though. I like Washington on the road.
Prediction: Washington 20, St. Louis 16
Actual Score: St. Louis 30, Washington 16
Spread Pick: Washington -3 1/2
Actual Score: St. Louis 30, Washington 16

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

I really like the way Michael Vick has taken ownership of this offense and has been declared the starter for the foreseeable future. He’s showing flashes of when he was in his peak several years ago and the Jaguars’ pass defense is fourth-worst in the league. I like the weapons that Vick has around him and I think he moves the Eagles to 2-1.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Jacksonville 24
Actual Score: Philadelphia 28, Jacksonville 3
Spread Pick: Philadelphia -3 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Philadelphia 28, Jacksonville 3

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
I don’t quite know what to make of the Seahawks yet. They pummeled the 49ers in Week 1, but San Francisco just might not be as good as advertised. They have the advantage of being at home this week, but the Chargers should be able to knock them off. Seattle has one of the worst pass defenses in the league and Rivers should take advantage.
Prediction: San Diego 24, Seattle 17
Actual Score: Seattle 27, San Diego 20
Spread Pick: San Diego -5 1/2
Actual Score: Seattle 27, San Diego 20

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
There’s not too much to like about either of these teams except the run game matchup that is working to the Raiders’ advantage. Oakland has the No. 3 run game after two weeks and the Cardinals have the second-worst run defense. The Raiders also have the No. 5 pass defense. It’s early in the season, so these stats have little bearing, but I’m going with the upset.
Prediction: Oakland 20, Arizona 19
Actual Score: Arizona 24, Oakland 23
Spread Pick: Oakland +4 1/2
Actual Score: Arizona 24, Oakland 23

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
Both of these teams lost road games in Week 1, only to bounce back and win in impressive fashion at home last week. I like the Colts’ talent better, though, and that should ultimately make the difference in this one.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27, Denver 20
Actual Score: Indianapolis 27, Denver 13
Spread Pick: Indianapolis -5 1/2
Actual Score: Indianapolis 27, Denver 13

New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Another interesting rivalry game this week, the Dolphins have the advantage in this one, in my eyes. They have home field advantage plus I like the matchup between their defense and the Jets’ offense. It’ll take a dominant effort by the Jets defense to win on the road here.
Prediction: Miami 17, NY Jets 13
Actual Score: NY Jets 31, Miami 23
Spread Pick: Miami -2 1/2
Actual Score: NY Jets 31, Miami 23

Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-0)
This is such a difficult game to predict because my head and my heart are playing a chess game with good counter arguments. On the one hand, the Packers have been predicted by many, myself included, to get to the Super Bowl this year. On the other hand, they lost Ryan Grant for the season. The Bears have played physical in both games this season and are the No. 1 run defense. They’ve also still shown a tendency to get carved up by the pass. The Bears have a bad offensive line but so do the Packers. Jay Cutler has the No. 1 quarterback rating but Aaron Rodgers is just as skilled. The Packers have the league leader in sacks in Clay Matthews, but the Bears have the ever-dangerous Julius Peppers. It’s going to be a tight game and whoever commits the fewest amount of turnovers should win. I fear what Rodgers can do against the Bears secondary.
Prediction: Green Bay 23, Chicago 20
Actual Score: Chicago 20, Green Bay 17
Spread Pick: Chicago +3 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Chicago 20, Green Bay 17

San Francisco 49ers (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
I don’t think many people expected these two teams to be in the positions that they’re at right now. The 49ers have a lot of offensive problems but their defense plays tough and I like them to go on the road this week and pick up their first win.
Prediction: San Francisco 24, Kansas City 23
Spread Pick: Kansas City +2 1/2

Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)
I’m willing to bet the Patriots will score the most points this week especially after the sour taste they must have in their mouths losing to division rival New York in Week 2. Buffalo has a whole lot of problems and the Patriots are just the team to exploit them.
Prediction: New England 35, Buffalo 13
Spread Pick: New England -14

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
I like this rivalry and I think it should be a fun game to watch. The Falcons played the Steelers tough in Week 1 and took them to overtime. They destroyed the Cardinals last week. Meanwhile, the Saints haven’t been that impressive so far. I’m looking for the upset here.
Prediction: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24
Spread Pick: Atlanta +4

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Who would have thought the Buccaneers would be 2-0 at this point? And a 2-0 start for the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t a guarantee, either. I’d expect Pittsburgh to keep rolling at this point and put an end to the magical start for the Bucs.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 20, Tampa Bay 14
Spread Pick: Pittsburgh -3

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New York Giants (1-1)
The Giants rank No. 24 against the run after allowing the Colts to gain 160 rushing yards last week. They’ll have their hands full this week against Chris Johnson. The Titans also have the No. 1 pass defense after two weeks and should slow down Eli Manning and the Giants’ aerial assault.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, NY Giants 20
Spread Pick: Tennessee +3

Detroit Lions (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
What a way for the reigning NFC North division champions to start the season. The only thing better would be a loss to the Lions this week and sole possession of last place in the division. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. The Vikings, while not as dominant as usual, have a tough run defense and should contain Lions rookie Jahvid Best. Jared Allen might have a field day.
Prediction: Minnesota 31, Detroit 20
Spread Pick: Detroit +11 (would be a push by my prediction)

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Joe Flacco will be looking for redemption after tossing four interceptions last week against the Bengals. The Ravens aren’t putting up many points, but they should be able to move the ball better against a bad Browns team.
Prediction: Baltimore 17, Cleveland 9
Spread Pick: Cleveland +10 1/2

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
After a very slow start to the season, the Bengals knocked off a tough Ravens team last week. The Bengals are tied for the league lead with 4 interceptions on defense and will face rookie Jimmy Clausen in his NFL debut. I like the Bengals on the road.
Prediction: Cincinnati 23, Carolina 20
Spread Pick: Carolina +3 1/2

Dallas Cowboys (0-2) at Houston Texans (2-0)
Houston has the No. 2 run defense but they have the worst pass defense. That could spell trouble for them against Tony Romo. The Cowboys, likewise, have the same defensive strengths and weaknesses. I expect this to be a high-scoring game and the Texans to maintain Texas supremacy.
Prediction: Houston 31, Dallas 24
Spread Pick: Houston -3

Washington Redskins (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)
The Rams still can’t get off the schneid and still have a lot of improvement to make. The Redskins looked good in their Week 1 win over the Cowboys and even in their Week 2 loss to the Texans (except for their pass defense, which allowed 497 yards to Matt Schaub). I don’t see Sam Bradford duplicating that mark, though. I like Washington on the road.
Prediction: Washington 20, St. Louis 16
Spread Pick: Washington -3 1/2

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
I really like the way Michael Vick has taken ownership of this offense and has been declared the starter for the foreseeable future. He’s showing flashes of when he was in his peak several years ago and the Jaguars’ pass defense is fourth-worst in the league. I like the weapons that Vick has around him and I think he moves the Eagles to 2-1.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Jacksonville 24
Spread Pick: Philadelphia -3 (would be a push by my prediction)

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
I don’t quite know what to make of the Seahawks yet. They pummeled the 49ers in Week 1, but San Francisco just might not be as good as advertised. They have the advantage of being at home this week, but the Chargers should be able to knock them off. Seattle has one of the worst pass defenses in the league and Rivers should take advantage.
Prediction: San Diego 24, Seattle 17
Spread Pick: San Diego -5 1/2

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
There’s not too much to like about either of these teams except the run game matchup that is working to the Raiders’ advantage. Oakland has the No. 3 run game after two weeks and the Cardinals have the second-worst run defense. The Raiders also have the No. 5 pass defense. It’s early in the season, so these stats have little bearing, but I’m going with the upset.
Prediction: Oakland 20, Arizona 19
Spread Pick: Oakland +4 1/2

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
Both of these teams lost road games in Week 1, only to bounce back and win in impressive fashion at home last week. I like the Colts’ talent better, though, and that should ultimately make the difference in this one.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27, Denver 20
Spread Pick: Indianapolis -5 1/2

New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Another interesting rivalry game this week, the Dolphins have the advantage in this one, in my eyes. They have home field advantage plus I like the matchup between their defense and the Jets’ offense. It’ll take a dominant effort by the Jets defense to win on the road here.
Prediction: Miami 17, NY Jets 13
Spread Pick: Miami -2 1/2

Green Bay Packers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (2-0)
This is such a difficult game to predict because my head and my heart are playing a chess game with good counter arguments. On the one hand, the Packers have been predicted by many, myself included, to get to the Super Bowl this year. On the other hand, they lost Ryan Grant for the season. The Bears have played physical in both games this season and are the No. 1 run defense. They’ve also still shown a tendency to get carved up by the pass. The Bears have a bad offensive line but so do the Packers. Jay Cutler has the No. 1 quarterback rating but Aaron Rodgers is just as skilled. The Packers have the league leader in sacks in Clay Matthews, but the Bears have the ever-dangerous Julius Peppers. It’s going to be a tight game and whoever commits the fewest amount of turnovers should win. I fear what Rodgers can do against the Bears secondary.
Prediction: Green Bay 23, Chicago 20
Spread Pick: Chicago +3 (would be a push by my prediction)

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