After another 10-6 week, I’m now 20-12 for the season. Here are my picks for this week:
Atlanta over Tampa Bay
I wasn’t expecting this big of a win. Atlanta is more of a middle of the pack team now and Tampa Bay made them look unstoppable. It won’t be that easy for them going forward.
San Diego over Buffalo
I’m still not sold on the Bills. San Diego is riding the waves of a huge home win over Seattle and may be better on both sides of the ball.
Dallas over St. Louis
St. Louis may keep it closer than expected (especially if their defensive line can get to Tony Romo early on), but the final score should still favor Dallas.
Philadelphia over Washington
Kirk Cousins will face something that he didn’t see last week — a competent defense. And it may show. The key matchup however will be the LaSean McCoy and Darren Sproles versus Washington’s linebackers. If they can slow the rushing attack (and Sproles on screens), they have a shot. I don’t see it happening though.
New York Giants over Houston
You wouldn’t know if from his stats (four picks to three touchdowns), but Eli Manning has actually played OK so far. On the other side, Houston is off to a fifth consecutive 2-0 start. Manning’s receivers catch balls and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to make mistakes on defense, as the two teams reverse fortunes.
New Orleans over Minnesota
Is Teddy Bridgewater starting yet in Minnesota? With Adrian Peterson possibly done for the year, why not start him? Matt Cassel showed his bad side against New England last week. If he can’t move the ball against a struggling Saints defense, the switch has to be made. For New Orleans, they get back to winning at home, which they do best.
Cincinnati over Tennessee
I’ve correctly picked both of Tennessee’s games so far, but I may have been a little too high on them to start. The defense is still their strength, but offensively, they still struggle. The Bengals offense hasn’t set the world on fire either, but they have too many ways to gash opponents, even if A.J. Green is a no-go. Plus, like New Orleans, they’re really tough to beat at home.
Cleveland over Baltimore
It’s a toss-up, but I don’t have much confidence either way. I’m taking Cleveland for the home field advantage.
Green Bay over Detroit
Most of the onus will be on Aaron Rodgers to move the ball and put up points against the Lions defense. Eddie Lacy has yet to get going this season, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry through the first two games. Detroit’s run defense has held their own so far, too. If this turns into a 30+ point shootout, which I believe it will, the slight advantage still goes to Green Bay.
Indianapolis over Jacksonville
Jacksonville actually competes this week, but their mediocrity prevents them from pulling the upset.
New England over Oakland
I think the Patriots start to slide a little this season, but not to the point where they lose to teams like Minnesota or Oakland.
San Francisco over Arizona
Part of me wants to give the nod to Arizona here. They have one of the more underrated receiving corps in the league and their defense, though they’re playing well, are still without some of their better players. But Drew Stanton in the lineup changes things. I’m taking the Niners.
Denver over Seattle
The only guarantee here is that this rematch will be closer than their Super Bowl meeting. In fact, Denver may be the better team here. Seattle is tough to beat at home, but I think Peyton Manning and company pull it off.
Miami over Kansas City
I expected Kansas City to regress after last season’s 11-5 finish, but to start 0-3? That’s a little surprising. But when your vaunted front seven loses one of its best players for the season (Derrick Johnson) and your best offensive playmaker struggles to stay healthy, it puts more pressure on both Alex Smith and the Chiefs secondary. And that’s not a position that they want to be in. Miami has their share of injuries as well, namely to running back Knowshon Moreno and along the offensive line, but I think they do enough to win here.
Carolina over Pittsburgh
The Steelers are 3-0 in their last three meetings against Carolina, outscoring them 94-20. Of course, the 2002-2010 Steelers and Panthers were on opposite sides of the spectrum. This time around, the roles have reversed with Carolina now a playoff contender and Pittsburgh struggling to stay afloat. Even without Greg Hardy and a few running backs, the Panthers move to 3-0 unless something spectacular happens.
New York Jets over Chicago
Should Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Eric Decker all sit out, are the Jets not the better team? They certainly are on defense, with Chicago’s injury-riddled squad trending them in the wrong direction. Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson may not get a better chance than this to do damage on the ground.
Record (Week): 9-7
Record (Season): 29-19