After this week, most teams will be done with a fourth of the games already. Boy does time fly by. But this is the time of year where many of the pretenders start to get weeded out and the contenders show that they are in fact the real deal.
There are 3 teams that are currently still undefeated. Those teams are the Chicago Bears, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I have none of these teams making the playoffs and they are truly demonstrating how amazing the parity in the NFL can be.
After 3 weeks in the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads:
TheSportsKraze: 30 CV3: 28
49ers at Falcons: An underachieving San Francisco team versus an Atlanta team that is flying high after a big win over the defending champs. Conventional wisdon would say to pick the Falcons in this one. The Falcons have ridden a phenomenal offense, that features one of the game’s best rushing attacks to first place in the NFC South. The 49ers have been very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like, showing glimpses of a playoff caliber team at times. If this game was on the west coast, I will give the 49ers a chance. The 49ers were the “it” pick in the NFC West. Sadly they will fall to 0 and 4 with a 10 point loss to the Falcons.
Bengals at Browns: The Battle of Ohio. Always a fun game where the stats get thrown out the window. The Cincinnati offense has looked anemic and many have been calling for a quarterback change, or at least, re-evaluation. Fortunately for Cincinnati, they are taking on a Cleveland team that is winless for a reason. They have not gotten the job done from an offensive or defensive standpoint. Well the Who Deys have owned this series throughout the Marvin Lewis era and I expect a similar outcome on Sunday. Look for the Bengals to move to 3 and 1 with a 13 point victory against an overmatched Cleveland squad.
Jets at Bills: I will admit the Bills surprised me with their effort against New England last week. They showed some guts and even dare I say, moxy (whatever that is). But it will not be enough against arguably the best team in the AFC. The Jet’s stats are misleading due to a horrible offensive performance in Week 1. Mark Sanchez is finally starting to look more comfortable out there as is the Jets rushing attack. And good luck to Buffalo in putting up points against these outstanding Jet’s defense whether Revis plays or not. Buffalo sports the worst overall offense in the League thus far for a reason. Look for the Jets to run away with this one on the road by 13.
Seahawks at Rams: Two teams that each pulled off surprise victories in Week 3. Seattle has looked very solid in 2 of their 3 games, while St. Louis appeared to finally awake from a preseason hangover against the Redskins. Do I think either of these teams are serious playoff contenders? Not really. But anybody has a shot in the very weak NFC West, that the Seahawks are currently leading. Neither of these teams rank too well offensively or defensively from a stats standpoint. But I see the Seahawks demonstrating some poise down the stretch and following the lead of their veteran Matt Hassleback to their 3rd victory of the season. It will be close, but a costly Bradford interception down the stretch will help Seattle prevail by 3 on the road.
Broncos at Titans: An underachieving Broncos team heads to the music city to take on a Tennessee team that has had 2 awesome games, and one against Pittsburgh that they would like to forget. Though Denver has been solid against the run this year, it will not be enough to stop Chris Johnson and Co. Look for CJ to be the difference in this game as Tennessee saves face at home with a 7 points victory.
Lions at Packers: The Try’n Lions head to Lambeau to take on the Cheeseheads. The Packers are coming off of a heartbreaking Monday Night loss to their bitter rival, Chicago. I feel bad for Detroit is all I have to say. I would not want to play arguably the most talented team in the League, coming off of a loss on the road. Though Detroit has had a legitimate chance to win 2 of their 3 games, they have not faced off with a team that has an offense like Green Bay. The Lions have one of the worst defenses in the League and struggle to stop the run or pass. Look for Aaron Rodgers to light up the scoreboard as the Packers come out with a vengeance. This one will be a laugher with the Packers coming out on top by 17.
Ravens at Steelers: One of the best rivalries in football here. The Edgar Allen Poes head to Heinz Field looking to gain back a throne that many expected them to hold atop the AFC North. The Steelers have shocked everyone, including myself, by starting out 3 and 0 without Big Ben. This Steelers’s team has looked solid, living on their phenomenal defensive unit. Pittsburgh’s offensive unit may be ranked dead last in the NFL, but they are also 1 of only 3 undefeated teams heading into Week 4. The big question mark for a Baltimore team that many expect to possibly win the AFC was their cornerback position. Well the Ravens are the top rated team against the pass in the NFL. So they are doing something right. I see Joe Flacco continuing to demonstrate his ability to make big plays with Anquan Boldin, as the Ravens steal a very close one on the road. The Ravens will have just a little bit more offensive firepower in this matchup of two of the game’s best defensive units. I got the Ravens by 1.
Panthers at Saints: Sorry Carolina. Things are about to get worst as you head to Bourbon Street. This is a similar scenario to which the Lions find themselves in this week. Playing a very talented team coming off of their first loss of the season on the road. Good luck. Drew Brees and the Saints, even though their offense is ReggieBushless, will put up some numbers. And their defense will feast on whatever young quarterback Carolina puts out there. New Orleans may not possess a running game, but their aerial attack is one of the best in the game. Carolina corners better make plays when opportunities are presented to them, unlike they did last week, or this game will be over fast. I got the Saints by 14 at home.
Colts at Jaguars: Peyton Manning heads down to Jacksonville. The Jags have looked terrible since Week 1. And they have a major issue in this matchup. They do not stop the pass. And they are going up against Peyton Manning, possibly the greatest pocket passer of all time. Pick your poison in this one. All directions put to the Jaguars losing a game that shouldn’t even be close to Indy. I got the Colts by 10 in this one.
Texans at Raiders: Houston finally got their wake up call. The Cowboys took Houston “Back to life, back to reality.” Well this week, they come back to a good reality. As they match up with a pretty abysmal Oakland team. Now I will admit Oakland’s D has been pretty solid so far. But they also have not faced top-tier offenses like Houston has. If Oakland clogs the run, look for Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub to hook up early and often. If Oakland decides to not stack 8 in the box, look for Arian Foster to have a field day. Either way, Oakland does not possess the horses to score enough points to keep up with the Texans exciting offensive attack. I got Houston by 13 on the road.
Redskins at Eagles: This is quite possibly the most exciting matchup of the week. Mentor vs Mentee. Speed vs speed. Righty vs Lefty. You name it, the VickNabb show will be fun to watch. Sadly for Washington though, they do not possess the overall team yet to compete with an Eagles squad that has gelled very quickly. Now when these two teams match up again on Monday Night Football in November, it will be a completely different story. But Donovan and this offense have not clicked in any way yet, and will not be able to put up enough points to support a defense that will struggle all day to contain the most athletic player in football. It will be close, but I got the Eagles by 6 at home.
Cardinals at Chargers: Two teams that have surprised for different reasons are matchup up in San Diego. The Cardinals are an unexpected 2 and 1, while the Chargers have surprised many with a rough 1 and 2 start. Well the Chargers always start off the year slow. This is a pick me up game where they get the ball going. Look for Phillip Rivers to put up some big numbers and lead San Diego to a much-needed victory at home. This will begin a winning streak for the Chargers as they head into a very easy stretch on their schedule. Chargers by 7 in this one.
Bears at Giants: Da Bears looked awesome Monday Night. The Giants on the other hand continued to disappoint and show their lack of consistency. I got the Bears behind their phenomenal run defense taking care of business on the road and moving to 4 and 0. Eli will have to have a big day in the air for the Giants to have any prayer. And I just do not see it happening this week. Bears by 6 on the road.
Patriots at Dolphins: What a great Monday Night Game folks. Two bitter divisional rivals, looking to make an early statement. These are two very different teams. New England lives and dies on their vaunted aerial attack which features Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker. The Dolphins really survive on a very solid defense led by Jason Allen and Yeremiah Bell. Monday Night Football Games are very tough to predict in that the underdog commonly walks away the victor. But for some reason, I expect Brady, who always performs well on the big stage, to lead the Patriots to a huge divisional victory by 1 on the road. Patriots by 1.
There is a distinct possibility that there could be 5 winless teams left in the NFL after week 4. Will those teams fight for a win to avoid the embarrassment of being winless? Also, there are some upset opportunities with the Raiders and Bills looking to shock some teams that are considered on their way to the elite class. Should be an interesting week to watch.
Falcons over 49ers by 3- If we are following a trend here it is time for San Fran to play well this week. Even if they do, they will still have to overcome a good-looking Atlanta team at home. I take the chances of the Falcons playing well over the chance of San Fran coming out like they did against the Saints.
Packers over Lions by 10- Green Bay should trample the Lions at Lambeau. The Pack has proved that their D is strong and they will eliminate the mistakes made last week against Da Bears. Best should be in the line-up this week but he will be limited by the backers in green and yellow.
Jets over Bills by 8- I want to say the Bills are going to upset the Jets after competing with the Pats last week but I don’t think it is going to happen. The one way it could happen is if the Bills can pressure Sanchize. Again, I don’t think this will happen but I would love to see the J E T S go down this week to a 0-3 team.
Rams over Seahawks by 5- Seahawks have lost the last 16 of 19 on the road. Rams are energized this year with Bradford running the show. Look for them to impress the home crowd.
Titans over Broncos by 3- Chris Johnson is scary but so is Denver’s #1 passing offense. Kyle Orton can have a big day against the Titan’s secondary starting a rookie in place of an injured corner. I still have to go with the Titans because in the NFL you still have to be able to run the ball and the Broncos have too much trouble on the ground.
Steelers over Ravens by 1- Everyone knows that this will be a low scoring SLUGFEST. If you do not like defense, do not watch this game but you will see some of the hardest hits all season during this game. Steelers take this round at home in this fight.
Saints over Panthers by 14- Notre Dame sucks, so does Jimmy Clausen. Saints win! (Take that BK)
Colts over Jags by 7- These two seem to play each other tough. In their last 5 match-ups the winning team has won by 7 points or less. This one swings in favor of the Colts with Peyton’s boys clicking.
Texans over Raiders by 10- The Raiders will prove to be a big match-up problem for Houston. With the Best corner in the league limiting Andre the Giant to 5 catches and 94 yards in their last three meetings, the Texans will need to find another way to get the job done. Either Houston clicks and blows through Oakland or they lose in an upset caused by one the NFL’s top defenses.
Chargers over Cardinals by 7- Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates. As long as these two are still on the field Sunday, San Diego will win the game.
Eagles over Redskins by 6- Michael Vick.
Bears over Gmen by 9- The Bears offense is catching up to its D. The Giants lost last week at home, look for it to happen again with a pass happy Bears team rolling into town. Don’t kick it to Devin Hester, Gmen. Then maybe you have a chance.
Patriots over Dolphins by 3- Another Monday night thriller is ahead of us with an emerging team taking on the perennial Goliath in the division. The Patriots offense will be too difficult to stop and they will disappoint Miami fans who think they can hang in the division. Sorry Dolphins, you’re number 3, the first two spots are taken.
Bengals over Brownies by 8- D’Natti is making a trip to Cleveland, who will not win a championship in any sport in the foreseeable future. Zimmer will smother the Browns on offense and the Cleveland fans will still remain without hope for their Browns, Cavs and Indians. Hopefully Cincinnati fans get to see some life from Carson Palmer who hasn’t clicked with his new weapons at tight end and receiver yet. WHO DEY
So there you have both my and CV3’s picks. A lot of very good matchups mixed in with some very lopsided looking affairs. But the NFL is always unpredictable and fun. Upsets are inevitable. It is very hard to pick which ones they will be.
Enjoy the games folks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.