NFL Picks Week 3
Peter King: 10-6 (20-12 on the season), looking very much like a professional NFL analyst.
Andrew Hamm: 8-8 (16-16), looking very much like I have no idea what I'm talking about.
George Washington: 8-8 (14-18), looking very much like a random coin toss.
Ryan Capps: 10-6 (19-15), looking very much retro in his Nate Newton jersey.
Rick Olson: 11-5, looking very much like a newcomer to the event.
I was ruminating on the Dallas Cowboys at work today, and I came to an interesting conclusion: take away their early-'90s winning seasons and they're the Washington Redskins. Upper management thinks they know more about football than the wisdom of their choices demonstrates. Quarterback after quarterback fails to impress. Streaky play, just enough to give the fan base hope for next season--every season. Splashy signings yielding limited results. Consistent inconsistency. Stat you probably don't know: The NFC East team with the fewest playoff wins in the past 14 years (1) is the Cowboys.
The difference? In 2010 the Redskins have Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. The Cowboys have Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips. Until Jerry Jones has the "Hallelujah I need to hire some football experts and get my ego out of their way" moment Dan Snyder had after the 2009 fiasco, the Cowboys are going nowhere. Trust me; I know from experience.
On with the picks. I'm doing my part early, as I'll be at Sycamore Rouge all day tomorrow directing for the 24-Hour Experience. You should come see it!
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
- Peter: Ravens. Ravens have won four straight in the series by an average of 19 points. If the Browns could run the ball even a little bit, they could threaten to make a game of this on the road in Crabcakeville. (I really miss the halftime crab crakes at M&T Bank Stadium.) But they can't.
- Me: Ravens. Not a chance.
- George: Browns.
- Ryan: Ravens.
- Rick: Ravens.
- Peter: Patriots. Stat You'll Get Sick Of Hearing This Weekend Dept.: Patriots have beaten Buffalo 13 times in a row. And the Bills are bad again this year, and they're starting Harvard's Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, and C.J. Spiller has been swallowed up by the mediocrity (eight carries for nine yards in two games). Western New York optimism level: zero point zero, with apologies to Dean Wormer.
- Andrew: Patriots. They might win by 30 points.
- George: Bills.
- Ryan: Patriots.
- Rick: Patriots.
- Peter: Saints. Tempted to pick the Falcons after New Orleans' short week following an unimpressive performance on Monday night and the loss of Reggie Bush. In the last four meetings between the teams, the score is Saints 110, Falcons 109. But I've picked against the Saints too much already this year. They're pretty good.
- Andrew: Saints. As long as New Orleans continues to win games while they're not playing their best, I'm going to keep picking them to repeat.
- George: Falcons. George is really into the away teams this week.
- Ryan: Falcons.
- Rick: Falcons.
- Peter: Titans. Given that Joseph Addai ran like O.J. Simpson against the Giants last week (and I mean the O.J. of 1972), what's Chris Johnson going to do this week? I'm stunned at the papier-mâché effort the Giants' front put up in Indy last week. No other team is getting less production out of more money spent on the defensive line than the Giants.
- Andrew: Titans. I am sooooo close to picking the New York upset here...
- George: Titans.
- Ryan: Giants.
- Rick: Giants.
- Peter: Bengals. A creditable first NFL start for Jimmy Clausen, but I say he'll be done in by some exotic blitzes from Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer -- and because the Bengals cover better than Clausen was used to seeing at Notre Dame.
- Andrew: Bengals. I'm starting to feel like a weenie for agreeing with King, but there aren't as many ambiguous matchups this week as we've seen so far.
- George: Panthers. It's gonna be a long week for George.
- Ryan: Bengals.
- Rick: Bengals.
- Peter: Steelers. Great point by reader and longtime Pittsburgh TV personality John Steigerwald to me this week: "I'm on a new futile crusade," he said. "The goal is the end of the field goal. In the three games involving AFC North teams [Sunday], the winning teams had a total of 12 field goals and NO offensive touchdowns. Boring.'' Sorry, John. Two more field goals by the Steelers this week, but Charlie Batch does enough to get a win and send the Steelers to 3-0.
- Andrew: Steelers. Raise your hand if you predicted that Tampa would start the season 2-0 and Dallas 0-2. Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller?...
- George: Buccaneers. George likes pirates.
- Ryan: Steelers.
- Rick: Steelers.
- Peter: 49ers. I guess you're going to call this an upset, because the Niners are 0-2 and the Chiefs 2-0. But think of this: If two weeks ago you had forecast the winner of San Francisco at Kansas City, who would you have picked? And think of this, too: If the Niners had turned the ball over one fewer time Monday night against New Orleans, there's a very good chance we all would have been talking about San Francisco upsetting the Super Bowl champs.
- Andrew: 49ers. See above, re: undefeated and unlikely. It ends here.
- George: Chiefs. Man, Washington is the upset capital of the NFL world this week.
- Ryan: Chiefs.
- Rick: 49ers.
- Peter: Vikings. Nothing comes easy for the Men of Childress this year, but they're fortunate to get the Lions at home when they really need a win. I think if Brett Favre and Bernard Berrian can't get on the same wavelength, Favre has to turn to the next-best weapon -- Greg Camarillo -- and lobby Childress again to get Javon Walker back in the house. For now, I say he should wear the extra-large should pads this week. Ndamukong Suh's coming to town.
- Andrew: Vikings. Minnesota has big problems, but losing to Detroit simply won't be one of them.
- George: Lions. Jeez; GW is going for 0-16 this week.
- Ryan: Vikings.
- Rick: Vikings.
- Peter: Texans. Toughest game of the week to call, in part because of the suspension of left tackle Duane Brown of the Texans. Imagine you're Rashad Butler, and you're starting your first NFL game at left tackle, and though you're going to get some help, you've got DeMarcus Ware with the fast-twitch movements coming around the corner for three hours. Yikes. But I'm counting on Arian Foster to eat up the clock and make Ware play run defense more than he'd like.
- Andrew: Texans. It will be close, but I believe in Wade Phillips' innate ability to wreck this Dallas team despite their imposing, albeit overrated, talent.
- George: Texans. Finally, some sense.
- Ryan: Texans.
- Rick: Cowboys.
- Peter: Eagles. The Eagles' offensive line is the worst it's been in a decade, and deep down, that had to play some part in Andy Reid's decision to go to Michael Vick on Tuesday. Vick's never been sacked more than three times a game on average in any previous season. He's gone down nine times in six quarters this year. But the big difference in this game, even if the Jags send the house more often than usual, is that Vick is more accurate than he's been before. Granted it's only a game and a half, but that's a big factor in how well he's playing, and I think it continues in Jacksonville.
- Andrew: Jaguars. Finally some dissent. An Eagles win wouldn't surprise me, but Michael Vick stepping right back into 2006 form does. I believe his good play of the past couple weeks is the aberration, and he's due to come down this week. The Jags will play tough and eke it out.
- George: Jaguars.
- Ryan: Eagles.
- Rick: Jaguars.
- Peter: Redskins. After this one, the Redskins will be a Schaub-to-Johnson bomb from 3-0. This one's a little scary because injuries start to make the offensive line shaky.
- Andrew: Redskins. Yeah, Peter, but the 'Skins are also a fumble return away from being 0-2. I'll take a 2-1 start, though.
- George: Rams.
- Ryan: Redskins.
- Rick: Redskins.
- Peter: Colts. There's no chapter in the Head Coaching Manual about dealing with the suicide of a player, then getting one's emotions in check in time to defend one of the best quarterbacks ever to play. Sorry, Josh McDaniels, but this is a cruel business sometimes.
- Andrew: Colts. Even without emotional distraction, the Colts are just better.
- George: Broncos.
- Ryan: Colts.
- Rick: Colts.
- Peter: Cardinals. Derek Anderson saves his job for a couple of weeks, but he knows Max Hall is in the bullpen, and Ken Whisenhunt won't hesitate to go to his reliever.
- Andrew: Raiders. Gradkowski seems to bring a spark to this Raiders team for some reason. Giving up on Jason Campbell after less than two games is typical Raider nonsense. Redskin fans, Cowboy fans: at least our owner isn't Al Davis. Hey-o!
- George: Cardinals.
- Ryan: Cardinals.
- Rick: Raiders.
- Peter: Chargers. Get the ball to Golden Tate more, Pete Carroll, and you've got a heck of a chance to win this one. Last week, Tate returned a punt for 63 yards and caught a pass for 52. That's why he was drafted. He needs more touches.
- Andrew: Chargers. I've been sick all week. I'm entitled to an arbitrary choice.
- George: Seahawks.
- Ryan: Chargers.
- Rick: Chargers.
- Peter: Dolphins. This doesn't have as much to do with the Braylon Edwards distraction and the probable absence of Darrelle Revis as it does recent history. Last season, Miami swept the Jets and put up 61 points on them; Chad Henne played better against the league's top-ranked defense than he did against Buffalo. Some teams just match up well.
- Andrew: Jets. All the above reasons are why I think the Jets will bring a good game.
- George: Dolphins.
- Ryan: Dolphins.
- Rick: Dolphins.
- Peter: Packers. Closer than you think? That's because Mike Martz is figuring ways to get the ball out of Jay Cutler's right hand faster than the defense can get to Cutler. Smart. Because the line's not going to get fixed this year. I see Aaron Rodgers outdueling Cutler, though.
- Andrew: Packers. I totally agree with Peter. This game will be closer than we're accustomed to seeing Pack-Bears games, but Rodgers is too much for the Bears. Chicago's only hope is for the "new" Jay Cutler we've seen the past two weeks to be the oasis, not the mirage. My fantasy football team hopes so, too.
- George: Packers.
- Ryan: Packers.
- Rick: Packers.