Thursday, September 20, 2012

M & M's NFL Pickz Week 3

By Marley Burr, Mitch Sandberg and Chris Krukowski

Projected Total
Carolina Panthers
New York Giants
Panthers -2.5
Chicago Bears
St. Louis Rams
Bears -7.5
Cleveland Browns
Buffalo Bills
Bills -3
Dallas Cowboys
Tampa Bay Bucs
Cowboys -8
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Colts -3
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets
Jets -2.5
Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers
49ers -6.5
New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs
Saints -8.5
Tennessee Titans
Detroit Lions
Lions -3.5
Washington Redskins
Cincinnati Bengals
Redskins -3
Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles -3.5
San Diego Chargers
Atlanta Falcons
Chargers -3
Denver Broncos
Houston Texans
Texans -1
Pittsburgh Steelers
Oakland Raiders
Steelers -4
New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens
Ravens -3
Green Bay Packers
Seattle Seahawks
Packers -3

Current Standings


Marley: Another week in the books and it looks as if this was a tough one for all involved. I did predict that Week 2 might be harder to pick than Week 1 and there certainly were plenty of surprises. This week looks to be no different with a lot of good matchups and plenty of opportunities for teams to still bounce back after bad starts.

Our guest of honor this week is Sportzbroz writer Chris Krukowski who will look to build on Danny Klau’s record of 7-7-2 last week. 

Lets jump into the action:

RB of the Week: Reggie Bush ran for 172 yards and 2 TDs to be the best RB of Week 2. Looks like Reggie Bush is back! And making good on his word from "Hard Knocks" where he said he wanted to lead the league in rushing this season.

New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers

Marley: Carolina -2.5
Mitch: Giants +2.5
Chris: Carolina -2.5

On a normal Sunday with a full team the NY Giants would take this game no question. Unfortunately they have a number of things that are working against them right now and these are some serious factors that must be considered. The first is that both teams are coming off of only four days rest, mixed with Carolina being at home that works in their favor as they don’t need to travel anywhere to prepare for the Giants. Also, home field advantage always is a plus regardless. 

Injuries right now are destroying the Giants. Currently they have Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Diehl and Chris Canty are all sidelined for this game plus a few others. Eli Manning and the offense will have their work cut out for them this week as they look to the substitute players to give solid performances in the starters shoes. The defense is going to make the difference here. Carolina has just come off of a very impressive win against the Saints and that win was all the offense. Cam Newton can beat you with his arm when not pressured and with his legs when forced out of the pocket. The Giants D-line has had some trouble so far getting pressure on the QB and will need to play their best to be able to stop Cam Newton. I think this game will be a very high scoring game with the Panthers coming out on top by a field goal.

Eli Manning threw for 500+ yards and the win to take the honors for Player of Week 2.

St. Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears

Marley: Bears -7.5
Mitch: Rams -7.5
Chris: Bears -7.5

Chris: The Bears have been inconsistant so far this year. Depending upon how well Cutler plays, determines how well the Bears will play. Good Jay, win. Bad Jay, Lose. Matt Forte has been a crucial figure but he is out this week (at least), opening the door for semi-stud Mike Bush. They also need to get the ball to Brandon Marshall, he is too potent to only get the ball twice for a combined 24 yards last week. In addition, their defense has been playing pretty well. They should be able to deal with Sam Bradford and the St. Louis offense fairly unabashed if they continue to play the same way. If their offense performs the Bears should have this one pretty easily.

Jay Cutler has received a lot of criticism for his outburst against his O-line. How will this effect the Bears in Week 3?

Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns

Marley: Buffalo Bills -3
Mitch: Buffalo Bills -3
Chris: Buffalo Bills -3

Chris: This will be a pretty good game. Brandon Weeden has been pretty poor to start the season, though, he did throw for 322 yards, two TDs and no interceptions against the Bengals last week, but Trent Richardson is looking like the stud he was drafted as. 

For the Bills, CJ Spiller has been an absolute killer. He has had 292 yards in 29 attempts, thats an average of 10.1 yards per carry. Not to brag, but I have him in fantasy. Ryan Fitzgerald has thrown 5 TDs and 3 Ints, but his performances have been pretty good. Both defenses are comparable. I think the Bills take this one but we will see big performance from both RBs.

CJ Spiller has run wild for two weeks. Can he do the same against a strong Cleveland defense?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys

Marley: Buccaneers +8
Mitch: Buccaneers +8
Chris: Buccaneers +8

Marley: Barring yet another fourth-quarter comeback from Eli Manning and the Giants, the Tampa Bay Bucs really seemed like the better team last week. They had rhythm, timing and were able to put up points. They beat down the Panthers in Week 1 and took the Giants to the fourth quarter. Their problem was stopping the NY Giants offense in the second half from a big comeback at home. 

The Cowboys on the other hand looked horrible this last week as they were manhandled by the Seahawks. Their defense did not look good as Seattle exposed them all over the field. Both the Bucs and Boys suffered bad losses in different ways and will need a victory to come back in this game. While I do think the Cowboys will most likely win this game at home, I don’t see them covering the spread and just like the Bucs@Giants game last week TB will keep this close or even grab a win. Take the Bucs to cover.

The Bucs have played to a much higher potential than their record shows. Maybe this can all change in Week 3.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

Marley: Colts -3
Mitch: Colts -3
Chris: Colts -3

Marley: The Indianapolis Colts look like a pretty solid team with Andrew Luck at the helm. He was extremely impressive against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 224 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. What was most impressive was the fact that he was really able to escape pressure, his pocket presence does not seem like that of a rookie quarterback. 

The Jaguars on the other hand are a little bit of a question mark right now. MJD is going to get his carries and will most likely rush for over 100 yards in this game because he is the best running back in the game right now. Last week they played one of the best defenses in the league and were completely dominated by the pass rush. Were the Texans that dominant or were the Jaguars and Blaine Gabbert that bad? 

The Colts defense is not the Texans defense, however the Colts have just faced Matt Forte in Week 1 and Adrian Peterson in Week 2, holding both to 80 yards or less. If they can stop MJD and put the game into the hands of Blaine Gabbert I think the Colts can control this game.

Andrew Luck gets his first win and touchdowns in Week 2. 

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins

Marley: Dolphins +2.5
Mitch: Jets -2.5
Chris: Jets -2.5

Marley: Ohhhhh the NY Jets. Watching that game last week against the Steelers, the only thing I could think the whole time was “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.” 

They really did look terrible, much like the 0-4 preseason team that everyone was down on. The receivers couldn’t get open, they dropped passes, Sanchez was pressured and frustrated and the defense was owned by the Steelers. Everyone was very high on the Jets after the Bills game but they do play in the AFC East where they get to play the Bills and Dolphins a combined four times a year. 

The Jets completely regressed from their strong performance Week 1 while the Miami Dolphins did the complete opposite. Week 2 for the Dolphins looked very strong, even if most of the work came from Reggie Bush who is looking every bit like the running back he was at USC. The question in this game is the Jets defense. They are getting Revis back from a concussion injury and the defense is going to look to stop the run all night and make Tannehill throw around Revis. 

After seeing the Jets get run over by CJ Spiller in Week 1, and the Steelers having no trouble without their boy Mendenhall against Gang Green in Week 2, I would expect Reggie Bush to get some good runs in. This is going to be low-scoring game with the Dolphins getting the win on the ground.

The New York Jets had an incredible Week 1 but were not able to repeat their performance Week 2.

San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings

Marley: 49ers -6.5
Mitch: 49ers -6.5
Chris: 49ers -6.5

Chris: Frankly, I really can't see how this line is not even a touchdown at the moment.  The Niners have dominated the line of scrimmage so far this year, giving up just 63.5 yards per game on the ground against two teams that made the playoffs last year.  The Niners offense is also much improved from last year, and Alex Smith has looked much more confident at the helm, leading the team to a game-clinching drive when it looked like the Lions might've had a late fourth-quarter comeback on them last week.

The Vikings have looked decent in the first two games, but with no viable passing game going against a stingy Niners rush defense, I don't see the Vikings putting up much of a fight, even at home. Niners by two touchdowns in this one.

The 49ers right now are the best team in The League. For two weeks they have showed how strong they are on both sides of the ball. 

Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints

Marley: Saints -8.5
Mitch: Saints -8.5
Chris: Saints -8.5

Mitch: The Saints have been embarrassed two weeks in a row; then again, so have the Chiefs.  This line is difficult, as I really feel like the Saints are the better team, but I'm not exactly sure if they'll cover.  New Orleans hasn't exactly played the most quality opponents, yet they still have been manhandled two weeks in a row.  It's beginning to look like Sean Payton's absence has made more of a difference than people expected.

That being said, I just don't see the Chiefs making any sort of game out of this with the way that they have looked so far this season, especially last week against Buffalo.  The Who Dat nation is going to give a huge boost to New Orleans and I look for them to come out fast this week.  Saints by 10.

The Saints are in an 0-2 hole right looking for a win to help them climb back out.

Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans

Marley: Lions -3.5
Mitch: Lions -3.5
Chris: Lions -3.5

Chris: Chris Johnson has been poor, as has Jake Locker. The Titans have lost to New England and San Diego and I dont think their luck is going to change against the Lions. The combination of Matt Stafford and Calvin "Megatron" Johnson will rip them up. Kevin Smith has also had a decent start to the season and the Lion defense is once again potent. I feel bad for the Titans, I think this will be a rout.

Megatron was held in check last week but might go wild against the Titans.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins

Marley: Redskins -3
Mitch: Redskins -3
Chris: Redskins -3

Mitch: Another difficult pick.  RG3 looked good for the second straight week, yet it wasn't good enough to take the Redskins to 2-0.  The Bengals put up a quality performance against the Browns and brought themselves back to .500.  Both the Redskins and Bengals have the 28th and 30th ranked defenses respectively thus I look for a ton of points to be scored in this one.  For the third week in a row I'm going to go with RG3 and the Redskins, although I feel like this line is pretty much dead on.

RGIII runs in for a touchdown against the Rams in typical RGIII stylee.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals

Marley: Cardinals +3.5
Mitch: Eagles -3.5
Chris: Eagles -3.5

Marley: The Arizona Cardinals are a big sleeper team this season and games like this is where they come out and surprise everyone not paying attention. Their defense is sneakily good while the Eagles have not looked impressive at all so far this season yet are still 2-0. They have won two games in a row by one point and have been a turnover machine two weeks in a row. 

The Cardinals on the other hand have looked somewhat impressive even with major offensive concerns. Looking at the numbers the Eagles have lost seven out of their last 10 games in Arizona and with the way they are playing right now its outrageous that they are favored to win by more than one point. Arizona had a very impressive win shutting down Tom Brady and the Patriots at home last week. Kevin Kolb has a chip on his shoulder from his days in Philly and is going to give the Eagles their first well deserved loss of the season.

Kevin Kolb led the Cardinals to an improbable win against the Patriots. Can he do the same to the Eagles?

Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers

Marley: Falcons +3
Mitch: Chargers -3
Chris: Falcons +3

Mitch: Both of these teams have looked impressive in the first two weeks.  It was difficult to tell just how good Atlanta was going to be after their Week 1 win against the Chiefs, with the statement made last Monday against a Peyton Manning-led Denver team, picking him on the first three Bronco offensive possessions en route to a 27-21 win that should've been more.

The Chargers have surprised me with convincing wins against the Raiders and the Titans.  Then again, it's the Raiders and the Titans; two 0-2 teams who, at this point in the season I don't see getting more than five wins in 2012.  I think that the Atlanta offense will continue to put up points, and their defense will force Philip Rivers into a couple key interceptions that will lead Atlanta to a victory on the road.

The Falcons took down Peyton Manning and the Broncos in convincing fashion. Will they do the same to the Chargers?

Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos

Marley: Texans -1
Mitch: Texans -1
Chris: Texans -1

Mitch: Denver looked great in week one against the Steelers, but three Peyton Manning interceptions last week put the offense in a hole that they never managed to dig themselves out of.  If not for the turnovers (or maybe if it were just one pick), I see Denver winning last week.  I don't necessarily blame Manning, as his lack of receiving corps has really hurt him.  He definitely doesn't have the chemistry that he did in Indy, and that's to be expected, but the NFL is an unforgiving league and if this continues throughout the next couple weeks we will see a new side of Number 18: frustrated.

The Texans have looked like the sharpest team in the AFC thus far, with dominating wins in the first two weeks.  Last week the offense brought it early and kept with the run in the second half while the defense worked its magic.  It seems like the loss of Mario Williams hasn't hurt Houston whatsoever, as they are presently ranked number one in the NFL in team defense and passing defense, which will cause fits for Peyton Manning.  Texans by at least a touchdown.

Peyton Manning had no answer for the Ameba defense. Will the Texans use the same scheme?

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Oakland Raiders

Marley: Steelers -4
Mitch: Steelers -4
Chris: Steelers -4

Chris: As a Ravens fan, I really hate the Steelers, I do have to admit that they are a very quality team though and that Ben Roethlisberger is a good quarterback. Mike Wallace is great, he should be used more, but their run game has been pretty poor without Mendenhall. The Steeler defense has looked so-so this season and as Polamalu and Harrison continue this season on the sidelines, they remain vulnerable.

Oakland has been a big surprise this season, in the bad sort of way. They were highly touted coming into the season but everyone has been caught off guard by how poor they have looked. Darren McFadden has been essentially a non factor with 54 yards on 26 carries, leaving much of the game on Carson Palmer's shoulders. Simply put, if they are going to succeed in this game McFadden must break out.

This is going to be a close game but I think the Steelers could pull it out with a late TD or Field Goal.

Big Ben shouldn't have too much trouble against the Oakland Raiders, but getting wins in the sand of the Black Hole are never easy. 

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Marley: Ravens -3
Mitch: Patriots +3
Chris: Ravens -3

Marley: I'm honestly still dumbfounded that the Baltimore Ravens managed to lose that last game to the Eagles by one point. Ridiculous. I'm also equally flabbergasted by the Patriots losing at home to the Arizona Cardinals. So where does that leave us in this matchup? In terms of pure emotion I'm hearing a lot of chatter about this being revenge for the AFC Championship last year where the Ravens had a broken up touchdown pass and missed field goal to lose the game. While I know it’s a new year and the past is the past, there are many players on both teams who I think remember that game all too well and I do think it’s a factor that will play into this game. Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing losses and whoever loses this game will have their first losing record in years (Patriots in 2003 and Baltimore in 2008). I think that these are two very even teams and it honestly could go either way. This will be a difficult game to predict but with the Ravens at home, looking to rebound/get some revenge I give them the advantage in this game.

Billy Cundiff's missed field goal gave the Patriots their bid to the 2012 Superbowl. The Ravens might want to give the Patriots a little payback.

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

Marley: Packers -3
Mitch: Packers -3
Chris: Packers -3

Aaron Rodgers is elite and he spreads the ball around to his receivers like no one else. Cedric Benson has had a decent start to the season also. The Packers defense was immense last week, Clay Matthews was an absolute monster. I think the Seahawks are a decent team and Russell Wilson has done very well to start his rookie season. Marshawn Lynch is also very good and the Seahawks offense has been solid. I just dont think that against the Packers, the Seahawks stand a chance.

I think this will be a statement game for the Packers who are trying to go 2-1 to jump start their season after a Week 1 loss. Sorry Seahawks, keep your head up.

Aaron Rodgers destroyed the Bears' morale at home. Now he has to do the same on the road to the Seattle Seahawks.

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