Upon Further Review: Our Picks for Week 3

Sep 22, 2016 at 12:55 PM


Last Week: 6-10. Oof. Yeah, I know. The "magic 8-ball" games really stuck it in and broke it off last week. Ugh. But hey...if this was baseball, I'd be battling .375!

If Week 2 taught us anything, it's that conventional wisdom doesn't count for much in the NFL these days. The Bills jettisoned OC Greg Roman after their defense wilted in the face of Matt Forte's 3 TDs (yet retained Rob Ryan...nepotism in full effect, kids). The Falcons' non-existent defense was able to slow the Raiders just enough to eke out an improbable road win in Oakland. Philadelphia rookie QB Carson Wentz collected his first road win in his first road start (which is a feat, even against the Bears). The Raider defense (which many predicted to be a juggernaut this season) became the first NFL team to surrender 1,000 yards over two games since the league began recording statistics in 1940. The Packers underperformed against a surprisingly stout Vikings defense. The Browns remembered how to play football for a quarter...then forgot again...but still managed to beat the spread. And the 49ers fought their way to within a TD of the NFC Champions late in the 4th Quarter...but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Houston at New England (Pick 'em):
Jacoby Brissett will be the sixth QB to make his first start under Bill Belichick. The previous five have gone 5-0. I like the Texans defense, and I think they're a better team than they were last season. But Bill is magic at home...especially with a rookie under center. NEW ENGLAND

Denver at Cincinnati (-3):
The Bengals, who were stymied by the Steelers, are favorites at home against the Broncos...who have the best defense in football. Conventional wisdom says only pick the road 'dog if you think they can win. The Broncos could just send their defense and give the Bengals a go. DENVER

Oakland at Tennessee (-1.5):
The Raiders have the best offense in football right now. And the worst defense. If the Titans' new weapon at WR, Tajae Sharpe, is on your fantasy team, start him. And if you're the betting sort, don't bet on the worst defense in football when they're on the road. TENNESSEE

Arizona (-4) at Buffalo:
Carson Palmer might be overrated...but the Cardinals' defense isn't. As an aside, I'm wondering if the halftime show in this one will feature Rex and Rob Ryan jumping out of a clown car, running in circles, trying to distract the crowd from their complete inability to coach winning football. ARIZONA

Baltimore (-1) at Jacksonville:
The Ravens got gut-punched early last week by a woeful Browns squad...before Cleveland remembered that they suck and folded, true to form. Despite their less than optimal (okay, pathetic) showing last week, I am still a believer in the Jacksonville offense. They'll have a chance to stretch the field against Flacco and friends...and I think that will be the difference in this one. JACKSONVILLE

Cleveland at Miami (-9.5):
Cleveland could be on the road at Toadsuck State (IA, DIII), and I'd still pick them to lose. Miami is no juggernaut, but they're at home against a bad team that just lost its most explosive playmaker for at least 4 weeks. That makes this pick an easy one. MIAMI

Washington at NY Giants (-4.5):
You know how that one time you went to a strip joint with your buddies, and there was that one stripper that was all enthusiasm...but just not that fun to watch? Washington *is* the NFL equivalent of that stripper. They can't run, their defense is just okay...and they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of shutting down a seemingly rejuvenated Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham. This one could get ugly. NY GIANTS

Detroit at Green Bay (-7.5):
If you picked Aaron Rodgers in your fantasy draft...you're probably a little underwhelmed right now. Never fear, however...because just when you thought all hope was lost, the Lions are coming to Green Bay, along with their 26th ranked defense. The Lions give up just under 300 per game through the air and 110 per game on the ground. Anyone think the Packers' offense might magically turn things around this weekend? GREEN BAY

Minnesota at Carolina (-7):
The Vikings appear to have solved their problems under center...and discovered entirely new ones in their offensive backfield. The AP-less Vikes are going to struggle to move the ball...even if Stefon Diggs has been doing his best impersonation of Jerry Rice over the last two weeks. The Vikings defense will keep it close...but not that close. CAROLINA

Los Angeles at Tampa Bay (-5.5):
The Rams are averaging 4.5 points per game. They are surrendering 15.5 points per game. Tampa laid an egg on the road last week, and the Rams managed to beat the Seahawks in LA...but I have a feeling that the worst offense in the league won't be doing much on the road against a streaky, but talented Bucs squad. TAMPA BAY

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Philadelphia:
Carson Wentz has led the Eagles to 29 points in consecutive weeks...winning his first two starts in the process. He's shown poise, confidence and competence...against the Bears (24th ranked scoring defense) and the Browns (25th ranked scoring defense). His first real test comes this weekend, when he faces a very talented, very experienced Steeler defense. Welcome to the NFL, rook. PITTSBURGH

NY Jets at Kansas City (-3):
As many of you are aware, I am not exactly bullish on the Jets, or Ryan Fitzpatrick (aka Captain Mediocrity). Though Matt Forte has been huge for the Jets, Arrowhead is a tough venue for visiting teams (the Chiefs haven't lost a regular season home game since Week 5 of last season). Fun fact: Spencer Ware leads the NFL in total yards from scrimmage this season. Look for the home team to step up defensively...and for the deceptively productive Ware to have a big day. KANSAS CITY

San Diego at Indianapolis (-3):
Just when I thought San Diego couldn't get anymore puzzling...they uncorked a BEATDOWN on the visiting Jaguars last week...and lost do-it-all super back Danny Woodhead in the process. This week, the Colts are returning Vontae Davis, TJ Green and Patrick Robinson to shore up a leaky secondary. Given the fact that Phillip Rivers hasn't missed a beat since losing Keenan Allen, I think the home team (and their ailing defense) could be in for a long day. SAN DIEGO

Chicago at Dallas (-7):
Dak Prescott has been impressive thus far in 2016. The Bears have not. With no running game to speak of, a "Keystone Cops" passing game, and a defense that would give up 3 quick scores in a father-daughter game...this one should be over fairly early. DALLAS

Atlanta at New Orleans (-3):
In what seems destined to be an old-fashioned chuck n' duck style shootout...this one should be fun to watch. At the end of the day, I think Brees and Co should be able to outlast a very potent Falcon offense. NEW ORLEANS

San Francisco at Seattle (-9.5):
Well, if last week was any indication, the 49ers are a much better team than they were last season...but that isn't a very high bar, kids. The offense had its moments in Carolina, and the defense played well considering that they were on the road against the defending NFC Champions. With 5 minutes left in the 4th Quarter, they were within a touchdown of tying the game...which is no easy feat against a team like the Panthers. But...like most teams that lack polish, the 49ers were unable to close out the game.

This week, the 49ers hit the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks. And while the Seahawks still have a very good defense...their offense (the O-line in particular) has been horrendous to date in 2016. The Seahawks have had trouble keeping Russell Wilson upright, running the football, or generating anything remotely resembling offensive continuity so far this season. The 49ers, on the other hand, have shown marked improvement both offensively and defensively...though it may not be evident in last week's box score.

Ultimately, this game will come down to which defense can most effectively limit the other's offense...and I believe that gives the 49ers the best chance at a win in Seattle as they've had in the last 3 seasons. It won't be a blowout...but if you like defensive football...this one will be fun to watch. Look for a very tight game...and the 49ers 2nd win of the season. SAN FRANCISCO

Poll

  • Should Colin Kaepernick start before mid season?
  • I miss Jim Harbaugh.
    36%
  • But...what about Ponder?
    25%
  • Whatever, yo. I'm on the Blaine Train!
    15%
  • Not sure. I'm gonna take a knee and think it over.
    15%
  • Kap sucks. Is Joe busy next Sunday?
    9%
  • 208 votes
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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