Week 2 Picks: 18-14
2013 NFL Regular Season Picks: 32-28-2
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 1:00pm on FOX
Game Line: Dallas Cowboys -4 (from 5Dimes)
Preview: The St. Louis Rams showed a lot of guts in the second half of both of their games so far this season. The near come back in Atlanta last weekend and the successful comeback against Arizona the week before. Their offense was unstoppable in the second half and they finally got rookie receiver Tayvon Austin in the mix. Their running game hasn’t been nearly as effective but a lot of that has to do with falling behind. Their hurry up offense and passing attack has looked great, and it is one thing the Cowboys have a hard time containing. The Cowboys on the other hand, looked abysmal in their week two game at Kansas City. They couldn’t get anything going on the ground and while their defense was stout they still have no running game to speak of. They weren’t being blown out against the Chiefs, but inexplicably abandoned the run and eventually fell short. The games in which Dallas fails to get the ground game going are the ones they lose. Tony Romo can’t be trusted with the ball in his hands in the crunch. He has proven that time and time again. The Rams run defense has done a great job against both Atlanta and Arizona so far this year and there’s no reason to think they can’t do that here. The combination of corners Janoris Jankins and Cortland Finnegan might not contain Miles Austin and Dez Bryant through the entire game but they will force enough turnovers to get the Rams a victory here.
Rams at Cowboys Free NFL Pick: Rams +4 and under 47.5
Rams at Cowboys Game Prediction: 23-20 Rams
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: If the Cowboys are going to win this game they’re going to have to get the run game going. Their record is substantially better when they do, but for some reason they like to rely on Tony Romo late in close games. If they go this route again here, and we think they will, the Rams will capitalize. They have proven early in this season that an early game deficit doesn’t phase them, so an inevitable big play to Dez Bryant won’t scare them off. Sam Bradford will continue to spread the ball around and Daryl Richardson will do just enough to give his team a win. We will take a Jeff Fisher coached defense against a Tony Romo lead offense every time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 1:00pm on FOX
Game Line: New England Patriots -9 (from JustBet)
Preview: These two teams might be heading in drastically different directions in the coming month or two. New England is 2-0, but they haven’t won pretty. Their offense has been defective and their young receiving core has dropped far too many passes. This has led many to lose faith in them going forward, but what people fail to realize is their defense has been top-notch, the reason they are winning these games. Danny Amendola will be coming back from injury soon, Rob Gronkowski will be back as early this week and rookie WR Kenbrell Thompkins won’t continue to drop passes. Tom Brady is still their coach, and Bill Belichick is still one of the best coaches in the league. There aren’t many 2-0 teams that you can “buy low” on but the Patriots are one here. They aren’t laying ten or more here because the whole country saw their offense look terrible last Thursday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a far worse offensive team. Two weeks and two gut wrenching losses into the season coach Greg Schiano is already on the hot seat. QB Josh Freeman was stripped of his captain designation and has said he will be looking for a new team as soon as the trade deadline. New corner Darelle Revis has already been complaining about Schiano’s hard-nosed coaching style and it is clear he doesn’t have control of this team. Combine that with a defense that is under achieving, a non-existent running game and a ton of penalties and you have a recipe for disaster. There are just too many intangibles that point these two teams in opposite directions. The line is already dropping, as people lack faith in the Patriots, but we think they produce here and put their lackluster game against the Jets behind them.
Buccaneers at Patriots Free NFL Pick: Patriots -9 and under 43.5
Buccaneers at Patriots Game Prediction: 24-13 Patriots
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: Dropping passes is one of the most fixable problems your offense can have. These Patriot receivers didn’t get to the starting line up by doing it regularly, they just had a bad week on national TV and the whole world is over reacting. Their defense should manhandle the Buccaneers offense, get ahead early and turn them into a one-dimensional passing team. Offensively, the probably return of Rob Gronkowski should give Tom Brady his red zone target back, and while he might have a tough time completing passes this week it will be because of Darelle Revis and Dashon Goldson and not because his receivers can’t handle a pass.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 1:00 on CBS
Game Line: Houston Texans -2.5 (from 5Dimes)
Preview: Houston has needed second half comebacks to win both of its games. The Texans set a franchise record by coming from 21 points down to beat San Diego 31-28 in week one, then erased an eight point deficit in the fourth quarter to eventually beat Tennessee 30-24 in overtime last Sunday. Two of the biggest stars in this game, if not the whole NFL will be last-minute decisions for this game, Ray Rice hasn’t practiced all week with a hip flexor and Andre Johnson suffered a dreaded concussion against the Titans and will also be a game time decision. The Baltimore defense was much more effective in week two, holding Cleveland to just 85 yards in the second half of their home opener. They appear to be much more comfortable there, although success is to be expected when you play the Cleveland offense at home. Baltimore had won all six meetings against Houston before getting killed 43-13 last season. There’s a very good chance, if Houston’s offense can find its rhythm, that this game won’t be very close either. They have more weapons both offensively and defensively, and have been more impressive as a total package through two games. We don’t put much stock in a low scoring home win against the hapless Browns, and Houston should be able to move the ball a little more like Denver did to the Baltimore defense in week 1. Baltimore’s receivers and lack of speed from guys like Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley, who were fine football players once but they are a few years past their prime.
Texans at Ravens Free NFL Pick: Texans -2.5 and over 45
Texans at Ravens Game Prediction: 31-24 Ravens
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: The Texans, with or without Andre Johnson, will have an easier time moving the football against Baltimore’s defense than Baltimore will. The potential loss of Andre Johnson means far less to the Texans than the loss of Ray Rice means to the Ravens. Rice is a massive part of what the Ravens what to do both in the running game and the passing game and without him playing every down their offense will be even less effective. Joe Flacco and his recieving core doesn’t scare anyone and we think Houston comes away with another fourth quarter win here.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 4:05pm on FOX
Game Line: Miami Dolphins -1 (from 5Dimes)
Preview: The Miami Dolphins have been the most impressive team so far in the 2013 season. They’re 2-0 winning both games on the road and getting fans in Miami back into football for the first time since Dan Marino. Ex-Falcons Brent Grimes and Tyson Clabo are playing major roles in the Dolphins success. Grimes had a key fourth-quarter interception to secure the win over the Colts and Clabo has played all 134 of Miami’s offensive snaps this season. QB Ryan Tannehill is doing exactly what is asked of him, keeping the turnovers down, completing a high percentage of his passes and doing a great job calling plays. If the Dolphins can get Mike Wallace involved going forward they will be a team to watch come December. This is a bad matchup for a Atlanta offense that will be very one-dimensional without RB Stephen Jackson. Miami leads the league in sacks and Atlanta has given up two or more in each game so far. The same can be said for the opposing team, Atlanta hasn’t had much in the way of QB pressure through two games but defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has made it known that it will be a point of focus going forward. Miami, while leading the lead in sacks, also have problems protecting their quarterback and will need to, with the blitz schemes Atlanta likes to use. Every casual NFL fan is going to like Atlanta plus the points here, this is a serious trap. The Dolphins will be in Matt Ryan’s face all day long and will contain them defensively while scoring enough points to get a win in front of their home crowd and show everyone that they’re the real deal.
Falcons at Dolphins Free NFL Pick: Dolphins -1 and over 44.5
Falcons at Dolphins Game Prediction: 27-20 Dolphins
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: The Atlanta Falcons will have a totally one-dimensional passing offense in this game and the solid Miami run defense should stop Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling with ease. The problem for Atlanta is they still have offensive line issues and the Dolphins have a lot of success stopping drives by getting to the quarterback. Cameron Wake could be in Matt Ryan’s head all afternoon here with the Falcons having no real running threat. Miami won’t blow you away on offense, but Tannehill will be efficient averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt and the Atlanta ranks 29th in the early going in pass defense, allowing a very high 7.7 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 4:25pm on CBS
Game Line: New York Jets -1 (from 5Dimes)
Preview: This game will be a battle of the rookie quarterbacks, EJ Manuel in buffalo and Geno Smith in New York. These two have grown to be friends in college, being drafted together, and now will get to face each other twice a year until the inevitable Jets front office change. The New York Jets are benefiting from a decent showing on national TV against the Patriots last week with this line. They should not be favored against any team who doesn’t play in Jacksonville. Their defense is above average but they are so inept offensively that they’re impossible to pick. You can’t help but feel bad for QB Smith, who looks like he might have some NFL potential but they are not doing him any favors by surrounding him with the likes of Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill. Chris Ivory was thought to lighten the load for Smith, a highly thought of RB they picked up from the Saints, but he is already losing his job to Bernard Powell and between the two they are averaging a meager 110 rushing yards per game. Bills RB CJ Spiller is long overdue for a breakout week, he has all of the ability to do it, but because Buffalo has fallen behind early in both of their first two games he hasn’t had the chance to get it going. This week should be a different story however, as the Jets offense isn’t going to open up a big lead against anyone. There will be no shortage of defense in this one, both are above average in the league, both did a good job holding down inter-division rival New England, and both opposing offenses don’t pose major threats. Points will be at a premium here, but we just can’t trust New York in a close, grind it out type of game where the team that makes the fewest mental mistakes should have the most success.
Bills at Jets Free NFL Pick: Bills +1 and under 38.5
Bills at Jets Game Prediction: 21-10 Bills
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: Points will be at a premium again this week, and will be all season for games involving the Jets. Two rookie quarterbacks who are prone to making mistakes and two defenses who know how to capitalize on them. WR Stevie Johnson and RB CJ Spiller are Buffalo’s top two offensive weapons, that is no secret. It is also no secret that that’s two more playmakers than the Jets offense has. In a game that should be a grinder, we will take the team with higher potential for success late in the game. The Jets shouldn’t be giving points to anyone at this point.
Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Sunday 9/22/13 at 8:25pm on NBC
Game Line: Chicago Bears -2.5 (from 5Dimes)
Preview: The Pittsburgh Steelers have started 0-2 for the time since 2002. Those Steelers would win 10 of their final 14 games to win the AFC North. However, this is a different Pittsburgh team, and the competition within the division is tougher. In the short-term, the Steelers are just looking for a win. In two games for the Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler has been sacked just once. For an offense that has had serious problems for years protecting their quarterback this is a huge step forward. All five of Cutler’s touchdown passes have gone to either WR Brandon Marshall or TE Martellus Bennett, which should help Pittsburgh’s stout defense contain them. The Pittsburgh offense has been the bigger issue in this matchup. They have been abysmal through two games with little or no running game to speak of. They will turn to Felix Jones this week, to see if he can do what Isaac Redmon and Jonathan Dwyer have not, be effective. Felix Jones knows that his future as an NFL running back will depend on this little stint with the Steelers, and we think he has the mobility to at least be serviceable. It is surprising that he hasn’t gotten this opportunity sooner, but it will only last until rookie Le’Veon Bell returns from a foot injury. Another key factor that should help the Steelers offense is the return of TE Heath Miller, who has been a favorite target of QB Ben Roethlisburger since coming into the league. This game is a case of two teams in completely opposite public perceptions, everyone will surely like Chicago on the road here after watching Pittsburgh sputter offensively on Monday Night Football last week. We aren’t biting on this one though, there is no way Pittsburgh’s offense is this bad, and there is no way Chicago’s offensive line is this good. There’s a very good chance both of them regress toward the mean on Sunday night.
Bears at Steelers Free NFL Pick: Steelers +2.5 and under 40
Bears at Steelers Game Prediction: 20-17 Steelers
What to expect in this week 3 NFL matchup: The Bears will get caught up in the Steelers style of play here, short passing, lots of running, hard-hitting and strong defense. The Steelers will do what Minnesota couldn’t, get to Jay Cutler and frustrate him in the pocket. CB Ike Taylor will shut down Brandon Marshall just like he did to Cincinnati WR AJ Green last week and that will turn Chicago into a one-dimensional offense. Offensively, the return of Heath Miller will open things up for Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders and they will find more success offensively this week than the two previous games combined. They’re simply not as bad as they are being perceived right now and they should not be a home dog here.