Welcome to week 3 of my Friday picks column, I had my first winning record last week and nailed my best bet and hope to keep up the momentum this week, because as you know… my picks have such an impact on the games. The story of the year so far have been the rookie QB’s Wentz and Prescott have both been quite solid. Meanwhile the #1 overall pick Jared Goff can’t even sniff the field due to the Rams being worried that he can even say the play call. Which makes me think, if the quarterback is so important in this league, why not make your system as QB-friendly as possible? Obviously, easy for me to say in my chair, but if you use last night’s game as an example (one that I lost) the greatest coach of our generation made things easy on his QB and was rewarded with a safe effective performance that turned into a 27 point win. That Belichick guy might know something… just don’t ask him about fashion or videotaping, or ball inflating, or…. anyways… lets get to the picks.
Denver at Cincinnati -3
Denver being led by some random dude names Trevor Siemian is 2-0 and come to Cincy to play the Bengals. Denver’s defense again has been dominating holding Cam Newton and Andrew Luck to a combined 391 yards passing. Will they be able to hold up vs Andy Dalton and the Bengal offense which has passed for 366 yards per game in their 1st two games? I think that with the injury to DeMarcus Ware, teams will finally be able to slow down Von Miller just enough to be able to put up some points. I like the Bengals here, and I think it will be a bigger margin than Vegas thinks.
Oakland at Tennessee -1.5
The Titans have not had back to back wins since 2013 as they try to end that streak as they host the Raiders this Sunday in Nashville. The Raiders’ defense has been awful the first two games allowing over 1000 yards and 69 total points to Atlanta and New Orleans. However, they have the right team to play this week as the Titans are stuck in 1950 with their smashmouth offense. If Tennessee had any type of a passing game (and I like Mariota) I would pick them to win, but 509 yards passing, just isn’t going to get it done in 2016 vs this high powered Oakland offense. I’ll ignore the home underdog here and take the Raiders.
Arizona at Buffalo +4
I conducted an informal twitter poll this past week asking my followers who they would take vs the spread, the Cardinals or the Bills. 70% of the respondents took the Cards, with several saying they wish they could take out a loan or mortgage their house to bet against the Bills. As you can see… 16 years of making the playoffs hasn’t damaged the optimistic nature of Bills fans at all. The general public also agrees as the vast number of bets are coming in on Arizona. So this is purely a go against the public play here as I will take the Bills getting 4.
Baltimore at Jacksonville +1
The 2-0 Ravens take a trip down south to visit the Jags who are coming off of a disaster road trip to San Diego. I’ve watched both Ravens games (BUF, CLE) and I’m not sure that they are that good. They were down 20-0 to the Browns in the 1st quarter last week and only scored 1 touchdown vs the Bills. While the Jags did lay a stinker vs the Chargers, they also gave Green Bay all they could handle week 1. Allen Robinson has been noticeable quiet these 1st two weeks and I think this is the week he goes off. I’ll take the Jags.
Cleveland at Miami -9.5
Cody Kessler on the road or Miami having to win by 10 points. This is like trying to get a full house in poker with only 4 cards, it can’t be done. The betting public is hammering the Dolphins with good reason… Cody Kessler is starting his first NFL game this week on the road vs a good Miami defensive line. In addition to that Kessler is actually the 3rd Browns quarterback to start a game this season, and there have only been 3 games! Not exactly the best stat in the world for your team’s chances. I just can’t see the Browns scoring enough, especially since Corey Coleman broke his hand earlier this week. Somehow I think the Dolphins will win by double digits. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Washington at NY Giants -4.5
An NFC east showdown as the reeling Redskins come to the swamp in New Jersey to play the 2-0 Giants who have suddenly learned how to manage a clock. The big storyline is Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. going up against each other for the 1st time since their near brawl last season. But I think this game will more be about the quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins has been quite bad his 1st 2 weeks and is doing nothing to help his cause for a long term contract. While Eli threw for almost 370 yards vs the Saints last week. One the face of things this looks like an easy Giants win, but they have only won their 2 games by a combined 4 points which is less than the spread for this game. Give me the points and I’ll take the struggling Kirk Cousins on the road…. You like that?
Detroit at Green Bay -7.5
Matt Stafford and the Lions make the short trip to Green Bay to play fake Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Aaron looks more like his reality TV star brother Jordan these 1st 2 weeks as he has only thrown for 412 yards passing along with being sacked 6 times. This is continuing a streak of bad play from the former MVP has he hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards since last November 15th, which just happened to be against these very Lions. The Lions defense has struggled vs the run this year allowing over 5 yards per carry, but will Fat Eddie and the Packers take advantage of this weakness? I think the Pack win, but 7.5 is just too much vs a division rival when the Pack are playing as poorly as they are. Give me the Lions and the points who cover late in the 4th.
Minnesota at Carolina -7
Back in July the Vikings thought they would have Teddy Bridgewater handing off to Adrian Peterson all year, instead it will be Sam Bradford handing off to Jerick McKinnon as the Vikings head down to Charlotte to play the Panthers. Cam and the Panthers barely lost week 1 in a Super Bowl rematch, but rebounded to put up 46 on the lowly 49ers. Kelvin Benjamin is looking like a physical freak catching jump balls at will vs smaller defenders. He will be a handful for Trae Waynes, who struggled Sunday night to chase around the field. This past Sunday, I think the Vikings were pumped up about their new stadium and had some fog of war on their side with Bradford making his first start in their win against the Packers. I think that will change this Sunday as the defending NFC champs will have no problem dispatching the Vikings.
San Francisco at Seattle -9.5
15 points in 2 games, the Seattle Seahawks with Russell Wilson have scored 15 points through 2 games. To contrast this, in his time at Oregon, 49ers head coach Chip Kelly would want to score at least 15 points each quarter. What a disappointing start for a team that many thought would win the Super Bowl. Can the Seahawks turn it around vs their division rival the 49ers? Wilson better hope for more help from his running game as his running backs have combined for only 149 yards rushing through 2 games. The 49ers haven’t had trouble scoring points this year averaging almost 28 points per game with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. That’s right the 49ers have scored 3 times as many points as the Seahawks and with that stat I can’t see laying almost 10 points and feeling good about it. Give me the Niners.
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay -5.5 **Best Bet**
The Rams leave the western time zone for the 1st time all year as they make the cross country flight to the land of retirement as they play the Bucs this Sunday. If you thought the Seahawks offense was bad, wait till you get a look at the Rams who have only scored 9 points all year… and have yet to score a touchdown! Tampa Bay got beat up pretty good last week vs the Cardinals and will look to get back to their high flying ways vs a tough Rams front 4. This game is actually my pick of the week as I really like the matchup Tampa Bay’s passing offense vs a shaky Rams secondary. Add to the fact that the Rams offense has looked like cow poop, I’ll lay less than a TD and take the Bucs.
Pittsburgh -3.5 at Philadelphia
It is the battle of Pennsylvania as the Steelers make the trip to the coast to take on the Eagles. Monday night saw Carson Wentz get the love of the football world looking like a seasoned veteran in his solid performance vs the Bears. While the Steelers have made offense look easy in their wins over two 2015 playoff teams in the Redskins and the Bengals. Jim Schwartz’s defense has not allowed more than 14 points in either game this season and will face its biggest test to date trying to keep Antonio Brown under wraps. I think this will be the week that the NFL slows down Carson Wentz a little bit and it will be tough to hold the Steelers offense under 20. Even though, the last NFC team to hold the Steelers offense under 20 were the Eagles all the way back in 2012. Give me the road favorite here and the Steelers improve to 3-0.
NY Jets at Kansas City -3
My favorite late afternoon game will be this one as the high flying Jets come into KC to take on the 1-1 Chiefs in a game that could be a possible playoff preview. The Chiefs have played 2 poor games this year, falling down by 21 to the Chargers in week 1 and then not scoring a TD against the Texans last week. While the Jets are coming off an offensive explosion in Buffalo last week and have had the mini-bye to prepare for Andy Reid’s tricky offense. Jeremy Maclin will look to buy a villa on Revis Island as the cornerback has given up 2 long touchdowns in each of the 1st two weeks to opposing team’s speedsters. I was really high on the Chiefs to start the season as I thought they were one of the league’s most well-rounded teams. But after seeing the Jets offense the 1st two weeks, I am going to go with the Jets and the points as it looks like Fitz and Chan have really caught lightning in a bottle.
San Diego at Indianapolis -3
The final late afternoon game has the San Diego Super Chargers coming to the Hoosier state to play General Andrew Luck and the Colts. It is a battle of attrition for these two teams as both have lost star receivers (Allen and Moncrief) and the Chargers are even down waterbug running back Danny Woodhead. One guy who has not been hurt is 2nd year running back Melvin Gordon, who looks like a totally new back as he is running with power and pace after struggling his rookie year. But ultimately this is a quarterback league and if Luck was 100% healthy, I would go with the Colts here, but I keep hearing reports out of Indy that the young QB’s shoulder just isn’t right, so I am going to take the healthy QB, Philip Rivers, the Chargers and the points.
Sunday Night Football
Chicago at Dallas -7
In a game that 90% of America wishes could be flexed, the Bears with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer will come to Jerry World to play rookie QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Prescott has made beautiful music with slot receiver Cole Beasley as the small receiver has had 13 catches already, good enough for 7th in the league. While the Bears offense literally rests on the shoulders of big wide receiver Alshon Jeffery who has almost 50% of the Bears total receiving yardage. This game looks like a real mismatch to me as the Bears are hurt, coming off a short week and going up against a team in the Cowboys that will look to play it safe with their rookie QB. So, if the Cowboys play within themselves, I would look for an easy Dallas win.
Monday Night Football
Atlanta at New Orleans -3
It is a dirty south battle as the Falcons make the short trip to the big easy to play Drew Brees and the Saints. This game should be a fun one to end the week on as Brees and Ryan have both been tossing the ball around at will. With each quarterback averaging over 340 yards passing in their 1st two games. The Superdome is known as one of the toughest places to play in primetime and I would look for that to continue as this is do or die time for the Saints as 0-3 pretty much ends the season for this veteran team. Look for the Saints to get Ingram going a little bit more than they have in the past vs a weak Atlanta run defense and take the Saints Monday night.
Bills Games (1-1 YTD)
Best Bet (1-1 YTD)
Week 2 (9-7)
– Jon Ramsey (@YardsPerPass)