So far in this young season, half the favorites have covered, and naturally, that means half the underdogs have done the same. I didn’t know that before I picked Week 3’s games, so it’s just a coincidence that I picked 7 favorites and 7 dogs, precisely half and half. As much as it is just coincidence, I’m taking it as a sign. Let the wild rumpus begin… 14-0 here I come!!!Carolina Panthers (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 p.m. – Talk about the game of complete disappointment. Neither of these teams has any right going 0-3, yet its as sure as shit one will. It looks like Steve Smith will be out again for Carolina, but I have to his Panthers anyway. The way I see it, if the Bucs can’t run against the likes of Atlanta, Carolina will shut them down easily. Relying solely on Chris Simms to win NFL games isn’t the thing to do. Expect a low score, some hard hits, and a Panther W.
Chicago Bears (-4) at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 p.m. – The Bears have looked tough early in the season, and although that has a little to do with their sub-par opponents, they’ve shown me some offense to go with that stellar defensive unit. Minnesota is the Bears’ toughest challenger in the weak NFC North and home-field advantage shouldn’t be taken lightly, but I think the Bears have enough to clip the Vikings in Minnesota. It doesn’t hurt that Minnesota has had to play 2 down to the wire games. Chicago is rested and ready to roll.
Cincinnati (+3) at Pittsburgh 1:00 p.m. – Now Carson Palmer gets to show the world what would have happened had his knee held up in the playoffs last year. The way Big Ben threw the ball on Monday night made me feel like Nostra-freaking-Domus for God’s sake. He’ll still be rough around the edges in Week 3’s match-up with the Bengals. He’ll be better, but not good enough to take the AFC’s best. You heard me… The Bengals are tied for the best team in the league with the Jaguars. Yep, write it down, quote it, roll it up, smoke it, I don’t care. Cinci stays undefeated as the Steelers fall to 1-2.
Green Bay at Detroit (-6.5) 1:00 p.m. – I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m taking the Lions as a touchdown favorite. Ugh. The Packers just don’t have enough talent on the offensive line to win football games. Even when Brett throws well, the O-Line’s weakness finds a way to irk its way out into the open and kill Green Bay’s tiny little hope of victory. Plus, the Packers are much worse defensively than I originally thought. It’s impossible to take the Packers against NFL competition, even though the Lions just barely qualify.
Jacksonville (+7) at Indianapolis 1:00 p.m. – I stated earlier that the Jags and Bengals were the best teams in the AFC. So, I might as well stick to my guns in this game. Byron Leftwich can huck a pigskin a country mile, and that damn thing is always accurate. His receivers have proven to be capable of overmatching opposing defenses with their elite size, and Fred Taylor looks as good as I’ve seen him in a long time. Peyton Manning has played well, but this Jag defense isn’t the Houston Texans. In fact, they might be the best D in football. The Colts haven’t been able to run against anyone. Sunday will be no different. The Jaguar front 4 will easily shut down the Colts rushing attack, leaving plenty of help in the secondary to disrupt Peyton. 7 points is too many in this contest.
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo (-5.5) 1:00 p.m. – The Jets aren’t a very good football team, but then again, neither are the Bills. Yet, both teams have a victory this season. J.P. Losman and Chad Pennigton have both impressed me quite a bit. I never thought I’d say this, but this game should be a high scoring affair. With the Bills possessing a solid rushing attack, they should out shoot the Jets in Buffalo. Willis McGahee or Kevan Barlow? Hmmm…
Tennessee at Miami (-10.5) 1:00 p.m. – Oh, you tricky little lines-makers, you can’t trick good Old Lucky. The Dolphins have looked bad, yet still they are favored by 10.5. Does that tell you how bad Tennessee must be? Even Daunte Culpepper will look like he has normal sized hands in this one. Wide-open spaces haunt the Titan’s defense while too much youth on offense, and Kerry “Pabst Blue Ribbon” Collins, make for some suicidal turnovers in Tennessee. Miami is better than they’ve showed. That won’t last for long. Look for them to showoff Sunday.
Washington (-4) at Houston 1:00 p.m. -The Redskins are 0-2 after a dismal outing on Monday Night against their rival Cowboys. I don’t know if they’ll play much better throughout the season, but this week they play Houston. With Clinton Portis back, things should open up in the passing game, and the rushing attack will obviously show more power and explosion. Look for Houston to put up a fight early, watch the Redskins take over in the second half.
Baltimore (-6.5) at Cleveland 4:05 p.m. – The Ravens are 14 points better than the Browns at the very least. Hell, I’d take them at -6.5 with Kyle Boller at the helm. Cleveland will play hard from start to finish, but that’s not enough in this league. Baltimore is a close number 3 to in the AFC, and they’ll continue to show their dominance on Sunday. I’d love to see Jamal Lewis go off for something close to his 295-yard performance 2 years ago against Cleveland. That was fantastic.
N.Y. Giants at Seattle (-3.5) 4:15 p.m. – This is a tough one, but I’ve got to believe Eli Manning will struggle with the Hawks defensive schemes. Picture the first 3 quarters of the Eagles – Giants game. Seattle really brings it at the quarterback. This game is always a great one, and I expect no different this time around. Last years’ top rushers, Shaun Alexander and Tiki Barbar, going head to head in Seattle… Brilliant! But Matt Hasselbeck’s supreme accuracy will be the reason he and the Hawks down Eli Manning’s Giants.
Philadelphia (-6) at San Francisco 4:15 p.m. – After the Eagles molted against New York in Week 2, they’ll be looking to get back on their flight path early and often. Don’t expect them to take it easy on an inferior 49ers team either. After letting up late last week, they’ve probably learned a nice little lesson or two. Even without Javon Kerse, the Eagles defense should scare the piddle-and-poo out of Alex Smith. Frank Gore will still run, but Philly should dominate on the road like last season when they scored just under a billion against the Niners.
St. Louis (+4.5) at Arizona 4:15 p.m. – The Cardinals looked like a rust covered ’73 FORD pick-up against the Hawks in Week 2. The Rams looked like hopeless little fragile sheep against the 49ers. What to do? I think the Cards will have trouble with rushing teams all year long, something the Rams will do early and often on Sunday. Steven Jackson has yet to score a touchdown this season, but that shouldn’t last as I expect 2 from him in Week 3. With the Cards trying and failing to stop Jackson, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce will be practicing end-zone celebrations on the sidelines. Can’t wait to see them in action.
Denver (+7) at New England 8:15 p.m. – What New England has done to be a touchdown favorite here, I’ll never know. 3 Super Bowls in 4 years doesn’t mean jack this season, that’s for sure. So was it their lucky 2-point victory over the Mighty Bills? Or was it the way they nearly let their 24-point lead slip away against the Powerful Jets? Right. Denver hasn’t looked good, but don’t let them fool you, they’ll be up for the challenge in Foxborough. I’ll be surprised if the Patriots win this game.
Atlanta (-3) at New Orleans 8:30 p.m. – I can’t even begin to understand how in the hell the line-makers came up with this one. Drinking whisky at a Mexican food joint all night? Eating paint-chips? Huffing rubber cement? Honestly, 3 points, that’s it? The Falcons are 2-0 against teams such as the Panthers and the Bucs, winning both by more than a touchdown. New Orleans is undefeated against the Browns and Packers, each game decided by a touchdown or less. I’m not even going into and analysis details. Take the Falcons in a beat-down!