The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 3
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on September 25, 2009, 9:39 AM
John: Welcome to week three of the Oratory's NFL picks. I wish I had good things to say about week two, but I don't. I hated it. One of my worst weeks ever in terms of straight up picks as I went 7-9 although I had a 3-1 record in my spread picks, which is pleasing to me. I realized that my problem was I overanalyzed too much. From now on I'll try to go with more of a gut feeling. This year has shown us already that home field doesn't matter (home teams are 16-16 so far) as much as most of us think it does and that the "defense wins championships" theory might be a thing of the past considering some of the offenses present in the league today. Of course it's a long season and over the next fifteen weeks I'm going to change my mind many times because as a fan of the NFL I'm conditioned to do that.
James: I honestly can’t believe I did as well as I did last week, but I will gladly take 10 out of 16—especially when Week 2’s slate of games was so hard to predict.
Matt: I hope no one here looks to my picks to bet money on. Last week was not a good one for me at all I managed to squeak a 9-7 with the close win by the Colts on Monday night. To add even more insult to that injury, my Steelers lost. Here’s hoping things start looking up this week. This season is shaping up to be a repeat of last year with upsets a plenty week to week. Let’s get to the action.
Last week's results:
The standings after week two:
Let's get to the picks. All times are Eastern.
Washington at Detroit 1:00 PM James: Well, folks, if there was ever a time for Detroit to end this legendary streak of futility, this is it. They’re at home against a team that has zero offensive chemistry or rhythm, and that was booed off of its own field...after a win. The Redskins couldn’t put up more than nine points on St. Louis last week, so I have no reason to believe they will do much better against the Lions on the road. Will the Lions beat the Redskins? I’d say it’s a definite...maybe. Since I have to be decisive here, I will pick Detroit to slink away with a relatively close victory. This one isn’t going to be ugly. It’s going to be hideous. Detroit 17 – Washington 10
Matt: Washington seemed to have their hands full against St. Louis last week. I think that some of the folks who had this team as a potential playoff team will be disappointed this year. I also believe that Detroit has got a chance of winning about three or four games this year. I really want to pick Detroit to upset here, but they’ve got this incredible Gillberg streak going on that I just can’t root against. Redskins 17-14
John: Last year the Lions played the Redskins close. They almost won. The Redskins didn't score a touchdown last week, yet they still won. All signs seem to point to a Detroit win. Me? I don't see it. The Redskins play tough pass D while they should be able to run on the Lions. They'll do enough to win. Redskins 20-13
Green Bay at St. Louis 1:00 PM James: Last week, the Packers once again did what they do best—commit moronic penalties to cost themselves a win. I would say that there is no possible way they lose to St. Louis here, but remember, last week I said there was no possible way that Cincinnati would beat them at Lambeau. How prophetic I ain’t. Still, I can’t in good conscience pick the Rams over the Packers. Green Bay 35 – St. Louis 10
Matt: How in the hell did the Packers go from a big D win over the Bears in week to giving up 31 points to the Bengals in week two. The Rams have been anemic so far this year on offense so that in theory should be enough to make this an easy pick. I’m going with the Packers here even though I really don’t know what to think of the fact that they gave up so many points to a team that was only able to score 7 on Denver. I will not be picking the Packers for Survivor this week because this one screams upset. Packers 14-3
John: The Rams can win this game if they establish Steven Jackson early and he has a 150 yard type of rushing day that will allow the passing game to open a bit. You can run on the Pack. With that said, I think the Packers offense will wake up and put on a show in the Lou. I do see my Rams keeping it closer than most seem to think because Spags has them playing hard. Still, the talent's not there yet. Packers 27-17
San Francisco at Minnesota 1:00 PM James: This is a very intriguing matchup. When you think about it, we really don’t know what Minnesota is yet. They’ve played the Browns and Lions to open the year—two teams who have a combined four wins in their last 36 collective games. On the other hand, San Francisco seems to be rising to the occasion under Mike Singletary’s rule and they’re out to prove they belong in the discussion of the top-tier NFC teams. (Just as an aside, I absolutely love that San Francisco is winning without Michael Crabtree. He’s looking like even more of an idiot now.) A win here would go a long way towards proving themselves right. With the way the 49ers’ defense is playing, I’m going to predict an upset here. San Francisco 20 – Minnesota 19
Matt: Most shocking team this year? Maybe we can make that determination in a few more weeks. The 49ers seem to be doing an amazing job of blowing off the Crabtree situation by just ignoring the guy and winning games. I felt good things coming for this team since the turnaround last season. Can a coaching change really make that big of a difference? It can when you replace a guy that the team has no faith in with a guy they’d run into hell armed with mouthful of spit for. I still think that the Vikings are making the right call with Farve managing the offense instead of running the damn thing this early on. SF is the better team here and the close score doesn’t really reflect the difference I see between the teams. 49ers 24-17
John: This is the only matchup of 2-0 teams this week, so in a sense it's the best game. The teams are similar. They both have very good defenses with a running game attack offensively. The difference, to me, is that the Vikings will be able to pass on the Niners better than the Niners will be able to pass on the Vikings. This is the kind of game that will show why Brett Favre is valuable to the Vikings. He can beat you. And in this game, I think he will. Vikings 23-13
Atlanta at New England 1:00 PM James: This should be a fantastic offensive game, assuming Tom Brady is okay. I really want to predict a Falcons win here, and I certainly think they are capable of overcoming the Patriots...but defensively, I just can’t see them stopping Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The Falcons’ secondary was burned repeatedly by Steve Smith last week. And after last week, the Patriots (specifically Bill Belichick) have to be furious at the way they played against New York, and are chomping at the bit to try and destroy whoever was next in line on the schedule. Unfortunately for Atlanta, they happen to be that team. New England 34 – Atlanta 27
Matt: This is one of several games being played this week that will be a statement game for one of the two teams playing. Is the Dynasty finally over? Can the preseason Superbowl favorites get back on the winning track? The Patriots have been outplayed in two out of two games this year. I’m thinking they make it three for three and could throw the NFL pundits for a loop with a 1-2 start. This is not the week for the Falcons to have to make an adjustment to replace a key defensive player, and I think that is enough to give the Patriots the edge in a very fun game. Patriots 28-27
John: This is the game of the week to me. The Falcons are one of my favorite teams to watch when they have the ball. They can beat you in so many ways. The Pats didn't score a TD against the Jets despite having the offense that scored more points than anybody last year. The big thing was no Wes Welker. He's back this week, so they should be able to produce some touchdowns. The key thing is can they protect Brady enough from John Abraham and company? I don't know. He's been getting hit a lot, which is why he's been out of rhythm. It's Tom Brady, though. He'll bounce back. At least I think so. Should be a fun game from a viewing perspective and a fantasy one, unless you have one of their defenses. Patriots 31-24
Tennessee at NY Jets 1:00 PM James: It wasn’t particularly pretty, but the Jets toppled the Patriots and sent a message to the rest of the league that they are for real. Tennessee, on the other hand, was torched for 357 passing yards by Matt Schaub and company. I want to see if New York can contain the man-beast that is Chris Johnson like Pittsburgh did two weeks ago. Personally, I think they’ll have no problem with it. New York 20 – Tennessee 13
Matt: The Jets are good right now, the Titans are floundering. The way these two teams ran last year, I seem to think that I’d be able to reverse that statement at about week 10. Jets 27-10
John: I picked against the Jets in week one at Houston. I was wrong. I picked against the Jets in week two home to New England. I was wrong. All week I thought about picking the Titans in this game because I wanted to believe in the "they're not bad enough to be 0-3" talk that is surrounding this one. Then I thought, yes, the Titans are bad enough. Their pass defense sucks (the Steelers and Texans picked them apart) while their passing offense is inept. Plus, I picked them to miss the playoffs this year and I think I'll be right in that assessment. The Jets play the kind of defense that can slow down Chris Johnson and they can certainly score enough to win the game. New York Jets, I believe in you. Jets 17-10
Kansas City at Philadelphia 1:00 PM James: Michael Vick this, Michael Vick that. He’ll be on the field for maybe ten plays and Kevin Kolb will quarterback the rest of the game. Can we stop with the ridiculous hoopla about his return now, please? Philly wins this in a rout. Philadelphia 34 – Kansas City 14
Matt: The Chiefs continued to bumble and stumble their way through this season with yet another loss in what should have been a winnable game. I can’t have much cause to pick them from this point on after that loss to the Raiders. Philly shocked me by losing big to the Saints last week. Look for the Eagles to take advantage of the Chiefs to gain a fairly easy and much needed victory following their big loss. Eagles 24-10
John: The Chiefs offense isn't good enough to score on the Eagles like the Saints did last week. Not sure why Philly sucked so much on defense. I think that was a testament to the Saints offense, though. On the other side of the ball, I look for Philly to establish to run and put in enough gadget plays with Michael Vick in there to get the job done. It won't be all on Kolb this week. Eagles 27-7
NY Giants at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM James: The Giants’ offense still has some issues scoring when they get in the red zone, but there is at least discernable progress being made in the passing game with the emergence of Mario Manningham. And as long as it takes Byron Leftwich to heave the ball, the Giants’ defense should have no problem sacking him several times en route to a big victory. New York 28 – Tampa Bay 13
Matt: Not much to say about the Bucs here other than the fact that their first three losses will have come at the hands of three playoff caliber teams by the time this game is over. The Giants are starting to look like they have the potential to be scary good again. The Bucs take it hard again here. Giants 27-17
John: I know the perception is the Lions and Rams are the two worst teams in the NFL, but to me the Bucs are worse than both. And they will prove it again here. Giants 24-3
Cleveland at Baltimore 1:00 PM James: This won’t be for the faint of heart, folks. It’s going to be an old-fashioned slaughter. Baltimore 36 – Cleveland 10
Matt: I had the Browns down as a middle to bottom of the pack team this year, but after watching the way they’ve gone through the first two games, I find myself lacking any confidence in this team. I had them pegged for 5-6 wins, now I’m seeing maybe 4 tops. The Ravens have changed their entire image this year now that they are winning by outscoring teams in a shootout rather than with a dominant D. I really want to see the Ravens play someone that can test this team. Two wins in the AFC West don’t prove much of anything. Neither will this blowout. Ravens 34-17
John: If I was still in my Survivor pools (damn you Packers) the Ravens would be the pick. If there's an issue with them it's that they've given up too many points the last two games, so I think it's time for their defense to make a statement. And they will. Ravens 24-0
Jacksonville at Houston 1:00 PM James: Jacksonville has been routinely owned by Houston for years, and I see no reason for that trend to stop this week. I expect a huge day from Steve Slaton to make up for his nonexistence in the first two games. Houston 36 – Jacksonville 20
Matt: The most important thing about this game is the fact that it is a divisional rivalry. I guess Houston is the stronger team here, but how much so is the question. If Jacksonville does not win here they are going to have to fight hard to even be considered a playoff contender being 0-3 with 2 losses in the division. I’ve lost faith in the Jags this year and I think Houston is going to be one of those week to week teams. The Texan’s biggest problem seems to be the D, while the Jags just seem anemic. Texans 28-24
John: The Jags stink. Offensively, they really only have one weapon in Maurice Jones-Drew. The problem for them is everybody knows it. They can focus on stopping him and not worry about Garrard beating them. Defensively they're just okay. The Texans were favored in week one, so of course they lost. Then last week in Tennessee they were dogs, so of course they won. Are they going to lose again as a favorite? They shouldn't. Too much Slaton and Andre 3000 means a Texans win. Texans 27-13
New Orleans at Buffalo 4:05 PM James: New Orleans has had a pretty easy schedule to open the year, and while Buffalo isn’t a pushover, I still don’t see them keeping up with the Saints’ absurdly powerful offense. New Orleans 37 – Buffalo 28
Matt: My big question is can the Bills score enough this week to stay in the game with the Saints? I don’t really see them being able to shut down these guys, but I see them able to slow them enough to get the win here. Remember the Saints gave up nearly 30 points to the Lions in game one. I think if they do the same against the Bills they are going to be on the losing end of this one. Bills 34-30
John: In the past this might be one of those games where I pick the home dog to win because I think they can score enough to stay in the game. However, the Saints offense has been so impressive that it's hard for me to pick against them. I still say that Peyton Manning is the best QB in the NFL, but Drew Brees is playing in the kind of zone that few QBs have ever been in. He'll carry them to another win while the Bills offense will do enough to keep it close. Saints 34-24
Chicago at Seattle 4:05 PM James: Seattle has 11 starters injured in some capacity, including Matt Hasselbeck who has no chance in hell of playing Sunday with a broken rib. They aren’t going to have much fun with this one. Chicago 28 – Seattle 9
Matt: The Bears are starting to click with their newly acquired franchise QB. I along with most people was shocked to see them even be in the game last week much less beat the Steelers. This team gets another week to adjust to a season without Urlacher since Seattle is not going to challenge them at all. Bears 24-6
John: I know everybody's loving the Bears here. No Hasselbeck for Seattle, the Bears beat a good Pittsburgh team and they should be the better team. The thing about the NFL is that strange things always happen. I don't think the Bears are good enough to win in a tough road environment like Seattle where they actually do have a home field advantage. I'll take the Seahawks for the upset. Seahawks 20-17
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati 4:15 PM James: Pittsburgh had all kinds of problems in its secondary against Chicago, and this week they have much more talented wide receivers to deal with. Not a good sign for the Steelers. Cincinnati’s defense is pretty underrated, too. Cincinnati 24 – Pittsburgh 20
Matt: Two teams involved in upset games last week. The Steelers were favored against the Bears last in Chicago last week and the Bengals were supposed to get killed in Green Bay. The Steelers have got to develop the running game. This will be a good chance for them to try some new things to address the weakness in the run game as well to figure out how to patch things together on the D until the return of Polamalu. Steelers 21-7
John: The Bengals are playing better than I thought. My feeling was that maybe they'd quit on coach Marvin Lewis. Instead, they're playing hard and the defense is keeping up with the offense. The key to the offense has been the solid running game led by Cedric Benson. This week presents a problem, though. You can't run on Pittsburgh. The question is, can they pass enough to beat the Steelers? I say no. I like the Steelers to pull it out with their grind it out style even though their lack of a running game is going to hurt them if they don't pick it up going forward. Steelers 20-13
Denver at Oakland 4:15 PM James: I’m still waiting for Denver to play a non-dysfunctional team. They should win this one comfortably and further cement themselves as the worst undefeated team in the league. Denver 24 – Oakland 14
Matt: I’m picking the Raiders two weeks in a row? I’m not going to say that I feel great about this pick, but the Broncos are just too lousy to go 3-0 aren’t they? This is a home field pick all the way. Raiders 17-10
John: Gut instinct. I'll go for the Raiders because I think they'll win the turnover battle. It won't be pretty, though. Raiders 14-13
Miami at San Diego 4:15 PM James: Philip Rivers’ facial expression said it all at the end of that game last week. He is incredibly pissed off right now and will carry this team kicking and screaming to a victory even if he has to eviscerate someone to do it. Miami just doesn’t have the rhythm they had last year and they may find themselves back in the AFC cellar at the end of the year if they don’t improve their pass defense and pass offense. San Diego 28 – Miami 21
Matt: The Dolphins need a win here or they will fall to 0-3 in a very strong AFC East. The Chargers shockingly find themselves behind in the AFC West, however in their case there is not as much to worry about. The Dolphins should win this one with ease based solely on the factor of the performance of each team versus the caliber of teams faced so far. Dolphins 28-17
John: I don't know about these teams here. The Chargers are chronic underachievers in the first two months of the year. It's like they need to play like crap for a couple of months before they realize, "hey, we're supposed to be better." The Dolphins are too boring on offense. Yes, I know the Wildcat is inventive, but it's just a running play. The lack of big play ability in that offense will kill them. I think Phil Rivers will win the game for San Diego because he saw how Peyton Manning threw against them last week and he's good enough to replicate that. Chargers 27-13
Indianapolis at Arizona 8:20 PM James: This is a pretty interesting matchup. Both teams have clearly visible weaknesses, but Indianapolis has been able to overcome theirs and stay undefeated. Arizona looks like the Bengals of the NFC—inconsistent, but capable of putting up big numbers with their passing game. I can honestly see this game going either way, but regardless, it’s going to be a shootout. Indianapolis 34 – Arizona 30
Matt: The Colts have looked a bit shaky so far this year but have still managed to pull out the win in some close games. This is another team that I just haven’t seen enough to feel confident about one way or the other. The fact is that the good teams win those close games more than they lose them because they don’t fall apart under the pressure of being behind. I believe that the Colts are going to find themselves overmatched this week against the Cardinals though. Arizona has improved on defense this year and has the potential to be a dangerous team if they can continue to play both sides of the ball as well as they did in week two. Cardinals 24-20
John: Tough game. The old me would say go with the home team here after the Colts just won a big prime time game last week. Then I changed my mind. The reason? Peyton Manning. He was incredible last week. He will be incredible again here. The Cards don't have the defensive personnel to slow him down. On the other side of the ball, the best way to beat Indy is to have a dominant running game like Miami had last week. Arizona doesn't have that. They like to throw. The Colts can handle that and they will with another close road victory. Colts 30-27
Carolina at Dallas 8:30 PM (Mon) James: Both of these teams need a win, even though Carolina needs it more. That doesn’t mean they’ll win it, though. I think Dallas’ defense finally gets off their asses to harass Jake Delhomme all night; and with Marion Barber out, I expect Tony Romo to go to Jason Witten a lot in this game and secure the victory. Dallas 26 – Carolina 24
Matt: This is not a game that should be played in primetime. After the success of the Panthers last season, I can see why this was considered an attractive match-up for MNF. Too bad that this isn’t the same Panthers team stepping out onto the field under the giant friggin screen. Cowboys 34-18
John: I usually dislike Dallas players by default, but they do have somebody I really enjoy watching: Felix Jones. With Marion Barber hobbled, I expect Jones to get a lot of touches and as a result he's going to be the explosive piece the Cowboys need to put points up on the board. The receivers group they have is too slow and predictable. They need a speed guy. Jones is that guy for them. Cowboys 27-17
JC's Money Picks John: Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. Last week I went 3-1 by getting the Bills and Falcons to cover as well as the Steelers/Bears to go under. I lost the Colts/Dolphins going under because nobody wanted to play defense. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com on Friday morning as I write this.
Giants -6.5 over the Bucs. Just like last week I am going against the Bucs. And I think I'm right.
Giants/Bucs UNDER 44.5 because I don't see the Bucs offense scoring much at all.
Texans -3.5 over the Jaguars. The Texans are the more complete team.
Jets -1 over the Titans. I told you I believe in the Jets.
Thanks for reading. We'll see you next Friday for week four.