We're back for week three of our NFL picks against the spread. For week two, James and I were both 10-4-2 against the spread. In a fitting coincidence, his Raiders and my 49ers were the two teams to get a push. They were both three point underdogs, and both lost in fairly heartbreaking fashion. The Raiders gave up a last second touchdown pass to lose 38-35, while the 49ers lost by a field goal in overtime 27-24.
We move on to week three where we are picking 14 games instead of the usual 16. The Eagles-Giants game has been off some boards due to Michael Vick's injury, while the Cowboys-Redskins game is off some boards due to Tony Romo's questionable status. Given that, we've left them off our picks for this week.
David - New England Patriots (-9) over BUFFALO BILLS: This was a bit tougher for me to go with than I would have otherwise expected. i could see the Bills springing the upset here, or at least keeping it close and only losing by a touchdown or so. And yet, the Patriots are looking solid and I think they're going to dominate much of this season.
James - New England Patriots (-9) over BUFFALO BILLS: The Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buffalo bills are looking rather impressive coming off of a 2-0 start. Unfortunately for them, no one in the NFL is looking as impressive as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In the first two games of the season, Brady has thrown for over 900 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bills are better, but Brady is the best.
David - San Francisco 49ers (+2.5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Bengals are not nearly as bad as I expected and instead are off to a fairly hot start. But I can't bet against my 49ers and I do think this is a game they can use to bounce back from a tough Cowboys loss.
James - CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2.5) over San Francisco 49ers: With the departure of Chad Ochocinco and the retirement of Carson Palmer, many expected this season to mark the return of the Bungles. However, rookie QB Andy Dalton and running back Cedric Benson are keeping this team much more competative than people would have expected. The Niners are improved under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, but the fact that the Bengals are at home makes me think they will pull out the win.
David - CLEVELAND BROWNS (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins: The Browns are off to a decent start and are hoping Colt McCoy is the answer. The Dolphins are 0-2 but have had their moments. It's hard to tell where either team is so I'm just sticking with the home team.
James - CLEVELAND BROWNS (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins: The Browns look like they have finally found a quarterback in Colt McCoy and a running back in Peyton Hillis. This team may not push for the playoffs, but they are much improved. The Dolphins, on the other hand, just do not look like a good team. Their defense has struggled a lot and they have been made to feel like they were on the road while playing at home. I think their struggles continue this weekend with a loss to the Browns.
David - Detroit Lions (-3.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS: The Lions are off to a very solid start and looking like the high-flying team many expected. While their win over KC isn't much to crow about it at this point, their road win over the Bucs was impressive. Now they get a Vikings team that is struggling to find its identity. I'll take the Lions.
James - Detroit Lions (-3.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS: This just in, the Detroit Lions are for real. If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, this is a team that will make a serious push for the playoffs. Their defensive line is monstrous and the Stafford Calvin Johnson connection is a huge threat on offense. Meanwhile, Donovan McNabb and the Vikings are struggling pretty badly right now. This one could wind up being a blowout.
David - NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-4) over Houston Texans: This is a fairly significant showdown early in the season. We're still in the first quarter of the season, but this is shaping up like one of the bigger matchups of the season between two possible division champs. The Saints at home should be able to take down a possibly Arian Foster-less Texans squad.
James - NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-4) over Houston Texans: This should be a really good game. The quarterbacks for both teams have had a good start to the season and both teams look like legitimate contenders. The Saints are 1-1 but only because of a close loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers. This game is in New Orleans and I fully expect Drew Brees to prove that the Texans have not completely turned around their terrible pass defense in one season.
David - CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars: Well, we get our first rookie QB vs. rookie QB matchup between Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. I think Gabbert could eventually be a decent quarterback, but when it comes to wagering, I'll go with the guy who's put up ridiculous video game numbers through the first two weeks.
James - CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars: I think Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio wants to get fired. After cutting his starting quarterback less than a week before the first game of the season, it now looks like he will bench the guy he claims won the starting job and justified cutting David Garrard. Rookie quarterback Blane Gabbert will get a chance to show what he can do against rookie phenom Cam Newton and the Panthers this weekend. Looks like it is finally time that Newton gets a W to go along with the gaudy passing numbers he has been putting up (Did you know Newton is on pace to break Dan Marino's single season record? Ok fine, so is Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers but it's still impressive.)
David - Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) over ST. LOUIS RAMS: The Rams season is getting ugly quickly and now Steven Jackson may be questionable to doubtful for Sunday with Cadillac Williams also potentially sidelined. The Ravens were stunned by the Titans last week but I think they bounce back with a vengeance.
James - Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) over ST. LOUIS RAMS: The loss of running back Steven Jackson has really hurt the Rams offense who has only scored 29 points this season. I highly doubt that they will be able to turn that trend around this weekend against the Ravens defense. After being embarrassed by the Titans, the Ravens will be out for blood this weekend. This game could get ugly. B'Mo will win this one big.
David -TENNESSEE TITANS (-8) over Denver Broncos: It's still early and the Titans have yet to show consistency, but if Matt Hasselbeck can stay healthy, they might be a surprise team this year. Of course, having lost to the fightin Luke McCowns week one and beaten the Baltimore Ravens in week two, maybe they're destined for 6-10 or 7-9 inconsistency. I'll stick with them at home against a pretty brutal Broncos team.
James - TENNESSEE TITANS (-8) over Denver Broncos: The Titans started off the season with an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, only to come back with a very impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens. I wish the line was a little bit closer, because I am not sold on the Titans being good yet. The Broncos poor run defense should kick start Chris Johnson's year and allow the Titans to pull off a two score victory.
David - OAKLAND RAIDERS (+3.5) over New York Jets: This was a tough call for me. I'm gonna go with Oakland at home in part because the Jets are a bit weaker against the run than they are against the pass. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders do coming off a brutal late loss to Buffalo, but also in front of their home fans for the first time all season.
James - OAKLAND RAIDERS (+3.5) over New York Jets: The Raiders are coming off of a heart breaking loss to the Bills last weekend. Many think that this could be the downfall of the Raiders as they enter the toughest part of their schedule. However, with excitement over the Raiders higher than it has been in years, the Oakland Coliseum is going to be rocking for the home opener. Look for the Raiders defense to thrive off of the crowd and keep the game close.
David - SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-16) over Kansas City Chiefs: I suppose the Chiefs have to win one soon, but I'm not holding my breath for this week. The Chargers are a team that has been inconsistent thus far and very well could see KC sneak up on them. And yet I can't sell myself on KC given how awful they've looked against the Bills and Lions.
James - SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (-16) over Kansas City Chiefs: This is a tough one because I really don't like the 16 point line. The Chargers had to come back from a 17 point deficit in week one to beat the hapless Vikings, and then they lost by 14 to New England in week two. The Chiefs on the other hand have given up more than 40 points in each of their first two games and look like serious contenders in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes. I think the Chiefs will play up for this divisional rivalry game, but they are still going to lose and possibly lose real big for the third week in a row.
David - Green Bay Packers (-3.5) over CHICAGO BEARS: Personally I'd stay the hell away from this game. The Bears easily handled Atlanta to start the season and then were thumped by New Orleans. Green Bay is a tough team all around, but in the black and blue NFC North, anything is possible. This is a tough rivalry game and if the spread was any higher I might go with the Bears.
James - Green Bay Packers (-3.5) over CHICAGO BEARS: We still do not know who the 2011 Bears really are yet. They started the season off looking really impressive in their dominant win over the Atlanta Falcons, but were then blown out by the New Orleans Saints in week two. The Packers have started their repeat campaign off strong with a big win over the Saints in week one and a close win over the Panthers in week two. Even though the Packers struggled at times in week two, I have yet to see anything that leads me to believe thay are anything but the real deal this year. Packers win this one by at least a touchdown.
David - Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: I really want to take Seattle, but Tarvaris Jackson is just too awful for me. I think Kevin Kolb absolutely lights up the Seahawks secondary. The Seahawks countdown to next April continues.
James - Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: To tell you the truth, I am actually surprised this line is so close. The Seahawks are looking like they too are big time contenders in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes. Their offensive line is the youngest in the NFL and looks every bit of it. Tavaris Jackson looks like Tavaris Jackson and the Seahawks have no run game. The Cardinals, on the other hand, finally have a real quarterback in Kevin Kolb and are looking like the favorites to win the NFC West. Cards win this one easily.
David - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (even) over Atlanta Falcons: I'm a big fan of Josh Freeman, even if the Bucs struggled against the Vikings and lost at home to Detroit. The Falcons are coming off a big win over Philly and I'm prepared for a letdown game for them.
James - Atlanta Falcons (even) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: These are two pretty well matched teams, but the Falcons are a more complete team with the better running game and have won the last five games they have played against the Bucs. The Falcons are also coming off of a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, Tampa's quarterback Josh Freeman has consistently struggled against the Falcons.
David - Pittsburgh Steelers (-11.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: The Colts, Seahawks and Chiefs are likely going to be the three teams I'll pick against no matter what the spread. Of course, when Indy faces KC in week five, I'm not really sure what I'll do.
James - Pittsburgh Steelers (-11.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: There isn't a whole lot to say. The Steelers bounced back from an embarrassing week one performance to shut out the Seahawks 24-0 last week. The Colts on the other hand are just bad. While Peyton Manning may be rather frustrated that he cannot get on the field, this may be one of the most telling signs of his greatness. When Tom Brady went down, Matt Cassel stepped in and won 11 games. Now Cassel is better than Kerry Collins currently is, but he needs a good supporting cast to put up 11 wins as he is showing in Kansas City. Since Manning went down, the Colts have withered away into nothing.
Last Week: 10-4-2
Last Week: 10-4-2