Week 3 of the 2011 NFL season features a hefty helping of division rivalry matchups, from the Redskins taking on the Cowboys on Monday night, to the Packers and Bears facing off in the Windy City, while the New York Giants taking on Michael Vick and the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Last week was a second consecutive sub-par performance by me in regards to picking against the spread, especially during the early games, where I completely tanked. Hopefully, Week 3 will see a positive change, but as you will see, I’ve decided to go the way of the aggressive side – again… choosing to avoid some of the league’s elite.
Time to get pickin’…
Last Week: 7-9
This Season: 13-19
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 3’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 3 Picks Against the Spread
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (+8.5)
Call this a key game for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills, which will answer the question, “Is Buffalo for real?” The offense has been explosive, and the Patriots defense has given up its fair share of yards. Tom Brady and the Patriots have been nearly perfect, so this will likely turn into a shootout if Buffalo can move the ball. My gut tells me the Bills will hang around while playing at home…
KP’s Pick: Buffalo
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
With the benching of Luke McCown, this matchup turns out to be a battle of two hyped-up rookie QB’s, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. Newton has shocked the NFL by posting 400+ passing yards in each of his first two games. Gabbert should make his share of mistakes during his debut on the road in a hostile environment. Cam Newton earns his first win and Carolina covers.
KP’s Pick: Carolina
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5)
The 49ers have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the first two weeks (54.5 ypg). That means the pressure could be on Andy Dalton and the pass game. To this point, Dalton has been really effective as a rookie, but San Francisco has three early-season interceptions. If the Niners can also get Frank Gore going, then San Francisco can win this one on the road.
KP’s Pick: San Francisco
Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
It’s important to note that the Dolphins had to face both the Patriots and Texans in the opening weeks, and competed with each. Chad Henne was solid at the quarterback position during Week 1 and Daniel Thomas was effective running the ball last week. Put together one solid performance and the Dolphins could get into the win column with a key road victory.
KP’s Pick: Miami
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (+3.5)
With all the attention going to Matthew Stafford and the offense, the Detroit defense is flying under the radar. With four interceptions and just one touchdown allowed, Detroit could give Donovan McNabb headaches on this day. The key will be if the Lions can keep Adrian Peterson at bay. Here’s banking on the fact that Detroit does… Lions cover.
KP’s Pick: Detroit
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
The Houston defense has allowed the fewest total yards in the opening two weeks, but they haven’t faced an offense like that of the Saints. New Orleans torched the Bears at home last week, and get the Texans at home this week. The Saints also have 8 sacks in the first two weeks, and should cause headaches for Matt Schaub all day. Saints cover.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
This matchup comes down to injuries. The Giants have been hurting all season, and recently, Domenik Hixon is out for the year and Mario Manningham is suffering from a concussion. But the biggest injury key is Michael Vick, who suffered a concussion last week, but appears that he will play. But one play could knock him right back out, and this rivalry is often a battle to the end. Therefore, count on the end result being a touchdown or less difference.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans (-6.5)
Chris Johnson has yet to take off, but could finally get his opportunity taking on a Denver defense that has given up 131 rushing yards per game in the opening weeks. Kyle Orton and the Broncos had success against the Titans last season, and with Kenny Britt battling a thigh injury this week, it’s hard to imagine the Titans pulling out a touchdown-plus victory.
KP’s Pick: Denver
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders (+3.5)
The Jets have sputtered on offense and the Raiders are motivated by the Sanchez hot dog incident from the past. New York also has some additional o-line injuries heading into this week, which the Raiders’ aggressive d-line could take advantage of. The Raiders have been effective running the ball, and this one could come down to the wire. I’m taking Oakland and the points.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-14.5)
This is a tricky line, as the Chargers have seven players who didn’t participate in practice this week, while the Chiefs have arguably been the worst team in the NFL during the opening two weeks. The Chargers usually play better at home, and the Chiefs’ Matt Cassel has struggled, while KC’s biggest weapon, Jamaal Charles, is out for the year. Chargers cover.
KP’s Pick: San Diego
Baltimore Ravens at St. Louis Rams (+4.5)
The Rams have given up 177.5 yards per game on the ground in the opening two weeks. The Ravens focus its offense around Ray Rice and the ground game, and expect nothing to change this week. Meanwhile, the Rams are still dealing with injuries to Steven Jackson, Carnell Williams and Danny Amendola. The fewer the weapons for Bradford, the fewer chances against a talented and aggressive Ravens defense. Baltimore covers on the road.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (+3.5)
The Green Bay pass defense has been beatable in the opening weeks, but the Chicago o-line has had trouble protecting Jay Cutler. But with this heated rivalry, the game often goes to the home team, which would point this one in the direction of the Bears. Aaron Rodgers has been dynamite thus far, but don’t be shocked if this game comes down to a late field goal – and that’s why I’m going with the Bears and the points.
KP’s Pick: Chicago
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (+3.5)
The Seattle offense has been abysmal in the opening two weeks. The ‘Hawks are last in total offense (191.5 ypg) and have allowed 10 sacks. Arizona’s offense has shown some balance with Beanie Wells in the run game and Kolb, Fitzgerald and Co. in the passing game. Meanwhile, Tarvaris Jackson has struggled with consistency. The Cards are the safe bet to cover.
KP’s Pick: Arizona
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
The Falcons pulled off a late comeback victory at home against the Vick-less Eagles, while the Bucs came back from a double-digit halftime deficit against the Vikings on the road. With a spread this tight, this game is a tossup, and Matt Ryan will play, leaving the Falcons with enough weapons to take down Tampa Bay in a low-scoring grudge match.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts (+10.5)
The Steelers are 4th in passing defense in the opening two weeks, allowing just 174 yards per game. Oddly enough, the Colts are 27th in passing offense, also averaging 174 yards per game. Indy’s offense has struggled to be efficient against the Texans and Browns – and Pittsburgh has even more talent. The Steelers add to last week’s momentum, win big against the reeling Colts.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
Injuries will be key to this Monday night matchup. The biggest risk will be Dallas QB Tony Romo, who is recovering from a punctured lung, and dealing with a fractured rib. Think of it this way: Haslett’s aggressive D is playing well and players can’t hit a QB low or in the head. That leaves the midsection. A battered Romo could get knocked out or struggle. With this in mind, plus Austin, Witten and Bryant all aching, expect a close game or a ‘Skins win outright.
KP’s Pick: Washington