This past week, I lost to a trash-talking creepy little doll. This week I will do better. I’m sitting at 18-14 overall, and 16-13-3 against the spread.
Tennessee at New York Giants (3) - The Giants are reeling after getting hammered by the Colts, and a bit of a short week gives them little time to lick their wounds. The Titans ran into a buzzsaw Steelers defense, one that the Giants can’t match. Chris Johnson and Vince Young rebound, Titans in the upset. Titans, 24-20.
Real final score: Titans, 29-10. The Titans are simply a better team.
Buffalo at New England (13) - The Patriots need to get back up after taking a beating from the Jets. Buffalo is an easy opponent against whom they should be able to take out some frustration, and New England is much, much stronger at home. They win and cover. Patriots, 33-17.
Real final score: Patriots, 38-30. The Bills showed a lot of backbone in making this a real game. But they just aren’t good.
Cleveland at Baltimore (10.5) – Ten points? The Ravens are 1-1, and didn’t look great against the Bengals. They should be able to win this game fairly easily, but to cover the ten and a half, they’ll have to score a lot of points. I don’t see it. Ravens win, Browns cover. Ravens, 16-10.
Real final score: Ravens, 24-17. That’s about right. The Ravens scored more than I thought, with Boldin having a big game. But the Browns kept pace.
Pittsburgh (2) at Tampa Bay – I can’t imagine why this point spread is so low. The Steelers are so great on defense that it doesn’t matter (against the Bucs) who their QB is. Charlie Batch? Whoever? Doesn’t matter. Steelers to win and cover. Steelers, 14-6.
Real final score: Steelers, 38-13. Charlie Batch. Charlie Batch! Who predicted 38 from Charlie Batch? No one but Charlie Batch.
Cincinnati (3.5) at Carolina – The Panthers look good, then they look bad, often within the same series. The Bengals could be on their way to the division title after their big win over the Ravens. Bengals, 21-20.
Real final score: Bengals, 20-7. The Panthers looked good again. But mostly they looked like losers in the end.
Atlanta at New Orleans (6) – The Saints are 2-0. But both games were squeakers, and the Falcons looked amazing last week. So…I still think the Saints are better, but this will be another squeaker in New Orleans. Saints, 20-17.
Real final score: Falcons, 27-24. If the Saints could just kick a field goal…well, I would have been right. As it is, I was right about the spread. And that’s it.
San Francisco at Kansas City (1.5) – I think the Niners put a lot of good things together on Monday night against the Saints. And I think they will be confident and desperate against a much weaker opponent. Niners to win and cover in a small upset. Niners, 16-14.
Real final score: Chiefs, 31-10. Looks like the Niners 0-3 record is…apt. I still think they’ll win their division, maybe at 7-9. Imagine a 6-10 division winner. It could happen. Unless the Seahawks are for real.
Detroit at Minnesota (11) – The Vikings are 0-2. And the Lions look much better this season. So I wouldn’t use this game as my “lock” pick this week because an upset is certainly possible. But I wouldn’t count on it. Vikings, 23-21.
Real final score: Vikings, 24-10. Minnesota final got off the slide with a victory, but losing Shiancoe could spell disaster down the stretch.
Dallas at Houston (3) – Imagine before the season, if someone told you the Texans would be 2-0 with a win over the Colts and the Cowboys would be 0-2 with a loss to the Bears. How unlikely would that be? About as unlikely as a Dallas win this week. Texans, 27-21.
Real final score: Cowboys, 27-13. The Texans just don’t have the killer instinct to put the boots to a team that’s down and out. Which means they’re not on the next level yet. And I would question some of their coaching, when they’re playing a QB who can be forced into some really bad decision making with good defense.
Washington (3.5) at St. Louis – The Skins are flying high at 2-0, the Rams are a tough 0-2. Donovan McNabb has really changed the fortunes of this team, who could well challenge for a surprising division title this season. Skins win and cover. Redskins, 27-23.
Real final score: Rams, 30-16. The Eagles are the only team in the NFC East with a winning record. Could be a long year for this division.
Philadelphia (3) at Jacksonville – Did the Jags blow their wad entirely in Week One? It looks possible. I think the Eagles have made the right choice by going with Michael Vick. Vick has been able to cover for their mistakes so far. It will take a half for them to adjust again, which will make this one close. Eagles win, Jags cover. Eagles, 21-20.
Real final score: Eagles, 28-3. Michael Vick could have the best season of his career. Which would put the Eagles in the playoffs, and make them very, very dangerous.
Denver at Indianapolis (6) – The Colts are back on top. And six points is not enough here, as Denver will get blown out in Indy. Colts, 35-23.
Real final score: Colts, 27-13. The Broncos are not even close to good enough to hang with the Colts.
Oakland at Arizona (4.5) - Both teams are 1-1, but I think Oakland is actually a slightly better team. Slightly. An upset as they win. Raiders, 14-13.
Real final score: Cardinals, 24-23. Like the Saints, it all came down to a missed field goal. Only Janikowski’s was a relative chip shot. 32 yards? Raiders deserved this win.
San Diego (5.5) at Seattle – The Chargers have figured it out, the Seahawks have forgotten it all, ever since both posted shocking results in Week One. Now that the world is right side up again, the Chargers should handle this one handily. Chargers, 26-18.
Real final score: Seahawks, 27-20. The Chargers offense is firing on all cylinders…except for that habit of turning it over. And their defense is playing very well too. Too bad they can’t cover a kick to save their lives.
New York Jets at Miami (2) – The Dolphins are 2-0, yes. And they are at home, and they beat a great Minnesota team. But they’ve scored only 20 points on offense. And the Jets are playing great takeaway D, while their offense is coming together. I hesitate to call this an “upset”, but the Jets will win. Jets, 20-13.
Real final score: Jets, 31-23. The Dolphins look good. They could end up with a wild card. The Jets are, clearly, the class of the East early this year.
Green Bay (3) at Chicago – Division game for the Packers, first one of the season. Time to make a statement on Monday night. This is their division, this is their year. And the Bears aren’t close, despite their 2-0 record. Packers, 30-14.
Real final score: Bears, 20-17. Packers score! Oh no…penalty. Packers sack Cutler! Oh no…that’s a penalty. Intercep – penalty. Can’t win a game that way, folks. Packers still the better team. But without discipline, won’t go far.
This week I went a weak-ass 9-7. Making me 27-21 overall. Also I went a weak-ass 7-9 against the spread, making me an awful 23-22-3 overall. Bad year through three weeks!