Last week’s Record: Tom 13-3, Jesse 12-4
Overall Record: Jesse 21-11, Tom 21-11
NFL 2013 WEEK THREE
(thanks to Gamera vs. Rodan for posting this in the forum)
Kansas City at Philadelphia
Jesse: The first two week’s of the Andy Reid Era in KC have gone as Chiefs fans had hoped, with Kansas City already matching its win total from all of last year. Now Reid heads back to Philly, where the Eagles are trying to figure out what they want to do. As expected, Chip Kelly’s offense is putting points on the board, but as last week showed, that doesn’t always lead to victory. I think Chiefs will win in a shootout.
Tom: Andy Reid can win games, that’s for sure. His issues have usually come in the playoffs. I think his coming back to Philly will give the Chiefs players a bit of inspiration to win this one for the fat man. But can that offense keep up with the Eagles? I think the Chiefs’ defense is a bit underrated, and so far the Eagles defense hasn’t shown me anything impressive. Just for the nostalgia factor, let Andy win in ol’ Philadelphia one more time.
Green Bay at Cincinnati
Tom: Green Bay lit up the Redskins defense last week and may have re-discovered their starting RB in Starks. Cincy had a rivalry game at home Monday night, and although the offense wasn’t always stellar, they may have also found a new go-to at RB in the rookie Bernard. I’m really torn on this game, because I think the Bengals do have a shot to beat the Pack, especially at home. But let’s boil this down to quarterbacks, and Dalton ain’t bad, but he’s no Aaron Rodgers.
Jesse: The season is early, but the Bengals are very good. The defense is fantastic, and A.J. Green does a pretty good job of hiding some of Andy Dalton’s deficiencies. I think Geno Atkins will dominate, giving the Bengals a statement win that will let everybody know they’re the team to beat in the AFC North.
St. Louis at Dallas
Jesse: Once again, it’s looking like a thoroughly average season for the Cowboys. All of Jerry Jones’ moneymaking prowess can’t hide the fact that Dallas is mediocrity defined, led by a sort-of-okay head coach and an ehhhhhhhhh-I-guess kind of quarterback. The Rams were picked by many to be a sleeper this year, and while the Fighting Fishers have added some intriguing talent, they’re still anchored to the massive contract of Subpar Sam Bradford. However, I’m still picking the Rams for two reasons: 1) Jeff Fisher is a better coach than Jason Garrett, and 2) Dallas’ enormous echo chamber is the worst home-field advantage in the league. It’s a great place to watch TV, though.
Tom: Dallas can’t catch a break–they had the opportunity to come back and beat the Chiefs last week and blew it, and had a million takeaways vs. the Giants in week 1 and still almost blew it. Possibly only Jacksonville has a worse home-field “advantage”.
San Diego at Tennessee
Tom: Another conundrum arrives with Tennessee, similar to Carolina. They beat Pittsburgh in week 1 (so far, not really impressive), then took Houston to OT (after leading pretty much the whole game). So are they that good? I think their defense is pretty good. Still not sold on Jake Locker, though. But the 2000 Ravens showed us a team could go all the way to the Super Bowl with a great defense, a decent running game, and a medicore (or less) QB. That being said, San Diego, after blowing a huge lead in week 1 (also to the Texans) pulled out a win over the NFL’s new offensive hotness in the Eagles and Chip Kelly. I’m going out on a limb here–I think the Chargers may make me look foolish, but I believe in the Titans defense right now, and think they may be good for a score or so in this game, or at least set up one. Curse you muddy Rivers for making me do this.
Jesse: I was surprised at how good the Titans’ D was, and noted it in the NFL thread this past Sunday . . . shortly before they gave up the game. Despite my jinx, the Titans’ defense is still vastly improved over last year, but as long as Jake Locker is the Titans’ QB, the defensive performance won’t matter. He’s just not very good. Plus, for whatever reason, the Chargers have owned the Titans in recent years, having beaten them nine straight times. I think they’ll make it 10 on Sunday.
Cleveland at Minnesota
Jesse: This picture of the Cleveland sideline on Sunday after another Brandon Weeden incompletion sums it all up:
Edvard Munch couldn’t come up with a better representation of anguish and despair than this photo. To add to the sadness pile, Weeden has been benched due to a thumb injury, so the Browns are starting their third-string QB Brian Hoyer this weekend. Hoyer has been talked up for years by new Browns GM Michael Lombardi, who signed his man-crush after no other teams wanted him. All is lost.
Tom: This is the “blech” game of the week to me. At least with Seattle/Jax there should be a lot of scoring. I think this comes down to strength vs. strength–Peterson vs. a stingy run defense. If this was in Cleveland, I think I’d take the Browns…seriously. This possibly might be the straw breaking the Ponder’s back if he blows this game for the Vikings, though.
Tampa Bay at New England
Tom: At first glance, you’d think that this is the Pats in a cake walk…but not so fast, my friend. Brady is strugggaaallinng (a la drunk Joe Namath) without Welker and the oft-injured Amendola. He believes so little in everyone not named Edelman that Brady targeted him 18 times, but he was well under 10 yards per catch on average. Ugh. On the other side, Josh Freeman has almost as good as hair as Brady, but it certainly is not providing him Samson-like powers. If Freeman just wouldn’t suck, the Bucs might be 2-0 right now and on top of the NFC South. But he does, and they’re 0-2, and about to be 0-3. Hello, Mike Glennon. On a personal note, I can’t wait to see Glennon start an NFL game, as I grew weary of hearing every f’ing announcer in an NC State game talk about how much he’s an NFL-caliber QB.
Jesse: As Doc Happenin noted on the board, last week’s Jets-Patriots featured cheerleaders in the rain. A search led me to this gif from RideThePine.com. Hooray!
I think the Bucs’ D will give the struggling Patriots offense fits for the whole game. It will still be a massacre.
Arizona at New Orleans
Jesse: The Cardinals are starting to learn the same lesson the Bengals and Raiders learned before them: Carson Palmer is just a guy. Larry Fitzgerald is always going to get his stats, regardless of who plays quarterback (which is why he’s so incredible), but Palmer isn’t going to lead to any more wins than the various chumps (including Brian Hoyer!) before him. I think New Orleans wins by two touchdowns, bouncing back from a so-so offensive showing last week.
Tom: Carson Palmer is no Kurt Warner, be he’s also no John Skelton. The Cardinals defense can be overpowering at times…sorry, this just handed to me…what? This is at New Orleans? Ok, forget everything I just said.
Detroit at Washington
Tom: “Doing less with more” is an expression you hear a lot when it comes to underperforming teams. You don’t get much more of the epitome of that with both of these teams. Jim Schwartz has got to be in his last season. Reggie Bush is (surprise!) hurt again…perish forbid if he and Amendola ever end up on a team together. RGIII is back, but obviously not ready for prime time yet. He seems to start every game like he hasn’t warmed up since he hurt his leg. Why not ease him back and let Cousins play a bit more? Because Mike Shanahan, much like the Honey Badger (not the one that plays for Arizona), don’t give a shit. Washington’s defense looked also like shit vs. the Packers last week, so that’s why I’m giving the edge to the Lions here. Although being outside, that worries me. And hey, it is the Lions after all.
Jesse: Shanahan’s approach with RGIII has been baffling, refusing to let RGIII participate in preseason, then making him start without any reps. That rustiness has shown the first two games, and Griffin still isn’t comfortable planting on his right leg. However, that’s not why I’m picking the Lions. Washington’s defense is terrible, giving up 71 points the first two games. In both games, the opposing offenses ran out to an insurmountable lead before halftime. I don’t see any reason why Calvin Johnson shouldn’t have a field day.
NY Giants at Carolina
Jesse: The Giants have looked lousy in their first couple of games, and I can think of no better cure for what ails them than playing a team coached by Ron Rivera. You may recognize Rivera as the statue who is planted in the ground on the Panthers sidelines during all of their games. Many coaches are often blank slates on the sidelines, but for every Tom Landry and Bill Belichick, there are dozens of Art Shells. Rivera firmly belongs in the Shell category, his every coaching decision a different way of saying “I’m afraid I’ll lose my job.” It sucks to see a talent as dynamic as Cam Newton playing for such a boring, innovation-free coach.
Tom: I will add Jim Caldwell to the list of “statue-like” Head Coaches. Eli has lost two in a row, and there have been way too many turnovers. Carolina’s defense is better than the Cowboys and possibly the Broncos…but that offense…ugh. Cam Newton hasn’t fallen off the cliff as quickly as Josh Freeman has, but he’s definitely leaning that direction. I believe the Giants overall have a better team, but this one might be close. I also remember the Giants came limping into the Carolina game last year and blasted them out of the water.
Houston at Baltimore
Tom: This is turning into a bit of a rivalry (to me, anyway). Houston pulled one out of their asses last week after trailing the Titans the entire game. Baltimore, who got demolished in week 1 and trailed the lowly Browns for most of Week 2, is kind of an enigma right now. Joe Flacco has not looked good, and the defense has been average at best. I think Andre Johnson’s health is key in this game, as it appears they finally have a good WR2 to put on the other side of him in Hopkins. If Johnson passes all the concussion tests and plays, I think that gives them the edge.
Jesse: An intriguing matchup, definitely. The Texans are the Atlanta Falcons of the AFC, reliably winning 12 or so games in the regular season yet no one ever picks them to win it all. However, Hopkins adds an element that the Texans have lacked for quite a while. I agree with Tom that Johnson is the X factor for this game. Coach Kubiak said he thinks Johnson will be good to go, so as a result, I’m picking Houston.
Atlanta at Miami
Jesse: Or as I call it, Singer vs. fleed! Miami has started off the season well, with two good road wins (YES THE BROWNS IS A GOOD ROAD WIN SHUT UP). I think they’ll lose at home, as the Falcons have a bit more talent, but the Dolphins are a well-coached team who could sneak into the playoffs before it’s all said and done.
Tom: The Falcons aren’t being bitten by the injury bug as much as they’re being swarmed like locusts from biblical times. Steven Jackson is out, Julio and Roddy are limping, and the defense is also down a few guys. The Dolphins made the “Luck” run out in Indy last week by putting lots of pressure on the QB and Tannehill is trying to make Mike Wallace happy by throwing him the ball a lot. Atlanta’s secondary is not great, and they almost blew a big lead last week vs. the Rams. I’ll probably regret doing this, but…
Buffalo at NY Jets
Tom: The Jets are the Buccaneers of the AFC. They are HUGELY close to being 2-0 and at the top of their division, having beaten said Bucs and almost beating the Pats in an ugly Thursday night game. Geno Smith is the Bizarro EJ Manuel so far this season. EJ, as much as I’ve criticized him during his FSU days, always stays cool and collected under pressure. With him, and better weapons around him than Smith has, I think the Bills take this one. The Jets defense will keep it close, but their offense just stinks.
Jesse: The one thing that’s striking about the Bills through the first couple of games has been their energy. This is a team with hope that genuinely thinks they can win games. As a Browns fan, trust me, that’s a big deal. Manuel has been a pleasant surprise, and while the Jets have enjoyed a 10-day rest, I think Geno will prove to be their downfall.
Indianapolis at San Francisco
Jesse: The Colts are pretty good, and should be in the wild card hunt at the end of the season. I don’t think that matters this week. The Niners were pantsed in Seattle last Sunday night, and I’m guessing they will be pissed, in part because Jim Harbaugh always seems insanely pissed. Niners win handily.
Tom: Indy seems to come through when you least suspect it, but San Fran got embarrassed last week (again) in Seattle. This game is not in Seattle. And Indy’s defense is not ready for a pissed off (and probably not single-eye-browed) CK7.
Jacksonville at Seattle
Tom: Here’s your suicide pick this week, folks. Bet the farm on this one.
Jesse: Looking at my pick’em league on ESPN.com, 99.33% of people polled pick the Seahawks to win. I assume the other 0.67% are just joking. This game is going to be a snuff film.
Chicago at Pittsburgh
Jesse: The Pittsburgh Steelers have never been two games until .500 since Mike Tomlin became coach…until now. The Bears are riding high after a last-second win last week, but even though it’s likely that an offensive player will shiv Todd Haley on the sideline at some point this season, I can’t fathom the Steelers going 0-3. I’m probably going to regret this, but:
Tom: I’ve talked about this on the message boards–I just don’t think the Steelers are going to be very good this year, and frankly I don’t see them winning a game before their bye week. The youth on the defense is in the front seven, not the shitty secondary (although Ike Taylor did hold down Green pretty well last Monday night), and the offensive line is in shambles. Antonio Brown is trying to be the Mike Wallace replacement this year, so he’s also complaining that he isn’t being thrown to enough–Todd Haley says for him to stop running so far down the field and he’ll throw it to him. Ben can’t go deep with any accuracy because he’s running for his life after his 1-2 second window to throw the ball. Heath Miller may make an appearance this week, but, as Mike Tomlin said, don’t expect him to step out of a phone booth with a cape on. I also don’t care that this is in Pittsburgh. That’s where I am right now with this team.
Oakland at Denver
Tom: Oh, if they could re-do the schedule for the Monday night game, I think they would this week. A throwback-type of game with the Raiders and Broncos sounds great in theory. But this is in Denver, the Broncos are on a roll, and Oakland is still trying to find out what to do besides run Pryor and McFadden. Hell, against the Jags last week all they could muster was 19 points. Being an old rivalry, this game could be a lot closer than we think…but I believe Peyton will “deliver” a victory just like his Papa John’s brethren would a pizza.
Jesse: UGH, those Papa John’s commercials. If I never see an athlete attempt to engage in witty banter again, I’ll die a happy man.
The Broncos are the best team in the league right now, even with their O-line injuries. I think it will haunt them as they face elite defensive lines in the playoff , but a 12-13 win regular season is all but assured as long as Papa Peyton is upright. The Broncos will win handily, with Jon Gruden calling Manning “The Sheriff” at least 300 times during the broadcast.