Saturday, September 24, 2005

NFL Week 3: Desperate Times

Well, so much for Chris Carpenter winning the Cy Young. Another reason that I love the NFL is that Sunday's weekly angst over my teams' latest self-destruction distracts me from the baseball Cardinals annual post-season collapse. It's always something: Vince Coleman, Don Denkinger, Jack The Gimper, the Heftybagdome, the 3-1 Atlanta collapse, losing Daryl Kile, the Scott Rolen collision I, Carpenter's nerve damage, the Scott Rolen collision II...and the Cubs think they're cursed? Being a sports fan is like having a chronic disease, and since misery loves company, you all get me NFL week 3 picks:

Atlanta at Buffalo
It's games like this that make picks so challenging. Each team played well at home in week one, then stunk it up on the road in week two. I think I'm giving Buffalo the home edge, but this game could go either way. Bills 21, Falcons 20

Cincinnati at Chicago
Lots of folks jumping on both these bandwagons. Cincy won't light up the Bears defense, but likewise, the Bears don't have enough offense to overcome a Marvin Lewis coached defense. Bengals 24, Bears 14

Tampa Bay at Green Bay
This one's gonna be really ugly for Packers fans. Buccaneers 34, Packers 13

Cleveland at Indianapolis
Does anyone really think that, in the scheme of things, Trent Dilfer will have two good weeks while Peyton Manning will have two bad weeks? I sure don't. Colts 45, Browns 16

Tennessee at St. Louis
Let's ask Jeff Fisher how he feels about coaching in the Jones Dome. I like the Rams at home by at least seven points, but who knows? Mike Martz could find several new and different ways to screw up what should be an easy win. Rams 24, Titans 17

Carolina at Miami
Same problem as Atlanta/Buffalo, but I think Carolina's defense makes the difference in a low-scoring game. Panthers 17, Dolphins 9

New Orleans at Minnesota
Everything about the Vikings screams "desperation, must-win game." I know I'm biased when it comes to the Purple Ones, but I've got a strong gut feeling that Daunte's gonna have a big game against a tired and demoralized the-city-formerly-known-as-New-Orleans team. It won't be easy or pretty, but these guys have to play like their jobs depend on it, because they do. I think they will. Vikings 28, Saints 24

Jacksonville at New York Jets
Another coin flip. Leftwich might not play for the Jags, which raises scoring concerns for them. At the same time, can we expect Chad Pennington to play any better against the Jags defense than Peyton did? Probably not. Jaguars 23, Jets 19

Oakland at Philadelphia
After Oakland starts 0-3, maybe we'll stop hearing about what a difference-maker Randy Moss is. Look for the Eagles defense to shut him down just as they did in the NFC Divisional playoffs last winter. Eagles 31, Raiders 13

Dallas at San Francisco
Bill Parcells is pissed. No, really. Bill Parcells is pissed. Cowboys 27, 49ers 6

Arizona at Seattle
Until the Cardinals patch up an offensive line that looks like a Louisiana levee, Kurt Warner might want to consider some additional medical insurance. Arizona's certainly capable of winning this game, and Holmgren's certainly capable of coughing one up, but I'm not putting my pick on it. Seahawks 24, Cardinals 14

New England at Pittsburgh
Lots of experts expect NE to "bounce back" with this game. Huh? Carolina just showed the rest of the NFL how to beat the Pats: run up the middle and control the ball with a short passing game. Just so happens that the hallmark of the Steelers' offensive scheme is running up the middle and possession passing. Add in a tough Pittsburgh defense, a delirious home-field crowd and AFC Championship revenge, all the ingredients are there for a big home win. Steelers 31, Patriots 17

New York Giants at San Diego
The Giants aren't as good as they look, and San Diego's not as bad as they've looked. I'm sticking with the home team for the ESPN game. Chargers 23, Giants 20

Kansas City at Denver
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know how hard it is to play in Denver. The only problem is that Denver stinks. They have a porous defense, a certified mental case at QB and a head coach who looks like a prime candidate for spontaneous human combustion. I look for the KC offense to have a big-time scoring festival while the improved defense takes out last seasons frustrations on a certain reptile in the backfield. Chiefs 38, Broncos 20

Baltimore, Detroit, Houston and Washington

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