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Pudge’s Picks – Week 3

September 21st, 2013

As I mentioned on Thursday, I am not coming off a strong week as I went 7-9 last week. Things didn’t fare well on Thursday, after another disappointing showing from the Eagles against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. Sloppy games for both teams, but the Eagles were even sloppier with too many turnovers. They looked like the Eagles’ team of last season with their penchant for gift-wrapping points for the opposing team with their turnovers.

Hopefully this Sunday I fare a little better with my picks. A few big lines this week in some of the later games on Sunday and on Monday night. And I probably will regret picking the the favorites in those games because of the size of the lines, but those just appear to be favorable matchups for all three teams and thus I like their chances.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Sunday, September 22 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

Line: Dolphins (-1.5)

The Falcons head into this game really beat up. No Steven Jackson, Sam Baker, Kroy Biermann, or Sean Weatherspoon. And probably a very limited Roddy White and Asante Samuel, enough so that you probably can’t expect much contribution from either. Unlike the Rams, the Dolphins at home should be a team that has the potential to really take advantage of the matchups these injuries present. The key difference being that the Dolphins’ defense is pretty good and much more aggressive than the Rams’ defense. That will be pivotal as the Falcons’ offense looks to be very one-dimensional this week. Can the Falcons’ line hold up long enough for Matt Ryan to find playmakers like Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez? And can the Falcons’ running game show up enough to make them not so one-dimensional? I think the answer is yes, although this is the type of game where Cameron Wake potentially has three or four sacks and really harasses Ryan. But I have enough confidence in the Falcons’ coaching staff that they will find some way to compensate. I’m somewhat expecting another game-winning drive by Ryan late to pull out the victory.

Spread Pick: Falcons
Straight Pick: Falcons

Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Bengals (+2.5)

It’s probably not a good week for the Bengals to have so many injuries in their secondary, with Dre Kirkpatrick, Brandon Ghee, and Adam Jones unlikely to play. That will mean that Curtis Marsh may be forced to play in the nickel, which should mean a big game for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing attack. However, they still have to deal with that Bengals’ front. And if there’s going to be a week where Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Michael Johnson make a big impact, it should be now against a weak Packers’ line. Like they did a week ago, the Packers need to get off to a fast start, otherwise it will allow that mediocre Bengals’ offense to hang around. That fast start may not occur, but with the Packers only needing to win by a field goal to cover, it’s hard to pick against them.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

St. Louis Rams (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Cowboys (-3.5)

Sam Bradford just isn’t a great quarterback when it comes to playing on the road. And with the potential that DeMarcus Ware is matched up against Joe Barksdale at right tackle, it doesn’t figure well to him playing better this week. Dez Bryant is coming off a big game against the Chiefs’ defense, and I think he should do the same against the Rams’ secondary that got gashed by Julio Jones last week.

Spread Pick: Cowboys
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Detroit Lions (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Redskins (-1.5)

The Lions continue to underachieve and disappoint on the road, with a loss to the Cardinals last week. That is a good thing for the Redskins, who are looking for their first win of the season. The problem is the Redskins’ secondary stinks, and they have to deal with Calvin Johnson. But with the possibility that Reggie Bush might be shut down this week, the Redskins should be able to keep Johnson contained. And obviously contained for Megatron might just be only allowing 120 yards instead of 180 yards. I think RG3 and the Redskins offense start to get on track this week with a win.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Patriots (-7.5)

It’s easy to pick the Patriots to win this game, since the Bucs appear to be in disarray. But the Bucs have lost both of their games with late breakdowns from a pretty good defense. Their secondary should be able to contain a struggling Patriots’ passing attack. And I do like that Carl Nicks looks to be coming back this week, which means the Bucs’ ground attack could show out and take much-needed pressure off the shoulders of a struggling Josh Freeman. At some point, I’m going to regret picking the Bucs, but I don’t think this is the week that happens.

Spread Pick: Bucs
Straight Pick: Patriots

Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Saints (-7.5)

It’s going to be interesting to see how Tyrann Mathieu fares against Marques Colston in the slot. I think he might fare well. But since Jared Cook shredded the Cards’ defense in Week 1, I don’t think like their chances of handling Jimmy Graham. If the Cardinals are going to win this one, they have to find a way to limit their turnovers. And with Carson Palmer as your quarterback, you’re going to be good for a pick or two even against even a mediocre Saints’ defense.

Spread Pick: Saints
Straight Pick: Saints

New York Giants (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Panthers (-1.5)

It’s hard not to think of the smackdown the Giants laid on Carolina on the road last year in Week 3. But this game probably will be different. The Panthers’ front seven is much improved and playing well. Chris Snee just isn’t the same player he once was and Charles Johnson should be able to show rookie right tackle Justin Pugh a thing or two. The key will be whether Eli Manning can limit the turnovers against a weak Panthers’ secondary. This is the one defense where I might not mind my quarterback throwing the ball 50 times against.

Spread Pick: Giants
Straight Pick: Giants

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Vikings (-5.5)

The huge Trent Richardson trade probably doesn’t bode well for the Browns coming to play hard this week. They’ll need their defense to step up big and create a couple of Christian Ponder turnovers and shut down Adrian Peterson. The Browns’ run defense has played well thus far this year, but this will be a coming out party for them if they can bottle up Peterson. But even if they do, I don’t think Brian Hoyer and Willis McGahee will take advantage, even with Josh Gordon coming off his two-game suspension.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Titans (-3.5)

San Diego is coming off a surprising road win over Philadelphia, so the thought might be that crossing timezones may not be that big a deal for them. The key for the Titans is getting Chris Johnson to be effective against a mediocre Chargers’ run defense. That way, they can focus on Jake Locker managing the game rather than needing to make plays. Eddie Royal has scored a touchdown almost every time he’s touched the ball it seems like, but the Titans have gotten good production from their secondary thus far this year. And with Malcolm Floyd out this week, I think the Chargers will have to rely more on Ryan Mathews. And in terms of the list of players you want to rely upon, there are few players that rank lower than Mathews.

Spread Pick: Titans
Straight Pick: Titans

Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Ravens (+2.5)

With Duane Brown sitting out this one, I don’t like the chances of the Texans’ offense having a big output against a vulnerable Ravens’ defense. But an even bigger question is whether or not the Ravens’ offense will do much against a tough Texans’ defense. But frankly, the Texans’ defense hasn’t been as tough as I was expecting thus far this season. While the Texans are the better team, I think Schaub is going to struggle and it will lead to Houston’s first loss of the season.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens

Buffalo Bills (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Jets (-2.5)

I think the extra time off should benefit Rex Ryan and the Jets’ defense and their ability to bottle up C.J. Spiller and the Bills’ ground attack. Which is the key, since the Bills’ offense is predicated off their ability to run effectively. But also, I don’t think the Jets’ secondary is going to give ground at the end of the game if E.J. Manuel needs to lead Buffalo on a game-winning drive like Carolina’s did. This will be the Bill’s first road test, and I think that will give the Jets the edge.

Spread Pick: Jets
Straight Pick: Jets

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Sunday, September 22 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: 49ers (-10.5)

If the 49ers’ ground attack can’t get on track this week against the Colts’ run defense, then I don’t know what to say. The Colts got gashed by Terrelle Pryor in Week 1, and thus Colin Kaepernick could do the same. But the 49ers really need to get Frank Gore & Co. going this week. I expect Trent Richardson to play hard to try and show up the Browns for trading him, but against the 49ers, I don’t think it really matters. I think the 49ers will come out and have a strong game after a 26-point loss to the Seahawks. Unfortunately, Indy will catch San Francisco on the wrong week.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
Sunday, September 22 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

Line: Seahawks (-19.5)

This might be the biggest line of the season. Simple logic says if the Seahawks can beat the 49ers by 26, then they should beat the Jaguars by 52. I’m just trying to figure out how the Jaguars do anything in this game. Their offense has shown zero signs of life this year, and even with Russell Okung out this week, I don’t see how their defense slows down that Seahawk offense. This feels like it could be similar to the 58-0 and 50-17 beatdowns that Seattle put on Arizona and Buffalo, respectively, late last season. But who knows, this has the makings of a trap game. But the Jaguars have been so bad, that it’s hard to see how Seattle falls into the trap.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Chicago Bears (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Sunday, September 22 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Line: Steelers (+2.5)

The Steelers offense has struggled this year, and thus it pains me to pick them after two disappointing weeks. But I’m hoping that Peanut Tillman’s potential absence leads to a big game by Antonio Brown, and the Steelers’ defense comes to play. Jay Cutler has already thrown three picks this year, and I’m betting that he throws a few more and the Steelers’ offense capitalizes. My brain says that the Bears should win this one, but my heart says that the Steelers finally start playing like the Steelers under the lights on NBC.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
Monday, September 23 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

Line: Broncos (-14.5)

If Denver plays like they have the past two weeks, they should have no problem rolling up the scoreboard against Oakland. The concern is that the loss of Ryan Clady could lead to Lamarr Houston getting some pressure on Peyton Manning, and slow them down. And the other concern is whether the Broncos’ defense can handle the mobility of Terrelle Pryor. Also McFadden has traditionally played very well against the Broncos, and he’ll need to again in order to keep the game close. But I don’t see any of that happening, and Manning and the Broncos’ offense should run away with this one.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

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