I’m doing one big post for Week Three, because I expect to be busy for the next few days.
Last week, I talked about overreactions to Week One performances:
- Green Bay is terrible; Aaron Rodgers is washed-up
- Buffalo is in trouble
- Tennessee is no good
- Jameis Winston is an elite QB
- Trevor Lawrence is a bust
- Philadelphia is good
- Matthew Stafford and Los Angeles are championship-bound
Just looking at the first four bullet points, it’s plain to see that basing too much on the first week of the season is a fool’s errand. In fact, taking a small sample snapshot of any team’s season, particularly early on, can give one a false sense of what a team is really capable of until it figures out what it does well. When the weather turns colder and the games start to mean more, the teams that know what they have and what they can do well consistently can be truly dangerous.
Just last season, Tampa entered its bye week at 7-5, losers of three of their previous four games, and with an offense and defense that had been wildly inconsistent.
They never lost again.
The first two weeks of the season have been packed with close, exciting games, as well as some upsets. There are a few teams that are unexpectedly entering Week Three with good chance to go to 3-0. On the whole, Week Three looks like it has the potential for some great, close matchups, as well as some high-scoring affairs.
Bring it on.
Week Three Picks
Winners in Bold:
Carolina at Houston
With Tyrod Taylor (aka: Mr. Unlucky) available, I’d give Houston a shot in this one. Even still, Carolina’s defense looks like the real deal so far, Sam Darnold’s play has been solid, and Christian McCaffrey is starting to look like his old self.
Getting back to “unavailable” QBs for a mo’, I wonder how tonight’s commentary team will address Deshaun Watson’s sexual abuse allegations. Will they discuss it honestly, or just brush it aside as “legal” or “off-field” issues? The league expects the media to act as uncritical cheerleaders, so my guess is that it will be downplayed.
Indy at Tennessee
Carson Wentz has played surprisingly well, and is unsurprisingly injured, essentially eliminating Indy’s best chance at keeping this one close.
Atlanta at New York G
If New York could improve its pass rush, and if they had ANY luck, they might have a shot at winning this division. Stay tuned.
LA Bolts at KC
The Bolts got absolutely screwed out of a win by some pretty egregious officiating last week. They’re as good or better than KC at all but two positions, and Justin Herbert is no slouch at QB. They’re good enough to beat KC, and I hope they do.
Cincy at Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled thus far, so they need their defense to step up. Fortunately for Cincy, TJ Watt and a few other Pittsburgh starters are banged-up. Joe Burrow’s bad outing last week cost his team a very winnable game. If he can settle down and beat their most-hated rival, it could mark a turning point in the season and in Burrow’s career.
Chicago at Cleveland
Cleveland’s defense needs to play better than it has. Chicago shouldn’t be too much of a threat, but Cleveland can’t really afford to take anyone lightly right now.
Baltimore at Detroit
Beware the trap game. Baltimore is coming off a huge win over KC. Detroit is 0-2, but showed some life on offense with a late flurry in Week 1, and a solid first half last week against Green Bay. This has shootout potential.
NO at NE
I’m putting the over/under on Winston INTs at 3.5 this week, and I’m taking the over. That will be the difference.
Arizona at Jax
Trevor Lawrence could be in for a rough day against Arizona’s pass rush, but that’s nothing compared to what Jacksonville’s defense is in for.
Washington at Buffalo
Don’t let last week’s 35-0-win fool you; Miami put up very little resistance on offense against Buffalo, and Josh Allen still looks wild. Buffalo can’t afford a bad performance by Allen against Washington’s defense.
New York J at Denver
After last week’s dud against New England, Zach Wilson’s reward is a trip to Mile-High to face a fierce Denver secondary. Yikes!
Miami at LV
Miami has the talent on defense to slow down Vegas’s passing attack, but that won’t matter because Miami’s offense is not much of a threat.
Seattle at Minnesota
My Mike Zimmer Watch continues; how much more of this shit can the man take? Minnesota’s offense is starting to show signs of life. I expect a high-scoring contest here. A shootout loss might be the last straw for Zimmer.
Tampa at LAR
This is the game that Tampa desperately needs right now. The first two seeks have been easy, and as a result, Tampa has looked alternately dominant and sloppy. A road contest against a real contender should serve to wake Tampa up to what it will take to defend that title. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Green Bay at San Fran
On the one hand, Green Bay still has only played one half of decent football. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers probably still holds a grudge against San Francisco for not drafting him. I’m not sure how I feel about Rodgers’s greasy, long-haired, asshole, douchebag heel-turn, but if it works for him, who am I to complain?
Philly at Dallas
Here’s another game that has shootout written all over it. Dallas prevails due to its abundance of offensive firepower.