Week 3 Review

Posted: 09/23/2014 by levcohen in Football

This was a really frustrating week for me, as I feel that most of my picks were pretty close to accurate but late rallies by the Ravens and Cowboys and sudden poor play from Green Bay and San Francisco put a damper on my week in terms of picking against the spread. In fact, I basically got every spread that was close to a pick em’ wrong. Enough of my struggles: what can we take from this week? Well, the Super Bowl rematch lived up to its hype. Can you imagine if the game on Sunday had been the Super Bowl? Peyton Manning’s last minute drive being trumped by Russell Wilson’s methodical trek down the field in overtime… It would have been an all-time great. It wasn’t the Super Bowl, though, and instead it just reinforces that both of these teams are among the NFL’s best again this year. But the best team? That has to be the Cincinnati Bengals, who have by far the best point differential and blew out the team with the second best point differential in Atlanta. Andy Dalton isn’t a great quarterback, so Cincinnati shouldn’t be considered a sure thing as we get closer to the playoffs, but their defense is tough and they look like a force to be reckoned with.

Washington Redskins (1-1, 1-1 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, 2-0):
Spread: Eagles favored by 4
Over/under: 50.5
My prediction: Eagles 30-20.
Result: Just the pick right, and next week I’m definitely not going under for all the games, although it did work better than whatever I had been doing. The Eagles are going to go over until people finally realize how high scoring their games are. The final score was 37-34, as Washington outplayed Philadelphia for most of the game but the Eagles came up with the key plays. They won’t be able to win like this all season, but the Eagles are the first team to win after trailing by double digits in each of their first three games.

Houston Texans (2-0, 2-0) at New York Giants (0-2, 0-2):*
Spread: Giants favored by 1
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Texans win 23-17.
Result: 0/3 here. I really shouldn’t pick Ryan Fitzpatrick anymore, especially on the road. The Giants aren’t a good team, but the Texans might be worse. They could have the worst 9-7 team of all time when all is said and done (ok, maybe that’s an overreaction). They’d be great with a good quarterback, but Fitzpatrick looks like the worst starter in football now that Chad Henne and Matt Cassel are out.

Minnesota Vikings (1-1, 1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2, 0-2):- Lock of the week
Spread: Saints favored by 10
Over/under: 49.5
My prediction: Saints win 31-17.
Result: Got all three right here, as the Saints won a game they really had to win. It ended 20-9, so the New Orleans offense still hasn’t really started to tick yet, but I think that will come with time. Meanwhile, the loss of Adrian Peterson really really hurt the Vikings. This was the debut of Teddy Bridgewater, who looked pretty good, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bridgewater leads them to a respectable record. They aren’t close to what they were with Peterson, though, and no longer look like a threat to make the playoffs.

Tennessee Titans (1-1, 1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-0, 2-0):
Spread: Bengals favored by 6.5
Over/under: 43.5
My prediction: Bengals win 24-13.
Result: Another good prediction here. I still don’t get why the Bengals were just 6.5 point favorites over a below-average Titans team, and I suspect that if they played again this week, the spread would be in double digits. The Titans look like they are on their way to a 5-11 season (Jake Locker has looked really bad the past two weeks), while the Bengals could well end up with a first round BYE.

Baltimore Ravens (1-1, 1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1, 2-0):*
Spread: Ravens favored by 1.5
Over/under: 43
My prediction: Browns win 20-17.
Result: With one Justin Tucker kick, I went from a 3/3 here to an 0/3, as the Ravens came back to beat Cleveland 23-21. This was a really annoying game all around, and I’m not really sure what we can take from it, besides the fact that Baltimore is pretty solid and Cleveland is a pain to play against.

Green Bay Packers (1-1, 0-1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-1, 1-1):*
Spread: Lions favored by 1
Over/under: 51.5
My prediction: Packers win 27-24.
Result: Just the over/under correct. The Packers looked terrible in this game, and I’m getting really worried about their playoff chances. They have a big game in Chicago next week, and if they lose that it’ll be tough to bounce back. I don’t know what’s up with their offense, as with the exception of Jordy Nelson it has looked anemic, something I didn’t think I would be saying about Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and Aaron Rodgers.

Indianapolis Colts (0-2, 1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2, 0-2):
Spread: Colts favored by 7
Over/under: 45.5
My prediction: Colts 24-20.
Result: Remind me not to pick the Jaguars again. Ok, I’ll probably pick them next week, but they look really really bad. They lost this one 44-17, and it wasn’t even that close. Also, the Blake Bortles era has officially started, even though the Jags said Bortles wouldn’t play at all this year. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

Oakland Raiders (0-2, 1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1, 1-1):
Spread: Patriots favored by 14
Over/under: 47
My prediction: Patriots win 27-16.
Result: Man, the Patriots looked bad in this game. They ended up winning, but barely, as the Raiders had a chance to tie the game on their final drive. The Pats’ offense looks stale and unoriginal, and their running game is struggling just as much as Tom Brady. When Julian Edelman is your only real offensive weapon (yes, Rob Gronkowski is one, but his snaps have been limited thus far), it’s tough to instill fear in an opposing defense. The Patriots will still be fine, but they need to get their offense going.

San Diego Chargers (1-1, 2-0) at Buffalo Bills (2-0, 2-0):
Spread: Bills favored by 2.5
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Bills win 23-20.
Result: Just the over/under right. I knew I should have taken the Chargers, simply because they are clearly the better team and were before the game. I talked myself into picking the Bills because of their home crowd, but their home crowd can’t play quarterback even though they would probably be better than EJ Manuel. Manuel was terrible here, and the Bills’ hot start has quickly lost a sizable portion of its luster.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1, 1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1, 1-1):*
Spread: Cowboys favored by 1.5
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Rams win 23-14.
Result: Another 0/3. This prediction looked pretty good when the score was 21-0 St. Louis in the second quarter, but Dallas somehow piled up enough points to mount a comeback and win. I’m really shocked that they were able to score 34 points in St. Louis against the Rams’ feared defensive line, but they did it. Their offensive line was terrific and DeMarco Murray might be the best running back in football. Could Dallas be a lot better than I thought they were? It sure looks like it. I still don’t think they’ll make the playoffs, but they should be competitive.

San Francisco 49ers (1-1, 1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0, 1-1):
Spread: 49ers favored by 3
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: 49ers win 20-13.
Result: I should have stuck with my original Arizona pick but instead switched to San Francisco at the last second. Could the 49ers be 6-10 this season? It certainly looks like it. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won their first three games, although they haven’t been dominant in any of those games. They could make the playoffs, but I don’t think they are going 12-4.

Denver Broncos (2-0, 0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1, 1-1):
Spread: Seahawks favored by 4
Over/under: 48
My prediction: Seahawks win 27-17.
Result: Another 3/3 here, as the Seahawks’ clutch overtime touchdown also ensured that they would cover the spread. Covered this at the beginning, so won’t add anything else.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2, 1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1, 1-1):
Spread: Dolphins favored by 4
Over/under: 42.5
My prediction: Dolphins 21-20.
Result: Just the spread right. I’m happy I hedged my bets here, because I wasn’t going to pick the Chiefs and was leaning towards picking Miami to cover. The Chiefs blew the Dolphins out, scoring 13 consecutive points after taking a 21-15 lead into the fourth quarter.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, 0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0, 2-0):
Spread: Panthers favored by 3
Over/under: 42
My prediction: Panthers win 17-9.
Result: Well, I was wrong about this one too. It might make more sense for me to pick against my initial reaction to lines I find slanted one way or the other, because every time I feel strongly about something it ends up being wrong. I guess Carolina isn’t that good after all, because a mediocre Pittsburgh team just beat them 37-19. Weird. I have no feel for this NFC South division.

Chicago Bears (1-1, 1-1) at New York Jets (1-1, 0-1-1):*
Spread: Jets favored by 3
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Bears win 24-20.
Result: Just the over/under incorrect, as I was a total of four points off (the final score was 27-19). This is more like the Chicago team I thought we’d see heading into the season, and they’ll need to play even better next week in their pivotal divisional matchup with Green Bay next week. The Jets are still the Jets of the past few years, which means they’ll have their moments but in all likelihood end up below .500.

Upset picks:
Texans over Giants
Browns over Ravens
Packers over Lions
Rams over Cowboys
Bears over Jets
1-4.. 5-6 total.

Lock of the week:
Saints over Vikings
1-0… 2-1 total.

8-8 on game predictions.. 28-20 total
6-10 on spread.. 22-24-2 total
7-9 on over/under.. 15-32-1 total.. guess I should have gone with overs. No, I’m not doing that next week.


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