Fat Chance: Week 3 NFL Picks

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After going 8-8 in week one, I cracked the .500 mark in week two by going 9-7. If I can continue that incremental improvement all season, I’ll be going 16-0 by the end of the year. Granted, that is a really, really big IF.
 
Last week, I went 2-0 in close calls. The Raiders were +3.5 and lost by a field goal, and the Cowboys were -2.5 and won by three. For the second straight week, I picked the Bengals game correctly against the spread and incorrectly in real life. You may remember that when I picked the Ravens last week, I commented that it was the easiest line on the board. Of course, the Titans blew them out, 26-13.
 
In week two, home teams went 11-5, so this week I’m going to focus on not falling in love with too many road warriors. Home field advantage is a powerful force in the NFL.
 
Giants (+7.5) over Eagles — With Mike Vick’s status still up in the air and the unproven Mike Kafka waiting in the wings, I’ll go with the Giants.
 

Panthers (-3.5) over Jaguars — With Missouri-grad (Go Tigers!) Blaine Gabbert making his first career start for Jacksonville, this will be a matchup of rookie quarterbacks. From what we’ve seen in the first two weeks, advantage Cam Newton.

Lions (+3.5) over Vikings — There is likely to be some desperation on the part of the Vikings, who are in danger of starting 0-3, but the Lions simply seem to be the better team in this matchup of dome-dwellers.

Broncos (+7.5) over Titans — Tennessee lost to the lowly Jaguars, then trounced the Ravens, as mentioned above. I think they’ll win this game at home, just not by more than a touchdown against the Broncos and air Orton.

Browns (-2.5) over Dolphins — The Dolphins are 0-2 despite opening with two home games. I don’t like their chances to right the ship in Cleveland.

Saints (-4.5) over Texans — Within the friendly confines of the Superdome (or really anywhere), the Saints offense is something to fear. New Orleans is 1-1, but hasn’t been held under 30 in either game.

Patriots (-8.5) over Bills — It’s too early in the year to be concerned about the weather in Buffalo, so there should be plenty of points scored in this one. The Bills have put up a whopping 79 points through two games, even more than the Patriots with 73. But like I said last week, it’s going to take a spectacularly wide line to scare me away from Tom Brady.

Chargers (-14.5) over Chiefs — Yes, this line is very wide, and yes, the Chargers are 0-2 against the spread, but I simply can’t pick the Chiefs for the third straight week. Thus far, Kansas City has lost by 34 and 45. This is a team that can probably play pretty well and still lose by more than two touchdowns.

Rams (+3.5) over Ravens — I picked the Ravens as a road favorite last week, so I’m not going to make that same mistake again. This could very well still be a mistake, sure, but at least it will be a different one.

Raiders (+3.5) over Jets — I can’t really explain it, but for some reason I like this Raiders team. Well, I like Darren McFadden. Jason Campbell not so much. Still, the Raiders are 2-0 against the spread.

Falcons (+0.5) over Buccaneers — Even with Vick’s concussion helping them, I was impressed with the Falcons’ comeback on Sunday Night Football last week. Experts seemed to have soured on Matt Ryan and Michael Turner coming into this season, but they both still look competent to my untrained eye.

Cardinals (+3.5) over Seahawks — I don’t like either of these teams, as often happens with two squads from the NFC West play each other. I’m taking the points, but if you want to take the home team, I won’t argue.

Packers (-3.5) over Bears — I just realized that there are a lot of 3.5-point lines this week. I also just realized that I don’t enjoy 3.5-point lines. Given that Jay Cutler’s offensive line is conspiring with opponents to take off his head, I’ll take the cheese heads.

Colts (+10.5) over Steelers — I’ve picked the Colts twice and been wrong both times, but I’ll give them one more shot as double-digit underdogs at home. Unfortunately, the need to restore my trust probably won’t serve as any extra motivation for the defense or make Kerry Collins any younger.

Cowboys (-6.5) over Redskins — There are some injuries in play here, but if Tony Romo can fight through his rib/lung issue and Felix Jones can overcome his separated shoulder, Big D should be able to handle the Redskins at home.

Bengals (-2.5) over 49ers — Yet again, Ben Bergin’s optimism is working its magic on me. I like the Cats to win, 28-24, behind heroic performances from both ends of the Red-Green connection.

Record last week: 9-7
Record overall: 17-15
Record picking Bengals games against the spread: 2-0
Record picking Bengals games straight up: 0-2

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