Friday, September 23, 2011

5 for Sunday

Week 3 in the NFL, and as widely expected, nearly every team in the league has shown cracks and had bouts with sloppy play and injuries, thanks in large part to the abbreviated offseason and preseason this past summer. In layman's terms, nothing's really changed - 80% of the teams in the league stink. Home teams in CAPS.

NY Giants (+9) over PHILADELPHIA
Mike Vick will most likely be playing, which partially explains the 9-point line. The Giants have looked no better than average in their first two games and enter this one still a very banged-up team, which does the rest of the explaining of the 9-point line. The Eagles have six straight wins against the Giants and some will say they have their number. In my opinion, the Giants' strength (running the ball) plays well against the Eagles' weakness (tackling, as evidenced by Michael Turner last week). However, say goodnight if the Eagles get up by two scores quickly. To have a chance to win, the Giants need to use the clock as their 12th man and let Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw try to gut the Eagles' defense. A healthy Osi Umenyiora would be a big help for the Giants, but no one's holding their breath. Still, I'll take the 9 points because it's 3.5 too many.

NEW ORLEANS (-4) over Houston
Are the Texans ready for prime time? We'll know a lot more after this game in the Superdome, and to their credit, they have a Wade Phillips defense working for them, the same man that was responsible for derailing the Saints' run at a perfect season two years ago. Wait, I didn't just praise Wade Phillips, did I? My gosh did I seriously just say that? The Saints kept on ticking last week on their home turf, and likely will not have to deal with Arian Foster for the Texans (although to be fair, Ben Tate has been no slouch in his place). It would take a lot for me to bet against the Saints at home, and despite Andre Johnson's likely 150-yard game in this one, the Texans aren't enough to make me do that.

SEATTLE (+3.5) over Arizona
The way the Seahawks have played so far, I can't believe I'm doing this. But they get a soft Cardinals team in their home opener that is giving up a whopping 466 yards of offense per game. The Seahawks do have a good home field advantage and Kevin Kolb may experience some more of the growing pains associated with being a full-time starter. Neither of these teams is really any good, so take the home dog and hope for the best.

Atlanta (+1.5) over TAMPA BAY
I'll go on record and say that I still like this Tampa team, but Atlanta showed a lot last Sunday night in coming back and beating the Eagles. Michael Turner must be licking his chops to go up against the Bucs' rushing defense, which has given up 156 yards per game so far. The Bucs won't be able to sneak up on people the way they did last year, especially not a division rival. These two teams tend to play each other very tough, but in what amounts to a coin flip of a game it just makes more sense to go with the team that you know is slightly better. Josh Freeman has a knack for keeping his team in the game, but I don't know that Tampa has enough answers on defense for what the Falcons offense may present.

SAN DIEGO (-14.5) over Kansas City
Last week the Chargers showed their typical symptoms of the Norv Turner Syndrome that has been plaguing them for four years now. Despite the mistake-and-turnover party the Bolts threw in Foxboro, you still have to like them this week against the Chiefs. Why? Because Jamaal Charles is out for the season, and because KC has been outscored 89-10 in their first two games this year. If the Chiefs had been able to show any sort of fight against Buffalo and/or Detroit, then they'd be a sneaky pick here. But since they haven't been competitive at all thus far, you can't put a dime on Kansas City putting up a good showing in San Diego. The Chargers get healthy here and embark on their latest go-round of beating up on the miserable AFC West.

Last Week: 2-2-1
Season: 4-4-2

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