NFL Office Pool Picks - Week 3
by Trevor Whenham - 9/23/2009
It was a rough week as we tried to pick straight up winners in the NFL last week. We picked nine of the 16 winners, and got burned by many of the same games that allowed the Las Vegas sportsbooks to have a particularly profitable weekend. The season is a marathon not a sprint, though, so we'll use the information we have now gained over two weeks of play to significantly improve from last week and return to our strong performance of the opening week.
Here is a look at Week 3's action:
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Cleveland at Baltimore - The Ravens have finally developed an offense to match their defense and so far it is paying off for them. The Browns have made a total mess of the season so far, and they are giving clear signs that they will continue doing so. This one shouldn't be even remotely close. Take the Ravens.
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay - The Bucs have yet to win but they have looked better than I expected them to after their ridiculous offseason. I still don't expect them to be much of a match for the Giants, though. New York looked very good offensively against the Cowboys - probably too good for the Bucs to keep up. Take the Giants.
Green Bay at St. Louis - The Packers have been very disappointing this season after looking so strong in the preseason. But they are clearly a better team than they have looked and they will find their form - especially if they get some consistency from the offensive line. There is perhaps no better remedy for a team playing poorly than playing the Rams. Take the Packers.
Kansas City at Philadelphia - The Chiefs are going to turn things around eventually but they are a long way from ready for primetime right now. The Eagles have problems of their own as well but they are more talented and playing at home. Those are two big edges. Take the Eagles.
Atlanta at New England - This is a tough game to call. Based on what we have seen so far the Falcons have a clear edge - they have played very well while the Patriots have looked terrible. New England is obviously significantly more talented than they have looked, though, and sooner or later they will show it. I find it hard to count them out just yet. Take the Patriots.
San Francisco at Minnesota - This is going to be a slugfest between perhaps the two best running backs in the league. I love what the Niners are doing this year and I expect them to put together a solid season - quite possibly a playoff-bound one. This is a tough spot for them, though. Minnesota plays defense well, especially against the run, and they are tough at home. Take the Vikings.
Jacksonville at Houston - The Texans we saw play in the second week of the season were as good any team we have seen this year. The Texans we saw in the first week made last year's Lions look like world beaters. Jacksonville was very strong defensively in the opening week, but lousy in Week 2. It's hard to know what we will get on wither side, but I like the home team better. Take the Texans.
Washington at Detroit - I like what the Redskins can do on defense but they are offensively inept. The Lions haven't won in 19 games, but they are playing reasonably well and they are going to win one eventually. For kicks, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that will happen now. Take the Lions.
Tennessee at N.Y. Jets - The Jets have been one of the more pleasant surprises of the season so far. They are going to put together a good season, but it won't be without blips. Tennessee has lost both of their games, but each have only been by a field goal, and the team is clearly better than their record. Take the Titans.
New Orleans at Buffalo - I am reasonably confident about two things - that the Saints' offensive outburst to start to the season is no fluke, and that Buffalo will struggle to contain the offense or to keep up with it. The Bills deserve to be 2-0 so far, but they'll struggle to win this one. Take the Saints.
Chicago at Seattle - Seattle has been a long way from impressive this year, and things could get tougher now that Matt Hasselbeck has a broken rib. Things did not go well for them last year when Hasselbeck missed time, and I don't imagine big things again here. Take the Bears.
Denver at Oakland - The Broncos are the least likely 2-0 team you could imagine. The Raiders have no business having a win considering that JaMarcus Russel was just 7 of 24 passing last game. There is a lot not to like about both teams, but I like more of what Denver has to offer, and that makes them attractive. Take the Broncos.
Miami at San Diego - The Dolphins dominated the Colts for much of their Monday night, but they lack the competence on offense to win in a shootout. They are a decent team, but one that could wind up with a very unflattering record. The Chargers have been troubled, but they have more offense than the Dolphins can match. Take the Chargers.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - I am concerned by the lack of a run offense by Pittsburgh, and by their vulnerability to a mid-range pass. Despite that, I think that they are the better team here, and I am really not a believer in the supposed Cincinnati resurgence. Take the Steelers.
Indianapolis at Arizona - I'm going out on a bit of a limb to take the defending NFC champs here. Indianapolis hasn't lost yet, but they have looked decidedly vulnerable in both games. Arizona could make it somewhat uncomfortable for Manning, and they certainly aren't scared of a shootout. Take the Cardinals.
Carolina at Dallas - I think that the Cowboys get too much respect. They are favored by nine points here and that just isn't warranted given their play this year. That being said, I think that they are better than an inconsistent Carolina team right now, and they will be hungry t prove themselves at home after a stadium-opening embarrassment. Take the Cowboys.