NFL Office Pool Picks Week 3
by Trevor Whenham - 9/16/2014
Once or twice a season in the NFL there is a week that, as a handicapper, you just want to forget about. Week 2 was absolutely one of those weeks for me. Ouch. Double ouch. A lot of what happened didn't make a lot of sense, and even some of the less-surprising results weren't ultimately the ones I predicted. You have to have a short memory in this game, though, so instead of dwelling on a series of wrong picks we'll brush ourselves off get back at it again:
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: I had some reasonable hopes for the Bucs this year, but so far they have been a disappointment. There was no excuse for them to lose at home to St. Louis. Of course, Atlanta can't exactly be proud after their dud of a showing in Cincinnati. Not a great game by any means, but Atlanta should have an edge here. Take the Falcons.
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San Diego at Buffalo: If I'd made a list of teams most likely to start the season 2-0, the Bills wouldn't have been at the bottom of it, but they'd have been close. They have been impressive, though, and that makes this a very tough game to call. I have huge respect for the Chargers, and their win over the Seahawks was no fluke. This is a tough trip for them, though, and there could be a letdown. Still, San Diego is the better all-around team, and that matters here. Take the Chargers.
Dallas at St. Louis: Both teams are 1-1. Both teams are messy. Neither team has a quarterback situation worth trusting. The one thing the Rams have going for them is that they are going to be able to disrupt Tony Romo. Good things happen for opponents when they do that. Take the Rams.
Washington at Philadelphia: An injury is an upgrade here - Kirk Cousins should have been starting all along, and he proved it when he got his shot on Sunday. But will it be enough here? I don't think so. Not in Philadelphia. Take the Eagles. Just don't look for them to take the lead early -- this is a team that only seems to care about the fourth quarter.
Houston at N.Y. Giants: The Giants are a team with a lot of issues, and they are only going to get worse with each of the many losses they endure this year. The Texans aren't as good as their 2-0 record, but they are good enough to beat New York. Take the Texans.
Minnesota at New Orleans: The Saints are 0-2. That just doesn't make sense - at least not until you look at the mess their defense has been so far this year. Minnesota can't throw the ball, and their running game can't be trusted until we know with certainty what Adrian Peterson's status will be this week. Even New Orleans' porous defense can't make this team look good. Take the Saints.
Tennessee at Cincinnati: I don't like a lot of things about Cincinnati, but I could like them a lot less than I still do and I would still have to pick them to beat Tennessee. The Titans are a mess of a team right now. Take the Bengals.
Baltimore at Cleveland: The Ravens looked brilliant on Thursday night. Cleveland was shockingly respectable against New Orleans. Which team can surprise again? Baltimore is the better team, but I suspect that this week is when the reality of the Ray Rice loss weighs on them - adrenaline carried them through it last week. Take the Browns.
Green Bay at Detroit: Both teams should be easy playoff squads. But both teams have had one mystifyingly awful loss. The difference, though, is that Green Bay didn't look any good in their win, either. Take the Lions.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Reality hit Jacksonville hard last week - the just aren't good enough right now. They are trending in the right direction, but it is going to take a while. The Colts similarly had to rebuild in a big way, but they are years further ahead -- even if they have the same 0-2 record. Take the Colts.
Oakland at New England: New England is going to win this one. Easily. They have not looked great this year, but Oakland makes everything look better. Take the Patriots.
San Francisco at Arizona: I probably would have picked the Cardinals in this one no matter what - I like them a lot, and they are at home. I'll definitely pick them now, though, after that San Francisco debacle in the fourth quarter against the Bears. So ugly. There are plenty of issues by the Bay. Take the Cardinals.
Denver at Seattle: This game lost a little luster after the Seahawks got handled by the Chargers and Denver tried their hardest to lose to Kansas City. The two teams widely assumed to be the best in the league have some blemishes. That doesn't mean they are bad -- just not immortal. Seattle is at home, though, and that makes much more of a difference for them than it should. Take the Seahawks.
Kansas City at Miami: First week - the Dolphins looked brilliant. Second week - horrible. Which squad shows up this week? Luckily, it doesn't seem like it matters here. Kansas City has not looked particularly good, and injuries are a concern. Take the Dolphins.
Pittsburgh at Carolina: The Bills are the most surprising 2-0 team, but the Panthers are certainly in the discussion, too. I like a lot about this team, though, and they have answered some of the major concerns I had coming into the year - like their receiving woes. Pittsburgh can't score, and I don't really see that changing in a hurry. Take the Panthers.
Chicago at N.Y. Jets: I was very high on the Bears heading into the season, and I was really worried about that - until the fourth quarter of their second game. That comeback against San Francisco was just plain impressive. They will ride a wave of momentum against a Jets team that just isn't very good. Take the Bears.
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