PFT’s Week Three Picks

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Last week, I had my chance to pull even with MDS.  Thanks to a Panthers defense that was playing not to lose and a blown coverage at the goal line that guaranteed it, I had prevailed in the only disagreement of the day.

But then came the night game.  And I was one of the “ignorant idiots” who thought the 49ers could beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

The result was a push for the week, with both of us getting 12 right and four wrong.  For the year, I’m 23-9, and MDS is 24-8.

This week, all hell will break loose, Breaking Bad style.  We disagree on SIX of the games.  For all the picks from Week Three, scroll baby, scroll.

Chiefs at Eagles

MDS’s take: Can Andy Reid return to Philadelphia and get his team to 3-0? It would be a great story, but I don’t see it happening: Chip Kelly’s offense will put too many points on the board for Reid’s more conservative offense to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Chiefs 27.

Florio’s take:  Week Two helped everyone make better sense of Week One.  And it appears through both games that the Chiefs doing what coach Andy Reid wants them to do, and that the Eagles are still a work in progress under Chip Kelly.  This may be Big Red’s only chance to win another game in Philly.  It’s unlikely he’ll squander it.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Eagles 20.

Texans at Ravens

MDS’s take: The defending Super Bowl champions just haven’t looked particularly good on either side of the ball this season, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. J.J. Watt is going to make life miserable for Joe Flacco as Houston wins a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Ravens 9.

Florio’s take:  Both teams are banged up a bit, and each has struggled.  Give the home team the edge — even though Ed Reed could end up making the difference for Houston.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Texans 21.

Packers at Bengals

MDS’s take: I like the way the Bengals’ defense is playing, but I like the way Aaron Rodgers is playing more. Expect Rodgers to have a big game as the Packers improve to 2-1.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take:  Green Bay’s defense is better, and its offense at times is unstoppable.  The Packers offensive line has been holding up well enough to let 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers play like a serious contender for 2013 NFL MVP.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Bengals 27.

Giants at Panthers

MDS’s take: I viewed both of these teams as playoff contenders heading into the season, but the loser will be 0-3, and it’s awfully tough for any team to dig itself out of a hole that deep. Both teams have offensive problems that need to be corrected, and I have more confidence in Tom Coughlin and his staff to figure out a way to cut down on the turnovers than I have in Ron Rivera and his staff to find a way to get Cam Newton making big plays again. So I’m leaning toward the Giants in a close one.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Panthers 20.

Florio’s take:  Last year in Week Three, the Giants blew out the Panthers in their own building.  And the Giants still didn’t make the playoffs.  This year, it won’t be as ugly against a Panthers team that has been playing not to lose — and that has no one to cover Victor Cruz.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Panthers 17.

Rams at Cowboys

MDS’s take: I’m not really sold on either of these teams as NFC playoff contenders, although the NFC East looks so weak that the Cowboys just need to hang around .500 all season to stay in the race. I see the Cowboys getting above .500 with a close home win over the Rams.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Rams 17.

Florio’s take:  The all-time series is tied at 11-11 in the regular season, and 4-4 in the postseason.  The easy pick is the Cowboys, who held serve (finally) against the Giants in Week One to start the season.  But the right pick could be the Rams, who held off a Cardinals team that beat the Lions — and who rebounded from a deep deficit against the Falcons to make a game of it on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 24, Cowboys 23.

Browns at Vikings

MDS’s take: I was tempted to pick the upset before the Browns traded Trent Richardson because I thought Richardson could move the ball effectively against the suspect Vikings run defense. But I just can’t pick a team to win on the road with Brian Hoyer as its starting quarterback and no running backs who have carried the ball a single time all season.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Browns 13.

Florio’s take:  Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Bernie Kosar.  It doesn’t matter.  The Trent Richardson trade puts extra pressure on the passing game against a Vikings team playing the first game of its final season in the Metrodome.  Adrian Peterson will show the Browns what they hoped they were getting when they traded up with Minnesota to take Richardson.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 27, Browns 14.

Buccaneers at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Bucs have played better than their 0-2 record suggests. The Patriots have played worse than their 2-0 record suggests. This is a close game, but in the end the Patriots will pull it out at home.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Pats are 2-0 and could be 0-2.  The Bucs are 0-2 and could be 2-0.  But New England is the team with the franchise quarterback and the coach with enough pelts on the wall to justify antisocial behavior.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 20, Buccaneers 10.

Cardinals at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints have started 2-0 without their offense really breaking out yet. Week Three will be when we see Sean Payton’s offense shine.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Cardinals 10.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals are better than anyone thought they’d be.  And that will serve them very well.  But not in New Orleans against the Saints, who also are better than anyone thought they’d be.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Cardinals 24.

Chargers at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense is a lot better than it was last year, and I think Gregg Williams deserves a lot of the credit. Before he was known for Bountygate, Williams was known for devising aggressive schemes that gave opposing quarterbacks fits, and that’s what he’s doing in Tennessee this season. His defense will give Philip Rivers fits on Sunday as the Titans improve to 2-1.

MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Chargers 10.

Florio’s take:  The franchises that squared off in the first two AFL title games get together, with both so far looking like potential playoff teams.  Flip a coin, throw a dart, light a match.  What the Chargers did in Philly was more impressive than what the Titans did in Pittsburgh.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 28, Titans 25.

Lions at Redskins

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one: When Washington has the ball, I could see Robert Griffin III having his best game of the season against a suspect Lions secondary, but I could also see a talented Lions line making life miserable for Griffin. When Detroit has the ball, I could see Matthew Stafford putting up huge numbers against a defense that has looked terrible this year, but I could also see the Lions struggling if Reggie Bush is at less than 100 percent. Ultimately, I think the story of the game will be that Washington still doesn’t have its defensive problems fixed.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Redskins 30.

Florio’s take:  The Lions have never ever ever never ever never won in D.C.  The Redskins have never ever ever never ever never won in 2013, dating back to January.  Though we don’t know whether No. 21 will be available, it’s time for Detroit to end an 0-21 road streak that dates back well before the commencement of the Curse of Bobby Layne.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Redskins 20.

Falcons at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins’ defense is good against the pass and bad against the run. Unfortunately for the Falcons, with Steven Jackson out they can’t take advantage of Miami’s biggest weakness. The Dolphins will improve to 3-0 with a low-scoring win.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 17, Falcons 13.

Florio’s take:  Could the 13-3 Falcons plunge to 1-2?  Yes they could, thanks to an improving Dolphins team that has started the season with a pair of road wins.  Injuries aren’t helping matters for the defending NFC South champions, who’ll need to help their offensive lineman in order to ensure Matt Ryan doesn’t join the list of the limping.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 24, Falcons 20.

Bills at Jets

MDS’s take: It’s billed as the battle of AFC East rookie quarterbacks, but neither Buffalo’s EJ Manuel nor New York’s Geno Smith will be able to do much in a game that will be dominated by defense. I’m picking the Jets to win by a field goal.

MDS’s pick: Jets 9, Bills 6.

Florio’s take:  This battle of rookie quarterbacks will overshadow a far more intriguing subtext relating to the return of former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to face his former boss, Rex Ryan.  The road team simply has the better overall talent.  Which means that, at least for now, the servant becomes the master — and the Bills become the third-best team in the division.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 20, Jets 17.

Colts at 49ers

MDS’s take: Last year the Colts got a lot of good breaks on the way to a surprising playoff run. This year the Colts are getting all kinds of bad breaks, and they’re crashing back to earth. The 49ers will rebound from Sunday’s loss in Seattle and beat the Colts easily.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Colts 10.

Florio’s take:  It’s a Stanford reunion, with Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh and Coby Fleener and Pep Hamiltion reminiscing about their mutual dislike of Pete Carroll and Cal.  After, of course, the 49ers take care of business against a team that saw five of its six total losses in 2012 come when playing away from home.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 35, Colts 20.

Jaguars at Seahawks

MDS’s take: In one of the most lopsided games in recent NFL history, the question isn’t so much who will win as by how much. I think it’s the Seahawks by a lot.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 38, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  The CBS affiliate in Orlando will be apologizing again.  If the Seahawks can beat one of the best teams in the league by 26 in Seattle, this one could be historic.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 45, Jaguars 6.

Bears at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers’ offense has been dismal this season, and the Bears’ defense isn’t going to make things any easier. The Bears improve to 3-0 and the Steelers drop to 0-3.

MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers rarely are on the mat.  When it happens, they find a way to get up.  Eight years ago, they were left for dead after a loss to the Bengals, and the Steelers sparked a run that resulted in a Super Bowl win by beating the Bears at Heinz Field.  Though it’s way too early to even think about playoffs in Pittsburgh (except for the baseball team), it’s not too early to envision a proud franchise mustering enough punch to bring the 2-0 Bears back down to earth a bit.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Bears  16.

Raiders at Broncos

MDS’s take: This is going to be a more competitive game than most people think. The Raiders aren’t quite the doormats that people were expecting them to be. Still, with Tyvon Branch injured, I don’t see any way the Raiders keep Peyton Manning in check, and it’s going to be tough for Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders’ offense to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Raiders 23.

Florio’s take:  Ryan Clady or not, the better-than-expected Raiders still aren’t good enough to hang with the Broncos in their own building.  Look for another big night from Peyton Manning, who knows his supply of prime-time opportunities is dwindling.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 45, Raiders 20.

41 responses to “PFT’s Week Three Picks

  1. The story of the Lions game will be “Will the Lions beat themslves?” The Skins won’t beat em, but that doesn’t mean the Lions won’t lose. The less SOL there is, the more the Lions win by.

  2. I’ll be so embarrassed if we don’t blowout Detroit. We haven’t been trying to win these last two weeks intentionally. Now the season is starting and I expect to winout the rest of 2013. The Lions are an awful team outside of Calvin. Even looking at Calvin, I’d rather have Garçon, Moss and Hankerson, three top 10 WRs. We should win by at least 3 TDs. #BurgundyandGoldStandard

  3. It would be great to see the Packers to to 2-1 with a win on the road. But I see this game as tougher than you guys are predicting.

    Go Pack Go!

  4. Upset special – St. Louis +3.5 over the Cowboys. I didn’t post here for week #1 but last week I posted Minnesota +6 over Chicago as an upset. Almost won even 30-31, but the important thing is – they “got the money”. Trying to start a winning streak it’s the Rams in a hard fought, closely contested game – 24-23.

  5. Redskins 52, Lions 21. OK we’re officially done lollygagging around/letting up as we were the first two weeks. The Burgundy and Gold is about to start taking names and delivering beatdowns like they are used to. RGIII has officially shaken off his rust and is ready to show why he is the best QB since John Elway and THE flagship player this league has to offer. Alfred Morris is going to show Reggie Kardashian why he is a REAL RB and the best RB in Football hands down. The only real threat Detroit has is Calvin Johnson and he’s the best WR no doubt, but give me Pierre Garcon, the #3 ranked WR in Football, along with Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson, two top 10 WRs, anyday. WE are the reason why the NFC East is so interesting. WE are the most popular team in Football. Get out of our way, we are about to winout the rest of 2013 and there’s nothing the rest of you can do about it but accept and like it. Thank God Im a REDSKINS fan!! #Dontbelievemejustwatch

  6. My guess is the streak of the Lions never winning a game in Washington continues. Detroit has never been a good road team, and on the natural grass, they’re going to be that much slower. Washington isn’t as bad as the Packers made them look last week.

  7. logicalvoicesays says:
    Sep 19, 2013 10:18 AM
    I’ll be so embarrassed if we don’t blowout Detroit. We haven’t been trying to win these last two weeks intentionally. Now the season is starting and I expect to winout the rest of 2013. The Lions are an awful team outside of Calvin. Even looking at Calvin, I’d rather have Garçon, Moss and Hankerson, three top 10 WRs. We should win by at least 3 TDs. #BurgundyandGoldStandard


    Your first sentence actually sounded like it was grounded in reality with a smidgen of honesty…and then I read the rest of your post.

    Didn’t you say a day or two ago that Goodell owed an apology to the Redskins for losing the first two games of the season?

  8. As a Vikings fan, I am hoping for an 0-16 season. I can’t begin to tell you how painful it is to watch Ponder flounder with the talent around him. Our D had played surprisingly poor so far. Ponder could be worse than Brian hoyer! Here is hoping for a humiliating upset and the browns win! Our coaching and play callings has been historically bad! To have above average Wideouts and the best back in the game, the predictable, run, run , pass or run, roll-out , pass is so predictable, I don’t know why musgrave has made it this far, it is going to cost Frazier his job! And it should!
    Cleveland 23
    Vikings 20

  9. Wait a minute — both analysts are picking Miami over Atlanta ?
    I’m surprised , but hey , I’ll take it. They still have to deal with the Falcons’ passing attack , though.

  10. That Seattle game is going to be awful. I’ve heard a little chirping that its a trap game.. well, JUST NO. Jax is a mess and I can see Seattle exceeding 50 and that is with their backups in most the game.

  11. Washington was done once teams figured out RGIII. He’s not rusty, just overrated. How many Super Bowls has Michael Vick won? My guess its going to be the same number for RGIII at the end of his career. Ditto for Cam Newton.

  12. This is the last week for the Patriots offense to get on the same page, after this the opponents get much harder, and I’m still not even sure about the outcome of THIS game. I hope they start clicking because they cannot keep misfiring like they have the last 2 weeks.

  13. It would be great to see the Vikings somehow end up with Bridgewater, no doubt they need to draft a QB this year. They’ll never go far with noodle arm mcstaredown receivers, AP deserves better.

  14. While I agree the Bengals will probably lose, Florio’s take on the Packers offensive line playing well isn’t very accurate. They’re already leading the league in giving up sacks at 6 and they’re going against a mean front 4 with the Bengals. I think Rodgers is just that good with getting away from the pressure. Rodgers will see the ground a couple times of course but I do think the Packers offense overwhelms the Bengals D. The secondary is beat up and just isn’t that good in the first place. I see this being a beat down. And yes, I’m a Bengals fan. lol

  15. Nice to see the browns serve up an easy win to the Vikes. This way, the Vikes will have a better record and won’t get as good a QB next year.


    But that’s ok. The Vikes will still reach for a QB.

  16. Eight years ago the Steelers were given up for dead but started their Super Bowl run against the Bears. That’s where the similarities end to this week. The Steelers had talent then – remember Bettis trucking over Urlacher? Troy, Harrison, Ward were all in their prime and the Steelers were under performing.

    You’ve got to have talent to turn it around. Steelers aren’t under performing now – they are who we thought they were. Weak comparison Florio.

  17. Eight years ago, the Steelers had a Super Bowl team. Comparing that 2005 Cowher team to this season’s team is apples to oranges. Plus, losing games in cluster is not uncommon for Tomlin’s Steelers. In 2009, they unleashed hell and lost 5 in a row, and last season they lost 4 in a row.
    I’m not saying the Steelers can’t beat the Bears, but your analogy is severely flawed…

  18. ” Eight years ago, they were left for dead after a loss to the Bengals, and the Steelers sparked a run that resulted in a Super Bowl win by beating the Bears at Heinz Field.”

    Was that the year they viciously tore Carson Palmer’s knee to beat the Bengals in the playoffs?

  19. I watched Broncos’ defense against the Giants. I watched the Panther’s defense against the Seahawks. My opinion is that the Panther’s front seven is better than the Broncos, and thanks to Denver they have a blueprint on how to make Eli’s day miserable.

    Panthers 20, Giants 13.

  20. This might just be my own contrarian nature, but I so desperately want to see the Jags beat the Seahawks, especially because NO ONE thinks it can happen.

    Therefore, Jags by 3 in OT.

  21. myden:
    Jon Kitna stepped for Palmer and actually play very well in that playoff game. What beat the Bengals that day was a promising young quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger played lights out that entire postseason … until the Super Bowl. Sadly and inexplicably, he peaked at the age of 22.

  22. “it’s not too early to envision a proud franchise mustering enough punch to bring the 2-0 Bears back down to earth a bit.”

    It’s not about pride, or punch.

    It’s about the talent. And right now, the Steelers simply can’t match what the Bears have in terms of talent.
    They might have enough left on defense to — maybe– limit the damage the Bears offense can do.

    But the Bears defense, against a crumbling o-line, and a one-dimensional attack (passing only), is going to absolutely maul the Steelers offense. That d-line will finally get right this season (Peppers is just getting over the flu, and off season rust), and will feast on Ben and the ensuing turnovers.

    Add into that the fact that Devin Hester is hot again – and we all know how streaky Hester is. With his confidence back up, on prime time national TV? I bet the ridiculous one brings it.

  23. bobzilla1001 says:
    Sep 19, 2013 2:28 PM
    Jon Kitna stepped for Palmer and actually play very well in that playoff game. What beat the Bengals that day was a promising young quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger played lights out that entire postseason … until the Super Bowl. Sadly and inexplicably, he peaked at the age of 22.

    This isn’t the only ‘peaking’ Ben is known for, though.

  24. the one sentence logicalvoice got right is when it said “thank god im a redskins fan.” i would hate for it to be a fan of my team

  25. “Was that the year they viciously tore Carson Palmer’s knee to beat the Bengals in the playoffs?”

    Wow, so you are calling Palmer a liar? Excellent! Because Palmer specifically said it was clearly an accidental injury. Love that you are hating on Palmer though! Classic!

  26. Jags at Seattle is no trap game. Hawks offense is chomping at the bit to rack up huge numbers after being somewhat frustrated by the Whiners secondary. Look for a huge passing/receiving day by Wilson and all his receivers.

  27. You know… it would be so cool if the poor Jags actually beat Seattle. Cheer for the underdog!

  28. the vikings will never trade adrian and he has a contract till 2018 so good luck on adrian being on a different team.

  29. The real question in the Washington/Detroit game is which of Detroit’s many dirty players will be the one to try to end RGIIs career with a dirty hit? Or will it be more than one? That someone will is the only sure thing about this game.

    Not a Washington fan but I hope RGIII gets out alive.

  30. Mike you’re roots are showing by picking Pittsburg….but that’s ok, it’s hard to look your baby in the face and realize it’s ugly.

  31. I dont like the redskins at all (i’m a giants fan) but i hate to see anyone get hurt. and i’m worried for RG’s health when he plays with a surgically repaired body part against the lions, who are more about causing injuries than the saints ever were.

    as for my team, this will be one of those games where the better coach prevails in the end.

    Giants 24 Carolina 17

  32. Jacksonville, you have no chance. You’re going up against a quarterback who can throw game-winning interceptions.

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