NFL Week 3 Picks

October 4, 2015 on 4:58 pm | In NFL | No Comments

Week 2 was one to forget for a lot of teams.  It also was one to forget for folks like yours truly when it comes to picks.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the odds are good for 2-0 teams to make the playoffs and not so good for 0-2 squads to reach the postseason.  However, an even bigger deal is 3-0 compared to 0-3.  Nine teams are trying to make it to 3-0, whereas eight teams are hoping to avoid the dread 0-3 start.

On Thursday night, both my father – Mike Hatfield – and I – Matthew Hatfield – took the NY Giants to grab their first win.  My call was 24-14 and Big Blue came through with a 32-21 win.  Let’s now move to the rest of the Week 3 slate, starting with how records stack up . . .

Matthew Hatfield 17-15, 15-17 ATS, 5-2 Locks, 2-2 Upsets
Week 2 – 6-10 SU & ATS , 2-2 Locks, 1-1 Upsets

Mike Hatfield:  16-16
Week 2 – 5-11

Week 3 Slate:

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1) . . . Which Rams team will show up, the one that outlasted reigning two-time NFC Champion Seattle in overtime or the one that got run all over in a 24-10 loss at Washington?  St. Louis has one of the fiercest defensive fronts in football, led by Aaron Donald.  They’ll have to contend with Pittsburgh’s two running backs, DeAngelo Williams and Le’Veon Bell, now back from a two-game suspension.  Furthermore, Pittsburgh’s passing game is deadly with QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown.  What might determine the outcome is the St. Louis offense against the Pittsburgh defense.

Matt Says:  St. Louis 17-16 (STL -1)
Mike Says:  Pittsburgh

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-2) . . . The big difference in both teams’ start?  Cincinnati is +3 in turnover margin and Baltimore is -2.  Baltimore has its backs against the wall, and without injured pass rushing stud Terrell Suggs, they may have to turn to their own offense led by QB Joe Flacco to keep up with a Cincy offense that seems to be on the rise with RB’s Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill as well as TE Tyler Eifert.

Matt Says:  Cincinnati 26-21 (CIN +1.5)
Mike Says:  Baltimore

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0) . . . There probably isn’t a bigger mismatch on the board this week, outside of maybe Seattle/Chicago, than this game.  Jacksonville deserves credit for beating the Dolphins after a lackluster effort in the opener against Carolina.  Blake Bortles and company can’t win a shoot-out with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, who’s playing not only like one of the best tight ends in football but like one of the best players in general.  The Patriots seldom ever lose at home and it would be a total stunner if Jacksonville prevails in Foxboro.

Matt Says:  New England 42-16 (NE -14)
Mike Says:  New England

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-1) . . . Trouble in Indy?  Andrew Luck has the most interceptions thrown in the league since last year, which is surprising given that that he’s widely considered one of the top quarterbacks in the sport.  But all the problems don’t fall at Luck’s feet; their running game has been woeful, the offensive line is struggling to protect him and they’ve had occasional lapses on defense.  They can’t afford to lose a division game or else they will go from being a Super Bowl pick by many (including me regrettably right about now) to a team that will have a hard time reaching the playoffs.  Tennessee’s defense isn’t great and fits around the middle-of-the-pack.

Matt Says:  Indy 28-14 (IND -3.5)
Mike Says:  Tennessee

New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0) . . . It’s looking more and more like a regime change may be coming in New Orleans.  Sure, the Saints have had plenty of success under Sean Payton, winning a Super Bowl, but starting quarterback Drew Brees is out with an injury and their defense has been hit for 57 points through two games.  Carolina’s defense, headed up by LB Luke Kuechly, has been much sharper in limiting its first two foes to just 26 points.  Look for Kuechly, QB Cam Newton and the Panthers to stay atop the NFC South, a division they’re trying to win for a third straight year.

Matt Says:  Carolina 20-13 (NO +9.5)
Mike Says:  Carolina

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Houston Texans (0-2) . . . Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston bounced back from a sluggish debut in a loss to Tennessee at home by leading his team to a road victory over New Orleans.  Can they actually win two in a row away from home and beat a J.J. Watt-led Texans team?  Houston’s pass rush has the ability to get under his skin in this one and set the offense up with good field position to keep from falling to 0-3.

Matt Says:  Houston 18-10 (HOU -6)
Mike Says:  Houston

Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0) . . . If somebody said this would be a 2-0 vs. 0-2 matchup before the season, most would’ve figured the Eagles would be 2-0 and the Jets 0-2.  That’s not the case as first-year Head Coach Todd Bowles, formerly the defensive coordinator in Arizona, has the Jets thinking playoffs.  Their secondary, headlined by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, is playing like one of the best around.  Philly has more offensive talent than their NFC-East low 34 points would indicate, and now is the time that they must show it to keep from imploding.

Matt Says:  Philly 27-14 (PHI +3)
Mike Says:  Philly

San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1) . . . The Chargers have now won at Minnesota since 1993.  Meanwhile, the Vikings have won four straight at home.  This figures to be a battle where the Vikes lean on their running game with Adrian Peterson and San Diego relies on the passing attack with QB Philip Rivers.  On interesting sidebar is that the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, used to be the Head Coach of San Diego.

Matt Says:  Minnesota 23-16 (MN -2)
Mike Says:  San Diego

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) . . . Oakland has dropped 19 of its last 20 on the road.  Even with the Raiders performing well in their home win over the Ravens, that doesn’t bode well for them facing a Cleveland team that was opportunistic in beating Tennessee and has some underrated pieces on defense.  The Browns may be able to make one more play via their defense or special teams to edge out the Raiders to get to 2-1.

Matt Says:  Cleveland 21-20 (OAK +3.5)
Mike Says:  Cleveland

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0) . . . Life without Tony Romo officially begins for Dallas as the quarterback is on the shelf for a while due to injury and Brandon Weeden is the starter for now.  Matt Ryan is only 28-29 as a starter on the road for Atlanta and faces a Dallas defense that ranks second in the league in yards per play allowed at just 4.4.  On the flip side, are the Cowboys equipped to contain WR Julio Jones, who’s playing at a different level?

Matt Says:  Atlanta 31-24 (ATL PK)
Mike Says:  Atlanta

Buffalo Bills (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1) . . . It’s safe to say that the Bills were humbled by New England last week, losing 40-32.  While Tyrod Taylor had three interceptions in that game, he has produced enough to maintain the starting job as he’s the first Bills signal caller to have four passing touchdowns and a rushing score through the first time two games since Joe Ferguson in 1975.  Jarvis Landry is quickly becoming a big-play weapon in the passing game and on returns for Miami, but the Dolphins will have to be at the top of their game defensive to contain Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins.

Matt Says:  Buffalo 20-14 (BUF +1)
Mike Says:  Miami

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0) . . . Rather quietly, the Arizona Cardinals are developing into a threat in the NFC.  Carson Palmer is 18-6 as the team’s starting quarterback and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had somewhat of a re-birth in Chicago last week with three touchdown receptions to show that he’s not over-the-hill or on the decline.  San Francisco may be on the decline though; they went from a big Monday night win over Minnesota to get thumped in Pittsburgh.

Matt Says:  Arizona 28-10 (AZ -7)
Mike Says:  Arizona

Chicago Bears (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2) . . . Pretty easy to figure out why Seattle is favored by more than two touchdowns here in this spot.  They have star safety Kam Chancellor back after he missed the first two weeks of the season due to a contract holdout.  Chicago has struggled mightily thus far, and with Jimmy Clausen taking over for the injured Jay Cutler at quarterback, things probably won’t get much better going to noisy Seattle with their 12th man.

Matt Says:  Seattle 31-7 (SEA -16.5)
Mike Says:  Seattle

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Detroit Lions (0-2) . . . Even though Denver is 2-0, they could easily be 1-1 or 0-2 as they had to sweat out close wins over Kansas City and Baltimore in the previous weeks.  At home in front of a big TV audience on Sunday Night Football, the Lions have the ability to strike quick with their offense featuring QB Matt Stafford and stud receiver Calvin Johnson.  It might take a little of the old Peyton Manning gunslinger type, rather than the new game-manager, to win this on the road.

Matt Says:  Detroit 27-21 (DET +3)
Mike Says:  Denver

Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (2-0) . . . You know the Chiefs are still smarting from that Thursday Night Football home loss to Denver, where they led in the fourth quarter by a touchdown before two late scores did them in to drop to 1-1.  Green Bay has won nine straight at home and it doesn’t look like the loss of star receiver Jordy Nelson has slowed down Aaron Rodgers and the Pack attack that much.

Matt Says:  Green Bay 34-17 (GB -5.5)
Mike Says:  Green Bay

Matt Hat’s Hits:
LOCKS – NY Giants -3, New England -14, Seattle -16.5, Arizona -7 and Green Bay -6.5
UPSET SPECIALS – Philly SU & +3 and Detroit SU & +3

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