By Neil Keefe
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Ah, Week 3. The week where things finally start to come together and make sense. Or as much sense as picking NFL games by the spread can make.
In Week 1, you have teams making you rethink everything you thought about them all offseason (especially with a shortened preseason). In Week 2, you have the danger of Vegas reacting to what they saw in Week 1, and building their lines off of that. Now we’re in Week 3 where things like “the Lions are good” and “the Bills are decent” and “the Redskins aren’t so bad” and “the Chiefs suck” begin to be justified.
The one thing we don’t know is how good the Giants are or if they’re even good at all (I’m leaning toward the latter). But to be 1-1 right now heading to Philly with Michael Vick’s status not really known meaning they might face a lesser Eagles team? I’ll take it, but I’m still nervous to wear the Eli Manning jersey my girlfriend gave me for my birthday last week because I feel like I might tear my ACL if I put it on. We are going to learn a lot about the Giants this week when they head to friendly Philadelphia and play their first real Super Bowl contender of the season. I can only hope that on Monday you will be reading something written by me that says the season is saved and that things are looking up and making comparison between 2011 and 2007. I can only hope.
Last week I apologized for my Week 1 catastrophe (6-8-2) by going out and throwing a gem (11-4-1). I told you I would I come back better and I did. (See A.J. Burnett, not everyone is lying when they are saying they will be better next time.) This week I’m expecting to compete at a high level once again.
Week 3! Let’s go!
(Home team in caps)
CINCINNATI -3 over San Francisco
NFC West team on the road? Yes, please.
Vegas still isn’t completely sold that the 49ers are terrible and that they are being overhyped for yet another season. Well, I hope this game changes their mind.
New England -8.5 over BUFFALO
A lot of people are taking the Bills this week. A LOT. Here’s my question: If the Patriots win the coin toss and receive and go down the field and score a touchdown and there is still 13:12 left on the clock in the first quarter … how confident are these people going to feel then?
I’m not saying the Bills won’t play the Patriots tight or that they wont score a garbage time touchdown to cover in the final minute, but what I’m saying is that is that I’m not ready to go against Tom Brady.
Houston +4 over NEW ORLEANS
Take. The. Over.
New York Giants +7 over PHILADELPHIA
How scared am I of the possibilities this matchup presents? Scared enough to wonder if it is worth even watching. Do I really need to put myself through watching Michael Vick complete a third-and-29 or having FOX show highlights from Week 15 last year every time the Giants send out the punting unit? What’s even better is I will be watching this game with my friend Connor, an Eagles fan that has been taunting me through emails since Monday. Maybe I should find something else to do on Sunday at 1:00.
Miami +2.5 over CLEVELAND
The Browns suck and so do the Dolphins, and Vegas thinks they equally suck, so we have a three-point line. Now my job is to figure out who sucks less. I’m a believer in this “Dolphins suck at home” theory because they are 1-12 in their last 13 home games. So, I’m going with the Dolphins on the road.
TENNESSEE -6.5 over Denver
I watched the Broncos first game because it was on Monday Night Football. After every incomplete pass and every failed third-down conversion and every turnover, the crowd was relentlessly booing Kyle Orton and starting “Tim Tebow” chants. The game was played in Denver.
Last week the Broncos squeaked out a two-point win against the Bengals, who many thought (and still think) to be the worst team in the league. But my favorite low point of the Broncos season has to be in Week 1 when Brady Quinn was talking to Kyle Orton on the sidelines and wearing eye black. Only Brady Quinn would wear eye black during a night game in Denver and only he would wear it thinking that he might see the field other than during warmups or the postgame handshakes.
I think the Broncos will play better on the road than they have at home because their quarterback doesn’t have to worry about finding his car flipped over or on fire in the player’s parking lot like Derek Lowe had to when he was the closer for the Red Sox. But it won’t be good enough to win or even cover.
Detroit -3.5 over MINNESOTA
When you’re giving nine points and you get to that plateau and never look back, you’re instantly one of my favorite teams to pick in favor of. And that’s why I have been on StubHub and eBay for the last seven hours trying to get a ticket on the Lions bandwagon.
The Vikings blew a lead against the Chargers. The Vikings blew a lead against the Buccaneers. I don’t think they will ever have a lead against the Lions, but if they do, they will blow that one too.
CAROLINA -3.5 over Jacksonville
Does anyone think the Jaguars threw away their season when they decided to release David Garrard? Yeah, me too.
Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat after letting his starting quarterback go prior to Week 1 and now he’s already on his second quarterback of the regular season and third since preseason. Like a poor travel planner packing only three pairs of underwear for a five-day trip, Del Rio is running out of options. This week Del Rio is giving the ball to Sunshine (Blaine Gabbert) from Remember the Titans against Cam Newton who is making everyone think the NFL isn’t that hard to break in to.
SAN DIEGO -14.5 over Kansas City
I always take the points when the Chargers are home. Whether it’s 7 or 8.5 or 10, I take the points. But how can I here? How can I take the points when the team getting 14.5 points has scored 10 points in two weeks and given up 89? I could take the points and play it safe, but I can also envision it being 14-0 Chargers after two drives with the Chargers moving the ball effortlessly down the field on their third drive. I don’t trust Philip Rivers or Norv Turner or the San Diego special teams, but this week I have no choice.
New York Jets -3 over OAKLAND
When the lines first came out, I saw this and thought, “FREE MONEY!!!” Then I remembered that the Jets are playing a center that has never played before, that they seem shaky on the road the last couple of years and that the Raiders defense is going to be crazy in their home opener and that the Raiders have a much better running game than the Jets. For some reason, I still like the Jets even considering all those things.
Baltimore -4 over ST. LOUIS
This is my favorite line of the week for people that are going to do something with these lines other than read them. I watched the Giants give up 1,689 yards to the Rams on Monday Night Football and still beat them. The Giants defense shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as the Ravens defense. The Ravens giving four points is a gift. And when you’re given a gift, you need to make sure you know what to do with it.
Atlanta +1.5 over TAMPA BAY
I was down on the Falcons after their Week 1 embarrassment. I’m up on them this week after they handed the Eagles their first loss of the season and gave the Giants a banged-up Eagles team to play. Thanks, Atlanta.
Arizona -3.5 over SEATTLE
I was watching a little of the Brewers-Cubs game the other night for no reason other than that I have MLBTV. Cubs fans were standing and doing the two-strike clap and going nuts when the Cubs scored like the game actually meant anything. I always wonder how people can cope with their team being terrible year after year after year and still sit there on Sept. 21 when they’re mathematically eliminated and get excited about pitches and at-bats that mean absolutely nothing. (I had to go through this only once in 2008 and it was terrible. I know I’m spoiled. Sorry.)
This is how I feel about NFC West matchups. Cardinals-Seahawks? Come on. There are only 17 weeks of football each year and we have to waste two weeks every year with this being one of the matchups.
I’m taking the Cardinals because I think they will get to seven wins this season and that’s good enough for a postseason berth in the NFL!
Green Bay -3.5 over CHICAGO
The Packers sort of ruined my theory that their lines would get out of control when they decided to not cover (and almost lose) in Carolina. They are still giving points on the road in a division game, but not as many as they should be.
I watched the Bears-Saints game last week for three minutes and Jay Cutler was sacked on every play I saw. So, when he was asked if he could survive the season getting sacked at this rate, he said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” That’s what you want to hear from your starting quarterback before facing the defending champions.
Cutler went on to say, “We’re 1-1. There’s still a lot of football to be played. If this continues, then obviously we’re gonna have a problem. We’re gonna have to address it.” Isn’t you talking to the media addressing it? Just wondering.
(When I was looking for the Jay Cutler quote on Google, I clicked “Maps” instead of “News” and apparently there is a Jay M Cutler M.D. in Englishtown, N.J. He might want to change his name.)
Pittsburgh -10.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
If you’re in a survivor pool, here’s your pick. I think that’s all that needs to be said.
DALLAS -6.5 over Washington
When I see Tony Romo running around with defensive linemen chasing him and leading his team to a fourth quarter comeback with one of his ribs sticking through one of his lungs, it makes me laugh at the thought of a pitcher losing their balance on the mound after a pitch and having two trainers, the manager and all the infielders come check on them.
I don’t think the Redskins are a good team. (I know. Who am I as a Giants fan to say this?) Yes, right now they are 2-0 and my friend Ray is probably giving himself beer showers every morning before work (with his work clothes on) because of this, but I don’t think this party is going to last.
LAST WEEK: 11-4-1
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilKeefe