21 September 2006

2006 Week 3 Picks

This is a totally winnable game, but it's not the gimme we all initially thought it was. The 49ers are looking like a much tougher opponent than they looked last season (admittedly not that challenging, but still). Alex Smith has some experience now, and they've put up a decent amount of points in their first two games (47 total), but they're still 1-1 after playing two pretty crummy teams. On the other hand, as I predicted last week, it looks like we're going to have to sit Westy this week. So we'll get a chance to see what Buck's made of. And if anyone can fill The Freak's cleats. And if our secondary can recover from the loss of Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood. Piece of advice? If we're up by 20 points at the half, maybe we should just keep on pounding those nails into their coffin, hm? And Akers? You might want to think about taking one more step to the left. The right upright's feeling the hate for you. I see us winning a high scoring game as long as we don't fall asleep at the wheel in the fourth quarter again.

In the other games...

Can the Bucs score their first win against a Panther team that is struggling without Steve Smith? No. N-O. End of story.

Pre-season, I would have predicted a low-scoring game in the Bears/Vikings matchup, with the Bears D winning it for them after their O is only able to put up a couple of FGs. Uh, no. This is probably going to be a pretty hot game - Rex Grossman is playing great so far, and if he manages to make it out of this game in one piece, will tie his NFL games played in a season record. And the Vikings are looking surprisingly good with a brand-new head coach and no real "stars" on the team. They beat the Skins (OK, without Clinton Portis) and the Panthers (OK, without Steve Smith), but after last year's fiasco of a season, two wins against two 2005 playoff teams is pretty damn good. I'm still calling a Bears win, but I think it's going to be a close game.

How's Big Ben feeling this week? Probably pretty fired up to go kick some a** after the Steelers' disappointing loss to the Jags on MNF. But it's hard to get a feel for the 2006 Steelers yet. They lost some key players in the off-season, and it might be affecting them, but given the fact that Roethlisberger hasn't played a healthy game for them yet, it's hard to say. Anyway, I'm picking the Bengals.

Packers/Lions is my official pick for Most Painful Game of the Week.

In the Colts/Jags matchup, I'd normally pick the Colts (until the playoffs, of course). Even as well as the Jags have been playing so far this year, I'd be inclined to pick the Colts. Even though I picked the Jags to win the division, I'd be inclined to pick the Colts. The Jags just don't put up enough points. But something like 1/3 of the Colts are on IR at this point. Can Peyton Manning still put up 40+ points if he's being protected by guys who were playing for NFL Europe last week and throwing to guys from the practice squad? Not likely. Call it Jags in an unusually low-scoring game.

Jets/Bills...eh. Both teams are 1-1 after beating a bad team and losing to a decent team. Both look better this year than last, but AFC East is just a seriously weak division no matter how you slice it. At least Vinny Testaverde hasn't made an appearance on either roster (yet), and that's got to be a good sign.

Titans/Dolphins - wait, I might have to revise that Most Painful Game of the Week pick. Yikes. Culpepper has so far thrown three INTs and only one TD. This is not a positive trend.

Texans looked like a gimme for the Redskins pre-season. Not anymore. With Clinton Portis likely to return, hopefully the Skins can find an offense. And it's pretty easy to get to David Carr, so that should provide a needed confidence boost to the Skins D. With all their expensive talent, if they can't win this game, they should probably pack it in.

Browns are playing the Ravens. Poor Browns. No win for you this week, either.

Can the Giants take the Seahawks? For the sake of our standing, I hope not! They should be pumped after they managed to steal the game right out from under us last week, but they may have spent too much physical and emotional energy getting that win to be able to sustain the hype. And the Seahawks get to activate Deion Branch this week. They're 2-0 after playing two terrible teams, so the Super Bowl Curse may still bite them (hey, we were 3-1 in week 4 last year). Honestly, this one could go either way.

Rams/Cardinals - ugh! Now I'm thinking I need to revise my Most Painful Game of the Week pick AGAIN. How can there be so many bad teams so soon?

The Broncos/Pats game is going to be a lot worse than it looked in the pre-season. Both teams have looked pretty shaky so far.

And for MNF, I'm picking the Saints to beat the Falcons in their home opener/re-opening of the Superdome. The Superdome is totally sold out for the first time since about its construction, and the Saints are owed after everything they've been through in the past year. Oh, shut up! I know it's a dumb pick. I'm picking it anyway. So there.

Oh - King Kaufman's picks are at least as funny as mine, and probably more accurate.


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