Antigonish - September 29, 2012 - Thud! That was the sound of my Week 3 picks going 0 for 5, courtesy of a major upset (49’ers losing to Vikings), a last minute barely madeFG (Ravens vs. Pats), an upset that failed to materialize (Rams vs. Bears), the Raiders offense suddenly waking up to win by a FG (vs. the Steelers), and the Saints losing by a FG in a barnburner to the Chiefs (Jamal Charles went supernova in this one) to shockingly start the season 0-3! I did not make a pick in the Green Bay game, but have to confess that my pick would have been the Packers, who, of course, lost in such controversial fashion that the NFL saw fit to agree to terms with their regular referees. To top it all off, my Colts had their game vs. the Jags all but won with a Vinateri FG before giving it away with a last minute 80 yd TD from Blaine Gabbert to Cecil Shorts! No, Week 3 was most definitely not my week!
The "O-fer" had to happen sometime, as these are games, after all, and one never knows with any degree of certainty who will win, otherwise, why play? That said, with Pigskin picks now off to an embarrassing 6 for 15 start, I have some major work to do to get back to a respectable level (my season goal remains 80%), and intend to do just that in Week 4.
Perhaps submitting my picks prior to Saturday will help. Here goes.
Lock of the Week:Cleveland at Baltimore - The Browns look to have found a stud RB in Trent Richardson, although the jury is still out on QB Brandon Weeden, who must make some noise through the air to create some running room for Richardson versus the tough Ravens D. Baltimore is coming off a last second victory over the Patriots, and has to be considered one of the favorites in the AFC at this point in the season. Look for the Ravens to prove too much for the Browns, who will be without top CB Joe Haden (suspension), and will simply not be able to match up against the powerhouse Ravens. Ravens win!
Upset of the Week: New Orleans at Green Bay - Packers fans are seething after getting robbed by replacement refs vs. Seattle - they may be even more upset after this one. While both teams were seen as the class of the NFC at the start of the season, New Orleans has started a shocking 0-3, and are obviously missing suspended coach Sean Payton a great deal. Green Bay has likewise disappointed with a 1-2 start (although there should be an * on the second loss). The Packers have struggled with pass protection, and although Aaron Rogers should still get his yards through the air, look for Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham and company to finally get their first win of the year in what promises to be a shootout. Saints win!
Carolina at Atlanta - Panthers QB Cam Newton was the toast of the NFL last year as a rookie. This year, he has looked more like toast, taking criticism from teammates for sulking on the bench, and from local media for failing to build on last years’ success. While shaky defense and a non-existent running game have not helped “Superman”, Newton needs to step it up in a big way if the Panthers are to stay in this one. The Falcons, meanwhile, have been hitting on all cylinders as QB Matt Ryan makes his case for early season MVP by leaning on a star WR corps and a quick strike offense. Falcons win!
San Francisco at New York Jets - Coming off a huge upset loss to the Vikings, look for the 49’ers to rebound against the Jets, who are without star CB Darrell Revis, the heart of their defense. The 49’ers and revitalized QB Alex Smith may have struggled if forced to throw on “Revis Island”, but the Jets’ defense is based on tough run defense combined with their cornerback’s ability to play shut down defense - this will surely be tested minus Revis. Look for the stalwart 49er defense to give QB Mark Sanchez fits, and for the 49’ers to prevail. 49’ers win!
Game of the Week - New York Giants at Philadelphia - Two of the game’s best defensive lines look to wreak havoc on their opponents QB’s in this marquee matchup. There is much to like about this game, as each team boasts an explosive offense, and while QB’s Michael Vick and Eli Manning have lots of weapons, each will have their hands full with the other teams respective pass rushes. Whichever of the two manages that the best will likely win the game. My money here is on the embattled Vick, whose mobility may just give him the edge - with calls from fans and media for him to be replaced, look for him to respond with a big game when his team needs it most. Eagles win!