Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sportszilla's NFL Picks: Week 3
By Zach

So this week Ben and I decided that we'd start providing our NFL picks to you, free of charge. We're going to try and post them a little sooner than 2 am Sunday morning, but we're still working out the kinks. Anyhow, on to the picks (home teams in bold):

Eagles -7.5 Raiders

Ben takes: Eagles. From one Bay team to another, the Raiders are a step up from the Niners. But at home against that poor defense, and Kerry Collins' questionable decision making against the Eagles' own solid D, you've got to go with the better team. Wrong.

Zach takes: Eagles. When I thought this game was in Oakland, I was going to take the Raiders. I still think they might make a game of it. But I just don't see how they're going to stop McNabb, Owens, and Co. Wrong.

Rams -6.5 Titans

Ben takes: Rams. The Rams have looked like one of the NFL's most disappointing 1-1 teams so far. But both their games were on the road on grass. Their offense is a different beast entirely in the dome. They win by double digits over a bad Tennessee team. Wrong.

Zach takes: Rams. Boy, I really hate the Rams. And they're not very good. But I have a feeling the Titans just played their best game of the year last week against Baltimore. And they've got no one to guard Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Wrong.

Bears +3 Bengals

Ben takes: Bengals. The Bears defense is good enough to win games against the Lions of the world. But the Bengals are a different beast entirely. I doubt the Bears will be able to put up more than two offensive scores in this game, and I just don't think that's enough even to cover. Right.

Zach takes: Bengals. Boy, two of my sleeper playoff picks. I really like both defenses, but the difference is that the Bengals have the offensive weapons (Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson, Carson Palmer) to make plays, while the Bears don't. But I wouldn't be stunned if I were wrong. Right.

Jets -3 Jaguars

Ben takes: Jets. The only thing I hate picking more than two score spreads is picking Jets/Giants games. The road is a tough place to win the NFL and the Jags offense doesn't scare me. The Jets offense doesn't either, but I think they do enough to win this one. 3 points isn't enough for me to pick the Jags. Wrong.

Zach takes: Jets. Again, what looks to be a matchup of two playoff teams. But the Jets are at home, and Byron Leftwich, while tough, is hurting. I think the Jags are going to struggle to put up more than 10 points, and that's very rarely enough to win in the NFL. Wrong.

Dolphins +3.5 Panthers

Ben takes: Panthers. The beat up Panthers D faces one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Miami even couldn't generate a run game against the Broncos miserable D-Line. Banged up as they are, the Panthers are still loads better. Teams with solid Ds are going to be bad match ups for the Fish all year; they just won't score. Wrong.

Zach takes: Panthers. Sure, their D is banged up, but the Dolphins will again struggle to move the ball against any team that doesn't have horsies on the helmets. This could get ugly. Wrong.

Colts -13.5 Browns

Ben takes: Browns. I hate two score spreads and this one is nearly two TDs. I expect the Colts to win, but it wouldn't surprise me to see this one end in the 35- 24 variety, with the Browns putting up garbage points late. Even with the Colts at home, take the points. Right.

Zach takes: Browns. I freely admit this is a totally biased pick, since for some reason I'm stuck starting Trent Dilfer, Reuben Droughens, and Steve Heiden in my Fantasy Football league. But hey, wierd stuff happens in the NFL. Right.

Vikings -3.5 Saints

Ben takes: Vikings. Daunte's not that bad. The Saints aren't that good. Remember, the Vikings faced a resurgent Bucs D at home in week 1, then went on the road outdoors in week 2. Week 3, on the turf, against a mediocre Saints D should get the Vikes in the win column comfortably. Right.

Zach takes: Saints. Umm, has anyone watched the Vikings the last two weeks? I mean, yeah, the Saints D isn't the Buccaneers or Bengals, but still. Daunte Culpepper has to prove he's not going to throw the ball to the wrong-colored guys three or four times before I believe in him again. Plus, the Vikings have no run game and questions at reciever. The Saints make up for a disappointing "home" opener and get back in the win column. Wrong.

Packers -3.5 Buccaneers

Ben takes: Buccaneers. You're kidding. Have the oddsmakers seen the Packers D? They lost to the Browns at home. The Lambaeu advantage ain't what it used to be and neither are the Pack. Expect the Cadillac to roll out of town with the outright win. Right.

Zach takes: Buccaneers. Again, has anyone in Vegas been watching the NFC North? I mean, the Packers are 0-2, their top receiver is out for the year, Brett Favre looks 55, not 35, and their D couldn't stop my intramural touch football team. Yet, they're still favored against a 2-0 Tampa Bay team? Yeah, they're at home...but newsflash, they're 4-6 at Lambeau in their last 10. I'd take the Bucs even if they were laying a touchdown, so I'll gladly take the points. Right.

Bills -3 Falcons

Ben takes: Bills. Defensive struggle of the week. Do you trust either QB in a big spot? The difference? The Bills won't let Losman make a mistake. On the other hand their defense will generate the late turnover out of Vick that gives them the win. Wrong.

Zach takes: Falcons. I've got a hunch that Mike Vick's injury might actually be good for the Falcons, if it makes him focus on his passing game. Besides, even with one good leg he's still way better than J.P. Losman. The Falcons will stack the box against Willis McGahee, and Losman won't be able to do enough to make them pay. Right.

Seahawks -6 Cardinals

Ben takes: Cardinals. I overrated the Cardinals coming into the year. But this is the type of team they can score on. The Seahawks will do the same. But take the points in this one and figure the red birds keep it close. Wrong.

Zach takes: Seahawks. As Bill Simmons said this week, "The Cardinals are the
Clippers of the NFL: every few years, they can suck you into thinking they might be good ... and then the season starts." They certainly sucked Ben in, since he picked them to win the NFC West. I, on the other hand, don't think the Seahawks are great, but I do know that any team with Kurt Warner at the helm is easy pickings. Right.

49ers +6.5 Cowboys

Ben takes: Cowboys. The Niners stink. Well coached teams run over teams like that. Hence the Rams in week 1 and the Eagles in week 2. Tough to be giving up a TD on the road, but figure the Boys bounce back against the NFL's worst team. Wrong.

Zach takes: 49ers. Since I've gotten to see plenty of late game collapses over the last two years as a Seahawk fan, I know the sort of effect they can have on the team. Even though the 49ers are bad, the Cowboys offense stinks. I'm not sure they'll score enough to blow the Niners out. So take the points and the home team. Right.

Steelers -3 Patriots

Ben takes: Patriots. The Steelers have looked good. The Pats haven't. Still, QBs who see Bill Belichick the second and third time around struggle against his D. Go with the champs. They did own the Steelers just some nine months ago. Right.

Zach takes: Patriots. They're still the best team in the league, and I figure Belichick and Co. will figure out a way to contain Willie Parker. We've already seen what they can do to Ben Roethlisberger. While this is a really tough game, I think the Pats have the mental toughness to go into Heinz Field and pull one out. They did in the AFC Championship game, remember. Right.

Chargers -5 Giants

Ben takes: Chargers. To warrant giving up more than 3.5 on the road you have to show me something. Wins against the Cardinals and Saints at home doesn't do it. Plus the Chargers are desperate. Right

Zach takes: Giants. I don't think they're a good team. But something smells wrong about this Charger team. They should be better, but they're not. They can't get the ball to Tomlinson when they need to, and I can never trust a Marty Schottenheimer-coached team. I can't picture them being 0-3 (and the Giants being 3-0), but wierd things happen in the NFL, and I think this is one of them. Wrong

Broncos -3 Chiefs

Ben takes: Chiefs. Speaking of bad D's, Denver's is garbage. They couldn't stop Miami. 'Nuff said. Wrong

Zach takes: Chiefs. The Broncos are one of the worst teams in the AFC. The Chiefs have looked very impressive early on. While Mile High is always a tough place to play, this Bronco team is vulnerable. The Chiefs roll, and the cries for Mike Shanahan's head get even louder. Wrong

Ben: 6-8
Zach: 7-7


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