Friday, September 30, 2011

NFL 2011 - Week 3 -- The Season's Real Story Begins to Emerge

The third week of the NFL season is when some of the real stories for the season start to emerge, the 4th week confirms it. Believe it or not, the first quarter of the season will be finished at the conclusion of Monday night’s game just as the MLB playoffs hit high gear.

Perhaps the biggest story for the year so far is the Indianapolis Colts losing Peyton Manning due to neck surgery for the season and the team’s total collapse without him. The Colts are projected to lose by 10 points visiting Tampa Bay Monday night.

The incredible success of a team that’s been a bottom dweller since the Jim Kelly days, the Buffalo Bills riding high at 3-0 and their savaging of New England is another “who’d have thought it?” tale. While we’re raving about 3-0 teams, how about the Detroit Lions who until showing much improvement last year had been the laughing stock of the NFL since Barry Sanders days running the ball. The other 3-0 team is the Green Bay Packers, no surprise there for the defending Super Bowl Champs.

The remaining 0-3 teams: Miami, Kansas City, Minnesota, and Seattle weren’t expected to be gangbusters but remember KC and Seattle were weak playoff teams last year.

Perhaps the remaining surprise is how ineffective the Philadelphia Eagles have been thus far. Remember when signing on as a mere backup QB, Vince Young made bold pronouncements about the Eagles as a “dream team?” They’re 1-2 while the rest of the division is 2-1.

Aside from what’s noted above, NFL parity prevails as teams work to break out atop the heap. Eyes will be on Baltimore Sunday night to see if the Ravens or the New York Jets might be one of those teams to do so. One will emerge well positioned to rule the season; the other falls back into the pack and has much work to do especially given the strength of division rivals.

Here’s our picks for week four.

Washington (-1 ½) @ St. Louis
The Redskins defense should be strong enough to keep St. Louis locked down.

Detroit @ Dallas (-1 ½)
Here’s where Detroit can prove they’re for real and keep Dallas as all talk and no walk.

Pittsburgh @ Houston (-4)
Houston can prove they have finally become a true contender beating the perennial powerhouse from Pittsburgh, a team not as strong as expected so far this year.

Tennessee @ Cleveland (-1 ½)
These are the tough picks. Teams not thought to be too strong who have shown flashes of good play so far this year. We’ll give the edge to the Titans.

Buffalo (-3) @ Cincinnati
This is the kind of game Buffalo has to win to prove they are for real. Cincinnati hasn’t shown much in 2011.

New Orleans (=7) @ Jacksonville
Jacksonville has shown nothing so far this year and the Saints are strong. No contest here.

Minnesota (-1 ½) @ Kansas City
If the Vikings have any fight left in them, this would be the gae to show it, but Donovan McNabb looks so old while the rest of the team looks clueless, KC needs its first win and are playing at home.

San Francisco @ Philadelphia (-8 ½)
Jim Harbaugh has much to do to make the 49’ers true competitors. They just don’t have it glued together well enough to beat Philadelphia despite Michael Vick’s injury.

Atlanta (-4.5) at Seattle
It’s time for Atlanta to perk up after a weak start. A trip to the grungy Northwest should do it.

New York Giants (-2 ½) @ Arizona
If the Giants play with a little consistency, this game should be theres.

Denver @ Green Bay (-12 ½)
Playing in Green Bay should show up all the weaknesses Denver has in 2011. Fans back home will be shouting Tebow at their televisions despite the popular QB from Florida is not ready for prime time.

Miami @ San Diego (-7)
Miami’s headed for a terrible 0-4. San Diego at home should win with ease.

New England (-4 ½) @ Oakland
Oakland looks tough in 2011, but the Patriots are the Patriots. Easy call.

New York Jets @ Baltimore (-3 ½)
Call this the trash talk bowl. It will be a brawl in Crab Town as the two powerful defenses attempt to rule the day but the Ravens will prevail.

Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (-10)
Who’d believe the mighty Colts would be a ten point underdog visiting Central Florida? It’s for real and it won’t be pretty.


No comments: