Week 3 review: Don’t hang your heads

Is “Beast Mode” coming out of hybernation?Picks:

NEW ENGLAND (-14) over Buffalo
Pats 38-30. Loss

NY GIANTS (-3) over Tennessee
Titans 29-10. Loss

Cleveland (+10 1/2) over BALTIMORE
Baltimore 24-17. Win

Pittsburgh (-2 1/2)  over TAMPA BAY
Steelers 38-13. Win

Cincinnati (-3) over CAROLINA (best bet)
Bengals 20-7. Win

NEW ORLEANS (-4) over Atlanta
Falcons 27-24 (OT). Loss

KANSAS CITY (+2 1/2) over San Francisco
Chiefs 21-10. Win

Detroit (+11) over MINNESOTA
Vikings 24-10. Loss

HOUSTON (-3) over Dallas
Cowboys 27-13. Loss

Washington (-3 1/2) over ST. LOUIS
Rams 30-16. Loss

JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Philadelphia
What was I thinking. Eagles 28-3. Loss

Indianapolis (-5 1/2) over DENVER
Colts 27-13. Win

San Diego over SEATTLE (+5 1/2)
Seahawks 27-20. Loss

ARIZONA (-4) over Oakland
Cards 24-23. Loss

Jets (+2 1/2) over MIAMI
Jets 31-23. Win

Green Bay (-3) over CHICAGO
Bears, 20-17. Loss

6-10 week. Much like the Bills, that still isn’t good, but its an improvement. Just going to regroup and try again next week.

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Week 3 NFL picks

Week 3. Still haven’t figured out this whole “spread” thing yet, but it’s a work in progress.

Here’s a chart of how the first round running backs are doing so far. Just something I’m tracking this year.

Career stats Carries Yards YPC Rush TD Fantasy Points
Jahvid Best 31 98 3.2 4 55
Ryan Mathews* 25 104 4.2 0 7
C.J. Spiller 8 9 1.1 0 2
*left last week injured

Picks:
NEW ENGLAND (-14) over Buffalo
Ryan Fitzpatrick or not, this game won’t be any closer than last week. One more point of the line won’t make a difference.

NY GIANTS (-3) over Tennessee  
Neither team played well last week, but I’m going with the one who didn’t pull their starting quarterback in Week 2.

Cleveland (+10 1/2) over BALTIMORE
I’m high on the Ravens this year, but they haven’t shown much yet. I would usually jump on Baltimore in this one, but (I think) I’m learning better with this big of a line.

Pittsburgh (-2 1/2)  over TAMPA BAY
Pittsburgh’s 2-0 without Roethlisberger mainly because of their defense. Tampa Bay is 2-0 as well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh Freeman gets stymied by the Steeler D. One offensive touchdown should do the trick.

Cincinnati (-3) over CAROLINA (best bet)
Carolina got crushed last week by Tampa at home. Seeing a pattern here. Sorry Notre Dame fans.

NEW ORLEANS (-4) over Atlanta
Atlanta ran up the score last week largely without Michael Turner, but I’ll take the Saints at home. Something tells me I should go with Atlanta, especially given the importance of this game within the division, but I’m staying with the champs.

KANSAS CITY (+2 1/2) over San Francisco
Wait. The Chiefs are 2-0? Loved the 49ers effort last week but I’m riding the hot hand I guess.

"I still exist! You don't even need to throw the ball near me. I'll catch it."

Detroit (+11) over MINNESOTA
Hmmmmmmm. Still waiting for Brett to prove all the doubters wrong. Detroit could be a good opponent to do it against, but I’m not betting anything on a 40-year-old football player. With a line this big I have to go Detroit. Jahvid Best versus the Vikings’ run defense will be story.

HOUSTON (-3) over Dallas
I want Dallas to win. I really do. I feel bad for Tony Romo. I know they are a good team and they will win at some point, but what about Sunday? I have too many questions to pick the Cowboys with any confidence; and I’m pretty certain Matt Schaub is the real deal. I picked Dallas the last two weeks and got burnt. Houston shows the country who the dominant team of Texas is. 

Washington (-3 1/2) over ST. LOUIS
Last week Oakland was -3 1/2 against the Rams at home. Yea, the Rams covered, and yea, now they’re at home. So maybe I should pick St. Louis. But here’s my take: Jason Campbell’s old team is way better than his new one.

JACKSONVILLE (+3) over Philadelphia
The Eagles had trouble closing out Detroit last week, which means one of two things: 1) A Shaun Hill led Detroit team isn’t as bad as we though 2) The Mike Vick Eagles aren’t as good as we thought. Come on. Option 2 is way more likely. MJD must get going early.

Indianapolis (-5 1/2) over DENVER
Indi rebounded well after falling to Houston Week 1. Some teams have trouble adjusting to the air in Denver, but if you had to pick one team to do it flawlessly it would be the Colts.  

San Diego over SEATTLE (+5 1/2)
Sorry Pete Carroll. The Chargers are rolling again–as they should be. Justin Forsett isn’t going to cut it. 

ARIZONA (-4) over Oakland 
Can’t express how much I hate the Raiders as a team this year. Nice week for Run DMC last week, but I can’t pick a team who brought in a quarterback human to take snaps in the offseason and already put him on the bench… especially on the road. Beanie Wells could make his first start, too.

Jets (+2 1/2) over MIAMI
Always good when division opponents can beat each other up. Shonn Greene still sucks, but Sanchez looked good against the hoodie while Miami was beating up on an old man. Old guy in hoodie > old guy under center.

Green Bay (-3) over CHICAGO
You saw the game last week, right? Green Bay is more than three points better than Chicago; home, away, or on the moon.

Last week
McKissic: 9-6-1
Wilson, Sullivan, DiCesare: 7-8-1
Northrop: 6-9-1
Gaughan: 4-11-1
It’s Always Game Seven: 4-11-1

Overall
McKissic: 17-11-3
Sullivan: 16-12-3
DiCesare: 15-13-3
Northrop, Wilson: 13-15-3
Gaughan: 10-18-3
It’s Always Game Seven 9-19-3

Best bets
Northrop, McKissic: 2-0
It’s Always Game Seven 1-0-1
Gaughan, Wilson, Sullivan, DiCesare: 1-1

Week 2 review

Remember the last time you were sick? Like really sick. You sat in bed all day and didn’t move. You just wanted to sleep and sleep and not wake up until it was better. Who knows, maybe you even threw up a little bit. Watching the Bills game this week felt a lot like that.

So that’s the bad news. The worse news is there’s no cure in sight… but after a decade of this, that’s not really “news” anymore.

The game against the Patriots this Sunday will most likely be just as ugly, and you know Belichick will be out for blood after getting embarrassed by the Jets last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick is at the helm, but I’m not sure how much faith I have in a guy who lost out to Trent in camp. I have plenty to say about the Trent situation, but that’s later to come.

Fitzpatrick hasn't lost for the Bills... yet... this season

Tough week for picks. Picked plenty of winners, but the spread killed me.

GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
Packers 34-7. Win

Kansas City (+1.5) over CLEVELAND
Chiefs 16-14. Win

CINCINNATI (+2) over Baltimore
Bengals 15-10. Win

TENNESSEE (-5) over Pittsburgh
Steelers 19-11. Loss

Philadelphia (-6) over DETROIT
Eagles 35-32. Loss

DALLAS (-7.5) over Chicago
Bears 27-20. Loss

CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Bucs 20-7. Loss

Arizona (+6.5) over ATLANTA
Falcons 41-7. Loss

MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Miami
Dolphins 14-10. Loss

OAKLAND (-3.5) over St. Louis
Raiders 16-14. Loss

DENVER (-3.5) over Seattle
Broncos 31-14. Win

Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON (best bet)
Texans 30-27. Push

Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO
Chargers 38-13. Loss

New England (-2.5) over NYJ
Jets 28-14. Loss

NY Giants (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Colts 38-14. Loss

New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Saints 25-22. Loss

Yikes. A 4-11-1 week is rough on the confidence. I generally have a good feeling of how the games will go, but these lines are majorly throwing me off. On the other hand, I just played a season of NFL football, and accumulated what would be a fantastic record for the Bills.

Week 2 NFL picks

Three points wasn’t enough for the Bills to cover the spread last week, however, if they wouldn’t have given Miami an intentional safety the game would’ve at least been a push.   

Reggie Torbor makes his first start for the Bills on Sunday

Buffalo looked so bad though that the odds makers give them the largest spread for any team this season to date; 13 points. Even that might not be enough.  

GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
You’ll be seeing plenty of this and this on Sunday. I really have a hard time allowing myself to pick against my team with a spread this big, but I can’t say it isn’t deserved. The fact that the Packers are without starting running back Ryan Grant makes things interesting (and former UB back James Starks could see some action), but it comes down to one question, and the answer is yes, Aaron Rodgers is that good.  

Kansas City (+1.5) over CLEVELAND
They beat San Diego and now… they’re the underdog against the Browns? Can’t see the logic there. Jamaal Charles is legit.   

CINCINNATI (+2)  over Baltimore
Two weeks in a row I’m worried over the Bengals. Last week I got burned. Baltimore won last week despite having difficulty moving the ball, but I don’t know if they can pull out another one. I won a fantasy game last week because Ray Rice had a TD vultured by Willis McGahee, too. Not sure how that’s relevant, but always nice to bring up. Bengals kick a 46-yard FG at the end of the game for the win.  

TENNESSEE (-5) over Pittsburgh
Still not sold on the Steelers. Vince Young, of all people, is leading the league in completion percentage. Chris Johnson, who recently Tweeted that the league has already drug tested him three times this season, runs loose again.  

Philadelphia (-6) over DETROIT
Detroit may be worse than Buffalo. Plus they are without promising second year quarterback Matthew Stafford. Vick was exciting last week, and could give this weak defense fits.  

DALLAS (-7.5) over Chicago
This game is tricky. In a matchup of two teams who both played like crap last week, I’m forced to pick which one will rebound better. I’m taking Romo and the ‘Boys for the second week in a row—but this time it’s at the palace.  

CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
No way Tampa starts off 2-0. The Panthers put up more points in a loss against the Giants than the Bucs put up versus Cleveland last week. Give me Carolina at home.  

Arizona (+6.5) over ATLANTA
I was surprised the Falcons couldn’t going last week, even against a tough Steelers D. They face a weaker defense in Arizona, but I wonder how much worse Derek Anderson really is than Dennis Dixon. I like Atlanta to win the game, but not by a touchdown.  

MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Miami
Minnesota is no Buffalo. If the Dolphins let them hang around like last week, this one could get ugly.  

OAKLAND (-3.5) over St. Louis
I really have to pick someone to win? This game will definitely be decided by one team losing it rather than the other winning it. Sam Bradford made some mistakes last week, so I guess I’m going with the home team.  

DENVER (-3.5) over Seattle
After allowing the first six points of the game last week, Seattle scored 31 unanswered for the blowout. Denver on the other hand got shown up by David Garrard. Hopefully order is restored to the world as the Broncos get back to Mile High.  

The Manning brothers face off for the second time in their careers Sunday. Peyton won the 2006 match, 26-21.

Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON (best bet)
After beating the Colts by 10, they’re only giving Washington three points to work with? Mrs. McNabb must be putting a little something extra in their soup. I’m riding the A Train all day.  

Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO
Yes, I’m picking against San Diego two weeks in a row. I know Kansas City caught Rivers and the Chargers off guard last week and they should rebound, but Jacksonville has enough momentum from last week to keep it close.  

New England (-2.5) over NYJ
Geez. This game would be my best bet number two if I had one. Who made this line? Did they watch last week’s games? Revis Island is a mere speed bump for Brady. (Another 0-2 division opponent. Yay!)  

NY Giants (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
The last time the Manning brothers met, the Colts won by five. Since then, I’d have to say Eli is on the rise and Peyton has stayed the same, if not slightly down. Add that to the fact that Indi got run into the ground like an elephant stampede last week, I’m leaning to the Giants.  

New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
I’m still a fan of Frank Gore and Mike Singletary, and after last week I’d really like to think they’d come back for the win. If it was against anyone but the Saints, I’d pick the 49ers. Brees & Co. narrowly escaped the Vikings last week, but they just have too much talent for San Fran.  

 ——  

Bit of a rough start last week, but it was to be expected. Turns out picking straight winners is a lot easier than winners against the spread.  

Buffalo News standings (best bets)
Sullivan 9-4-2 (0-1)
DiCesare, McKissic 8-5-2 (both 1-0)
Northrop 7-6-2 (1-0)
Wilson, Gaughan 6-7-2 (both 1-0)
It’s Always Game Seven 5-8-2 (1-0)  

In the words of Herb Brooks, “It’s gonna be a dramatic comeback.”

Week 1 NFL picks

Every Friday in the paper, The Buffalo News publishes its football picks. And every Friday when I read the paper, I think I can do better.    

Now that I’m the sports editor for a newspaper and a bona-fide blogger, I guess it’s time to put my money where my mouth is–or at least my pride. I’ve never picked games against the spread before, but how hard could it be? Famous last words if I suck, famous first words if I’m good.    

Home teams in CAPS. Read ’em and weep.   

BUFFALO (+3) over Miami
I have a hard time picking against my team, no matter how dire the situation. But is Chad Henne really the quarterback of the future for Miami? Can Ricky Williams hold up? If the Bills can prevent the big play to Brandon Marshall, they have a shot. Squish the Fish! You know that Wildcat’s about to get neutered!    

Some guy carved this about five years ago. Clearly, awesomeness does not depreciate over time.

NY GIANTS (-6.5) over Carolina
I like Eli, and I like Carolina’s duo ground threat. Matt Moore hasn’t been horrible in replacing Jake Delhomme, but nobody who breaks their arm playing flag football gets to win week 1 on the road, let alone get within a touchdown.    

Atlanta (-2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Up on Matt Ryan, down on anyone under center for the Steelers not named Roethlisberger. Rashard Mendenhall, who?    

CHICAGO (-6.5) over Detroit
Look out for Cutler to Aromashodu. I mean it. Still pretty mad at Matt Forte for killing my fantasy team last year, but Megatron wasn’t great either.    

Cincinnati (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
I feel like I’m making a mistake here, and the fact that the Bengals are the sexy pick for the year only makes matters worse. I’m not sure if four and a half points is enough to overcome the Belichick factor, but Cinci’s my pick and I’m sticking with them.    

TAMPA BAY (-3) over Cleveland
Yikes. The good news is that neither of these teams will go 0-16 this year. The bad news is one of them will “earn” a win. It looks like Josh Freeman will play, and I’ll take him over Delhomme, who passed for just 65 yards last year against the Bucs.    

Denver (+2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Not a big fan of David Garrard, and Kyle Orton actually wasn’t as bad last year as commonly believed. Demaryius Thomas could be the next Brandon Marshall.    

Indianapolis (-2.5) over HOUSTON
This game gives me problems. I reallllyyy like the Texans this year, but Indi hasn’t lost much. Game could be decided by a late field goal, but I give the AFC champs the nudge.    

TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Oakland (Best Bet)
I’ll settle for a clean mouth here and just say Oakland is not a good football team.  Chris Johnson rolls start to finish.    

Green Bay (-3) over PHILADELPHIA
Another game I’m struggling with. I like Kevin Kolb and LeSean McCoy a lot this year, but Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are just too much in the end.    

San Francisco (-3) over SEATTLE
I love Mike Singletary and I love Frank Gore. Pete Carroll joined Mark McGwire this summer in the “timing is everything” Hall of Fame, but I don’t think Matt Hasselback will be on the ballot any time soon.    

Arizona (-4) over ST. LOUIS
See also: “Oakland.” Even with Derek Anderson at the helm, the Cardinals have enough to spoil Sam Bradford’s debut.    

Dallas (-3.5) over WASHINGTON
Washington became the only team in history last year to start the season off against six consecutive winless teams, and went just 2-4 in the process. They upgraded at QB by bringing in Donovan McNabb to replace Jason Campbell, but filling in one hole just exposes others. Dallas has the potential to be lethal this season, and I like Tony Romo to lead the ‘Boys to victory.    

Baltimore (+2.5) over NY JETS
The Ravens are another team this year that I really, really like. I’m big on Joe Flacco, especially now that they added T.J. Who’syourmama. I may be looking for reasons to hate on the Jets because they’re a division opponent, but they’re banking on a QB who threw for 200 yards only four times last year and added a whopping 30 turnovers, as well as a running back who ran for only 540 yards and two TDs last season. Anquan Boldin could be on of the first receivers not to get voted off Revis Island.    

KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over San Diego
Whoa! Kansas City is a slight complete reach here, but there’s something about San Diego I don’t like this year. Plus I love Jamaal Charles. I still don’t think Matt Cassel is that good, but anything can happen on Monday Night Football.    

Let’s hear it. Comment below.