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Week Three…

…making this weeks’ picks during the Thursday Night Jets/Browns game while wondering:  1) How Tyrod Taylor could start any game over Baker Mayfield…or any QB for that matter.  2)  Can Mayfield keep this up?  3)  The Jets were the opposition so it could be unlikely Mayfield’s performance actually means squat.  4) even though when Mayfield starts next week against the likely 0-3 Raiders, I can’t help but see one of those 11-35, 134 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT games coming…and even 5) I didn’t hear Jamie Collins’ name much all night.  So did he get his money and make himself invisible like many predicted?  Hmmmmm… Oh yeah, and for the postgame 6)  Future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas certainly looks just a hair smaller, no?  Funny how that happens…

San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5)

Is Patrick Mahomes for real?  Is Jimmy Football grossly overpaid and overrated?  Too early to tell for either.  But the Chiefs are tough to beat at home.  They also have some serious weapons.  The Niners appear to have no weapons whatsoever.  Tough schedule for the Niners to start with to boot.  Spread may seem kind of high on the surface.  But it’s probably legit.  Vegas knows…

Kansas City 30, San Francisco 20.

Denver at Baltimore (-5.5)

Speaking of high spreads, Denver is actually 2-0 and Baltimore is 1-1, but their one win was against a pathetic Buffalo Bill team.  So does that really count as a win?  But you know what?  I’m feeling the Ravens.  I have no idea why.

Baltimore 27, Denver 21.

New York Giants at Houston (-5.5) 

The Texans are 0-2.  They are supposed to be in the playoff mix.  Deshaun Watson may not yet be back to full strength.  But maybe this is the week?  G-Men?  Please.

Houston 24, New York Giants 13.

Oakland at Miami (-3.5)

Miami is 2-0.  How fraudulent is that?  Extremely.  But you know what?  It’s going to take time for Jon Gruden to make something of this Raider team, if he even ever does.  So it appears the Dolphins will be 3-0, much to my chagrin.

Miami 20, Oakland 14.

Green Bay (-2.5) at Washington

I have no idea why I am doing what I am doing here.  Let’s leave it at that.

Washington 27, Green Bay 24.

Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5)

I also have no idea why I am doing what I am doing on this one.  Other than the fact that I expect Carson Wentz to be rusty.  That’s all I have.

Philadelphia 24, Indianapolis 23.

Cincinnati at Carolina (-3.5)

Is anyone buying the Bengals’ 2-0 start?  I’m not sure I can.  Despite the fact they are playing the abundantly average Panthers.

Carolina 20, Cincinnati 16.

Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5) 

Marcus Mariota may play, he may not.  Will it matter?  Well, it should be worse with Blaine Gabbert at the helm.  Will Jax have a letdown after their apparent Super Bowl win over the Patriots in Week Two?  Perhaps.  But again…Gabbert…

Jacksonville 38, Tennessee 17.

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3.5) 

There are “experts” that picked the Saints to go to the Super Bowl.  That may well still happen.  But a pretty uninspiring start to the season.  Speaking of uninspiring starts to the season, you can very well say the Falcons fall into that group as well.  That all being said, I feel like this is where New Orleans start ramping it up.  I don’t know why I feel that way.  It’s Week Three for the Blowhard after all.  We don’t have all the answers yet either.

New Orleans 31, Atlanta 24.

Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5) 

The Bills are REALLY bad.  The Vikes are mad after their stupid tie last week and they went out and got a new kicker.  But he won’t matter this week.

Minnesota 52, Buffalo 10.  

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) 

The Chargers seem to have a pretty good team.  The Rams have been absolutely otherworldly so far this season.  One thing is for sure…is there really going to be any “home field advantage”?

Los Angeles Rams 31, Los Angeles Chargers 27.

Dallas at Seattle (-2.5) 

No way the Seahawks go 0-3.  Being at home after two road games to start the year should take care of that.

Seattle 30, Dallas 17.  

Chicago (-5.5) at Arizona  

The Cardinals have scored 6 points in 2 games.  SIX.  And given up 58.  ‘Nuff said.

Chicago 27, Arizona 13.

New England (-6.5) at Detroit

The Patriots, per usual, are finding their way the first month of the season.  Will the rest of the season be different based on all the crap going on down in Foxborough these days?  Maybe.  But not this week.  Matty Patricia is having his own issues in Detroit.  That being said, the Pats defense apparently still is putrid.  Two of their better players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung are unlikely to play this week.  Eric Rowe is likely to play, which is bad enough, but he also apparently has a tender groin.  So the Lions should put up some points I would imagine.  Whether Josh Gordon plays or not, I think this is the week the Pats offense makes some real noise as well.

New England 41, Detroit 31.

Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Tampa Bay

Fitzmagic has had a nice run.  The Bucs are 2-0 and are at home.  The Steelers have been scuffling to start the season.  Le’Veon Bell is still not in the building.  You know what that means.

Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 27.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  13-20

Season (straight up):  16-17

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Divisional Round…

Picks, nothing but picks to see here…

Atlanta (-2.5) at Philadelphia  

Boy, it sure looks like the Eagles’ season sure went down the crapper quickly, eh?  A comeback win in Week 15 against the lowly New York Giants, followed by uninspiring efforts in two home games against the Oakland Raiders (win) and Dallas Cowboys (loss) to wrap up the regular season surely can’t inspire confidence in the Philly faithful.  To be fair, the Eagles rested several key players against the ‘Boys.  Also, to be more than fair, this kind of thing can happen when your franchise QB, who is playing at an MVP level, goes down for the year.  Of course, we are talking about Carson Wentz.

That all being said, one would think Nick Foles would be capable enough to take over the controls and still lead the team to victories.  Especially if the rest of the team remained intact.  He SHOULD, right?  I mean, he has had flashes of brilliance in the past, even though he has mostly performed as well as…well, a backup QB.  But still…

The Falcons are no juggernaut, but they did (as the Blowhard correctly predicted) knock off a good Los Angeles Ram team last week.  At this point, it really wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta ended right back up in the Super Bowl this year.  One thing is for sure I would say…their defense has stepped it up in recent weeks.

Atlanta is now 6-3 on the road this season.  I don’t know if the bye week helped Philadelphia, but it would seem the team is a little deflated.  I am probably wrong to count them out, but…

Atlanta 23, Philadelphia 17.

Tennessee at New England (-13.5) 

Nice win for the Titans last week, but the reality is the Kansas City Chiefs did more to lose the game than the Titans did to win.  I mean, Travis Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the game.  But once he was concussed and done for the day, the team fell apart?  What happened to Kareem Hunt?  What happened to, well…everyone?  Blown 21-3 lead.  Andy Reid once again folks!

So I will say once again this week that Tennessee isn’t really very good.  The weather will be to the Patriots’ liking Saturday night.  New England had their entire roster at practice this week.  Now, that doesn’t mean they are all 100% healthy.  But there will be options.  Theoretically, plenty of them.  I cannot in any way see how the Titans stay in this game from the jump.  There is really no sense in even talking about it anymore.

New England 37, Tennessee 14.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (-7.5)

I said this last week also…Jacksonville isn’t as good as people think they are.  And then they went out and proved it last week by barely beating the atrocious Buffalo Bills 10-3.  10-3??!  Blake Bortles RAN for more yards than he THREW for.  And what he threw for…again, against the Buffalo Bills…was not even measured in three digits, but instead two.  How is that possible?

Pittsburgh has won a lot of close games against bad teams all year long.  And yup, the Jags buried the Steelers in Pittsburgh back in Week Five to the tune of 30 to 9.  It won’t happen again.

The world wants a New England/Pittsburgh AFC Championship Game and that’s what the world will get.

Pittsburgh 27, Jacksonville 13.

New Orleans at Minnesota (-4.5) 

The NFC games seem to be more intriguing than the AFC ones, no?  This one should be a good one to cap off the weekend.  These clubs met in Week One, resulting in a 29-19 Viking win.  But that was eons ago.  Sam Bradford was the Viking QB and the Vikes also had Dalvin Cook at RB.  The Saints were attempting to shoehorn Adrian Peterson into their backfield, Colby Fleener led the team in receiving that day and New Orleans had no idea what they were doing on defense back then.  None of the above will be a factor in this game, well, other than the improved Saint defense.

The Minny D?  For real for sure.  And Case Keenum has taken the reins after Bradford got hurt (again) and performed much better than the Case Keenum we have always seen in the past.  The Saints have relied on the running game more this year than as far back as I can remember…but I have to imagine the Vikings will shut that down a bit.  So the Saints will have to go back to relying on Drew Brees primarily…not necessarily a bad thing.

Maybe if I keep writing I won’t have to make a pick?  I’m torn on this one.  I kind of want to take New Orleans here.  Keenum against Brees is no contest…despite Keenum’s solid year.  Minny’s D is better, but Drew could find a way to beat them.  I also feel like the Vikings will NOT be the first team to play at their home stadium in the Super Bowl.  But I’m going to take a stab and say that we all will have at least one more week to see if that happens.

Minnesota 23, New Orleans 20.

Week (against the spread):  2-2

Week (straight up):  3-1

Season (against the spread):  140-120

Season (straight up):  176-84

Week Sixteen…

Abridged (and last-minute) holiday edition.  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Festivus!  Have a great “whatever you celebrate”!!

Indianapolis at Baltimore (-12.5)

Hate laying this many points with an average Ravens team.  But their offense has picked up.  And Indy’s D ain’t good.  Baltimore still fighting for playoffs of course as well.

Baltimore 34, Indianapolis 17.

Minnesota (-2.5) at Green Bay

If Aaron Rodgers was playing, this game would be a whole lot more interesting.

Minnesota 31, Green Bay 20.

Detroit (-3.5) at Cincinnati

MARVIN LEWIS IS GONE!!!  Or he will be.  Will that spur the Bengals on?  Well, it didn’t last week.

Detroit 27, Cincinnati 17.

Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) at Tennessee

Seems like the Titans should be better than they are.  So when their collapse this year is complete, people should lose jobs.  Only fear here is the Rams have a letdown from their blowout win against Seattle last week.  And the cross-country travel.  But I don’t see it.

Los Angeles Rams 37, Tennessee 23.

Denver at Washington (-3.5) 

Brock Osweiler looked great in relief last week…wait…it was against the Colts.  Paxton Lynch?  Surprisingly, not a better option.  The ‘Skins actually should have lost to the Cards last week, but the Cards couldn’t get in the end zone.  Otherwise, Washington is also playing out the string.  Tough call here.

Washington 24, Denver 17.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-5.5)

Second time these foes meet in three weeks, with the Falcons winning the first by three in Atlanta.  Should be another close one that could go either way.

New Orleans 30, Atlanta 27.

Cleveland at Chicago (-6.5)

Hate laying this much with the Bears.  But seems like they are letting Trubisky loose a little bit.  Plus…the Browns.

Chicago 24, Cleveland 20.

Buffalo at New England (-12.5) 

No revenge expected on Gronk with the Bills still being in the playoff chase.  I think.  Some think this game will be close.  Buffalo, with Tyrod Taylor early on last game moving the ball fairly well.  And maybe a letdown from the Pats after their “controversial” win in Pittsburgh last week.  But don’t count me among that group.

New England 38, Buffalo 20.

Miami at Kansas City (-10.5) 

Jay Cutler sure came crashing back to earth last week, eh?  The Chiefs seem close to early season form as well.

Kansas City 34, Miami 20.

Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) at New York Jets

I know, the Jets seemingly play everyone close.  The Chargers are on the East Coast.  There is some merit to all of this.

Los Angeles Chargers 20, New York Jets 14.  

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-9.5) 

Couple of three-point losses the last two weeks against the Lions and Falcons.  Still a lost season for them.  And the Panthers are in the thick of it, have won 6 of 7 and have been putting up some points.  Don’t expect that to change against Tampa

Carolina 38, Tampa Bay 23.

Jacksonville (-4.5) at San Francisco

Could be a little bit of a trap here.  The Jags appear to be for real, as I now begrudgingly admit.  They are on the opposite coast.  Jimmy G has the Niners playing some inspired football.  The Jags could possibly be looking ahead to the matchup with the Titans next week.  But since the Jags are inexplicably in the mix for a first round bye…and even the #1 overall seed in the East…I’m thinking they will show up this week.  Led of course by their defense.

Jacksonville 31, San Francisco 13.  

New York Giants at Arizona (-4.5)  

Eli seemed rejuvenated last week against the Eagles.  Arizona choked a game against Washington.  In the end, I really don’t care about this game, but I have to pick someone.

New York Giants 27, Arizona 24.

Seattle at Dallas (-4.5)

I know, Zeke is back.  The Seahawks are not the same team as in past years.  Lots of holes.  I just don’t see them throwing up a couple of stinkers in a row.  Plus…every time you want to count Seattle out, they prove us all wrong.

Seattle 31, Dallas 27.

Pittsburgh (-9.5) at Houston

The Steelers need to keep winning games.  They are probably still infuriated about last week.  T.J. Yates.  Pittsburgh hasn’t really blown many teams out this year.  But expect it to happen this week, even with no Antonio Brown and a porous defense.

Pittsburgh 37, Houston 10.

Oakland at Philadelphia (-8.5) 

The Raiders are just about done.  Disappointing season, to say the least.  The Eagles had a tougher fight than expected last week against the G-Men.  Maybe a Carson Wentz injury letdown.  But then Nick Foles comes in and tosses 4 TD’s anyway.  The Eagles need to keep winning, so expect a score closer to what they have been normally doing this year.

Philadelphia 34, Oakland 20.

Week (against the spread):  10-6

Week (straight up):  14-2

Season (against the spread):  122-102

Season (straight up):  150-74

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