…for the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. 2-3 record to start 2018. Pretty underwhelming, but still only a half game out of first. The 2018 NFC East everyone! I know, I know…Carson Wentz is coming back from a major injury. But he has been back for 3 games and the numbers are good anyway. So it can’t be all that bad.
Speaking of bad, the schedule thus far hasn’t been filled with heavyweights. Atlanta, Tampa, Indy, Tennessee and an underachieving thus far Minnesota team.
So what’s the problem? Looks like they have had some injuries. And you know…maybe they weren’t all that good last year in the first place? Sour grapes? Absolutely!! But backup quarterback Nick Foles played out of his mind in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl and Coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Good for them and give them a ton of credit.
But I hope they go 2-14 this year.
So the New England Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and their 3-2 record isn’t much better. Seems like they are up to their usual early season tricks however. We will see what it looks like Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll talk more about that in the next piece. We sure as hell do not need to recap last weeks game against the Indianapolis Colts. Per usual, the Pats handled the Colts easily. But it was a little concerning how the defense played down the stretch of that game though.
Anyway, for now:
Philadelphia (-3.5) at New York Giants
Ah, so THAT’S why we started off the column with Eagle talk! Yup. So what more do we have to say here? The Giants still stink. And it was awesome to see them lose to the Carolina Panthers on a 63 yard field goal as time expired. Gave me great joy. That’s all.
Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 20.
Week (against the spread): 7-8
Week (straight up): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 37-41
Season (straight up): 45-33
Looking for a big week here…
Cincinnati at Atlanta (-5.5)
I hate both of these teams. Matty Ice. Marvin Lewis. Andy Dalton. Whatever.
Atlanta 31, Cincinnati 23.
New York Jets at Jacksonville (-7.5)
I hate both of these teams too. Is this going to be the theme of this week’s games? The J-E-T-S have lost two straight since pummeling the Lions in Week One. The Jags laid an egg last week against the Titans after apparently winning their Super Bowl against the Patriots in Week Two. I think the Jags find some more offense this week while stifling Sammy Darnold on the defensive side of the ball.
Jacksonville 27, New York Jets 9.
Detroit at Dallas (-3.5)
Oh boy, don’t like either of these guys either. Actually, I’ve been pretty indifferent about the Lions for…forever. But that changed a little last week after their mugging of the Pats. Both teams actually kind of stink this year, so in that case, let’s go with the home team. Really just comes down to that.
Dallas 20, Detroit 14.
Philadelphia (-3.5) at Tennessee
Nice win for the Titans over the Jags last week, as we mentioned before. I’m not sure I see that happening again this week.
Philadelphia 24, Tennessee 16.
Buffalo at Green Bay (-10.5)
I can’t figure this league out sometimes. It’s always hard to predict the games early in the season. Teams are still trying to figure out who they are and all that. But I think this year has been even worse. The Bills were wretched the first two weeks. Then they come out of the gates flying in Week Three and knock out the Vikings in Minnesota. Unfathomable. Can it happen two weeks in a row away in Green Bay? Unfathomable.
Green Bay 34, Buffalo 17.
Houston at Indianapolis (-1.5)
1-5 between them. Exciting? This has to be the week the Texans win, right? Right?!
Houston 30, Indianapolis 23.
Miami at New England (-7.5)
The whole world wants to bury the Patriots. I get it. Unfortunately, I really do get it. And, as noted in the last piece, this year does have a different feel. But losing to the Dolphins in Foxborough? I can’t see it. If they do, sh&t then gets real, I can say that much. I don’t know if Josh Gordon plays. Julian Edelman has one more week of suspension. Gronk seems to have an ankle thing and has been subpar the past two weeks…though it’s tough to catch passes with five guys on you each play. Rex Burkhead just went on injured reserve. Sony Michel hasn’t done much. Etc. How are the Pats going to score points? Especially when you think they may have to since the defense hasn’t stopped much this year (we don’t need to list any players there, I would say). Call me a homer. Just a gut feeling…
New England 27, Miami 24.
Tampa Bay at Chicago (-2.5)
Fitzmagic gets to keep his job. 400 yards in three straight games to start the year can help you there. But we’ve seen this movie before. It never lasts. Three picks last week. I’m thinking some more regression this week.
Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 23.
Cleveland at Oakland (-2.5)
Yuck. Even though the Browns have moved forward with Baker Mayfield. I suppose that would be one reason to watch though.
Oakland 20, Cleveland 17.
Seattle (-2.5) at Arizona
The Seahawks are 0-2 on the road. But it won’t matter this week. The Cards have scored 20 points in three weeks. I can’t say Josh Rosen is going to make much of a difference. Maybe they pull a Bills last week in Buffalo when they started Josh Allen for the first time. I’m not counting on it.
Seattle 20, Arizona 10.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5)
Feel bad for Jimmy Football for sure. But he needs to know when to call it a day on particular plays. Holding the ball too long has caused both of his major NFL injuries. I think the world was waiting to see how Garoppolo did over a full NFL season. I know I was. So that is too bad. But as we welcome the C.J. Beathard era, we also likely welcome the end of the 49er season.
Los Angeles Chargers 34, San Francisco 17.
New Orleans (-3.5) at New York Giants
The Saints still score a lot of points and give up a lot of points. The G-Men still aren’t very good.
New Orleans 34, New York Giants 24.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3.5)
Don’t really know what to make of both of these teams as of yet. The Steelers seem to be having defensive issues, similar to the hometown team. But at least they are putting up points, even without Le’Veon Bell. The Ravens? Meh. Divisional matchup in primetime makes it even tougher to handicap. Oh yeah, did I mention that I hate both of these teams too?
Pittsburgh 34, Baltimore 31.
Kansas City (-4.5) at Denver
The Chiefs are 3-0 and seemingly unstoppable on offense. Another of the NFL’s early season darlings. Led by Patrick Mahomes, whose bandwagon everyone is jumping on after a mere 4 NFL starts. We’ll see. Did you know the Chiefs are giving up over 30 points a game though? The Broncos are 2-1, but aren’t exactly lighting it up. They are at home. Another divisional matchup in primetime. And another gut feeling on this one.
Denver 30, Kansas City 27.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 22-27
Season (straight up): 27-22
…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