INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 16: A Indianapolis Colts cheerleader performs during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
JP Starkey delivers his weekly NFL picks, picking each and every game in Week 3 -- both straight up, and against the spread.
Week 3 is officially upon us, and we're almost to the point where we can start drawing legitimate conclusions about teams throughout the league. As always, I'm here to deliver weekly picks for each and every game.
Week 2 wasn't too kind to me, as I went a weak 8-7 straight up, and an even weaker 7-8 against the spread. I'll look to get back to my Week 1 form -- which went much more swimmingly. Week 3 will certainly be better than Week 2.
For those counting at home, I'm 18-12 straight up, and 14-16 against the spread overall in 2012.
Odds courtesy, as always, of OddsShark.
St. Louis Rams (+7.5) at Chicago Bears -- I do believe that the Rams are a solid football team, at least relative to the 2011 version. Jay Cutler will have a pretty solid game, and might make it through the game without a temper tantrum.
I'll take the Bears and a whiny Cutler to both win and cover.
I don't really think either team is very good, but both running backs in this game -- Spiller and Trent Richardson -- are awesome. I'll take the Browns at home to upset, just because they're the home team and also have a strong ground game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+8) at Dallas Cowboys -- The Cowboys looked really, really, really bad last week. Then again, a lot of teams do in Seattle. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, choked away a nice lead on Eli Manning and the Giants last week. At the least, Josh Freeman and Tampa Bay demonstrated they can score.
Dallas wins, but Tampa Bay covers. It's going to be a close game.
Indianapolis Colts (+3) at Jacksonville Jaguars -- I'm not sure I can in good conscience pick Blaine Gabbert to win a game. Has anybody watched the Jaguars this year? They can't really tackle too well, and they didn't even convert a third down last week.
Colts in the upset.
New York Jets (-3) at Miami Dolphins -- These AFC East games are always tricky, and Pro Player Stadium/Land Shark Stadium/Really Ugly Stadium, or whatever it's called in Sept. 2012, can be a house of horrors for some teams. Just ask Tom Brady.
The Jets will confuse Ryan Tannehill just enough, though, win, and cover.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Minnesota Vikings -- Kind of crazy that the team that has looked the best this year is only a seven point favorite against a relatively hapless Vikings team... until you realize, it's a west coast team playing an early game in the central time zone.
It's not like the 49ers have an awesome, unstoppable offense, but San Fran wins. Minnesota covers.
Kansas City Chiefs (+9) at New Orleans Saints -- Things haven't gone so well for Romeo Crennel as both head coach and defensive coordinator. The Saints are very, very, very hungry for a win, and really, need the win.
I don't think the Saints are good, but I don't think the Chiefs have the firepower to go tit-for-tat with Drew Brees and co. Saints win, and cover.
Unless Johnson gets going against a stout Lions defensive line, the Titans aren't going to have a chance in this one. Give me the Lions on the road, both to win, and cover.
This is Washington's home opener, and more importantly, Robert Griffin III's career home opener. The Skins aren't great, but they pull this out, but the Bengals cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Arizona Cardinals -- Yeah, yeah, I know, the Cardinals beat the Patriots. I was in a sports bar in New York City watching the game when it happened, I don't need the reminder.
Still, the Cardinals aren't good, and Michael Vick isn't as bad as he's been playing... I don't think, at least. He'll settle down, and the Eagles win, and cover.
Atlanta Falcons (+3) at San Diego Chargers -- The line on this one totally surprises me. The Falcons have looked pretty, pretty, pretty good this year. Norv Turner teams tend to start slow, but the Chargers are indeed 2-0 -- maybe the Mayan calendar was right?
I'm a pretty big believer in the Falcons -- I did pick them to go to the Super Bowl, after all. They'll pull off the minor upset against the Chargers, and Phillip Rivers berates a baby en route to the locker room. Book it.
Houston Texans (-1.5) at Denver Broncos -- Denver is not an easy place to play, and though Peyton Manning doesn't quite have Brock Osweiler arm strength, he's still a pretty good quarterback, last week's first quarter aside.
I'm still not ready to take the Texans seriously -- not seriously enough to beat another contender on the road, in a difficult environment. Give me the Broncos here.
Home field advantage won't save the Raiders. I'm not taking Oakland to cover anything until they prove they can actually move the ball down the field. I'll take the Steelers to win, and cover.
Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and, yes, Wes Welker, come out and prove to the league that they're still the team to beat in the AFC. Pats win in the "upset."
Green Bay Packers (-6) at Seattle Seahawks -- Seattle was dominant in their home opener last week, and they'll have that home field advantage working for them again in a prime-time game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Still, I don't think the Seahawks will be able to put up enough points to come within a touchdown of this one. Last week's win drains Seattle a bit too much, and the Packers pull away with the win. Packers cover, too.