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NFL Week 3 Picks: Dallas Desperation, Mike Vick's Resurgence And An AFC East Showdown

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After two weeks of play in the NFL, the dust is almost settling on who is who this year. The staff at SB Nation Dallas tackles Week 3 and discusses our predictions for the upcoming week in the NFL.

With Week 2 now in the books we're starting to see who is who in the NFL...maybe. Can the Cowboys really be bad 0-2 team with all their talent? We'll see this weekend with a tough game against the little-brother Houston Texans. Also among the strange 0-2 teams are the Minnesota Vikings - is Favre's magic now up? His turnovers last week were the main reason the Vikings fell at home to the Miami Dolphins

There are a few surprise 2-0 teams as well. Few would have predicted the Chiefs or Buccaneers to start the season 2-0 yet here they are in Week 3 with an unblemished record. 

Baltimore showed up against the Bengals last weekend as Mr. Hyde after a big Monday night win over the Jets. Conversely, after looking awful against the Patriots, the Bengals beat a pretty good Ravens team despite a horrendous effort from Carson Palmer

Once again, Christopher Fittz led the staff in correct picks going 11-5 though Liam Ponting also had 11 correct picks. For a second consecutive week we've added commentary explaining our picks. Enjoy.


San Francisco (0-2) at Kansas City (2-0) - San Francisco is desperate for a win after nearly defeating the Saints last Monday night. The Chiefs are looking for their first 3-0 start to a season since 2003 but will almost certainly need better play out of quarterback Matt Cassel (52% completion, 244 yards after two weeks) if they're to win again.

  • Christopher Fittz: San Francisco - This could be an upset but I thinkthe Niners are the better team and should win.
  • Liam Ponting: Kansas City
  • Brandon Worley: San Francisco
  • Charley Code: Kansas City - I'm stickin with KC until they prove me wrong.
  • John Wall: San Francisco - Must-win game for the Niners. Recent play suggest they may be turning the corner.
  • Maruice London: San Francisco - Alex Smith may be better than Matt Cassel. Oh dear.
  • Robbie Griffin: Kansas City - I have a tough time with this game, so I'm going with the home team.
  • JP Starkey: San Francisco - Frank Gore will explode this weekend.
  • Brett Perryman: San Francisco - Mike Singletary head explosion warning will be in effect.
Detroit (0-2) at Minnesota (0-2) - The Lions, amazingly, could very well have been 2-0 headed into this game but alas are 0-2 after two tough losses against the Bears and Eagles. The Vikings, like the Cowboys, are desperate for a win. Brett Favre will need to play well before the media calls for his head, again.
  • Fittz: Minnesota - Another possible upset however I think theVikings will get on track against the Lions.
  • Ponting: Minnesota
  • Worley: Minnesota
  • Code: Minnesota - Favre breaks into the win column.
  • Wall: Minnesota - AP should have a field day against Detroit's front line.
  • London: Minnesota - Surely Favre won't go 0-3, right?
  • Griffin: Minnesota - Detroit is probably closer to Minnesota than I thought they would be coming in to the season, but I still think the Vikings win comfortably at home.
  • Starkey: Minnesota - I thought about picking the Lions but the Vikings should ride Peterson to a win.
  • Perryman: Minnesota - Detroit has had two heroically close losses. Make it three.
Buffalo (0-2) at New England (1-1) - The Bills are who we thought they were so far and that's a bad football team. Chan Gailey made a switch at quarterback so we'll see if Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick can bring the Bills offense some life. Tom Brady and the Patriots are coming off a tough loss in New York - where they blew yet another halftime lead. Fun fact: from 2002-08 the Patriots were 66-1 when leading at halftime. Think about that. The last two years, they're 9-5. Ouch.
  • Fittz: New England - Not even Tom Brady's horrible haircut couldstop the Patriots from beating the Bills.
  • Ponting: New England
  • Worley: New England
  • Code: New England - The Jets game was an aberration.
  • Wall: New England - Buffalo's beating last weekend wasn't a fluke: This team really is THAT bad.
  • London: New England - Is Chan Gailey still the coach? Yes? This will be over with 11:58 remaining in the 1st quarter.
  • Griffin: New England - I'm actually going to take Buffalo to beat and score more than anyone expects, but I'll be surprised if New England doesn't win.
  • Starkey: New England - Brady throws at least three touchdowns and the Patriots score at least 30 points in this one.
  • Perryman: New England - The vengeance of Tom Brady will be felt at home.
Atlanta (1-1) at New Orleans (2-0) - Atlanta is another one of those two faced teams so far. They looked awful against the Steelers but had their way with Arizona. The Saints have won two pretty tough games against the Vikings and the 49ers but haven't quite looked great doing so - but all that matters are the wins. No BCS style points in the NFL mercifully.
  • Fittz: New Orleans - I might consider the Falcons a little more if they were at home, instead, they go to the holy land of New Orleans where God will never let the Saints lose.
  • Ponting: New Orleans
  • Worley: New Orleans
  • Code: New Orleans - Despite all the bourbon street partying between the superbowl and camp, they don't seem to have lost a step.
  • Wall: New Orleans - No Bush? No problem for Brees and Co.
  • London: Atlanta - Despite a 2-0 start, the Saints haven't really looked that great this year.
  • Griffin: New Orleans - Atlanta is good, just not good enough to handle Drew Brees in the dome. I want a shootout.
  • Starkey: Atlanta - Michael Turner will have a big game and the Falcons, like Miami did last week in Minnesota, will control the pace of the game.
  • Perryman: New Orleans - Falcons would need to impose their will running the ball to win.
Tennessee (1-1) at New York (1-1) - Jeff Fisher pulled the plug on Vince Young last week against the Steelers - not exactly a resounding vote of confidence from a coach who has historically favored Kerry Collins. Young will need to have a good game to avoid controversy. Tom Coughlin will likely have the Giants ready to play this week after being embarrassed by the Colts on Sunday night. 
  • Fittz: Tennessee - I don't think the Giants are capable of keeping Chris Johnson contained as the Steelers were able to dolast week.
  • Ponting: New York
  • Worley: Tennessee
  • Code: New York - Dumbface beats strip club brawler. Hookem.
  • Wall: New York - Tennessee and New York looked awful last week. I can see Eli getting the team back on track.
  • London: Tennessee - The Giants have looked worse than the Cowboys so far.
  • Griffin: New York - Another close matchup where I'm taking (but rooting against) the home team. I think Eli is going to find Cortland Finnegan a couple times.
  • Starkey: Tennessee - Chris Johnson will dominate this game. I will enjoy listening to WFAN this week.
  • Perryman: New York - Vince Young is going to be looking over his shoulder now.
Pittsburgh (2-0) at Tampa Bay (2-0) - Pittsburgh has looked pretty good in their 2-0 start without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. They'll be plugging in Charlie Batch this week as starting QB. The Bucs are one of the surprise teams in the NFL and Josh Freeman has played very well so far. This will be Tampa's first true test of the season.
  • Fittz: Pittsburgh - I would laugh for days if the Steelers lost this game.
  • Ponting: Pittsburgh
  • Worley: Pittsburgh
  • Code: Tampa Bay - Tampa's gonna win this? Out on a limb, here I am.
  • Wall: Pittsburgh - Look for the Steelers to grind out a tough road win by riding Mendenhall.
  • London: Tampa Bay - Jump on the Josh Freeman bandwagon.
  • Griffin: Tampa Bay - This may well be a mistake, but I'm starting to believe in the Bucs, I believe in homefield advantage and I still have trouble believing Pittsburgh can go 3-0 in the face of Roethlisbergergate.
  • Starkey: Pittsburgh - Freeman has looked good but the Browns and Panthers defense is not on par with that of the Steelers. Pittsburgh wins and easily.
  • Perryman: Pittsburgh - Two 2-0 teams but TB hasn't really beaten anyone yet.
Cincinnati (1-1) at Carolina (0-2) - Cincinnati showed up to play last week against Baltimore after looking like an NCAA team against New England in Week 1. Carolina has benched Matt Moore in favor of rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. John Fox's job may be on the line this season.
  • Fittz: Cincinnati - I consistently underrate the Bengals butthis looks like a terrible game on paper.
  • Ponting: Cincinnati 
  • Worley: Cincinnati 
  • Code: Cincinnati - Bengals win this one.
  • Wall: Cincinnati - Jimmy Clausen starting under center for Carolina?!? Have fun, Panthers fans.
  • London: Cincinnati - Jimmy Clausen time. Mike Zimmer should have a field day. (Future Cowboys coach, perhaps?)
  • Griffin: Cincinnati - Cincy is better. The better team usually wins football games. I have nothing in depth to say about this.
  • Starkey: Carolina - Jimmy Clausen will have a great game...handing it off to D'Angelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers finally get off the schnide. 
  • Perryman: Cincinnati - Carolina has major issues on both sides of the ball.
Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (1-1) - Cleveland has dropped their first two games by a combined five points this year, suffering Detroit Lions syndrome. Or maybe Detroit is suffering from Cleveland Browns syndrome. The Ravens defense has looked great this year as expected but their offense? Suspect even with Boldin thus far.
  • Fittz: Baltimore - The fans of the team that loses this gamewill have only Detroit to look up at in the ranking of most depressedcities in America.
  • Ponting: Baltimore
  • Worley: Baltimore
  • Code: Baltimore - Ravens win and cover. Mark it 8, dude.
  • Wall: Baltimore - Oh boy, Cleveland is in for a beatdown after Baltimore's loss in Cincy.
  • London: Baltimore - Joe Flacco is not that bad, the Browns are.
  • Griffin: Baltimore - The Browns have to have the worst chances of any team in the NFL this week. I'd consider betting against them hitting double digits in points.
  • Starkey: Baltimore - Sometimes logic is so overwhelming to pick a team it drives me to pick against them. That's not the case here. Baltimore wins and easily.
  • Perryman: Baltimore - Will the Browns reach double digits? Probably not.
Dallas (0-2) at Houston (2-0) - This could get really ugly if Dallas loses to Houston. Dallas, despite the 0-2 record, has had chances to win both games they played - despite playing awful football. Houston will be riding an emotional high for the third straight week - playing at home against rival Indy, coming from behind in Washington and now taking on big-brother Dallas. 
  • Fittz: Dallas - The Texans deserve to lose their Super Bowl.
  • Ponting: Houston
  • Worley: Dallas
  • Code: Houston - Houston, because I will not pick the Cowboys once all year.
  • Wall: Dallas - Just can't see the Cowboys starting 0-3.
  • London: Houston - The Cowboys should win this one, so I'll pick the Texans.
  • Griffin: Houston - This hurts so much. This has very little to do with 0-2, which I think is a bad start but not a sign the Cowboys suck. I just think this is two good teams and I would probably have taken the home team if the Cowboys were 2-0. The way they looked against the Bears, I have to take the Texans. I do think it's still a pretty close game, I just expect to be disappointed.
  • Starkey: Dallas - Desperation will either completely destroy a team or rejuvenate a team. Dallas has to win this week otherwise it'll be the apocalypse in Dallas for the next two weeks.
  • Perryman: Houston - I think Dallas will play well, but this is a tough assignment.
Washington (1-1) at St. Louis (0-2) - Washington has looked better than expected this year with a surprise win over Dallas (except to me, I picked that one) and with a near win against the Texans last Sunday. This team could easily have been 2-0 if not for Gary Kubiak icing Graham Gano. St. Louis looks like they're in for another tough year. Sam Bradford simply doesn't have any weapons to throw to.
  • Fittz: Washington - I probably won't pick the Rams until SamBradford has lead them to a victory. Otherwise, I don't see how the Redskins lose this game.
  • Ponting: Washington
  • Worley: Washington
  • Code: Washington - McNabb is on my Fantasy team.
  • Wall: St. Louis - Shocker of the week. I think the Redskins' OT loss will play a factor.
  • London: St. Louis - Deangelo Hall's team sucks.
  • Griffin: Washington - Picking every NFC East team but Dallas is also painful.
  • Starkey: St. Louis - This is that reverse logic game I alluded to earlier.
  • Perryman: Washington - What are the Rams good at? 23rd or worse in every category.
Philadelphia (1-1) at Jacksonville (1-1) - Mike Vick is now the starting quarterback in the Illadelph. I'm surprised that Reid made the change so quickly but I believe it's the right call to make. The Jags are going to need to get Maurice Jones-Drew involved in this game if they want to win - he's been very disappointing to the Jags and fantasy owners alike the first two years.
  • Fittz: Philadelphia - Is there anything more milquetoast than the Jacksonville Jaguars?
  • Ponting: Philadelphia
  • Worley: Philadelphia
  • Code: Philadelphia - Michael Vick has returned to pre-incarceration form. I predict the Eagles win and he's speaking in 3rd person to the press in the post-game interviews.
  • Wall: Philadelphia - Reid looks like a genius after Vick passes for 280 and a couple touchdowns.
  • London: Philadelphia - Should I make a joke about Vick being top dog here? Nah.
  • Griffin: Philadelphia - I think the Jaguars have a very good shot at home, I just really do not believe the Eagles can win consistently with so many injuries and Mike Vick at QB.
  • Starkey: Philadelphia - 7.
  • Perryman: Philadelphia - Two poor defenses and the Eagles have more offensive weapons.
Indianapolis (1-1) at Denver (1-1) - The Colts responded pretty soundly after a Week 1 loss with a Week 2 thrashing of the New York football Giants. Denver will be playing an emotional game this week following the tragic suicide of Kenny McKinley.
  • Fittz: Indianapolis - I'd like Broncos to lose all games. Luckily for me, this is a game they will lose.
  • Ponting: Indianapolis
  • Worley: Indianapolis
  • Code: Denver - Emotional victory for the Broncos.
  • Wall: Denver - Just have a feeling Denver will find a way to sneak a win out at home.
  • London: Indianapolis - Broncos will emotionally drained after a tough week.
  • Griffin: Indianapolis - Next.
  • Starkey: Denver - My brain is telling me to pick Indy but I think the Broncos will play an emotionally charged game that will be enough to win. McDaniels is reunited with Laurence Maroney as well.
  • Perryman: Indianapolis - Indy's big weakness is run defense and Denver has lost Knowshon Moreno.
Oakland (1-1) at Arizona (1-1) - Oakland may have found an offense on the ground - they're third in the league in rushing. Darren McFadden is averaging five yards per carry. Arizona will finally add Beanie Wells to their backfield but will still need Derek Anderson to not suck.
  • Fittz: Oakland - I think I picked the Cardinals to win the NFC West. Why would I do that?
  • Ponting: Arizona
  • Worley: Oakland
  • Code: Oakland - Ugh. This one might get ugly.
  • Wall: Arizona - *Flips a coin*... heads? OK, I'll take the Cardinals.
  • London: Arizona - Pass.
  • Griffin: Arizona - Kind of like the KC-SF game, I don't think either team is horrific, but below average. I have little interest in the game and I'm just going to take the home team.
  • Starkey: Oakland - McFadden will have another good game and lead the Raiders to another win.
  • Perryman: Oakland - Darren McFadden runs wild.
San Diego (1-1) at Seattle (1-1) - The Chargers are a bit banged up with Ryan Matthews being injured but still have Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates at the helm. Seattle will have to rely on their homefield advantage with the 12th man and an excellent game from Matt Hasselbeck if they're to win this game.
  • Fittz: Seattle - Here's my not-so-confident upset pick.
  • Ponting: San Diego
  • Worley: San Diego
  • Code: San Diego - Chargers.
  • Wall: San Diego - Rivers should have a big day against Pete's boys.
  • London: San Diego - I like Matt Hasselbeck, but he is done.
  • Griffin: San Diego - The Seahawks are the most confident I am on any team beating, but I still think the better team wins.
  • Starkey: San Diego - Go Chargers Go.
  • Perryman: San Diego - Rivers will have to carry them and he will.
New York (1-1) at Miami (2-0) - Darelle Revis will be out this week with a hamstring injury but the Jets played better in the second half against New England without Revis. Miami may look for a big game from Brandon Marshall since Revis is out.
  • Fittz: Miami - Here's my even-less-confident upset pick.
  • Ponting: New York
  • Worley: Miami
  • Code: Miami - Dolphins at home. It will probably rain.
  • Wall: Miami - Should be interesting see how Taylor is welcomed in this game. Revis' injury will be a big blow to the secondary.
  • London: New York - Former UNT Great Patrick Cobb has started the season without a carry for the Dolphins. Screw you, Sparano.
  • Griffin: Miami - I've gone back and forth more on this game than any other. All the prognostication sites have the Dolphins winning, and doing so with actually a little bit of confidence. I think the Jets are the better team, and enough so to cover playing on the road, but I'm going to try and create some separation here and pick Revis to sit out and the Dolphins to win.
  • Starkey: Miami - Marshall will have a big game and I'll enjoy listening to WFAN even more if both the Jets and Giants lose this week. Plus, U2's song "Miami" is better than their song "New York".
  • Perryman: New York - It pains me to make this pick, should be a close, low scoring game.
Green Bay (2-0) at Chicago (2-0) - The Ryan Grant-less Packers visit the surprising 2-0 Bears. Aaron Rodgers will likely have to pass effectively for Green Bay to win and there's no reason to think he won't. The Bears will need to protect Jay Cutler if they're to improve to 3-0.
  • Fittz: Green Bay - I want to see some classic Jay Cutler face on Monday Night Football.
  • Ponting: Green Bay
  • Worley: Green Bay
  • Code: Green Bay - The Bears run into a good team this week and their luck runs out. I hope I’m wrong.
  • Wall: Green Bay - Can't go against Rodgers -- even when he's playing a resurgent Bears team.
  • London: Chicago - Upset Special. Thank me later.
  • Griffin: Green Bay - I'll be rooting hard for Chicago to make week two less painful, but I don't think it's happening.
  • Starkey: Chicago - I picked the Bears to win the NFC North. I'll stand by them this week.
  • Perryman: Green Bay - Chicago will stop the run and the Packers won't care.
Standings through two weeks with last week's results.
Fittz: 23-9 (11-5)
Griffin: 22-10 (10-6)
Wall: 20-12 (9-7)
Perryman: 20-12 (9-7)
Worley: 20-12 (10-6)
Ponting: 20-12 (11-5)
Starkey: 17-15 (9-7)
London: 16-16 (8-8)
Code 11-5 (11-5)

If you'd like to compete against the SB Nation Dallas staff, feel free to post your picks in the comments section. We're also available during our weekly NFL game day chat on Sunday's to discuss the picks and watch the games play out.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.