Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 3: Steel Curtain

The Steelers' rugged defense will be too much
for the Manningless Colts offense.
Stally: A programming note that I'm literally in the middle of working the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race so sorry for being brief and that it's late.

Austen (Eight Point Pick) - Pittsburgh over @Indianapolis 

Austen: The Colts' offense has been one of the worst and they are not going to play better against what is still one of the best defenses in the league, despite slowing down due to age. Also, defensively the Colts will not be able to stop the Steelers' tough run game and they do not have the speed in their secondary to match up with the Steelers' speed receivers.

Stally: I think Austen is lower on the Colts than I am.  I guess I'm old school, but it's hard for me to ever go eight points against Indianapolis when they're at home.

Austen: Stally said the same thing last week when I took the Browns over the Colts high, but we all know how that worked out for me.

Stally (Eight Point Pick) - @San Diego over Kansas City

Stally: I'd already written this one in for Austen, so I was faster than a fat kid on a candy bar to take the Chargers when they fell to number two.

Austen: While I don't think the Chiefs have a chance in this one, we never know how bad the Chargers can play from week to week and I'd stick with the Steelers over an inferior opponent any day. 

Austen (Seven Point Pick) - New England over @Buffalo

Austen: I hate taking New England for the third week in a row, but they look absolutely unstoppable on offense. The Bills played really well last week, but they allowed the Raiders mediocre offense that was down its top two receivers to put up 35 points. That's simply awful. The Pats offense should continue to roll and the Bills offense simply won't be able to keep up.

Stally: The Patriots have beat the Bills something like eight seasons straight.  I like those odds, but I've also always campaigned that streaks are made to be broken and Buffalo is better this year than they usually are.

Stally (Seven Point Pick) - Baltimore over @St. Louis

Stally: Baltimore burned me last week against Tennessee, so why go back to them on the road?  Because, they're simply to good to lose a clunker again.  Notice to Jingwei that if this one comes back to bite me I'm going to drive down to Maryland and wake you up during your daily naps.

Austen: The Ravens clearly have trouble covering numerous receivers due to their lack in depth at the cornerback position. The Rams have a surprisingly large amount of weapons and that could be why the Ravens fall in this game.

Austen (Six Point Pick) - Detroit over @Minnesota

Austen: While I am still not sold on the Lions being a playoff team, I have to believe that they should be able to take care of the 0-2 Vikings. The Vikings have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and they will not be able to stop Matthew Stafford and all of his weapons in the passing game. AP would need to have 300 yards and 4 TDs in order for the Vikings to steal this game.

Stally: Again, I'm not a big fan of taking road teams this early if they aren't locks.  I can't argue it's the right pick, it's just a lot of points to put on the Lions on the road.

Stally (Six Point Pick) - New York-J over @Oakland

Stally: I almost took the Jets instead of the Ravens, but I don't dislike the Raiders (for once).  That said, I think the Jets are built for road wins.  They don't rely too much on Mark Sanchez's audibles or his passing attack in general.  This team's built around defense and that's a big neutralizing factor when you're on the road.

Austen: I am slightly happy that Stally took this because I am very nervous about the Jets going into Oakland. As I said last week, the cross country road trip is a killer and the Raiders are much better than advertised. Darren McFadden in the screen game could be the reason the Raiders win this game. However, Mark Sanchez does tend to play well in his home state of California, so this game should go to the Jets. 

Stally: This, of course, coming form the same guy that said the Raiders had "no chance" against the Bills last week.  The reverse jinx alarms are going off like a high school fire drill!

Austen (Five Point Pick) - @Philadelphia over New York-G

Austen: With or without Michael Vick, the Eagles should be able to beat the injury decimated Giants. The Giants are down huge play makers on both sides of the ball and unless they can run the ball effectively 40+ times against the Eagles soft run defense, then they don't have much of a hope in this one.

Stally: I agree, the Giants just aren't healthy enough to go on the road to a good team like Philly and pull this one out.

Stally (Five Point Pick) - @Cleveland over Miami

Stally: This one is certainly a cash for clunkers style game.  Miami is every bit as bad as I thought they'd be, so I feel safe taking Cleveland at home.  I just wish I hadn't spent five points to do it.

Austen: Stally might have thought differently about this game if he had known that Peyton Hillis would be out of this game due to strep throat. Yea, strep throat. Never thought a white running back could have such an impact on the outcome of a football game, but the NFL is always full of surprises. 

Austen (Four Point Pick) - @Tennessee over Denver

Austen: I am sticking with believing in how bad the Broncos are going to be this year. I still think at the end of the year they will have a shot at the top pick in the NFL draft. The Titans came out of nowhere to destroy the Ravens last week and they will find the Broncos to be a much easier matchup for them. Look for Chris Johnson to have his first big game of the year against the Broncos' atrocious run defense.

Stally: I'm glad you picked this one.  I can't put a price on Tennessee they lost to Jacksonville, who stinks and beat Baltimore, who could earn a first-round bye.

Stally (Four Point Pick) - Green Bay over @Chicago

Stally: The Bears bum me out.  I can't figure them out.  One thing I can figure it is that the Packers are pretty darn good and the Bears have little defense for a strong pass rush.  I expect it to be another long day for Chicago QB Jay Cutler.

Austen: We all know I think the Packers are the best team in the NFL, but the Packers always have a hard time with the Bears defense. If the Bears can only give up 5 sacks to the Packers defense, they should have a chance in this game.

Austen (Three Point Pick) - @New Orleans over Houston

Austen: The Texans have shown that they are legit playoff contenders, but I think their inexperience will lead them to falter on the road against a very tough Saints team. The Texans defense has improved, but the Saints have simply too many weapons for the Texans to cover and that will lead to their first loss of the year. Look for this game to be a shoot out.

Stally: I like the Texans but agree with you that going on the road to New Orleans, this was an appropriate time to select the Saints.

Stally (Three Point Pick) - @Seattle over Arizona

Stally: Something like 87% of Yahoo users picked Arizona to win.  That's stupid.  The Cardinals aren't good and Seattle is a completely different team at home than on the road.  Seattle is a clear favorite here.  I would have taken it early but couldn't figure out if someone significant (if they have any one that fits the bill) got injured.

Austen: These two are in the bottom of the league and it would be easier to guess the outcome of a coin flip than the winner of this game. Seattle should have the upper hand because they are very hard to beat at home, even when they are as untalented as they are this year. 

Austen (Two Point Pick) - @Dallas over Washington

Austen: This was a tough one for me to pick, but most of these games left are toss ups. I think the Cowboys momentum from last week will propel them to a win this week. They will have to put up a good amount of points because the Redskins' revamped offense is going to have a good game against the Cowboys' banged up secondary.

Stally: I'm not sure if Dallas is worse than I thought or Washington is better.  I'm still high on the Cowboys, but I wanted to stay away from this game all together.

Stally (Two Point Pick) - @Carolina over Jacksonville

Stally: This is definitely the game of the week.  In fact, it's so special that the only way to watch it is to attend it in person.  It'll likely get blacked out in Carolina and I'm not even sure if Jacksonville is a big enough market to carry their own networks.  Carolina is the better wildcat type animal, but don't waste your time trying to find this one on TV.

Austen: If the Panthers cannot find a way to win this game, they are officially the worst team in the NFL... again.

Austen (One Point Pick) - @Cincinnati over San Francisco 

Austen: I chose this game simply because I knew that Stally would take the Falcons over the Bucs, while I had the Bucs as the slight favorite, mostly due to Matt Ryan being a terrible road quarterback. The Bengals and the 49ers are both terrible teams, so I will side with the home team and the team with the better quarterback situation.

Stally: Since I worked for the 49ers, I have a good idea of when to pick them and when not to, but I can't figure out if Cincinnati is any good so I avoided picking this one.  I expect the Bengals will win, but I'm not sure.

Stally (One Point Pick) - Atlanta over @Tampa Bay

Stally: You know there's zero chance I take Tampa Bay over Atlanta.  However, I really didn't want Atlanta either.  They're not good on the road and face a team that knows them well.

Austen: Stally, you seemingly just made a case for why the Bucs, not the Falcons, will win this game. The Bucs are finally putting it together and I think they steal this game in the fourth quarter.

Buffalo @ New England
Austen: New England
Stally: New England

Jacksonville @ Carolina
Austen: Carolina
Stally: Carolina

San Francisco @ Cincinnati
Austen: Cincinnati
Stally: Cincinnati

Miami @ Cleveland
Austen: Cleveland
Stally: Cleveland

Detroit @ Minnesota
Austen: Detroit
Stally: Detroit

Houston @ New Orleans
Austen: New Orleans
Stally: New Orleans

New York-G @ Philadelphia
Austen: Philadelphia
Stally: Philadelphia

Denver @ Tennessee
Austen: Tennessee
Stally: Tennessee

New York-J @ Oakland
Austen: New York-J
Stally: New York-J

Kansas City @ San Diego
Austen: San Diego
Stally: San Diego

Baltimore @ St. Louis
Austen: Baltimore
Stally: Baltimore

Green Bay @ Chicago
Austen: Green Bay
Stally: Green Bay

Arizona @ Seattle
Austen: Seattle
Stally: Seattle

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
Austen: Tampa Bay
Stally: Atlanta

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis  
Austen: Pittsburgh

Washington @ Dallas
Austen: Dallas
Stally: Dallas

This is one of the few weeks that Stally and I agree on almost every game. Surprising considering how close in talent a lot of these matchups are. Enjoy another great week of football!

Stally:  Wow, that only took 30 laps, now back to the race!

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