Culture of Hoops

Sonny’s NFL Picks: Week 3

Image courtesy of Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr.

I thought I was supposed to have things figured out by Week 3. Isn’t that how it goes? Week 1 was supposed to be the unpredictable week. Week 2 was supposed to be the week where we kind of figured out where every team was at. And then in Week 3 the picks were supposed to be easy. This wasn’t easy. For whatever reason I had a really tough time making these picks. All I know as of right now is there are only three teams that I will always trust take care of business against bad teams (the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals). There are only a few teams that truly suck (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars). And all 26 other teams fall somewhere in the middle of those three at the top and three at the bottom. Sure, there are some teams that will float to the top (the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, etc.) and some that will dwell in the cellar (the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, etc.) but still, it’s a crapshoot for the most part. Gosh, who knew picking football games and then writing a couple of thousand words about those picks could be so difficult.

Home Teams in All CAPS

ATLANTA FALCONS over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If I never have to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football again it would be too soon. That is a truly dreadful team (Yeah, I’m a little bitter; I’ve picked them two weeks in a row AND I have Vincent Jackson on my Fantasy Football team). Now the NFL is shoving them down our collective throat on Thursday Night Football? Seriously, fire Goodell.

BUFFALO BILLS over San Diego Chargers
Screw it, I’m done getting burned by the Bills. I should have picked Buffalo to beat Chicago Week 1 because I never ever pick the Bears to win Week 1. That’s just unnecessary pressure out of the gate and a missed opportunity for the reverse jinx. I should’ve picked the Bills to win last week because in retrospect it was the most obvious game of all of the toss-up games on the Week 2 slate: Jim Kelly was in attendance, the Pegula’s bought the Bills and are keeping the team in Buffalo, Sammy Watkins was due for a big game and the Dolphins were due for a let-down after beating New England at home Week 1.

To me this feels like a let-down game for the Chargers.  Coming off of a big home win last week against the defending Super Bowl champs where Antonio Gates socked the Legion of Boom and Father Time in the jaw, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the foot to come off the pedal just a bit. And if Buffalo does get the win then Bills fans will be completely and utterly delusional.

This is a true story: the last time the San Diego Chargers played in Buffalo my dad and I went to the game. The Bills won and improved to 5-1 on the season. This isn’t the important part of the story. The important part of the story came after the game when my dad and I were driving home listening to a conversation on a local sports talk radio station that I wouldn’t have believed if I didn’t hear it with my own two ears. The hosts and callers were openly discussing:

A)     If Trent Edwards would end up having a similar career to Joe Montana

B)      If that particular Bills team would go down as one of the best in NFL history

I swear to God on everything holy that I’m not fabricating a single detail of that story. Trent Edwards would go on to start 18 more games and the 2008 Buffalo Bills would finish the regular season 7-9.

CLEVELAND BROWNS over Baltimore Ravens
Gah! I was so close to pulling the trigger on Cleveland over New Orleans last week but I couldn’t do it. You know why I couldn’t do it? I didn’t have, as “Kamikazi” Tanaka would say, the marbles.


Well I’ve found my marbles and I’m ready to commit to picking the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 just like the Browns should be ready to commit to Brian Hoyer as their starting quarterback going forward.

Dallas Cowboys over ST. LOUIS RAMS
Call me nuts, but I’m actually a little afraid of picking against Austin Davis in a home game. Please, tell me I’m nuts. Make me feel O.K. about taking Dallas in this game. I let that “Marbles” video get to my head, right?

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES over Washington Redskins
A truly gutty performance by the Eagles on Monday night. Nick Foles out-Luck’d Andrew Luck and Darren Sproles delivered a primetime performance for the ages. Eagles fans have to be a little concerned though that this vaunted Chip Kelly offense has only been able to put up six points in two first halves so far this season. They should also be concerned about the Cowboys figuring out they need to run the ball more and all of the Ewing Theory mojo going on in Washington D.C. I’ve gone on record saying that Kirk Cousins is a better quarterback than Robert Griffin III and I’m not backing away from that statement now even though it’s a pretty rough schedule ahead for the Skins. Home against the Giants next week, then home for a Monday night showdown with Seattle, at Arizona, home against Tennessee, at Dallas, at Minnesota, bye week. Would I be nuts to say that Washington could be 5-4 going into their bye week? Don’t you dare tell me I’m nuts! I like that pseudo prediction.

Indianapolis Colts over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Andrew Luck isn’t going 0-3 to start the season. Plain and simple. And if the Colts do start the season 0-3 my Super Bowl prediction is f*****.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS over Minnesota Vikings
If New Orleans goes 0-3 to start the season a lot of people’s Super Bowl prediction is f*****.

CINCINNATI BENGALS over Tennessee Titans
Am I crazy, or does it feel like Cincinnati might be the team to f*** up everyone’s Super Bowl prediction?

Green Bay Packers over DETROIT LIONS
This doesn’t feel right. Hold on.

DETROIT LIONS over Green Bay Packers
Wait, isn’t Green Bay probably better off playing in a dome than outdoors? Hmmm.

Green Bay Packers over DETROIT LIONS
Then again, the Packers have plenty of red flags. Shaky offensive line, questionable defense. Can the Packers really find a way to stop Calvin Johnson? What will Ndamukong Suh do if he gets his hands on Aaron Rodgers?

DETROIT LIONS over Green Bay Packers
I guess this is what I’m settling on. Detroit over Green Bay. I don’t feel good about it at all. I wish both teams could lose but as far as I know that isn’t possible. Oh well.

Houston Texans over NEW YORK GIANTS
This is the game that the Giants always used to win. On the ropes, plenty of doubters, everyone throwing shade their way … and then Eli would throw four touchdowns, pull eighteen plays out of his rear end and on top of that the defense would make a bunch of huge plays and suddenly the Giants were right back in the thick of things. That was their shtick. They won two Super Bowls in seasons where 70 percent of their wins came in games like this. Now it’s a different story. Now the Giants don’t have the playmakers on either side of the ball to be relied on to win what’s close to being considered a do-or-die game.

Even if they did have those kind of guys I’m not sure that I’d take the G-Men. I like the Houston Texans team. I really like this Houston Texans team. In fact, I really like this Houston Texans team probably way too much. We’ll add them to the inaugural list of Things I Really Like About This NFL Season Probably Way Too Much. Also on the list: Peyton Manning’s Nationwide commercial … Brian Hoyer … picking against the Buffalo Bills … the Atlanta Falcons playing inside domes … the Arizona Cardinals defense against any shaky or semi-shaky quarterback … the New York Jets triple option … Knile Davis … the Dallas Cowboys when they run the ball … Kirk Cousins > Robert Griffin III … Monday Night Football doubleheaders … Ahmad Bradshaw … the Cincinnati Bengals … the way Jay Cutler played against San Francisco last week … and Peyton Manning’s Nationwide commercial again.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS over Oakland Raiders
Only John Cena is going to get a worse ass-beating on Sunday than the Oakland Raiders.

ARIZONA CARDINALS over San Francisco 49ers
You don’t even need to tell me that I’m nuts to take Drew Stanton—or Carson Palmer for that matter—against the 49ers. I know I am. I don’t feel good about it at all. I watched Pedro Serrano do the Marbles dance too many times. Plus I saw the 49ers stumble through the 2nd half against the Bears last week and it was sort of off-putting in a casual football observer sort of way. As a Bears fan I was ecstatic that Colin Kaepernick was suddenly so careless with the football. Our defense looked good! I haven’t been able to say that in a while.

Kaepernick can’t afford to do Arizona’s defense any favors and the 49ers certainly can’t afford to drop a division game against Drew Stanton—again, or Carson Palmer—in Week 3.

Kansas City Chiefs over MIAMI DOLPHINS
Hector Diaz deprived me of SNOUT last week. I want SNOUT! If Hector isn’t back by week five serving up NFL fans with the SNOUT Game of the Week I’m taking it upon myself to do so!

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS over Denver Broncos
The winner of this game is the early season alpha dog. The possible results:

A)     Seattle wins easily—a Super Bowl XLVIII style beat down—and the Seahawks regain alpha dog status

B)      A close Seattle win, leaving both teams in the alpha dog picture

C)      A close Denver win, giving the Broncos possession of the alpha dog championship belt

D)     Denver wins easily, which means the Broncos are the alpha dogs and hell is about to freeze over.

I’m thinking it’s somewhere between A and B. I don’t think it gets as out of hand as Super Bowl XLVIII did but I’d feel comfortable taking Seattle -4.5. By the way, I’m still irked that this isn’t a primetime game. Seriously, fire Goodell.

CAROLINA PANTHERS over Pittsburgh Steelers
Here is what I know about these two teams:

  • Pittsburgh is still undefeated when Antonio Brown kicks an opposing punter in the head
  • The Steelers have scored only nine points in the last six quarters and they’ll be lucky to get nine first downs in this game.
  • I mistakenly had Carolina pegged as a regression team. Their offense plods but man oh man their defense is lockdown. Not many teams are going to be able to get enough points on the board to be in the game.
  • Carolina somehow might end up being a regression team simply because of a difficult first place schedule that looks like a gauntlet up through Week 11. After Pittsburgh they are at Baltimore (Steve Smith vengeance game), home against Chicago, at Cincinnati, at Green Bay, home against Seattle, home against New Orleans, at Philadelphia, home against Atlanta. The Panthers probably have one of the three best defenses in the league and I’m still not sure they’ll be over .500 after their first eleven games. They avoid having to play in Seattle, in New Orleans or in Atlanta during that stretch, but still. That’s eight straight games against a team that might make the Playoffs. Yeesh.

NEW YORK JETS over Chicago Bears
As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is a New York Jets fan and my dad and I are Chicago Bears fans. All I have to say is best of luck to both teams. I need to ensure that my mother continues to cook me good meals this week. Enjoy the games!

Last Week: 8-8
Overall: 19-13

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