NFL Predictions | Week 3 Pigskin Picks: NFL Football Picks and NFL Football Predictions


Massimo’s NFL Blog
NFL Football Picks and NFL Predictions
By Massimo Russo – Featured Writer Silver and Blue Report & Hook’em Report

Jim Harbaugh | Baltimore Ravens: New England Patriots, SpygateGame on! Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and gang certainly haven’t forgot last year’s heartbreaking loss to New England in the AFC Title game. His Ravens get another shot at Brady and the Pats in their own backyard on prime time television.

Week 3
Thursday Night Football, September 20 8:20 PM ET – TV: NFL Network

N.Y. Giants 1-1 @ Carolina Panthers 1-1
The Giants secondary has been dreadful and could be tested by Carolina’s Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell, two receivers with big play-making ability. Here’s the key factor of this matchup. When I look at both defensive fronts, I see Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora of the Giants, the best in the league when playing at a high level and nothing on Carolina’s that can get after Eli Manning. Even without Hakeem Nicks or Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants will be able to move the football and put up big points against a subpar Panthers defense. Pick: N.Y. Giants 31, Panthers 17.

Final Score: N.Y. Giants (2-1) 36, Panthers (1-2) 7

Sunday, September 23
1:00 PM ET
St. Louis Rams 1-1 @ Chicago Bears 1-1 – TV: FOX
The Jeff Fisher affect is already taking flight in St. Louis. But no surprise because that’s what good coaches do, creating a believe you can attitude. As for Chicago, the nightmares of Clay Matthews trouncing the offensive line better be long gone. Chicago dodges a few bullets from the Fisher kind of Rams with a running back the Bears brought along in the offseason Michael Bush who will get the go for the absent Matt Forte (sprained ankle). Pick: Bears 27, Rams 19

Buffalo Bills 1-1 @ Cleveland Browns 0-2 – TV: CBS
I saw a Browns defense intercept Michael Vick four times and then get scorched by Cincinnati. This is a real funky game to pick here. I have to go with the team that has a better pass rusher with Buffalo’s Mario Williams to get after rookie Brandon Weeden. Pick: Bills 24, Browns 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-1 @ Dallas Cowboys 1-1 – TV: FOX
How frustrating is it for a defense that intercepts Eli Manning three times, takes one to the house and still ends up on the losing side of things? That was Tampa’s defense on September 16th against the Giants. The secondary gets another talented group of receivers to ball with all afternoon in the house that Jerry built. And Dallas better erase an egg-laying loss to Seattle or Mount Jones will erupt. Side Note: In his last seven full games played, Cowboys receiver Miles Austin has 9-touchdown catches. Pick: Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 17

N.Y. Jets 1-1 @ Miami Dolphins 1-1 – TV: CBS
Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine surely will be letting his group know to stay hydrated for a game temperature expected to be 85 degrees and humid. They’ll need to be hydrated especially trying to gang tackle Miami’s Reggie Bush all afternoon long. Reggie is the prime focus for New York’s defense. They’ll come prepared and escape with a win in a tight game. Pick: N.Y. Jets 20, Dolphins 17

San Francisco 49ers 2-0 @ Minnesota Vikings 1-1 – TV: FOX
I see the entire 49ers defense hanging out at the junkyard in the middle of the night with a bunch of wild barking pit bulls. Patrick Willis leads the way with a picture of the oppositions quarterback each week to show the dogs. And when he shows the dogs the picture, they all go Ruff! RRRrrruf! Arrrrrrr!!! Get my drift? Pick: 49ers 30, Vikings 13

Kansas City Chiefs 0-2 @ New Orleans Saints 0-2 – TV: CBS
Both defenses are a mess. So we get a shootout in the dome and an advantage to an offense that doesn’t have a turnover bug as serious as Kansas City’s. This has fantasy football lovers game written all over it. Pick: Saints 41, Chiefs 27

Cincinnati Bengals 1-1 @ Washington Redskins 1-1 – TV: CBS
Not good for a defense that got exposed in St. Louis. The Redskins lost outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker for the remainder of the season due to injury. Those are two vital pieces of the Redskins defense that will hurt them tremendously the rest of the way. The Orakpoless, Carrikerless defense gets a Bengals offense that’s capable of stretching the field with a vertical passing game when keeping quarterback Andy Dalton upright. The skins defense will now have to manufacture pressure and that can get you burned. Pick: Bengals 30, Redskins 22

Detroit Lions 1-1 @ Tennessee Titans 0-2 – TV: FOX
Tennessee’s secondary better take advantage of the replacement officials’ non-callings for defensive holding factor every time Detroit’s Matthew Stafford throws the football. Mainly, Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer better dial 1-800-The Real Chris Johnson to get a huge bulk of carries to try to establish the run and keep the Lions offense off the field, otherwise this could get ugly quick. I think it does. Pick: Lions 37, Titans 16

Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2 @ Indianapolis Colts 1-1 – TV: CBS
With backup running back Rashad Jennings (knee) likely to miss his second straight game, look for Jacksonville to call Maurice Jones-Drew number for 85% of the plays. That’s how good Andrew Luck already is. Opposing offenses are already looking to keep him and the Colts offense off the field. That should be the ideal approach for a Jaguars offense that is on the edge with second year quarterback Blaine Gabbert who’s yet to get a consistent passing game going. The running game can bail you out, but not in Indianapolis. Pick: Colts 23, Jaguars 19

4:05 PM ET
Philadelphia Eagles 2-0 @ Arizona Cardinals 2-0 – TV: FOX
In a battle between top ten defenses, it comes down to who wins the field position and turnover battles. The Eagles escaped their first two games not protecting the football. That’s what good defenses do, they bail an offense out when not up to par. I assume Andy Reid has been stressing all week long during practice that this isn’t the type of game the offense turns over the football and escapes with a win. Better protect the football. Pick: Eagles 17, Cardinals 14

Atlanta Falcons 2-0 @ San Diego Chargers 2-0 – TV: FOX
It’s uncertain when Falcons running back Michael Turner will get his next chance to play after getting arrested Tuesday morning on charges of drunken driving and speeding. Turner did meet with head coach Mike Smith about the situation and has yet to be told that he won’t play this Sunday. Although the Falcons haven’t done much running the football, they’ll need Turner to carry the load on the road to keep Rivers and his new gang of receivers off the field if they want to slow down a Chargers offense who seemingly hasn’t lost a beat without Vincent Jackson. (Something that makes me wonder), with the NFC South playing the AFC West this season, why did the league schedule the Falcons first three games @ Kansas City, Denver and @ San Diego, all outer conference games off the bat? Pick: Chargers 26, Falcons 23

4:25 PM ET
Houston Texans 2-0 @ Denver Broncos 1-1 – TV: CBS
Surely, the Texans have the best running game in the league with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, a two-headed monster backfield. At some point, Houston’s offense has to get the air attack in full effect so that Arian Foster doesn’t get worn out by midseason. The money the franchise spent on Matt Schaub, who’s now healthy, wasn’t cashed for handing off the football. Let it rip, you have Andre Johnson, a top five receiver that can move the chains for your offense. As for Peyton, he won’t get much time in the pocket to get rid of the football against a hard-nosed Texans pass rush. This game is all Manning to do his magic at the line of scrimmage with his audibling and hot route signal calling to catch the Texans defense in a favorable one-on-one matchup. That’s when he’s at his best. Pick: Broncos 24, Texans 23

Pittsburgh Steelers 1-1 @ Oakland Raiders 0-2 – TV: CBS
James Harrison (knee) and Troy Polamalu (calf) will be missing in action for Pittsburgh out west against the struggling Raiders. That calls for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to get creative without his top two dogs on defense. LeBeau understands that Carson Palmer is very familiar with his scheme for playing the Steelers twice a season when with the Bengals. This is why player/coaches make the Hall of Fame like LeBeau, they showed it on the field and on the sideline calling the shots. And he’ll find a way to get his defense to rattle Carson and Raiders out of their comfort zone. Pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 9

Sunday Night Football in America 8:20 PM ET – TV: NBC
New England Patriots 1-1 @ Baltimore Ravens 1-1
That bad taste in the mouth the Ravens have losing last year in the AFC Title game in Foxborough on a missed chip-shot field goal and a ball knocked out of the hands of Lee Evans that would’ve sent Baltimore to the Super Bowl instead of New England making their fifth trip in eleven seasons, has to have coach John Harbaugh and his troops all geared up and ready for a game under NBC’s bright lights. The Patriots are coming off a stunning upset at home to Arizona and the Ravens are coming off a hard fought loss on the road in Philadelphia. Here’s one thing that I never thought one of these teams would be, and that’s 1-2 after the third week of the season. I expect the Patriots offense to try to negate a loud crowd on the road by going no huddle and go back to what has made the Patriots offense money in these must win type of games. The Ravens will try to pound the rock with Ray Rice between the tackles and hit a suspect Patriots secondary over the top with speedy receiver Torrey Smith. In differential to last season, I like this Ravens offense much better in 2012. Torrey Smith is getting better each game and they now have a tight end Dennis Pitta who’s becoming another option for Joe Flacco on passing downs. Pick: Ravens 23, Patriots 21

Monday Night Football, September 24 8:30 PM ET – TV: ESPN
Green Bay Packers 1-1 @ Seattle Seahawks 1-1
I’ll start out by throwing out a statistical factor for this game. Seattle is 17-8 on Monday Night Football, the best winning percentage of any team. Here’s another key factor, Seattle’s secondary is absolutely scary and I think gets in the heads of opposing teams’ receivers. They did that to Tony Romo and Cowboys high powered passing attack last week. The secondary will have a more difficult task with Green Bay’s multiple weapons at receiver that are perhaps the best route runners in the league quarterback Aaron Rodgers exploits defensive backs with. And whenever playing on the road against Seattle in a game of this magnitude, you must have an offensive game-plan that will negate the loudest crowd in the league. I would be shocked if the Packers don’t go no huddle offensively and run some screens and draws on Seattle’s defense. Seattle’s rushing attack uses stretch runs gashing defenses between the tackles with Marshawn Lynch. They’ll try to get Green Bay’s Clay Matthews moving away from what he does best, and that’s get after the quarterback and stuff the run up the middle. They’ll try to move him both ways with running stretch runs on both sides and possibly go double tight end and use an extra blocker to negate Matthews when he blitzes. Ultimately, in a game on prime time TV, big time quarterbacks come up big late on the road in the fourth quarter. Advantage Aaron Rodgers over the rookie Russell Wilson. Pick: Packers 20, Seahawks 16

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