- Jared Wickerham/Getty
I always find the second week of theNFL to be a little forgettable. Week 1 is mania, sheer blue-blooded, hoppy American bliss. Nobody really knows anything about the vast majority of the teams – except for probably the Browns and Patriots – which of course means that both the games themselves and the subsequent storylines that dominate (Jameis Winston is a bust!!!) are about as entertaining and outrageous as anything anywhere else in sports.
And then Week 2 is pretty underwhelming. You start to get a better sense of your favorite team and you come to terms with the fact that this team will soon make you suffer, if it hasn’t already. Your fantasy team becomes a lost cause because your quarterback breaks his clavicle and your running back pulls his groin and your friend claims the only good player available player on the waiver wire before you think to do the same. You accept that you will almost certainly not win one million dollars playing DraftKings.
By the end of Week 2, the newness of football in your life is a little less new, and the NFL – as much as this is possible – settles back into the realm of just being another sport. Which is fine, because you continue to watch, and you will continue to watch every single week.
Last Friday, PBS published a study from Boston University that found 87 of 91 deceased former NFL players tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy – the brain disease caused by repeated head trauma.
This story made its rounds, as stories regarding the NFL and head injuries and player safety do. It scared and angered me, as stories about the NFL and head injuries and player safety do. And then on Sunday I watched the NFL all day. Just as I will watch it all day during this Sunday, as I convince myself that my team will win the Super Bowl, and that I will win a million dollars on DraftKings.
This is the terrifying brilliance of the NFL: we know how bad football can be and yet we continue to watch anyway. We are all addicted to it.
And soo, on that positive and upbeat note, here are my picks for Week 3!
Washington Redskins (+3.5) at New York Giants
- Getty Images
You can’t spell “elite” without Eli, and the Giants can’t possibly blow three consecutive 4th quarter leads in the first three weeks of the season, right? … Right?
The pick: Giants -3.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) at St. Louis Rams
Le’Veon Bell is back! I love that the Steelers are going to keep going for two. More teams should do this, if only because it’s so much more fun to watch than the PAT.
The pick: Steelers -1.5
San Diego Chargers (+2.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Shout out to Norv Turner, who remembered last week that he has Adrian Peterson on his team!
The pick: Vikings -2.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5) at Houston Texans
- Thomson Reuters
Jameis Winston looked better in Week 2 and the Texans continue to look atrociously bad. I won’t be surprised if the Texans win, but 6.5 points is a lot. I like the Bucs to cover the spread.
The pick: Buccaneers +6.5
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) at New York Jets
The Eagles are currently the most dysfunctional team in the NFC East, and that’s no easy feat! They can’t run the ball, and the (2-0!) Jets have a stymieing run defense. This of course probably means that the Eagles will come out and win by 20 and everyone will go back to calling Chip Kelly a genius.
On the other hand:
#Eagles CB Byron Maxwell (6-yr, $64m contract offseason) has been thrown at 19x, allowed 15 comp, 240 yds, 2 TD, 158.3 (perfect) QB rating
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) September 21, 2015
The pick: Jets -2.5
New Orleans Saints (+3) at Carolina Panthers
Even if Drew Brees plays, I still think the Panthers are better.
The pick: Panthers -3
Jacksonville Jaguars (+13.5) at New England Patriots
This is a huge spread, especially considering the Jaguars are coming off a nice win over the Dolphins and the Patriots – as dominant as they have been – have been giving up a ton of points. But I’m not going to over-think it, especially since the Patriots are untouchable at home.
The pick: Patriots -13.5
Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
By far the best game of the weekend, and thus the hardest to pick. The Ravens just don’t seem to have enough good skill-position players, and on defense they’re really missing Terrelle Suggs.
The pick: Bengals +2.5
Oakland Raiders (+3.5) at Cleveland Browns
If you wanna win, put Johnny Football (back) in!
The pick: Raiders +3.5
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Tennessee Titans
Andrew Luck and the Colts will definitely bounce back against the Titans. (I wrote this last week, too…)
The pick: Colts -3
Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys
Try to read this with a straight face:
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan: Brandon Weeden is "a thing of beauty throwing the football. Frankly, you won't see a more gifted passer."
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 22, 2015
The pick: Falcons -1.5
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are quietly really, really good. Can Carson Palmer stay healthy all season long?
The Pick: Cardinals -6.5
Chicago Bears (+14.5) at Seattle Seahawks
- Otto Greule Jr./Getty
Poor Jimmy Clausen. It’s bad enough that you have to make your first start of the season against Seattle in Seattle’s home opener. And then news breaks that Kam Chancellor is coming back.
The Pick: Seahawks -14.5
Buffalo Bills (+3) at Miami Dolphins
This will be a fun one. The Bills will cover, even in a loss.
The pick: Bills +3
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Detroit Lions
The Broncos probably didn’t deserve to win last week, and Peyton’s arm is definitely deteriorating, but the Broncos defense will be enough.
The pick: Broncos -2.5
Kansas City (+6.5) at Green Bay Packers
Rodgers was great against the Seahawks and won’t look any different against the Chiefs.
The pick: Packers -6.5
[Last week’s record: 8-8]