Wow, this NFL season has been exciting so far to say the least. There have already been many story lines that have been written and there are many more to come. First of all…after the upset on Thursday…Andy Reid and the upstart Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0. Thursday Night’s game was special for Reid, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles for Fourteen Seasons, and this was his first game against his old club. Even making the night more special, was the retirement ceremony of Donovan McNabb’s Number at Halftime. Remember, It was Andy Reid that took Donovan McNabb with the third pick in the 1998 Draft…amidst much criticism. No one can forget that day when over 100 members of the Eagle’s Dirty Thirty made their way to New York City and proceeded to boo radically when the Eagles drafted #5, as Donovan refers to himself now. The majority of Eagles fans that season thought they should draft Ricky Williams. Well, the rest is history. Donovan McNabb (Love him or hate him) is the best quarterback to ever suit up for the Eagles in history. He holds just about every passing record, including wins and playoff games and wins. The only thing that escaped Andy Reid and his protege, #5 was a Super Bowl Ring. And that folks is the only reason that Andy Reid is now the Head Coach of the Chiefs.
Anyways…Andy Reid received much praise by the Philadelphia Faithful, much to the dismay of the National Media, who had hoped for the usual drama that occurs surrounding this city and it’s sports lure. Remember, Santa Claus…J.D. Drew and the Batteries…The horror stories of the Philadelphia Fans. Well, Philly showed the Nation that they can play with dignity and that the fans could show restraint. However, the Eagles Offense was also restrained…as Michael Vick reverted back to the Vick of old, the turnover machine. It is pretty ironic that the Eagles were playing under such a big microscope and with Andy Reid present in the building, Vick appeared to be the same Vick as last year that struggled in Andy’s porous offense and the offensive line looked like swiss cheese once again.
Ok, there have been many more story lines in the NFL already. We had Peyton Manning and the 7 TD Performance in Week 1. Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns star running back traded to the Indianapolis Colts, just two weeks into the season. The Manning Bowl with Peyton coming out on top. The Seattle Seahawks completely annihilating the San Francisco 49ers at home on a Monday Night in the “LOUDEST STADIUM” today. The slow start of Tom Brady and the Patriots. The list can go on and on. That is why there is a sixteen week season and byes, as well as the playoffs. And just like the past few years, this league is anyone for the taking’s thus far. So here we are…it’s that time again. THE BIRD vs SAVAGE. So far, THE BIRD is winning the points total as far as record against the spread. However, Aaron took the Chiefs to win outright on Thursday, while I took the Eagles with a final score of 31-27. My…oh my…how wrong was I. The Eagles had better learn to play defense soon or else they will be 2-14 like the Chiefs last year. I am scared to watch the Eagles next game, next Sunday at Denver. Anyways, without further a due…here are my Week #3 Picks:
1) San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans- The Chargers are underdogs on the road, despite their past week beating of the Eagles. The Titans are favored by three points. Philip Rivers does look composed and more focused this season. The Chargers passing game has been the strength thus far. However, The Titans have a good secondary and they can play the run well also. Antonio Gates can be a beast, but I am going to go with the safe pick this week with the Titans winning the game and beating the spread. Just a hunch. Titans-20-Chargers-16.
2) Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings- The Browns just traded their star running back and are starting their third string quarterback. I would say this is a team in much disarray. The trade is a move that signals that they are already giving up on this season (wusses). In contrast, the Vikings still feature Adrian Peterson, the best running back in the game. The Vikings are favored by seven and I can see this game getting ugly if they can get an early lead. Vikings win and beat the spread.
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots- The Patriots are far from the team that many of us are used to. Tom Brady has been un Brady like. The Patriots have not been sharp and are barely winning games. The once potent offense has disappeared and there are many question marks. In my mind, there is no doubt that the loss of Wes Welker hurts this team. I mean, you can say all you want about Edelman…but he is not WELKER. The Buccaneers still have not totally shown their true colors. Doug Martin can pound the ball and Josh Freeman has two very talented receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. However, there has been talk that Freeman is requesting a trade. This cannot be good for the morale or the locker room. The Patriots have to come out firing sometime and I feel this is the week. Patriots win and beat the spread.
4) Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens- Despite the losses on defense for the Baltimore Ravens, this game should be a very close game and it will probably come down to turnovers. The Texans are stronger this season with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster and they have been better in close games. Although the Texans are favored by 2 Points…I am not ready to give up on the Ravens. Baltimore wins at home and gets their swagger back.
5) Saint Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys are favored by 3.5 Points. However, the NFC East is 0-5 outside of the Division. The Rams have shown that they can put up some offense and also have a good secondary. If the Cowboys are going to win they will have to run the ball with Demarco Murray. The Cowboys do present some matchup mismatches with Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Murray on offense. All four players are good in traffic and are good after the catch. I am going to stick with the law of averages and take the Rams in an upset.
6) Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints- The Saints have been much more consistent this season and still run that high octane offense. Their defense is also much improved. Drew Brees is due for a breakout game and Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham should be able to stretch the weak secondary of the Cardinals. It is also still unknown if Larry Fitzgerald will play in this game. The Saints are favored by 7.5. The NFL is much more close these days so I am going to take New Orleans, but they will not beat the spread.
7) Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins- This game is so hard to get a beat on right now that its a Pick Em. The Redskins have yet to get their offense in sync as of yet, while RGIII continues to heal from his offseason surgery. Alfred Morris did have a nice game in Week 2 so look for the Skins to try and control the clock, especially against the pass happy Lions. Matt Stafford has many weapons at his disposal with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. The Lions also bring it on Defense all day. I would love to pick the Lions, but I see this as a dire game for the Skins in front of their home crowd. The Redskins win this one in a nail biter.
8) Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals- The Packers are favored by a field goal. However, they will be missing their starting running back Eddie Lacy, Safety Morgan Burnett and Cornerback Casey Hayward. Green Bay does have all of the hoopla and star power on offense, however if any team has a Front Seven that can neutralize Aaron Rodgers and the passing game its the Bengals. I am taking the Bengals to win as home underdogs.
9) New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers- The Giants were just embarrassed by the Broncos at home. They are only favored by 1.5 Points on the road. This tells me that the consensus is that this Giants team is lacking the dominance it once had in the NFC. If Carolina can get a consistent rushing game against the Giants and take pressure off Cam Newton, he could be in for a big day. I am taking the Panthers to beat the Giants in easy fashion.
10) Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins- The Fish are finally getting some recognition around the league. Miami is actually favored by a field goal at home. Atlanta will be without their star tailback, Steven Jackson, for at least two weeks. They have also not been protecting Matt Ryan the best. The Dolphins are playing two dimensional football and they still pack power on Defense. They are good at rushing the passer and should be able to neutralize the Falcon’s Air Game. The Dolphins win this one and beat the Spread.
11) Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers- The Niners are favored by 10!! Wow, ten points. The Colts just upgraded their rushing attack to go along with Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne. The Niners are coming off that ASS KICKING. I really feel that the Colts are underrated. Nonetheless, the Niners will win the game but they will not cover. They win by six or seven tops.
12) Jacksonville Jaguars @ Seattle Seahawks- The Seahawks are favored by 19.5 Points. Right now, the Seahawks look like the best team in football and the Jaguars are definitely the bottom feeders. Seattle has a balanced attack with Marshawn Lynch at Tailback and Russell Wilson behind the Gun. However, the true strength of this Seahawks team is their DEFENSE. There will be at least five turnovers in this game and possibly three defensive scores as the Seahawks demolish the JAGS. Seahawks win 41-10.
13) Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets- The Jets are favored by 2.5 Points at home. If this game was on the road the Bills would be favored. The Jets have not shown me anything this season and Rex Ryan will be done before the season in my opinion. The Bills have yet to get going with their power running game. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson have only been a little above average. The Bills continue to struggle with their passing game as well. However, this could go either way so I am taking the Bills to win on the road.
14) Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers- This game should be a grind them out type of Sunday Night Football Game. The Bears are really impressive as Jay Cutler continues to work magic with Brandon Marshall. Matt Forte is off to his best start of his career as far as overall numbers. The Steelers have been inconsistent thus far and Rothlisberger looks out of sync. I am going Bears to win 24-17 as they are favored by two.
15) Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos- What more can we say so far about the Broncos besides they are the toast of the AFC. They are favored by 15.5 Points. Despite how good the Broncos are playing right now, the Raiders are a much improved team and I do not see them getting blown out. Denver wins but does not cover.
****THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS….STAY TUNED FOR THE SAVAGE AND HIS WEEKLY PICKS******
And as I close, I wish all of my followers and fans alike good luck with Fantasy Football this week. Week 3 is usually the week where teams either start to falter or take off. We shall See. LeSean McCoy already had a huge game as did Jamal Charles. What other running backs will enjoy success? Sunday is right around the corner. And also, stay tuned as I will continue my series on TOP 20’s, this time picking the TOP 20 Running Backs from 1990-2010.