Friday, September 19, 2008

Week 3 Predictions

"It was just another night
With a sunset
And a moonrise not so far behind
To give us just enough light."

So it's been awhile on this, and while I'm not expecting anyone to give me a grace period or anything, but hold a little back if you could when Monday QB'ing me. In any event, I think I'll be following my format from last year, picking 10 in college and all the pro games. I did fairly well last year, so I'm hoping to that was a lame thing to say. So, enough with the cliches already...


Florida vs. Tennessee:
Might as well start off big. Two big-time SEC East schools meet in Knoxville on Saturday. While I think that the Vols have definite potential to make an upset happen at home, I really don't think they can stop the Gators' offense, which put up 554 yards of total offense in their 59-20 drubbing of UF last year in Gainesville. Included in those yards was 255 yards of rushing, something that Tennessee can still do nothing to stop. It will be closer than last year, but I'll still go with the Gators here. And did I mention UT has a freshman starting at QB? Florida (W, -7.5)

LSU vs. Auburn: And continue even bigger! These two Tiger ballclubs both landed in the top 10 and don't look as though either will look back anytime soon. Auburn has won both matchups ATS in the last two years, including a win at home, 7-3, two years ago (by the way, take the under (36.5)...I'm begging you). Originally, I was thinking LSU here, but its real, real tough to win on the road in the SEC, and LSU basically had all the components of their national championship team two years ago, and lost at Auburn. So, upon further review...Auburn (W, +2.5)

Wake Forest vs. Florida St.:
I really feel like this is the game when the 'Noles take back control of the ACC. It was two years ago when the Deacons shocked FSU at Doak Campbell, shutting them out 30-0. Wake was one of the preseason picks to win the ACC, but this is a topsy-turby conference...Duke is 2-1 for crying out loud. Florida St. (W, -4.5)

Utah vs. Air Force: This one caught my eye because I'm feeling like this could be one of those inevitable mid-major meltdowns. Face it, only two small schools in the BCS era have ran the tables, so it's incredibly difficult for these small schools to survive these "landmine" games...actually, it's hard for the big schools to do it too (it took a Mike Davis fumble on the goal line for Georgia to sneak out of Columbia last week...sorry to bring that up). Air Force (W, +8.5)

Miami vs. Texas A&M: I know Miami is continuing to improve, and they're actually favored on the road this week. Still, I don't really think they are ready for a Big 12 team on the road just yet. Last year, they went to Nebraska and got demolished by the Huskers. I'm not feeling blowout, but still, College Station will be rocking as it always is. Texas A&M (W, +3)

East Carolina vs. North Carolina St.: In going back to the Utah game for a quick second, this one has "landmine" potential, but here's the thing: ECU had a huge scare against Tulane last week, which makes me believe that this will be a bounce back game for them. NC State has a -14 scoring differential...they barely got by William & Mary...just leave it at that. East Carolina (W, -7)

...sorry guys, that was all I had time for...


Miami vs. New England:
Why is Joey Porter running his mouth? Miami has won one game in nearly two years now. All aboard the Randy Moss freight train. New England (W, -14)

Kansas City vs. Atlanta: KC has just a dreadful team this year. Is their QB of any relation to Bobby Thigpen? Someone should probably look into that. In the meantime
, Matty Light gets his third NFL start, and should have a pretty good outing against a weak Chiefs' defense. Look for the Burner to break off a 100-yard game at least. Atlanta (W, -7)

Oakland vs. Buffalo: I'm loving what the Bills have done so far. Finally, they are utilizing their offense to its potential, and their defense is healthy, something that has not happened in quite some time. The Raiders are a huge wild card for many reasons:

A. McFadden and Fargas may not play this week, leaving the door open for Michael Bush, who had a nice game last week against said KC defense.

B. Their coach is literally seconds away from getting fired...when you hire a guy who not only did not coach in the NFL, but did not even serve as a head coach in college. I liken Kiffin to Pete Carroll...the guy should stay in college and continue to do what he was good at (he was also the recruiting coordinator at Southern Cal, a skill set that has absolutely no meaning in the NFL)

C. The defense should be outstanding, but a certain Deangelo Hall has been horrendous thus far, and at times appears like he is taking plays off. If they get everyone on the same page, this good be a really good unit, and finally...

D. JaMarcus Russell needs to target Zach Miller a lot more over the middle, much like he did during the preseason. They seemed to develop a nice rapport with each other during the preseason, and now, it seems they are in a bit of a disconnect. If I said it once, I'll say it again: The tight end is a young QB's best friend.

So, with all that said: Buffalo (W, -9.5)

Houston vs. Tennessee: The Texans simply have had no answer for the Titans throughout the years. If you recall last year, Rod Bironas hit a record eight FGs in their win at Reliant Stadium (speaking of which, I hope they are able to get that stadium up and running soon...really beautiful venue). I expect the Titans to use their thunder and lightning RB combo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson to run a muck on the Texans' D. An interesting sub-plot will be how well the Titans O-line will protect Kerry Collins from the likes of Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye. Tennessee (W, -4.5)

Cincinnati vs. New York Giants: In a fierce battle for the worst team in the league, the Bengals took great strides in attempting to get to the #1 spot in the first two games, including abandoning their passsing game, which oh by the way has kind of carried that team since Corey Dillon was running for them. The Giants have looked good so far, but you can't really tell how good this team is yet considering they took on a very wobbly Redskins team in Week 1, and a Rams team that is equally dreadful to Cincy. Is there a possibility that the Bengals could awaken in this game?, anytime you have a 2 TD spread, there is a definite chance that the 'dog could cover...but I'll stay safe here. NY Giants (W, -14).

Arizona vs. Washington: Hey, a good game! How about that? The 'Skins had a huge win last week against preseason NFC South favorite New Orleans last week, and 'Zona was lead by Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin in their beatdown of the Dolphins. The 'Skins did a much better job in stopping the run last week than they did against NY, and in addition, the pass D has been great considering they've gone up against two of the best QBs in the NFC (Manning, Brees). 'Zona's D has looked great as well, but they have played inferior opponents (SF & MIA), so they haven't quite been tested like they will this week. There are a couple key things to look for here:

A. What will the 'Skins do to try and contain Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald? They have three talented corners in Shawn Springs, Carlos Rodgers, and Fred Smoot, so they at least have the depth on paper to slow the tandem down. Still, look for a fair amount of blitzing on Warner, forcing him to throw to his first or second target. If he is allowed to stand back in the pocket, he will pick apart the Washington secondary.

B. Will the 'Skins continue to be a run-heavy team, or will Jim Zorn allow Jason Campbell to have a few five-step drops to look for Santana Moss? As shown last week, Campbell can air it out, and if he can stretch the D, it will take Adrian Wilson, one of the best safeties in the NFL (I'm continuing my push from last year of trying to give him some pub in being the best safety in the league), away from the line of scrimmage, it opens the door for Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley on screens and inside passes.

Ultimately, it is going to be tough for Arizona to defensively counter Washington, and I see the 'Skins being able to do a much better job on Warner than Zona's previous opponents have. Washington (+3)

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