Wow, tough week as I reenter the Box of Shame for going 8-8. I will be joined by Frank Reich, who will soon be in the Box of Unemployment the way his Colts are not showing up. Early season is hard to call, because you know some teams are playing better than they are (Giants, Seahawks), and some teams are playing poorer than they are (Colts, Bengals), while still others are doing exactly what we expect (Bills, Bucs). Boy, did Buffalo ever eviscerate the miserable Titans Monday night! That hurt to watch. Speaking of Hurts, Jalen whomped on the Purple Reign pretty good as the Eagles soared again. Let’s give this thing a few more weeks before we solidify any opinions…except that the Bills are legit and scary. Here’s the picks.
Steelers at Browns – This is now a ‘who-cares’ pick ‘em, after the Clowns got beat by Joe ‘Flamethrower’ Flacco and his Jets, and the Steelers were bent by New England. Granted, if TJ ‘High’ Watt was playing, the outcome would probably have been different, not to mention Cam Sutton’s dropped INT. Falsebisky dinked and dunked, throwing what seemed like 75 2-yard passes. I feel bad for Mitch when the Steeler hardhats start yelling for Kenny Pickens, though. I really don’t know in this one, but if Myles Garrett and Nick ‘Chuggy’ Chubb have a decent game, the Clowns will probably hold serve at home. Cleveland steams past the Rooney Ruins.
Saints at Panthers – The Panthers have no answers, it seems. They still stink, even with McCaffeine back. The Saints struggle as well, even though their D is pretty solid. Let’s not waste a lot of time on this tilt, because if Jameis can play, the Whodats are the better team. Heck, even with the Red Relic under center they are better than the Carolina Kittycats. I have no idea what will turn the Panthers around, but it won’t happen this week. Christians eat the lions on Sunday.
Texans at Bears – Lovie Smith returns home to face the toothless Eberflus Bears in the Mediocrity Bowl. Davis Mills will play hard again, and the Texans’ Secondary is becoming a dangerous neighborhood, capable of making Justin Fields look like W.C. Fields. Again, not a game anybody wants to watch, and unless another deluge comes to Chicago’s rescue, Houston should answer the call of ‘Where’s the beef?’
Chiefs at Colts – Knock knock. Who’s there? Owen. Owen who? 0-3. By the time the Colts figure it out, they will have trashed their season. Andy Reid’s Indy the Riot Act.
Bills at Dolphins – I think Miami’s QB read my comments last week, because he overachieved this week to erase doubt about whether he has the stuff to lead a team and come through in the clutch. That show in Baltimore got him renamed ‘Sixa’ instead of Tua, as his 6 tds tied him with Miami HOFers Bob Griese and Danny Marino for accomplishing the feat. The 2-0 Dolphins’ D is coming together as well, and this team should be good because they are laden with high-draft talent. They will give the Bills all they can handle in this one, but unlike Baltimore, Buffalo has a stouter defense and plays well on the road. The AFC East is suddenly getting very interesting, with a Patriots and Jets win this week. If Buffalo can keep a lid on Waddle and Hill late in the game (they should), then it’s fun in the sun for their Super Bowl run.
Lions at Vikings – The Lions were the Mane attraction last week in their drubbing of the Salamanders, as Aidan Hutchinson nabbed three sacks and Deondre Swift sizzled afoot. The Vikes’ passing game was Slayed by Darius, as Justin Jefferson was strangled downfield and Dalvin got Cooked by a staunch Eagle D. That said, Cousins is likely to bounce back this week per his pattern, and with Worst or 1st on the line in this division tilt, I think Minnie has the talent edge. Norsemen hang a Lion pelt on the wall.
Ravens at Patriots – Action Jackson put his team on his back last week, and nearly willed them to victory. There was nothing he didn’t do well, but it was all for naught as his porous defense rolled over and died late in the game, allowing Miami an epic turnaround win. The Pats were unremarkable in an ugly win against the ragtag Steelers, but they did run the ball well and the Ravens aren’t big stoppers at this point. Baltimore doesn’t scare me much this year, and I think the Pats could take this one…except that they don’t handle mobile QBs well (Josh Allen), and there is none more mobile than Mr. Jackson. Harbaugh’s Harbingers croak out a road win in Massachusetts.
Bengals at Jets – Buh-Buh-Buh Bengals and the Jetsss! Sounds like an Elton John song. Will probably play like an Elton John song as well, as Joe ‘Rocket Man’ Burrow launches his bombs to ‘Tiny Dancer’ Chase. Cincy is overdue to break out of their funk and start playing like they can. That retooled O-line is too good to stink like they have, and at some point will gel and get a lot better. The Jets won’t lay down, but they won’t fly either against the awakening Bengals. Saleh can take all the ‘receipts’ he wants, but he needs to talk less and win more if he plans to take GangGreen beyond the yellow brick ro-ooad. O-o-o-oh-ohhh. ‘When are you gonna come down?’….Sunday, in Gotham, when Cincy blows out your candle in the wind.
Raiders at Titans – The Titans completely unraveled last week in Buffalo, while Vegas managed to give the game away when the Cards didn’t fall their way. These two teams are dying for a win to turn things around, lest they become mired in failure early in the season. It’s cliché to say DeWreck Henry is overdue for a big rumble. Not to mention how many of us thought Lost Wages was going to be the rising power in the West, instead of a bad bet on the Strip. Neither team has a decent defense to keep a lead safe in the waning minutes. Vegas has the better roster, but Tennessee is the more seasoned club, notwithstanding the Keystone Cops routine from last week. ‘Jango’ Henry gets unchained this week, and doubles down on the winless Faders.
Eagles at Commanders – Philly is the division power here, no disrespect to the rejuvenated Giants. DC is still trying to figure out what they have with Carson Wentz, but they are not the same team without Chase Young, and made Jared Goff look like Matthew Stafford last week. Hurts can run or gun, and Philly has the Slaymaker patrolling deep routes on D, who had two picks last week off Captain Kirk in Bloomington. Eagles soar and score, while the Commanders flop and drop.
Jaguars at Chargers – The Jags are starting to get some traction under Doug Pederson, which is good for the league as a whole. Nobody wants a draft pick like Long Locks Lawrence to play on a garbage team for too long. This game should be fun to watch, as each of these talented teams gets stronger as the season unfolds. Expect the pain sandwich of the Bosa/Mack Sack Attack to remind Lawrence of how much grass he ate last year under Urban Blight, while Assante Samuel Jr and JC Jackson establish a no-fly zone deep for the Bolts. Herbert may or may not play, but I expect he will, and find targets open, especially Awesome Austin Ekeler. Bolts bag the Jags.
Rams at Cardinals – Murray was resourceful last week against the Raiders in a comebacker, while the Scrams picked the Peaches from Georgia with a Jalen Ramsey pluck at the goal line. LA has too many weapons for Zona to cover, so unless Staffie gets over-generous with the ball, the champs should walk off with a W in the desert. The Phoenix fails to rise in Week 3, as LA crosses Death Valley with another notch in their belts.
Falcons at Seahawks – Battle of the Beaks, but neither raptor can fly straight these days. Seattle is just weak all over the place, and their One Penny running game makes no cents. Atlanta has some ground mobility went Patterson and Maui Mariota get going, but Kyle needs to get his receiving game out of the Pitts and they could use more of London calling to put up precious points and yards. After the feathers fly, the Seahawks lay an egg.
Packers at Buccaneers – This was always a marquee matchup between two all-time greats…but the Cheesers aren’t the same team anymore. Tampa is nicked up with injuries in their receiver corps, and Brady’s matrimonial distractions are harder to navigate than any safety blitz package, but the Bucs are better than the Pack right now and looking to keep up their winning ways beneath the flying Jolly Roger. Banged up as the Pirates are, they still snack on the Cheese this week.
49ers at Broncos – Denver was going to be so much better this season, having finally secured their dream ball-spinner. I haven’t seen that Bronco team yet, have you? Even with Lance out, the Niners are a good team and further advanced than Denver at this point. Glass Jimmy and his Prospectors mine another win from the Rockies.
Cowboys at Giants – Dallas rides into town on the arm of Super Duper Cooper Rush, reviving this potent divisional rivalry as both teams vie for supremacy. Dallas’ deep coverage is suspect, as Diggs and Brown give up a lot of catches per game, so Daboll may dial up some extra throws downfield from Danny Dimes. That said, Jones may be short on drop-back time with the Cowboy rush stampeding his way, and Parsons is always a danger to bushwhack you upfield or down. Rush was serviceable in the absence of Dakota P, and CD ‘Silence of the’ Lamb continues to be a prime burner downfield. This game is a toss-up, and Barkley seems to have come back to earth a bit. I’ll take the Tin Stars to lay down the law in the Big Apple.
Enjoy the games!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)