I am curious as to how many people out there still feel that the New England Patriots are Super Bowl contenders. After last week's game, I think only the truly optimistic will have those feelings. This team is a mess on the defensive side of the ball, with injuries and players totally underperforming. They now have the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL Thit means they have the worst defense, and I don't see any signs it is going to get any better.
Tom Brady right now only has two reliable targets, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, and their running game is highly suspect right now. When Aaron Hernandez returns that will definitely help, but right now Brady has to put up at least 35 points a game to give the Patriots any chance of winning. They need to make some changes, and very quickly.
And now onto the picks.
As always, home team in CAPS.
CHICAGO 6 1/2 Carolina
Both teams are struggling now, but at least Carolina has youth as an excuse. Cam Newton has fallen back to earth a bit, and the Bears are fighting injuries. The Bears are clearly the better team though, and being at home they should be able to beat the upstart Panthers.
St. Louis 1 Washington
The Rams have been a disappointment, and they need to get their act together to contend in the NFC West. The Redskins got off to a great start, but I think they are going to falter a bit. This is an early season must win for St. Louis. I think they get the job done.
Houston 4 Pittsburgh
This game could turn into a shootout, and if it does it should favor Houston. Ben Roethlisberger has been inconsistent. The Texans can score against anybody. I like Houston here, especially at home. The Texans are going to be very tough to beat this year.
New Orleans 6 1/2 JACKSONVILLE
The Saints have looked good, but I think their defense needs to get squared away. The Jaguars are like they always are, so-so. I am actually a little bit surprised that Jack Del Rio is still around, and the Jaguars franchise in general, at least in Jacksonville. The Saints might have a bit of a letdown after last week's big win, but I still don't see too many problems here.
Atlanta 4 1/2 SEATTLE
I am not sure what is going on in Atlanta, but whatever is going on it needs to be changed. I do know what is going on in Seattle. They have a bad football team. They could be the opponent that gets the Falcons going. In fact, they could be the opponent that gets everybody going.
New York Giants 1 Arizona
The Giants have been better lately, and could be a factor in the NFC East. The Cardinals have looked pretty good, and have a leg up in the NFC West. I like the Giants here though. I think they are playing better.
CLEVELAND 1 Tennessee
The Browns have been ok, but I don't think they are a playoff team though. The Titans definitely are not, but they do seem to be playing hard. I like Cleveland here. They are at home, playing decent defense and will be 3-1 after this week.
DALLAS 1 1/2 Detroit
I think the wrong team is favored here. The Cowboys are 2-1 but they really aren't playing all that well, and Tony Romo is really banged up. The Lions are cruising, though they did pull out a squeeker last week. I just can't see Dallas winning this game. I don't think they are that good, and the Lions are.
SAN DIEGO 7 Miami
The Chargers are another team that I just don't think are that good. They really struggled last week against a bad Kansas City team. I am hearing that Tony Sparano is on the hot seat in Miami, and he should be. The players desperately want to win for him though. Not this week, though I think they can keep it close. I'll take Miami and the points here.
GREEN BAY 13 Denver
Talk about two teams going in totally opposite directions. The Pack have looked great, while Denver, not so much. I don't see too many issues for the Packers here, especially in the cozy confines of Lambeau Stadium.
Buffalo 3 Cincinnati
The Bills are undefeated, but they are going to come back to earth soon. I don't think it will be this week though. Cincinnati is just not a good team, and the Bills shouldn't have any problems scoring. I like Buffalo here.
New England 4 OAKLAND
The Patriots are 2-1, but really are having some problems. The Raiders, on the other hand, are playing like early season playoff contenders. I am not sure the Patriots can stop Darren McFadden. I expect a lot of points again this week, but I think the Raiders pull the upset.
PHILADELPHIA 7 1/2 San Francisco
The Eagles and their All Pro team better get moving. They haven't been playing well, and most thought they would be 3-0 at this point. Fortunately, the 49ers are nothing special. This could be the game to get the Eagles back on track. Could be.
TAMPA BAY 10 Indianapolis
The Buccaneers have picked it up lately, while the Colts are in for a long season. Even with Peyton Manning, I didn't think the Colts were going to be anything special this year. I think they will win a couple of games, but this isn't going to be one of them. I like Tampa here.
Game of the Week
BALTIMORE 3 1/2 New York Jets
The Ravens looked great last week, while the Jets lost a close game. Both teams will be in the playoffs this year, and this could be a preview of the divisional round. I think the Ravens are better, they are at home, and they should be able to get to Mark Sanchez.
Stinker of the Week
Minnesota 1 1/2 KANSAS CITY
This is the Stinker for a reason. Both teams stink. I think Minnesota stinks less, but I have a feeling that the Chiefs will pull out a win. No reason.
Record For Week Three: 7-9 ( 9-7 without spread )
Record Through Week Three: 23-22-3 ( 31-17 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 3-0
Stinker of Week Record: 0-3
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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