It’s always a challenge trying to predict these first few weeks, when we don’t know how good or bad teams really are. I found that out last week, getting only 7 of the 16 games right, leaving me a very pedestrian 27-21 for the year. I am 3-0 on Panther picks though. Well, with 3 weeks in the books, we have a slightly better feel for things. Kansas City and the Rams, behind their young stud QBs, are the class of the league. The Raiders and Texans look like they might not combine for 5 wins this year. The Raiders have no elite defenders with Mack in Chicago, and Houston has a stud QB who is clearly not fully recovered from his torn ACL. We knew the Browns weren’t going to go 0-16 again, but they have 1 win, 1 tie, and 1 loss that they would have won if they had a competent kicker that week. Now that Mayfield has taken the QB job, one has to wonder if the Browns avoid double-digit losses. Let’s look at this week’s action.
Minnesota at LA Rams – The Rams are down two cornerbacks. The Vikings just got embarrassed by a terrible team. Not a good combo if you’re a Rams fan. But the Rams still have superior talent at key positions. Rams 27, Vikings 24
Cincinnati at Atlanta – Cincy has a prolific offense if your defense doesn’t generate a pass rush, and the Falcons defense has shown it can be had. The Falcons appear to now have two big-play WRs from Alabama (I think I’m going to be sick). I sense another video game is going to break out. Falcons 38, Bangles 34
Tampa Bay at Chicago – OK, raise your hand if you predicted in April that this would be a matchup of 2-1 teams. Yeah, me either, but here we are. I think this will play out like week 1 for Da Bears – a good defense that comes up just short trying to contain a good offense. Bucs 27, Bears 21
Detroit at Dallas – The Panthers are off, which means I am starting the Dallas defense on my fantasy team. If there is such a thing as a kiss of death, that’s it right there. Lions 26, Cowboys 23
Buffalo at Green Bay – OK, so the Bills are alive. The Packers are rumored to not be alive. Says here the Bills are involved in a resurrection game for the second week in a row. That’s not good for them. Packers 28, Buffalo, NC 17
Philadelphia at Tennessee – The Titans scored 9 points last week, and won anyway. But Philly has a lot more offensive weapons than the Jags. Eagles 24, Titans 10
Houston at Indianapolis – CBS Sports reporter Jason California or whatever his name is wrote this week that Houston is close to the point where they need to blow it up and start a rebuild around Watson and Clowney. Lose this week and they’re cooked. Well, turn the oven off. Dolts 27, Texans 9
Miami at New England – Is Miami really this good? Is New England really this bad? The answer might be yes to both. Even if it is, you have to expect some bounce-back after getting whipped in front of a national audience. Patriots 31, Fish 20
NY Jets at Jacksonville – Hey, look, a rookie QB going against an elite defense. This is going to be ugly, but it’s necessary for the rookie’s growth. Jags 20, J-E-T-S jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets 9
Cleveland at Oakland – Hey, look, a rookie QB going against a completely toothless defense. Break up the Browns! Brownie Troop 23, Oakland Fakers 10
Seattle at Arizona – I hope people don’t start calling for the head of Steve Wilks as he tries to build a team that had nothing left after Bruce Arians and Bruce’s Ego ran them into the ground. And I wonder if, as a good Christian would, will Russell Wilson give some of his Jesus Juice to a division opponent? Seahawks 33, Cards 7
New Orleans at NY Giants – I sold my soul to the devil on fantasy draft day, taking Alvin Kamara with my first-round pick. It’s going well – he’s 6th in total points in our league, behind only teammate Michael Thomas among non-QBs (we give QBs lots of bonus points, so they tend to take up about 80% of the top 25 spots). I’m salivating at the prospects of Kamara vs this terrible defense. Aints 45, little people 21
San Francisco at LA Chargers – Jimmy G is done for the year, which will kill a lot of this offense. They’ll hang in this week, but they have reached their high point and will go down from here. Clippers 26, 49ers 17
Baltimore at Pittsburgh – One of these 2 Ravens-Steelers games is on national TV every year. Like anyone outside of Pennsylvania and Maryland cares. One of my other fantasy players, Alex Collins, seems to be getting 6 touches for about 30 total yards each week. Fortunately, 1 touch typically is a TD. I expect another against a defense that is not too good without Ryan Shazier. Ravens 27, Steelers 23
Kansas City at Denver – While they are showing signs of life, Denver hasn’t seen an attack like this. I expect the new Super QB to roll once again. Chiefs 37, Donkeys 17
BYE WEEK at Carolina – While conspiracy theorists like me opine that the NFL deliberately put us on bye in week 4 to ensure Thomas Davis is off the team for the maximum number of days possible, the bye actually comes at a good time. It allows some banged-up guys to heal up, as well as give the coaches time to figure out how to do more with less on the offensive line and safety spots. It also allows extra time to scheme to stop OBJ and Barkley, the only offensive weapons the next opponent has. PANTHERS 0, bye week 0
Last week’s record: 7-9
Season: 27-21