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Week 3 NFL Picks

Tom Brady and the Patriots need a win to erase their disappointing loss in Week 2. Lucky for us, Joe Flacco and the Ravens need the same. The fireworks should fly Sunday night in Baltimore. In the southwest, the undefeated battle for 3-0.

Last Week:  12 – 4 – 0
Season:      22 – 10 – 0

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Giants 36 at Panthers 7
To recap, the Giants were angry about being three point dogs by kickoff and played like they’re the defending champs. We also learned the Panthers aren’t quite ready to compete with the conference’s big boys. We also may have learned just how bad the Saints are. Oh yeah, one more thing, Sean McDermott still can’t run a defense. As I’m sure many Eagles fans can attest, Carolina’s defensive showing on Thursday night looked awfully familiar.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Rams at Bears
I can’t decide if this is one of those games where Jay Cutler plays with a chip on his shoulder and cruises to a win behind 300 yards and 3 TDs, or if Cutler remains in his funk and the Bears offense struggles yet again. The Rams could easily be 2-0, so the Bears will need a good to great outing from Cutler, especially since Matt Forte will probably be out. Pay special attention the Cortland Finnegan/Brandon Marshall showdown, too. Fists will fly. Also, I may look like a complete fool for the following statement, but here it goes… I think Sam Bradford is back on track. He’ll be a top 10 quarterback before the season is over. (Wincing with my fingers crossed.) BEARS If I were Charles Barkley: Rams +9

Bills at Browns
A big game for Buffalo… and that’s not a joke. A loss here would send Buffalo to 1-2 with the Patriots and 49ers on deck, followed by a feisty Cardinals team and then the Texans and Patriots again in consecutive weeks after the Titans and a bye. If Buffalo can get to November 5th with a .500 record (4-4), they’ll be in the playoff discussion. In order to do so, though, the Bills need to take care of business against a young Browns team that gave the Bengals fits a week ago. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley: Bills -3

Buccaneers at Cowboys
All the attention given to the Greg Schiano-Victory Formation drama at the end of the Giants-Buccaneers game has been suffocating. Even worse, now some want the Victory Formation (taking a knee) eliminated. Uh, excuse me? If teams are so sour about the Victory Formation perhaps they should play well enough to avoid it? Besides, even if you outlaw the Victory Formation, who’s to say a quarterback won’t snap the ball and miraculously trip on three consecutive downs at the end of the game? Changing rules to appease the whiners is rarely a good idea. Just look at our country as an example.
If Eli Manning’s 500 yards last week weren’t enough to convince you Tampa Bay’s defense is weak, Tony Romo’s 375 on Sunday will probably do the trick. I’m not even giving the Buccaneers a chance because they can’t run the ball. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley: Cowboys -8

Jets at Dolphins
Perhaps the biggest voice of support for the replacement officials came from a current NFL player. Cortland Finnegan has openly declared he likes the replacement referees because, “They let you play football.” I’m all for rule changes “in the name of player safety,” but I agree with Finnegan. The league has gone too far. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even hit someone anymore unless A. They’re looking you in the eye. B. You’ve received their permission. C. You promise not to hit too hard. D. The player doesn’t end up injured. Finnegan is exactly right. While the replacement refs struggle with managing a game, they do allow more physicality. In Seattle last week, Golden Tate was fined $21,000 for blind-siding Dallas’ Sean Lee. Tate wasn’t flagged on the play and it was the right call. Tate hit Lee square in the chest. It clearly wasn’t a hit from behind and Tate didn’t attack the head or even lead with his own head. But because Lee was injured and the hit looked bad, the NFL took action. The league needs to decide if football is a physical game or a finesse game, because they can’t have it both ways. (My apologies to anyone who was looking for something interesting about the Jets or Dolphins.) JETS If I were Charles Barkley: Jets -2.5

49ers at Vikings
If I recall, last time these teams met in Minnesota Brett Favre found Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone for a shocking game-winning touchdown. I’m not expecting such a tight outing this time around. Considering the 49er defense smothered Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, it’s likely Christian Ponder has a rough day. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley: 49ers -7

Chiefs at Saints
Someone’s season is virtually over after this game. The Saints are lost and drowning because they don’t have their head coach… or even their interim head coach. The Chiefs are a mess because they hired the wrong coach. With both teams at 0-2, the Chiefs actually have the better chance of climbing back into things with a win because the AFC is weaker than the NFC. Unfortunately, though, the Saints are the better team, even in their current condition. The home crowd won’t let the Saints drop to 0-3, especially against the Chiefs. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley: Saints -8.5

Bengals at Redskins
Robert Griffin III has proven himself worth the hype. He’s been fantastic in his first two games. With that said, Griffin III is also a baby. This week he accused the Rams of playing dirty and taking cheap shots. Even better, during the telecast of the Redskins-Rams game, FOX cameras caught Griffin III pleading with officials that a defender was leading with his helmet. The only problem? He wasn’t in the pocket. So, not only is Griffin III a whiner, but he doesn’t know the rules. A word of advice to the rookie: This is the NFL. Mobile quarterbacks have never been protected like the pocket passers. McNabb, Newton, Vick and many more have endured worse than you’ve seen and none were calling foul after two games in the NFL. Remember, Mr. Griffin III, you still play the Eagles and Giants twice, as well as the Ravens and Steelers once. If you’re complaining about the Rams being dirty, you have no idea what’s coming. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley: Bengals +3

Lions at Titans
There’s just no way the Tennessee Titans are really THIS bad. There’s just no way. The Titans finished 9-7 last season and didn’t make any significant downgrades over the summer. Obviously, Chris Johnson’s disappearance has really hurt the offense, but the defense has surrendered 34 and 38 points in the team’s first two outings, so there’s plenty of blame to go around. We’ll find out about the Titans this week. If they get buried again, they’re done. I’m thinking they come to life. TITANS If I were Charles Barkley: Titans +3.5

Jaguars at Colts
Is this really the battle for 2nd place in the AFC South right now? Geez. How bad is that division? I know Blaine Gabbert has been pretty awful, but why is everyone so ready to give up on him? He’s quarterbacking arguably the worst offense in the league for one of the worst franchises, too. He hasn’t even been in the league long enough to accumulate a full season worth of work. I’m not bailing on Gabbert just yet. Besides, what other option does Jacksonville have? Even if Gabbert is Ryan Leaf 2.0, at least let him guide you to a top five pick so you can take a real franchise quarterback. What’s the point in striving for 5-7 wins with a roster as lousy as that? COLTS If I were Charles Barkley: Colts -3

Afternoon Games (4:25PM ET)

Eagles at Cardinals
Heading into Week 2, I was reasonably convinced the Eagles would beat the Ravens. Then, about an hour before kickoff, I received the following text from a friend, assuring me of an Eagles win. (He’s an Eagles fan. His wife is a Ravens fan.)

“Sylas just crapped through his diaper onto his Ravens outfit…does it mean the Ravens are crap or are they going to blow out the Birds?”

As for this week’s game, many think the Eagles will lose because they’ll overlook the Cardinals. Not happening. You see, the Eagles know better then to take the Cardinals lightly because they overlooked the Cardinals last season and it cost the Eagles the playoffs. Andy Reid will undoubtedly remind his troops of that lackadaisical effort from a year ago and challenge them to focus and execute. I actually believe the Cardinals are good enough to hang around the playoff race. With that said, Kevin Kolb and the Arizona offense will have their hands full Sunday. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley: Eagles -3.5

Falcons at Chargers
The afternoon’s second battle of the undefeated. I’m in on the Chargers. Not necessarily because they’re an amazing team, but because the AFC is so weak. Plus, the Chargers have the AFC’s 2nd best quarterback and currently stand at 2-0 despite missing their starting running back and big play receiver. Unlike the rest of the free world, I’m not as high on the Falcons. While Atlanta is the best team in NFC South, traveling west on a short week to battle a locked-in Chargers team is a bad combination. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley: Chargers -3

Texans at Broncos
This will be the Texans first real test of 2012, so Denver will certainly be getting Houston’s best effort. For Manning and the Broncos to win, they’ll need better protection from their offensive line than what they got in Atlanta. The Texans thrive on getting after the quarterback. Then, once they have a lead, they punish opposing defenses with the ground game. Manning will have limited opportunities and probably 2-3 fewer possessions than normal. The Texans are the class of the AFC and will prove as much Sunday. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley: Texans -2

Steelers at Raiders
The Raiders need a win to stay relevant in the AFC West. The Steelers need someone to fix Troy Polamalu. I hate Week 3. It’s still too early to know who the really good teams are. Yet, at the same time, it’s equally as challenging to identity the really bad teams. The Steelers one-dimensional offense makes them susceptible to any opponent, but the Raiders zero-dimensional offense is horrific. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley: Steelers -4

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Patriots at Ravens
What a spectacular game. You know what makes it even better? Both teams lost last week. Sitting on a 1-2 record after three weeks would be unacceptable for either franchise, so expect a high intensity atmosphere that is more similar to the playoffs than a September meeting. Baltimore was a little too overconfident in Philadelphia last week. If Michael Vick was able to march up and down the field, how much resistance can that aging Baltimore defense put up against Tom Brady? Though the Ravens are desperate and playing at home, I still like the Patriots, mainly because Bill Belichick won’t allow his players to forget about losing to the Cardinals until they win. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley: Patriots +3

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Packers at Seahawks
My favorite news story of the week was a Green Bay Packers player’s agent coming out and claiming Aaron Rodgers isn’t a leader. You know who that player was? Jermichael Finley. I don’t care what the agent says, there’s no way his statement had nothing to do with his client (Finley). For Finley to tell his agent, or anyone for that matter, that Rodgers isn’t a leader is a joke. Finley’s probably just bitter that Rodgers doesn’t get him the ball enough, and really, who can blame Rodgers? Finley has unlimited potential but constantly drops passes. As we’ve already learned this week, whiners want the world to adjust to them. They point fingers instead of finding a solution.
As for the game, the Packers offense is due for a big night. However, if the Seattle running game can duplicate its performance against Dallas and keep Rodgers off the field, an upset wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Still, I can’t take a rookie quarterback over the NFL’s best, especially on Monday Night. Also, in case you’re wondering, there are seven home dogs this week and I picked only one of them. I don’t feel good about that. At all. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley: Packers -3.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley
Last Week: 9 – 6 – 1
Season:     17 – 14 – 1

One Comment

  1. Big Guy

    I usually just thoroughly enjoy reading your weekly posts and don’t say anything. But this week I had to say a hardy “AMEN” to the couple of comments regarding “whiners”. Sports is following the direction of politics and it bugs me how whiners see themselves in everything as the “victim”. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and get back into the game. Both in sports and life! Life isn’t fair and never will be fair. Get over it.

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