Mike Ivcic’s Week 3 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 3 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Titans by 6.5
I like Tennessee to win this game, but every week there’s always one line that makes me go, “huh?” and this is the one this week. Tennessee looked AWFUL against Jacksonville in week one, and Denver is at least a competent team that is only getting better under Jim Fox. I don’t see the Titans as 6.5 point better that Denver, regardless of where the game is played, but I do think Tennessee wins a close one and finishes the week tied for first in the AFC South.
Pick: Tennessee 21, Denver 18

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 3
I can’t believe I am, for the third straight week, picking the Detroit Lions to win a game. The Lions at 3-0 would be nearly as miraculous as the Kansas City Royals and Pirates Pirates both winning a division while the Los Angeles Clippers celebrate an NBA championship and Manchester United gets relegated. Get ready, folks – the days of a Boise State-TCU national championship game can’t be too far behind!
Pick: Detroit 27, Minnesota 15

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Saints by 4
First defense to stop the other team’s offense wins. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, the Saints finally force a three-and-out, the referees frantically waive their hands and confetti falls from the Superdome roof as the crowd explodes and the Texans dejectedly walk off the field in frustration.
Pick: New Orleans 51, Houston 44

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Panthers by 3
Cam Newton, meet your first career win, regardless of who the Jags start at quarterback. It will be close, and I’m not a fan of taking a winless rookie to cover a spread even as low as three, but Jacksonville looked so bad last week, there really isn’t a choice here.
Pick: Carolina 30, Jacksonville 13


Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Browns by 1.5
I have the Browns as my sleeper team in the AFC, but they didn’t look as good as I hoped they would in beating Indianapolis last week. Thus, I’ll take Miami to get their first win of the year and put a quick end to the printing of Browns playoff tickets.
Pick: Miami 24, Cleveland 20

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Patriots by 7
This line is based solely upon two things – the Bills looking really good offensively the last two weeks, and playing at home. The part that everyone missed is that Buffalo played a terrible Kansas City team and then couldn’t stop a one-dimensional Oakland offense in the second half, and simply got lucky by getting the ball last. This game won’t be so kind to the Bills, who will be brought down to earth by a very good Patriots offense that played two better defenses that Buffalo did, and looked just about as dominant. Expect more of the same here in this one.
Pick: New England 38, Buffalo 21

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Eagles by 9
Regardless of who plays quarterback, the question will be who on the Giants will be able to stop DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, and the rest of the Eagles offensive weapons. Remember, the Giants could barely control the Eagles offense last year – and that was with a group of healthy cornerbacks. This year? It could get ugly quickly in Philly, and even with the high line, I’d still take the home team.
Pick: Philadelphia 31, New York 17

San Francisco 49’ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bengals by 2.5
Joe Montana and Boomer Esiason – can you come back and play in this game? I don’t even care that you’re both old, it would be better than watching Alex Smith and Andy Dalton. At least we could then remember when both of these teams mattered in the national discussion. Now? A couple of going-nowhere franchises that are both better off losing and getting the higher draft pick. Flip a coin and go with it on this one.
Pick: San Francisco 16, Cincinnati 13


Baltimore Ravens @ St. Louis Rams
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Ravens by 5
The Rams are too banged up to compete this season, which goes right back to what I wrote in “Double Take” after week one. Put this club into the same category as the Chiefs, who are just way too decimated to contend, even despite the lofty expectations this season. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Rams in the future, and would have liked them as a sleeper this year, but they just don’t have enough left. The bigger question mark is Baltimore, which looked so dominating in week one and so lackluster last week. Consistency, anyone?
Pick: Baltimore 20, St. Louis 7

Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 14.5
Yes, please!
Pick: San Diego 38, Kansas City 7

New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:05pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 3
How do we know Buffalo isn’t for real? Because the one-dimensional Raiders scored 35 points last week. That won’t happen against this Jets defense, who just came off a week where they made a run-only offense look silly. True, Oakland is a bit better and deeper than Jacksonville, but this defense has a chip on its shoulder from week one. Mark Sanchez can’t turn the ball over, but he won’t need to pull a Ryan Fitzpatrick to win this one.
Pick: Jets 24, Raiders 17

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:15pm, FOX
Line: Cardinals by 3
Arizona looked good for three quarters before giving away the game to Washington with a far-too-conservative offense in the fourth quarter. Look for Ken Whisenhunt to open things up a bit this week, especially against a bad Seahawks team. Home or not, don’t get sucked into ever taking Seattle this season. It’s not worth the risk.
Pick: Arizona 24, Seattle 10


Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sun, 4:15pm, FOX
Line: Buccaneers by 1.5
I know Atlanta hasn’t looked like the projected NFC frontrunners through the first two weeks, but they did pull off the comeback against Philadelphia last week, regardless of Michael Vick’s concussion. The Falcons get another road test this week, where Tampa finally gets to measure themselves against the upper echelon of the NFC South. Win this one, and Bucs fans can be right back on board with playoff talk. A loss, though, puts that projected playoff bid into serious doubt with two home losses to fellow contenders.
Pick: Atlanta 35, Tampa Bay 31

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
Sun, 4:15pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 4
Green Bay didn’t look sharp before finally pulling away last week against Carolina. They won’t be able to duplicate that performance against the rival Bears, who looked like world-beaters in week one and then struggled mightily on the road against a good Saints team in week two. They also won’t be able to play as they did last week, or Green Bay will blow them up. Home teams generally fair well in this rivalry (home teams won both games last regular season) but Green Bay is too talented and too determined to lose this one.
Pick: Green Bay 28, Chicago 17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Steelers by 10.5
Typically, a 10.5-point favorite on the road is a really tough call, and with this Pittsburgh offense, I’m almost apt to agree. That said, Cleveland covered on the road against the Colts last week, and the Steelers smoked the Seahawks. I’ll take the Steelers to cover a big spread, which probably means they’ll win something like 20-10 and I’ll lose by 0.5 points. Remember, I’m typically right straight up, it’s the line that always gets me.
Pick: Pittsburgh 27, Indianapolis 7

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Cowboys by 5.5
Even after giving away the game in week one and then doing their best to do the same in week two before finally recovering, I’m still a believer in the Cowboys being playoff contenders. If I’m right, this is a game the Cowboys then MUST win. I do think 5.5. is a little too much against a good defensive team like the Redskins, though, so in one of the best professional sports rivalries going, we’ll take the road dog to lose – but cover.
Pick: Dallas 20, Washington 17

Straight Up: 24-8
Against Spread: 13-15-4

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