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”); ?>


By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

So after two weeks I’m off to an absolutely horrendous start. I finished 12 games above .500 last year against the spread and 87 games above .500 straight up. Read that again. EIGHTY-SEVEN GAMES ABOVE .500!!! Right now I’m 2 games over that mark, and I’m 11 games UNDER .500 against the spread. Wow. Here’s hope this is the week we turn it all around – or just keep betting against me and make lots of money. Either way works.

New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers
Thu, 8:20pm, NFLN
Line: Giants by 1.5
On the surface, the Giants defense giving up 34 points to Tampa Bay looks bad, until you remember how many of those points were gift-wrapped by Eli Manning in the first half. The Panthers offense is legitimate, though, and short weeks are notoriously tough on the road teams. A point and a half isn’t much better than a push, so I’m going against my better judgment and taking Carolina.
Pick: Carolina 28, New York 24

Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bills by 3
It seems like these two teams play every single season, which really just means that both of these teams are always fairly putrid. Cleveland is the more putrid of the two, though, which makes the decision to pick the Bills just a bit easier.
Pick: Buffalo 20, Cleveland 13

Cincinnati Bengals @ Washington Redskins
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Redskins by 4
These are the types of games that have completely ruined my record this year. The Redskins defense looked awful last week against an average Rams offense, so what’s to think they can stop Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and the Bengals? But, this game is also the ‘Skins home opener, the debut of RGIII in D.C. Is four points too much? Maybe. But I’m taking them and then some.
Pick: Washington 33, Cincinnati 27

Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 4
After watching Tennessee get handled by the Chargers last week, I’m going back to my original thought process prior to the season – the Titans just aren’t that good. Despite a tough road loss in primetime to the 49’ers, I actually still think the Lions are pretty good, and Matthew Stafford should be able to rebound nicely against this Titans defense for a fairly big day.
Pick: Detroit 31, Tennessee 17

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Colts by 3
I still think the Colts are a sleeper, and I still think the Jaguars are awful. Thus…
Pick: Indianapolis 21, Jacksonville 10


Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Saints by 9
This is it for the Saints. I’m off the bandwagon already and I’m willing to give the division title to Atlanta after their performance on Monday night, but this is literally the season (and my willingness to pick them at any point). If they can’t resoundingly beat KC, this immediately becomes basically a lost year for New Orleans and their fans – and that means this game rests squarely on the shoulders of the Saints defense.
Pick: New Orleans 34, Kansas City 20

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 3
Last we saw the Jets in Miami, they were busy choking away any shot at the playoffs in week 17 last year. I don’t know that revenge will necessarily be on the minds of the returning players, but I sure hope “better offensive performance than last week” is front and center in the mind of everyone on this ballclub.
Pick: New York 23, Miami 16

San Francisco 49’ers @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: 49’ers by 7.5
The Vikings pulled out a squeaker in the opener against Jacksonville and then dropped a tough one at the end of Indy last week. While all that excitement was happening, the 49’ers only managed to walk into the home of the team with the best record in football last year and win on opening day, then follow that up with a smothering performance of a high-powered offense that led a Detroit team to its first playoff berth in more than a decade. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
Pick: San Francisco 38, Minnesota 9

St. Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bears by 7
Jay Cutler should probably stop yelling at his offensive linemen – you know, considering they’re the guys that actually block and keep the other team from planting Jay on his backside. The Rams are coming off a nice comeback win, but if Chicago has any designs on getting back into the upper echelon of the NFC, these are games they have to win.
Pick: Chicago 27, St. Louis 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Cowboys by 8
Another game I can add to my “I’ll probably lose no matter which way I go” list of games. On paper, the Cowboys are the significantly better team and are playing in their home opener. Still, Tampa should have finished off the Giants last week while Dallas was busy looking downright awful in Seattle, and both teams are 1-1. With that in mind, I’m hedging here – Dallas wins, Tampa covers, and at least I get a point out of this game on one of my records.
Pick: Dallas 24, Tampa Bay 20


Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Chargers by 3.5
I’m officially a believer in Atlanta, and I’m doing my best not to get so sucked into believing in San Diego that I forget Norv Turner is still their head coach. I do like Philip Rivers but I’m still confused how they’ve managed to look as good as they have in the first two weeks without nearly as much surrounding him as they have in years past. True, it’s just Oakland and Tennessee, but wins are wins in the NFL – unfortunately, I don’t think they get one this week.
Pick: Atlanta 33, San Diego 30

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Eagles by 4
I find it humorous that the Eagles are 2-0 and are favored in week three by more points than their margin of victory in weeks one and two combined. Meanwhile Arizona is a bit of a 2-0 surprise themselves after going cross-country and beating New England. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, which makes this a dangerous game. Having watched the Eagles fairly closely over the years (thank you, NFL TV rules) I know that this is exactly the type of game that an Andy Reid-coached team would find a way to lose, but I just can’t pull the trigger with that pick here.
Pick: Philadelphia 28, Arizona 21

Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS
Line: Texans by 3
Yes, Peyton Manning had an ugly first half Monday night, and yes this is a short week for Denver against a talented Houston squad, but I just see this as an upset here. The Broncos rebound nicely from their loss and get to 2-1 by handing the Texans their first loss.
Pick: Denver 31, Houston 27

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Oakland Raiders
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS
Line: Steelers by 4.5
After watching the thorough dismantling of the Jets by the Steelers after the opening drive last week, coupled with back-to-back dreadful performances by the Raiders, I’m a little surprised this line isn’t higher. I feel like Vegas is trying to tell me something, but I’ve analyzed this game every way possible and I just can’t come up with anything. So, I’m going with Pittsburgh, but at least I feel confident that I’ve exhausted my research of reasons this game should be within a touchdown.
Pick: Pittsburgh 30, Oakland 14

New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Ravens by 3
This is suddenly a crucial matchup after both teams blew winnable games this past week. Baltimore’s “vaunted” defense game up a game-winning drive to Michael Vick, while the Pats offense seems completely disjointed and uncharacteristically sloppy. With defenses getting a bit more leeway in the secondary with regards to contact before the ball is thrown, I think the advantage here swings squarely to the Ravens.
Pick: Baltimore 24, New England 17

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Packers by 3.5
Welcome to a classic example of week one overreacting. The 49’ers handled Green Bay in Lambeau and, despite picking the Packers to win the Super Bowl, I immediately jumped off the bandwagon and took the Bears on the road on a Thursday night – again in Lambeau – to send the Pack to 0-2. Whoops. Green Bay is still a really good team, and they’re winning this game.

Pick: Green Bay 34, Seattle 17

Straight-Up: 17-15
Against Spread: 10-21-1


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