BT’s “6 Pack-of-Picks” Week 3

Rolling along nicely to start the season.

Week 1: 4-2 ATS

Week 2: 4-1-1 ATS

Season to date: 8-3-1

Week 3: (home team in CAPS)

Arizona Cardinals (-3) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: It’s tough to respect a professional team less than I respect Seattle. Yes, they are that bad. Atrocious. Abominable. Awful. The list is deep, and that’s just for synonyms beginning with the letter “A.” No really, they suck. In their defense, it’s been a while since they’ve been this bad, as the ‘Hawks are staring at their first 0-3 start since 2002. Keep in mind, this pick has nothing to do with how I feel about  the Cards, and all about the roster overhaul Pete Carroll finds himself working around. There are 43 new faces on the 53 man roster…from last season. That’s almost impossible to do, regardless of cap restraints. Do yourself a favor: buy 1/2 point, and don’t even waste your time checking in on this one. A little more than 3 hours after this D movie ends, Fitz, Kolb and Beanie will have provided enough cushion to collect. But really, this is one sh*tty game.

Baltimore Ravens (-4) over ST. LOUIS RAMS: Some people are married to trends. I’m not. I do, however, like the fact that the Ravens have won 8 consecutive games following a loss, dating back to October of 2009. They have resolve, and they always play with purpose, so I’m willing to toss last week’s head-scratching loss to the Titans in the “Anomaly File.” They’re among a handful of elite AFC teams, even with one loss already in the standings. Ray Rice goes wild on the quick St. Louis turf both on the ground and in the passing game. Conversely, Sam Bradford will have to overcome a strong run defense (Baltimore allows just 70 ypg, 4th best in football) and win this one in the air. He’s capable, and has a terrific future in front of him–just not this week. Ravens bounce back nicely.

New England Patriots/BUFFALO BILLS (Over 53.5): Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter who the Pats play or where they play them. Right now, they are a lock for 30 + points, regardless. They are making it look way too easy, which should absolutely terrify the rest of the AFC heavyweights. By latching on to the over in this game, you are really acknowledging two things: the Pats defense is suspect, and the Bills offense is legit.  And on both counts, you’re right. Chan Gailey has some serious weapons in Western New York, and in my opinion, if the Bills were in a different division, they’d be a viable playoff contender. Their QB makes plays with his arm and legs, they have two solid RB’s, a legit receiver in Stevie Johnson and a play-making TE in Scott Chandler. Mix in some Wildcat formations with ex-Jet Brad Smith, and the fun is back at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I’m pumped for this game.

CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars: The only thing more impressive than Cam Newton’s arcade-like stats two weeks into his professional career has been his post-game press conference poise. He’s deftly deflected personal praise and focused solely on the scoreboard, which currently reads 0-2. If you weren’t sold on his Week 1 performance vs. the Cards, surely his performance against the World Champion Packers last week did the trick. Immensely gifted AND driven to win? That’s a lethal combo, one Blaine Gabbert and his Jags will fail to overcome. Newton really is a rookie, by the way. Right? Roll with Carolina, especially at home.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3) over San Francisco 49’ers: A dog delight, with both teams going nowhere fast–this season. The future, however, appears bright in Cincy, with the strong play of rookie QB Andy Dalton and 4th overall pick A.J. Green. The speedy WR from Georgia has already hauled in 11 passes for 165 yards with 2 TD’s in two weeks for the Bengals. Dalton too, has looked at ease adjusting to the pro game, completing 27 of 41 passes for 332 yards last week vs. Denver. The Niners, despite last week’s competitive loss to Dallas, are dogged by injuries (Braylon Edwards, OUT), inconsistent play (Alex Smith) and aging veterans (Frank Gore). Gore in particular needs a big game, averaging a ghastly 2.5 YPC thus far (42/106 yards). San Fran’s road woes remain well documented, having dropped 5 straight away from the ‘Stick vs. AFC opponents. Mix in a shaky offensive line for Jim Harbaugh’s crew, and the Bengals prevail and more importantly, cover the number, in the Jungle.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: The older I get, the more protective I’ve become against age discrimination, but at this point, Kerry Collins looks as if he was plucked from some remote island, cigar in hand, Tommy Bahama shirt three buttons open, resting and preparing for the long haul of the holiday season. Yes, he resembles Santa Claus more than he does an NFL QB. A skinny Santa.

See?

He’s yet to pass for more than 200 yards in a game, as the Colts offense has stopped on a dime. Their limitations will be on display for the entire nation Sunday night, and it won’t be pretty. The Steelers are big, strong and tough while the Colts are small and soft. Oh yeah, Pittsburgh’s still embarrassed by their Week 1 loss to the Ravens. Not a good combo. Lay the wood, and sit back and watch what an utter mismatch looks like at the highest level. Destruction.

PS If my picks aren’t available next week, it’s because I was dumb enough to wear a Jets jersey to the Coliseum. But I’m sure I’d go 6-0!

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