Week 3: 7-9, 1-3 on recommended picks
Overall: 27-21 (56%), 7-5 on recommended picks (58%)
7-9 picking games and 1-3 on recommended games is a horrible week no matter how you slice it.
It’s my fault…mostly.
I’m not going to accept full blame. In fact, I’m going to take a page out of the fan’s handbook and blame the refs.
Not only did they cost me a more respectable .500 record (I had the Packers over the Seahawks) – it is my strong belief that this officiating overall has made the difference between what’s supposed to be a good team and what’s supposed to be a bad team almost indistinguishable.
The moving target that is pass interference, the non-calls, the phantom calls – they hurt the talented player in favor of the talented cheater.
The integrity of the NFL is at stake.
I will go further than Loud Marv, our guest columnist this week, who makes up for his deficiencies in grammar, spelling and elocution with his passion.
Everyone has been criticizing the officials’ ineptitude. I will point out – with statements that have leaked such as “Hey Drew (Brees), I have you in my fantasy league” – that these officials are not only overmatched in their ability, they are very naive to the magnitude of the stage they are on, and of how susceptible they are to undue influence.
If you are a gambler on football games, this would be a good time to sit this situation out.
As for me, I will lock myself out until the real refs return.
Guess what…I wrote this, posted it and now it looks like everyone at the NFL has finally seen what fans, players, coaches and the media have seen – and the real refs are back, starting with the Thursday night game.
This means that we will soon find out if the refs spooked me in week 3…or if I am that bad at picking games!
1. Falcons over Panthers
As you may know, I normally don’t like picking divisional games – but there are a lot of them this week, and there are some nice selections looming.
I also believe more in the ebb-and-flow of the NFL than in going with the hot hand. But in Matt Ryan’s case, it would be foolish to bet against the hot hand – especially when he’s facing a team with a suspect defense.
Ryan has completed a ridiculous 72% of his passes this season – a league-leading mark. His 114.0 QB rating also leads the league, and his 8 TD passes ties him for the league lead (with Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Fitzpatrick). His total yardage is pedestrian – because the 3-0 Falcons have played with the lead more than any other team in the NFC and are tied with 3-0 Houston for best net points (46) in the NFL.
Before you pick on Atlanta for playing in the suddenly weak NFC South, where no one else owns a winning record, consider that the Falcons have oddly faced only AFC West teams, hanging losses on the rather highly-regarded trio of the Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers – who are 4-2 in their games against teams not from Atlanta.
2. Patriots over Bills
I normally don’t like picking road teams and, as mentioned, also don’t like making divisional games recommended picks. But how many of you really think the Patriots will go to 1-3?
I rest my case.
3. Lions over Vikings
There are a lot of divisional games this week, so it’s tough to avoid them entirely. The Vikings are coming off a huge upset of the 49ers, while the Lions are a surprising 1-2 and, like the Patriots, are a popular playoff pick trying to avoid digging a 1-3 hole. Since I have to post Thursday, it’s still not known if Matthew Stafford will quarterback Detroit on Sunday. If he doesn’t, this may be a game to stay away from.
4. Ravens over Browns
I’m not totally sold on this pick, because of Baltimore’s emotional – and controversial – win over New England last week.
But the Ravens are very good, the Browns are terrible – and I did say in week 1 that I would likely pick against the Browns each week.
Why stop now?
Other week 4 picks:
HOU over TEN
SD over KC
SF over NYJ
STL over SEA
AZ over MIA
DEN over OAK
CIN over JAX
GB over NO
TB over WASH
NYG over PHI
DAL over CHI