Dallas at St. Louis
The Rams are in deep trouble. First, St. Louis has been decimated by injuries. The offensive line has been hit the hardest. The Rams will have just one first string offensive lineman available for this game. The offensive line injuries, and the subsequent lack of blocking, have probably contributed to the injuries to RB Jackson and QB Bulger. Jackson is definitely out of this game and Bulger will be playing with broken or bruised ribs. Second, the Rams defense continues to be terrible. I thought this team would come with their best effort of the season against the Tampa Bay Buc’s last week, but St. Louis’ defense let me down again with another poor showing. The Buc’s were the latest team to run all over this defense. Finally, this squad isn’t playing with any passion. After three games, St. Louis looks like a beaten team.
Yes, it’s desperation time for St. Louis, who can kiss their season goodbye before September’s finished with a loss this week. Still, you have to wonder if this team is resilient enough to get off the canvas. They haven’t shown any signs of life yet.
This is a terrible spot for the Cowboys. Off a big Sunday night road win over the Bears in Chicago, the Cowboys go back this week to play a 0-3 team. Still, I have seen enough of the Cowboy’s not to tempt fate by stepping in front of them by backing a bad football team this week.
If the Rams are going to give it their all, it has to be this week. The Cowboys only weakness is their secondary. I expect St. Louis to throw caution to the wind and go down the field, even if Bulger finishes the game in a body bag. I’ll take the Over in this contest. Dallas wins 34-21.
New England at Cincinnati
This is one of those, “You have to be kidding me,” games. The Bengals are terrible on defense (over 400 yards per game against) and this week they play the best offensive team in football (New England averages 441 total yards per game on offense). The Bengals defense is hopelessly outclassed, so Cincinnati’s only hope is to score, score, and score some more. The loss of RB Rudi Johnson is fairly inconsequential as the Bengals were going to throw the football 40 times anyway.
But the situation does favor the Bengals, who are the more desperate team. The line’s too high and there’s way too many people talking about the Patriots running the table. However, I have no interest in stepping in front of the best team in football with a team that ranks last in defense. The Patriots have too many weapons (the names Brady and Moss quickly come to mind) and can win by margin even without bringing their “A” game. This week, it’s not a matter of “if” this team will score it’s who will score those touchdowns.
This game flies over the total, but the Bengals keep it closer than you think. Must see television if you like offense. Patriots win 38-35.
Green Bay at Minnesota
This should be an ugly game because you can’t two more different teams. Minnesota is all defense and running the football and Green Bay is all passing and no running game.
Who scares you on the Vikings? You probably can’t name their tight end or pick out their quarterback or receivers in a police lineup. Minnesota struggles to get 160 passing yards per game. Passing touchdowns? Heck, Viking fans are happy if the quarterback throws one touchdown for every interception. Receivers? Bobby Wade isn’t keeping opposing defensive coordinators awake at night. Outside RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota just doesn’t have an weapons on offense.
The defense is another matter. No team runs on the Vikings. Opposing teams average only 67 rushing yards against this Minnesota defense, best in the NFL. Their front line is as big, fat, and stingy as any defense in football.
Green Bay is dead last in rushing the football. Heck, the Packers don’t even try. The team is averaging just 57 rushing yards per game. The pass, pass, and pass some more. That may not work that well this week with QB Favre's favorite weapon, WR Driver, nursing an injured toe and the second WR (Jennings) dinged as well.
Both defenses are the superior units in this match-up. That puts me on the Under with a lean towards the Vikings. Green Bay wins 17-13.
Houston at Atlanta
Cluster injuries make good teams average and average teams bad. The visiting Texans have had more than their share of injuries to their receiving corps and runningbacks. WR Andre Johnson is out again this week, RBs Ahman Green (knee-out) and Ron Dayne (ribs) are question marks, and reserve receivers Andre Davis (finger) and Jacoby Jones (out) are dinged. Without any weapons on offense, the Texans should struggle to move the football.
Atlanta has their own issues…like starting the season 0-3 with a loss to Minnesota. Despite the criticism, QB Harrington has played decently, with a quarterback rating in the 90’s. He seems to have found a number one WR in White, but let’s not kid ourselves…the Falcons don’t have a lot of offensive punch. Once again, no one scares you on this offense.
The better units in this match-up are the defenses. If the Falcons are fired up, it should show on defense where they get their shot against former Falcon QB Schwab. Atlanta pulls the small upset here 16-13
Kansas City at San Diego
Neither team can pass the football, neither team can run the football, nether team can score. If you drafted RBs Tomlinson or Johnson, I feel your pain. Rip-off, jip, bad luck, call it what you want but both players and both teams have been huge disappointments three games into 2007.
Still, you have to take the Chargers on their home field. The Chiefs just have nothing on offense. The offensive line is a mess, they don’t have a wide receiver than can get open, and Larry Johnson (the second highest paid RB in the game) is threatening mutiny. And then there is the quarterback play. QB Huard threw for only 47 yards in the first half of the Minnesota game-yuk! Not surprisingly, KC is averaging just 8.7 points per game.
On the other hand, LT had his best game of 2006 at home against the Chiefs (199 rushing yards) giving hope to disappointed fantasy players across this great nation. Nothing says good times in America like stadium brats, cheap gasoline, and 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns for your number one fantasy runningback.
Kansas City is the right team to cure what ails the Chargers. San Diego wins 27-3.
Upset(s) of the Week
Detroit - The Bears offense is offensive even with Griese. More to the point, the Bears will be missing two starters in the secondary this week in the Motor City. Expect QB Kitna to have a good day, at home, against Chicago. Detroit wins 23-17.