Brody Burns, the NFL guru, is back picking this week’s slate of NFL games
By Brody Burns Sept. 17 2014
Last week: 9-6 Season: 9-6
I foolishly forgot to pick the Miami-Buffalo game last week, so my week two record only reflects 15 games. Foolish. Week three means it’s time for me to get a double digit win total for the week. Bring it!
San Diego at Buffalo (-2.5): It’s Chris Berman’s dream game; as the “nobody circles the wagons like Buffalo Bills” Buffalo Bills invite the “San Diego Suuuuper Chargers” to town. It’s tough for a team to travel across the country, going west to east, across three time zones, and win a game, in a hostile stadium. I think this game has trap written all over it…except one thing. It’s September. Weather won’t be a factor. Fatigue won’t matter. Injuries aren’t devastating yet. If this game was in November or December then the Bills would win, but not this early in the season.
My Pick: Chargers 24, Bills 21
Thursday Night: Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-6.5): I think the Buccaneers are the worst team in the league; nothing inspires any confidence in me that they have a chance in this game. Atlanta is looking to bounce back from that beat-down from the Bengals and Tampa is the perfect remedy. I like the birds.
My Pick: Falcons 28, Buccaneers 13
Dallas (-1) at St. Louis: This season has been a tale of two cities for Dallas. In week one, the Cowboys were harangued in their loss at home by a strong contingent of 49ers fans. Then last week, at LP Field in Tennessee, a fevering pro-Cowboys crowd helped rock the Boys to victory. Maybe the Cowboys should play all of their games on the road. I think that the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Sunday will be at least 50% Cowboy fans and Dallas will benefit from the friendly road atmosphere.
My Pick: Cowboys 27, Rams 20
Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5): RG3 is one major injury away from career-end, but for Washington the QB department is not much of a drop-off. I believe in Cousins. I think he is better than at least five other starting QBs in the league. I think the Eagles are overrated. Upset of the week, Washington pulls it out on the road.
My Pick: Washington 27, Eagles 24
Houston (-2.5) at NY Giants: The Texans are flying under the radar. On the positive side, they are 2-0 and have won both games by double digits, the defense is scary again, and they have a two-game lead over last year’s division winner, the Colts. On the negative, Ryan Fitzpatrick is their quarterback. I think they win this week, and the next two games (vs. BUF and @ DAL), and then head into a week 6 matchup against the Colts at 5-0.
My Pick: Texans 20, Giants 14
Minnesota at New Orleans (-9.5): I think this is the safest bet of the week. The Vikings will cave to the pressure of the public and sit Adrian Peterson again and the Saints will finally steal a victory this year. That’s back-to-back weeks Saints fans have suffered painful losses in close games. Vikings fans should start the clock on the Teddy Bridgewater watch…he should be starting by week 8.
My Pick: Saints 31, Vikings 20
Tennessee at Cincinnati (-7): I think the Bengals are the best team in the AFC. In week one, they went into Baltimore and put the division on notice with a decisive win over the Ravens. Then last week they annihilated a pretty good Falcons team. No team in the AFC has played more consistently against top tier competition this season (sorry Broncos/Bills/Texans). I think the Bengals keep it rolling on Sunday.
My Pick: Bengals 27, Titans 17
Baltimore (-1.5) at Cleveland: Heartbreak continues in Cleveland. For most teams the stinging loss in week 1 to hated rival Pittsburgh would be enough for one season, but the Browns are not most teams. I think the theme of division play this season for Cleveland is a string of six devastatingly close, bitter defeats.
My Pick: Ravens 14, Browns 13
Green Bay at Detroit (-1.5): Detroit at Ford Field is hard to pick against and the Packers have yet to put together four solid quarters of play in one game. This game will come down to the defensive line of the Lions against the offensive line of the Packers. I go Lions.
My Pick: Lions 31, Packers 30
Indianapolis (-6.5) at Jacksonville: Did the Jaguars peak at halftime in week 1? Is it all downhill from here on out? Do they need to start Blake Bortles now? Yes…Yes…and Yes!
My Pick: Colts 28, Jaguars 17
Oakland at New England (-14): Oakland is the Siberia of the NFL. Players are there for one of two reasons; chasing a payday or they were drafted into Oakland. Can you think of any other reason to play for such a wretched franchise? The Raiders haven’t made the postseason since 2002, haven’t had a winning record since 2002, have lost double digit games in 9 of the last 11 seasons. In fact, their record over the last ten years is 49-111. Oakland adds another loss to their ledger on Sunday.
My Pick: Patriots 31, Oakland 13
San Francisco (-2.5) at Arizona: Second-best game of the week. If the Cardinals can win, they would open up a two game lead over the 49ers. That’s gigantic in this division. It won’t happen. The 49ers are stewing after their meltdown on Sunday night.
My Pick: 49ers 26, Cardinals 20
Denver at Seattle (-5): This is the game of the week. Homer alert. I think Peyton and the Broncos avenge their pitiful showing in the Super Bowl, and I think the Broncos additions on defense make the difference.
My Pick: Broncos 28, Seahawks 27
Kansas City at Miami (-4.5): Two years ago, the Chiefs started the season and were never able to recover (finished 2-14). I think this is a must-win game for the Chiefs. The next three after Miami are tough (vs. New, @SF, @SD), and if the Chiefs lose to the Dolphins then they start the season 0-6. I think the Chiefs are able to pull it out on Sunday.
My Pick: Chiefs 17, Dolphins 14
Pittsburgh at Carolina (-3.5): The Steelers looked horrible last Thursday night. Age has finally caught up with Pittsburgh. The woes will continue for the Steelers and look for the Panthers defense to unleash on Big Ben.
My Pick: Panthers 21, Steelers 13
Chicago at NY Jets (-2.5): The Jets are better than advertised. The Bears are worse than advertised. I think Rex gets the Jets fired up for Monday night at home.
My Pick: Jets 21, Bears 19