I feel frustrated that I didn’t find the time to watch coaching tape again this week, but there is only so much time in a day and we’ll have to see if I can protect my blog time better next week. There is time for me to take another quick run through the picks, but let’s start with this week’s trivia question. We were asked:
‘In how many Super Bowls did the Buffalo Bills appear during the 1990s?
To be clear it if for Super Bowls played between 1.1.1990 and 31.12.1999.’
For once I am pretty confident about the answer as the Jim Kelly Bills famously lost four straight Super Bowls, and whilst I’m slightly worried that 3D (Dan’s Devious Dad) is trying a sneaky one with the date clarification, I’m sticking with the four that I think were all in the 90s.
As for the theme, I’m still not totally sure but I’m trying that each answer lost their last Super Bowl appearance.
‘I’m completely guessing this week. The very early 90s would have been when they would have had OJ Simpson [OJ played in the 70s so I think Dan is double wrong this week, but in fairness it could be me who is mistaken – Ed.] playing for them, and I think he took them to a Super Bowl so I don’t think the answer is zero. I think I’ll stick with ONE as my answer this week.
No guess on the theme, but I don’t think it’s cleared up enough for Gee to get it either so I’m not too concerned about that!’
One last thing before we get to the pics as I thought this nugget from Dan’s Dad in our group chat was particularly on point regarding picking games:
Titans @ Falcons (-4.5)
I do not trust either of these teams as the Tennessee Titans are struggling on offence and the Atlanta Falcons seem to be plain struggling so I don’t see how the Falcons should be favoured by this much.
Gee’s Pick: Titans
Dan’s Pick: Falcons
Patriots @ Bills (+7.5)
The New England Patriots have started the season very strongly and I expect them to win this game but the Pats have picked up some injuries on offence whilst the Bills defence has looked really good (top ten by DVOA good through three weeks) and so I think this game will be more competitive than this line suggests.
Gee’s Pick: Bills
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
Browns @ Ravens (-6.5)
The Cleveland Browns are 1-2 for a reason, their offence isn’t quite clicking and this week they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens whose offence is very much clicking. The Brown do have the kind of receiving talent that could exploit any break downs in the secondary as the Chiefs did to the Ravens last week, but I don’t see the Ravens having failures like that two weeks in a row and for all his presence in the media, the Browns’ Baker Mayfield is no Patrick Mahomes.
Gee’s Pick: Ravens
Dan’s Pick: Ravens
Chiefs @ Lions (+6.5)
The unbeaten Detroit Lions welcome the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs but only one of these teams have tied a game to the 0-3 Cardinals. In fairness the Lions have been pretty solid and the Chiefs have picked up a couple of injuries on offence but whilst I would usually jump on this number of points for a home team, the idea of picking against Patrick Mahomes is making pick the favourite this time round.
Gee’s Pick: Chiefs
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs
Raiders @ Colts (-6.5)
The Oakland Raiders have looked competitive in a couple of games but have not looked good to me and have a lowly DVOA rankings as well as only one win against an even worse Broncos team. This week they take on the Indianapolis Colts who have a very good roster and Jacoby Brissett has done well replacing Andrew Luck so whilst the points give me pause, the Raiders road record seals the pick for me.
Gee’s Pick: Colts
Dan’s Pick: Raiders
Chargers @ Dolphins (+16.5)
The Miami Dolphins #FishTank or roster reboot has certainly been effective at losing them games but there are genuine questions about whether an NFL team has ever really competed for a Super Bowl after going through this process. This week they welcome an LA Chargers team who are struggling with injury (a common occurrence for them it feels) who I expect may well win this game but I fancy this as the Dolphins first cover of the season as this is just too many points for me this week.
Gee’s Pick: Dolphins
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
Washington @ Giants (-3.5)
In another universe this may well be a game featuring two rookie quarterbacks but whilst the New York Giants began their new era having got a win with Daniel Jones in his first start, the team from Washington seem to be riven with dysfunction. There are rumours that Dwayne Haskins was an ownership pick rather than one the Jay Gruden believed in, but whatever the case Washington have not looked good. I think the Giants will win at home but I really don’t like the line and whilst the numbers might suggest that Washington is the pick I can’t quite bring myself to do it.
Gee’s Pick: Giants
Dan’s Pick: Giants
Panthers @ Texans (-4.5)
The Carolina Panthers actually looked better last week and got their first win of the season with Kyle Allen playing quarterback, which is more to do with Cam Newton being injured than not being any good, although the Panthers might be concerned about Newton’s long-term health given the number of hits he has taken through his career. This week they travel to take on the 2-1 Houston Texans who are all in for the season but have not truly convinced. The offensive line is still letting Deshaun Watson get hit too much but it’s the middle of the league ranked defence that is surprising. In a game where I don’t really trust either team I’m going to grab the points and this could well be one of the games I watch this week.
Gee’s Pick: Panthers
Dan’s Pick: Texans
Buccaneers @ Rams (-9.5)
I absolutely hate this line as the LA Rams are the better team but have not exactly looked great this season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been all over the shop. I love Bruce Arians but he seemed to be making some strange decisions at the end of the game last week and in the process lost to the New York Giants. However, this is a Rams whose defence is top five by DVOA and I don’t trust Jameis Winston at all. This could really come back to bite me, but at home I am going to ignore the numbers and take the Rams.
Gee’s Pick: Rams
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers
Seahawks @ Cardinals (+4.5)
The Arizona Cardinals have not looked like a good football team despite Kyler Murray flashing and part of that is Kliff Kingsbury is still trying to find his way in the NFL with his offence. The Cardinals welcome a Seattle Seahawks team whose defence is not up to its usual standards but the offence is ranked fifth in the league by DVOA thanks to some good young receivers and the continued excellence of Russell Wilson and so that is where I am playing my trust.
Gee’s Pick: Seahawks
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
Vikings @ Bears (-2.5)
The Chicago Bears may have finally got some touchdowns for Mitchell Trubisky last week, but I still don’t trust their offence as they welcome a strong looking Minnesota Vikings team whose defence looks as great as the Bears. There are questions about Kirk Cousins and the Vikings are running the ball a lot on offence so I suspect this game will be competitive with a tight score line. It’s for this reason that I’m grabbing the points, but I would not be surprised if either team won.
Gee’s Pick: Vikings
Dan’s Pick: Vikings
Jaguars @ Broncos (-3.5)
This game could be a trap but I’m going to walk into it anyway. The Denver Broncos have not looked good this season and who would have expected a defence with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to have no sacks with Vic Fangio has head coach? Meanwhile, for all the nonsense surrounding Jalen Ramsey the Jacksonville Jaguars might have found something on the other side of the ball in rookie Gardiner Minshew II playing quarterback and so whilst Mile High stadium is still a tough place to play I can’t help but pick the Jaguars when I’m getting this many points.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Jaguars
Cowboys @ Saints (+2.5)
This could well be matchup of the week with the unbeaten Dallas Cowboys taking on the 2-1 New Orleans Saints. I was impressed with the Saints team win against the Seahawks last week and Teddy Bridgewater did enough with a week for Sean Payton to scheme things up. However, the Cowboys have been impressive all season with Dak Prescott thriving in the new offence that sees them currently ranked number one in the league by DVOA. This leads to the strange line where the Saints are underdogs at home, which would be an automatic pick if Drew Brees was playing, but he’s not and the Saints can’t have the same luck as they had last week so I’m laying the points. This could well be another trap…
Gee’s Pick: Cowboys
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys
Bengals @ Steelers (-4.5)
What a stunning matchup for Monday night football with two winless teams vying to get themselves their first win – watch this game end in a tie. The Pittsburgh Steelers are somehow laying four and a half points in this one despite the offence looking like it’s missing Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell plus the defence is still struggling. The Cincinnati Bengals don’t rank any better by DVOA but they have been competitive in two of their games and I do think they are a little better than their record would suggest. I’m not saying they will get their first win on the road in Pittsburgh this week, but I like their chances of being within five.
Gee’s Pick: Bengals
Dan’s Pick: Steelers
DVOA is Football Outsiders‘ statistic for measuring a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics on their site.