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NFL Pro Football 2011 Week 3 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 3 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 25-26

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Sunday, Sept. 25

New England Patriots (-9, 53) at Buffalo Bills 1:00 pm - OK, Buffalo fans, you're 2-0, after taking out Kansas City on the road and Oakland at home in one of the best games of Week 2. Now comes the real test: New England, which has beaten the Bills 15 straight. Even worse news is that the Bills are a miserable 0-4-1 when playing the Patriots at home.

The line here may go to -10, but it still shouldn't matter. Buffalo - nor any other team in the NFL, it seems - has no answer for Tom Brady, who seems to be intent on rewriting the history books. He has only thrown for 940 yards in two games, which, if he stays on this pace, would give him 7520 yards at the end of the regular season.

Prediction: Patriots 38 Bills 24

Detroit Lions (-4, 44 1/2) at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm - This one is hardly even worth a second look at stats or match-ups because, 1. The Vikings were led on offense the past two seasons by Brett Favre, now (thankfully) retired, and, 2. The Lions' QB, Matthew Stafford, has been injured in at least two of their last four meetings.

A quick look at the team stats after two games reveals that Detroit is scoring an average of 37.5 ppg to Minny's 18.5, and allowing 11.5 to the Vikings' 24.0. According to those metrics the Lions should win this one going away, so we'll not argue.

Prediction: Lions 31 Vikings 14

NY Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-8 1/2, 48) 1:00 pm - Michael Vick has been cleared to practice and play against the Giants after suffering a concussion against the Falcons in Week 2, a very positive sign for the Eagles. Impossible to defend for a full 60 minutes, Vick has a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal, while the Giants are depleted at wide receiver with Domenik Hixson out and Mario Manningham listed as doubtful (he too suffered a Week 2 concusssion). Those injuries put QB Eli Manning in a tenuous situation and he hasn't looked very sharp in either of his starts this year. If Vick is even 90%, he should be able to guide the Eagles past the banged-up Giants by a farily healthy margin.

Prediction: Eagles 28 Giants 17

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3 1/2, 43) 1:00 pm - The NFL's newest poster boy, #1 draft pick Cam Newton has responded to the skeptics by producing two sold games, though the Panthers are still 0-2 and still seeking a win. Though they came close in Week 1, a 28-21 loss at Arizona, this one's at home, where they fell last week to the Packers, 30-23, covering the too-generous -10 line.

Now a favorite against the offensively-hindered Jags (19 points scored in 2 weeks), could this be the week the Panthers break through for a win?

Both teams have horrible ATS stats: the Panthers are 3-6 ATS their last nine home games, while the Jaguars are 4-8 ATS their last 12 road games. If the line remains at -3 1/2, the pick should be the Jags, as Carolina has key injuries on defense and the game may be decided by a field goal by either team - or less.

Prediction: Panthers 23 Jaguars 21

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San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2 1/2, 41) 1:00 pm - Hard to believe that the Bengals are favored over the 49ers, though it is Cincy's home opener and Andy Dalton hasn't looked too bad at QB. Cedric Benson, fresh out of prison, also hasn't missed a step and will be a battering ram throughout this contest.

For the 'Niners, the heartbreaking loss to Dallas may still be weighing on them as they head East, though blowing a 24-14 lead in the final 11:12 of the 4th quarter is not acceptable.

With the line set where it is, Cincinnati has to win by a field goal, and they are just 3-12 over their last 15 games, so that seems a bit of a long shot, no? The 49ers are just 1-7 in their last 8 road games, but this is a different team from last season. Look for San Fran to bounce back and resume some swagger as the best team in the terrible NFC West.

Prediction: 49ers 27 Bengals 21

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (-4, 53) 1:00 pm - Call this one a fling-fest, with Drew Brees and Matt Schaub probably throwing for a combined 650 yards. The Texans seem to have turned into an absolute beast in the off-season, winning three of four preseason games and taking out the Manning-less Colts in Week 1 and Miami - on the road - last weekend.

No team has come close to beating them thus far, though the Saints, at home, have the offensive firepower to do so. Brees has found a new, spirited back in Darren Sproles, and that has boosted the offense, and the D allowed Chicago just 13 points in last week's win.

Giving the Texans four points, no matter against whom or where they're playing, may be a bad idea this season, and this one looks to be a close call. The Texans are on a mission to win their division and, as they say, "every game counts," including this one. Upset possible.

Prediction: Texans 35 Saints 32

Looking for the best NFL Handicapper? Good luck. Most of them suck.

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns (-3, 41) 1:00 pm - Following their embarrassing, 27-17, loss to the Bengals in their home opener, the Browns rebounded with a 27-19 win over the Colts, a score that suggests that the Browns are not a sound defensive unit.

On closer inspection of that game, we find that Indy's only touchdown came with 24 seconds left in the game, with the outcome not affected. Cleveland held the Colts to 285 yards of offense, and 4-14 efficiency on third down, so the defense is good enough to get stops when needed. Considering the porous nature of Miami's secondary, expect Colt McCoy to hit his best stride and lead the Browns to win #2.

Prediction: Browns 27 Dolphins 17

Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans (-7, 42) 1:00 pm - The Broncos have struggled on defense in both of their games this season, allowing Cincinnati to churn for 382 yards offensively last week in Denver's close-call, 24-22 win.

The Titans are 1-1, but their 26-13 win over Baltimore last week made may people sit up and take notice. While they don't have the greatest offense with Matt Hasselbeck running the show, they still have speedsters Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt and Nate Washington, which should be too much for Denver's secondary to handle. Additionally, their defense is among the best in the league right now.

The Broncos are also notoriously bad on the road, compiling a 1-5 ATS record their last six away games.

Prediction: Titans 28 Broncos 16

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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