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NFL Pro Football 2012 Week 3 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 3 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | September 20-24, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, September 20

NY Giants (-1, 51) at Carolina 8:20 pm - This should be one rip-roar of a time, with Cam Newton looking to match the incomparable Eli Manning, who threw three picks in the second quarter last week only to lead his team back from a 14-point deficit for the win with over 500 yards passing.

The Giants needed the win badly, not wanting to start out 0-2, but Carolina stunned New Orleans, 35-27, also avoiding an 0-2 beginning.

A very tough call, but the Panthers appear to have momentum early and the boost from beating a divisional foe should carry over to a positive start against the Giants, who are playing their first road game of the season. Look for lots of scoring and big plays on both sides but a late field goal wins this one for Carolina.

Prediction: Panthers 34 Giants 31

Sunday, September 23

Tampa Bay at Dallas (-7, 46 1/2) 1:00 pm - Dallas certainly disappointed out in Seattle, losing badly, 27-7, just a week after upsetting the Giants at the Meadowlands.

Tampa also played the Giants, last week, blowing a 14-point lead as they were unable to contain Eli Manning and his receivers late in the contest, thereby providing a yardstick by which to measure both teams. Dallas beat the Giants, 24-17, while the Bucs took it on the chin, 41-34.

One has to assume that the Dallas defense is the better of the two, and the game is the Cowboys' home opener, therefore the heavy favoritism for Dallas. Don't sell the Buccaneers short, though, they'll keep this one close and cover.

Prediction: Cowboys 27 Buccaneers 23

St. Louis at Chicago (-7, 44 1/2) 1:00 pm - Both teams are 1-1, though the Bears are coming off a Thursday night loss to the Packers, giving them some extra rest and home field.

The Rams impressed with their 31-28 win over Washington, but the win was badly needed, especially being at home.

Neither teams sports a winning recent record ATS, but the Bears have won five of the last seven meetings, dating back to 1998, the most recent a 17-9 Bears home win in 2009.

St. Louis still has trouble defending the pass, but defense is no issue for the Bears, who should win this one convincingly.

Prediction: Bears 27 Rams 14

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San Francisco (-7, 43 1/2) at Minnesota 1:00 pm - The 49ers are looking every bit the part of team headed to the NFC championship game and beyond, having beaten Green Bay on the road in week one and taken down Detroit last week, both by eight-point margins.

Minnesota beat Jacksonville by three opening weekend and then lost to the Colts on the road last week, but have played well enough to rate some respect as an emerging team, but the 49ers are at an elite level and week three could be a coming out party.

Prediction: 49ers 27 Vikings 14

Detroit (-3, 46 1/2) at Tennessee 1:00 pm - 0-2 Tennessee has allowed an average of 36 points per game over the first two weeks of the season, but the stats may be somewhat misleading as the losses came against New England and San Diego.

The Lions are 1-1 after topping the Rams in week one and falling to the 49ers, 27-19 in week two, and Matthew Stafford hasn't looked very sharp. Whatever is troubling the young QB, it's not going away easily, and the Titans need to step up here at home and get the job done.

Even though the Lions hold edges in every offensive and defensive statistical category, trends may be skewed this early, so give the Titans the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Detroit's defense is not very good.

Prediction: Titans 26 Lions 24

Buffalo (-3, 43 1/2) at Cleveland 1:00 pm - The battle of Lake Erie favors the Bills at this juncture, only because of the way their fans and management have urged the young team onward.

Buffalo can score points, as evidenced by their 35-17 win over KC last Sunday. The defensive front may be one of the best in the league for applying pressure and that's going to make Cleveland rookie QB Brandon Weeden wish he were back in college.

Cleveland's lost two fairly sloppily-played games thus far. Buffalo looks sharper and playing with more purpose. The Bills should do as they please here.

Prediction: Bills 30 Browns 17

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-3, 42) 1:00 pm - This game is about as even a match-up as can be found on the weekend slate of games. Both teams played Minnesota, the Jags losing on the road in overtime in week one by a field goal, the Colts winning at home by three last week.

These two also have had lopsided losses. Jacksonville lost to Houston, 27-7 last week; the Colts were bombed, 41-21, by the Bears in week one.

Andrew Luck is the story of the game, but the Jags have every right to be in this until the end, which makes them the choice.

Prediction: Jaguars 21 Colts 17

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NY Jets (-3, 40) at Miami 1:00 pm - Miami isn't much, though don't tell that to the Raiders, who were hammered in South Florida last week by a 35-13 score. Their 30-10 loss at Houston in week one is more a yardstick of this team than last week's contest.

The Jets come in 1-1 as well, crushing the Bills 48-28 in their home opener, but falling flat against the Steelers, 27-10, last week. Tim Tebow may see more action in surroundings comfortable to him having played for the Florida gators in college and he could provide a spark if needed.

Miami will have trouble scoring on the Jets, so this one looks like a sure under play with the Jets coming away with the W.

Prediction: Jets 24 Dolphins 9

Cincinnati at Washington (-3 1/2, 49) 1:00 pm - Robert Griffin III is all the rage, but he was topped by Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams last week in a 31-28 loss.

Bengal QB Andy Dalton has developed quickly into a solid performer, and even though they haven't shown it yet, the Cincinnati defense can play.

In a win and a loss, the Redskins have given up 32 and 31 points, respectively, though both of those games were on the road. It's uncertain whether the defense will perform better at home, so bucking the hyperbole trend and going with the Bengals plus points makes about as much sense as anything else.

Prediction: Bengals 24 Redskins 23

Kansas City at New Orleans (-9, 52 1/2) 1:00 pm - At the conclusion of this game one of these teams is going to be 0-3, and it's probably not going to be the Saints.

Surely, they miss head coach Sean Peyton, and that's a cause for concern going forward, but the Chiefs have shown nothing but an ability to lose by large margins, to Atlanta, 40-24, and last week, to the Bills, 35-17.

They're also on the road for the second straight week, whereas the Saints are 9-1 their last 10 home games.

Prediction: Saints 42 Chiefs 16

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2012, 2013, 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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