GLS Picks: Week 3

GLS has Brian Orakpo's Redskins moving to 3-0.

After two weeks of mediocrity, we step in for a third swing. We’re seeing 10 games with points spreads of four or lower, which is causing some panic. Unfortunately, we’re contractually obligated to keep doing this. So here goes it…

(Oh, and check out today’s Red Heat Podcast for picks from my boys Cam Stewart, Geoff Fienberg and Eric Cohen.)

Last week: 10-6 (8-8-0 against the spread)
2011 season: 20-12 (15-16-1 against the spread)
2010 season: 155-101 (117-119-20 against the spread)
2009 season: 175-81 (122-101-33 against the spread)
2008 season: 161-94-1 (114-112-30 against the spread)
2007 season: 174-82 (118-105-33 against the spread)


The Chiefs have no hope right now. And that’s saying a lot in the NFL, where anything can usually happen on any given Sunday. In San Diego, I’d be willing to bet anything that the Chiefs don’t stand a chance. Kansas City is down too many players and has been outscored 150-27 in its last four games. The Chiefs were a bad road team even when they won the AFC West last year — they were beat 31-0 in San Diego last December. Ordinarily, I could see the Chargers overlooking the Chiefs and stumbling a bit, but that won’t happen after a tough loss to New England. Chargers 37, Chiefs 10

Denver will have to pick its poison. The Broncos were gashed on the ground by Darren McFadden in Week 1 and crushed through the air by (gulp) Andy Dalton in Week 2. In Week 3, they play a Titans team that can do either. Look for Kenny Britt to have another monster day against a Champ Bailey-less Broncos secondary while Chris Johnson breaks out against their paper-thin front seven. Denver has lost nine of its last 10 road games, and this one isn’t looking good. Titans 24, Broncos 14

This is dangerous: Buffalo is playing over its head right now, and the Bills are at home against a team they’re familiar with. But Oakland was still able to score 35 points in Western New York last week. Now, the league’s hottest offense rolls in — one that hammered the Bills 34-3 on the road late last year (neither roster has actually changed much since). The Patriots secondary has struggled, but I’m assuming Bill Belichick’s guys will continue to improve on the back end as they make adjustments on the fly. Patriots 42, Bills 31


It’s all about momentum on Monday night. The Redskins have it, and despite a win last week, the Cowboys don’t. Washington’s defense is rolling, and I think they’re talented enough to keep climbing. Beating Arizona by a single point at home is nothing to brag to your NFC East friends about, but the ‘Skins actually smoked the Cards in most statistical categories. Dallas had too much trouble with a bad San Francisco team and is now dealing with a new batch of injuries. Unless DeMarcus Ware has a career game or Tony Romo makes magic happen, I can’t see Dallas winning, let alone covering a 5.5-point spread. Redskins 27, Cowboys 20

Philly has the Giants’ number. It’s been that way for three years — the Eagles have won their last six meetings with New York by an average of over 10 points per victory. And those games were played back when the Giants were good. It looks as though Michael Vick will be good to go at home against a Giants team that is dealing with a remarkable amount of injuries on both sides of the ball. Eagles 27, Giants 14

The Chicago offensive line is getting demolished. And I know they were letting Jay Cutler get killed last year, too, but this is on a whole new level. Green Bay will be sending their very strong pass rush at Cutler Sunday, and I don’t think the banged-up line can stop them. I’m also not impressed with what Chicago’s defense has been doing, especially against the run. Packers 30, Bears 17

I just don’t see how the banged-up Rams will be able to score touchdowns against a pissed-off Ravens defense. If you can’t succeed in the red zone against the depleted Giants, how are you supposed to do so against Baltimore’s D? The Ravens are obviously much better than what we saw against Tennessee — they’ll bounce back after that strange loss and win on the road. I expect Ray Rice to go nuts and be the difference. Ravens 27, Rams 12

Miami is a far better team than Cleveland. And the Dolphins are on the road, where, for whatever reason, they’re significantly better than they are at home. The Miami defense is better than it’s given credit for, and Cleveland’s transition to a west coast offense and back to a 4-3 defense has to catch up with it eventually. Former Browns offensive coordinator and current Dolphins offensive coordinator Brian Daboll should help Chad Henne, Brandon Marshall, Daniel Thomas and Co. succeed against his former players. Dolphins 23, Browns 16

The realist in me believes the Houston defense will have to fall back to earth. And if that transition to the 3-4 will catch up with the Texans, it’ll likely take place in New Orleans. Even without Marques Colston, Drew Brees should be able to find his targets matched up with defensive backs opposite Johnathan Joseph and the Ingram-Thomas-Sproles three-headed monster should find holes in an adjusting defensive front. Houston will put up points, too, but I think the Saints defense is about to step it up and start forcing some turnovers, especially with Will Smith returning to the lineup. Saints 38, Texans 28


Everyone expects the Steelers to blow out the Colts. Which is why it probably won’t happen. You know how this league works. Another week of practice should help the Indy offense gain some more chemistry. And it’s not like the Colts have struggled desperately on the ground thus far. The offense won’t do much, but I get the feeling they’ll hang around at home with a Pittsburgh team that still has question marks, especially if Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis can get it going. Steelers 23, Colts 14

Could Cam Newton put up 400 yards again? Against a so-so Jags defense with virtually no pass rush, I don’t see why not. At home, the Panthers should cruise against a Jacksonville team in flux with Blaine Gabbert forced into the lineup for his first career start. Maurice Jones-Drew was good last week, but the Jags still lost by 29 points. Sunday, the Panthers get their first win of the Newton era. Panthers 28, Jaguars 13

There’s a new clear bottom feeder in the NFC North. Detroit is a better team than Minnesota, and it’s not even a debate at this point. That said, it’s easy to become overly excited about the Lions, who will still be in tough on the road against a Vikings team that has hammered them for years. Kevin Williams will be back from suspension to apply pressure on Matthew Stafford, who has taken a lot of hits despite not being sacked in the first two weeks. Plus, Adrian Peterson will find holes in a beatable Lions’ run defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vikes win this game at home, but ultimately the Detroit pass rush will be too strong for Minnesota’s weak offensive line and Donovan McNabb to handle. Lions 24, Vikings 21

Never take a bad west coast team on the east coast. Andy Dalton has survived the first two weeks against weak or depleted front sevens, but it could be a different story against San Francisco. The Niners can bring the heat. I also can’t imagine Cedric Benson will have a field day against a run defense that has completely shut down Felix Jones and Marshawn Lynch to start the season. Still, I’m not prepared to take a bad team like San Fran (which was 1-7 on the road last year) on the east coast with a 1:00 ET start time, where they were 1-7 last year. The Bengals are bad, but they should survive at home in a close game. Bengals 20, 49ers 17

The Jets are a better team than Oakland, and they’re especially good on the road. New York was 6-2 away from home and beat the Pats in Foxboro in the playoffs in 2010. So I’m not giving too much weight to the fact that it’s the Raiders’ home opener. The Jets should be able to keep Darren McFadden under control and Jason Campbell will receive a wake-up call after getting to face the Broncos and Bills out of the gate. The Nick Mangold injury is giving me caution, but it’s not enough to change my mind. Jets 24, Raiders 21


Damn Seahawks at home: While I think the Cardinals with Kevin Kolb are clearly a better team than the Seahawks, Seattle is unpredictable, especially at home. Seattle was 5-3 at CenturyLink Field (then Qwest Field) in 2010, including a 22-10 win against the Cards. After two ugly losses to start the season, this is their home opener. Inexplicably, the Cards are a 3.5-point fave on the road. This will be a field goal game, and I’m sticking with the home squad. Seahawks 17, Cardinals 14

These NFC South vs. NFC South games kill me. Atlanta has beaten the Bucs in five straight games, but Tampa came very close to beating the eventual No. 1 seed in two meetings last season. Both teams appear to be better this year. So, what the hell do we do here? The home team is usually safe, but the Bucs are 4-5 in Tampa dating back to the start of last season, while the Falcons are 6-3 in that same span on the road. I don’t like the way Matt Ryan is playing, but I’m not sure Tampa will hold Michael Turner in check. Plus, Josh Freeman has struggled early on as well. Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21