Football thoughts for the week:
Golden Asterisk Performer of the Week:
It had been a bit of a slow start to the season for Jamaal Charles, but holy crap did it speed up in a hurry. Charles racked up 233 yards on the ground, and then added another 55 yards on 6 receptions. Despite that performance, the Chiefs still needed overtime to put away the floundering New Orleans Saints.
A Name You Should Know:
Philip Wheeler, OLB, Oakland Raiders. Wheeler is another one of those Colts linebackers (like Mike Peterson) where you have no idea how good they really are until they're no longer in that Indy Cover 2. Free from the shackle of keep-it-in-front-of-you cushy responsibilities, Wheeler is flying all over the field. He can run down the field with any of today's basketball-player-turned-tight-ends. He is a bullet on the blitz. He looks like a completely different player after only 3 games on his new team.
Stat of the Week:
New Orleans is 0-3. The three teams that have beaten them are a combined 0-6 against the rest of their schedules. Their defense has yielded 102 points, second only to the Titans. By most measures, one would have to call New Orleans the worst performing team in the NFL right now. Can all of that be pinned on not having Sean Payton on the sidelines?
FINAL WARNING: If you do not bold the names of the teams in your pick 'em post, they will not count starting this week. fangblackbone, this means you.
We got our first 5-0 pick 'em this week in ZellbrigeN26, whose faith in the Jaguars rewarded him nicely. A number of 4-1 teams missed a perfect score based on their lack of similar faith.
Let's get to this week's picks:
Props to Gumbie for bailing me out when I made picks from the 2011 schedule. My normal page with the oddsmaker lines failed me. (Now I owe that asshole, dammit.)
The proper picks for this week:
Chargers at Chiefs: The Chargers hold a not-particularly-convincing lead on the rest of the AFC West, which they must now defend in Arrowhead in a critical divisional matchup. Jamaal Charles woke up this past week and went into full-on beast mode, looking for the first time like a healthy player again. Kansas City's defense, however, has not yet come around, yielding 99 points in 3 games. I'm taking the Chiefs at home, but if San Diego is going to make a move to really establish control of the division, this is the week to do it.
Seahawks at Rams: Seattle will take that win on Monday Night, but when you get down to it, they really only scored 7 legitimate points last week. At 2-1, they're keeping pace with the 49ers and a stride behind the undefeated (seriously?) Arizona Cardinals. St. Louis, meanwhile, is the bottom dweller of that division, despite a suddenly-hot passing connection from Bradford to Danny Amendola. (Remember when he was just a squirrely little white boy receiver on Hard Knocks?). Seattle's defense has been shockingly effective so far, but I'm not yet convinced that it's not just an early season fluke. I'm giving this one to the Rams at home, but if Seattle's defense continues to play like this, people are going to have to pay attention.
Redskins at Buccaneers: Much like Cam Newton last year, RG3 has been off to a fast start, but it has not translated into wins for the team. A defense that has yielded 101 points might have a little to do with that. Tampa has had a hard time getting the offense going, and they're having some issues with their line, particularly at right tackle where they flip-flop between Jeremy Trueblood and Demar Dotson. Still, I have to think Tampa is better than they've shown. But I'm not sure that they get that offense going enough this week to exploit the Redskins' problems. Redskins
49ers at Jets: After looking like the cream of the NFL for the first couple of weeks, the 49ers were shown up on the road at the Metrodome against the Vikings. Obviously, this would not happen if Colin Kaepernick were quarterback. Alex Smith completed most of what he threw, but the dink and dunk lacked any explosion, while Frank Gore and the ground game couldn't spark much themselves. The Jets, meanwhile, scored a W in an OT squeaker on the road in Miami. Sanchez had a field day targeting Santonio Holmes last week, who reeled in 9 catches for 147 yards. Also, Tim Tebow. Just. Got. A. First. Down. On. A. Fake. Punt. How can anyone stop that? Maybe if Alex Smith struggles some more, the glorious Colin Kaepernick era can begin. But I'm not that lucky. 49ers.
And the die roll is a 6, which means the game with the largest point spread:
Titans at Texans: Sorry Gumbie, no good deed goes unpunished. After two weeks with little to show on offense, the Titans won a shootout against the Lions at home, with Jake Locker lighting it up for 378 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive explosion was all Locker, as Chris Johnson remains completely useless (Locker was the team's leading rusher with 35 yards on 4 carries). Houston's win in Denver was not altogether convincing, but that would be about the only unconvincing mark on the Texan record so far, and one can hardly fault an out-of-division team for not being their best at Mile High. I'd like to think that the Titans offense could carry that spark over and give the Texans defense a challenge worthy of their performance, but that's a lot to ask at this point. Texans
Last week's results:
VEGAS LINE: 4-1
Jolly Bill: 3-2
Secret Asian Man: 3-2
VEGAS LINE: 9-5
Jolly Bill: 8-6
Secret Asian Man: 5-9