Two weeks in and the Villain still has a horse in the game! The Patriots came through for me in Week 2 and cruised to a easy victory against the Jets. It doesn't get any easier in Week 3 so let's unpack this week together.
I like to organize my picks by confidence level (thanks to my late boss who was a math nuts). So here are my pick split up by My Pick of the Week, Best Bets, Lean Picks and Trap Games. Hopefully my picks help you and me move on to Week 3.
Panthers (@ Texans)
Photo Credit: USAToday.com
As I noted on this week's edition of the NFL Free For All, I have been impressed with the Carolina Panthers. They are one of the surprise 2-0 teams with a good opening week win vs the Jets and a week 2 destruction of the New Orleans Saints. The offense with WR DJ Moore and RB Christian McCaffery have been electric, and Sam Darnold looks like a new man since he separated from that Jets 'offense (see Adam Gase). For me, the defense has been the pleasant surprise as I noted they are a fantasy pick up. The Panther Defense ranks 1st in points against per game, yards allowed per game and sacks. Enter a nice matchup against rookie QB Davis Mills, who will making his first career start Thursday night. Mills took over for the injured Tyrod Taylor, but struggled going 8 of 18 for 102 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. With the team doubling down in their stance on not using Deshaun Watson, this is a great pick.
Broncos (vs. Jets)
Photo Credit: GettyImages
Ok so we knew the Bill Belichick is tough on rookie QBs, so Zack Wilson had no chance in Week 2. He didn't see ghosts, but he did finish his second start with 4 INTs in a lopsided 26-3 loss at home. Now enter a tough matchup against another impressive 2-0 team in the Denver Broncos. Denver has had the good fortune of a friendly schedule to open the season (Giants and Jaguars) and played well on both sides of the ball. Teddy Bridgewater has given the Broncos consistent QB play as he has thrown 4 TDs and 0 INTs. The defense has be equally as good as they are creating pressure on opposing QBs. The only thing that worries me is if this is the real Broncos. The Jets are missing OT Mekhi Becton after he has successfull surgery, so look for Von Miller to feast.
Cardinals (@ Jaguars)
Photo Credit: NFLSpinZone.com
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals have put the league on notice, they are here! Murray is one of the most impressive QBs after two weeks as he's thrown for 689 passing yards, 7 TDs and 3 INTs. The defense was flying in Week 1 with 6 sacks, but Week 3 saw the Vikings high powered offense move up and down the field. But the Cardinals' offense is so explosive, it's hard to see the Jaguars defense containing them. Rookie QBs Trevor Lawrence has struggled through his first two weeks in the NFL. But he showed some signs and a breakout game against the Cardinals defense is not out of the realm of possibility. The Vikings showed they can be run on but the game should be the Cardinals to win on the road.
Ravens (@ Lions)
On paper, this is an easy game to pick the Ravens for. But this is a tough game to risk it all on. The Ravens are coming off a huge win against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. But after two games, the defense is a mess and have given up 33 points to the Raiders and 35 points to the Chiefs. This is the worst Ravens defense I've seen in quite some time. The Lions can move the ball as they played well against the 49ers in the second half of Week 1, but struggled against the Packers on Monday Night as the game got away from them. The Lions and QB Jared Goff need to move the ball in the air, Ravens are much better against the run. I expect Baltimore to win but this has the makings of a "look ahead" game with the Broncos up next for the Ravens.
Bills (vs. Washington)
Josh Allen has been far from the MVP candidate he was in 2020 as his accuracy has been a huge question mark for the Bills. He's only completed 56% of his passes and the deep ball is not there through the fist two games (5.3 yards per pass attempt). But now he's getting another defense that has underwhelmed so far this season in the Washington Football Team. They gave up 30 points to a previously weak New York Giants offense, but the WFT defensive line can still cause problems for Buffalo. Taylor Heinicke played well in his first start for the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick, so this is a risky pick.
Steelers (vs. Bengals)
This is a game I would avoid at all cost. Early when the schedule came out, you might have circled this game for the Steelers. But after 2 weeks, one thing I can tell you is the Steelers can't be trusted. The defense was lit up by Derek Carr and the Raiders at home and the Cincinnati Bengals have one of the more talented WR corps in the league. Joe Burrow struggled in the second half against the Bears throwing 3 INTs, but he can make all the throws. The Steelers have not been able to run the ball, even with Najee Harris in the backfield. The offensive line is the big issue as they can't open holes or give Ben Roethlisberger enough time to get the ball down field. The ball is coming out of Big Ben's hands in well under 3 seconds because of the line. Cincinnati split with Pittsburgh last season so stay away from this game.
Other Games to avoid:
Packers vs 49ers
Buccaneers vs Rams