After a mediocre week that saw the LI Press Picks guru pick 56 percent (9/16) of the games in Week 2, chances of landing the Hawaii Grand Prize package have dimmed considerably. For those of you who have yet to sign up for the LI Press Picks Football Pool and enter a chance to win a trip to Hawaii, visit LIPressPicks.com to check out the contest details.
With more than 210,000 players battling it out for weekly prizes and the chance to vacation in Hawaii at season’s end, isn’t it time you signed up to join in on the fun? Create a group of co-workers and battle for office supremacy each week, adding a new level of interest to each and every NFL game.
Week 2 taught us that Braylon Edwards drank too much after the Jets beat the Pats, Peyton is still the better Manning and fans attending the Giants game need protective headgear if Brandon Jacobs is lurking with helmet in hand. Heads up!
While we’re hoping to better out 56 percent picking percentage from last week, our Sleeper Pick Miami upsetting the Vikings at home rang true while readers choosing Green Bay as their survivor pick is still in the game. Hoping to build off of that success, the Long Island Press presents to you the LI Press Picks for Week 3.
Percentages taken from fan voting on LI Press Picks Football pool. Picks indicated in bold.
SURVIVOR PICK OF THE WEEK
Buffalo (1 percent picked) (0-2) @ New England (99 percent picked) (1-1)
The last time the Buffalo Bills beat the Patriots was Sept. 7, 2003, trouncing New England 31-0. Since that meeting, the Patriots have won 13 consecutive contests against the Bills and despite a short effort against the Jets last weekend, look for the Patriots to pound their personal punching bag to get to 2-1 and to move you into the next week for your survivor pick.
San Francisco (45 percent picked) (0-2) @ Kansas City (55 percent picked) (2-0)
The strength of the Niners is their ability to stop the run (63.5 rushing yards allowed per game) and the focal point of the Kansas City offense rests on backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones (averaging 137.5 yards on the ground through two games). The Niners rebounded nicely against the Saints on Monday, pushing the defending champions to a last second field goal despite a metamorphosis of the offense from week 1 after dropping over 400 yards of total offense. Look for the Niners to stuff the run and for QB Alex Smith to have a huge day in Kansas City.
Detroit (12 percent picked) (0-2) @ Minnesota (88 percent picked) (0-2)
The Vikings offense has been downright awful. Luckily for Brett Favre and the Vikings, the Detroit defense is just as bad, allowing 436 yards of offense in their first two meetings of the year with 304.5 of those yards coming through the air. If there was any week for Favre and Minnesota to get going through the air, this is the week to do so at home against Detroit. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry. Hand it off to Adrian Peterson. The Lions can’t stop the run either, surrendering 131.5 yards in each game through the first few weeks.
Atlanta (13 percent picked) (1-1) @ New Orleans (87 percent picked) (2-0)
The Saints return home after a tough battle against San Fran where they play the Falcons in an NFC South showdown. New Orleans has won seven of the last eight contests between the two and expect the trend to continue this weekend. Despite losing versatile back Reggie Bush to a broken fibula, Drew Brees spreads the ball around better than any QB in the league, mastering an offense that is pass first, pass second and pass third. Fantasy owners rejoice.
Tennessee (34 percent picked) (1-1) @ Giants (66 percent picked) (1-1)
If Joseph Addai can rip the Giants for close to five yards a carry on 20 touches, imagine the day Titans RB Chris Johnson could have? The Giants, historically priding themselves in defense, have major holes in the secondary a steady diet of Chris Johnson could open up easier throws for Vince Young who needs to stay away from turning the ball over after being benched last week for two INTs and a fumble.
Cleveland (3 percent picked) (0-2) @ Baltimore (97 percent picked) (1-1)
The Ravens have swept the last two season series against the AFC North rival Browns and expect the revamped Ravens to rebound after a rough loss in Cincinnati last week. Ravens QB Joe Flacco will break through against the Browns at home after turning in five INTs with only one TD score. With weapons like Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice and HOUSH, it’s only a matter of time before this Ravens offense fires on all cylinders.
Dallas (30 percent picked) (0-2) @ Texans (70 percent picked) (2-0)
This is a huge game for the Dallas Cowboys. With Jerry Jones’ sports haven hosting the Super Bowl this year, the Cowboys have failed to live up to the hype surrounded this talented roster. Wouldn’t it be something to see the Texans represent the AFC in Cowboys Stadium in the Super Bowl? This is a must win game for the Cowboys so expect them to come out firing but coming up short on the road to move to 0-3. The Texans will use their dangerous passing game (averaging 441 yards per game through the air) to move Jerry Jones closer to insanity.
Pittsburg (73 percent picked) (2-0) @ Tampa Bay (27 percent picked) (2-0)
The Steel Curtain is dismissing worries that the absence of QB Ben Roethlisberger with a suffocating defense that is winning them ballgames. Despite averaging a shade less than 250 yards of total offense a game, the Steelers run defense held Titans RB Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 attempts. The Steelers go on the road and pick up win number three with who knows at QB after Dennis Dixon left last week with a knee injury.
Cincinnati (90 percent picked) (1-1) @ Carolina (10 percent picked) (0-2)
A QB change from Matt Moore to rookie Jimmy Clausen will take some time to be successful so don’t expect much against Cincy’s secondary featuring top corners Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall lurking against the rookie QB. Carolina pulling off a win against the Bengals this week? In the words of the wise and almighty Chad Ochocino: Child Please.
Philadelphia (82 percent picked) (1-1) @ Jacksonville (18 percent picked) (1-1)
With Mike Vick at the helm for the Eagles, it’ll be interesting to see how Vick does now that Head Coach Andy Reid entrusted him with the starting gig. Against Jacksonville is a good way to make a good first impression as the new starting QB as the Jags have been shredded for more than 300 yards of offense through the air in the first two contests. Limiting the playmaking ability of Vick by controlling the clock with Maurice Jones Drew is the only shot the Jags have in pulling away with a W this weekend.
SLEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Washington (93 percent picked) (1-1) @ St. Louis (7 percent picked) (0-2)
After nailing the Miami over Minnesota sleeper last week, confidence has risen and success is soon to follow after the Rams defeat the Skins this weekend. QB Sam Bradford has 80 passing attempts in his first two professional football games and the Redskins have allowed 372 yards per game thus far. If the sleeper is to hit again, Sam Bradford needs to throw, and throw often. If all else fails, abort mission to man-machine Stephen Jackson.
Indianapolis (87 percent picked) (1-1) @ Denver (13 percent picked) (1-1)
Indy’s multifaceted offense meets one of the better defenses in the entire league despite the loss of LOLB Elvis Dumervil for the season. Denver hasn’t defeated the Colts in nearly five years, losing the last four contests between the two squads. The difference maker? Peyton Manning. As long as the Colts have that guy, they’ll have a shot to win week in and week out.
Oakland (27 percent picked) (1-1) @ Arizona (73 percent picked) (1-1)
RB Darren McFadden is the key in this one: on 48 attempts, the former first rounder has ripped off 240 yards and faces a defense coming off an ugly performance against the Atlanta Falcons. McFadden’s early success and Arizona’s 153 yards allowed on the ground in the first two games spells upset in the desert.
San Diego (85 percent picked) (1-1) @ Seattle (15 percent picked) (1-1)
Seattle plays well at Qwest Field and I’m not completely abandoning my bandwagon jump to the Seahawks after their lost against Denver last week. Seattle’s run defense has been stellar, stopping the run to only 57 yards per game and forcing QB Phillip Rivers into throwing situations could help limit some of the damage the elite QB is bound to leave behind before the day is over. Seattle wins a tight one.
Game of the Week
Green Bay (75 percent picked) (2-0) @ Chicago (25 percent picked) (2-0)
Mike Martz as the offensive coordinator has done wonders for Bears QB Jay Cutler and the Chicago offense. Cutler has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 649 yards and 5 TD tosses, leading the way for a new and improved Bears club. While the Packers are one of the best teams in all of football, the Packers take their first loss of the season in a hostile environment on Monday Night Football.
NY Jets (55 percent picked) (1-1) @ Miami (45 percent picked) (2-0)
One week the Dolphins are my proud sleeper pick and the next they’re lame ducks waiting for a hungry Jets team on Sunday Night Football. With Revis out for at least two weeks with a tweaked hamstring, Antonio Cromartie will get the most reps against Miami’s number one wideout, Brandon Marshall, which may be a better matchup than Revis. Cromartie (6’2) is the only corner tall enough to cover the 6’4 Marshall on the field Sunday night. Look for the Jets to continue to trust Mark Sanchez throwing the football with the Jets defense coming to play as always. Jets win this one by a field goal.