NFL Week Three Preview & BRB Pick 'Em Extravaganza

Well, how's this for parity:  There are eight 0-2 teams, sixteen 1-1 teams, and eight 2-0 teams. On the league docket, there's two games between unbeatens, a game where someone will get their first win, and five games where 1-1 deadlocks will be broken for ten teams.

The focus in Texas is, of course, this weekend's battle for the Governor's Cup as it could be a turning point for both teams. Since 1990, teams who have started the season 0-3 have made the playoffs three times - none reaching the conference championship game. On the flip side of that statistic, teams that start 3-0 since 1990? Of those teams, 76% go on to make the playoffs. As if Sunday's game needed anymore importance, right?

AFC South-wise, division pride is on the line as the AFC South and NFC East match-up in three different games. There's a lot of other interesting match-ups across the league, so jump to see the take from Battle Red glasses.

Also after the jump, how did the 50 BRB prognostibators fare in Week Two of the BRB Pick 'Em League? What new awards did I add based on your comments? That's also after the jump and preview.

 

 

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) @ Carolina Panthers (0-2) (Sunday 9/26 at Noon Central)
Carolina is where offense goes to die, having scored 14 of the team's meager 25 points. I think their defense is good, but the Carolina offense isn't doing nearly enough to help and will get a taste of rookie QB Jimmy Clausen. Cincinnati earned a tough win against Baltimore and should win here with a similar effort and better talent. Bengals win 20-10.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (2-0)
If you're a Texans fan, then it really boils down to this: Drew Brees versus Dunta Robinson. The Saints haven't looked all that sharp on offense, but you get the feeling that it's only a matter of time, plus their defense has picked up the slack. The Falcons looked impressive against Arizona, but they didn't fare well against a good Pittsburgh defense. The Saints at home really is the tipping factor for me. Saints win 24-13.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
This is a battle of two surprising undefeated teams. The Steelers ride into Tampa Bay without Ben Roethlisberger, but their defense has been incredibly stout - including a seven takeaway performance against Vince Young and the Titans. Tampa Bay is undefeated, their fans should be stoked, but I can't see that young offense having any success against Pittsburgh. Steelers win 16-3.

Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
The Browns couldn't beat the young Bucs, nor could they catch the Chiefs in a trap game during their home opener. The Ravens offense has struggled to get going, but they'll get it right at home against the Browns as the defense continues to dominate. Ravens win 27-6.

Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ New York Giants (1-1)
One game, New York and Tennessee looked pretty good. Their fans dismissed notions that it was only because they faced potentially bottom-dwelling Carolina and Oakland, but Week Two proved that there could be some logic to that theory, as they both got smacked around. It's hard to make sense of what could happen as this really does feel like a coin flip. However, I like the Giants defense more than the Titans defense, so I'll take the Giants to tee off on Vince Young and force some turnovers here. Giants win 23-13.

San Francisco 49ers (0-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
The 49ers could be 2-0 if they could get out of their own way. Six turnovers and 13 penalties are not going to win many football games. On the positive side, Alex Smith may have turned a corner last week with his game-tying drive where he led the 49er offense down the field easily. The Chiefs have impressed with defense, and Arrowhead will always give them a significant home-field edge. However, I like the 49ers because I think they just have a better team, and they're in a must-win situation. 49ers win 20-16.

Buffalo Bills (0-2) @ New England Patriots (1-1)
Let's be honest. I'm never picking the Bills. No one should pick the Bills. I just don't think this team is close to competing, especially on the road against a playoff contender. You know what would be a win for the Bills? They should be trying to trade for Kevin Kolb. Patriots win 38-10.

Detroit Lions (0-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
If Matthew Stafford were playing, I would be tempted to pick the Lions. The Vikings have struggled, but the Lions secondary isn't anything to be scared about. I'm sure impressive rookie Ndamukong Suh will add another sack to his total by getting to old man Favre, but the Vikings should pull out the win by virtue of their better defense. On the plus side for Detroit fans, I'm now predicting Suh and Jahvid Best to sweep the Rookie of the Year awards. Those two guys look outstanding. Vikings win 24-17.

Dallas Cowboys (0-2) @ Houston Texans (2-0)
Interesting fact--whether pre-season or regular season, the home team has never lost in this series. The Cowboys have continued to shoot themselves in the foot with an average of two turnovers and nine penalties a game. Being a team that commits so many mistakes will not help on the road. The Texans have the league's worst secondary, but their top 10 pass rush should be able to force Tony Romo into mistakes, which will only make Reliant Stadium louder. Texans win 34-27.

Washington Redskins (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (0-2) (Sunday 9/26 at 3:05 pm Central Time)
The Rams have been close, but they haven't pulled out a win. Their fans should be very encouraged by Sam Bradford, who has looked like a franchise quarterback. Speaking of franchise quarterbacks, Donovan McNabb may have shown that he has gotten the hang of that new offense after a 400+ yard passing performance. The Redskins should be able to pull out the win. Redskins win 24-13.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
The Jaguars will be glad to be home after their latest West Coast disaster. The Eagles will be starting Michael Vick, who electrified that offense. That will probably help as the mediocre Eagles offensive line will take on a rejuvenated Jaguars front four led by Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu. The Eagles defense will get to face Maurice Jones-Drew a week after being shredded by rookie sensation Jahvid Best. This is another coin flip, but I'll take the Jaguars in a tight one. Jaguars win 24-23.

San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1) (Sunday 3:15 pm Central Time)
The Seahawks had their impressive home opener, but their showed that they're not a very good football team by flopping on the road to Denver. The Chargers took advantage of mistakes in blacked-out San Diego, but they did struggle at a loud Arrowhead Stadium. The 12th Man should make this closer, but I'll side with San Diego. Chargers win 24-20.

Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
This is going to be brutal. I'm glad I don't have to watch this game. Arizona and Oakland both share victories over the woeful Rams, but they've been blown out in their losses to Atlanta and Tennessee, respectively. I think Arizona has more offense, but the Raiders have a much better defense. Raiders win 16-13.

Indianapolis Colts (1-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-1)
Those Colts sure seemed mad last week, eh? I wonder what could've pissed them off. They torched the Giants. Unless the Broncos make a heavy committment to Knowshon Moreno, Kyle Orton's going to be eaten alive by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. There's also that matter of Peyton Manning and the Colts offense taking on a dinged-up secondary. Colts win 31-17.

New York Jets (1-1) @ Miami Dolphins (2-0) (Sunday 9/26 at 7:20 pm Central Time)
These two teams sure showed me last week by pulling off wins. This game should be a lot of fun, as this rivalry has produced some memorable games over the past decade. In Miami, the Dolphins have regularly shone against the Jets. The Dolphins have also shown a good defense this season. I'm still not a believer in Mark Sanchez, so I'll take the 'Phins to get just enough points, especially with Darrelle Revis on the sidelines, which won't be anywhere near Brandon Marshall. Dolphins win 20-13.

Green Bay Packers (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (2-0) (Monday 9/27 at 7:30 pm Central Time)
Another battle of unbeatens; this game is a litmus test for the Bears. Are they really a good team or have they gotten lucky? Jay Cutler is known to make big mistakes, and NFL sack leader Clay Matthews can force him into those mistakes. I think the Bears are good, but I think the Packers are a little bit better in every aspect. Packers win 23-20.


BRB PICK 'EM LEAGUE POST-WEEK 2 UPDATE

For 48 of the BRB Pickers, this was a bit of a rougher week. A lot of people swinging and missing, so the overall performance dropped. Yes, I said 48 because two of the players (Kiratomi and 5StringJeff) didn't get their picks in. With that, let's get to the awards portion of this program. We also have some new weekly "awards" since their were overwhelmingly approved.

Of course, there's only one award anyone wants: The Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence. Taco Joe gave it a good try with a 13-3 week, and TexanKevin put up 110 points. However, the supreme confidence, ass-kickingness, and all-out excellence of ketchuppants7 held off Taco Joe and TexanKevin with a 113-point, 12-4 brilliant effort on the cyber-field of play.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that ketchuppants7 won in Week Two. The Texans perform well on Battle Red Days, so the man whose name is birthed out of love for those red pants should only perform up to the level of awesomeness the pants have established. Ketchuppants7 made picks and moves that mere mortals could only dream of this weekend. Sixteen points on the Chiefs? Done with steely resolve. Picking the Bears, Steelers, and Buccaneers on upsets? Ketchuppants7 made it look as easy as Andre Johnson does on Sundays. Sticking with the Raiders? That's not a man, that is ketchuppants7, who rode his swagger and confidence to the victory in Week Two of BRB Pick 'Em. For making us all look like simpletons, let us all don those Battle Red pants in honor of this week's prognositbating genius: ketchuppants7!

"Should've Put Money On It" Game of the Week:
Green Bay over Buffalo - 47 out of 48 BRBers correctly chose this game.

"We Know Nothing" Game of the Week: New York (AFC) over New England - 45 out of 48 BRBers incorrectly chose this game. Props to Jaws, Texanmaniac, and Diehard Chris for getting it right.

Sippin' On Battle Red Drank (16 confidence points on Houston):
PapaBear, Jordann, WhiskeyR, Diehard Chris, Taco Joe, Shake, NoSafetiesNeeded, Leacheatsbabies, RED56, HoustonTransplant, DilloTex, DIstant_Texans_Fan

Hidin' Out In The Back of the Meeting Hall: Peytonsurdaddy, Jaws, Texanmaniac, tehGrindCrusher, and KRKenney all picked Washington over Houston.

The Rex Grossman "F*** It, I'm Goin' Deep" Award (Most confidence points on the biggest upset): WhiskeyR manned up and put 10 points on 7.5 point underdog Chicago to send Dallas to 0-2. Only 10% of Yahoo! Pick 'Em users correctly nailed this upset.

The David Carr Misguided Faith Award (Most confidence points on an underdog who loses):
Texanmaniac put 7 points on Buffalo to win. Seriously, he picked Buffalo against the Packers. He was the only BRBer to bet Buffalo and part of the 1% of Yahoo! Pick 'Em Users who chose Buffalo.

The Charlie Casserly Decision Making Award (Week's worst picks): Both tehGrindCrusher and Distant_Texans_Fan went 7-9, but Distant_Texans_Fan is the inaugural winner here for lacking the confidence of tGC and picking teams like St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, and Carolina. Better luck next week, but at least Charlie Casserly thinks you're a winner.

For a little perspective on the week two picks...
ESPN Pick Average: 9-7 (records ranged from 11-5 to 6-10).
Jerome Solomon's Picks on Chron.com: 9-7.
BRB Pick 'Em Average: 9-7 (records ranged from 13-3 to 7-9).

BRBer with the best weekly record: Taco Joe (Cowbitches go 0-16) 13-3.
BRBer with the most weekly points: ketchuppants7 (TOUCHDOWN THERE) 113 points.
Overall best record: SATexan (Cake) 25-7 leads by 3 games over 8 other players.
Overall points leader: SATexan (Cake) 215 points leads by 7 points over PapaBear and riversmccown.

Don't forget to get your picks in if you're playing Pick 'Em. Aside from the Texans, what games interest you this week? Good luck to Pick 'Em players, congrats to ketchuppants7, and GO TEXANS! Enjoy Week Three!
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