Well, we both struggled last week , but still had some money making gems for our faithful readers. Durden hit his two team parlay for the second straight week (Packers/Pats) and though I fell short on my animal style parlay (Houston/Miami both to win outright), I did give you a couple upsets winners (Cards/Texans).
In the end, Durden squeaked out another 1 game win with a record of (7-8-1). That puts him at 15-14-3 while I sit two games back at 13-16-3, but I’m a notoriously slow starter…as far as you know.
Besides, I don’t know how you expect us to do well picking games with all the “cheating” going on. I heard some team’s (even teams with really really bad defenses) are now designing plays intended to cause sacks and turnovers. Goodell has to put a stop to this immediately.
Without further ado, onto the Week 3 picks…
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans +6
Mazzone: The animal is out with an injury and Peyton and the Colts are coming off a rare subpar week. If the Texans pull this off they’ll make a believer out of Durden and everyone else. I’ll be rooting for it, but it’s going to take a near flawless performance and I don’t think they’re there just yet. This looks to be a small bump in the road for the Texans party bus.
Pick: Colts -6
Durden: There are two things here that I will stubbornly continue to ignore this week: the Texans' undefeated start to the season, and the Colts practically insisting on playing their opponents close in divisional games. In fact, three of the Colts' four losses last year were on the road against their divisional rivals. The Colts will cover though, and if there was any doubt, Andre Johnson's injury should put that to rest.
Pick: Colts -6
San Diego Chargers @ Green Bay Packers +5
Mazzone: Fresh off their blowout loss in Cheater Bowl ’07, people are giving the Chargers offense a pass because they played two tough defenses. That’s a lame excuse, and unless they plan on playing the Browns, Giants, and Raiders in the post season they might want to find a way to score on good defenses. The Packers will pose another test this weekend, and if the Chargers offense fails this one, it’s time to be seriously concerned about their Super Bowl potential.
Pick: Chargers -5
Durden: I guess when you're about to break the all-time INT record, you deserve the attention that Favre's getting. Meanwhile, the defense is actually winning them games while he's all but being begged to not lose them. The plan's working so far, and assuming Brett sticks to the script, I see them keeping this one close and possibly even winning (especially if Jamal Williams can't go for the Chargers). You'd think Rivers and the Charger offense would be due to break out any week, but it won't be against this defense. Pick: Packers +5
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs -3
Mazzone: I hear Larry Johnson’s been getting a bad rap lately. ZING! Anyway, I was sold on the Chiefs in this game all week, but now with Tarvaris Jackson looking like he won’t be able to play, I’m actually a little concerned. Jackson going into KC after last weekend’s performance was easy money. He would have tried to do too much and turned the ball over some more. Bollinger/Holcomb might be better suited to go into that environment and manage the game (that thought looks a lot worse in print than it did in my head, but it’s not like the Chiefs have a superhero at QB either). In a matchup of two crappy teams, I’m taking the home team and the most proven player (LJ).
Pick: Chiefs -3
Durden: I heard the other day that this game was expected to be a defensive struggle. In this case, that's a nice way of saying that everything about this game is going to be a struggle for everyone involved, including us at home. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this one, but take the points if you're feeling brave. It really says a lot when you pick the team who doesn't know who its starting QB will be, doesn't it?
Pick: Vikings +3
Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles -7
Mazzone: It’s a classic battle… The revered white QB trying to turn around a franchise (with the help of God) against the ridiculed black QB that’s singlehandedly destroying his team. The Eagles have been here before, and I’m not ready to call McNabb “DUNovan” just yet, but 7 seems like a lot when a team that’s shown us nothing is playing a team that’s brought us miracles. I like the Eagles to win, but the Lions to keep it interesting...and if they don’t, these Eagles jerseys certainly will.
Pick: God +7
Durden: Allegedly, this line was originally -10 but was adjusted with the Lions having the racial advantage at QB. In spite of that, I like the Lions to cover (and quite possibly win) as their passing game should be too overwhelming for a banged up Eagle secondary. Let's face it, we might see a very creative interpretation of defense in this one from both teams. Westbrook may not even play, and McNabb has looked too shaky for me to feel good about Philly's offense in a shootout.
Pick: Lions +7
Buffalo Bills @ New England -16.5
Mazzone: We’re about two weeks away from the Pats game not having a line and Vegas not taking bets, a la college cupcakes playing a powerhouse. J.P. Losman is pleading with the coaching staff to open up the offense earlier in the game, so look for a couple more of their signature hail mary attempts to Lee Evans this week. They probably won’t work though. So, I’m not sure how the Bills are going to score, but I’m not ready to give 16.5 to any divisional opponent this early in the season.
Pick: Bills +16.5
Durden: This week's Andrew Meyer Game! Here are the Bills, just trying to innocently put together another woeful season, and now they have to head to Gillette and play the Belicheats? Do they really deserve that? What did they doooo?! Just one request for Bill Belichick: DON'T TASE THEM BRO!!!!
Pick: Patriots -16.5
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets -3
Mazzone: Cam Cam is a lot like Tom Tom…except I’m not sure if he knows where he’s going, or how to get there. I know even the greatest head coaches had rocky starts and you have to be patient in a situation like this. But that doesn’t mean the poor clock management and questionable play calling isn’t excruciatingly frustrating. Ronnie Brown’s done well against the Jets in the past. For the love of God, give him the ball more than 11 times. If you’re not a Dolphins fan but have seen their games the past two weeks, it’s tough to bet on them right now. I’m forever biased and even though the Dolphins could cost me this competition in the end...
Pick: Miami Football Dolphins +3
(Plenty more coming on Saturday’s game preview with a little something extra for ‘Phin Fans)
Durden: Another "defensive struggle?" I expect Mazzone will have plenty to say about this one, so I'll keep it simple. Zach Thomas may not play Sunday, so I'll give the edge to the Jets. (Yes, that's a cop-out because we all know that no one ever knows what's going to happen in these games.) Plus, I owe Jerricho Cotchery and his hands for last week!
Pick: Jets -3
San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh McBeams -9
Mazzone: I’ve always had a man crush on Frank Gore, and think the Niners are a year away from being dangerous in the NFC, but anyone who has watched their first two games knows that they probably deserve to be 0-2. They also just lost Manny Lawson for the season with a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh hasn’t even broken a sweat.
Pick: McBeams -9
Durden: Honeymoon's over for the 49ers. Vernon Davis is already voicing his displeasure with the offense, and they just lost a key defensive playmaker for the year, in Manny Lawson. This should really hurt their chances of disrupting Big Ben and the pass game, along with their chances of keeping this one too close. Look for the McBeams to roll, and I'll say it again, this should be a weekly theme until the Bengals and Ravens have a chance to say anything about it later this season.
Pick: Steelers -9
Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens -8
Mazzone: I thought this line was going to be less than a touchdown and I was all set to take the Ravens. Since seeing it at eight, I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit. Ultimately, I’m thinking Leinart still makes too many questionable decisions for the Ravens defense to not capitalize more than once.
Pick: Ravens -8
Durden: I hate to say it, but while I felt good about the Ravens winning last week, I wouldn't have liked them by much more than a TD. Sure enough, the defense allowed it to become a nailbiter, before pulling it out late. I know the Ravens feel good about this game because they're going with they're going with their 2nd best QB this week (see: Steve McNair). I feel good about them winning too, but the Cardinals are even better than the Jets on both sides of the ball. This one will be too close for comfort.
Pick: Cardinals +8
St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4
Mazzone: It’s going to take a lot more than one win at home over the Saints for me to buy into the Bucs. Despite the offensive line being a mess, the Rams destroyed the Niners on both sides of the ball. They were up 13-7 midway through the third quarter and marching easily down the field when Tory Holt had the ball knocked loose at the Niners seven yard line. In the most unfortunate of bounces, it headed toward the endzone, hopped just by Isaac Bruce (standing at the one), and out of the end zone for a 49ers touchback. On the ensuing possession, Frank Gore took off for a 43 yard TD run to give the Niners the lead. A Dante Hall fumbled punt late in the fourth was responsible for the game winning SF field goal. Despite all that, the Rams still had a chance to win when Jeff Wilkins came up inches short on a 56-yard FG with a minute to play (he had already nailed a 53 yarder earlier, with ease). Top if off with their underachieving star runningback throwing a tantrum on the sidelines, and I think the Rams are ready to let out their frustrations this week against the Bucs. Getting four points is just gravy.
Pick: Rams +4
Durden: What am I doing picking the team who lost its first 2 games at home? Call it a hunch, but Steven Jackson is due and this Rams team has to win at least a handful of games this year. This is one of them.
Pick: Rams +4
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos -3.5
Mazzone: Maybe I should be, but I’m not scared off by Denver seemingly lacking that killer instinct against inferior teams. The Jags won’t score more than 10 points without a defensive touchdown.
Pick: Broncos -3.5
Durden: Earlier this season, I alluded to the loss of Brad Meester as being noteworthy, yet I thought that Jacksonville would be able to get by. Well, his injury apparently was significant because the Jags have actually struggled mightily on the ground. Unfortunately for them, there's no reason to believe they'll be able to take advantage of a run defense that is seemingly the Broncos' only weakness. Their hope lies in the Broncos barely winning their first two games against weaker opponents, despite owning the best offense in the league, as well as the top pass defense. However, I see Denver finally putting together a complete victory and the Jags continuing to frustrate whoever gets frustrated when the Jags don't do well.
Pick: Broncos -3.5
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks - 3.5
Mazzone: We’re about to find out what happens when two teams who tend to play at the level of their opponent play each other. The crazy Browns loss aside, I just can’t see Marvin Lewis in a boot/on crutches anymore and feel confident in the Bengals. Besides, the ‘Hawks defense is better, and they don’t lose at home (30-7 since 2002, including postseason).
Pick: Seahawks -3.5
Durden: Since last year, I've been waiting for Seattle's defense to really step forward and make a statement. It won't happen this Sunday against a potent Bengal offense, but combined with their notorious home field advantage, it should be able to do just enough. The Seahawk offense is better than anything the pathetic Cinci defense has seen this year, and that should make the difference in this one.
Pick: Seahawks -3.5
Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders -3
Mazzone: No sense wasting the unlimited space I’m allotted on this blog to talk about this game, so…Remember this? Watch the whole thing and enjoy.
Pick: Raiders -3
Durden: When you're the Cleveland Browns, any game followed by a win is a trap game. Does anyone see the Browns going over .500? How about Derek Anderson putting together consecutive impressive outings?? Me neither. The Raider offense will be having some fun on Sunday.
Pick: Raiders -3
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons +4
Mazzone: Going against my Texans, Durden slept with the Panthers last week and is lucky he didn’t come away with more than just a loss. But, the Falcons are no Texans and you can’t possibly expect Joey Heisman to play better now that Leftwich is looming.
Pick: Panthers -4
Pick: Panthers -4
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins -4
Mazzone: The Giants are obviously in shambles, the Redskins are rolling, and who knows how long Elisha Nelson Manning is gonna be able to stay in the game.
Pick: ‘Skins -4
Durden: Gutsy game last week by Eli, who played far better than I expected him to for the most part. The Giants just aren't catching many breaks this season, and I expect more of the same against the Redskins. If this game is close, it's only because Washington is overly conservative on offense again, despite having the weapons to open things up.
Pick: Redskins -4
Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears -3
(Sunday Night Football)
Mazzone: With the Cowboys playing better right now and getting three points you’d think this would be a sure thing. But, at home on Sunday Night Football the Bears defense is going to be amped up, and Romo hasn’t gotten dirty yet this season. You already know how I feel about the Cowboys defense. I think the Bears will rattle Romo, force a couple turnovers, and then it’s just a matter of whether or not Rexy can keep from screwing it all up.
Pick: Da Bears -3
Durden: The Bears defense is solid, but the Cowboys offense will be up to the task on Sunday night. None of that will matter though, because it's going to be the same story all season for Dallas. If you can't exploit their secondary and make them pay for it, you're going to get outscored. Rex Grossman is good at getting outscored.
Pick: Cowboys +3
Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints -5
(Monday Night Football)
Mazzone: I’m 0-2 when picking against Vince Young and I’m 0-2 picking the Saints and not respecting the Kurse’s impact on Drew Brees. Easy decision.
Pick: Vince Young’s +5
Durden: I'm hesitant to go against the Saints, because the last time I went against them on MNF (vs. Atlanta), I wasn't able to enjoy their feel-good win as it eliminated me from my own Survivor pool. It's payback time though, and who better to help me avenge my loss than my boy V Diddy?? I still have no explanation for what the Titans are doing but it's going to be the Rose Bowl all over again, with Young leading an inferior team to victory over Reggie Bush.
Pick: Titans +5
This week’s Double-Double features Durden going AGAINST his own team:
Durden: Colts -6, Cardinals +8
Mazzone: Broncos -3.5, Rams +4
Enjoy this week's winnings, and always believe in football...