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The Crow’s Nest CT Memorial Gambling Degenerates Pick-Em Page – NFL Week 3

Week 2 Picks Record:  10-5-1 SU, 5-10-1 ATS, 7-9 O/U
Season Record:  20-10-2 SU, 15-15-2 ATS, 18-13-1 O/U

Yeah, yeah… as wonderful as my Week 1 predictions turned out, my Week 2 predictions were just as horrible (at least, my against-the-spread and over-under picks were).  The interesting thing is that, so far this topsy-turvy NFL season, the over is now winning 68% of the time – which means that the bookmakers will be adjusting the lines accordingly.  Which also means that those who bet the under might find some success this week (but having said that, I wouldn’t necessarily hold my breath on this, given the new QB rules and targeting crackdowns against defensive hits).  In any case, my picks couldn’t get worse than they did last week.  Or could they?

(For consistency’s sake, the lines used will be the updated spreads from Caesar’s Palace Sportsbook in Las Vegas at the time of publication.)

Time to dive into this week’s picks with all the enthusiasm of a guy wearing a chum suit in shark-infested waters…

Thursday (tonight), 8:20pm ET

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-3 / 41 Over/Under):  Could it be?  Is this the night that the Browns get off the schneid and WIN A GAME?  I don’t know, but I do like what I have seen so far.  As they showed against both Pittsburgh at home and against the Saints (in New Orleans, no less), the Browns definitely have the defense to compete with anyone.  Now, they face a rookie QB in the Jets’ Sam Darnold, who looked a lot more like one last week in a home loss to the Dolphins.  Okay, I’m going to go completely off the deep end and predict… the Browns will WIN tonight!  PICK:  Cleveland (SU), NY Jets (ATS), UNDER 41

Sunday, 1:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5 / 47.5):  Will the real Colts please stand up?  This team is extremely hard to figure.  They looked like patsies at home against the Bengals, then like world beaters against Washington on the road.  I will take the former this week, as they face an Eagles team still smarting from the gobsmacking they got last weekend in Tampa.  PICK:  Philadelphia (SU and ATS), OVER 47.5

Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers (-3 / 43.5):  Okay, I must admit – I have been pleasantly surprised by this iteration of the Bengals.  They have shown they can move the ball, both in the air and on the ground (even without young RB Joe Mixon), and their defensive line has been surprisingly effective at rushing the passer and forcing turnovers.  Carolina still has a good defense, but as they showed against Atlanta last weekend, their corners can still be exploited if they can’t get to the passer.  Last I checked, Andy Dalton is no slouch.  I’m picking the Bengals in a slight upset here.   PICK:  Cincinnati (SU and ATS), UNDER 43.5

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (OFF / OFF):  (NOTE:  The current line is OFF for both the point spread and the Over/Under at Caesar’s, but before it was taken off the board it stood at JAX -6.5/39.5.  I will use these for my picks, understanding that the line was taken off the board due to the uncertain status of QB Marcus Mariota [elbow].)  Basically, this comes down to the Jacksonville defense, and the amount of pressure they can put on Mariota who figures to have his passing effectiveness hindered even if he does play.  The Titans, believe it or not, have historically dominated this series, both straight-up and against the spread, but it may be simply too much to ask of this team to continue this trend, especially going up against a red-hot Jags side on the road.   PICK:  Jacksonville (SU and ATS), OVER 39.5

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3 / 53):   Boy, oh, boy – another grudge match for the homestanding Falcons, this time against a team in the Saints that has endured slow starts each of the last four seasons, only to turn it up in Week 3 each of those years.  Guess what?  It’s Week 3.  I am looking at the Saints’ Alvin Kamara to have a HUGE game, both in the air and on the ground, as New Orleans begins to get their collective feet under them.  PICK:  New Orleans (SU and ATS), OVER 53

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-5/ 45):  Last week’s game at Cincinnati notwithstanding, I still love this Ravens team.  I believe that the combination of turnovers and offensive line breakdowns that got them so far behind in the first place is an aberration, and not a trend.  I think that Baltimore QB Joe Flacco will be able to exploit Denver’s shaky secondary, and the Ravens’ D-line will make life miserable for QB Case Keenum.  People may think that this will be a close game, but I don’t see it that way.   PICK:  Baltimore (SU and ATS), UNDER 45

New York Giants at Houston Texans (-6 / 42):  The Giants play their second game in the state of Texas in as many weeks, as they travel down to nrg Stadium to take on the Texans, who themselves are reeling a bit from an 0-2 start.  The bad news for the Giants?  They get to take on Houston in their home opener.  The Texans are not in a good mood, and although New York has all-World RB Saquon Barkley, their offensive line is – well – simply offensive.  JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, meet Eli Manning.  Again.  And again.  And…  PICK:  Houston (SU and ATS), UNDER 42

“Oakland” Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-3 / 44.5):  Methinks that Coach Jon Gruden perfected a few more grimaces after his team gave up a 4th quarter lead in falling to the Broncos in Denver last week.  Now they get to go cross-country to face the surprising Dolphins, who have been doing it mostly with defense in their two victories so far.  Oakland’s record when playing teams in the Eastern Time Zone is… well… not good.  PICK:  Miami (SU and ATS), UNDER 43

Green Bay Packers at Washington Team (+2.5 / 45):  Simply put, the Packers have to win this game.  After blowing a last-minute chance to win last week’s game against Minnesota in regulation, they now travel to Washington, where the home team simply looked impotent – particularly on offense – in being dismantled by the Colts.  I will take one-legged Aaron Rodgers in this one.  PICK:  Green Bay (SU and ATS), UNDER 45

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings (-17 / 41):  The Norsemen are back home at the Bank with a new kicker (former Cowboys K Dan Bailey), and a new “kickee” in the Bills.  I can’t imagine that Buffalo will keep it close, but they only have to keep it within 3 touchdowns.  I think they can do that.  PICK:  Minnesota (SU), Buffalo (ATS), OVER 41

San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5 / 56):  At some point, there has to be a letdown on offense by the Chiefs.  If there is any letdown, they will lose, because they still can’t stop anyone.  The question is:  will it be this week against the 49ers in the Chiefs’ home opener?  Especially given the fact that KC has a looming grudge game on Monday Night next weekend with the Broncos?  Ummm…. no.  PICK:  Kansas City (SU and ATS), OVER 56

Sunday, 4:05pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7 / 48):  This matchup, the Futbol Americano version of “El Trafico,” is a highly underrated contest – to me, this is the game of the week.  The Chargers are sneaky good, and they will play the Rams extremely tough.  Will they win?  Probably not, but they will cover – and this is my CT MEMORIAL PICK OF THE WEEK™.  PICK:  LA Rams (SU), LA Chargers (ATS), UNDER 48

Sunday, 4:25pm ET

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals (+5.5 / 37.5):  To be fair, this Bears team, even with Khalil Mack, should not be favored on the road against anyone, even the Cardinals.  That being said, this Cardinals team is abysmally, irredeemably bad.  At this rate I can’t really see them winning another game, especially with the injuries to their line as well as their secondary.  PICK:  Chicago (SU and ATS), UNDER 37.5

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-1 / 41.5):  In my mind, the Cowboys continue to be overrated.  In Week 1, they inexplicably were favorites on the road at Carolina at the open, and this week, the street thinks that Dallas is two points better on a neutral field than Seattle.  Personally, I believe that the ‘Hawks are motivated to put a stomping on someone, and they will be extra motivated to be playing their home opener in front of the 12th Man.  PICK:  Seattle (SU and ATS), OVER 41.5

Sunday, 8:20pm ET

New England Patriots at Detroit Lions (+6.5 / 53.5):  Why in the world is Detroit getting two prime-time games in the first three weeks of the season?  I can understand this one, I guess, as pupil Matt Patricia is going against his mentor, Bill Belichick, for the first time head-to-head.  But based on the actual quality of this Lions team, I can think of many others – including Tampa Bay – that would have deserved more play.  The Lions’ pass defense will make life difficult for Tom Brady, but this isn’t Jacksonville’s D-line.  My thinking is that the Pats bounce back and the teacher schools his pupil this go-round.  PICK:  New England (SU and ATS), UNDER 53.5

Monday, 8:15pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1 / 54):  Who in their right minds would have believed before the start of the season that this game would pit the UNDEFEATED Bucs against the WINLESS Steelers?  Actually, most would have thought it the other way around.  Honestly, this may be the most fascinating matchup of the week other than Chargers-Rams.  How will the Steelers regroup internally and get organized enough defensively to shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick and his myriad offensive weapons?  Can Ben Roethlisberger overcome the issues surrounding his star receiver, Antonio Brown, and light up a less-than-stellar Tampa Bay defensive secondary?  This game has all the makings of a last-team-with-the-ball-wins type of contest.  In that kind of scenario, I’ve got to go with the hot hand – “FitzMagic” takes the Bucs to 3-0.  PINCH ME NOW.  PICK:  Tampa Bay (SU and ATS), OVER 54

Steve Shute

Steve Shute

Back in 1996, when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy and bulletin boards like the old SP Times "stream-of-consciousness" page (lovingly referred to as "the SPiT") were the main sources to get Bucs information online, Steve Shute decided to build his own site and "scoop" the local media. He created the first fan-focused site dedicated to the Bucs, "The Crow's Nest," which existed from 1996-2001, when the demands of his professional life and the stress of chasing kids and building homes finally got the best of him. Steve has been a rabid Bucs fan since 1978, "since he could remember," and has suffered through the ups and (mostly) downs of following his favorite team, both near and far. He now resides in Kansas City with his wife of 27 years and his five boys, all of whom he is diligently looking to pass his Bucs Fever to. He also works as an IT consultant, and in his spare time, he serves as Mayor of Gardner, Kansas. You can reach Steve at steve@steveshute.com.

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