Jazz: Week three was yet another “meh” affair in our competition. I went 4-3 again, only by yet again picking against the Jets, bringing me to 13-8 on the season with a long way to go. Not terrible, but not particularly awesome. The good news is that the New York Jets are poised to have their best week of the 2019 season so far. Because they’re not playing. These guys actually didn’t look all that bad against New England last week, all things considered. They scored more points against the Patriots than anyone else has so far, even if zero of those points were put up by the offense. But if we don’t stabilize some key positions and firm up the offensive line it’s going to be yet another very long season.
Ed: I also went 4-3 last week, so I’m now 10-11 on the season, which is even more meh than Jazz’ season … but it beats the 2-5 record I had from the week before. At least the Steelers are playing this week, and at least they’re playing this season. Pittsburgh’s still making roster moves hoping to salvage 2019 rather than just going for a rebuilding season, but whether it can help keep Mason Rudolph from having to do it all himself. We’ll see if they can turn the corner this week … but I’m hoping I can, anyway.
Jazz: As I mentioned above, the Jets are staying off the field this week so we can move straight to Pittsburgh’s game. The Steelers welcome the Bengals in the Monday night game (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) and Pittsburgh without Big Ben and a rather porous offensive line hasn’t been particularly impressive. The good news is that the Bengals have been stinking up the joint nearly as badly. If for nothing other than home-field advantage, I’ll take the Steelers over the Bengals 21-17. The Vikings visit the Bears (4:25 pm, CBS) in what may not be that much of a showdown between Kirk Cousins against Mitchell Trubisky because both teams have been running a lot and relying on defense. The Vikings benefit from all the yards running back Dalvin Cook has been putting on the board. Chicago is the slight favorite, but I’ll flip a coin and take Minnesota over Chicago in a defensive battle, 16-12. Since the Jets are out, let’s toss in the Cowboys in our featured games. Dallas plays the Saints in New Orleans (8:20 pm, NBC) and they are somehow favored by less than a field goal. On paper, it looks like the Saints should be better at home but Dallas has been pinning their ears back over the past couple of seasons. I’ll take Dallas over New Orleans 24-16.
Ed: On paper, the Steelers and Bengals are pretty evenly matched, which isn’t exactly a compliment. The Steelers have had to face tougher competition this season than Cincinnati has, and they’re playing at home, so Steelers 24-13 over Bengals. The Viking aren’t the same team on the road, and especially not without Dalvin Cook and their running game. Chicago is keeping teams to less than 70 rushing yards a game, which means Kirk Cousins will have to win it against the Bears’ offense at home rather than in Minnesota’s indoor field. I’m rooting for Vikes, but I’ll pick Chicago 20-14 over Minnesota. Normally I wouldn’t bet against New Orleans at home, but without Drew Brees, this is a different team. Teddy Bridgewater’s trying, but Dallas is too much stronger on both sides of the ball. Cowboys over Saints 28-23.
Jazz: Here’s our final four games for the week to get us to seven.
- Panthers at Texans (1:00 pm, FOX) – Kyle Allen has been doing an impressive job filling in for Cam Newton so this one will probably be closer than we may think. But Houston has a better looking line on both sides of the ball so I’ll give this one to the Texans over the Panthers 17-12.
- Redskins at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – This is more of a sentimental pick for me, including a New York team in a classic NFC matchup. The Giants have not looked good this year, but Washington hasn’t put a W on the board yet. That trend continues this weekend. Give me the Giants over the Redskins 27-17.
- Titans at Falcons (1:00 pm, CBS) – Both of these teams are off to a rocky start at 1-2, but it’s way too early to write either of them off. Julio Jones has been putting up some impressive numbers for Atlanta and this match probably won’t be a defensive struggle. (*cough*) I think Atlanta looks a bit better on the offensive side so I’ll take the Falcons over the Titans 27-24.
- Jaguars at Broncos (4:25 pm, CBS) – Denver is 0-3 but Jacksonville’s obvious weaknesses seem to line up with the few things the Broncos are getting right. This one could be a tossup, but I’ll take the Broncos over the Jaguars 16-9.
- Panthers at Texans (1:00 pm, FOX) – Actually, Carolina’s tougher than you’d think without Newton. Their defense is better than Houston’s on yards allowed (fifth in the league) and their offense isn’t too bad, considering. Panthers 22-14 over the Texans.
- Redskins at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – Expect the boost from last week’s debut win for Daniel Jones to carry over at home against the rival Redskins. Both teams give up the same number of points per game (31.3), but the Giants’ offense racks up 70 more yards a game even with Eli Manning’s stats included. Giants 35-21 over the Redskins.
- Titans at Falcons (1:00 pm, CBS) – Atlanta’s not turning yards into points on offense, and are giving up eight points more a game than Tennessee despite giving up about the same amount of yardage on defense. Home-field advantage might cure some of that, but all of it? I’m skeptical. Titans over the Falcons 25-17.
- Jaguars at Broncos (4:25 pm, CBS) – Neither team is setting the league on fire, but they are pretty evenly matched. Joe Flacco and the home-field advantage will be enough for Denver 19-14 over the Jags.