All season long, the Power Couple will predict each week of the NFL season. Picks will be made against the spread, using the same lines posted over at ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’em game.
Thursday Night Football
Houston Texans vs New England Patriots (Patriots -.5)
Max- Texans: This should be an easy game to pick, but the Patriots have a way of defying expectations and winning this kind of game. Still, adjusting the offense for Garoppolo is one thing; its another entirely to get a rookie ready to play Week 3 on short rest. I think the Texans’ defense harrases Jacoby Brissett and wins the game.
Kelly- Texans: I feel like every time I count the Patriots out or I think they’re going to lose Bill Belichick comes up with some new scheme or plan or cheating scandal (oops, I didn’t say this…) to produce a win for his team. This is such a Bill game – everyone counts them out and he finds a way to coach his team up. That being said, I’m very in on the Texans this year and this game is a chance for them to prove to everyone else that they are for real.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET Games
Arizona Cardinals vs Buffalo Bills (Bills +4.5)
Max- Cardinals: The Bills gave up 37 points to the Jets and then fired… their offensive coordinator. Even the Bills don’t know how bad the Bills are. The Cardinals dominate this game.
Kelly- Cardinals: Theoretically this is a must-win game for the Bills. It’s very unrealistic for them to start the year 0-3 and have a chance to make a run at anything this year. That being said, I can’t imagine the Cardinals starting 1-2. The Jets had Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa each get either over or close to 100 yards receiving the last time the Bills were on the field. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown. Just saying.
Denver Broncos vs Cincinnati Bengals (Bengals -2.5)
Max- Broncos: Cincinnati has had a tough three games. Playing the Jets, Steelers and then the Broncos will be very difficult and I think Denver wears them down in this game. The Bengals haven’t run the ball well through two weeks (they have the second fewest rushing yards as a team) and if they have to pass a lot, Von Miller will be in Andy Dalton’s face all day long.
Kelly- Bengals: I have gone back and forth on this game about three times, but I’m rolling with Cincy. I agree with what Max said – that this is quite the tough stretch for the Bengals, but that being said, I think this is the game Trevor Siemian comes back to earth. The Bengals have a stout defense and Cincinnati is quite the tough place to play. I think this is a grind out game, but the Bengals squeak out a win.
Cleveland Browns vs Miami Dolphins (Dolphins -9.5)
Max- Browns: I’m taking the points here. I’d feel better about doing so if Corey Coleman hadn’t broken his hand in Wednesday’s practice, but Cleveland managed to play Baltimore close last week and I think they do the same in Miami.
Kelly – Browns: Same. I would be more confident if Josh McCown was still the quarterback, but at the same time. I cannot remember the last time the Dolphins were basically double-digit favorites. This has all the makings of a tight ugly game, so I’m taking the points.
Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers (Packers -7.5)
Max- Packers: This feels like an Aaron Rodgers R-E-L-A-X game. The Lions couldn’t stop the Titans offense last week. Even in this prolonged slump, the Packers are infinitely more dangerous than the Titans. Green Bay by 10.
Kelly – Packers: You know who might need a win more than Aaron Rodgers this week? Mike McCarthy. I think the questions swirling around Green Bay need to be answered and I think they can do so at home, against a not-very-good defense.
Oakland Raiders vs Tennessee Titans (Titans -1.5)
Max- Raiders: I’m close to taking the Raiders out of the playoff picture. Good teams don’t give up 1,035 yards in two weeks. That said, I’m sure the Titans are bad. Look for a semi bounce-back weekend from Oakland.
Kelly – Raiders: Out of all the teams that fell back to earth last weekend – the Jaguars, the Bucs and the Raiders, I’m most confident in Oakland moving forward. I like what they’ve done on offense so far and I think that even if the defense gives Marcus Mariota a few big plays, Carr can outscore him. That being said, I’m not a huge fan that the Oakland defense has given up 1,000+ yards in two weeks….
Minnesota Vikings vs Carolina Panthers (Panthers -6.5)
Max- Vikings: I believe in this Minnesota defense. They just held Aaron Rodgers to 14 points and made his life difficult for 60 minutes. Even if they allow Cam Newton to get to 21, I think Sam Bradford can replicate his great Sunday night performance and keep this game close.
Kelly – Vikings: If Adrian Peterson was healthy, I might pick the Vikings to win outright here, but since he’s not, I think I’m taking the points. The Vikings have a really good defense, and the Panthers no longer have a running game. This gives Minnesota to focus itself on stopping Cam, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen in that order. I think they just might be able to do it.
Washington Redskins vs New York Giants (Giants -4.5)
Max- Giants: This episode of OBJ vs. Josh Norman will be very different for one reason- the Giants have two more offensive weapons playing alongside Beckham. Even if Norman succeeds in shadowing Beckham all game, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz will have field days against the poor Washington secondary.
Kelly – Giants: Washington, like Buffalo, is in a must-win situation because starting the season 0-3 is a massive hole to dig yourself out of. However, the Redskins also aren’t very good. Kirk Cousins has been off the first two weeks and their defense is going to have quite the challenge facing off against the Giants’ trio of wideouts. I think the Giants show who’s the team to beat in the NFC east with a win.
Baltimore Ravens vs Jacksonville Jaguars (Jaguars +.5)
Max- Jaguars: The Jaguars haven’t looked good through two weeks, but the Ravens are the worst 2-0 team in the league. I didn’t like how much they struggled with the Browns last week. I think the Jaguars find enough defense at home to get their first win.
Kelly – Ravens: Are the Jaguars good? I’m not sure. There’s a lot of questions surrounding Blake Bortles and how he starts the game. I think the Joe Flacco-Mike Wallace combo is really, really good and even though, I’m not all in on the Ravens yet, maybe they’re better than I imagined.
4:00 p.m. ET Games
Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Buccaneers -4.5)
Max- Bucs: I’m giving Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston a pass for the terrible game last weekend. They were on the road, against a Cardinals team that desperately needed to win and everything simply fell apart. Doug Martin got hurt and Jameis tried to do too much. I think they get back on track and take advantage of a bad Rams team.
Kelly – Bucs: I really don’t like the Bucs that much. I think everyone jumped on the bandwagon after week 1 and week 2 stopped the wagon in its tracks. That being said, the Rams are pretty bad, and still yet to score a touchdown. I think the Tampa Bay offense, even without Doug Martin, can outscore the Rams without doing a whole lot.
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks -9.5)
Max- 49ers: I’m taking the points. The Seattle offensive line hasn’t shown any trace of an ability to create running or protect their quarterback. The Seahawks are plenty capable of winning every game 12-3 the way their defense is playing, but I don’t think they score enough to win this game by double digits.
Kelly – Seahawks: The Seahawks have had quite the start against the Dolphins and the Rams, but Seattle is home this week with a chance to quiet all the noise.
San Diego Chargers vs Indianapolis Colts (Colts -2.5)
Max- Colts: Andrew Luck is going to have another four touchdown performance against a bad Chargers secondary that has given up the fourth most passing yards in the league through two weeks.
Kelly – Chargers: I haven’t had the balls to pick San Diego yet, but here it is! Travis Benjamin is a talented deep threat that can give the Colts some fits and Melvin Gordon is actually decent in year two. The Colts just look very shaky and I’m always a big supporter of Philip Rivers.
New York Jets vs Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs -2.5)
Max- Jets: I thought the Chiefs had discovered a new level offense after their comeback win in Week 1. Then they couldn’t do anything when they played the Texans, an actual good defense. The Jets defense is just as legit and is well rested after an extended break. They’ll slow down the Kansas attack and give Ryan Fitzpatrick plenty of chances to win the game.
Kelly – Jets: It’s going to take a lot for me to pick against the Jets and Kansas City isn’t offering me a whole lot. Yes, Jamaal Charles is back this week, but the Jets are also pretty good at stopping the run. Brandon Marshall’s knee makes me a little nervous, but their offense still put up 37 points last week and Marshall had 0 of those.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Philadelphia Eagles (Eagles +3.5)
Max- Steelers: The Steelers are legit contenders and the Eagles, while 2-0, have plenty of questions with a rookie quarterback and young defense. Antonio Brown is also likely to have a monster game after a poor performance in Week 2. I don’t see how the Eagles slow down the Steelers enough for this to be close.
Kelly – Steelers: Sorry Carson, I think the fun stops here. Pittsburgh is good, really good, on both sides of the ball. Wentz, despite the two wins, has taken some vicious hits, which makes me a little nervous against the Steelers. Also, in his first two games, he’s faced the Browns and Bears, aka probably the two worst teams in the league. Now he gets to see a top 5 team…
Sunday Night Football
Chicago Bears vs Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys -5.5)
Max – Cowboys: Six points is a lot for the Cowboys to win by given that Dak Prescott has yet to throw a touchdown pass. Still, Dak hasn’t thrown an interception and the Bears are very, very bad.
Kelly – Cowboys: The Bears with Jay Cutler weren’t very good. The Bears without Jay Cutler are even worse. I’m tired of watching the Bears play night games, but as Max says, thank goodness we get them out of the way early.
Monday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints (Saints -3.5)
Max- Saints: The New Orleans offense struggled last week. Week 3, at home, against a poor Falcons defense, is a great chance to get back on track. This looks like a fun Monday night shootout and I’m picking the team with home-field advantage.
Kelly – Saints: Drew Brees is a different man inside the dome. Even though their secondary is decimated, the Saints love to play at home. Everyone was project a shootout last week with the Giants and Saints, but I think we might get that here, with Matt Ryan and Drew Brees trading scores. I just think Brees throws for the last one.