NFL picks for Week 3
BY MARK POTASH Twitter: @MarkPotash September 21, 2012 10:30AM
Jay Cutler wasn't the only one dealing with controversy after last week's Packers game. Aaron Rodgers had some of his own. | AP
Updated: September 21, 2012 6:42PM
While the Bears were sorting out the Jay Cutler-J’Marcus Webb mess in Chicago, the Packers had their own distractions this week.
It wasn’t near the magnitude of ‘‘The Jay Cutler Show’’ this week, but ‘‘The Aaron Rodgers Show’’ was compelling listening as well. Rodgers explained why he berated wide receiver James Jones after Jones ran a wrong route that led to Tim Jennings’ interception. The incident was smoothed over quickly as Rodgers apologized and Jones told him there was no need to apologize. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Jermichael Finley’s agent, Blake Baratz, started another fire that had to be put out when he criticized Cutler on Twitter for not being a leader like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady. When asked why he didn’t include Rodgers in his list, Baratz responded that Rodgers wasn’t a leader. ‘‘Leaders take the blame & make every1 better. He doesn’t,’’ Baratz tweeted.
That was smoothed over as well, but the impact remains to be seen. The Packers struggle as it is after playing the Bears. In Green Bay, there’s no such thing as a minor distraction.
BEST BET: Seahawks 24, Packers 17.
Time: 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Line: Packers by 31/2. Total: 47.
Records (overall/ATS): Packers 1-1/1-1; Seahawks 1-1/1-1.
RAMS AT BEARS
Line: Bears by 7
Records (overall/ATS): Rams 1-1/2-0; Bears 1-1/1-1.
Fast fact: In 8 games when healthy after a sub-50 rating, Jay Cutler has thrown 19 TDs, 4 INTs with an average rating of 103.1.
Outlook: Bears are rarely better than when they play a rebuilding team at home with 10 days between games and a big chip on their shoulder after an onslaught of criticism.
Pick: Bears 41, Rams 21.
JETS AT DOLPHINS
Line: Jets by 3
Records (overall/ATS): Jets 1-1/1-1; Dolphins 1-1/1-1.
Fast fact: Dolphins RB Reggie Bush rushed for 172 yards on 26 carries vs. the Raiders last week.
Outlook: Jets, who won by 20 in Week 1 and lost by 17 in Week 2, are going to be an up-and-down team all season. Dolphins and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill aren’t as good as they looked last week vs. the Raiders.
Pick: Jets 20, Dolphins 6.
PATRIOTS AT RAVENS
Time: 7:20 p.m., Ch. 5.
Line: Ravens by 21/2
Records (overall/ATS): Patriots 1-1/1-1; Ravens 1-1/2-0.
Fast fact: Patriots are 24-3 SU/20-7 ATS after a loss in the last nine seasons. Outlook: Usually steady Pats are in a bit of disarray after a 20-18 loss to the Cardinals at home. This is a tough spot against a team that plays well in the spotlight, but they usually recover well. Pick: Patriots 24, Ravens 17.
CHIEFS AT SAINTS
Line: Saints by 8.
Records (overall/ATS): Chiefs 0-2/0-2; Saints 0-2/0-2.
Outlook: Saints defense has struggled against Robert Griffin III (9-42 rushing) and Cam Newton (13-71, TD). But Chiefs QB Matt Cassel isn’t the same kind of moving target.
Pick: Saints 42, Chiefs 27.
BUCS AT COWBOYS
Line: Cowboys by 7
Records (overall/ATS): Bucs 1-1/2-0; Cowboys 1-1/1-1.
Outlook: Buccaneers and Greg Schiano starting to get everybody’s attention. Like Jay Cutler, Tony Romo is really good in a comfort zone.
Pick: Cowboys 27, Bucs 17.
49erS AT VIKINGS
Line: 49ers by 7
Records (overall/ATS): 49ers 2-0/2-0; Vikings 1-1/0-2.
Outlook: Jim Harbaugh has a way with QBs — Alex Smith leads the NFL in passer rating (115.9) and has not thrown an INT in his last 216 regular-season attempts.
Pick: 49ers 24, Vikings 14.
LIONS AT TITANS
Line: Lions by 3
Records (overall/ATS): Lions 1-1/0-2; Titans 0-2/0-2.
Outlook: Matthew Stafford (2 TDs, 4 INTs, 73.2 rating) and the Lions ready for a breakout performance after getting stifled by the 49ers last week in Frisco.
Pick: Titans 36, Lions 31.
JAGUARS AT COLTS
Line: Colts by 3
Records (overall/ATS): Jaguars 0-2/1-1; Colts 1-1/1-1.
Outlook: Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck will his some bumps along the way, but this won’t be one of them. Both teams are beat up.
Pick: Colts 23, Jaguars 17.
BENGALS AT SKINS
Line: Redskins by 31/2.
Records (overall/ATS): Bengals 1-1/0-1-1; Redskins 1-1/1-1.
Outlook: Robert Griffin (111.6 rating) might struggle to meet high expectations in home debut.
Pick: Bengals 31, Redskins 27.
BILLS AT BROWNS
Line: Bills by 3
Records (overall/ATS): Bills 1-1/1-1; Browns 0-2/1-0-1.
Outlook: Dave Wannstedt’s “D” turned it up with 5 sacks vs. Chiefs. But Dick Jauron will find a way to corrall Bills RB C.J. Spiller. So this could be a toss-up.
Pick: Bills 7, Browns 3.
EAGLES AT CARDINALS
Time: 3:05 p.m.
Line: Eagles by 4
Records (overall/ATS): Eagles 2-0/0-2; Cardinals 2-0/2-0.
Outlook: Eagles and Michael Vick keep finding a way to not cover. They’re too talented for that to go on for too much longer.
Pick: Eagles 17, Cardinals 10.
FALCONS AT CHARGERS
Time: 3:05 p.m.
Line: Chargers by 3
Records (overall/ATS): Falcons 2-0/2-0; Chargers 2-0/2-0.
Outlook: Just let Chargers early season success run its course.
Pick: Chargers 30, Falcons 23.
STEELERS AT RAIDERS
Time: 3:25 p.m.
Line: Steelers by 4.
Records (overall/ATS): Steelers 1-1/1-1; Raiders 0-2/0-2.
Outlook: Raiders (68 rush yards in 2 games) miss Michael Bush. Pick: Steelers 16, Raiders 7.
TEXANS AT BRONCOS
Time: 3:25 p.m., Ch. 2.
Line: Texans by 2.
Records (overall/ATS): Texans 2-0/2-0; Broncos 1-1/1-1.
Outlook: Peyton Manning is 16-2 vs. Texans, but 9-9 ATS.
Pick: Broncos 24, Texans 21.