Code Red: 32-16
Mrs. Code Red: 29-19
San Francisco 49ers (1-2?!) @ St. Louis Rams (1-2)
Iggins!: Last week, hopefully, was a massive haymaker to the face for the Niners. The Rams gave them trouble last year, but that was because the Rams literally knew every play San Fran was running. Niners get back on track.
Erik: As much as the Niners have looked like garbage the last two games, there’s just too much talent on that roster to believe this is who they are now. A week ago I might have taken the Rams, but their defense is clearly not as consistently great as I believed. Niners grind this one out.
Code Red: The Rams defense looked really solid in all phases last year, but this year the D-Line has remained stout while the secondary has really struggled. Which is good, because f*&k Cortland Finnegan. 49ers haven't sunk that far.
Elyse: God, it feels weird that I'm even debating it. Goodness gracious, Colin Kaepernick. Still, they aren't that bad. 49ers win.
Chicago Bears (3-0 :-D) @ Detroit Lions (2-1)
Erik: Looking back on the game last night, I feel pretty confident that a lot of those “errors” were actually just super-conservative playcalling allowing the Steelers to stay in the game. Hopefully Trestman learns from that and takes a bolder stand against a team that can score as quickly as the Lions. Pass rush still concerns me, as does Tillman’s availability against Megatron, but for the first time since the Lions were “good,” I feel confident saying we can keep up even without a Pro Bowl performance there. Bears win, 28-21.
Code Red: Yeah, we'll never know what game Trestman would have called if they hadn't been up 24-3 before you could blink. I understand not wanting to chance that on the road, and when he called deep drops to try and get 'em moving again in the 3rd quarter the OL suddenly couldn't block. Bears can score on the Lions. Really looking forward to Suh vs. Kyle Long. Bears 30-24.
Elyse: Kind of did not expect this to be a battle for first place, but I'm not impressed with Detroit. Bears win 30-21.
Iggins!: I’ll take the Bears to win because it’s bad luck not to, but I’m pretty sure we lose here, randomly, and for no reason. Just a hunch!
New York Giants (0-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Iggins!: So apparently the Giants are terrible? The signs were all there, I guess. Terrible linebackers, mediocre secondary… if the d-line fell apart that defense would be crap, and it did. More concerning has to be Eli failing while having Nicks and Cruz to throw to. Also, that Chief defense is a nightmare. Chiefs win.
Erik: I really wasn’t that surprised. Even the years they won the Super Bowl, I have a hard time describing those teams as “good.” Certainly they had good players who put on good performances, but they’ve always (and by always I mean in the last five or six years) been flying by the seat of their pants and just scraping by. Eli’s protection has been shit, which has prevented him from putting on those Incredible Hulk performances that hide all the flaws under a barrage of TDs. It doesn’t get any easier against the Chiefs.
Code Red: that defense was shit last year, too. Then they made no additions on D and lost players on offense. Why does this shock people? I mean, the turnover hilarity is surprising even with Eli being Eli, but otherwise not surprised. Chiefs win, Eli gets caught in a Groundhog's Day like infinite loop of INTs.
Elyse: Woof. Chiefs are going to decimate them. Chiefs win.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) @ Buffalo Bills (1-2)
Erik: As confused as I am by Baltimore’s ability to score 30 points with next to no offensive production, I don’t think this one will really test their mettle. Ravens.
Code Red: While Phil Simms isn't exactly a brilliant analyst, I had to laugh when I heard him say “EJ Manuel will never wow you throwing the ball” while actually trying to compliment him. Sounds about right. Ravens win.
Elyse: Ravens win, but mother of God I hope CJ Spiller does SOMETHING.
Iggins!: The Ravens can’t score, and their defense isn’t great. That Bill defense has been pretty solid, save that last game against the Jets. I’m tempted to roll with Buffalo. Fuck it, Buffalo wins.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-2)
Iggins!: Hopefully all the Bengals practiced this week was ball protection, ball protection, ball protection. If they can just stop friggin fumbling they’ll be in the AFC title game for sure. The Browns got better after losing Richardson, both long term AND short term, apparently, but they won’t win here. Bright, bright future, though. Bengals take it.
Erik: Eliminating the team Butter Bath before every game should go a long way toward improving the Bengals’ chances there. Here, though, I don’t think it matters. That defense kept them in the game against Rodgers, I doubt Hoyer will have a whole lot more luck. Bengals.
Code Red: I hesitate to say the Browns future is bright. They're apparently shopping Josh Gordon, which makes zero fucking sense. The team you're building in the future couldn't use a pretty star looking wide receiver who is only in his second year? Richardson is a plodder at an easily replaceable position. Gordon is not. Stockpiling picks ain't worth that. Bengals win.
Elyse: Bengals. I don't really have anything interesting to say. Much like the state of Ohio, I suppose.
Arizona Cardinals (1-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3)
Erik: The only good thing you can say about Tampa this season is that they’re making a compelling case for firing Schiano. Cardinals win.
Code Red: Eat a dick, Greg. CARSON PALMER FOR THE WIN.
Iggins!: Well, Mike Glennon is starting, so Cardinals win by a lot.
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)
Iggins!: I really have no idea what to expect from Indy now. I know they aren’t particularly good, the Raiders showed that. But they just trashed the Niners in San Francisco. Either way, Colts win this one, but from here forward this might be the hardest team to predict this year.
Erik: The Colts’ weakness is a frankly laughable defense, but as long as they keep facing offenses who don’t feel that scoring or moving the ball is important they should continue winning. Not that it matters what Jacksonville wants to do. Colts.
Code Red: The Seahawks calling off the dogs and allowing 17 garbage time points threw Jacksonville off of their record low scoring pace and now has them on pace for 149 points this season, 9 more than the record for fewest ever. C'mon guys. Get shutout. HISTORY AWAITS YOU. Colts win.
Seattle Seahawks (3-0) @ Houston Texans (2-1)
Erik: The Texans got absolutely drubbed by the Ravens Sunday, losing Andre Johnson in the process. They also continued to provide fodder for the notion that Arian Foster is no longer (and maybe never was) that great a running back. Even with both at peak performance, though, that defense makes Seattle way too much for the Texans to handle.
Code Red: The Texans are the Texans. They will beat all of the teams they should, and will never, ever beat the teams they are theoretically evenly matched or overmatched by. Seahawks win.
Elyse: Seahawks. The Texans have really not impressed me yet, and the Seahawks are clearly the better team.
Iggins!: Not picking against Seattle until they lose. Seahawks win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) @, but not really @, in London, Minnesota Vikings (0-3)
Iggins!: We should probably try to not send crap teams to London every year. Both these teams have serious weaknesses, so this is a bit of a tossup. I’ll take the Vikings to win, but only because I’m guessing the ground game will decide this one in the end. (Picks made prior to the confirmation that Matt Cassel would start, oh god I’m going to lose this one badly.)
Erik: These teams are kind of mirror images of shittiness. One is a talented team that can’t win because of a QB, the other is a good (if overrated) QB with no talent around to help him win. The Steelers still have a lot of defensive resources to commit to stopping AP though. Steelers win, but only just.
Code Red: I predict the Steelers get that first turnover of the year this week. Steelers win.
Elyse: Are we still doing this whole London thing? This could be a shitastrophe. I want to pick the Steelers, but just have this feeling the Vikings will win.
New York Jets (2-1) @ Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Erik: The Jets have been better than anyone wanted to believe they could be, which is really saying something horrible about the Jets. The Titans, on the other hand, have really surprised with a rising defense and passable offensive production. Titans win, generating a lot of buzz before they get slaughtered in
an absolutely brutal stretch of games against the Chiefs, Seahawks and Niners.
Code Red: Dude, I know you weren't watching much football then, but there was a time when the Titans were in the playoffs every year, and still generated no buzz. No one cares about them. Vince Young and Jeff Fisher had an epic coach-play feud and no one even batted an eye. Titans win, because Gregg Williams will blitz Geno Smith into some bad decisions.
Elyse: The Titans. I don't really know why. Both of these teams have to still be bad, right?
Iggins!: My Titans picks have given me my current lead, can’t abandon them now! Titans win.
Washington Redskins (0-3) @ Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Iggins!: I can’t believe I actually have to think about this one. That Redskin defense is historically bad, and that is not hyperbole. Also, the Raiders have been much more competitive than we thought they would be. I still have to go with Washington to win because RG3 seems to be getting back into it finally, but… I have very little confidence in that pick.
Erik: If you’d told me last year that this was going to be a real discussion, I’d have laughed in your face. And yet, here we are. Still, I think Washington is a safe bet. RGIII has been slow to get moving, but playing against three potent offenses back-to-back-to-back with that defense hasn’t helped matters much.
Code Red: It's a crapfest according to the standings, but bad defense plus these two quarterbacks will make it a pretty damn watchable affair. Redskins win.
Elyse: This week is not making it easy to pick up ground. Redskins win.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) @ Denver Broncos (3-0)
Erik: There are no guarantees with an offense as potentially explosive as Philly’s, but thus far the risk has proven to be greater than the reward. Add to that the fact that Denver is just better at pretty much everything but running the ball, and you’ve got the recipe for a very sloppy Vick playing catch-up all night. Broncos.
Code Red: This game will also be fun to watch! Iggles might run out of breath blurring in the thin air, though. Broncos win.
Elyse: Broncos. Gonna pick them all the way up until their Superbowl matchup with the Bears.
Iggins!: Also not picking against Denver. Broncos win.
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) @ San Diego Chargers (1-2)
Iggins!: The sheer force of all the derp that will be present in this game could potentially cripple San Diego’s economy. I’ll take Dallas to win.
Erik: Both QBs are going to try to lose this game as much as they can, but only one of these teams has a real defense. Dallas wins, but not for lack of trying.
Code Red: Dallas can get to the quarterback. That will be the difference here. Cowboys win.
Elyse: APPARENTLY DOESN'T CARE
New England Patriots (3-0) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
Erik: The… the Falcons are 1-2? Huh. Either way, they’ve looked better in two losses than the Pats in two of their wins. With several starters presumably returning from injury, they should be in good shape against a Patriots squad that has only just managed to get to 3-0 against three not-very-good teams. Falcons win at home.
Code Red: Atlanta is wounded and Gronk should be back. Patriots.
Elyse: they aren't the Patriots we all know and hate, but Atlanta is struggling. Patriots win with the return of the Gronk Spike.
Iggins!: So, perhaps next week everyone gets to accept that the Falcons lost to two of the best 8 teams in the league and the Pats have barely beaten three of the worst teams? Falcons by 14 points.
Miami Dolphins (3-0) @ New Orleans Saints (3-0)
Iggins!: Whoah, this is actually game of the week! Nice job, schedulers. I really like the Fins. Tannehill is really good, solid receiving corps. They could use a better RB, but their defense is stout. But betting against a 3-0 Saints team, on a Monday night, in the Superdome? Man, I ain’t crazy. Saints win.
Erik: I’m bullish, I tell you. Bullish! This is certainly a winnable game for the Dolphins, but they’re still the underdog by pretty much any standard you care to use. Barring a rare Brees meltdown, I just don’t see them keeping up. Saints win, but the Fins do enough to justify my strange obsession.
Code Red: I legitimately think they could win their division, but I know the Saints are winning theirs. Saints win.
Elyse: Gahhh...I need to grow a pair of balls and pick the Dolphins and I just can't. At some point I will though. I promise. Saints win.