Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 3 Pick: Most Interesting Watch

There are a couple of games that interest me this week, but not a lot that really stood out. Panthers/Cowboys would be sweet if Jake Delhomme wasn't playing like Brett Favre circa 2005. Vikings/Niners (the only 2-0 team battle) would be great if I had a better feel for what San Fran is at this point. Titans/Jets might be alright, but Tennessee has been really weird this year, so there might not be much to see there. There's really only one game that jumps at me on the Week 3 schedule, and that is:

Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals

Over/Under: 48 1/2
Line: Cardinals by 2 1/2

My Thoughts:
That's a very iffy line for the Cards, and if you consider that home field advantage usually nets you a 3 point edge, the Colts are really favored by a half point. Frankly, I'm surprised Arizona is favored at all. They looked awful in their first game, and has a nice rebound in week 2. Indy has been shaky so far, but Peyton Manning finds ways to win games no matter what.

The reason I pegged this game as the Most Interesting is that these teams are almost clones of each other. You have smart QBs who make timely, accurate throws. You have explosive receivers capable if big plays down the field. You have defenses with good (not great) corners and safeties, and very talented pass rushers. You have two teams that don't run the ball well, and aren't known for stopping the run. This is not a game that will be decided on the ground, but rather the fate of these teams resides in the hands of Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning. Whichever guy exploits the opponent's defense more effectively will win.

One thing really stands out about this game, and that's Larry Fitzgerald against the Colts' secondary. He torched Pittsburgh's excellent backfield in the Super Bowl, and the Colts' corners simply don't match up as well. He'll be double (or triple) teamed all day, so Anquan Boldin should find plenty of spots underneath, and Steve Breaston should be able to work effectively out of the slot. Ken Whisenhunt wants to run the ball, but Arizona sucks at it. Beanie Wells was the right pickup for them, but the O-line doesn't run-block well, they don't give him holes, and the Colts LBs are fast enough to close in on him in those tight spots.

The Colts, likewise, are not a run-first team. Donald Brown, like Wells above, was absolutely the right pick, but again, they don't have an elite run-blocking offensive line. Nor, for that matter, do they run behind a fullback to give their runners more room. And I just have no faith in Joseph Addai. Sorry dude. The Colts will come out slinging the ball, and I think it's fair to expect a big-time shootout between two explosive offenses. If you like big plays, highlight-reel catches, and great QB play, this game should be great to watch. Arizona is finally a pretty good team, with the best receiver corps in the game, but Kurt Warner does not outplay Peyton Manning this time.

Colts 31
Cardinals 27

I picked a lot of upsets this week (3 out of 4, actually), so I hope I can't be accused of playing it safe or frontrunning anymore. I actually feel pretty strongly about this week's picks, so I'm interested to see how my record holds up.


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