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Saturday, 24 September 2016

NFL Week 3 Picks 2016 (September 22-26)

Coming back from a holiday always gives me the blues, but you have to get back going with normal life. I will say it was great watching the NFL in Vegas even if the games start at 10am on a Sunday morning (Saturday nights in Vegas are unbelievably good).

The reaction of so many when Denver stripped Andrew Luck and scored a front door cover with less than two minutes on the clock was the same as mine as it cost me a second winning week. The Broncos had no right to cover against Indianapolis in what was a close game until the final two minutes and it was the Defensive unit that won the game for them.

Hopefully Week 3 won't see that kind of bad break and I can get back to winning ways.

Arizona Cardinals @ Buffalo Bills Pick: This spread looks a little smelly when you think of the way both the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills are perceived, but I can't help but buy it. I can't imagine how Arizona would be favoured by less than a Touchdown in this game when you consider how bad Buffalo have been on both sides of the ball even if the Bills have had a few more days to prepare for the game.

Greg Roman was surprisingly released as the Offensive Co-Ordinator in the wake of the loss to the New York Jets, especially when you think Buffalo scored 31 points in that game. The Defensive unit let them down and both Ryan brothers are on the hot seat coming into this game as the Bills continue to struggle.

Buffalo have been outplayed in both losses this season and they are going to have it tough again when you think they will struggle to run the ball. LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor have plenty of mobility behind Center, but Buffalo are averaging just 3.5 yards per rush attempt and the Cardinals Defensive Line has proven they can shut down teams in those situations.

This will be a game in which Taylor is going to need his legs to escape the pressure that Arizona bring up front, but he can't afford to make mistakes throwing the ball against this Secondary. Under pressure that can happen and Buffalo are missing Sammy Watkins too which is going to make it tough for them to move the ball with any consistency in this one.

Some out there have suggested that Carson Palmer is on the decline, but he didn't play that badly last week in the win over Tampa Bay at home. I still think Palmer has something in the tank for an Arizona team in win now mode, and I think Palmer will have a big game against Buffalo.

He might be under pressure up front, but the Buffalo Secondary has had some big holes and I think the Cardinals can make them pay with the Receivers they have. David Johnson is someone you can check down to coming out of the backfield and I think Arizona will have more success moving the chains on Sunday than their counterparts.

One concern will be trying to run the ball effectively and protecting Palmer is another, but Buffalo will need turnovers to win this game. They might get some chances with Arizona throwing the ball around, but Palmer should have a big enough game to come through.

The Cardinals are 12-1 against the spread in road games against teams with losing records and they are a strong road favourite under Bruce Arians going 8-3 against the spread in that spot since 2013. Being 0-2 will keep Buffalo focused rather than looking ahead to New England next week, and they are 9-3 against the spread as the home underdog since 2013, but they were beaten easily in that spot last week.

I am not sure that Buffalo might be falling out of love with Rex Ryan and I think Arizona can make them pay and move back into a winning record.

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers Pick: How many other 2-0 teams would be considered such an underdog as the Minnesota Vikings are this week? However that is the case with Minnesota Vikings because of the injuries they have suffered in the first month of the season with a starting Quarter Back already out for the season and now joined by Adrian Peterson, the starting Running Back, and have some issues on the Offensive Line.

The fact they are taking on the NFC representative from the last Super Bowl, on the road no less, is also factoring into the spread this week.

Sam Bradford might only recently have come into the Vikings locker room, but he looked very comfortable with his new teammates in the win over the Green Bay Packers. Bradford made some big time throws and has locked in with Stefon Diggs, and he might have had a chance to follow that up IF Peterson had not been ruled out for some time.

Now the Panthers don't have to worry about loading the box and stopping Peterson which might have seen Bradford attack a Secondary which has underperformed so far. Instead the Panthers can concentrate on getting better results from the Secondary and feel they can slow down the rushing Offense with the Offensive Line already struggling to open holes for Peterson.

Carolina should be able to put plenty of pressure on Bradford, but they might have their own issues running the ball. Jonathan Stewart is out and Minnesota have shut down Tennessee and Green Bay from running the ball against mobile Quarter Backs so even Cam Newton might find himself bottled up in this one.

While the Panthers have some big Receivers who can make plays for them, Newton will have to be able to handle the pressure that Minnesota are likely to get on him. He has not been that clean in his play just yet, but Carolina have been playing well at home and I think the entire squad will be looking for a big performance after the troubles in Charlotte this week.

They have been a good home favourite to back of late as they are now 13-4-2 against the spread in that position since 2013. This Minnesota Defensive unit is more than legit, but I think they might struggle to score too many points themselves and I can see Carolina pulling away late thanks to some big plays from Cam Newton and I like them to cover this number.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers Pick: After losing a game to an injury-riddled Minnesota Vikings team in Week 2, the questions about the Green Bay Packers have been coming thick and fast. There is even some suggestion that Aaron Rodgers is on the decline with statistics from recent games not exactly flattering one of the best Quarter Backs in the NFL.

Now I am sure Rodgers will want you to 'R-E-L-A-X', but the questions about the Packers will only double if they were to fall to 1-2 this week. Injuries in the Detroit Lions Defensive unit could make things a little more comfortable for the Packers this week, but their Offensive unit has to find a way to earn more consistency.

Being back at home might help too, but it could all begin for Rodgers by Eddie Lacy and James Starks running the ball more efficiently than they have. They should have a chance to establish the run, especially as Detroit are giving up 5.1 yards per carry in their two games, and that might open things up for Rodgers.

Ziggy Ansah is set to miss out and that takes away some of the pass rush pressure that Detroit would have been looking to get on Rodgers. Green Bay's Offensive Line have struggled in protection at times, but missing Ansah might mean the holes in the Secondary look wider than normal. However, Green Bay are yet to get on the same page when it comes to the passing game and failing to do that again will give the Lions a chance to keep up with them on the scoreboard.

It won't be easy for Detroit who can't expect to run the ball all too effectively against this Defensive Line which will put more pressure on Matt Stafford at Quarter Back. Ameer Abdullah is out, but Theo Riddick could still do some damage from out of the backfield which might be the best way any 'run' game is established for Detroit.

Stafford might not have a fit Clay Matthews to deal with which will be useful behind this Offensive Line which has not protected the Quarter Back as well as they would have liked. However giving Stafford time means he can hit big Receivers downfield as Green Bay have some issues in the Secondary which won't have been helped by Sam Shield having to pass concussion tests before he is allowed to play.

I think that will see Detroit moving the chains and this looks a lot of points for them to be given. The Packers have had a losing record as the home favourite in Division games in two of the last three years and they were beaten by Detroit here last season.

If the Offense is still struggling to find a way to consistently move the chains, I do think the Lions can make these points look very useful and I will back them to cover even in a losing effort.

MY PICKS: Arizona Cardinals - 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Carolina Panthers - 7 Points @ 1.95 William Hill (2 Units)
Detroit Lions + 7 Points @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Oakland Raiders - 1 Point @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Philadelphia Eagles + 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
San Diego Chargers + 1.5 Points @ 1.95 William Hill (1 Unit)

Week 2: 5-5, - 0.70 Units (20 Units Staked, - 3.50% Yield)
week 1: 4-3-1, + 0.29 Units (15 Units Staked, + 1.93% Yield)

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