Reality comes crashing down for the Armchair Quarterback
I mentioned in this column a couple weeks ago that I gave up playing fantasy football years ago.
I should’ve realized that all the easy success I had picking games the first two weeks of this season was my current-day version of the fantasy game.
Last weekend I got a dose of reality.
My 26-5 record of Weeks 1 and 2 came crashing down with an 8-8 mark in Week 3 that could’ve been worse if the Patriots, Eagles and Packers hadn’t pulled out last-second victories and the Lions wouldn’t have been screwed over again by league rules.
It’s back to looking at matchups, momentum and little idiosyncracies in each game to try to get these right.
One thing I did notice was only one true road upset in Week 3, but it was a doozy in the 32nd-ranked defense of New Orleans beating the No. 1 defense of Carolina.
How do you figure that?
Now back to reality football:
Today, 8:30 p.m.
Chicago at Green Bay — With a renewed sense of using reverse momentum as a way to predict games, you Packer fans didn’t know you were rooting for that Bears’ upset of Pittsburgh, did you?
Da’ Bears should be sitting fat and happy after beating Pittsburgh, taking just enough edge off to not make mincemeat of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his fourth- and fifth-stringers protecting him on the offensive line. Packers, 29-20.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
New Orleans at Miami –Applying reverse momentum again, the P-O’ed team is Miami after losing to the Jets while the Saints carved up Carolina. Dolphins, 23-15.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Buffalo at Atlanta — The Falcons know they got lucky and QB Matt Ryan will see if he can throw four fewer interceptions than the three he had last week in Detroit (isn’t that a mathematical impossibility?). Falcons, 30-17.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore — Reverse momentum comes to a screeching halt with two upset teams coming off upsets. Give me the home team coming off a worse shellacking. Ravens, 21-17.
Cincinnati at Cleveland — Cincy’s only TDs this season came Sunday in Green Bay. As inept as its offense is, Cleveland has a pretty sturdy defense. Browns, 17-13.
Tennessee at Houston — A battle of two teams that like to run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense. I trust Tennessee more at QB, though. Titans, 26-20.
Detroit at Minnesota — Something tells me the Lions’ pass rush will make another opposing QB hot under the collar after they’ve already done it to veterans Carson Palmer, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan.
Compared to them, the Vikings’ Case Keenum or Matt Bradford look like statues. Lions, 27-23.
Carolina at New England — If Panthers’ QB Cam Newton isn’t fully sharp, how will keep up in a shootout against Tom Brady? Patriots, 33-20.
Jacksonville at New York Jets — Another reverse momentum neutralizer because both teams were more successful than even there most hopeful fans could’ve expected last week. Jaguars, 24-19.
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas — I’d give the Rams serious consideration if this game was played in L.A., even though home-field is worth less there, but in Dallas, it’s the Cowboys, 24-17.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
San Francisco at Arizona — Neither of these teams exactly inspire confidence, but Arizona at least seems to have some weapons on offense. Cardinals, 20-17.
Philadelphia at Los Angeles Chargers — Home field’s got to be worth at least twice the usual 3 points on these cross-country trips. On a hunch that a last-second kick won’t doom L.A., Chargers, 23-16.
New York Giants at Tampa Bay — OK, so the Giants have the No. 2 pass defense in the NFC. Why are they 0-3? Maybe because their rush defense is terrible. And that includes a game against the rush-less Lions to boot. Buccaneers, 31-21.
Oakland at Denver — Like the tortoise and the hare, expect Denver to trail for 3 1/2 quarters before a gassed Raiders defense (the thin air and all) gives up not one, not two, but three scoring drives in the last eight or 10 minutes. Broncos, 33-30.
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Indianapolis at Seattle — OK, so the Colts have shown a lot more the past two weeks than the “Indianapolis Junior High” moniker I gave them at the beginning of the season. But it’s desperate times in Seattle. Seahawks, 40-24.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Washington at Kansas City — KC has bigger fish to fry than a prime time game, like home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Chiefs, 30-24.
Last week — 8-8, 50 percent. Season — 34-13, 72 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.