Well it’s been a little while since my last rant, but now that I have the time, I can look ahead to Week 3 of the NFL season and hopefully give you some winners and good fantasy advice.

A quick recap of how I did on predictions last week: Not counting games that did not have a line, I posted a record of 10-3-1 against the spread.  Winners were Packers, Steelers, Lions, Falcons, Dolphins, Rams, Broncos, Chargers, Colts and 49ers.  I pushed on the Houston game -3 and lost on the Pats, Ravens and Cowboys.  Hopefully it was a help to you.

Here’s a quick glance at the week 3 slate:

Titans @ Giants (-3)

Chris Johnson gets back on track against the G-Men (even though he did break an 85-yarder last week that was called back for holding), but I don’t see the Titans having enough weapons to win on the road.  Eli, Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith are all solid starts for the Giants while I can only recommend Mr. Obvious Chris Johnson from the Titans.  Giants 24 – Titans 17

Bills @ Patriots (-15)

The Pats are more than a 2 TD favorite against the hapless Bills which is kinda crazy.  That speaks to how bad the Bills really are.  Now their secondary is above average and can hold Brady/Moss/Welker to moderate days through the air, and while the Pats don’t have any crazy good RBs to exploit the Bills non-existent run defense, Fred Taylor and RB-by-committee Co. should have a good day.  So, that makes it sound like the Bills could keep the Pats scoring down and they might hang tough.  Right?  But wait – the Bills have zero offense.  0.  Start the Pats D if you have them in fantasy – they might score multiple TDs vs. Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick and the poo-poo Bills.  Patriots 41 – Bills 13

Browns @ Ravens (-11)

Not much to write here.  Ravens need this one to get their offense on track, and I believe that they will.  Start all relevant Ravens, and I don’t trust any of the Browns this Sunday vs. a hungry Ravens team in their home opener.  Ravens 30 – Browns 10

Steelers @ Bucs (+3)

This game looks to be a trap – a 2-0 team at home getting 3 points?  No-brainer, right?  Not so fast.  The Steelers defense is back to being ridiculously good and will give Josh Freeman and Co. fits all day.  It doesn’t matter who Pittsburgh throws out there behind center, the Steelers won’t have any problems in this one.  Mendenhall will crush and I see a decent game from cheapshot Hines Ward.  Bench all Bucs.  All of them.  Steel Curtain 20 – Bucs 9

Bengals @ Panthers (+3.5)

Make it 4 straight favorites on the board.  No way does Jimmy Clausen move the ball up and down the field on a very good Bengals secondary.  D-Will and Stewart should be okay and help Carolina try to stay in the game, but I think Clausen will put his team in too many pickles with turnovers.  On the other side, you need to start Benson and Ochocinco for sure.  If you have better options at QB than Palmer, I would be okay benching Carson here because his arm still doesn’t look as if it has recovered from the injury 2 years back.  I just think his best days are behind him as a fantasy star, but he can still be a good smart NFL QB.  T-Owens is a fringe play in my book – Carolina’s secondary is okay and TO doesn’t do much stretching of the field anymore.  I would start him in 14 team/3WR league but try and find a better option in anything shallower.  Bungles 23 – Panthers 17

Falcons @ Saints (-4)

Right at the top of the must-see games of the weekend and should produce some of the best fantasy stats as well.  My take here is that the Saints are very lucky to be 2-0 and don’t look like the same team that won the SuperBowl last season.  They barely squeaked by an inept Minnesota offense in week 1 at home and then allowed Alex Smith to drive the field and convert a 2pt conversion on them for the tie in the dieing minutes of last week’s Monday nighter.  Of course, they still won, and that is mainly the product of one of the top 3 QBs in the league.  Brees is a true leader, stat producer and gun-slinging hero, but now that Reggie Bush is out indefinitely, I think the Saints are going to sputter even more for a while and will fall for the first time this Sunday.  Matty Ice is emerging as the star he showed us in his rookie year, and if Michael Turner is truly healthy, the Falcons have a studly offense with those 2 and Hotty Roddy White.  Start Ryan, Turner, White, Brees, Pierre Thomas (big game I think) and Colston.  Bench the defenses!  Falcons 35 – Saints 28

49ers @ Chiefs (-3)

I picked each of these teams to win their respective divisions at the beginning of the year, and now the 49ers need this one to make that a real possibility.  I thought the Niners showed some real heart last Monday vs. the defending champs, and I think they will build upon that going into this weekend.  The Chiefs have an improved defense, and if Todd Haley ever pulls his head out of his ass and plays Jamal Charles more, then this team could be a threat every week.  But for now, Todd Haley is too smart for himself and is relying on his 2nd best players at certain positions and it’s going to burn him.  Starting this week.  Start VD, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Moeaki in deep leagues that use TE – he’s going to be a stud.  I am using Jamal Charles in one of my leagues just praying that he gets an opportunity, but you need to make that decision on whether or not you want someone as dynamic but underused as Chris Johnson-lite.  49ers 17 – Chiefs 16

Lions @ Vikings (-11)

DISCLAIMER – Brett Favre is my boy.  Favorite player of all-time in any sport.  That said, he and the Vikes scare me on offense right now.  Some of it is Brett: he doesn’t seem to have the same joy and conviction out there and still makes some bad throws.  But a lot of it is the right side of their offensive line couldn’t block me or Belote coming off of the edge, and Brett’s receivers can’t catch a cold.  Boy do they miss Sidney Rice, and now that they’ve missed out on Vincent Jackson (AJ Smith of the Chargers is an idiot – his nickname is ‘Lord of NoRings’ – stay classy San Diego.  But I digress…) I don’t know where the Vikes go from here.  The Lions on the other hand are an up and coming team and could easily be 1-1.  They have a good pass rush on defense (remember the crappy blocking on the right side for the Vikes), and some true playmakers on offense – Megatron and mini-Ray Rice, Javhid Best.  If Stafford could get healthy and stay that way, this team could be 1 year from the playoffs.  Seriously.  Start your studs in this game: Adrian Peterson, Favre (should be serviceable in a 12-teamer), Megatron and Best.  Vikes win but don’t cover.  Vikings 27 – Lions 23

Cowboys @ Texans (-3)

For all of the supposed demise of the Cowboys, this line should tell you something about how talented the smarties in Vegas still think this team is.  An 0-2 team that looks in complete disarray AT a 2-0 who has 2 great wins, and the line is only 3.  All I need to say.  I think this is a shootout while Dallas gets back to their ground game a bit and corrects their record to 1-2.  Start all of your players.  All but the defenses.  Cowboys 37 – Texans 35

Redskins @ Rams (+4)

DISCLAIMER: I hate the Redskins.  More than any other team in any sport.  (Now you know a decent amount about me  🙂  )  That said, I don’t see how this one stays close.  Unless the Skins show up demoralized by that amazing 2nd half showing vs. the Texans last week, McNabb and Co. should roll in this game.  I’d start McNabb, Cooley and Moss for sure, and Portis may get another goaline TD or two.  On the other side of the ball, Steven Jackson is always a must-start when healthy, and Mark Clayton may be serviceable since he and Bradford have established an nice Oklahoma connection; plus the Skins secondary showed it’s true colors last week (Hey Shanahan and Haslett, one-on-one coverage is not good against Andre Johnson.  You know, the best WR in football…  Especially with the game on the line and 5ft nothing Reed Doughty on him.  I could have made any coverage call better than that.)  Redskins 30 – Rams 14

Eagles @ Jags (+3)

Two main points here.  Did you see the Jags last week?  They are not good.  MJD is still okay if he is healthy, and Mike Sims-Walker showed up and proved that he does play in the NFL, but I think David Garrard threw 37 picks against a not-so-great SD secondary.  Point #2 – Andy Reid is an idiot.  1 quarter and a concussion costs the QB of the future his job.  You traded future Hall-of-Famer McNabb to get your boy Kolb as the man, and then you jump ship after an injury and 6 decent quarters from Michael Vick vs. a team that didn’t prepare for him (Packers) and a lower rung team in the league (Lions).  Andy Reid, I liked you before this decision.  But you are a moron.  Lucky for you, you get Jacksonville this weekend.  Start all Eagles, MJD and MSW.  Eagles 24 – Jaguars 14

Colts @ Broncos (+6)

Just look at the past 5 years or so of Peyton vs. Denver.  It’s usually 41-10.  No different here.  Make a note that Knowshown Moreno (going to be a huge bust – not just this year but overall) is injured this weekend, so pickup Correll Buckhalter and/or Laurence Maroney; they will share the RB workload, and the one thing you can do vs. the Colts is run.  Watch the injury report come Sunday if you need Pierre Garcon of the Colts because he hasn’t practiced much at all this week.  Champ Bailey may give Reggie Wayne some fits, but the Colts have weapons all over the field – Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, etc., etc., etc.  Colts 41 – Broncos 10

Chargers @ Seahawks (+6)

Folks, pick up Malcolm Floyd if he is still available in your league.  Go do it now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  If he hadn’t lost his footing in the late MNF game in week 1, he would’ve caught the game-winning TD andwould be a sure-fire #1 WR, but he has been dropped in some leagues because folks just don’t know his name.  Get him if you can – the Chargers don’t have much else other than All-Pro Antonio Gates, and they have a flat-out MVP candidate in Philip Rivers.  Ok, that rant is over.  I think this turns into one of those ugly games where there is a bunch of turnovers and no running game.  I’m really on the fence in this one, and when I am I usually lean towards the talent even if they are laying a TD on the road.  Chargers 20 – Seahawks 13

Raiders @ Cardinals (-4.5)

As easy as it is to pick against Al Davis, his team is actually improving.  Not by leaps and bounds, but enough to hold it’s own against the other crap teams in the league.  And how fast the Cards have fallen and are now a crap team.  Derek Anderson is their QB.  And he looks awful – as expected.  Couple that with Beanie “Weanie” Wells and slowpoke Tim Hightower, and the Cards will have difficulty moving the ball despite the Raider soft D-Line.  Fitzgerald will probably be targeted another 15 times, but only catch 5 balls or so with Nnamdi covering him like white on rice.  You still start Fitz and hope for a TD.  As for the RBs, I’d rather have Hightower because of his pass catching prowess and how likely it is that Weanie Baby will get hurt again.  On the Raiders side, Michael Bush returns which is bad news for McFadden owners.  McFadden finally looks to be living up to the hype, but he is going to be in a 50/50 timeshare with Bush for the foreseeable future unless an injury rears it’s ugly head.  If you have any of the RBs in this game, you only start them as a #2 if you don’t have someone else who will guarantee you 20+ touchers.  Raiders 17 – Cardinals 14

Jets @ Dolphins (-2)

Take the Jets to the house.  The Dolphins Wildcat experience no longer fools Rex and his boys, and it looks like Sanchez has a clue on where the ball is going.  Revis will be out for the game, so that will allow Brandon Marshall to have a decent game, but I just can’t see the Jets losing unless the Dolphins get multiple special teams TDs like they did last year.  Not happening this time around.  Telling you who to start among the Jets RBs is difficult, but I think Greene is still going to get his carries and if you have nothing else (Packer, this is you), I think you start him.  LT is a serviceable #2 as well behind that line, and I still like Ronnie Brown as long as he’s healthy (never bench Brandon Marshall).  Jets 24 – Fins 20

Packers @ Bears (+3)

I’m running out of steam here at the end, but what a Monday Night Game!  The Pack/Bears rivalry is a classic, and as weird as it may sound, the road team has had the upper hand in recent years.  These are 2 good defenses and 2 good offenses, and I think we will see a great back and forth flow all night.  Anticipate a high-scoring/over type of game with Mason Crosby kicking the game-winning FG at the end.  Start your stud Packers: Rodgers, Jennings, Finley and to a lesser extent Driver and Jackson (12 teams and deeper for those 2), and start your stud Bears: Cutler and Forte, and Aromoshadu and Knox in the 12 team or deeper scenarios.  Packers 30 – Bears 27

Hope you enjoy these forecasting columns, and I encourage you to register with a username and leave your comments/questions/lineup concerns, and I will get back to you quickly.

PS, Two college games I like this weekend: USC (-22) @ hapless Washington State and WestVirginia (+10) at overrated LSU.

Peace.