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NFL Picks: Vikings look to rebound

Published 1:38pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here are the picks:

Jacksonville at Carolina

The Jaguars are putting rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the starting lineup for the first time and Carolina’s rookie QB Cam Newton has already proven to be a starter in the NFL after throwing for over 400 yards in his first two games.

But don’t get too caught up in the Newton hype. Although his passing yards catch your attention it’s also important to remember Carolina has abandoned the running game and Newton threw some unforgiveable interceptions against Green Bay and Carolina has lost its first two games.

I think Newton will be a fine starter in the NFL, but let’s not put him in the pro bowl just yet.

Pick: PANTHERS 28, JAGUARS 10

Houston at New Orleans

This will be the biggest test yet for the Texans’ new 3-4 defense. It usually takes about a year for a team to fully learn the 3-4, so I expect some speed bumps and Drew Brees will find the holes and exploit them.

Pick: SAINTS 34, TEXANS 20

New England at Buffalo

The upstart Bills have shown the ability to pass the ball in their first two games and the Pats have shown the ability to allow passing yards so far. Still, Tom Brady is playing quarterback better than in anyone in the history of the game right now and it’ll be tough to get him out of rhythm.

Pick: PATRIOTS 44, BILLS 17

Miami at Cleveland

The Browns had to struggle to beat Indy last week, but I think they’re due for a solid performance.

Pick: BROWNS 13, DOLPHINS 10

Denver at Tennessee

You have to give the Titans credit for manhandling the Ravens last week and Denver doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Pick: TITANS 27, BRONCOS 14

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia

The Eagles showed one thing in a loss to the Falcons. If Mike Vick goes down for an extended period of time, they’re done. It wasn’t just the offense that went downhill after Vick’s concussion; the defense also seemed to lose some of its aggressiveness as it allowed two late scores.

Pick: EAGLES 30, GIANTS 13

Detroit at Minnesota

The Vikings are coming off two straight games were they blew big leads and watched their opponent take the game in the fourth quarter. The Lions are coming off two big wins.

I sense a hungry, desperate Vikings team against an overconfident Lions bunch.

Pick: VIKINGS 23, LIONS 17

San Francisco at Cincinnati

Both of these teams are tough to read and I don’t think either one is that good. As usual, when in doubt, go against the NFC West.

Pick: BENGALS 16, 49ERS 13

New York Jets at Oakland

The Jets are clearly the better team and there’s not much else to say.

Pick: JETS 27, RAIDERS 16

Kansas City at San Diego

The Chiefs have already lost their best offensive and defensive players for the season. Is there any way that their season ticket holders can get a full refund?

Pick: CHARGERS 41, CHIEFS 10

Baltimore at Rams

It must be a Missouri thing, because the Rams are also struggling with injuries.

Pick: RAVENS 24, RAMS 13

Green Bay at Chicago

As a Packer fan, I was slightly devastated when hearing safety Nick Collins – the team’s best ball-hawk and a huge playmaker – was out for the year. Then my friend reminded me that it’s starting off just like last year for the Packers, and that season didn’t turn out too badly.

The Bears will be pumped for this one, but I don’t think they can keep up with the Packers, who now have a legit ground game and even more weapons in the passing attack.

Pick: PACKERS 26, BEARS 20

Arizona at Seattle

The Cardinals are probably the least bad between these two squads.

Pick: ARIZONA 25, SEATTLE 10

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Right before Vick got hurt I was thinking of how bad Atlanta looked and that they probably won’t make the playoffs this season. I think they lucked out with Vick’s injury and reality will set in this week.

Pick: BUCS 24, FALCONS 17

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

Without Peyton Manning, it’s not exactly the matchup NBC was hoping for when they put this one in primetime, but the Colts should play inspired against the defending AFC Champs.

Pick: STEELERS 30, COLTS 21

Washington at Dallas

I really wanted to go with the Redskins, but it’s the Cowboys’ home opener on a Monday night. They should be able to step up.

Pick: COWBOYS 28, REDSKINS 17

Last week: 13-3; Overall: 23-9


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