Thursday, September 22, 2016

NFL Picks, Week 3 - Thursday Night Edition


The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
Denver at Cincinnati (CBS, 1 PM)
Washington at New York Giants  (FOX, 1PM)
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (CBS, 4:25 PM)

The entire country will see 
Houston at New England (CBS/NFLN/Twitter, 8:30 *Thursday*)
Chicago at Dallas (NBC, 8:30)
Atlanta at New Orleans (ESPN, 8:30 *Monday*)

Houston (PICK 'EM) over NEW ENGLAND
This game will be a terrific test of the New England defense. 

Both of these teams have started strongly (2-0), but they've gotten here travelling two very different paths. New England has gotten here with offense (despite missing their 2 best offensive players in both games so far, and playing half of their last game without even their backup QB). Houston has gotten here with defense (2nd best defensive 3rd down efficiency and allowing barely over 1 point per drive). This should be a defensive battle, as chunk plays should be at a premium. 

So why am I looking at New England's defense especially? Because I want to know just how good they are on their own. If they have to carry the load, so to speak, can they do it? They shut down an average Miami offense for one half while Jimmy Garoppolo was shredding their defense, but then in the second half (where the offense was struggling under rookie Jacoby Brissett) the Dolphins made it rain points (though not enough of them). I want to know if they're a top-10 defense or a top-5 unit. 

Right now I think they're just a bit short of elite, and the combination of that with a rookie 3rd string quarterback should be enough for Houston to squeak out this victory. 

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