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Full Send Sunday – NFL Picks: Falcons Rebound; Raiders Stay Hot

Get Nuts, Week 3 Is Here!

Josh Allen by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Full Send Sunday – NFL Picks: Falcons Rebound; Raiders Stay Hot


Estimated Reading Time: 21 Minutes

We’reeeeee back! The time has come to get ready for some more football, and for me to start the quest of embarrassment with my weekly NFL picks at The Turf that I love to provide because I love humiliating myself.

But Actually…

In Week 1 and Week 2 I was pretty darn good. I know I did not release my picks for those weeks, but I promise I am 25-7 so far this season. And that’s pretty damn good, because the first two weeks are always tough to predict. But now, I’m probably going to jinx myself and go like…5-11 or some shit this week. But…at least that record will probably be better than the New York Jets’ record at the end of this season! Sorry, but you’re just going to hear me continue to rip on the Jets. And get used to it…because I grew up in New York…around a lot of Jets fans…and let me tell you…actually, no, I’m not going to tell you. I’ll spare you the J-E-T-S C-R-A-P.

THE TURF’S GOT YOU COVERED!

I was not able to publish my Week 1 and 2 picks for ya’ll but please check out Ryan MacPherson’s Sunday picks from Week 1 here and Terry Cudmore’s Sunday picks from Week 2 here.

I will give you just my Sunday picks but, for the record, I got the Dolphins over Jaguars 23-20. This won’t be published until after that game, but let it be known! There will be much facial hair at the QB position…looking forward to it. And for Monday Night, which will be 50 times more entertaining than Thursday, I got the Chiefs over the Ravens 34-26. If you got any plans on Monday Night, you might just want to cancel whatever you’re doing because this game could get nuts.

You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts and get to my picks for Sunday.

Week 1 Picks: 13-3

Week 2 Picks: 12-4

Season Picks Record: 25-7

Bears at Falcons

Matt Ryan has lost two shootouts so far against Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott. But he ain’t losing to Mitch Trubisky. Sorry, it’s just not happening.

Saquon Barkley got carted off the field with an ACL injury on the first play of the second quarter, and the Giants still almost managed to beat the Bears.

The Falcons are the laughing stock of football this week after they blew a tremendous lead against the Cowboys and botched an onside kick recovery before Greg Zuerlein went to drill a 46-yarder for the win. How the Falcons special teams coach still has a job today is beyond me. It was absolutely embarrassing. But this week they will bounce back, because the Atlanta offense will just be too much for Chicago, and I would imagine they are going to come out playing triggered.

Mitch Trubisky and the boys won’t be able to keep up, and if Atlanta loses this one, heads may actually roll like…Game of Thrones style. Give me Atlanta. Falcons win 27-17.

Rams at Bills

Can we just stop the Allen vs. Darnold debate? It’s over. Josh Allen is clearly the better QB, and I like Cam Newton, but Allen is the best QB in that division.

On Sunday, Allen became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to have 700 or more passing yards, six or more touchdown passes, and zero interceptions in his first two games of the season. The other three? Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Peyton Manning. And no…that was not a typo.

It’s something that is so unbelievable, it deserves its own headline…

ALLEN BECAME JUST THE FOURTH QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY TO HAVE 700 OR MORE PASSING YARDS, SIX OR MORE TOUCHDOWN PASSES, AND ZERO INTERCEPTIONS IN HIS FIRST TWO GAMES OF THE SEASON.

There we go.

Allen is actually currently in the conversation for league MVP. And I know it’s early, but if I told you before the season that Josh Allen would be a legitimate candidate for MVP two weeks into the season, you probably would have told me to go take a hike. But the thing is Allen just keeps getting better and better and better each year, and I actually enjoy hiking.

But Surprisingly, The Defense Has Been The Problem.

In Week 1, the Bills gave up 17 points to the Jets, which might as well be the equivalent to giving up 50 points to any other team in the league. And then in Week 2, they gave up 28 points to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins. This week they face the Rams, and they will CLEARLY be the best offense they face so far this season.

Give me the Rams to stay hot and hand Buffalo their first loss of the season. Rams win 30-26.

Washington Football Team at Browns

It feels weird writing that out. Pick a damn mascot already Washington! But then again…I kind of like “Washington Football Team”. It’s sort of like Liverpool Football Club, except not…as…prestigious. It also allows me to occasionally use the team’s acronym WFT, which looks way too much like WTF, which basically sums up my thoughts on this game.

I’m rooting for Washington…I like Ron Rivera. But I have a feeling Cleveland will take it. Browns win 27-23.

Titans at Vikings

The Kirk Cousins Haters Club of America – because it is in fact a REAL CLUB – are walking on Cloud 9 right now. And they can for now, because Cousins has looked…let’s say…pretty awful.

Through two weeks, Cousins has thrown 30/51 passing for 372 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Yeah, not good.

But the Vikings are playing a Titans team who barely beat a bad Denver team even while missing THREE field goals, and allowed a walking tank job of a team in Jacksonville to come back and almost beat them.

I like the Vikings to rebound and grab their first win of the season at home against Tennessee. But it won’t be easy. DING DING DING! Uh oh, that’s the overtime bell! Vikings win 27-24 in OT.

Raiders at Patriots

I’m in baby. I’m IN on this Raiders team.

Say what you want about Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. But ever since taking the helm of the franchise, this team has gotten better each year. And they have actually done a good job drafting as well.

Will they make the playoffs? I still say no. But they WILL finish second in that division and they WILL be a pest for teams this season. The Raiders are the type of team who will just be on the outside looking in at the end of the season, but they will have been responsible for crushing the hopes and dreams of some other teams around the league along the way.

New Look Pats

I’m not gonna lie, I kind of like the new look Pats. I like this new Cam too. Cam Newton is hungry and he seems to be a great fit in New England. He has matured…is more composed on the field…at the podium…he can still wear his funky outfits (love it!) but when it’s game time he is all business. I think he can work with Bill Belichick and this New England offense. At this rate, I don’t see him being just a one-year rental, but we shall see as the season progresses. Newton may not necessarily make the Patriots better, but he makes them a 1000% more interesting.

Let’s Talk About the New England Defense

Here is a legit question I have, and I’m being serious here: Can the Patriots stop good quarterbacks? You might think I’m ridiculous, but consider this…last season the Patriots were 12-4. But 9 of their 12 wins came against these quarterbacks:

A banged up Ben Roethlisberger

Josh Rosen

Luke Falk

Colt McCoy

Daniel Jones

Sam Darnold

Baker Mayfield

Andy Dalton

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Four of those quarterbacks aren’t even starting in the league this season. Not a very impressive list.

They did beat Dak Prescott, but BARELY. They did beat Carson Wentz, but BARELY. They did beat Josh Allen twice, but BARELY both times; and Allen is looking better this season than last. Then their four losses came against Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Three great quarterbacks and one who has been around the block a few times.

The Last Time the Patriots Beat a Great Quarterback

I’m going to get serious backlash from all the Pats fans out there, but the harsh truth is the Patriots defense was not nearly as good as you all thought last year, and they struggle against GREAT quarterbacks. Russell Wilson is a GREAT quarterback and he threw up five touchdowns against this “great” Patriots defense.

Perhaps the better question is, can the Patriots stop great quarterbacks? Because it seems like it has been quite some time since they have done that. I would argue that the last time the Patriots beat a great quarterback was in the 2018 AFC Championship when they beat Mahomes and the Chiefs. And even STILL, if it weren’t for one of the biggest playoff blunders I’ve seen in football since the Minnesota Miracle because of a Dee Ford neutral zone infraction, the Patriots would have lost and Mahomes would probably have two Super Bowl rings today.

Is Derek Carr Great?

No, not really. But he could be good enough to win this game. Carr has plenty of weapons on his side. The Patriots, not so much. And New England cannot expect to win throwing the ball 20 times to Julian Edelman every game. Other guys have to step up, and Newton has to use his legs to keep plays alive and drive the offense downfield.

Neither team has a real threat up front on defense as far as pass rushers are concerned, so these two quarterbacks could both have pretty comfortable games. I expect a high-scoring game, and I am actually going with the Raiders to stay hot. Carr was great against New Orleans on Monday night, and I think that carries forward. I also think Josh Jacobs could have a big day. Gruden will have a plan for Newton, and Vegas will control the clock offensively. Give me Vegas for the win and the Patriots drop their second straight game. Raiders win 34-31.

49ers at Giants

Name a player, any player on the 49ers and most likely he is currently injured. The 49ers IR list is about the size of my grocery list, and I tend to go big or go home when it comes to my food.

George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, Solomon Thomas, Tevin Coleman, and Dee Ford are all injured for the 49ers.

I mean, I know Joe Judge likes to restart practices, but Kyle Shanahan would probably like to restart the season if he could. As a matter of fact, Joe Judge would probably like to restart the season as well because he lost approximately half of his offense last week when Saquon Barkley went down for the year with an ACL injury.

So basically what I’m trying to say here is that I have no idea who is going to win this game. Which means I think I’m gonna take a drive into Crazy Town and pick the Giants to win. Because, hell, why not…this is the ultimate “2020 pick” right here. Give me the upset special in what will be a shit show, low-scoring affair. Giants win 16-13.

Bengals at Eagles

Joe Burrow isn’t really lighting the world on fire so far on his rookie campaign, but there are things about him I have seen that I really like. He’s throwing the ball decently well, he is using his legs and athleticism finding the end zone, he is doing well at the line, and no moment seems to be too big for him. One of the things I really like about Burrow is that he is very composed and he plays like he has been in the league already for five years. He’s also kept his team in games having two close losses thus far.

Burrow had a Matt Ryan moment last week throwing the ball a million times for over 300 yards and 3 TDs, but his team losing. I like Burrow, but I just don’t think that’s the right formula for this Bengals team to succeed. A lot will have to come from the defensive side of the ball, but the backfield has to step up too.

Bengals Rushing Woes

The Bengals are 26th in the league in rushing and are averaging just 3.7 yards per carry; only better than the Jets, Giants, Falcons, and Washington. And it’s not like the Bengals have any scrubs in the backfield. The last time I checked Joe Mixon is pretty good. But he’s only rushed for a total of 115 yards in two games and has yet to find the end zone. That can’t continue, and Zac Taylor has to find a way to get him more involved in the offense.

Meanwhile, in Philly…

The Eagles have been a complete mess. They still haven’t fought off the injury bug, and Wentz has looked awful. One thing I never really liked about Wentz since coming into the league is his decision-making. Don’t get me wrong, he is talented. But some of the plays and throws he has been making are WTF material; and that is not the Washington Football Team. Not to mention their best offensive player right now is their backup tight end, and the offensive line play has been BAD.

The Perfect Elixir

But the perfect elixir for the Eagles to down is a matchup at home against a rookie quarterback leading an 0-2 Bengals squad. Look for Bengals to remain competitive, but I think the Eagles will rebound and pull out a tough win. Eagles win 20-17.

Texans at Steelers

This is the first time we will see ALL of the Watt brothers on an NFL field playing in the same game. They will be the second trio of brothers to play in the same game since 1927. The first trio were the Edmunds brothers last season – Tremaine, Terrell, and Trey – and two of them (Terrell and Trey) were also on the Steelers! So the Steelers know a thing or two about siblings playing on the same team.

The Texans are 0-2 and the Steelers are 2-0. But whoever decided the Texans should play the Chiefs and Ravens in their first two games of the season has got to be someone wickedly evil. Meanwhile, the Steelers haven’t really beaten anyone good yet so far. So this matchup with the Texans will be Pittsburgh’s first true test this season, and going from facing Jeff Driskel to Deshaun Watson is like going from 0 to 100.

So, Will the Steelers Pass the Test?

I actually think they will. And the reason why is because I think this is a really tough matchup for Houston. The Steelers defensive line should dominate this poor Houston offensive line. And Houston’s secondary is HORRIBLE, and Big Ben has weapons all over the place. There’s a strong chance he might actually carve that secondary up. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dionte Johnson, and Chase Claypool could be a handful. Not to mention, Big Ben tends to play better at home.

The key here obviously is for the Steelers to pressure Watson and prevent him from lighting Heinz Field on fire. It will be tough for Pittsburgh, but I think they will again pull off a tough, close win and go 3-0.

The last time the Steelers started the season 3-0, you have to go all the way back to 2010…and that year the Steelers made the Super Bowl. Steelers win 24-21.

Jets at Colts

The Jets are the worst team in football and I’m not sure it’s even close.

The Near Future of the Jets

Here’s a fascinating question, and while I like to joke a lot in these articles, I’m not joking when I ask this: If the Jets end up with the first overall pick in the NFL draft (because it’s starting to look like that) do they take Trevor Lawrence first overall? Or do they continue to roll with Darnold? Because I’ll tell you what my answer would be…

I Think You Gotta Take Lawrence

This is a kid who has a real chance of being a special player at the next level. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get rid of Darnold. But this organization needs a reboot, and I also don’t think Darnold is going to take this team anywhere. So what they DO have to do is…

Get Adam Gase Out of There

It’s time ya’ll…Adam Gase has got to go. His own players don’t even like him, and he just doesn’t have the chops to be a head coach in this league. Perhaps as a coordinator, but the whole head coaching thing just isn’t working for him and he has to get out of New York and that is the first step towards the reboot.

The Colts never should have lost to the Jaguars in Week 1. They should be 2-0. This game could get ugly quick. Maybe it won’t be a huge blowout, but I got Indy winning by at least 10. Colts win 28-16.

Panthers at Chargers

I knew Carolina would be a team that would struggle big time with no preseason this year. Why?

There’s a lot of NEW.

New head coach, new offensive coordinator, new quarterback, some new receivers, practically a new defense, and a new-ish offensive line.

The Panthers’ defense has been horrible. The Chargers? Not so much. They even gave Patrick Mahomes some fits last week.

Speaking of Giving Fits…

If you really want to piss off your entire organization, put a needle through your starting quarterback’s lung. That’s what the Chargers team doctor did when he tried to inject a painkiller into the chest of Tyrod Taylor to treat a rib injury. Currently, there is an investigation being conducted on the matter.

Enter Justin Herbert

So rookie quarterback Justin Herbert finds out last minute that he will be starting against Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl Champs.

How about that for an NFL debut?

Herbert actually played decently well. He threw 22/33 for 311 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also ran a touchdown in as well.

I wasn’t too high on Herbert in the draft, but watching him play last week, I think he may end up better than I had anticipated. He can be a dual threat with his arm and his legs. I watched that game and I thought to myself I’m not sure how this kid didn’t win the starting job. But Anthony Lynn appears to still want to roll with Tyrod Taylor as the starter. Well that’s fine and all, except your desired QB has A PUNCTURED LUNG. So I think we will be expecting Herbert to go against the Panthers this week.

My Major Knock on Herbert However…

Dude…you gotta slide…and/or run out of bounds. Herbert pretty much knocked out Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson on a major hit running along the sideline. I was shocked Herbert didn’t get hurt on the play as well. It was then when I thought the Chargers would be dealing with two punctured lungs. But Herbert is a big kid.

But dude…you ain’t in the Pac-12 anymore. He won’t be able to get away with that in the NFL most times. Take the slide or run out of bounds…don’t be a hero…but know the Chargers need you. You are their future.

And the Future of the Chargers Will Get His First Win

I just can’t trust Carolina’s defense right now. They have been horrible. Herbert will make more mistakes, but his defense will help him, and I think he will do just enough to earn his first NFL career win. Chargers win 23-20.

Buccaneers at Broncos

This is not a good Broncos team, and now they are without their starting quarterback Drew Lock after he suffered a shoulder injury against the Steelers last week.

You know what they say about Sports Authority Stadium…it’s where great visiting quarterbacks go to die. But, since it is now Empower Field at Mile High, I am feeling empowered to pick the greatest quarterback to ever live to win his second game in a Bucs uniform. Buccaneers win 28-17.

Lions at Cardinals

The last time these two teams played, Matt Stafford threw for 385 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

And they tied.

That was back when Kyler Murray was playing his first NFL game of his career, Kliff Kingsbury was coaching his first NFL game of his career, the Lions had a healthy Kenny Golladay, and the Cardinals didn’t have DeAndre Hopkins or Kenyan Drake.

Ummm GULP.

Detroit has looked awful, and they travel to Arizona to face a Kyler Murray who has been playing out of his mind so far this season. This could get ugly. Cardinals win 36-20.

Cowboys at Seahawks

If you want to know how good Russell Wilson is, he WENT AFTER the best cornerback in football and destroyed him last Sunday night.

People throw away from Stephon Gilmore. Russell? He doesn’t throw away from anyone.

But He Does Throw TO Everyone On His Team

Last week against New England, Wilson threw for five touchdowns, and they were to five different receivers. I swear a fan could suit up, hop onto the field at CenturyLink, and could probably catch a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson.

Wilson will go down as a sure Hall of Famer and one of the greatest quarterbacks I’ve seen in my life. But I’ve always said this about Russell…he is far and away the best quarterback I’ve ever seen in my life at doing so much with so little. He makes everyone around him better, and he does it with a cruddy offensive line, and guys who weren’t first round picks in the draft or big splash free agents. No matter who you are, Wilson can make it work.

How ‘Bout Them Cowboys

How ’bout them? They should be 0-2. That’s the harsh truth.

What is Dallas? What is their identity? That’s what I struggle with. Are they going to run their offense through Dak? Through Zeke? What does Mike McCarthy want out of this team? I do know one thing…their secondary is a problem. And I mean a problem in a bad way. Their secondary sucks. And unfortunately for them, they will be facing a quarterback who just shredded Stephon Gilmore and THAT secondary.

Maybe we will see another exciting shootout, but the Seahawks don’t have a tendency of blowing big leads like the Falcons do. Give me Seattle. Seahawks win 36-33.

Packers at Saints

Speaking of shootouts, that is exactly what Drew Brees should NOT do against Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night.

I love Brees, he’s great. But Rodgers is on a mission from God. He’s basically Outlaw Josey Wales going through Santo Rio and if you’ve seen The Outlaw Josey Wales with Clint Eastwood, you know what happens when he treks into Santo Rio.

I mean I’m pretty sure Rodgers might even be slowly transforming into Clint Eastwood slamming back tequila shots and taking names later.

This Green Bay offense is averaging over 40 points per game and Aaron Jones has been a BAAAAD man too. The Saints offense on the other hand is a completely different looking offense without Michael Thomas, and that is why they are paying him the big bucks. Give me Green Bay to stay hot and New Orleans drops to 1-2. Packers win 31-23.

It’s good to be back! Enjoy the games!

Matt lives in Newnan, Georgia but was born and raised in Upstate New York. He is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Boston Celtics. At the collegiate level, he is a Notre Dame and Syracuse fan (yeah he can root for both, and what?!) He must, however, find a soccer team to root for. So please...help him out there. All suggestions are welcome. You can catch Matt on the Turf mostly covering NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football and Basketball, and Horse Racing (that is not a typo, he practically grew up on a racetrack). It's nothing personal...it's strictly sports.

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