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Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 3

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And so it begins.

After a brief respite in Week 1, where Stella and I finished with identical 8-8 records, Week 2 finds the natural order restored. Specifically – Stella is winning once again.

Now, it’s not by a lot – she went 11-5 and I was hot on her heels with a 10-6 record – but a lead is a lead. She has historically proven quite reticent to relinquish said leads when she gets them, so … buckle up, I guess?

We’re at odds on six of the week’s contests this time around, so we’ll see what happens.

First up, we’ve got the Indianapolis/Tennessee matchup. I’ve gone with the home Titans here. Basically, I’m putting all of my eggs into the Derrick Henry basket – tough to watch that guy last week and NOT think he’ll be able to carve up the Colts run defense. Ryan Tannehill remains a perfectly cromulent quarterback and he’s got some solid receivers out there. Plus, the Colts QB situation is in turmoil. Stella acknowledges that Jacob Eason is in fact not Carson Wentz – she’s just not sure that’s an altogether bad thing. She recognizes that the defense will have to carry the load for Indy to win, but she also thinks they’re capable; she anticipates serious regression for Henry and the Tennessee run game – enough regression for the Colts to pull off a road upset.

In more heartbreaking news, Stella has picked against my (I used to think our) beloved New England Patriots. Yes, I’m a homer, but having someone like Jameis Winston come to town after a week filled with INTs, well … I like the New England secondary’s chances to make a play or two. That whole defense has looked awfully tough in the early going. Mac Jones won’t do anything sexy, but with that defense and the stout running of young Demien Harris, he won’t need to. Stella doesn’t mean anything personal by this, but she believes that the Saints are much closer to the team that demolished the Packers in Week 1 than the one that meekly lay down for the Panthers. She thinks the Pats will have some struggles with Alvin Kamara – she figures if he touches the ball 20-25 times, New England will be in serious trouble. She’s a little leery of Winston against this secondary, but if Kamara’s cooking, it’ll be much less of a factor.

Next up, we have the Falcons taking on the Giants. I have gone with Atlanta here, less because I believe in the Falcons and more because I absolutely DO NOT believe in the Giants. Matt Ryan’s not the QB he used to be, but he can still sling it well enough; expect rookie TE Kyle Pitts to be a featured player in this weekend’s festivities. I don’t love the ATL D, but the Giants have struggled to move the ball. Stella thinks that this has a chance to be the best game of the season for Giants QB Daniel Jones, both with the arm and with his legs. She also thinks that Saquon Barkley is closer to 100% than we suspect and is poised for a breakout game himself. So long as they avoid turnovers, the offense will be fine. She also isn’t worried about Atlanta’s offense – she thinks the running game will collapse when Cordarelle Patterson turns back into a pumpkin.

From there, we’re off to Pittsburgh, where I have the Steelers defeating the visiting Bengals. This is very much a gut call, because Pittsburgh has shown us almost nothing and Cincy looks like they have some offensive oomph. I’m counting on this being the game when rookie RB Najee Harris starts to get it going, turning this into a ball-control contest. If QB Ben Roethlisberger and company succeed in that, the Steelers will win this game. Stella thinks the Bengals are just too dynamic – she expects a lot of fireworks, both from the arm of Joe Burrow and the legs of Joe Mixon. The Bengals wideout group is sneaky-strong – Stella’s been particularly impressed by young Ja’Marr Chase’s hot rookie start. Basically, she just doesn’t believe that the Steelers can keep up with the Bengals – if it turns into any kind of shootout scenario, she’s pretty sure Cincy walks away with it.

In a bit of a surprise, we differ on the Tampa Bay/L.A. Rams contest. I’m going with the Buccaneers here. Sure, they’re going on the road against a good Rams team, but until Tom Brady and that Tampa Bay offense give any indicator of regression, I have to go with them. Rob Gronkowski looks rejuvenated and the wideout corps remains top-tier, Plus, their defense is front-to-back excellent. Sure, they can’t really run the ball, but who the hell cares? Stella agrees that the Bucs are one of the league’s best teams, but she thinks I’m selling the Rams short. Los Angeles has their own set of elite pass catchers, after all; she thinks that Matthew Stafford is the guy who will be able to get them the ball, even against a strong defense. The Rams can run the ball better, as well. Oh, and the Rams just happen to have force-of-nature Aaron Donald on their D-line, a guy who can make the difference all by himself – particularly when he doesn’t have to worry as much about run coverage. We both agree that this could be the game of the week.

Lastly, I’ve got San Francisco winning at home against Green Bay. I don’t love this pick – I’m not sold on this 49ers team long-term – but I also think that the Packers are in state of some disrepair. Sure, Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, but still. While Rodgers and guys like Aaron Jones and my large adult son Davante Adams are explosive talents, I think they’ll have a bit more trouble against the Nick Bosa-led Niners defense. And I’m not sure Green Bay can really stop a decent offense, which S.F. has. Stella’s not as high on the 49ers as I am, on either the offensive or defensive side. She thinks the Packers are poised to really click and kick into an even higher gear – she’s expecting some fireworks from the Green Bay passing attack, even if Rodgers gets dinged a few times by the Niners pass rush. Ultimately, she feels confident that the Pack is back and will have little trouble dispatching this San Francisco squad.

And there we have it. Half a dozen games. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: I’m already behind. Let’s see how much further behind I am after the dust clears in Week 3. I’m holding out hope for a big move, while Stella remains, as always, unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 23

CAROLINA at Houston

Sunday, Sept. 26

Washington at BUFFALO

Chicago at CLEVELAND

BALTIMORE at Detroit

Indianapolis at TENNESSEE

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

New Orleans at NEW ENGLAND

ATLANTA at NY Giants

Cincinnati at PITTSBURGH

ARIZONA at Jacksonville

NY Jets at DENVER

Miami at LAS VEGAS

TAMPA BAY at LA Rams

SEATTLE at Minnesota

Green Bay at SAN FRANCISCO

Monday, Sept. 27

Philadelphia at DALLAS

Week 2 record: 10-6

Season record: 18-14

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 23

CAROLINA at Houston

Sunday, Sept. 26

Washington at BUFFALO

Chicago at CLEVELAND

BALTIMORE at Detroit

INDIANAPOLIS at Tennessee

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

NEW ORLEANS at New England

Atlanta at NY GIANTS

CINCINNATI at Pittsburgh

ARIZONA at Jacksonville

NY Jets at DENVER

Miami at LAS VEGAS

Tampa Bay at LA RAMS

SEATTLE at Minnesota

GREEN BAY at San Francisco

Monday, Sept. 27

Philadelphia at DALLAS

Week 2 record: 11-5

Season record: 19-13

Last modified on Thursday, 30 September 2021 10:53

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