Shawn Rine’s NFL Picks
San Francisco 23, St. Louis 21
It’s been a long time since the 49ers looked as badly as they did last week, especially at home. The overwhelming NFC favorite to reach the Super Bowl in the preseason, San Francisco has struggled to a 1-2 start and already sits two games behind division-leading Seattle.
Kansas City 26, N.Y. Giants 14
If I had told you before the season that one of these teams would be unbeaten and the other winless, you surely would have thought the Giants would be the team off to a 3-0 start. Instead it’s backward. Say what you will about Alex Smith, but all the guy does is win football games. New York can’t turn the opposition over, something the Chiefs do sparingly anyway.
Seattle 31, Houston 13
I continue to believe the Seahawks are the best bet to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and it has nothing to do with their rolling of the Jaguars. The belief is anchored in the fact Seattle is the most balanced team in the league offensively and nobody has a better defense. Bad news for Matt Schaub.
Baltimore 29, Buffalo 10
You have to be impressed by a Ravens club that took it to Houston with Ray Rice sitting out injured. One would think he could rest again and Baltimore would still win. The Bills are going to end up in the conversation for the first pick in next spring’s draft.
Arizona 24, Tampa Bay 3
Putting it mildly, things are a mess right now in Tampa Bay. Darrelle Revis is reportedly already unhappy, but what did he really expect going to a franchise that has been down far longer than it has been relevant? The Cardinals took one on the chin against New Orleans, but their NFC South opponent this week is a lot less formidable.
Indianapolis 40, Jacksonville 6
Hey, this Colts team might not be all that bad. Just wait until Trent Richardson has time to get comfortable and learn the system. This would be as good a time as any for him to find that level against a Jacksonville club that is threatening to be one of the worst the NFL has seen.
Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 10
The Browns have a chance to turn the AFC North into a bigger cluster than it already is. Seriously, the North and NFC East are neck-and-neck in a race for futility. The Bengals have been up and down and haven’t been able to put a complete game together. Now’s the time.
Chicago 27, Detroit 26
An early season showdown in what many refer to as the Black-and-Blue division, the NFC North. Both of these teams are coming off victories against winless teams that can’t get out of their own way. The talent level isn’t all that different, so when in doubt, go with the better defense.
Minnesota 36, Pittsburgh 20
Maybe the best thing for the Steelers right now is to get out of the country. It’s just too bad there will be television cameras in London to send the game back to the states. Pittsburgh has so many issues that it’s hard to figure where to start. The Steelers turn it over, but don’t force turnovers. They can’t really stop anyone. The young guys are more interested in their own stats than winning, Kevin Colbert can’t draft well and there aren’t many – if any – leaders. Good luck with Adrian Peterson, boys.
Tennessee 17, N.Y. Jets 14
Nobody, and I mean nobody had the Jets at 2-1 after three weeks, and honestly, the same is probably true of the Titans, who cooled off a red-hot Chargers outfit a week ago. It could be said that both of these clubs are doing it with smoke and mirrors, but in a league where the victory column is the only thing that matters, that has been good enough. On a hunch … .
Washington 6, Oakland 3
Somebody has got to win, right? I guess it could end in a tie, but I can’t pick it that way. Not to beat a dead horse, but Robert Griffin III and the Redskins coaching staff are doing the rest of the 52 players on the team and their fans a disservice by trotting him out there every week. The thing is, Washington could trot me out there and could win this game.
San Diego 22, Dallas 20
Are the Cowboys for real? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. This has already been one of the more unpredictable seasons in recent memory, so everything is possible. Despite a loss last week, I just like what the Chargers are doing a little bit more.
Denver 38, Philadelphia 9
So about that Chip Kelly offense everyone – including me – has been talking about … . The last thing you want to do is give Peyton Manning more plays, but the Eagles, because it’s what they do, are about to attempt to go that route. Better teams have tried and failed.
Atlanta 27, New England 22
Nothing against the Patriots, but they are easily the most flawed of the still-perfect teams in the league. Tom Brady is finding a way, mostly behind one of the NFL’s top defenses, though it doesn’t get much air time. The Falcons are sure to be in a sour mood and don’t lose often at home.
New Orleans 28, Miami 17
A nationally televised showdown between two undefeated teams. Perhaps nobody has had a more impressive turnaround than the Saints, who now have a rock-solid defense to go along with Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and that terrific offense. Tough to expect a young Dolphins team to go into Bourbon Street on a Monday night and come out on top.
Shawn Rine can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org