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Sam Farmer's NFL picks: Week 3

September 19, 2008|Sam Farmer

No, as a matter of fact, I don't own stock in any Las Vegas casino and, contrary to the evidence, I really do know a thing or two about NFL football.

So, to borrow a phrase I've dutifully penned into my notebook off the lips of dozens of coaches over the years, let's sum up this way my two-week record (15-16) of picking NFL games:

"We're just off to a little bit of a slow start."

We'll try to right the boat this week with a simple, back-to-basics, nearly foolproof strategy: picking all the home teams.

Sure, that might sound like a gimmick, but consider this odd twist: Every home team is favored in Week 3. Still, home teams through two weeks are just 16-15 -- only a game better than me. Expect both those winning percentages to soar this week.

Kansas City at Atlanta: The experienced quarterback wins this one. Believe it or not, that's rookie Matt Ryan. The Chiefs are starting Tyler Thigpen. Pick: Atlanta.

Oakland at Buffalo: The Bills could be the NFL's surprise team. This is no surprise: Al Davis is just waiting for the moment to fire Lane Kiffin. Pick: Buffalo.

Tampa Bay at Chicago: The Bears are finally home -- no other team began with two scheduled road games -- and they'll really kick themselves if their old backup, Brian Griese, beats them. Pick: Chicago.

Carolina at Minnesota: Don't count out the Vikings quite yet. Their two losses came to Indianapolis and Green Bay, teams that finished a combined 26-6 last season. Pick: Minnesota.

Miami at New England: Matt Cassel makes his home debut as the starting quarterback, and Miami's Joey Porter has already stoked the fires by saying Cassel is no Tom Brady. Cassel doesn't need to be. Pick: New England.

Cincinnati at New York Giants: The biggest disadvantage the Giants have to confront in this game? They're not on the road. No team lives out of a suitcase better than the G-men. Pick: New York Giants.

Houston at Tennessee: LenDale White and Chris Johnson could have a big day -- or at least combine for one -- against a team that may be fresh but in its opener was fresh out of answers about stopping the run. Pick: Tennessee.

Arizona at Washington: The Cardinals haven't started 3-0 since 1974. And no, that was not Kurt Warner's rookie season. Pick: Washington.

New Orleans at Denver: The Saints' secondary is hobbled and hurting. Bad week for that, considering how Denver's passing game has looked the first two weeks. Pick: Denver.

Detroit at San Francisco: Mike Martz, now offensive coordinator of the 49ers, gets a chance to sting his old team. And he plans to do it with ex-Lions backup J.T. O'Sullivan. Pick: San Francisco.

St. Louis at Seattle: The Seahawks are certainly nothing special, having lost at home to the 49ers last Sunday. But no team makes an opponent feel better than the Rams. Pick: Seattle.

Cleveland at Baltimore: This division game pits the old Browns and the new Browns. The edge goes to the old Browns with the new quarterback. Read that slowly. Pick: Baltimore.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis: This game really tests my home-team-runs-the-table theory, because Jacksonville's backs are due for big games. Pick: Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia: This one also could go either way. The Eagles are coming off a short week, but they have the offense to give Pittsburgh's defense a serious test. Pick: Philadelphia.

Dallas at Green Bay: Who needs Brett Favre? Certainly not the Packers, who are doing just fine with Aaron Rodgers. This could be a preview of the NFC championship game. Pick: Green Bay.

New York Jets at San Diego: The Chargers have yet to win a game. But remember, this team lost three of its first four games last season before getting its act together. Pick: San Diego.

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

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