Two weeks into the 2015 season, it's mulligan time for itchy head coaches, fantasy owners and at least one disgruntled holdout. Like a golfer who just shanked his drive on the first tee, pigskin-centric people are already making changes.
Be careful, though: As game shows and Kenny Rogers have taught us, sometimes it's better to hold fort than make rash moves to improve on your present lot. As you make your Week 3 picks (and modify your expectations about the players, coaches and teams involved), let's take a quick look at how the hands dealt around the NFL will play out, Kenny style:
Seattle Seahawks: While I don't agree with cavalier analysts who dismiss Seattle's slow start by saying, "It's just two games" -- yes, two games they'll need to make up over the next 14 in order to catch a very good Cardinals team -- I have little doubt the loaded 'Hawks will make it to January. They just might have to play on Wild Card Weekend. (Speaking of which, circle the games vs. DET and at MIN -- I have a feeling two of those three will be the NFC's wild cards.)
Dallas Cowboys: I understand the temptation to close the book on Big D, but look for the 'Boys to lean on the league's best O-line and grind teams on the ground. With Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain all on the way, the oft-romanticized "complementary football" will be the beautiful reality in the Jerrah Dome.
Atlanta Falcons: The NFC South is already down to a two-team race (sorry, Bucs -- Jameis & Co aren't ready just yet) ... and as much as I admire Cam Newton carrying that Carolina offense to two good wins, he's but one man. Dan Quinn has the strength in numbers to take the division in time for Christmas.
New Orleans Saints: Already being down two games to two NFC South rivals is bad, but Drew Brees' apparent disinterest in accepting what Sean Payton wants to do is worse. The future Hall of Famer has been ruled out of this Sunday's game -- and maybe shelving Brees for a game or two will refresh that arm. But by then, the team's 2015 playoff hopes will be sunk.
Indianapolis Colts: Alright, I know this one seems rash, but (former O-lineman) Ryan Grigson's ironic apathy about both sides of the line of scrimmage are coming to a head. Apologists can point out the tough defenses that the high-powered Indy offense has faced so far, but Luck's alleged protectors haven't played J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney yet. (Speaking of the Texans, they'll take off when Arian Foster gets on the field.)
Mike Pettine: I suspect the Browns' D will be able to slow Derek Carr's Raiders enough for Cleveland to win on Sunday -- which will entrench Josh McCown as the team's starter and give Pettine a short-term bit of validation. But ultimately, it's a long-term loss for the Browns and their fans. Set aside the fact Mr. Football generates more excitement on one scramble than McCown has in his entire career -- McCown (like Fitzpatrick, Hoyer, Cousins, et al) is nothing more than a backup, a fact that eventually will scuttle Cleveland's playoff dreams.
Chicago Bears: I feel sad for Jimmy Clausenon Sunday. In the C-Link for the home opener and the return of Kam Chancellor? Yikes. (The Football Gods couldn't even give him Alshon Jeffery as a weapon? That's just mean.) At least the home crowd at next spring's draft in Chicago will be able to celebrate having the first overall pick.
Jay Gruden: The only aspect on the RGIII melodrama that should matter to Dan Snyder is this: Gruden doesn't know how to handle the big ego of his team's biggest star. Ergo, Gruden doesn't know how to be an NFL head coach. (The ongoing mediocre-to-grotesque product on the field ain't helping, either.)
Anyhoo ... let's get to the picks.
WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the final scores of the Week 3 games.
(1-0 this week, 7-9 last week, 20-13 on the season)
J. Jones: 9 rec, 120 yds, TD
J. Randle: 125 yds/scrimmage, 2 TDs
A Luck: 390 yds, 3 TDs, INT
M. Mariota: 290 yds, 3 TDs, INT
D. Carr: 2 TDs, 3 INTs
I. Crowell: 105 yds, 2 TDs
A Dalton: TD, 3 INTs
S. Smith: 7 rec, 100 yds, TD
Z. Ertz: 2 TDs
R. Fitzpatrick: 3 INTs
K. Allen: 6 rec, 80 yds, TD
M. Wallace: 3 rec, 85 yds, TD
L. Bell: 110 yds/scrimmage, TD
T. Austin: 70-yd TD run
C. Clay: 45-yd TD rec
MIA D: 6 sacks
J. Clausen: Flustered
K. Chancellor: INT, fumble rec
P. Manning: 2 INTs
J. Bell: 90 yds, TD
J. Charles: 140 yds/scrimmage, 2 TDs
R. Rodgers: 6 rec, 80 yds, TD
Enjoy the Week Three games! I hope your teams wins (unless they're playing my team).