I don't know how it happened, but I was clearly off my game, picking only five of the sixteen games correctly.  Needless to say, I felt a lot like the Minnesota Vikings in the second half on Sunday.

So, what went wrong?  Obviously, there were many factors that I didn't take into account before I made my picks; for instance, Adrian Peterson was deactivated the day before the game (in which I picked Minnesota to win), Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were able to play after it seemed like they wouldn't (I had Chicago losing), and I surely didn't expect Robert Griffin III to get hurt and be replaced by Kirk Cousins, who could be the better quarterback of the two.

However, I probably shouldn't be making any excuses; I accept this shameful week like a man, and hopefully these picks will be much stronger than the previous:

 

Last Week's picks: 5-11

Total Regular Season Picks: 13-19

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-1): Thursday, 7:25 PM

Al Messerschmidt, Getty Images Sport

This week's Thursday night game looks to be a lot less exciting than week two's Steelers/Ravens matchup.  The Bucs, for instance, simply haven't been able to get anything going offensively or defensively.  On top of that, Defensive End Adrian Clayborn is out for the season with a biceps injury and Running Back Doug Martin is questionable after missing Sunday's game against the Rams.  I always try to find a key fact or stat when picking games, and here's what I found:  After two weeks, Tampa has lost both of their games while playing against backup quarterbacks.  Now, they have to face Matt Ryan, who has really made a strong statement as a potential MVP candidate once we hit midseason.  Even though Ryan may be without Receiver Roddy White on Thursday, I'll pick the Falcons because it is the safe and logical pick.  Sorry to get all "Mr. Spock" on you guys, but I need to do all I can to get some more correct picks!

 

Green Bay Packers (1-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Gregory Shamus, Getty Images Sport

NFC North divisional games might be more entertaining to watch than any other division matchup because three, if not all four, of these teams always seem to have a chance to reach the playoffs.  Detroit has had a playoff-worthy team ever since the Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection started clicking, but they've only accumulated one playoff appearance since 2000.

The Packers, who have been perennial playoff participants, finally started to pull everything together after three halves of not-so-good football.  Their key to winning: STOP THE RUN.  Marshawn Lynch basically had a field day against Green Bay's front seven, and Chris Ivory was the same way until Dom Caper's defense clamped down and held him in check.  However, the Lions' running back combination of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell is deadlier than advertised, and with that being said, I'll pick Detroit to once again beat the Pack at Ford Field.

 

Washington Redskins (1-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-0): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Patrick Smith, Getty Images Sport

After being down 17-6 at halftime, the Eagles were able to once again pull off an impressive comeback (thanks to the speedy combo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles) and enter this week 2-0.  However, Washington's backup Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who will be their starter for the time being with RGIII out with a dislocated ankle, tore up Jacksonville's defense for the 41-7 victory.  Cousin's upside is intriguing for this week, and I would definitely pick him up on waivers for fantasy football, but I'm concerned about how the Redskins' defense will stop Philly's up-tempo offense.  I'm picking the Philadelphia Eagles especially for that reason, but this game could end up becoming a shootout if the 'Skins' offense catches fire.

 

Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1): Sunday, 3:25 PM

Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images Sport

This is a matchup that us football fans know all-too well.  In the two weeks before the Super Bowl, analysts, former coaches, and players were all saying how evenly-matched the game was going to be.  In fact, it felt like most gave Denver the edge because of Peyton Manning and his record-breaking offense.  However, even if you picked the Seahawks to win the game, there's no way that anyone expected it to be such a blowout.  Anyways, most of the key players are back from last season (except for former Broncos Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker), and this game will be played in Seattle with the roaring 12th man in Denver's ear.

Like the Super Bowl last February, you can make cases for either team.  I'm sure Manning and the rest of the Broncos had this game circled on their calendars, and they've probably corrected all of their mistakes on film.  However, I'm still picking Seattle to win this rematch;  I picked Denver back in February, and even though I don't doubt Peyton's intelligence and preparation skills, I'm not making the same mistake again.

 

Chicago Bears (1-1) @ New York Jets (1-1): Monday, 7:30 PM

Ezra Shaw, Getty Images Sports


I learned two things after watching the Bears beat San Francisco Sunday night: 1) Their defense is as good as it's been since Brian Urlacher's retirement, and 2) Brandon Marshall is the best wide receiver in the league not named Calvin Johnson.  On the other side of the field, the Jets were one ejection and one ill-timed timeout away from upsetting the Packers last Sunday.  Granted, the touchdown on 4th down to Jeremy Kerley would've only tied the game, but Mohammed Wilkerson was causing a havok for the offensive lineman in the first half, which might have been the winning difference for New York.

In the end, if Geno Smith plays the way he did against the Packers, they'll win.  However, Chicago's defense in the second half was way too good for me to discount, so I'll pick the Bears with all due respect to Geno and the Jets, who could be in playoff discussions come December.

 

Alas, here are the rest of my picks (predicted winners are in bold and underlined):

 

San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-0): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (1-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Houston Texans (2-0) @ New York Giants (0-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Indianapolis Colts (0-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Minnesota Vikings (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-2): Sunday, 12:00 PM

Oakland Raiders (0-2) @ New England Patriots (1-1): Sunday, 12:00 PM

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-0): Sunday, 3:05 PM

Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) @ Miami Dolphins (1-1): Sunday, 3:25 PM

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) @ Carolina Panthers (2-0): Sunday, 7:25 PM