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WAYNE ROOT (w/ write ups)
Texans (+6½) over Falcons
1:00 PM (EDT) — Georgia Dome
MILL–Houston Atlanta has won three straight games. Winning four in a row is difficult at best. They won all three “coyote” ugly. They are the only team in the history of the NFL to win their first 3 games to start the season while having to score last to win all of them. Lucky or good remains the question. Houston is off a win and should have Arian Foster back. Their defense will not allow half the scoring that the Falcons are doing. Julio Jones was held out of practice Wednesday due to a sore hamstring and a new toe injury. For the Texans, J.J. Watt leads the squad with three sacks, but Jadeveon Clowney is still seeking his first. Ryan Mallet hopes to keep making strides under center. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes last week and should increase that with Foster in the backfield. A special teams decision has Houston going with former San Diego kicker Nick Novak. Randy Bullock missed an extra point and a field-goal attempt last Sunday and was sent home. These are decisions that shows how no position is safe unless you play at the highest level. Atlanta is laying to many points.
Redskins (+3) over Eagles
1:00 PM (EDT) — FedEx Field
No Limit–Washington Philadelphia dropped its first two games with Sam Bradford committing five turnovers and throwing only two touchdown passes. He won”t improve much playing rival division foe Washington. Bradford ranks toward the bottom of the NFL with a 72.5 passer rating. The Eagles have just two plays of 25 yards or more which ties them for last in the league. For the Skins, Kirk Cousins passing yards have climbed from 196 to 203 to 316 in his 3 games to start the season. The real question is ”why is Philadelphia favored on the road when both teams suck equally”? The Washington players have more heart than their counterparts. Especially playing at home and with the benching of RGIII.
Rams (+6½) over Cardinals
1:25 PM (EDT) — University of Phoenix Stadium
Inner Circle–St Louis When Carson Palmer was carted off his home field last November after suffering a season-ending knee injury, it was against the St. Louis Rams and could be in the back of his mind as he goes up against the Rams on Sunday. A winner of nine straight starts and the leagues highest scoring team, Palmer has thrown for 803 yards with nine TDs with just two interceptions in route to a 3-0 start for the second straight season. But that type of scoring rarely continues. The real question is ”who have they done this against”? The answer is the Saints, Bears and 49ers. Not your top of the line powerhouses. St Louis can match them pass for pass. Their defense may be somewhat better. The played well vs the Seahawks and Steelers. Getting RB Todd Gurley in the backfield can only help Nick Foles. The points are plenty in this divisional contest.
TAKE ST LOUIS
Buccaneers (+3) over Panthers
1:00 PM (EDT) — Raymond James Stadium
Perfect Play–Tampa Bay Carolina is 3-0 for the first time since winning its first five and making the franchise”s lone Super Bowl appearance in 2003. Last week was just the second time in his last 29 games that Newton threw for at least 300 yards. He looks to keep up the momentum as the Panthers play at Tampa Bay. Cam has barely any help tho. Of the 7 total offensive touchdowns scored by his team, he”s been part of everyone of them. On the defensive side, DE Kuechly wasn”t at practice Wednesday, and Carolina could choose to keep him out again Sunday with the bye week following. Again, that could be big. The Panthers also lost defensive end Charles Johnson to a hamstring injury. Lovie Smith still believes Winston is coming along well after he finished 17 of 36 for 261 yards, one touchdown and one interception in last week”s 19-9 loss at Houston. Now Winston is focused on helping the Bucs end a 10-game home losing streak. The Bucs offense is comparable to the Panthers and with some Carolina injuries to their defense, this may the game to end that home losing streak.
TAKE TAMPA BAY
49ers (+8) over Packers
1:25 PM (EDT) — Levi’s Stadium
Pinnacle–San Francisco (NFC Game of the Month) I have nothing to add about what a great team the Green Bay Packers are. Aaron Rodgers is the best in the NFL. They may have hit a certain playing level and peaked somewhat against Seattle and after 3 quarters of last weeks game with Kansas City. How long can a team keep greatness alive? It”s hard to imagine that the Packers playing on a short week and traveling across country will show much in terms of 100%. The Packers play San Francisco with hopes of overcoming possibly their most nagging opponent over the past three seasons. Rodgers lost another starting receiver when Davante Adams left with a recurrent ankle injury last week. Lacy and Starks are not their normal selves. Randall Cobb is awesome but some injuries and relaxing in this game could be what the 49er backers need. For San Fran, Kaepernick is 3-0 with six TDs, two interceptions and a 101.3 rating as a starter during the four-game winning streak against the Packers. They are also 1-0 at home having defeated the Vikings in week one. The prize for the 49ers is plenty. A 2-2 record with a victory over a hot Green Bay team will come with plenty of hope for their immediate future. A 1-3 start has you starring at the Golden Gate Bridge. Look for San Francisco to cover in an ugly game by both sides.
TAKE SAN FRANCISCO