Picking games each week is really a science. One must choose where to take a chance. Picking the favorite every week will basically guarantee you a 55% winning percentage. The good pick'em players have a knack for picking the right underdogs. Thanks to my old man, I have been picking games for 20+ years. I have my ups and downs, but I usually end up with a top tier record. I would attribute that picking the right underdogs a majority of the time.
I also have trends, for reasons I haven't figured out, of having a good Week 1, horrible Week 2, and an average Week 3. All this happens before I settle in with any consistency. So take this post with a grain of salt since my track record for Week 3 is not very great. That said, nothing is ever set in stone!
I grade my upset picks based on the level of risk involved. The first tier is the riskiest picks, which bring the highest reward in pick'em leagues but can also cause disaster for you which happened to me last week. The second tier bring less risk than the top tier, because the favorite is not as heavily favored to win. And the third tier risk is basically a coin flip that could go either way, those are the most irritating games because they are so damaging when the coin flip doesn't go your way.
First Tier Upsets:
Tampa Bay @ Chicago
Now most pick'em leagues I am in have Chicago as the likely winner, but after watching them implode last week against the Panthers causes me to doubt them. Plus Tampa Bay has just gone out and won the games they are supposed to win. They got Brian Greise coming out to get some revenge on his former team and this game has all the makings of a great one. For that reason, I am going with the better coach in John Gruden. Tampa Bay by 3.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
I initially had the Colts in this home game because the struggling Jaguars have not shown me anything to be excited about. However, history shows the Colts struggle against the run whenever Bob Sanders is out of the game and the two headed beast in Jacksonville is on the verge of busting out. To me that gives the edge to Jacksonville in a close one. Out of all my upset picks, this one scares me the most. So pick this team with caution! As for me, I'm going to go with my Shanny gut and go with the Jags by 2.
Here is a run down of some other high risk potential upset picks that I did not take this week:
Arizona over Washington
Jets over San Diego
Cleveland over Baltimore
Second Tier Picks:
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia
From where I sit, these two teams "appear" to be equals. They are not. Philadelphia is in the weaker NFC and appears much stronger than they actually are due to weak competition. They are playing at a high level, but I think Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense will stymie the Eagles in a close one. The Steelers are highly underrated and that have already proven to me this season that they are the real deal. Steelers by 7.
The other second tier pick is New Orleans @ Denver. In my non Bronco pick'em leagues this is one of those 60-40 picks. I know none of us think they'll lose and no doubt I picked Denver to win.
Third Tier Picks:
Carolina @ Minnesota
This is my third tier pick. This is really a coin flip game. Carolina has played tough in its first two games, but as Bronco fans we know that two consecutive games of last second wins is draining on a football team. Last year we dominated the yardage against the Jaguars yet lost by 9 points. The Vikings on the other hand have brought in a proven veteran who will likely be able to find the end zone more often than embattled QB Jackson. This game is going to come down to time of possession as both teams hope to grind out the win. I give the victory to the Vikings by 3.
There you have it. My upset picks for Week 3. I doubt anyone will be swayed by my opinion, but hopefully I can add some perspective on some of the picks I made to those of you out in the ether world! The most important thing is to take great care with who your take for your upset picks. If you took all the upset picks you'd end up winning 45% of your picks, so these picks really are the difference between a great week and an average one. Good luck to all you pick'em fools out there(not to mdierk, bad luck to you!) and GO BRONCOS!