Saturday, September 15, 2012

NFL Week 2 Picks

The NFL season is back, and we are through one week of picks. Now lets lets go on to Week 2!

Last Week's Record: 8-7

Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills
These are two teams that got off to starts last week that did not meet their expectations. The Bills were absolutely schooled by the Jets last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick did not look good. The new and improved defense got no pressure on the QB, and that resulted in the young secondary getting torched by Mark Sanchez. Buffalo also lost Fred Jackson for a few weeks and WR David Nelson for the year. C.J. Spiller will pick up the load on offense, and he did well last week. Kansas City hung with Atlanta for a little bit but ended up getting blown out in the end. The Chiefs gave up 20 unanswered points and only scored a late garbage time TD in the second half. Kansas City was without some key players on defense. They may get CB Brandon Flowers back though. The Chiefs have some tough games coming up, but I think the Bills are more motivated by all of their doubters after Week 1. And they are at home. I'll take Buffalo.

Buffalo 27  Kansas City 21

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals
It is the Battle of Ohio. But after this past week, the people of Ohio may not want you to know they are from the state. The Browns defense did everything they could to keep their team in the game. Unfortunately for them, Brandon Weeden is the one leading their offense. Weeden did not look good last week throwing 4 interceptions. And what makes matters worse for Cleveland, they will now be without star cornerback Joe Haden on defense. Haden starts a four game suspension handed down by the NFL. That is how things get worse in Cleveland. After a solid season last year, Cincinnati continued their trend of not beating Playoff teams by getting blown out by Baltimore. What is most troubling is that Cincinnati's defense, their strength last year, was run over by Joe Flacco. Cincinnati was able to move the ball with Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis on offense, but they still couldn't muster enough to hang with Baltimore. They should be able to score enough points to beat Cleveland here.

Cincinnati 20  Cleveland 12

Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck had a very rude welcome to the NFL last week against Chicago. Luck threw 3 interceptions and was also sacked the same amount of times. He faced a very good defense in Chicago. The entire Colts offense had problems getting going last week but they should do a bit better this week against the Vikings. Minnesota won an OT thriller against Jacksonville. Adrian Peterson looked like he hadn't lost a step running for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Christian Ponder did enough to help his team win. Minnesota barely escaped Jacksonville at home. I think Indy is a little bit better, so I'm giving them a close win.

Indianapolis 23  Minnesota 21

New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers
Both of these teams suffered surprising losses last week. Carolina, who had a high octane offense last year, only mustered 10 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cam Newton did throw for over 300 yards, but the Panthers were always a running team first and foremost. They got away from that last week. It was very surprising to see the Panthers not put up a lot of points. New Orleans, meanwhile, was shocked at home by the up start Washington Redskins. The defense was steam rolled by Robert Griffin. I was skeptical of the Saints this season, but I didn't think they would have 40 put up on them in Week 1. The Panthers played New Orleans close last year in Carolina. Cam Newton and Robert Griffin have very similar skill sets, so you know the Saints have plenty to prepare for. And Cam Newton has to be licking his chops after seeing Robert Griffin last week. I think this will be high scoring. Carolina gets my pick here.

Carolina 35  New Orleans 34

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
I don't know if Houston could have asked for an easier two games to start the season. Last week they dominated the Miami Dolphins in every aspect of the game. Nothing could go wrong for them. Of course, it helps when you are playing a rookie QB in his first NFL game. And this week the Texans get Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars. It looked like the Jags had a Week 1 win wrapped up last week until they let Minnesota drive late and tie the game. Gabbert played surprisingly well last week but he faces a better defense this week in Houston. I think Arian Foster will have a good day again and the Texans walk away with a rather easy win.

Houston 31  Jacksonville 17

Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins
Oakland disappointing me last week. I was expecting a better offensive performance from them. Imagine where they would be without Sebastian Janikowski. It was not a good showing for Oakland. A team expected to be more disciplined committed a handful of penalties. Now they get to play a Miami team that did not look very good last week against Houston. The team has one weapon on offense and that is Reggie Bush. I really question why Ryan Tannehill is even starting. Especially when he has no one to throw to. Both teams will rely on their running backs, but I am actually giving the edge to the team with the better kicker. And that is Oakland.

Oakland 16  Miami 10

Arizona Cardinals vs New England Patriots
A tough draw for the Cardinals here. They won an ugly game against Seattle last week that saw them make a good stand inside the 10 in the final seconds of the game. John Skelton will not be starting this week which means the team will rely on Kevin Kolb. And you can expect Kolb to look at Larry Fitzgerald a lot. But you can also expect Bill Belicheck to focus his game plan on stopping Fitz as well. The Patriots looked exactly like the Pats of last season. They moved the ball like clock work against the Titans. They scored 34 points and Wes Welker was barely involved at all in the game. While the Cardinals looked good against Seattle, they did it against a rookie QB starting his first game. Tom Brady is no rookie. Expect the Pats to roll here.

New England 38  Arizona 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants
This is a bad spot for the Tampa Bay Bucs. They are facing a very angry Giants team who have had over a week to prepare for the game. The Giants big opening night celebration came crashing down with an embarrassing home loss to the Cowboys. The offense did not look in sync and the defense was thrown on at will by Tony Romo. Eli Manning and Co. now how important a win is here. Tampa Bay won an ugly game last week against Carolina. They shut down the Panthers run attack. The offense didn't do anything overly impressive and they were lucky to win an ugly game. Expect Josh Freeman to throw the ball a good amount here. Similar to the Packers, I think the Giants know they can't afford to start 0-2. Giants win here.

NY Giants 28  Tampa Bay 23

Baltimore Ravens vs Philadelphia Eagles
This might be the most intriguing game of the week to me. Baltimore is coming off a week 1 blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Flacco started to look like an above average QB against a pretty good Bengals defense. I like the no huddle offense that the Ravens used for the majority of the game. The team barely had to rely on Ray Rice. The game was won by Flacco for the most part. The defense also played well minus Terrell Suggs. Any question about their defense aging and slowing down were quickly put to rest. Philadelphia, on the other hand, looked sloppy against Cleveland. Mike Vick barely played in the pre-season, but that is no excuse for how bad he played. Vick was lucky that Cleveland's offense is bad, because if he throws 4 interceptions against any other team they are losing. Vick may also be without his two starting WRs this week. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both game time decisions. Vick will have to make plays to win this game, and I don't think he will. Baltimore wins this one.

Baltimore 23  Philadelphia 21

Washington Redskins vs St. Louis Rams
I've been a believer in Robert Griffin since day one, but I was not expecting that kind of performance last week against New Orleans. That was one hell of a stat line: 320 yards, 2 touchdowns including an 88 yard strike. One thing is for sure: the Washington Redskins will be very fun to watch this year. I still don't think they are a Playoff team, but they are going to give teams fits this year. The Rams looked to be on the verge of a surprising upset last week in Detroit, but they gave up a late TD drive and ended up losing. The defense gave up a ton of yards to Matthew Stafford and that has to be fixed. The Redskins won't be intimidated after their big win last week, but I think that might also cause them to get big heads and struggle a bit. But the Skins still pull out a win.

Washington 31  St. Louis 27

Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks
There may not have been a happier owner last week than Jerry Jones. You know he just loved raining on the New York Giants parade. Tony Romo looked very good and may have found his new favorite target in WR Kevin Ogletree. But the problem with the Cowboys is that they can look very good one week then play absolutely terrible the next. That has been their problem for a couple of years. But the offense looked good and the defense, while not playing its best, did not get trampled over like last year. Seattle had a lot of interest with QB Russell Wilson leading them, but Wilson played just like you would expect a rookie QB to play his first game. The team will rely heavily on Marshawn Lynch to keep the offense going. Expect the Cowboys to load up the box and make Wilson beat them. Because this is the Cowboys, I think the game will be close. But I still think the Boys win.

Dallas 24  Seattle 20

New York Jets vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Remember that Jets team that everybody was bashing in the pre-season? Well, they did not look like that team last week. They once again proved my belief that pre-season stats and performance does not matter. Mark Sanchez threw at will against the Bills and made Tim Tebow a complete non-factor. Now can Sanchez perform like that all year? I doubt it. But they will not be as bad as people thought. The defense was gashed however by C.J. Spiller. And they will also be without Darelle Revis this week. Revis is out with a concussion. That's bad news as the Steelers have two very capable WRs in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh played well last week but in the end could not stop Peyton Manning. And their defense could be missing some key pieces as well. Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are both game time calls. Pittsburgh needs to put some pressure on Mark Sanchez and make him get rid of the ball quicker than he wants. I trust the Steelers to do that more than the Bills did. And I also expect Ben Roethlisberger to go after the Jets defense minus Revis Island. Pittsburgh wins.

Pittsburgh 30  NY Jets 17

Tennessee Titans vs San Diego Chargers
I don't want to come off mean here, but to me, these teams are the definition of mediocre. The Titans and Chargers are teams that can beat the bad teams but can't beat the good ones. Tennessee was trampled by the Patriots last week. Jake Locker was hurt during the game, but he is expected to play this week. Chris Johnson also looked mediocre last week. But the Chargers had problems stopping Darren McFadden last week, so expect the Titans to go back to Johnson this week. Tennessee will also get Kenny Britt back from suspension. How effective he will be coming back from his torn ACL remains to be seen. San Diego will probably do exactly what New England did last week: throw the ball all over the Titans suspect secondary. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski had big games, expect one from Antonio Gates as well. San Diego probably won't have Ryan Matthews yet, but that shouldn't be a concern for them. I like the Chargers to win this game here on the arm of Philip Rivers.

San Diego 27  Tennessee 24

Detroit Lions vs San Francisco 49ers
Its "Handshake Gate." We all remember last year. Jim Harbaugh was a little to excited for Jim Schwartz's liking after the 49ers win. The two exchanged words after and had to be separated by players and team personnel. So we can expect to see 100 replays of it leading into the game. Detroit narrowly escaped defeat at home last week against St. Louis. Before his game winning drive, Matthew Stafford did not look like himself throwing 3 interceptions. Stafford put up a lot of yards but they didn't result in a lot of points. Expect the 49ers to put a lot of pressure on Stafford and also have a safety shadow Calvin Johnson the entire game. San Fran made a statement last week winning at Lambeau. They made it known they are the team to beat in the NFC. Alex Smith looked good yet again. Even Randy Moss played well in his first game back. Detroit is still a little vulnerable in pass defense and I think Alex Smith can take advantage of that. I think the 49ers will be tough to beat this year. Jim Harbaugh won't let them lose focus one bit. San Fran wins here.

San Francisco 27  Detroit 21

Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons
This one is going to be fun to watch. These are two of the best passing offenses in the league. Peyton Manning looked like the Peyton of old last week. It looked like he did not take a year off. He took some hits and got right back up. He constantly changed plays at the line when he saw something he didn't like. Peyton is going to make this team better. He definitely helped out the running game last week. The problem was on defense, where the Broncos could not get off the field on third down. Pittsburgh was 11-19 on third down. This week, Denver runs into an even better offense with Atlanta. Julio Jones and Roddy White may be the best 1-2 WR combo in the league. Matt Ryan looked very good last week against Kansas City. They picked apart a good Chiefs defense and didn't even have to worry about Michael Turner's performance. The bad news for Atlanta is that they lost their best defensive back in Brett Grimes for the year with an Achilles injury. That's especially bad news with Peyton Manning coming to town. I'm expecting a shootout, but the Grimes injury worries me for Atlanta. Give me the Broncos.

Denver 31  Atlanta 30

If I Were A Betting Man, I Would Make These Four Bets:
New England -13.5 vs Arizona: I don't like the Cardinals chances here.
Detroit +7 at San Francisco: Pretty big spread here. I think the Lions can hang.
Baltimore +2.5 at Philadelphia: Ravens were impressive last week. Like them on the road.
Indianapolis +3 vs Minnesota: Don't know why Vikes are favored here.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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