Week 1 in the NFL saw some big upsets, some big drummings at the hands of the Cowboys and Eagles, the loss of last season’s record breaking MVP, and of course two big fat losses for the Raiders and Rams – so some things are new and some are the same old same. Week 2 is bound to surprise here and there, and remember, one bad week a season doesn’t make – or something like that. 15 more games to go for every single one of these teams – and this Sunday is a new start for every single one of them. This is how I see the cookie crumbling – the way of the road warriors?
Oakland Raiders +4.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Raiders had some tough bounces roll away from them, and they just got caught in a opening night nightmare against the Broncos on Monday Night. I don’t think Denver is quite that good, and Oakland isn’t that bad. In fact, I think the Raiders will go back to the drawing board and see that running the ball will work for them. Also, JaMarcus will get a little more time against the Chiefs, and this game will come down to the wire. Close games are always tough to call, but I’m taking the Raiders and the points in this one, 4.5 is too much for the Chiefs to give – plus, these guys have lost 10 straight games going back to last year.
Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers (-3): Like any capper in the last few seasons, I hate to take the Panthers as a favorite against just about anyone – especially at home where they don’t play their best ball. But these are the Bears here. A Bears team that put it all together and made a mockery of the Colts in Week 1. I can’t buy them doing that again. The Panthers are for real this year boys and girls, not just a finicky team that will be up and down like it’s their job. They have a solid healthy rushing attack with two confident running options. Aside from Steve Smith (out one more week) they still have Mushin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett, two very competent receivers – and a tight end, Donte Rosario, that looks like a nice options as well. At home against a Bears team that played above and beyond last week? You bet, that’s worth a shot right there.
New Orleans Saints (+1) @ Washington Redskins: Little do people know, but New Orleans is better away from New Orleans than they are at home in… New Orleans. I like the Redskins to have a little bit better cohesion offensively this week, but I don’t expect their defense to be as tough in thier own red-zone. The Saints score 3 touchdowns, kick one field goal, and this thing is over. Marques Colston isn’t in action for the next few weeks, so expect some fireworks from little used Robert Meachem. I think Robert is a great option for Drew with Colston out. He’s a big kid and he’s got wheels. Look for New Orleans to utilize him against the Redskins.
Indianapolis Colts (pk) @ Minnesota Vikings: I like the Vikings to exploit the Colts run defense, but this game comes down to the wire and Peyton Manning, with one regular season game under his belt, can do enough against a suspect Viking pass defense to take this game on the road. This is no easy pick, though. The Colts were shredded by Matt Forte and the Bears rushing attack last week, just imagine what the Vikings plan to do with them. Also, Indy looked pretty disjointed without Jeff Saturday handing the ball to Peyton, if it was his absence that had the Colts lost, this could be a long game. I’m betting on Peyton’s rust being more of the problem than Saturday’s musk – we’ll see.
New York Giants (-8) @ St. Louis Rams: This one is tough for me because I expected more out of the Rams this season. The Giants are tough to run against, and they have a pretty nice group of corners as well. Seeing Philly pick the Rams apart has me moving away from them, especially after they showed absolutely no heart during the contests. Still, I wouldn’t wager the world on this game – The Rams will be out to prove their worth once again. The thing that has me siding with the Giants is their run defense and rushing attack – both are powerful. Also, the Giants are a very good road team – that will help them cover.
Buffalo Bills (+6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Tough game for sure. I think a lot of the Jaguars, but without three of their starting offensive linemen, the Jaguars just don’t seem like a good favorite to bet on. I think the Jags will be better against the Bills than the Hawks were, but Buffalo’s physical play is a nice match-up for a physical Jags team. There aren’t many teams that will try to out-tough the Jaguars, and the Bills might just do that in Week 2. Take the points in this battle.
Atlanta Falcons (+9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Way the Bucs play, and the way Atlanta is destined to try and grind it out, I just have to take all of the 9 points here. I know it’s different on the road for a young team, but with two teams not willing to risk a lot, those 9 points look pretty darned good. The Falcons can run the ball, and they seem to be loving life under a real head coach. They have confidence and a young signal caller that is going to be a great one. Lots of weapons of offense will be a tough match-up for Tampa. A good game here – so take the points.
San Francisco 49ers (+9) @ Seattle Seahawks: I like the Niners to cover in this one. Not only did the Hawks get thinner at wide receiver, but they also have to try and stop Frank Gore, a guy that just kills them usually. The Niners will be able to stick to it and put up enough points to stay close in Seattle, even though the Hawks play well at home, they look like a dejected unit right now. They just lost their starting guard for the season, and yet another receiver is out. They also cut Jordan Kent, a guy that played minutes last week, though he was drop-happy. Right now they are trying to get their back-up quarterback on the field to catch passes – yes, it looks desperate in Seattle.
Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals (-6): I like the Cardinals here. Arizona is a solid team against the run, and that’s really all Miami has. Chad Pennington can throw it accurately, but the safeties in Arizona are really speedy ball hawks, and both Rolle and Wilson will make big plays on Sunday. I expect Kurt Warner to air it out a little more against a suspect Dolphins secondary, as his two receivers look to have big games. The Cardinals are the best team in the NFC West, and while that doesn’t say much, it does mean they can handle the Dolphins with ease.
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans (-4): I’m willing to believe that the Ravens awesome defensive performance last week was at least partially due to the horrid play by the Bengals. Houston will be a lot tougher defensively and I’m assuming offensively as well. Joe Flacco will have a tough time escaping Mario Williams – that’s for sure. If the Ravens can’t run the ball, this has the makings of a 24-6 ball game. I don’t expect the Ravens to score more than 17 points in half of their games this season. 17 won’t do it in Houston. Take the Texans as a solid bet in Week 2.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) @ Cleveland Browns: I still don’t think much of Cleveland. They’re all probably sitting around practice this week thinking that Week 1 was a fluke, and they’ll get back on track with a big win over the Steelers – wrong. It’s amazing how much the Browns remind me of last years’ Saints. I know Pittsburgh isn’t the same on the road as they are at home, but this one has the makings of a blowout. Jamal Lewis won’t be able to run much, because the Steelers plug up rushing attacks week in and week out. That leaves Derek Anderson, a guy that hasn’t had a good game since Week 12 last year, to beat them. The Steel-Show won’t let that happen. Look for Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall to be a nice 1-2 punch against Cleveland, just like Barber and Felix Jones were last week.
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions: Come on, this seems like an insulting line. This is definitely one of my picks of the week. Before the season, after the season, before the LIons were killed by Atlanta or after the Lions had beaten the ’89 49ers, I don’t care, I’m still taking the Packers in this one. Aaron Rodgers is a sniper. His accurate air assault and the Packers powerful rushing attack should dominate this game by keeping possession in their hands. Take the Pack to advance to 2-0.
Tennessee Titans (+1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals: Free Money – even with Kerry Collins at quarterback. The Titans and the Bengals are on a different level, same league, but different level. For example, the Titans have 11 starting defensive players that can really tackle. The Bengals have one, and he’s a rookie. The Titans have a solid offensive attack despite quarterback trouble -the Bengals have a talented quarterback with previous success that looks lost because of how bad his offense is. Things are going bad in Cinci, and a Titan beat down isn’t going to make them feel any better.
San Diego Chargers (pk) @ Denver Broncos: Yes, Denver lit up Oakland in Week 1, but I have to like the Chargers as a pick’em against Denver. I just don’t see San Diego going 0-2 to start the season. Last week was a nice little wake-up call. Take advantage of Denver’s big Nationally televised annihilation of the Raiders on Monday Night Football, and take the Chargers in Denver. San Diego is the better all around team. They will run over Denver like Atlanta did to Detroit. Hundreds of rushing yards are in the Chargers immediate future.
New England Patriots (+2.5) @ New York Jets: At least there was something good out of Tom Brady going down with an injury – we get this spread to play with. I’ll take the Patriots as a dog against the Jets and laugh it all the way to the bank. There’s not much to say about this game besides this, the Jets aren’t as good as the Patriots. They might have a better quarterback right now, but that’s about it. Even the Pats rushing attack will likely out-gain the Jets’. Look for a nice road win from a team that just lost their leader.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5): This is a tough one for me because the Eagles looked so good and they are absolutely chalked full of talent – however, the Cowboys looked almost equally as good against a better team (or so people think Cleveland is better than the Rams, I’d probably agree). Still, that’s just last week, and how much does last week really matter? Are the Eagles really that solid on offense? Are the Cowboys that legit defensively? It’s a tough game to call, that’s for sure. And then you put in the Eagle/Cowboy rivalry to boot. I’m going to say that Donovan McNabb has a tough time handling the Cowboys pressure, as Dallas forces him into some poor decisions. The Cowboys will also hold Philly’s rushing attack in check – so I’m going with the Cowboys here. Tough call for sure, but the Boys get the nod.