Last Week: 11-5
Overall: 21-11

Chiefs @ Eagles

“He has that giant grin on his face and he wears that enormous red windbreaker. He looks like the planet Mars. But he’s so happy with himself.” – Cousin Sal from the B.S. Report

The cousin is correct, ladies and gentlemen. Andy Reid is a new man. Sure, he still has the same plump shape, but his spirit has been renewed in Kansas City. There was a point where I feared for Andy Reid’s life whenever he held a press conference with the Eagles over the last few years because you could noticeably hear his heavy breathing over the microphone. It was like he was falling asleep answering questions each week. But now, he’s vibrant and engaged. And it’s no coincidence that the Chiefs are playing strong early in the season. I had to take the Chiefs on the road this week for Andy Reid’s return alone, but I’m still not buying the long-term viability of Kansas City this season. The Chiefs could sneak in as a Wild Card since they’re not stealing the division from the Broncos, but this has all the makings of Kansas City being this year’s version of last year’s Arizona Cardinals. An injury to or over-exposure of Alex Smith would make the Chiefs even more limited offensively, and I’m not yet convinced the defense is a world-beater just yet.

I’m banking on Kansas City’s carriage transforming back into an enormous pumpkin (wearing a bright red windbreaker with a walrus mustache) when the clock strikes midnight. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Packers @ Bengals

This is likely the best match-up of the week. Both of these teams are expected playoff contenders and every game counts. Cincinnati and Green Bay handily dismantled their opponents last week after stumbling out of the gates in Week 1. Green Bay’s running attack lacks polish and the same can be said for Cincinnati’s aerial attack as Andy Dalton continues to sail passes too high. The biggest difference between these two contenders is on the defensive side since the Packers still cannot make enough stops. But try as I might, I cannot put my faith the Ginger Gunslinger in a close game. Aaron Rodgers can make a great defense look silly, and I expect him to take advantage of the Bengals secondary as Green Bay moves to 2-1 early.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Rams @ Cowboys

In terms of team construction and talent, this is a match-up where both teams must feel like they’re looking in the mirror. Both the Rams and Cowboys have QBs who can disperse the ball to a myriad of receivers, but they lack a consistent running game and their defensives leave a lot to be desired. I like St. Louis’ offensive line a whole lot more than the mess that Dallas has displayed. The largest disparity between these two teams isn’t on the field, but rather the sidelines as Jeff Fisher is a considerably better coach and decision-maker than Jason Garrett. My heart tells me to take St. Louis in the upset, but I think the Rams need a running back before making more of an impact. Even though the Cowboys don’t have much of a home-field advantage in Whatever The Fuck They’re Calling It Stadium, I’m expecting Dallas to pepper deep balls to Dez Bryant and intermediate passes to Jason Witten for the victory.

Win: Dallas Cowboys

Chargers @ Titans

San Diego has made me look stupid so far, but I’m refusing to acknowledge the surprising resurgence of Philip “Little Dick” Rivers. Of course, this means that the Chargers will probably pull off an upset with Rivers throwing 400 yards. But I have been and continue to be pleasantly surprised by Tennessee—primarily defensively. Gregg Williams’ silent return to the sidelines has the Titans blitzing more and causing more chaos with pressure and turnovers. I’m hoping that Tennessee can continue that trend this week by forcing Philip Rivers to throw more groundballs to his receivers. If Antonio Gates is controlled or at least contained, then I think the Chargers will struggle and be forced to use Danny Woodhead more out of the backfield with screen passes. But I expect the Titans to control the ball and kill the clock to maintain command in what could easily be a game decided by a field goal or even less.

Win: Tennessee Titans

Browns @ Vikings

After the much ballyhooed trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts, the Browns are heading into Minnesota for a taste of what damage a great running back can inflict. And I’m not talking about the newly signed Willis McGahee. Expect this game to be Adrian Peterson’s 2013 breakout even against a tough Browns defense. I anticipate Cleveland’s spirit to be deflated. Frankly, that’s what the Browns front office wanted following the trade of Richardson because it makes them much worse in the short-term, which improves their odds of entering the Teddy Bridgewater or Jadeveon Clowney Sweepstakes. While I wouldn’t be shocked if Brian Hoyer posts a better passer rating than Christian Ponder, Adrian Peterson is going to make all the difference in this game. The Vikings should have probably won last week so all that anger has to be taken out on someone so why not let it be the poor, undeserving souls on the Browns defense.

Win: Minnesota Vikings

Buccaneers @ Patriots

Tampa Bay is on a bullet train to nowhere. The Buccaneers have been an embarrassment to football in the opening two weeks of the NFL, and now they head into New England against an under-achieving Patriots team looking to prove they’re still near the top of the NFL elite. I don’t expect the Patriots to truly hit their stride until the middle of the season because of their mounting injuries and inexperienced rookies. But New England should be able to run efficiently against Tampa Bay’s front while taking advantage of anyone not named Darrelle Revis. I’m really struggling to envision how Tampa Bay can keep this competitive.

Win: New England Patriots

Cardinals @ Saints

Living in Arizona, I’m hearing a lot of hype around the return of Rob Housler as “our Jimmy Graham.” Rob Housler is no Jimmy Graham. And this game will show why. The Cardinals aren’t the same defense under this new scheme, and their lack of talent in the middle of the field will be exposed by Jimmy Graham today. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the early returns on Tyrann Mathieu, but this will be an embarrassing return back home to the bayou. If the Cardinals had a more dynamic RB, then I could see how they could stay in this game by hammering the Saints. With Arizona’s chances resting on the shoulders of Carson Palmer, one of his untimely interceptions could swing this game into 2-TD territory in the first half. If you have the Cardinals defense in Fantasy Football, you better bench them this week.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Lions @ Redskins

If Washington is any good at all, they need to walk away with the win. I’m still optimistic that the real Robert Griffin will stand up in the pocket at some point to drive deep balls and run enough to keep the threat in the mind of the defense. This is a coin toss game right now, but Detroit will continue to struggle as long as they are without Reggie Bush—even though it’s the smart decision to rest his balky knee in this match-up. Without that dynamic dual-threat in the backfield, the Lions just aren’t the same offense as evidenced in the second half last week against the Cardinals. Detroit’s defense should be stout enough to contain an ailing RGIII, but they are nowhere near disciplined to consistently inflict that damage. I would rather have hope in Washington than Detroit, but the Lions finally have a brighter outlook than their city.

Win: Washington Redskins

Giants @ Panthers

Are the Panthers any good? Carolina should have pulled out the victory on the road in Buffalo last week, but that game was indicative of where the franchise currently is in the landscape of the NFL. By resting at the bottom of the barrel, Ron Rivera is in major jeopardy of being the first head coach fired in 2013. It almost seems inevitable at this point. Even though the New York Giants are 0-2 heading into this game, their sloppy play still seems superior than that displayed by the Panthers. At this point, Carolina only has Cam Newton to build around. With one major NFL trade in the books this year, I would love to see Carolina trade aging WR Steve Smith to the New England Patriots. The Panthers need to employ the Sucking for Success strategy to get rid of all remaining assets and tank to truly get any better.

Win: New York Giants

Texans @ Ravens

Schaub vs. Flacco! In a battle of mediocre underachievers, the Texans head on the road to face the defending Super Bowl champions. This is essentially the same match-up as Detroit against Washington, but with slightly better teams. With Ray Rice out and Bernard Pierce yet to establish himself as the same caliber of runner, I will side with the Houston Texans in what will surely be a sloppy, boring game that garners more attention that it should. Neither team is interesting right now.

Win: Houston Texans

Falcons @ Dolphins

I did not foresee the Dolphins upsetting the Colts on the road last week. While Miami has looked shockingly competent on the road so far, the Atlanta Falcons need to win this game to prove they’re still capable of being a Super Bowl contender. Without Stephen Jackson and an ailing Roddy White, the Falcons need to rely on Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones to exploit the weakness of Miami’s defense. Matt Ryan will do just that while Atlanta’s defense will stifle Miami’s running attack and force Ryan Tannehill to win the game on his own. The Dolphins could pull off the upset again if Mike Wallace runs wild for 60 minutes, but I think the Falcons are just good enough to win a game they should be able to take on the road.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Bills @ Jets

Both the Bills and the Jets should reasonably be 0-2 heading into this match-up as the Bills didn’t deserve to win last week against the Panthers and the Jets had no business winning Week 1 against the Buccaneers. This is another game where these teams are mirror images of one another with mediocre rookie QBs at the helm. New York’s defense is better than anticipated, but I think they can be abused by the run—which Buffalo desperately needs to establish already. I actually like E.J. Manuel as a sneaky dual-threat capable of busting out of Buffalo’s conservative approach if allowed. But the handcuffs will remain firmly secured early this year, which is a strategy that the Jets should steal. When it comes down to the end of the game, Geno Smith will be careless and not take the situation into account when he throws into heavy coverage or loses hold of the ball trying to do too much to put the game on his shoulders.

Win: Buffalo Bills

Colts @ 49ers

Trent Richardson will truly be a difference-maker for the Colts…just not in this game. San Francisco is angry after being embarrassed by their rival Seahawks. I expect Richardson to split carries with Ahmad Bradshaw in this game, but don’t be surprised if Indianapolis tries to ride Richardson around the red zone. With only a limited chunk of the playbook available with Richardson’s new arrival, the Colts can only upset San Francisco if Andrew Luck is throwing the ball all over the place and get ahead with an early lead. If there’s a true weakness of the 49ers, it is their inability to score points in bunches. I would love to see San Francisco try to keep up with an efficient offense like that in Denver, but the Colts aren’t there yet. As a result, I think the 49ers can coast on the force of their running game and gimmick read-option plays to abuse Indianapolis’ defense, which is insufficient at all aspects.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Jaguars @ Seahawks

Downtown to Pooptown: Table for 1. There are so many shitty games on this week’s slate, and the Jaguars in Seattle against the Seahawks are surely one of those such stinky match-ups. I don’t give Jacksonville even a slight chance in this one, which is a shame considering all the hype being heaped on Seattle after their decisive victory against the 49ers. With an over-inflated sense of self-worth and accomplishment, this would typically be a game where I’d expect the Seahawks to come out a little flat-footed early to open the door for their opponent…but Jacksonville is on the other side. Seattle will coast and maintain their status as the public’s No. 1 NFL team thus far.  I want to see them really challenged on the road.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Bears @ Steelers

Smokin' Jay CutlerYou cannot convince me that the Steelers will ever be any good this season. Their offensive line is a mess, their defense can’t stop the bleeding, they have no one who can competently run the ball, and Big Ben hasn’t been so big through two games. Of course, that means that they’re primed to surprise the public at home against the Bears—who were lucky to escape with a last-minute win over the Minnesota Vikings. I’m not believing in Pittsburgh, but this could also turn into a vintage Smokin’ Jay Cutler game. I’m hoping beyond hope that Chicago runs Matt Forte while picking their spots with Brandon Marshall against one-on-one coverage. That’s an easy recipe for success against this broken down Steelers team that hasn’t been able to score enough points to be relevant. If Pittsburgh loses this game at home, then they are truly dead on arrival and I’m burying them for the remainder of the season.

Win: Chicago Bears

Raiders @ Broncos

While the Oakland Raiders have been more competitive than I ever imagined heading into the season, there’s no way the Raiders are going into the Mile High atmosphere to surprise Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Monday Night Football. This game will turn into a stinker early, which has become a new staple in the tradition of MNF. Denver’s defense isn’t Super Bowl caliber yet, but it doesn’t have to be against Oakland as long as they bottle up Terrelle Pryor. However, McFadden does have a history of gashing the Broncos so there’s always a chance that he can go for more than 100 yards to bring the Raiders close to covering the spread, but that’s about the extent of potential intrigue in this match-up.

Win: Denver Broncos

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