Last Week: 9-7
Overall: 9-7

Steelers @ Ravens

PIT - RFJ

Is anyone else sick of Thursday Night Football? I enjoyed this charade when it originally started around Thanksgiving, but making this a weekly mainstay is significantly degrading the quality of football. On a short schedule, the home team almost always holds a distinct advantage—unless the other team’s QB is substantially better. Despite all of the backtracking Ray Rice bullshit, the Ravens possess the edge against the Steelers after Pittsburgh barely held onto a victory against the Browns last week. Not having Ray Rice won’t impact Baltimore a great deal anyway since the team had already started to transition towards Bernard Pierce as their future at the position. Primed as a “nobody believes in us” team, Baltimore could hang in with the Bengals for the division all year. But in a league where mediocrity is increasingly the norm, the best bet is always on parity. Mediocrity reigns supreme!

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Dolphins @ Bills

Miami unthinkably knocked off New England last week in pretty convincing fashion. The Dolphins are talented enough to compete for a Wild Card spot, but I can never trust them completely. Buffalo beat Miami both times in 2013 without E.J. Manuel playing. However, I continually refuse to put any faith in the Bills, and that must pay off at some point. After last week’s upset over the Patriots, Miami should let Knowshon Moreno should the load again to balance the offense against a tough Buffalo defense. Unless the Bills explode for a multi-TD day on the ground, Miami should outpace Buffalo.

Win: Miami Dolphins

Falcons @ Bengals

A true mirror game. Atlanta and Cincinnati play much of the same as a result of similarly designed teams. Both teams have a good but not great QB that throws to an explosive, dynamic No. 1 WR and a quality above average No. 2 WR option complimented by a decent running game. My disdain for the Red Rocket Andy Dalton is well-known, but the Bengals certainly have the advantage when it comes to running the ball and playing defense. The Falcons performed better than expected last week, but it may just be a case of New Orleans not being as good as anticipated on defense. While the Bengals defense could keep Cincinnati in this game with some Gio Bernard runs sprinkled in, my eyes are convincing my brain that the Week 1 offensive output from Matt Ryan was real and spectacular. If Julio Jones gets loose, it will be up to A.J. Green to get behind the Atlanta secondary if the Bengals are to come from behind and win.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Saints @ Browns

New Orleans could not get a defensive stop to save their lives last week against Atlanta. Meanwhile, Cleveland predictably didn’t perform well until garbage time, which should be an ongoing strength from the shitty Browns this season. But without Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon out for the year, Brian Hoyer won’t have anyone worthwhile to throw to this week. If the Saints don’t dominate this game, then it’s already time to start worrying about New Orleans. Cleveland’s defense could pose some problems, but Drew Brees should still find open receivers to move the chains even if the running game remains consistently inconsistent.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Cowboys @ Titans

DAL - Mistake

Everyone with a brain expected Dallas to be dominated by San Francisco. I still didn’t envision Tony Romo failing in such epic fashion. Romo seemed as stiff and uncomfortable as Jerry Jones’ face. Both are horrific sights for Cowboys fans. But the real issue is the Swiss cheese defense employed by Dallas. Tennessee surprised offensively in their opener, and Jake Locker could truly create some momentum for the Titans. Ultimately, I foresee Locker keeping Tennessee in the hunt for the playoffs, but I don’t think the Titans are ready just yet. Dallas will need to immensely improve their passing attack in order for the Cowboys to win the shootouts their defense necessitates by their ineptitude.

Win: Tennessee Titans

Patriots @ Vikings

New England never loses back to back games. While everything would have been quite different if Adrian Peterson were playing, the odds of Minnesota pulling off the upset have now become impossible unless Tom Brady implodes. The question for the Vikings now transitions to what will happen with Adrian Peterson? A lengthy suspension is likely on the horizon after he was just indicted for spanking his 4-year old son with a switch. I don’t want to make light of this situation because it is bad—especially coming immediately on the heels of the NFL’s obvious Ray Rice cover-up attempt—but at least Adrian Peterson is involved in the life of his child. Disciplining a child that young in that manner is ridiculous, but I think there’s an argument to be made that the child would be considerably worse off if his father New wasn’t around. While I was typing that sentence, Antonio Cromartie just fathered 7 more children.

Win: New England Patriots

Cardinals @ Giants

With parity rattling around in my head, I’m considering taking the Giants at home in this game against the Cardinals. Arizona didn’t deserve that last-second victory over San Diego last week while New York can’t possibly be as bad as they appeared against Detroit last week. But the Giants might actually be that bad. New York’s offense line is still atrocious and their complementary pieces at the skill positions don’t compliment Eli Manning. Without the necessary time, Eli will continue to rush into poor decisions, but I still wouldn’t say this is the end for Eli. After all, he is a Manning. I’m anticipating a rough start for New York, but the Giants could easily even up their record against Houston and Washington in the coming weeks. If Carson Palmer doesn’t play this week, the Giants could do some damage as long as Eli avoids interceptions. What’s the harm in pounding the run and only allowing Eli to throw 20 passes? With Arizona’s strength being their cover corners, New York would be wise to target the middle of the Cardinals defense.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Jaguars @ Redskins

WSH - RG Knee

As soon as Jacksonville jumped out to an early 17-0 lead over Philadelphia, I almost had a heart attack. How could the Jaguars be that cagey? Inevitably, Jacksonville played like their city and disappointed their handful of remaining fans. Chad Henne is the absolute, unquestioned King of Garbage Time, but he’s also just competent enough to guide the Jaguars to 6-7 wins. On the other side, everything has just fallen apart for Robert Griffin III. With no confidence and clearly uncomfortable in a new scheme, RG Knee might as well run around behind the line for as long as he can stay upright before he just heaves a pass downfield. Washington already looks in shambles after Week 1, but the Redskins could rebound if they feed Alfred Morris the ball. I have just the right amount of doubt about RG Knee that I don’t feel insane for siding with the Jacksonville Jaguars—otherwise known as Henne and Hurns.

Win: Jacksonville Jaguars

Lions @ Panthers

If you predicted the Panthers would win with Derek Anderson starting instead of Cam Newton, then I would call you batshit crazy or a liar. I certainly didn’t think the scaffold-like structure of Carolina’s team could move the ball and post points against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers could be one of those pre-season media darlings that sleep their way through the season, but Carolina’s defense could be a Top 5 force throughout 2014. If Matthew Stafford channels Smokin’ Jay and his sloppy footwork spirit, Detroit could struggle immensely against the Panthers. However, Calvin Johnson cannot be covered when facing elite corners so he should run untouched down the field against the thin wispy mustache that is the Panthers secondary. Greg Hardy just threatened someone else’s wife too.

Win: Detroit Lions

Seahawks @ Chargers

Perhaps San Diego isn’t the sleeper darling everyone was predicting. After being embarrassed in the final stages of last week’s game against Arizona, the Chargers will try to tread water versus the defending Super Bowl champions. Seattle isn’t the same dominant force on the road, but It’s Always Sunny in San Diego isn’t exactly the most overwhelming home-field advantage. Unless the Chargers create turnovers, San Diego is going to struggle to keep Seattle from gaining huge chunks on the ground. Russell Wilson is a robot incapable of feeling human emotion, which is probably why his wife left him. The Seahawks could win this game even if they go vanilla on offense. Vanilla is Russell Wilson’s favorite flavor.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Rams @ Buccaneers

Easily this week’s most boring, unwatchable matchup. St. Louis is the heavy favorite for worst team, and starting Austin Davis should ensure that fate. The Rams have an offense full of men without faces—not in the cool Game of Thrones way, either. In video game terms, all of the offensive players on St. Louis would garner around a 70ish rating in Madden. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay isn’t much better, but Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson are capable of great games. I would like to think Josh McCown isn’t as awful as shown in Week 1, which would give the Buccaneers the advantage with slightly above subpar play at the QB position.

Win: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chiefs @ Broncos

Kansas City is still devastated after last week’s horrific attack by the Regression Monster. Unthinkably, the Chiefs are asking for more punishment by travelling to the thin air in Denver to wage war with Peytonstein. This won’t end well. In the second half of last week’s game, Denver’s offense and defense went stagnant as the Broncos felt they already had the game won. When you have Peyton Manning, I imagine it’s difficult not to always assume victory. If Denver starts out flat, then the Broncos might find themselves in trouble against this division foe if Jamaal Charles is fed the ball early and often. Expect the Chiefs to fight, but Kansas City will ultimately fall again against an unstoppable monster with a surgically strengthened neck and biomechanical right arm named Peyton Manning.

Win: Denver Broncos

Jets @ Packers

NYJ - Winning Year

Green Bay battled a buzzsaw last week when they faced the Seattle Seahawks—who were looking to prove 2013 wasn’t a fluke. Fortunately, the Packers go against the New York Jets in Week 2, which is quite a competitive difference. Without any noteworthy cornerbacks, the Jets will struggle to contain Rodgers so expect a healthy dose of receptions by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Even if Eddie Lacy can’t contribute much running, Green Bay should score 27+ this week so New York needs Geno Smith to move the chains. Unless the Jets rip off monstrous runs early and converts touchdowns, expect Green Bay to even out their record while New York questions how long Rex Ryan will remain the head coach.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Texans @ Raiders

In Week 1, the Houston Texans scalped Washington (see what I did there?) and showed why J.J. Watt is such an unstoppable force. Although Houston lacks any difference-makers in the back end of their defense, rookie Raiders QB Derek Carr must get the ball out quickly and accurately to avoid being planted into the ground. Oakland’s best chance to win is if Darren McFadden can roll back the clock to when he was actually effective. Run DMC formerly ripped off formidable runs left and right…and up the middle. For some reason, I fear McFadden could actually post decent numbers with Maurice Jones-Drew likely out of the game. As long as Ryan Fitzpatrick can display Harvard-esque decision making skills, the Texans should dispatch the Raiders fairly early. But if the past few years have taught us anything, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s carriage always turns into a pumpkin eventually after a few good games and Halloween is almost here.

Win: Houston Texans

Bears @ 49ers

Last week, Jay Cutler showed why he’s Smokin’ Jay. Throwing across his body and lofting passes from his back foot are commonplace occurrences. At this point, this Marlboro Man isn’t going to change. But how can an NFL QB still have such shitty fundamentals? Likely without the luxury of his twin tower receivers (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery), Smokin’ Jay and the Bears will be in trouble against a stout 49ers defense who similarly destroyed the Cowboys in Week 1. Chicago is better than Dallas, but not by enough to make a difference. With the way Fred Jackson trampled Chicago’s defense in OT, don’t be surprised to see Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde embarrass the former Monsters of the Midway again.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Eagles @ Colts

There is no better matchup this week than the Eagles against the Colts. Oddly, both teams struggled when the gates opened, but then managed to turn things around in the second half—only Philadelphia was able to win, though. Andrew Luck has a penchant for pulling horseshoes out of his ass, and the Colts might need that innate luck to beat Philadelphia this week. The Eagles continue to field a crappy defense, which will be their downfall again this season. After all, Philadelphia almost loss to Jacksonville in Week 1 because the defense just can’t get stops. LeSean “20 Cent” McCoy will run rampant through and over Indianapolis’ dismal defense, but we might already be witnessing the regression of Nick Foles. Somehow, I expect luck to impose its will as Andrew Luck improbably pulls off a comeback win.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

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