Overall: 15-17
Last Week: 6-10

Well, that went poorly. Week 2 of the NFL season did not treat me well as I registered my first losing week after a solid 167-97-1 (63%) record last season—including the playoffs. Hopefully last week was more of a fluke than indicator of what is to come.

Buccaneers @ Falcons

The best way to get healthy is a cupcake matchup for Thursday Night Football. As I’ve always said, the home team has a distinct advantage when it comes to the short week, and Atlanta also has the substantial edge at QB with Matt Ryan. Everyone’s sleeper darling Tampa Bay has indeed slept their way through the start of the season, and it looks like a lost year already for the Buccaneers. With Mike “Goldilocks” Glennon backing up Josh McCown, Tampa Bay would be wise to draft a franchise QB at the top of the draft. Have fun looking forward to that.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Chargers @ Bills

SD - Likable

San Diego shocked the world last week by decisively beating the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Buffalo also surprised me by destroying the Dolphins. If I thought the Bills would be honoring their late owner and bring in Jim Kelly for a tearful comeback, no way would I have supported a Miami victory. But with time away from last week’s home opener, Buffalo shouldn’t be as emotionally charged against San Diego this week. The Chargers will be without Ryan Mathews, which means Dammit Donald! Brown earns an expanded role. Buffalo will keep this close, but San Diego should build off last week’s strong performance against a weak Bills secondary.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Titans @ Bengals

When I think Tennessee will zig, the Titans zag. When I think Tennessee will zag, the Titans zig. I don’t have a good feel for the AFC South right now so I don’t know if Tennessee could threaten for the division crown. But I do feel like they’ll get trounced in Cincinnati this week, which of course means Jake Locker will run for 2 TDs and throw for 250+ yards. I still can’t trust the Red Rocket, but the Bengals may have just enough talent throughout their team to carry a mediocre QB like Andy Dalton. Since Tennessee couldn’t stop the Cowboys last week, I don’t envision a titanic upset for the Titans.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Ravens @ Browns

Cleveland hasn’t been nearly as awful as I expected. Somehow, Brian Hoyer has managed games and given the Browns a decent chance to win. New Orleans probably isn’t as good as many believed, but is Baltimore in that same boat or are they considerably better? The effect of the Ray Rice situation will be overblown if Baltimore can’t beat the division rival Browns, but I can’t say that I love the odds of a road win for the Ravens. A healthy Jordan Cameron could make the difference, and I’m going to go with my heart rather than my head and hope for a Cleveland victory—giving the Browns a healthy kick to start the season to hopefully keep Johnny Clipboard on the bench this year.

Win: Cleveland Browns

Packers @ Lions

GB - Cummerbunds

When I saw the early score of the Packers-Jets game last week, I was admittedly concerned about my predictions and the staying power of Green Bay. Without a defense that can create turnovers and provide drive-ending plays, the Packers will force Aaron Rodgers to win by scoring 30 or more points per game. Expect Detroit to dominate offensively, which will pressure Rodgers to be perfect against the Lions while running for his life behind a weak line. However, Rodgers has more equity with me than Matthew Stafford so I’d rather go down with the ship hoping for a Green Bay win.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Cowboys @ Rams

Dallas beat the shit out of Tennessee in the Redneck Bowl last week. Meanwhile, St. Louis somehow managed to outlast Tampa Bay in a meandering matchup of mediocre football. You could draw names out of a hat and bet whether or not they actually play for the Rams. I’d probably do as poorly at that as my last week of predicting games. If the Cowboys can’t pressure Austin Davis and beat St. Louis, then Dallas needs a complete overhaul started immediately. As long as the Cowboys keep Tony Romo upright, Dallas should decisively throttle the Rams at St. Louis.

Win: Dallas Cowboys

Raiders @ Patriots

New England showed why they don’t lose back-to-back games with Brady and Belicheck. Derek Carr isn’t abysmal, but his teammates are—for the most part. This will be one of those games where New England makes their No. 3 RB the bell cow instead of just letting Brady air it out against a beleaguered Raiders defense. Without the talent to consistently post 20+ points, Oakland is going to struggle to win games because they can’t hold opposing offenses down. If the best case scenario is a shootout, then it’s easy to see the Patriots adding another notch to their belt.

Win: New England Patriots

Vikings @ Saints

Minnesota is without their star RB Adrian Peterson (albeit an alleged child abuser). But New Orleans is without a heart on defense. The Vikings need to seriously consider starting Teddy Bridgewater soon because Minnesota will not compete for the division crown with Matt Asiata running the ball. Since Matt Cassel’s ceiling is limited, I wouldn’t hesitate to give Bridgewater the ball in this game against a reeling Saints defense. Rob Ryan loves to pressure the QB by blitzing, but I feel Bridgewater would do better with less time than Cassel. New Orleans needs this game in order to avoid being irrelevant in terms of the playoffs.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Texans @ Giants

NY - Think

I almost pulled the trigger on predicting a Giants upset over Arizona. However, New York is just a mess offensively and defensively. Houston isn’t going to be gentle on Eli Manning, and I imagine J.J. Watt will be up in Eli’s face immediately. The Giants don’t have a good offensive line, which has necessitated this entire shift of offensive philosophy to quick strikes. However, New York doesn’t have the receivers who can win quickly running their routes and Victor Cruz can’t hold onto the ball when he does wiggle open. At some point, things are going to start clicking for the Giants. Houston should respect the potential for the Giants to suddenly become competent—New York gave glimpses in the first half last week—but the Texans should also bring enough pressure to keep the Giants off kilter.

Win: Houston Texans

Redskins @ Eagles

I feel somewhat better considering I predicted a Jacksonville win over the Redskins with RG Knee behind center instead of Kirk Cousins at QB. While Cousins has a smaller ceiling, his floor is higher and RG Knee’s stock is comparatively broken down (again) in the basement. Washington will be better against weak competition, but I have serious questions about the Redskins competing against the Eagles. Philadelphia is on a different planet offensively, and Washington lacks the defensive talent to keep all of the opposing weapons in check. At some point, an Eagle is going to bust free for some prime yards after the catch.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Colts @ Jaguars

Andrew Luck needs the ball in his hands. Indianapolis cannot run the ball so Luck gives the Colts the best chance to win football games. Indy tries to present the illusion of balance by letting Trent Richardson run straight into the line, but the Colts need more of the Bruce Arians downfield attack employed in Luck’s rookie year. Despite Jacksonville shitting the bed last week, these division games are always close and they’ll muster enough points to threaten Indianapolis. But this is a game where Luck wills the Colts to a win regardless of rather unsubstantial fantasy numbers.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

49ers @ Cardinals

Living in Arizona and listening to sports talk radio, I can tell you last week’s occurrence of Carson Palmer not throwing much or participating in practice wasn’t completely unusual. I still though Palmer would suit up as a game-time decision, but alas Drew Stanton was Arizona’s signal caller in Week 2. With Palmer out with nerve issues, Arizona is going to struggle moving the ball against San Francisco. Especially coming off an embarrassing loss last week, expect the 49ers to impose their will and dominate Arizona. Unless Tedd Ginn can change the game again on special teams, the Cardinals will not be able to maintain the early scoring pace San Francisco will aim to execute.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Chiefs @ Dolphins

A prime contender for the Who Gives a Shit? game of the week. Kansas City and Miami are equal parts terrible and dangerous, which is a quite a concoction of boring. Neither team is the type to rack up points, but they rely on solid enough defense to get by on a week-to-week basis. Smart money has Kansas City wilting in the Miami heat, but I’m not that smart. For some reason, I envision Alex Smith taking charge of this game to lead at least a handful of efficient drives. If Knowshon Moreno were healthy, that might transform the story of this game. But Knile Davis is capable of shouldering the load for Kansas City while there are significant questions as to Lamar Miller’s ability to lead Miami on the ground, which is why Knowshon Moreon was signed in the first place.

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Broncos @ Seahawks

This is another instance where my heart says one thing that my head contradicts. I want to believe Denver can right the wrongs of the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning will now have a healthy offensive line, and Emmanuel Sanders is an upgrade on plodding white WR Eric Decker on offense. But more importantly, the Broncos will benefit from an improved defense that can create pressure and cover on the back end. It all makes logical sense. After all, parity! But Seattle is at home with the only true home-field advantage, and they already let last week’s game slip away against San Diego. Everything points to a Seahawks victory. But if rooting for Peyton Manning is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Win: Denver Broncos

Steelers @ Panthers

CAR - Shirts

While the Chiefs-Dolphins game was a threat, this is the real matchup nobody gives a shit about for Week 3. Pittsburgh couldn’t score a TD on Thursday Night Football, but they’re in prime time again this week against a similarly boring Carolina Panthers team. Not even Ron Rivera knows how this team remains competitive. Without a true No. 1 target, Cam Newton indeed changes in a phone booth to put on his Superman costume. Bolstered by a strong defensive front, the Panthers should have enough to outlast the Steelers in a yawn-inducing ground and pound game.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Bears @ Jets

Chicago pulled a comeback win out of Smokin’ Jay’s ass against the San Francisco 49ers. It was both impressive and unexpected. Usually Jay Cutler just rolls over and smokes a cigarette. Instead, Cutler was near perfect with a fire lit under him. Heading to New York, Cutler should be able to abuse the Jets secondary in a similar fashion this week. However, the Jets can create more pressure than that injured 49ers defense. Chicago needs to confuse Geno Smith and force him to use his head to beat the Bears. As long as Chicago can bear down on the run, New York will struggle to throw the ball consistently. Can Cutler prove last week wasn’t just a fluke?

Win: Chicago Bears

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