Someday, I’m probably going to tell my friends about that NFL season when all my picks went to the dogs. I don’t mean underdogs; I mean sent to the dogs where they ate ‘em up, chewed them, and spat them out after. Last week was some kind of mess for me but I’m determined to come back with renewed vigor. Rome wasn’t built in a day so bring on Week 3!
Super Bowl XLVIII Part II
The spread for this game hasn’t moved a whole since opening at -5 for the Seattle Seahawks. Taking the Broncos as 5-point underdogs isn’t going to happen a lot but a special case can be made when Denver travels to Seattle to take on the same team that obliterated them in Super Bowl XLVIII. While I do think that the game is going to be a lot closer than 43-8, it’s hard to pick the Broncos knowing how shellacked they looked playing in a neutral field for the title. I can’t imagine how they’re going to react with that rabid fan base making it difficult for Manning to call his trademark audible. No amount of Omahas will help Denver here.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Broncos 21
Home Sweet Dome
The New Orleans Saints are desperate. They’re also playing in that asylum known as the Superdome. They’ll be facing a Minnesota Vikings team without star running back Adrian Peterson. The spread opened at -9.5 but has since moved up to -10. Thing is, I don’t even think it matters. Unless that Saints defense is even worse than I imagined, this game has all the makings of a romp.
Prediction: Saints 38, Vikings 17
Battle of Two 2-0 Teams
If I gave you three chances to pick the last unbeaten team in the AFC East, a lot of people would probably miss out on all three choices. The Buffalo Bills are the division’s last unbeaten team and they might still remain undefeated after its game against the San Diego Chargers. The Bills actually opened as -1 favorite but that number has jumped up to -2.5, which means that the public is already hopping on the Bills bandwagon. The recipe of a west coast team playing an early afternoon game in the east likely helped add more points San Diego’s way. But in as much as I’ve been impressed with Philip Rivers and the Chargers, I can’t see them winning this game against a Bills team that might be more dynamic on offense than we all thought. If Buffalo’s run game gets going, they could grind out a close and contested win, bringing their record to a sparkling 3-0. Who would’ve thought, right?
Prediction: Bills 24, Chargers 20
How Bad Are the Oakland Raiders?
It’s a safe question to ask given how anemic they’ve been to start the season. The running game is non-existent. The passing game is having its own issues. And they can’t even stop a defensive end from hauling in a touchdown from a journeyman quarterback. Their reward for getting trounced by the Houston Texans is a date with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. Granted, Brady hasn’t been as sharp as he’s been in past seasons, but he’s still eons better than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Raiders’ rookie QB Derek Carr has a bright future but he’s going to be in a lot of trouble even completing passes in this game, let alone leading long and sustained drives.
Prediction: Patriots 30, Raiders, 10
Shootout in the Motor City
Aaron Rodgers missed last season’s Thanksgiving loss to the Detroit Lions so you can bet he’s going to be primed and ready for this one. The fact that it’s also a division game with long-term ramifications makes the game that much more crucial for both teams. Both teams have issues on defense so I’m basing it on which team can exploit the other’s weakness more. The Packers’ struggles stopping the run is well-documented but the Lions’ secondary have been a mess too. The Lions opened as -1.5 favorites but the number has gone up to as high as -2.5. In a battle between Detroit’s running game and Green Bay’s passing attack gives me Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and those extra 2.5 points to cover. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will make the game close but I see Green Bay winning the game outright in a Western-style shootout.
Prediction: Packers 33, Lions 28
Other Games to Look Forward To
It’s a little presumptions to say that the San Francisco 49ers are as desperate as the New Orleans Saints this week. But make no mistake: the Niners can’t afford to lose against a 2-0 Arizona Cardinals. The status of Cards QB Carson Palmer is still up in the air so this likely means that Drew Stanton will get the call against a Niners defense steaming over blowing that lead against the Chicago Bears. I like San Fran here despite a busy week that saw the Niners settle—for the time being—as -3 favorites on the road.
Prediction: 49ers 27, Cardinals 14
Are the Cincinnati Bengals the AFC’s best team? It sure looks like it after two impressive wins to start the season. This week, Cincy returns to the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium to take on a Tennessee Titans team that’s really hard to get a hold of. I like Jake Locker but he’s still prone to a lot of mistakes when pressured. Unfortunately for him, he’s facing arguably the best defensive line in the NFL. It’s not going to be pretty for the Titans QB, especially if he doesn’t have an effective running game to lean on. The Bengals will like be without AJ Green so that’s going to be a bummer. Still and all, I think Cincy’s defense overpowers the Titans attack, leaving Dalton with an easy game to manage and cover the -6.5 spread. That spread was at -7 at the start of the week so take the half-point and run away with it.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Titans 13
Am I in the minority when I think that Kirk Cousins is actually a better fit at quarterback on this Redskins team compared to Robert Griffin III? I have a chance to prove myself right when the Redskins visit Philadelphia with new wideout and former Eagle DeSean Jackson in tow. Sure, the Eagles have come out smelling like roses after two come-from-behind wins but I see this game turning on its head with Washington playing catch-up and scoring the late win. Consider this my upset of the week as Jackson returns to Philly and torments his old team with a late 80-yard bomb for the lead and the win.
Prediction: Redskins 28, Eagles 24
Week 2: 1-7