The Old Man was ten and six last week and I’m blaming the replacement refs. Hey, why not? It’s as good an excuse as any! Just ask New England. How else do you explain their loss to the Cardinals at home? Wait a minute, Denny Green is calling me. What’s that Denny, the Pat’s aren’t who we thought they were? Well there you have it.
I promise to do better in week three. I better, Jimmy Two Times has been hanging around my front door and….oh yeah, the picks, as always, are for fun. No gambling here sir. Games are predicted straight up, points are only for reference. Let’s get to it.
New York Giants (-1) at Carolina Panthers – Thursday Night
It’s another Thursday night game and only two things were worse than Eli Manning’s first half performance last Sunday, and both happened last Thursday night. One was Jay Cutler’s nightmare of a game (thankfully we won’t see that again this Thursday) and the other was C Lo Greens Thursday Night Football intro (gotta find the mute button on the remote). The Giants are very lucky to have won last weekend. The Bucs gave them all they could handle and I expect the Panthers to do the same. As of this writing, it looks like Ahmad Bradshaw is out as well as Hixon and Diehl. Add to this their defensive back woes and you have all the makings of an upset, albeit not a big one. The Giants will end up 1 and 2 after Thursday night. Take the Panthers at home.
St. Louis Rams (+7.5) at Chicago Bears
Outside of the replacement refs, my Chicago Bears were the worse thing to happen in the NFL last week. Jay Cutler went down more than a two dollar hook…wait, I’ll keep it clean. The Rams have been impressive this season, giving the Lions all they could handle and pulling off the win against the Redskins. I think the Bears will win this game, and big. The Bears came into this season as new and improved. So many players and coaches said this is the best Bears team in years. Time to start showing it. Cutler bounces back in a big way as the Bears win by two touchdowns.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) at Dallas Cowboys
The Bucs should have two wins under their belts, but they’re young and still learning how to win games. The Cowboys? Who knows! This is the biggest Jekyll and Hyde team in recent years. They have all the weapons, but just can’t seem to get it done. Which team shows? The one that beat the Giants or the one that was manhandled by the Seahawks? I’m going with the team that beat the Giants and taking Dallas at home.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Minnesota Vikings
The 49ers are far and away the best team in the NFL at this point in time. Question is, good thing or bad? One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you don’t want to peak too early, and that’s the issue they face. Who would have thought at last seasons mid-way point that the Giants would end up Super Bowl champs? Not many. Can the 49ers keep the intensity for the remainder of the season? I’m not sure, but I am sure that they’ll keep it going this week. 49ers whoop up on the Vikings in the Metrodome.
Detroit Lions (-3) at Tennessee Titans
Look for the Lions to finally put together one of those games where the offense and defense play their best. I look for Stafford and Johnson (Calvin, not Chris) to have big days as the Lions will roar. As for the Chris Johnson, I don’t think he’ll get past 30 total yards in this one. Lions win easy.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3) at Washington Redskins
If it weren’t for a bonehead play by Redskins wide receiver Joshua Morgan, the Redskins might be undefeated. They’ve played some pretty good football this season. On the other side, the Bengals had a terrible outing in week one but bounced back against the Browns last week. They were my lock of the week, but not this week. I think the Redskins win this one as they continue to be one of the surprise teams of this young NFL season.
New York Jets (-3) at Miami Dolphins
In all honesty, I thought the Dolphins had a very good chance of not winning a game this season. I was wrong. Reggie Bush played like Reggie Bush can play against the Raiders. However, the Jets D is not the same and look for Reggie to get a lot of attention. I look for the Jets to make Tannehill beat them and I don’t think he can. The Jets won’t need a lot of offense as their D will give them a short field to work with. Take the Jets on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs (+8.5) at New Orleans Saints
If you still think that Sean Payton’s absence is not big deal, then you’re not following the NFL. The Saints just don’t look like the Saints of old and it’s due to Payton. I really don’t think they’ll make the playoffs as they continue to find their way. Lucky for them the Chiefs are coming to town. I know it’s not Mardi Gras, but Saints fans can party like it is celebrating a Saints victory this Sunday.
Buffalo Bills (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns
Last Sunday, the Bills looked like the team I thought they’d be in week one! Another Jekyll and Hyde team. I think the Bills will go into Cleveland and put the wood to the Browns. Here’ s a fun fact. Brandon Wheeden has more rushing yards this season than the Titan’s Chris Johnson. Take the Bills on the road.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Indianapolis Colts
For the first time in years Indy fans are facing a home game blackout. This will be the last season that happens. I really like this young Colts team. Jim Irsay has done a masterful job of putting together a team that will be back in the playoffs as early as next year. As for this season, I look for the Colts to finish near .500. They should split their games with the AFC South, outside of Houston, and this is one they’ll win. Take the Colts at home although I think Maurice Jones-Drew will have a good game.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at Arizona Cardinals
What? The Cardinals have a better record than the Patriots, Giants, and the Packers? What gives? I know, they’re actually playing team football. In what was a major upset last weekend, the Cards went into Foxboro and took it to the Patriots. This week, they face the undefeated Eagles who, in my opinion, have lucked out with their two victories. Someone has to lose and I think the Cardinals show their true colors. Take the Eagles on the road.
Atlanta Falcons (+3) at San Diego Chargers
Another battle of undefeated teams. The Falcons go on the road and play outdoors, where they’re just not as good, and it’s unclear if they’ll have Michael Turner. As you know, Turner had a bit too much to drink and got behind the wheel of a car last Monday. This is a tough game to call because I’m just not sold on the Chargers and I think the Falcons can be one of the best in the NFL. Based on past history of performing poorly in an outdoor environment, I’m going with the Chargers at home. This will be a close one.
Houston Texans (-2) at Denver Broncos
I really like and admire Peyton Manning. However, on Monday night, I saw a Manning that I was unfamiliar with. If you watch the game film, you’ll see his passes were wobbly and had very little zip. You’ll also see several receivers who were open, but they were 35 yards or so down field. I don’t think Peyton could get the ball to them if he wanted to. I think this will be Manning’s last year. His head and heart are there, his arm just isn’t. Look for the Texans to cover the short and middle routes and take the win on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) at Oakland Raiders
The Steelers and the Raiders. Images of Jack Lambert, Lyle Alzado, Franco Harris, and Kenny Stabler come to mind. Forget the records, forget the streaks, this will be a hard hitting, smash mouth football game. Call me crazy, but I think the Raiders will come to play this Sunday and in an upset they win over the Steelers.
New England Patriots (+3) at Baltimore Ravens – Sunday Night
It’s hard to believe that one of these teams will be under .500 three weeks into the season. The Old Man has pointed out that the Patriots offensive line is its weak point and this week it doesn’t get any easier. The Ravens are coming off a game that they should have won. They feel like they let the Eagles get away with one, and I agree. This is the Sunday prime time game and the Ravens will shine. Brady and the Pats drop to 1 and 2.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Seattle Seahawks
The Packers had an easy time of it against the Bears in their last outing. The Seahawks? They’re coming off a big home win against the Dallas Cowboys. I really like Russell Wilson and I think he’ll do great things, but not this week. The Packers D showed what they’re capable of against the Bears and I think it will be enough to bait and trap young Mr. Wilson as the Pack rolls to a 2 and 1 record.
One final note. I’d like to acknowledge the passing of Steve Sabol and thank him for his contributions to the NFL over the years. Steve was a good one and will be missed.
That’s it for week two. Take it to the bank!