Thursday, September 11, 2008

NFL Predictions: Week Two

I totally forgot to blog about my Week One picks. You'll have to take my word for it that I went 10-6. I missed on Jacksonville-Tennessee, New York (Jets)-Miami, Pittsburgh-Houston (STUPID!!!), Detroit-Atlanta, San Diego-Carolina, and Indy-Chicago. To be fair, I shouldn't be credited with getting the New England-Chiefs game right, but it reverted to a Pick 'Em on Yahoo when Vegas couldn't get enough people to bet on Kansas City (even after they were getting nearly seventeen points). I'll take it though.

From here on out, I'll post weekly picks on Thursday. Feel free to abuse me on my stupidity before and/or after the games have been played.

(Home team in caps.)

DETROIT (+3) over Green Bay
I'll concede that I'm pretty iffy on this pick. I liked what I saw out of Aaron Rodgers on Monday -- so much so that I ditched Carson Palmer and picked him up instead. But, I think they've a few things working against them this week. Not only are they coming off an emotional win, Ryan Grant is nursing a tweaked hamstring, and I think Detroit is due a couple more TDs than they could manage last week against Atlanta. They're a bad team, sure, but that offense should be better they showed.

New Orleans (PK) over WASHINGTON
New Orleans won the best-played game last week, so they should be rewarded at least a little bit of credit. Washington, on the other hand, is due nothing after their stink-bomb performance against the Giants. Even without Colston, I think New Orleans has enough offense to pull it off on the road.

CINCINNATI (-1) over Tennessee
How can I do this? Cincinnati was absolutely awful. They didn't get shell-shocked like the Raiders, but I think they might've been worse. Whereas Tennessee beat the Jags into the ground. And it's not as though playing at Paul Brown Stadium is a huge advantage for the Bengals. BUT ... they have a certain something whenever it comes to playing Tennessee. Palmer could very well make me regret not having him on my fantasy team this week. Plus, who knows what Tennessee will get out of Haynesworth, who apparently rubbed dirt on his concussed brain last week and finished the game. We saw last year what happens to the Titans when he's not in. (I'm avoiding saying anything about Vince Young, because I think Jason Whitlock deserves the final word for now on him. The great thing about Whitlock's column is that it demands you think about it, rather than begging you to agree or disagree instinctively. That doesn't happen too often in sports writing.)

KANSAS CITY (-3.5) over Oakland
I foresee a full-blown meltdown in Oakland after this game. Kiffin is the first coach fired this season. Damon Huard will shock us all with his efficiency, and may very well fool somebody in your fantasy league to pick him up.

CAROLINA (-3) over Chicago
We'll know if Chicago's defense is for real again after this game. Carolina's offensive unit is just a lot more with it right now than Indy's -- they held their own against a dinged up SD defense, but one that is still pretty good. Two in a row on the road from Orton is asking too much. If Carolina wins this, the rest of the NFC will immediately pay attention. Steve Smith's return awaits.

New York Giants (-8.5) over ST. LOUIS
Wow. St. Louis was spectacularly bad against Philly. I don't think they will be THAT bad this week, since the Giants likely don't have the same kind of firepower as Philly. But, it won't be pretty either. St. Louis fans, stay home so your city isn't stuck with this one on their tv! As a Bay Area fan, I know all too well the evil that is the shitty sold-out NFL game.

Buffalo (+5.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Now, I'm not all-in with Buffalo. (Unlike my friend up in Buffalo who sees them winning TWO Super Bowls this year, to make up for the sins against them.) Seattle, though, is set to be VERY bad. Buffalo did to them last week what you're supposed to against bad teams: beat them within an inch of their life, and be sure to take out their remaining wide receiver. Jacksonville, on the other hand, looked lost in week one. Granted, they always look kind of lost against Tennessee. But they gave off the vibe of a team that used to be underrated and very quickly became overrated. Kind of like Nicole Kidman as an actress. Give them a couple of weeks without their starting offensive line, Jones-Drew's requisite six weeks to get going, Jerry Porter's lifetime of unrealized potential, and they'll be back among the ranks of underrated soon enough. Just in time to take Buffalo's place.

MINNESOTA (+2) over Indianapolis
Indy fans, I know you're saying, "He just hates us." But you have to believe me, I really wanted to take you in this game. But, consider this. Minnesota had a shot to win on Monday in Green Bay, despite Tarvaris Jackson's horrible performance and a fairly underwhelming defensive display. What happens when they're playing at home against a really dinged up team whose timing is way off? It's really hard to see Indy go 0-2. But, if there is a year for it to happen, it is this year. If Indy scores ten points early, though, Minnesota's toast.

San Francisco (+7) over SEATTLE
God, I hate that I'm going to be stuck with this game on Sunday afternoon. Anyway. I saw today that Peter King is picking Seattle to win this one 40-17. Now, I can see picking Seattle to win. They're playing at home after all, and a contest between two shitty teams can often be settled by the home-field advantage, but 40-17!!!! How in the hell will Seattle score 40 points? Is Julius Jones going to have a career day? -- if so, that's 150 yards and two TDs. Where do the rest come from? San Francisco is pretty bad, true. And, yes, they're still starting Jack Quinn's Bar & Grill. But they weren't as bad on Sunday as a lot of people say. Well, okay, strike that, maybe they were -- but why does Seattle's badness get a free pass? Maybe I'm just responding to King's prediction here. A TD win over SF doesn't seem unrealistic. But, screw it. I'm sticking with it.

TAMPA BAY (-7) over Atlanta
ARIZONA (-6.5) over Miami
HOUSTON (-4.5) over Baltimore
Nothing to say about any of these three. I'll be stunned if Tampa Bay doesn't cover. Considerably less so if Arizona doesn't against Miami. And legitimately haven't a clue about the third one. Flip a coin -- it'll probably be more interesting than the game.

DENVER (+1.5) over San Diego
I know they were playing Oakland on Monday, but Denver actually looked really good. See my rationale for picking Buffalo for why I think this shouldn't be counted against them. San Diego is without their defensive leader. LT has a bum toe, and will soon have a sore thumb from biting it to suppress his tears. Philip River is in frat boy grudge mode against Cutler. I think they're due for self-combustion in Denver, thus continuing their streak of being awful in September and scaring us all in December.

NEW YORK JETS (-1.5) over New England
I think I'm supposed to pick New England to overcome adversity and piss off the whole of America by still being good even without Tom Brady. I'm not seeing it. The Jets weren't great last week, but they were serviceable. Plus, they'll be pumped up for this game in a way that nobody is against Miami. No storybook ending for New England and its "I'm not a QB but I played one for the New England Patriots" QB this week.

CLEVELAND (-6) over Pittsburgh
This is probably the pick I'll regret the most. I never pick Pittsburgh to win, and they always do. But, Cleveland HAS to be better than they played last week. Don't they? I think I'm hearing "No" from the majority of you. Well, at the very least, they want to repay the Steelers for thumping them in Cleveland last year. Yeah, that's my justification for this stupid pick.

DALLAS (-7) over Philadelphia
This game is so good. It's just too bad that it's stuck with those ass-hats from ESPN calling it. They will destroy what is otherwise a perfect match-up. I'll be cheering for Philly, but think Dallas is just too complete a team right now. A little concerned about Barber's health. But not enough to think they don't cover.