After missing Week 1, my picks for Week 2 are in. Home teams in Bold.
Panthers (+6) over FALCONS
I know that I was really harsh on the Panthers, their management, and Jake Delhomme, but if you remember, this same team won 12 games last year. I’m not going to go ahead and say that the Panthers will win a big division game on the road, but they are given a huge line. DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith can carry this team to within a touchdown of Matty Ice and the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense is a little suspect with aging and injury-prone like Mike Peterson, John Abraham and Chris Houston.
Saints (Pick) over EAGLES
To start, this line is ridiculous. The Saints, and specifically Drew Brees, torched the Lions defense for 45 points. Donovan McNabb will not play for the Eagles after having his ribs fractured at Carolina. Kevin Kolb is no McNabb. At that, Kolb is no Brady Quinn. If not for the fact that Kolb was a second round pick in 2007, the Eagles will end up cutting him when McNabb gets back. He is the fourth best quarterback on the Eagles and is only starting because Garcia hasn’t been around long enough, Michael Vick is still suspended, and McNabb is out. Anyways, the Eagles defense is not facing Jake Delhomme anymore, they’re facing possibly the best quarterback in the league. The additions of Darren Sharper and Malcom Jenkins has shored up New Orleans’ D. Look for the Saints to win BIG. Lock of the Week.
REDSKINS (-10) over Rams
Last week, the Rams were trampled by the Seahawks 28-0. Their offense is horrid, their defense is horrid, their offense is horrid, and their defense is horrid. Wait a sec, did I say that twice? Anyways Steven Jackson is their only offensive weapon, and Chris Long and James Laurinitus are their only defensive stars. They are possibly the worst team in the NFC if not the NFL. Marc Bulger? Laurent Jackson? Are these the players I want to run my team? No! I’m not high on the Redskins either, but Clinton Portis and Santana Moss are big playmakers on offense, and Albert Haynesworth is a huge addition to an already stacked defense.
Texans (+5) over TITANS
Both teams had high hopes last week going into this season, but were beaten, Texans in a more surprising way. I love the Texans offense with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Kevin Walters, and Steve Slaton. They have an up-and-coming defense, too, with Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, Dunta Robinson, and Amobi Okoye. I hate Tennesee’s offense with Justin Gage and Kenny Britt as their top receivers. I also dislike their defense with out Albert Haynesworth. Put those together while giving the Texans a five point advantage, give me Houston.
Patriots (-4) over JETS
If you remember two years ago, Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a win versus the Patriots. When the Steelers played the Pats, Tom Brady threw a touchdown past Smith, he ran down all the way to where Smith was in the end zone to point his finger, say something, and smack him in the helmet. New England went on to win 34-13. Earlier in the week, Jets’ safety Kerry Rhodes said that he wanted to embarrass the Pats. So what do you think Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are going to do? Jets’ “tough” coach Rex Ryan sent a voice mail to all season ticket holders saying that he was not as good of a coach as Belichick and his team is not as good as the Pats. Doesn’t sound like much confidence to me. A hint for the Pats this season: take the over on the line.
PACKERS (-9) over Bengals
The Bengals are getting better, especially on defense. They have play makers at receivers in Chad Johnson-Ocho Cinco and Chris Henry. Their quarterback is still top-10. But then again, their head coach is still Marvin Lewis. The Packers have a great defense with the addition of first rounders B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews. A 9 point line is a lot, but the Packers at home are very hard to beat.
Cardinals (+3.5) over JAGUARS
At first, I wanted to go with the Jags at home because I think they are very underrated and Arizona is way overrated. The Cardinals have a Big 10 running back (name one good active Big 10 running back in the NFL) and got hot in the playoffs after getting demolished at New England 47-7. But the line is outrageous, giving them more than a field goal advantage going into the game. This team, no matter how overrated, nearly won the Super Bowl last year. The Jaguars’ defense can’t cover Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston, even with All-Pro cornerback Rashean Mathis.
Raiders (+3) over CHIEFS
The Raiders are easily the worst run team in the NFL, but they are stocked with young stars-in-the-making like JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Chiefs are a great sleeper team this year but they have yet to play a game with Matt Cassel at the helm. Richard Seymour has really shored up the Raiders’ defense, so don’t expect Larry Johnson and the Chiefs to run all over the Black Hole.
Vikings (-9.5) over LIONS
In this match up of Midwest teams that no one cares about, you have the ol’ Gunslinger in Brett Favre, and the new Gunslinger in number 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford. But in the end, the Lions are an awful team on and defense. Adrian Peterson is a monster at running back. Put those two together and you have…
BILLS (-5) over Buccaneers
This is a tough game to pick. You gotta love the Bucs running back trio and Kellen Winslow, but then again, they have a really bad defense and underachieving quarterback. Bills have all sorts of weapons at wide receiver and Fred Jackson showed up at New England last week. And although they lost yet another Monday Night heart breaker, their defense and running game showed a lot of heart. Taking team T.O. at home this time.
Seahawks (+1.5) 0ver 49ERS
If not for a slew of injuries to all of Seattle’s wide receivers, the Seahawks would have won the NFC West last year. Add T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Aaron Curry to the mix, and that’s a great team. The 49ers beat an overrated Cardinals team last week, and Josh Morgan is their top receiver. Do you even know who Josh Morgan is? Exactly.
Steelers (-3) over BEARS
In a showdown of the defenses, the Steelers received a huge boost when the news that Brian Urlacher is out for the season with a sprained wrist. The Steelers will devour Jay Cutler and his group of no-name receivers featuring Earl Davis and Johnny Knox. Even without Troy Polamalu, the Steelers probably still have the best defense in football. Big Ben is always clutch, so I’m putting my money on him.
CHARGERS (-3.5) over Ravens
LT is out of this game, but this won’t be a huge problem for the high-powered Chargers’ offense. Darren Sproles will pick up the slack for the Bolts. With weapons like Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers and Antonio Gates, it’ll be hard for San Diego to lose at home. And as good as the Baltimore defense is, they are getting older. And don’t underrate the Chargers defense who gets Shawn Merriman and Antonio Cromartie back.
Browns (+3.5) BRONCOS
This is an awful game to watch, and if anyone not a Browns or Broncos fan watches this, they must have nothing to do in life. They are both pathetic at quarterback and on defense, but the Broncos have an awful run defense and Jamal Lewis is a compete ant running back and Braylon Edwards, when not dropping balls, is a very good receiver.
COWBOYS (-3) over Giants
The Cowboys play their first game at their billion dollar stadium with possibly the biggest crowd ever. Home field advantage plays a big role in the NFL, so I like the Cowboys. In a matchup of which team will recover better from the loss of their star prima donna wide receiver: Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens. The Cowboys have Roy Williams and the Giants have Dominik Hixon.
Colts (-3) over DOLPHINS
In case no one remembers, the Dolphins were 1-15 just over a year ago and the Colts were the toast of the AFC. One Chad Pennington later, the Dolphins are a division leader and the Colts are a Wild Card team. Welcome back to 2007.
As a goal for the year, my goal is to to have a winning percentage good enough to make the playoffs and my pick of the week better than the Patriots. Also beating Bill Simmons, more ESPN guys and newspaper people would be nice to.