Friday, September 16, 2011

2011 NFL Week 2 Picks: The 3-Ring Circus Of Shame

I have three areas of concern every week when it comes to the NFL. The first and foremost is my laundry, the Eagles. The second and not nearly as important emotionally, but still pretty damned taxing, is my fantasy team, which might be the worst team I've ever had, and yet, I'm still not ready to throw in the towel and start preparing for next year. And the last is these picks, which mostly shame me when they are below .500, and at least give me the great out of blaming the timing of the column on things. Had I only known that... well, um, no. There were no last-minute developments to blame last week, no sudden injury moments to disturb my play. Instead, it just went two games over .500, enough to cover the vig and not much more, with the only super whiff coming at the game I attended, where the Rams got dinged early and often before missing the spread by a bunch. A game I was happy to be wrong about, of course.

This week, we get to see which of last year's good teams that stank in Week 1 just had a bump in the road, and which are in a world of hurt. We also get to see if the Bears are for real, if Oakland can start with two road wins, and if the Redskins are really the third-worst team in the NFC East. And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

OAKLAND at Buffalo (-3.5)

Buffalo put up 42 on the shockingly lifeless Chiefs last week on the road, while Oakland slowly but surely overcame a sea of penalties to choke out the Broncos at home. Neither of these old-time AFC powers is any real threat to win a playoff game, but it's nice to see them both give their fan bases a sign of life. This one will come down to whether or not the Bills' imported defense can make the Raiders throw it, and if their offensive line can give Ryan Fitzpatrick enough time to exploit the Raider secondary. Fitzy is mobile enough to stay alive in this one, and the Raiders give back too many plays via the ref, for the home team to lose. But they won't cover.

Bills 24. Raiders 21

Kansas City at DETROIT (-8.5)

Everyone's favorite emerging power gets a cupcake home game against the Chiefs, who were absolutely hammered last week at home. The Lions pulled off the upset in Tampa in a game that wasn't as close as the final score, and between the good signs generated by Matthew Stafford and the entertaining violence that this defensive line can do, there's a lot to like in Motown. Irrational excitement lies ahead.

Lions 31, Chiefs 17

Baltimore at TENNESSEE (+6.5)

The upset of the week comes in this classic trap game in the Music City, where Chris Johnson gashes the surprisingly vulnerable Ravens defense, which will be thinking a little too much of itself after that 7-turnover fluke game against Pittsburgh last week. This is why Baltimore can't have nice things.

Titans 24, Ravens 20

CLEVELAND at Indianapolis (+3)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen; the Colts are now home dogs to a team that just lost to Bruce Gradkowski at home, mostly because they forgot to play defense at the start of a snap. As much as I'd like to be contrarian here and think the Colts have a little pride or a dead cat bounce to them, I just can't. Peyton Hillis is the only guy on this field that will make anyone happy, and that includes all of the players.

Browns 20, Colts 16

TAMPA BAY at Minnesota (-3)

One of those Vegas Has No Idea games. Do you take the Vikings, who threw for less yards than one Sebastian Janikowski field goal last week, or the Bucs, who fell behind early, abandoned the running game and looked nothing like last year's band of plucky overachievers? Give me the road team, who should benefit from the aging and crumbling Williams Wall finally paying for the StarCaps follies. Besides, the only reason the Vikings covered at all last week was the Chargers having hopeless special teams. I'm looking for 100 yards of anger from LeGarrete Bloint this week, which is only 85 more than he had last.

Bucs 20, Vikings 16

Chicago at NEW ORLEANS (-7)

Well, OK then: let's try this again, shall we? Chicago's got a bad offensive line, had their kickoff special teams neutered, and isn't as good as advertised on defense. Of course, I said all of this last week, when they went out and crushed the Falcons. But this week, they face a Saints team with extra rest, that needs a win something awful, and is just better than them in any number of ways. I'm also not a big fan of this Bears team on the road, on a fast surface. The number looks high, but the Saints are going to cover it easily.

Saints 34, Bears 20

Jacksonville at NEW YORK JETS (-9)

I kind of hate this line. The Jets were beyond lucky to win last week, with only Tony Romo being able to save them from a pass-rush-free day against the Cowboys' suspect line. But I just can't pull the trigger with this Jaguars team, who define underwhelming even when they win. Besides, this is just not a great matchup for them; the way to beat the Jets is to play 3 and 4 WRs, spread the field and go for surgery. Jacksonville's not even sure that you are allowed to employ that many WRs.

Jets 26, Jaguars 13

Seattle at PITTSBURGH (-14.5)

Beware an angry old defense at home, with something to prove, against a team with a terrible offense that doesn't travel well. Even under the best of circumstances, this wasn't a good assignment for Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks, but with WR1 Sidney Rice still sidelined and not nearly enough going on in the running game, this one could get ugly. Besides, the Steelers aren't going to turn it over like that again for a long time.

Steelers 24, Seahawks 6

ARIZONA at Washington (-4)

OK, the Cardinals pass defense is awful... but Cam Newton made some plays in the game, and it still wound up as a 7-point home win, with a goal-line stand to close it out. Meanwhile on the other side of things. Big Red moved the ball well and left points on the board with a red zone turnover on a fumbled flip and missed chip shot figgie. From what I saw of this one, Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb looked like Kurt Warner II with his quick release and ability to get rid of the ball against and odd-man rush. On the road against a DC team that isn't as good as they looked against the Giants, they'll do more than cover. Expect something of a shootout here.

Cardinals 34, Redskins 24

GREEN BAY at Carolina (+10)

The Pack come in with extra rest, a whole of tape that show them to be careful, and the game's best offense. Carolina's also missing do-everything LB Jon Beason, which means this game is just going to be a matter of Pick Your Doom when it comes to trying to slow down Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers likes Pick Your Doom. A lot.

Packers 34, Panthers 17

DALLAS at San Francisco (+3)

An overreaction line to the Romo Collapse; it's not as if the Niners are actually good or something. The disturbing thing for Cowboy Haters is that their line actually looks competent, because the skill players were never the problem here. At least, so long as the game isn't against a playoff-caliber opponent, or matters very much in the long run. Romo's going to get back some fantasy goodness in this one.

Cowboys 28, Niners 17

CINCINNATI at Denver (-3.5)

The Bengals have a better secondary than you might think, some pluck, and patience in the running game. The Broncos have a gimping Brandon Lloyd, no running game at all to speak of, and a fan base that's anxious to start the #3 QB Era, because Denver Fan is surprisingly religious and wants to get their Tim Tebow on, and fast. They'll get their wish soon enough. But not this week.

Broncos 24, Bengals 21

HOUSTON at Miami (-3)

Man, I can't get enough of this line. The Texans have an extra day of rest, are just better, and didn't miss a beat with Arian Foster on the sideline last week. Score another week where the AFC South opens up wide for the Houston club.

Texans 27, Dolphins 17

SAN DIEGO at New England (-7)

Just too big of a number. especially when the opponent has tons of quality weapons. I realize that it's a long roadie, but this line is just too big for a team that just gave up 400+ yards passing to Chad Henne. Possible playoff preview here.

Patriots 34, Chargers 30

PHILADELPHIA at Atlanta (+3)

From watching it up close last week, you can't imagine how much a healthy Michael Vick saps the life out of an opponent; just a few How Did He Do That moments, and the defense just doesn't want to speed rush him any more. The Falcons are better than they looked last week in Chicago, but under the SNF lights and with way too many Vick Lovers in the stands, it's not going to show.

Eagles 31, Falcons 24

St Louis at NY GIANTS (-7)

Wow, what a terrible Week 1 for the Rams. They lose their best WR, RB and QB all in the same game, and their defense gets gashed as well. They might recover from it, but not on the road under the lights against an 0-1 Giants team that can rush the passer.

Giants 23, Rams 13

Last Week: 8-6-2

2011-12: 8-6-2

Career: 415-411-17


snd_dsgnr said...

You know Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks are both questionable for Monday right?

Anonymous said...

Nice work on picking Tenn to win outright, I would never have seen that coming

Ads In This Size Rule