Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 2 NFL Picks: Joy In Repetition

It Just Feels Right
There is something comforting, I believe, in starting your picks for the year under .500. It is, more or less, what you expect to happen after so many years of the same damn thing happening, and the tradition of having preseason work go to the septic tank just makes me feel that all is right with the world. Having my fantasy team go DOA is nothing new, but such is the power of His Chipness that I'm actually OK with all of this. And unlike my fantasy team of slugs, or the Eagles with their entertaining but obviously flawed nature, there's no reason why the picks should stink all year.

So with that moment of wild enthusiasm.... on to the picks!

* * * * *

NY JETS (+12.5) at New England

The Jets are terrible, of course, but that's a lot of points for a Patriots team that struggled with the Bills, won't be without their #1 WR, RB or TE, and are as short on weapons as they've ever been. QB Geno Smith has a bit of a pulse, and so long as they don't turn it over 3 times, I think they cover the spread, and have a real chance to win until their offense betrays them with a short field. In a game of patience, you don't go with Rex Ryan. But on the plus side, aren't you happy that NFLN's Thursday Night game is still a more or less guaranteed dog game?

Oh, and this small note for the pathetic end that is Mark Sanchez's season ending injury, sustained in preseason game four, in the fourth quarter. Far be it for me to extol the virtues of a guy whose career statistics and telling video moments (Buttfumble!) are going to redefine Failure for a generation of Jets fans. But honestly, can you remember a first-round QB selection that was given less help by his team? Sanchez's best receiver for the duration is probably the immortal Dustin Keller, if it's not the twilight of LaDanian Tomlinson. His coach and owner were ready for any microphone, and they import Tim Tebow in to more or less completely screw the pooch. Then, they reach for a draft pick, don't cut the guy, say he's the starter from a fixed preseason competition, then give the job to the pick anyway... and throw him out there with longshoremen and dock workers to lock down The Snoopy Bowl. A great talent was not wasted here, but the Jets treated a first round pick like a CFL refugee.

Patriots 24, Jets 14

San Diego at PHILADELPHIA (-7)

This one's so obvious as to make me want to run away from it, but there is nothing about the Chargers' Week One loss that tells you that new coach Mike McCoy isn't totally over-matched at this level. With lead RB Ryan Mathews looking good early and a 21-point lead at home against the favored Texans, he gets totally unbalanced and swaps in third-rate one-dimensional backs like Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead, then wonders why the Texans are abel to suss out the play-calling so much better. Instead of staying with what his OL can do best -- run-block against the Texans' athletic but underpowered DL -- he puts it all on mistake-tastic QB Philip Rivers, exposes his defense, and more or less kills hope in one night. Now, he goes cross-country on short rest to face the NFL's most innovative offense, in front of a fan base that's so amped up by their debut, seats to the Eagles-Bucs game went up 50% in value overnight. (Note: that game is in Tampa.)

If McCoy is bright enough to try to ride Mathews, the Chargers can stay in this game and maybe even spring the stomach punch upset; these teams aren't that different in terms of overall talent, and the Chargers WR/TE targets are all plus-sized nightmares for the Eagle secondary. But he's not and they are not, and Chip Kelly just worked a Super Bowl winning coach (Mike Shanahan, remember, in Denver) like a speed bag. What he does to the unreal McCoy, at home, might be special.

Eagles 37, Chargers 20

CLEVELAND (+6.5) at Baltimore

Too many points for a Raven team that looked very vulnerable on defense in Denver, and are also beaten up. Plus, this game is always improbably close, and Cleveland's better than they showed in that Miami loss last week. Look for TE Jordan Cameron to follow up his first game with another moment of quality, and RB Trent Richardson to get his fantasy owners off the ledge. It won't be enough to win the game -- Raven QB Joe Flacco is too good for that, and when he's not, RBs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will cover -- but the cover is looking good.

Ravens 24, Browns 20

Tennessee at HOUSTON (-8.5)

The surprising battle of unbeatens. Tennessee won in Pittsburgh with what fans might call a physical and suffocating defense, and neutral observers would call a ton of buzzard's luck for the Steelers. On the road, QB Jake Locker is exposed again, and RB Chris Johnson can't move the sticks consistently. There's also this: Texans QB Matt Schaub might actually have a WR2 of note in DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson, who looked good in the MNF late game. Remember when Schaub was a fantasy asset, rather than a fill-in? We might be going there again.

Texans 31, Titans 20

MIAMI (+3) at Indianapolis

Miami won a road opener with piddling contributions from the running game or WR1 Mike Wallace, which says something strong about the maturation level of QB Ryan Tannehill, not to mention the emerging Fish defense. This week is a whole 'nother step of challenge against a Colts team that was highly challenged by the previously dismissed Raiders. The Colts had all kinds of regression red flags entering the year, and this is the week where the rest of the world starts to become aware of those issues.

Dolphins 24, Colts 23

CAROLINA (-3) at Buffalo

Buffalo is a tough place to play, and RB CJ Spiller looks due after a slow first week and the surprising competence of rookie QB EJ Manuel against the Patriots... but the Panther front seven on defense is for real, and after finding absolutely no holes against the Seahawk defense last week, running plays here are going to seem like a stone breeze. When in doubt, go with the team from the better conference.

Panthers 24, Bills 18

St. Louis at ATLANTA (+7)

By the middle of the second quarter, this is going to seem like the lock of the week, and by the middle of the fourth, a terrible back-door cover. That's because the Ram defense has too much pride to quit, and the Ram offense can do some things against zones. But when the Falcons want to win this game, they will, and the fact that they won't have to play 60 minutes to cover tells you all you need to know about the representative talent levels.

Falcons 34, Rams 24

WASHINGTON (+7.5) at Green Bay

Fun fact: one of these teams will be 0-2 and in all kinds of trouble to make the playoffs, because they'll be two games down in the division against a rival with an easier schedule, and is also playing with house money, because they never expected to win their division this year. The Packers had their serve broken on defensive idiocy and ref bungling -- nothing new there, remember Fail Mary -- in an otherwise solid game, while DC United got curb-stomped for 35 minutes before regaining their footing. I like the Pack to win, but their defense to prevent them from covering. Also, both teams are going to make big mistakes in the red zone.

Packers 27, Washington 24

DALLAS (+2.5) at Kansas City

Chiefs Fan thinks that happy days are here again, but the step up in class from Jacksonville to Dallas is kind of stunning. This will be one of the better games of the weekend, and more proof that Dallas might be better on the road now.

Cowboys 24, Chiefs 20

Minnesota at CHICAGO (-6.5)

Love this line, and really love Chicago at the price. Even if you somehow think that QB Christian Ponder won't be a wreck in this setting, there's the fact that the Minny defense did it with smoke and mirrors last year. Chicago is getting start they need this year.

Bears 27, Vikings 13

NEW ORLEANS (+3) at Tampa Bay

Traditionally the Saints struggle with this assignment, but I can't go for the home dog when they have this many issues at the skill positions. QB Drew Brees doesn't score as well a usual, but he's still going to own this game, and if you want to start counting the ways the Bucs are trying to get HC Greg Schiano fired, this game will give you opportunities.

Saints 31, Bucs 19

DETROIT (-1) at Arizona

True toss-up game here, and I've gone back and forth on it. I suppose I'm going with the road team because it'll probably fel like a neutral site game anyway, and I think RB Reggie Bush is overstating his injuries. Look for NT Ndamonkung Suh to own this game after coming in bent over a huge fine, too. I'm probably going to regret passing on this defense in fantasy this week.

Lions 31, Cardinals 16

JACKSONVILLE (+6) at Oakland

Too many points to carry, especially when both teams might combine to win less than ten games this year. Jacksonville isn't as bad as they looked at home in losing to the Chiefs, and the Raiders aren't as good as they looked in staying with the Colts. I also like the Jags better with QB Chad Henne, which tells you all you need to know about the Blaine Gabbert Era. Nice game for both lead RBs, though.

Oakland 20, Jaguars 17

DENVER (-5) at New York Giants

The Manning Bowl goes to the road favorites, who have three more days of rest, a whole lot less int he way of turnover issues, and a RB situation that's middling, rather than actively self-defeating. i'm fully prepared to lose this bet by a point on a back-door cover, and there might not be another game this year where you see a better six-pack of WRs.

Broncos 31, Giants 24

San Francisco at SEATTLE (-3)

The SNF game is an absolute gem, the battle between the presumed two best teams in the NFC, and something that's so good, even the Manning Bros couldn't keep it out of the lead game status. I like Seattle due to the home field -- best advantage in the league right here -- and a little more depth in the skill positions on offense and in the secondary. But betting against QB Colin Kaepernick right now also seems like loony tunes. As with the later game in San Fran, this is a de facto playoff battle. (Oh, and the big score? That happens because both teams will draw DPIs when the shouldn't, and run better in the red zone than expected.)

Seahawks 34, Niners 30

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI (+7)

Wow, that escalated quickly; from possible division power to seeming doormat, in just 60 disastrous minutes against the Titans. Hard to see how it goes worse than that, where they still had back door outs late wth a recovered onside kick, but Cincy's DL could make this a blowout with some forced turnovers. HC Marvin Lewis couldn't hope for a better opportunity to put his stamp on the division.

Last week: 6-9-1

Career: 676-671-31


Tracer Bullet said...

37 points for the Birds and an 0-2 start for the Racial Slurs? Mr. Shooter, are you trying to seduce me?

DMtShooter said...

It will all end horribly, like all seductions. Does that help?

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