Thursday, September 11, 2008

The NFL goes on without Brady: NFL Week Two Predictions

Well, that was an interesting way to start the season! The Colts, Chargers and Jaguars, three teams that I thought would be Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, all lost. The Falcons and Bills both dominated their opponents by showing surprising competency on offense. And, oh yeah, Tom Brady is done for the year.

Needless to say, I didn't think any of those things would happen when I made my Week One picks. While I did get a respectable number of my picks right (10 of 16), I hope to do better in Week Two. But if the supposed juggernauts keep losing, I don't see anyone can predict what's going to happen from one week to the next.

All picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 10-6, .625
Overall Record: 10-6, .625

Sunday Day Games:

Titans @ Bengals Rookie Chris Johnson looked awesome against the solid defense of the Jaguars last week as he averaged over 6 yards per carry. Hopefully he will get the majority of the carries over the fat whale Lendale White who averaged 2.7 yards per carry. The Titans will likely be without Vince Young who seems to be breaking down both physically and mentally, but how much would not having Young really hurt them? The Bengals defense has been broken for years now but it appears their offense has taken a turn for the worse. Carson Palmer completed only 10 of 25 passes and looked tentative in the pocket. My pick: Titans and it probably won't be close.
Packers @ Lions The Aaron Rodgers era started with a pretty decent effort and a win for the Packers. The Lions season started with some of the worst defense I've ever seen. I mean, the Falcons rushed for 318 yards against Detroit? Seriously? With a rookie quarterback at the helm? Matt Ryan may never have an easier game in his career and now it's Aaron Rodger's turn. My pick: Packers

Raiders @ Chiefs Do I have to pick a winner? The Raiders looked terrible against the Broncos and the Chiefs couldn't even beat the Matt Cassel-led Patriots. Both teams are losers in this game and so is anyone who actually tries to watch. My pick: The Chiefs do play better at home and the Raiders suck no matter where they play.

Giants @ Rams It's hard to tell if the Rams were as bad as they look or the Eagles were as good as they look. One thing is for sure, the Rams can't block anyone, meaning Marc Bulger is going to be flat on his back for most of this game even against a depleted Giants pass rush. My pick: Giants by two touchdowns

Colts @ Vikings I expected the Colts offense to be out of sync against the Bears but I didn't expect their defense to let the Bears run all over them. If Matt Forte can run for 123 yards against the Colts, imagine how many Adrian Peterson will get! I still think Peyton Manning will find a way in this one, there is no way he will let the Colts start the season 0-2. My pick: Colts in a close game

Saints @ Redskins Reggie Bush looked rejuvenated last week as he showed off some of his big-play ability that has been missing since he left USC. Jason Campbell looked clueless against the Giants, it appears that the West Coast offense has hurt his head. I have never bought into Campbell as a legitimate NFL starter. My pick: Saints

Bears @ Panthers The two most surprising teams from Week One square off here. I picked against the Panthers last week saying that a team full of Steve Smith's couldn't beat the Chargers. Smith still won't be back but I think the Panthers have enough other weapons to beat the Bears. Besides, if their defense stiffens up a lot more than the Colts D did last week, Carolina won't need to put up a ton of points. My pick: Panthers

Bills @ Jaguars Two more teams I was wrong about last week. I am definitely starting to re-think my pick of the Jaguars as a Super Bowl team, they looked bad against the Titans. Not only could they not run the ball, but David Garrard turned the ball over three times (2 int, 1 fumble), something he never did last year. Despite their banged up offensive line, you can't keep both Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor down for too long, so expect the Jags to bounce back this week. My pick: Jaguars

49ers @ Seahawks The Niners look pretty bad but at least they aren't the worst Bay Area team. They can't expect much from J.T. O'Sullivan when his only offensive weapon is Frank Gore. Speaking of offensive weapons, who exactly is Matt Hasselbeck supposed to throw to? When recently signed (former Eagle) Billy McMullen figures to be one of their top targets, you know the team is having problems at wideout. Fortunately for Seattle, they could have a whole receiving core of Eagles castoffs like Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell and James Thrash and still beat the Niners. My pick: Seahawks

Falcons @ Bucs Who saw that Falcons running attack coming? Fantasy owners of Michael Turner were ecstatic with his huge running output in Week One but they shouldn't be surprised when he fails to rush for 220 yards in the next three weeks combined. The Bucs have some problems at quarterback but their defense should be able to stifle the Falcons if they just put eight men in the box and force Matt Ryan to throw the ball. My pick: Bucs

Ravens @ Texans This is a tough one to predict. The Ravens aren't as good as they looked in Week One and the Texans aren't as bad as they looked. I like both defenses but each team has holes on offense. Who is going to catch the ball in Baltimore? Who is going to run the ball in Houston? Seeing as how they only scored 17 points against the terrible Bengals defense in Week One, the Ravens offense is clearly the one with bigger problems. My pick: Texans at home in a strong bounce-back effort

Patriots @ Jets A huge opportunity has fallen into Brett Favre's lap. With the injury to Tom Brady, the Jets have a chance to seize control of the AFC East. The dream that all Jets fans have now is of Favre leading them to the division win and then carrying them through the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, the Patriots aren't dead just yet. Bill Belichick, the mad genius, has now been given the perfect motivational tool. Everyone thinks the Patriots are done without Brady, but Belichick will find a way to rally the troops around the loss of their star quarterback. He always seems to do more with less anyway and now Belichick has been given a chance to prove how good of a coach he is. Expect him to rise to the challenge. My pick: That being said, I still like the Jets this week at home

Dolphins @ Cardinals The Dolphins already look better than they did last season. Having an experienced quarterback like Chad Pennington run the show will make a big difference for them. I don't think they've improved enough to beat the Cardinals, though, and that's saying something. My pick: Cardinals

Chargers @ Broncos This would have been a no-brainer pick a week ago. Now, the Chargers have lost their best defensive player and the Broncos are coming off a stellar performance against the Raiders. Of course, the last three words of the previous sentence mean that the Broncos really haven't done anything yet. I expect the Chargers bounce back, although if they don't we really have to wonder what it is about Norv Turner teams and why they continue to get slow starts to the season. Regardless, I just can't see a team with L.T. and a still-dominant defense start a season 0-2. My pick: Chargers

Sunday Night Game:

Steelers @ Browns The Browns season already looks a little bleak. After getting worked by the Cowboys in Week One, the Browns have to play a Steelers team that destroyed a decent Texans team last week. After one bad game there already seems to be a quarterback controversy brewing in Cleveland but I have no idea why anyone would be clamoring for Brady Quinn to be your quarterback. Be careful what you wish for, Cleveland. The Steelers looked awesome on offense and if they can get their defense back to an elite level they have a chance to take over in the Bradyless AFC. My pick: Steelers

Monday Night Game:

Eagles @ Cowboys Don't bash me Eagles fans. I love the Birds, so this is the most painful pick for me to make. I want to get my picks right, not be a total homer. The Cowboys simply have too much talent on both sides of the ball. Their defense is miles ahead of what the Eagles saw in Week One, and while they won't shut down Donovan McNabb, they will certainly slow him down like they did at the end of the season last year. Their offense is also scary good and not just because of the Tony Romo/T.O. connection. Marion Barber and Jason Witten are the true offensive MVPs for this team. The Eagles, despite their three 100 yard receivers in Week One, lack the weapons on offense to keep up with what Dallas has. DeSean Jackson will have another solid game but we all know enough about Hank Baskett and Greg Lewis to know they can't be counted on to produce every week. My pick: Cowboys. I like the Eagles to knock off the Cowboys later in the season when the game is in Philly, but I think the Cowboys will pull this one out in a close game.

So those are my picks for Week Two. If you agree or disagree or have picks of your own, feel free to leave comments!

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