NFL Picks. Week 2, 2014
"So many questions, I'd only be a little surprised if I went 0-16."
Yeah... Not too proud of those picks last week.
A couple of those games... Phew!
Minnesota over St. Louis?
Buffalo over Chicago?
Tennessee over Kansas City?
I ended up going 6-10 last week.
But not pretty.
Not making excuses here but...
I did warn you that Week 1 picks are hard.
And I'm about to do it again.
See, the problem with Week 2 picks... are that we still don't know who the teams are from Week 1!
Are the Vikings that good or are the Rams that bad?!
Were some games flukes?
Do some teams need to get to know themselves a little better?!
Here's hoping I break .500 this week.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore- Baltimore.
The Ravens struggled mightily against the Bengals.
They couldn't run the ball. The receivers were dropping everything. And even though they played well in the redzone, they gave up too many field goals.
Meanwhile the Steelers barely held off the lowly Browns.
The Ravens need to establish the run game.
They can try all they want to play Peyton and throw the ball 60 times a game, but they're not coming home with a win.
If they can successfully run the ball and maybe teach Torrey Smith how to hold on to some passes, I think they'll win.
Then they'll find themselves at 0-2 with losses to the Bengals and Steelers at home.
That's a long road to be on so early in the year.
Miami @ Buffalo- Miami
This game is for first place in the AFC East.
I'm not kidding.
The Dolphins... Well... Somehow they beat the Pats last week.
And lets be honest, it wasn't a fluke, it was a well played game.
They got after Brady and he wasn't able to get the ball down the field.
And the Bills.
Who the hell were those guys?
If I had to pick a lock last week? I would've said, "There's no way that the Bills can beat the Bears. The Bears are just too good and c'mon, they're the Bills!"
Well. They were both very impressive on both sides of the ball last week, but if I had to pick one to be a fluke, it would be Buffalo.
I still don't trust EJ Manuel, and it's early enough in the year that playing in Buffalo won't affect the game too much.
I take Tannehill and the Phins to go 2-0 in the division and on the year.
Jacksonville @ Washington- Washington.
The Jaguars got off to a quick start versus the Eagles last week, and it caused me to burn all of the notes I've ever taken about football.
Seriously, I walked outside, grabbed the lighter fluid from the garage, doused my office, and lit the flame.
But, then the world righted itself, and I need a new desk.
The Skins didn't really light up the scoreboard either, but they played significantly more consistently throughout the game than Jacksonville.
The Jags looked completely lost throughout the final three quarters and relied heavily on Nick Foles to stay in the game. I think the Redskins have more going for them than the Jaguars do, and they'll win the game in the fourth.
Dallas at Tennessee- Dallas.
Well the Titans certainly surprised me last week by upsetting Kansas City at home, but I feel like that had more to do with the terrible play-calling of Kansas City than actual talent.
How do you only rush Charles 7 times?
How do you justify that?
As for Dallas?
They shot themselves in the foot.
Too many turnovers and uncomfortably bad defense.
Romo didn't look like himself and Dez Bryant was banged up.
This week, I think they'll slow down.
If it hadn't been for the turnovers, they might have actually beaten the 49ers last week. They dominated the time of possession, and were able to put some points up in a hurry when they were throwing to the right team.
I'll give the Cowboys a chance to try and make something of their season while they wait for Garrett to get fired.
Arizona @ New York (Giants)- Arizona.
Both of these teams are baffling.
These are the games that confuse me.
WHO ARE YOU?!?!
The Giants looked god awful at points last week against the Lions and had no answers for Calvin Johnson, meanwhile, the Cardinals seemed to have some kind of chemistry on offense with all of their weapons.
However, the Giants also had their moments of decency last week. If they can just get the run game going and take the pressure off of Eli, I think they're a more talented team.
New England @ Minnesota- New England.
The Patriots seem to have some offensive line issues.
That's not good.
They also seem to be struggling in the secondary.
Also not good.
However, they do have one thing going for them.
They still have Tom Brady.
I'm playing it safe and betting on the offense to rebound.
They'll get more out of Gronk, the new offensive line will get used to each other, and they'll get to Matt Cassel.
If Minnesota wins this one, we may have to start taking notice.
New Orleans @ Cleveland- Cleveland.
Have I been blinded by hate?
Have I lost my mind?
Do I really think that Marqwhoops Lolston is overrated?
Maybe, but I'm going with my gut on this one.
Cleveland is outdoors, the defense is solid, and the Saints defense did nothing to impress me last week.
Call me crazy, but I'm picking Hoyer and the Browns.
Atlanta @ Cincinnati- Atlanta.
What a fun game.
There should be a ton of scoring!
As I write this, I still don't know who I'm picking.
The teams are kindof similar.
Passing teams with talented receivers and unique play-calling with shaky defenses.
The Bengals are a little beat up, and that might hurt, but the Falcons are on the road.
I guess I have to pick one.
I'll take the Falcons.
Simply because the Bengals left too many points on the field last week versus the Ravens.
If they cashed in every time they settled for three, the game wouldn't have been close.
But alas, the Ravens stuffed them.
Meanwhile, Matt Ryan had a scary game.
I'll go with the Matty Iceman to Julio Maverick connection this week.
Detroit @ Carolina- Detroit.
Detroit looked incredible last week.
They've got it going on in the passing game and their defensive line devoured Eli Manning.
But don't count the Panthers out, despite not having Cam Newton or any established weapons, they still managed to easily beat the incredibly disappointing Buccaneers.
I'll side with the Lions because I believe they can provide more explosive plays through the air than the Panthers can, and as amazing as he is, I don't believe Luke Kuechly can cover Calvin Johnson.
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay- Tampa Bay.
A battle of two incredibly disappointing teams!
I've gotta go with Tampa because at least they looked alive out there.
Seriously, what the hell was that? I had no clue the Vikings were gonna score that many points this month, let alone in one game, let alone against the best defensive line in the NFL.
You don't deserved to be picked, St. Louis!
If this were gym class, I would have one less player than the other team before I picked you.
Seattle @ San Diego- Seattle.
Despite this game being played in San Diego, I'm not impressed by the Chargers.
They seemed to be out of sync all night, and couldn't seem to capitalize on any of their opportunities.
Did a beat up offensive line hurt? I'm sure.
But do excuses mean anything in the NFL?
No they don't.
And guess what? You're going against the Seattle Seahawks. A team that absolutely destroyed a far superior Green Bay team last thursday night.
Look for Seattle to keep getting Percy Harvin the ball, to establish some of the runningbacks not named Marshawn Lynch, and to keep dominating with the play action pass.
Oh, and look for Richard Sherman to grab his first interception of the year because.
When you grow up a Raiders fan, that resentment never goes away.
It will get ugly early in San Diego.
Houston @ Oakland- Oakland.
This game is so impossibly huge for Oakland.
Last week... Wasn't as bad as it felt.
They definitely took it easy with the playbook, and Derek Carr looked to check down more often than he looked to make plays, and the Raiders couldn't seem to generate a pass rush, and they blew a decent lead.
It was ugly.
But now you go back home, to the Black Hole.
And you're playing a team that had the worst record in the NFL last year, without their first overall pick, starting Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB.
You have to win this game if you're Dennis Allen.
Stop Arian Foster.
Get Darren McFadden more touches.
Let Derek Carr air the ball out.
Win by 14 points.
The return of inside linebacker Nick Roach will be huge for the Raiders. He's not a special linebacker, but it's steep dropoff from him to Miles Burris on the inside (See- Chris Ivory's 71 yard TD last week).
If the Raiders can run the ball and stop the run, they'll be just fine.
If Arian Foster runs wild and JJ Watt wreaks havoc, we might see Derek Carr's first interception, and Dennis Allen's seat will grow increasingly warm.
New York (Jets) @ Green Bay- Green Bay.
The Jets won a nasty game with the Raiders last week, and the Packers.
They got embarrassed.
I can't defend Aaron Rodgers.
It's true that his offensive line was beat up, but he didn't even challenge Richard Sherman and it crippled their spread offense.
If your entire offense revolves around spreading out the defensive backs, you can't give up half of the field.
Thankfully, nobody on the Jets secondary is in the same league as the Legion of Boom and the Packers should be able to coast to a win surrounded by Cheeseheads.
Kansas City @ Denver- Denver.
I have to, don't I?
I mean, I can't really justify picking Kansas City over Denver after the beatdown they received from the Titans.
Alex Smith is not Peyton Manning.
Alex Smith is NOT Peyton Manning.
You can not count on him to win games for you without some assistance from the running game.
They got away from what made them a playoff team a year ago, Jamaal Charles and the pass rush.
They looked soft as hell versus a mediocre Titan team and only got Charles 11 touches.
Jeez, everyone made fun of me for drafting Calvin Johnson over Jamaal Charles in my fantasy league... How's that 0-1 treating you right about now?
Peyton and his Co-I mean, Broncos were up to their lame old tricks last week, and I don't see them slowing down versus a beat up, if vaunted Kansas City defense. For all the media has made of the Broncos new look defense, they still let the Colts sneak back into the game and steal it away.
They may be good for some fantasy points this year, but trust me, the "Orange Crush" will let the donkeys down when they're needed the most.
Chicago @ San Francisco- San Francisco.
If any QB in the NFL has a clone, it's Tony Romo.
And his name is Jay Cutler.
It's like playing Russian roulette. You can either have a game where they throw 300 yards and 3 TDs or a game where they never get their shit together and throw a bunch of picks.
After an embarrassing game against the lowly bills at home, I have a hard time trusting Cutler to be the good passer.
They're going to lean heavily Matt Forte to wear out a depleted 49er defense, and I'm of the mind that runningbacks do not get better with age (Despite what Frank Gore shows on tape).
Honestly, in prime-time, against a defensive team, at the unveiling of their new stadium, yeahhh....
Philadelphia @ Indianapolis- Indianapolis.
This is a tough game for me.
Both teams impressed me last week.
Philly didn't start strong, but they came back from 17 down and blew the Jaguars out.
And the Colts almost came back to beat Peyton Manning in Denver.
Both teams look like their destined to take home divisional gold this year, but I'm gonna take Indy because well...
You can't let a team get up by 17 in the first half. Both teams did that.
But there's a huge difference between Denver and Jacksonville.
The Eagles have to protect Nick Foles, and really get after Andrew Luck.
And I don't know if they'll be able to do that before Luck puts them away.
The Eagles need to establish LeSean McCoy early and often this week to stay in the game. Foles just isn't good enough to go head to head with Luck and expect to win.
Fleegle did a little better than I did last week, coming up .
He went 8-8.
Now he's up on me by two games!
I've gotta be better this time!
Here's what he picked.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore: Look, I know that week 2 is WAY too early to be calling something as a "must win" game, but let's be honest.....the Ravens cannot afford to lose this game, especially after dropping at home to Cincinnati in week one. For multiple reasons.....you don't want to lose at home to your biggest rival, you don't want to start 0-2 in the division, and you ESPECIALLY don't want to start 0-2 with both losses coming at home. Not to mention, the way this team sits right now, especially with how crappy the offense looked in week one, if the Ravens WERE to lose this game, do you really think they're capable of going on the road in week 9 on Sunday Night Football and returning the favor? As for the Steelers, damn if they didn't try their hardest to blow a 27-3 lead to Cleveland in week one, but they held on in the end. You know they'll be looking to capitalize on a Ravens team that is coming off a tough loss, with a short week, and oh yeah, not to mention having to deal with the whole media circus surrounding the player that I don't even wanna name. My head says that the Steelers win this game, but my heart, which I'm going with here, says that the Ravens find a way to win it at home.
Miami @ Buffalo: Boy, the battle for first in the AFC East! Wait, did I just say that? I expected Miami to win in week one (which they did) but in NO WAY did I see Buffalo going to Chicago and getting that W, so kudos to the Bills. As for this week, I think it's a crapshoot. A pair of teams looking to keep up the momentum from last week. And you know, I really like what Miami was able to do running the ball last week against New England. Tannehill is still growing into his own, so any time you can run for 191 yards it really takes that pressure off of him. I'm riding high on the Dolphins in the division this season for some reason, and I think they beat Buffalo this weekend too.
Jacksonville @ Washington: Does anyone really care about this game? No but seriously.....okay, well, if I HAVE to pick this game, I'll take the Red...Washington at home. RGIII actually didn't look too terrible against Houston, save for fumbling away a possession once. And Jacksonville in the second half against Philly reminded us all why they are who we thought they were! (in my Dennis Green voice). Rolling with DC this weekend, I guess.
Dallas @ Tennessee: Boy, Dallas was out of that San Fran game last weekend before it even really got started, thanks to some Cowboy-esque turnovers. Tennessee, on the other hand, really surprised me in how they handled the Chiefs. Jake Locker needs to take that next step this year if he wants to prove himself as the potential long term QB of that team, or else face slipping into Vince Young territory. A win over Dallas could do just that. That being said, I think Dallas is going to come out of the gate pissed off and looking to destroy the Titans. And lets face it, the Cowboys D really didn't look that bad on Sunday, they were just put in a lot of tough spots thanks to Romo and company. I think Dallas wins, because they have to. And on a side note, why is FOX sending their #1 announce team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to do this game? I know Dallas has a big national draw, but for God sakes, they're playing Tennessee. TENNESSEE!!!!!
Arizona @ NY Giants: West Coast teams generally don't fare well traveling east, but I tell you what, I could easily see Arizona being the team to break that slide against the G-Men this weekend. I put a lot of faith in Eli Manning on Monday Night Football to put last season behind him, and what does he do? Throws for 163 yards and 2 picks. Thanks Eli!!!!! The Giants need to find a way to win this game. Could you imagine the early season NY backlash if they don't? That being said, I like Carson Palmer more than Eli Manning this week. Yes, you read that right. I just praised the Carson Palmer who used to shred my Ravens, then promptly went out and didn't do a damn thing afterward, until last season/now. Gut feeling pick on this game, gimme the Cardinals to win.
New England @ Minnesota: I thought the Patriots would have trouble in Miami last week, and I hit the nail on the head. Minnesota, on the other hand, destroyed St. Louis, despite the fact that AP only ran for 75 yards. As much as I would LOVE to see the Patriots start 0-2, something tells me that Brady and Company aren't going to be in a good mood when they head to Minnesooooota this weekend. I like the Patriots. Close game, but I'll still take Brady over Matt Cassel, whose career (and checking account) got made when Brady got hurt a few seasons back.
New Orleans @ Cleveland: The Saints had one last week at Atlanta, and they let it fall right out of their hands (literally---here's looking at you Marques Colston). Cleveland, on the other hand, damn near rallied from a 27-3 halftime hole, on the road, against the Steelers. Oh, and by the way, if they didn't put Johnny "Heil" Manziel in that game, down 24 at the half, he ain't gonna be seeing that field for a while. Well, maybe this week, when the Saints are up by about 24 late in the 4th quarter. I can't even begin to tell you guys how much I like Drew Brees and the Saints to ROLL in this game.
Atlanta @ Cincinatti: A very interesting matchup in store for this game. Atlanta's offense looked as dynamic as ever last week, having both Julio Jones and Roddy White back and at 100%. Cincinnati, on the other hand, didn't have the best looking offense, but found a way to convert their scoring chances then got the big play from AJ Green. This is another one of those toss-up type games. Cincy will have their secondary challenged this week by those Atlanta receivers, and I think this game could show us a lot about that defensive group, one way or the other. I like Atlanta to steal a road win and start 2-0 this weekend.
Detroit @ Carolina: Megatron. Need I say more? The dude is just a handful for any defense to handle, as he proved against the Giants. I called out the Lions in my picks last week, and damn if they didn't shut me up big time. Matthew Stafford looked hella impressive too. Carolina, WITHOUT Cam Newton, still got the job done against Tampa, which, as the year goes on, won't prove to be that impressive of a win. Last week I was totally against the Lions, but this week, I'm rolling with them. Cam and his broken ribs are going to be tested QUICK by that big, ugly Detroit D-line. And if he doesn't play and it's Derek Anderson again, bigger advantage to the Lions.
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay: As I was just saying, boy, Tampa Bay, at home no less, HAD to find a way to take advantage of Cam being out for Carolina last week. And guess what? They didn't do it. As the year goes on, I think a lot of people are going to be proven to be wrong about this Tampa Bay team getting better, because I don't see it at all. But luckily for the Bucs, the only team who looked worse than them in week one, St. Louis, comes rolling into town this weekend. I didn't think the Rams were even gonna be great with Sam Bradford, but my god, 6 points, AT HOME, against Minnesota? That's bad. Not to mention the defense gives up 34, and AP didn't even score, OR break 100 yards. I guess what I'm trying to say is, gimme Tampa Bay this weekend in a battle of the field goal kickers, 9-6.
Seattle @ San Diego: Seattle looked like the defending Super Bowl champs against the Packers in week one. Richard Sherman wasn't even tested once. ONCE! As for San Diego, nobody knows how to grab defeat from the jaws of victory quite like the Chargers do. I think Seattle will get pressed a little bit by the Chargers this weekend, but I also think that Philip Rivers will find a way to screw it up just enough to lead to a Seahawks win.
Houston @ Oakland: This picks gonna be short, because I'll let Ryan do all the elaborating on his Rrrrrrrrraidersssssss! I like Oakland to win at home, although, they NEED to run the ball better. You can't throw a rookie to the wolves and only get 25 rushing yards to back him up!
NY Jets @ Green Bay: The Jets barely took out Oakland last week, despite the fact that the Raiders had to fly halfway across the country with a rookie QB at the helm. Green Bay, on the other hand, was led by the quarterback with the highest passer rating ever, yet he never manned up and challenged Richard Sherman once! Come on A-Rod, your better than that!!!!!! I think Geno Smith and the Jets are in for a rough go in Lambeau this weekend. Rodgers and the Cheeseheads roll at home.
Kansas City @ Denver: How in the holy blue hell does Kansas City have one of the best running backs in the league in Jamaal Charles, yet only give him the ball 7 (7!!!!) times for 19 (19!) yards against the freakin TITANS?!?!? They better give him the ball more this week with Peyton Manning on the opposite sideline. Kill the clock and take advantage of your scoring opportunities. Oh, and don't have your newly paid QB have 3 more picks either. Going into last week I feel like this would have been a decent matchup. Now? KC will be lucky to keep it within 3 TD's. Denver rolls at home.
Chicago @ San Francisco: To say I was completely shocked by Da Bears getting beat at home by Buffalo last week would be a severe understatement. To say that I was shocked that San Fran was up 28-3 on the road at Dallas at one point last week would also be an understatement. Yet here we sit, and that's what happened. I like Chicago. I really do. But I don't see how they win this week. I think they'll find a way to keep it close, and if they were to pull it out, I wouldn't be completely surprised, but when the dust clears Sunday night I think San Fran goes to 2-0 and Da Bears have a 2 game hole to climb out of to Detroit.
Philadelphia @ Indianapolis: The last couple of seasons, ESPN has wound up getting the raw end of the deal in terms of their matchups on MNF. But not this time! What a game to end the week. A pair of young QB's going head to head in the national spotlight. This is the pick I struggled with this week the most. Both teams got off to horrible starts in their respective games last week. The Eagles, luckily, quickly remembered at halftime that they were playing the Jags, while Andrew Luck damn near led another one of his patented 4th quarter comebacks against Peyton and the Broncos. I think we have the makings of an offensive explosion in this game. Both QB's go big, but on this night, it's the running game of Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles that helps push the Eagles over the top of the Colts.
Well, there you have it. Let the games begin!
Do you see this guy? Trying to make me look bad!
In all seriousness, we mostly agree this week, and my gamble on the Saints game may come back to haunt me.
Meh, it's a long season!