Home > NFL > NFL Picks, Week Two: Guaranteed to Suck Less Than Week One!

NFL Picks, Week Two: Guaranteed to Suck Less Than Week One!

It nearly defies logic. There were 16 games last week. Two possible outcomes per game. A 50-50 chance of picking the right team. I picked four games correctly. FOUR! I bet if I flipped a coin for each game I would have gotten more than four right! I love football, and I watch A LOT of it. I should KNOW who is good and who is bad! This should not be this hard.

But a lot of things happened this first week that nobody could have forseen:

  1. The Bears absolutely eviscerated the Falcons, one of the pre-season NFC favorites, 30-12. The Falcons, one of the better teams in the league last year in terms of turnovers, gave the ball away three times.
  2. The Bengals, behind rookie QB Andy Dalton, then veteran washup Bruce Gradkowski (who came in after Dalton was injured), beat AFC up-and-comer Cleveland by 10 IN CLEVELAND!
  3. The Bills. THE BUFFALO BILLS. Handed last year’s AFC West winner, the Chiefs, their worst home loss in thirty-five years, beating them by 34 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick (!) threw FOUR TOUCHDOWN PASSES in that game. Four. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not interceptions. Touchdowns.
  4. The Detroit Lions, the worst road team in football over the past decade, went into Tampa Bay and beat the Bucs.
  5. The Jaguars, who cut their starting quarterback two days before the start of the season, beat the Titans, and in the process held Chris Johnson to fewer rushing yards (24) than Jacksonville’s second-string running back Deji Karim (39).
  6. The Chargers held the Vikings to 39 yards passing, and couldn’t cover the 9-point spread.
  7. Before last Sunday, five of the last six games between the Steelers and Ravens were decided by four or fewer points. The Ravens crushed the Steelers by four touchdowns and forced seven Steeler turnovers.

4-11-1. That’s how it went down last week. I know (think?) I’m better than that. I hope I’m better than that.

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All lines from Bodog, home team in CAPS.

Bears (+7) over SAINTS: Seven points seems like a lot of points to be giving a team that just crushed last year’s #1 seed in the NFC. Matt Forte looked like a STUD, and Cutler played a really great game. The Saints, for their part, did not look super terrific in defending against the Packers last week. It’s safe to say that they won’t face a passing attack that prolific the rest of the year, but confidence was not inspired by that performance. I know last week I said I never trust Sad Jay Cutler and Lovie Smith, but last week’s Jay Cutler was a totally different animal than the sulking manchild we saw in last year’s playoffs against the Packers. The clincher for me here is that the Bears are 4-1-1 in their last six against the spread (ATS) on the road.

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LIONS (-8.5) over Chiefs: Somebody pinch me. Is this 1991? Is Rodney Peete throwing to Herman Moore? Is Barry Sanders in the backfield? Is that.. is that Wayne Fontes on the sidelines? You remember 1991, don’t you? You know, four years after Glenn Rice banged Sarah Palin, Desert Storm, Point Break, etc. Well, that was also the last time the Detroit Lions were good enough to go to the playoffs and win a game. That was also likely the last time they were eight point favorites. Okay I’m exaggerating there, but seriously it feels like only yesterday the Lions were wrapping up their 16th loss of the most miserable season in the history of pro football. Now they’re 8.5 point favorites over last year’s AFC West winner.

BONUS: If they win this game to go to 2-0 Rick Reilly can write a hackjob story about how the hard-luck citizens of Detroit need this to distract them from their dire financial circumstances.

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Jaguars (+9) over JETS: The Jets and Jags haven’t played each other since 2009. That was the year David Garrard played so well that he made Byron Leftwich expendable. Now Garrard is out of football and the Jets go to AFC Championship games more often than I go to the mall. A lot has changed.

The most recent history between these two teams suggests the Jags are the right choice here. Jacksonville is 5-1 straight up in their last six meetings with the Jets (dating back to 1999) and they’re 4-1 ATS against the Jets in New York.

Sure, these comparisons might not mean a lot now, but it makes it easier for me to justify taking the nine points I wanted to take in the first place.

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BILLS (-3.5) over Raiders: The Raiders looked beyond sloppy on Monday night against the Broncos. Jason Campbell threw for 105 yards. I don’t think this has nearly as much to do with the Bronco pass defense as much as it has to do with how lousy  Campbell and his receiving corps is. The only offensive weapon for the Raiders is Darren McFadden, who will be a challenge for the Bills to handle. That said, he’ll have to deal with eight or more defenders in the box just about every down.

I wouldn’t go anywhere near the Bills had Ryan Fitzpatrick not lit it up last week. But he was just so good, and the Raiders were so, so bad that it’s nearly impossible for me to take the Raiders. Although, I can’t shake this nagging feeling that I might regret this one.

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REDSKINS (-4) over Cardinals: Whenever a team from the Pacific time zone has to travel east for a 1:00 game it always seems like they struggle. I guess it makes sense. The game starts at 10:00 their time, so they’re at the stadium between 7:00-8:00 their time, probably up at 5:30 or 6 their time. As much as I think this shouldn’t matter for men who get paid millions of dollars to play football, Arizona hasn’t beaten Washington in D.C. in over 12 years. Maybe this supports the jet-lag theory, or maybe the Cardinals just blow.

(Note: No more than five minutes after I typed this, Scott Van Pelt said on his radio show that teams from the Pacific time zone that play in the 1:00EST time slot are 23-51 since 2007. So, there’s that.)

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Ravens (-6.5) over TITANS: This one is a little scary, because I suppose it could be a let-down game for the Ravens. Coming off an emotionally charged victory for which they prepared for months against their arch-rival, then going on the road to play Matt Freaking Hasselbeck.

But Baltimore truly believes this is their year, especially after dominating Pittsburgh last week. I think they realize the window is closing on some of their key veterans to win a title and that this year is vitally important. They released a ton of key players in the offseason and rebuilt with a bunch of questionable pieces. But after last week they have got to feel confident that they made the right moves. I think the Ravens are on an entirely different level than the Titans, and it will show on Sunday.

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Packers (-10) over PANTHERS: Not since the season when the New England Patriots went undefeated did I allow myself to ever choose a team that was more than a ten-point favorite. My reasoning has always been that all these dudes are professionals, there is a salary cap, and so the games should always be rather close. But just last week there were nine games decided by 10 points or more. This has forced me to rethink my logic.

I said last week that I am not a Cam Newton believer. I am not willing to jump ship on my assessment after just one week. I will say that I never thought he would throw for over 400 yards in a single game ever in his pro career, and he did in his first game, so that’s super impressive. But Arizona is pretty awful, and Green Bay is the exact opposite of awful, and I think Cam is going to be rudely brought back to earth.

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Buccaneers (+3) over VIKINGS:  The Vikings scored two touchdowns last week; one on a kickoff return, and one on a drive that went 51 yards in three plays, with 46 of those yards gained on one run by Adrian Peterson. Don McNabb was 7/15 for 39 yards. Peterson only got 16 carries. The Viking defense allowed Phil Rivers to throw for 335 yards. For the game, the Vikings gained 187 total yards to the Chargers 407. And this week the Vikings are GIVING three points?

This pick seems so easy. This has got to be a trap. I want to pick the Vikings, but only because I think it’s a trap. IT’S A TRAP. It can’t be a trap. This is all numbers and facts and shit so yeah, this is definitely the right pick. Nothing to worry about at all.

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COLTS (+3) over Browns: Wow. Just look at this line. Just. Wow. How? I just can’t even believe. It’s like. What? The Colts are missing one player, and suddenly they are worse than the Browns? I thought football was the ultimate team sport?

I remember when it was announced a few years ago that Indianapolis was going to host this year’s Super Bowl, and Colt fans salivated at the thought of watching the Peyton hoist the Lombardi inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Now they’re three point dogs to the Browns.

I take the Colts only because I have to think that the veterans on that team have more pride than to get beaten by the Cleveland Browns in their home opener.

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49ERS (+3) over Cowboys: For this one, I defer to the data.

  • Dallas is 6-12 straight up in its last 18 games.
  • Dallas is 3-7 straight up in its last 10 games at San Francisco.
  • Dallas is 1-4 ATS in its last five games at San Francisco.
  • San Francisco is 6-1 straight up in its last seven home games.
  • Jessica Simpson dumped Tony Romo because he couldn’t please her in bed.
You can’t argue with the facts.
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Texans (-3) over DOLPHINS: On Monday night when Chad Henne ran into the endzone to cap the Dolphins’ opening drive, and he spiked the ball and got mobbed by his teammates, and Tony Sporano was wildly pumping his fists and screaming with excitement, I had this feeling that things were not going to be that good again for Miami the entire season. And then Tom Brady threw for a bazillion yards and the Phins got HOUSED.
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Sporano is fighting for his job this year, and he has decided to hitch his wagon to Chad Henne, who Sporano says will be opening it up all year in the Dolphins’ “left-lane offense,” or something. I’ll tell you this — the Henne-Sporano combination might have replaced the Cutler-Smith combo for the least-inspiring QB-coach tandem in the league.
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PATRIOTS (-7) over Chargers: Remember above when I talked about how crappy the Vikings played against the Chargers? Well, somehow San Diego only won that game by seven. Rivers turned it over twice, and Matthews and Tolbert didn’t run well at all. San Diego had 31 first downs and possessed the ball for over 37 minutes and they only scored three touchdowns. So my question is, with that much success turning into only 24 points, how are they supposed to score enough to even keep it close with the Pats?
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BRONCOS (-3.5) over Bengals: Games like this are why people get Sunday Ticket.
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FALCONS (+3) over Eagles: People seem to forget that Matt Ryan is 19-3 at home. He’s really good. A loss here and the Falcons drop to 0-2 in a very tough division. This is as close to a 2nd week must-win as it gets.
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The Eagles didn’t exactly look stellar last week. Their O-line looked miserable, Vick got knocked around a ton, and his accuracy was terrible. Couple this with the emotion Vick is bound to feel when he returns to play the team that drafted him in a city that he adores and I think there’s just too much going on here to think the Falcons can’t win this thing straight-up, much less keep it within three.
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(Note: I pulled this line from ESPN as Bodog doesn’t have one posted yet)
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GIANTS (-6.5) over Rams: I don’t think there are any two teams that have been ravaged more by injuries than these. The Giants lost a ton of key guys in the preseason, and the Rams lost Amendola and Jackson (also known as “their entire offense”) in the game last week and neither will be available Sunday. Sam Bradford hurt his hand in the middle of the game last week also, but he should be okay this week.
With a healthy Amendola and Jackson, this line is probably closer to three. Without those two, though, I don’t see a way the Rams can keep up.
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Seahawks (+14.5) over STEELERS: Look, I’m like most of you. I think last week was the anomaly to end all anomalies. I went back and looked at this team’s statistics from last year and, you might not know this, they were one of the best defensive teams in the league. I don’t buy that eight months of age has rendered them unable to stop a nosebleed — I know they’re good. I know Roethlisberger is one of the top five quarterbacks in the league, not the fumbling interception machine we saw last week. I know Mendenhall is a terrific back. I know Mike Wallace is a force.
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The Seahawks are young, they have a lousy quarterback, a weirdo for a coach, they’re playing at 1:00pm on the east coast (see above), they have basically no offensive talent with the exception of Marshawn Lynch. Oh, and they allowed two special teams touchdowns last week.
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I get all of this.
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But 14.5 points? That’s just wayyyy too much from a gambling standpoint. I hope the Steelers win by 30, but nothing I saw last week leads me to believe that they should be favored by over two touchdowns, even to the Seahawks.
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Baltimore is good, and a lot of what they did last week forced the Steelers into bad mistakes while imposing their will offensively. But a lot of what happened came down to the Steelers making boatloads of execution errors and poor decisions. I really feel that if Pittsburgh plays the same game against Seattle that they played last week in Baltimore they’ll lose, because as much as Baltimore dominated Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh shot itself in the foot SO MANY TIMES.
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The Steelers will likely win this game and shut people up for a week about how old and crappy they look. But this is the NFL, and 14.5 points is almost impossible to type, much less wager against.
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  1. September 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm

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