The Patriots/Jets match-up has garnered most of the headlines going into week two, even though the game of the week is in the NFC East where the Giants travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Elsewhere in the league, NFL Heavyweights are set to battle, and a plethora of underdogs look to join the winning ranks. Find out who will prevail and who will not.
Last Week: 13 – 3 – 0
Season: 13 – 3 – 0
Early Games (1PM ET)
Panthers at Falcons
Jake Delhomme can’t implode three games in a row can he? Let’s hope not. Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams go off for big days, and the Panthers take a step back from the ledge (and hopefully my brother too). Panthers.
Vikings at Lions
In my NFC preview I mentioned the Lions could get this win. Apparently, Peter King of SI.com read my preview and jumped on board (kidding, about the reading my preview part). Seriously though, he took the Lions. Rule number UNO when picking a silly upset: too many people can’t agree. King is only one person, but he’s got one massive audience. I’m out. Vikings.
Bengals at Packers
It took several days, but the Bengals finally got out of bed yesterday. A devastating loss will do that to you. I can’t pick the Bengals to win because well, they cut me deep last week, BUT I will be rooting for Chad Ochocinco. Seeing him attempt the “Lambeau Leap” should help the Cincinnati faithful laugh a little. Packers.
Texans at Titans
Here is my new upset pick. It has all the makings. Division game? Check. Underdog coming off a bad loss? Absolutely. The Titans are feeling good about themselves after almost knocking off the defending champs last week. Texans sneak away with a win. Texans.
Raiders at Chiefs
Both teams impressed with their performances against heavy favorites in week one. Unfortunately, when two bad teams face off, they play like two bad teams. Short tangent: I can’t stand coaches who wear the visors. They look ridiculous. I’m picking against all three of them this week for that reason alone (Todd Haley-Chiefs, Sean Payton-Saints, Raheem Morris-Bucs*sometimes). Raiders.
Patriots at Jets
I love the “Buddy Ryan Arrogance” Rex Ryan has brought to the New York Jets this year. However, if LeBron James had the flu, I certainly wouldn’t talk about “embarrassing” him, would you? No, even at seventy-five percent he’s better than anyone else on the court. The Jets should have let a sleeping (and struggling) giant sleep. Now they’ll deal with the smoke coming out of Tom Brady’s ears, and we all know Bill Belichick won’t hesitate to embarrass an opponents’ defense (see Patriots 2007 season). Patriots.
Saints at Eagles
Will Donovan McNabb be under center on Sunday or won’t he? As of Friday, it looks like it will be Kevin Kolb. The Eagles can certainly pull this one out without their leader, but it will take a gargantuan effort from their defense. I think (hope) they’re up for the challenge. Eagles.
Cardinals at Jaguars
The Cardinals look like they’ve lost their Super Bowl mojo. Last week they played with little intensity and were bullied around by the 49ers. The Jaguars are another physical team and play 3,000 miles from sunny Arizona. Traveling to the east coast did not treat the Cardinals well last year as they went 0-5 and lost by a combined 100 points. Things don’t go any better this week. Jaguars.
Rams at Redskins
The Rams are arguably the worst team in the NFL. The Redskins are perhaps the most perplexing. After their week one drubbing to the Giants (the score was closer than the game), the Redskins are on pace for another disappointing season. They desperately need to get the offense clicking if they hope to compete in the brutal NFC East. I think Steve Spagnuolo’s familiarity with the Redskins keeps this one closer than it should be, but the Rams don’t have enough to win. Redskins.
Game I’ll Watch: Saints at Eagles
Game I’ll DVR: Patriots at Jets
Afternoon Games (4:15PM ET)
Buccaneers at Buffalo
My encouraging words for Buffalo fans: When I was a young fella, my dear Eagles lost a heartbreaker to the hated Cowboys on Monday Night Football when punter Tommy Hutton bobbled the snap on the game-winning field goal. It took a long, long, long time before I stopped closing my eyes for field goals, but I made it through. You’ll be alright, Buffalo, you’ll be alright. Bills.
Seahawks at 49ers
There’s a lot I like about the 49ers; their defense, their coaching, their intensity, and Patrick Willis. However, as much as I like the 49ers, I still think Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC West, for now. Seahawks.
Steelers at Bears
It’s a real shame this game isn’t being played in November or December. CBS should digitally insert the steam coming from the players to increase the game’s magnitude. This is why I never totally enjoy the Super Bowl. Ninety-two percent of the most intense, enjoyable, and meaningful NFL games take place outdoors in November, December, and January. Playing the Super Bowl in a controlled climate takes away everything the NFL season is about. When you tune in and see the steam at the line of scrimmage, you know it’s going to be a good football game. (I have never gotten this excited about steam before.) Steelers.
Ravens at Chargers
In all of sports, there isn’t a position that ages as painfully and as noticeably as an NFL running back. Watching these guys hold on to something that just isn’t there anymore is downright depressing. I’ve always been a huge LaDainian Tomlinson fan, but someone needs to shut the door for him because he clearly won’t. As for the game? I think the Chargers need to win this game before all those expectations come crashing down on them. Yes, they won last week, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone excited about that victory. Chargers.
Browns at Broncos
A conference showdown between two very talented, albeit underachieving receivers. Brandon Marshall is a head case, and Braylon Edwards has been on sabbatical since the 2007 campaign. If they could get their respective acts together, their teams may contend for the wildcard. I hope Edwards gets there first because he’s on my fantasy team. Broncos.
Game I’ll Watch: Steelers at Bears
Game I’ll DVR: Ravens at Chargers
Sunday Night (8PM ET)
Giants at Cowboys *Game of the Week
If the Giants can come away from week two with another division victory, they‘ll entrench themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. I think the Cowboys offense is as good as it’s been in the Romo era but the defense is susceptible. As I mentioned last week, NFC East battles are great to watch because of the sheer hatred they share for each other. This one will be no different. Giants.
Monday Night (8:30PM ET)
Colts at Dolphins
With so many great games on Sunday, this game is somewhat of a downer. Who do the Dolphins have that America would want to watch on Monday Night Football? I’ll tune in because I would watch Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne warm up, but the game selection confuses me. Hopefully the excitement from last Monday carries over to this week. I’ll also be sure to have the mute button handy in case Jaws starts raving about Manning’s football IQ for the 28,427th time. Colts.
If I were Charles Barkley…
I’ve decided to pick every game now so I don’t look like a pansy and only pick the easy ones. This week I am in love with the underdogs. As is the weekly custom, there is one over/under (because they’re too much fun not to have at least one).
Oakland Raiders (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Houston Texans (+7) at Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots (-4) at New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers (-9)
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+10)
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (no line due to McNabb’s status)
Carolina Panthers (+6) at Atlanta Falcons
St. Louis Rams (+10) at Washington Redskins (-10)
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills (-5)
Cleveland Browns (+3) at Denver Broncos
Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers (-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Chicago Bears
New York Giants (+3) at Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 3 – 1 – 0
Season: 3 – 1 – 0
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Over 42.5
Last Week: 0 – 1 – 0
Season: 0 – 1 – 0
(Lines as of 9/18, 4:55PM ET, from bodog)