Slouch vs. Revis Island. Week 2 NFL Picks

The war of words between Darrelle Revis and Randy Moss continued this week as the division rivals square off on Sunday. Can the “Slouch” (Moss) escape Revis Island? Elsewhere, Michael Vick is a starter again, the Manning brothers go head to head, and AFC North heavyweights do battle in Cincinnati.

I’m sure you were concerned after not hearing from me before or after the NFL’s opening weekend. Fear not, I did not suffer a concussion. Here are my week two picks, all 2,400 words of them. Sorry.

Last Week:  10 – 6 – 0
Season:       10 – 6 – 0

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Steelers at Titans
While they only beat the Raiders, Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans resemble a scrappy playoff team. Their defense is hungry, they have the best running back in football, and Vince Young has finally developed into an adequate quarterback. Without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are in a similar position. Although Young is a better quarterback than Dennis Dixon, Sunday’s victor will be the team that wins the rushing battle. Rashard Mendenhall is a good running back, Johnson is unbelievable. TITANS If I were Charles Barkley; Titans -5.5

Dolphins at Vikings
For a moment there I forgot Brett Favre still played. Last Thursday seems like a year ago. Another ten days of work with the offense should improve Favre’s rhythm. If not, the Dolphins are savvy enough to steal a victory in the Metrodome. After Green Bay’s performance in week one, I’m more confident in selecting the Vikings to repeat as division champions. I like Minnesota’s defense more and Adrian Peterson is head and shoulders above anyone the Packers can plug in to replace Ryan Grant. I didn’t watch a second of the Miami game last week, but a 15-10 win over Buffalo leads me to believe I didn’t miss much. VIKINGS If I were Charles Barkley; Vikings -6

Cardinals at Falcons
Two seasons ago, this was an intriguing playoff matchup featuring two up-and-coming teams. The Cardinals came and went already, and the Falcons haven’t found their way since that playoff defeat. Matt Ryan’s honeymoon period is running out in Atlanta. He wasn’t horrendous in Pittsburgh last week, but he wasn’t good either. If Atlanta is going to get back to the playoffs in 2010, Ryan will need to step it up. A depleted and deflated Arizona team is a nice starting point for the resurgence. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons -7

Ravens at Bengals
I expected the Ravens to topple the Jets on Monday night. However, I was surprised how poorly Baltimore’s offense performed. The Jets can’t throw the ball and were therefore unable to expose Baltimore’s biggest weakness on defense. With the diva darlings at receiver, Cincinnati will certainly make every effort to air the ball out and test that Ravens secondary. If Joe Flacco can’t generate more than 10 points on offense, he’s going to start hearing the whispers. Year three is when the training wheels come off and fans run out of patience. (Unless you’re in Philly, where you get one half and then we move on to the backup. Sorry, Kevin. It was fun while it lasted.) I understand the Jets’ defense is the best in the NFL, but outside of Anquan Boldin (who looked fantastic), Baltimore’s offense was anemic. We’ll know this week if Monday’s performance was an anomaly or a season preview. Either way, I expect the Ravens to struggle after an emotional win on national TV while the Bengals play with urgency to rebound from an embarrassing loss. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals +3

Chiefs at Browns
Nearly an identical situation to the game above. Only, the Browns need to overcome the opponent AND their own quarterback (Jake Delhomme) to win. The Chiefs are coming off a fantastic win in front of a national audience and head to Cleveland to play a team desperate to redeem itself after a humiliating defeat. Kansas City is young and mostly inexperienced. Their head coach isn’t much better. Classic let down game. BROWNS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs +3

Bears at Cowboys
Sunday night’s loss was BAD. Dallas’ offense stunk, the coaches were horrific, and their opponent played worse than them and still managed to win. Explain that. You can’t. At least until you remind yourself that Wade Phillips is still the head coach and Jason Garrett is still the offensive coordinator. Phillips is what allows me to sleep at night when I think about Andy Reid’s inadequacies. Compared to Phillips, Reid is Vince Lombardi. Garrett was once a highly sought after head coaching candidate. Dallas owner, Jerry Jones, liked him so much he paid Garrett more than his own head coach to keep him around and one day take over as head coach. Now, Jerry would be bidding against himself. The Cowboys continue to refuse to run the ball despite an unreliable offensive line. Garrett also eliminated Dallas’ speed at receiver by calling wide receiver screens over and over and over again. Tony Romo is a talented and capable quarterback. He’s elusive too. If the Cowboys want to win, they should hire a head coach with a clue and give Romo the reigns to the offense. He’s proven he can handle the load, at least until the playoffs. Oh, as for the Bears, they should look to establish a run game on Sunday and put a tight end to help with DeMarcus Ware. Or, they can just air it out and hope Jay Cutler survives. Either way, they lose, but expect fireworks. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Bears +9

Eagles at Lions
If you think your job is hard, try quarterbacking the Philadelphia Eagles. Donovan McNabb was booed within two seconds of joining the team. Kevin Kolb was the team’s golden boy until he had a bad half. Now, people are calling for his backup, Michael Vick, to start and kick Kolb back to mop-up duty. The worst part about Sunday’s loss? The faces of the Kolb family while they looked on from their suite. They looked as dazed and confused as Kolb did. Not sure what hit you, Kolb family? Welcome to the life of a premiere Philadelphia athlete. As McNabb, Allen Iverson, Mike Schmidt, and Eric Lindros can attest, it doesn’t get better until you’re gone. By the way, I’m super excited about the Eagles this year. I really am. For the first time in nearly a decade, I have no clue what will happen each Sunday. I’m not sure if it was due to the Kelly green jerseys or not, but I’m hopeful the defense will return to form as well. The playoffs might be a long shot, but I’m completely intrigued by the 2010 version of the Eagles. They can’t lose to backup Shaun Hill and the Lions, right? EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -6

Bills at Packers
Dear Aaron Rodgers, Thanks for taking it easy on my Philadelphia Eagles last week. I expected much worse. Now that we’ve moved on to week two, please unleash your full arsenal. You’re my fantasy team quarterback and I’ll need you to carry my team throughout the 2010 season. Thanks Aaron. From, Ryan. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -14

Buccaneers at Panthers
Matt Moore is scheduled to play on Sunday despite suffering a concussion last week against the Giants. Whether this is good news or bad news for the Carolina Panthers is open for discussion. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 21 rushing attempts against New York. I know I sound like a broken record, but the Panthers best (and only) shot at winning is to run the ball … over and over again. Instead of 21 combined carries, Williams and Stewart should be getting 20 carries a piece. As discombobulated as Carolina is, they’re still good enough to beat the NFC South’s bottom dwellers from Tampa Bay. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -3.5

Game to Watch: Ravens at Bengals
Game on Call: Bears at Cowboys

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Seahawks at Broncos
Seattle looked surprisingly good last week. If Matt Hasselbeck can stay healthy and the defense competes, the Seahawks could be the favorite to win the NFC West. Having the best quarterback in your division is a huge advantage. If that quarterback is Hasselbeck, you clearly play in a bad division. On the other side of this matchup, Denver continues its fall from grace. After starting the 2009 season 6-0, the Broncos have won only two of their last eleven regular season games. Maybe the Tim Tebow experiment will become in November. Semi upset pick here. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks +3.5

Rams at Raiders
Just when you think the Raiders are on the upswing, they turn in a performance like that. Jason Campbell actually looked worse than he did in Washington D.C. If he can’t lead Oakland past the lowly Rams this week, he might as well resort to chugging cough syrup like his predecessor. I’m sure most of you didn’t watch, but the Rams had a legitimate shot at a win last week against Arizona. Unfortunately, the Rams coaching staff (in my opinion) mismanaged the fourth quarter. And Yes, in case you were wondering; Steve Spagnuolo is of the Andy Reid coaching tree. RAIDERS If I were Charles Barkley; Raiders -3.5

Texans at Redskins
The stage was set for Donovan McNabb to remind the Eagles of the mistake they made in trading him over the offseason. Kevin Kolb looked horrific in his first half as franchise quarterback and couldn’t finish the game due to a concussion. After the Eagles lost to the Packers, doubts were already creeping into the minds of Eagle fans everywhere. All McNabb had to do was perform moderately well to drive the point home. Instead, in true McNabb fashion, he completed less than half of his passes, produced only a field goal, and skipped countless passes to open receivers throughout the evening. No one in Philadelphia missed McNabb after that performance. The Texans, on the other hand, delivered the most impressive performance of week one. This is a monster game for the Texans. To prove they’re an elite team, they’ll need to go on the road and defeat a formidable opponent after an emotional division victory in week one. If they fail, their victory over the Colts will be forgotten. Arian Foster won’t rush for 200+ yards again, but Houston will generate enough offense to improve to 2-0. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -3

Patriots at Jets *Game of the Week
Tom Brady has been open about his hatred for the New York Jets. Randy Moss has been open about his desire for a new contract. And Darrelle Revis has been open about his ability to shut down the Brady – Moss connection. What does this all mean? 1. Brady is out to prove the Patriots are the best team in the division. 2. Regardless of where he plays, at some point, Randy Moss will revert to Randy Moss. 3. Darrell Revis is in for a long day. I can’t wait for this game. Watching the Jets fall to 0-2 as the offense struggles to hit double digits is almost too much fun. At least one of the surprise 0-1 teams from the first week (Cowboys, Colts, Jets) will lose again. I’m confident it will be the Jets. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -3

Jaguars at Chargers
The Chargers will be blacked out for the first time since 2004. This is shocking. The blackout, combined with San Diego’s frustrating defeat on Monday night to division rival Kansas City, could cause the team to lose focus. If the Chargers fall to 0-2 at the hands of the Chiefs and Jaguars, they might as well kiss any chance of selling out in 2010 goodbye, and the postseason too. I’m a big Philip Rivers fan and I like his intensity on the field. However, his temper tantrums on Monday night were immature and unproductive. If he can harness his emotions and use that intensity to motivate and lead, he’ll find greater success in elevating his team’s play. This isn’t really a road game for the Jaguars because they never play in front of a sold out stadium. Where’s Vincent Jackson when you need him? CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers -7

Game to Watch: Patriots at Jets
Game on Call: Texans at Redskins

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Giants at Colts
In addition to what should be a great game, I’m excited for the onslaught of Manning commercials. If this game were in New York, I would confidently pick the Giants. The Colts’ defense looked lost and disinterested last week. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes weeks to settle in and regain their 2009 form. Perhaps the presence of Bob Sanders threw them off last week. Now that he’s back on the sideline due to injury, the defense might return to normal too. I’m staying away from the Giants because I watched their victory against Carolina. Matt Moore contributed as much to that win as any individual or unit on New York’s team did. Peyton Manning at night, at home is enough for me to comfortably pick the Colts. The bigger question is how many shots will NBC give us of Archie and the fam in the suite? Over/Under is 3. COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; Colts -6

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Saints at 49ers
This just in; Seattle defeated Atlanta to win the WNBA Championship. This also just in; the WNBA is still operating. Who knew? I drove the “give Alex Smith another shot” bus for the past nine months. After last Sunday’s performance, the bus is running low on fuel. It’s amazing how similar the 49ers and Texans have become. Both were trendy picks over the last few seasons and neither has lived up to expectations. The Texans took a huge step forward in week one while San Francisco took a huge step back. An upset over the defending champions would reverse that momentum for the 49ers. However, the Saints defense looked a lot better than I expected. This would normally be an ideal situation for the 49ers to sneak a win over the Saints. Unfortunately for San Francisco, teams don’t normally overlook Monday night football, regardless of the opponent. (Unless of course you’re the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Cleveland Browns, see 2009.) SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers +6

(Lines as of 9/16, 11:03 PM ET, from bodog)

Last Week: 8 – 7 – 1
Season:      8 – 7 – 1

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