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Week 2 NFL Picks

When forecasting Week 2 of the NFL’s marathon 17 week season, it’s important to remember one simple rule: One week does not a season make. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Bears at Packers
Peter King, TV personalities, your pastor, your friends, and probably even your neighbor are all calling this a “must win” for Green Bay. Guess what? There’s no such thing as a must win game in Week 2. The Packers went 15-1 in 2011. You’re telling me they can’t rally from 0-2 to finish 11-5 or 12-4? Granted, “must win” in this scenario may refer to, “we must win so our fans don’t go bat-sh** crazy,” but for the Packers season, this is not a must win. Take a breath, sip some chocolate milk, and trust that any team with Aaron Rodgers under center will be in contention until the “e” of death appears to the left of their name in the NFL standings. If the previous 130 words don’t cool your engines, you can rest peacefully knowing the Packers will win this game. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -5.5

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Chiefs at Bills
It’s only natural to overreact after Week 1. Here are two teams many expected to compete among the AFC’s Wildcard teams. Instead, both surrendered 40+ points and were flat-out molly-whopped. The Chiefs at least had a reasonable excuse; two of their three best defensive players were missing. The Bills? Not so much. Mario Williams was a non-factor, recording one measly tackle. I’m not even sure he knows what number Mark Sanchez wore on Sunday. And then there’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. No individual has stolen this much money from an NFL franchise since Albert Haynesworth. And to think, last year I thought my friend would name his kid after Fitzpatrick. If you can’t tell, I’m beyond bitter toward Fitzpatrick. I have close friends who love the Bills and so I’ve always had a soft spot for Buffalo. Fitzpatrick’s play since getting paid is scuttling the organization’s entire rebuilding project. On a positive note, the injury to Fred Jackson gives Buffalo fans an opportunity to see just how good CJ Spiller can be. Surprisingly, I like the Bills to bounce back this week. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills -3

Browns at Bengals
The Bengals held their own against Baltimore on Monday night until a string of 12 plays stretching from late in the 3rd quarter and into the 4th ultimately sealed their fate. Or, as I’ll remember that stretch; “the 12 plays where the Ravens scored 13 fantasy points and cost me the $10 weekly high score bonus.” Luckily for the Bengals, their Ohio brethren lack a running back like Ray Rice, a quarterback like Joe Flacco, and a receiver with any talent whatsoever. In other words, Cleveland doesn’t have an offense. Or a chance. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -7

Vikings at Colts
Replacing a legend like Peyton Manning was already a daunting task. Doing so while Manning is still performing at his usual Hall of Fame level is twice as challenging. Good luck, Andrew Luck. I’m sure the fans understand you need time to develop. They’ll appreciate Manning’s resurgence and calmly hang tight while you struggle. Don’t even worry about it. COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; Colts +1.5

Saints at Panthers
As I mentioned earlier, there’s no such thing as a “must win” game in Week 2. However, I do believe in a, “it’d be a really, REALLY good idea to win this one,” game. And this is one of them. The Panthers were surprisingly stagnant and offensively offensive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend. For a team with self-proclaimed playoff aspirations, it’d be a huge downer to drop to 0-2 in the division before National Play-Doh Day. (A real thing, by the way.) For the Saints, sinking to 0-2 at the hands of two lesser opponents would be awful. Like, having your Super Bowl-winning coach suspended for an entire season, awful. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -3

Texans at Jaguars
Here’s a fun game: Guess the NFL quarterbacks currently below Blaine Gabbert in the stats column. If you said Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, and Michael Vick you’d be our winner. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -7

Raiders at Dolphins
Does the whole “west coast team heading east for the early game” matter anymore? I can’t remember. Considering the Raiders (and especially their reserve long snapper) failed to show up for a Monday night contest, I find it difficult to throw my support behind them for what equates to an 11AM kickoff. On the other hand, the Dolphins are beyond horrible at this point in time. RAIDERS If I were Charles Barkley; Raiders -1.5

Cardinals at Patriots
The NFL granted the Patriots the 2012 cupcake schedule. New England will face only three quality playoff teams; Baltimore next week, Houston in three months, and then San Francisco in three months and one week. If you expect Peyton Manning to still be upright by Week 5, you could count that as well, I guess. That’s four legitimate contenders in 16 games. Bill Belichick may retire due to boredom. Can Kevin Kolb’s revival tour last another week or was it a one-drive-and-done flash in the pan? PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -14

Buccaneers at Giants
If it weren’t for the Eagles, Tampa Bay would have been the least impressive winning team of Week 1. Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers completely stunk after the 1st quarter. The Bucs held on to win for the final three quarters of the game without doing a single thing. That won’t work in New York against an angry and humiliated team like the Giants. Although this is Greg Schiano’s homecoming, I’m expecting a blow out. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -7.5

Ravens at Eagles
Everyone is a little too high on the Ravens right now. Of course they dominated a crummy Bengals team at home on Monday night. What’d you expect? The Ravens defense on a Monday night is equivalent to feeding time in the big cat exhibit at your local zoo. And please, let’s wait a few weeks before we anoint Joe Flacco the next great quarterback. Besides, the Eagles will be out to prove last week was a fluke. Philadelphia is a classic play up or down to the level of the opponent team. However, if for some reason the Eagles were to duplicate their dreadful performance in Cleveland, it’d be absolutely necessary for me to call my dad and convince him to remain invested in yet another Andy Reid debacle. In fact, I already have my postgame call planned out. It’ll go something like this. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -2

Afternoon Games (4:25PM ET)

Redskins at Rams
Robert Griffin III’s NFL debut was impressive, to say the least. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs under even greater expectations than he was under just a week ago. Sadly (I’m an Eagles fan), Griffin appears to have his head on straight. He’s constantly deflected all individual praise to the team. He refuses to buy into the hoopla surrounding his drubbing of the Saints. Most importantly, he seems intent on improving as a quarterback rather than a pop icon. (Why can’t the NBA get these guys?) I’m not going all the way out on a limb and picking the Rams… Actually, I think I am. Jeff Fisher always fields respectable defenses, as he proved last week in Detroit. The Redskins are primed for a letdown game. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams +3

Cowboys at Seahawks
Losing to the lowly Cardinals in Week 1 will likely haunt the Seahawks all season. By starting the rookie Russell Wilson right out of camp, Pete Carroll is handcuffed at the quarterback position. If he benches Wilson this early he looks like a dope. If he keeps him under center and the offense continues to struggle, he’ll waste what was supposed to be a promising season. With that said, Wilson wasn’t the only reason the Seahawks lost. His receivers dropped too many critical passes and it was the defense that allowed the left-for-dead Kevin Kolb to march Arizona down the field with little resistance for the game’s winning score. Without a reliable offense, Seattle will fail to keep pace with the Cowboys, but if it comes down to a game-winning field goal and Tony Romo is the holder, the Seahawks should be just fine. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys -3

Jets at Steelers
Pittsburgh’s offense was surprisingly bad on Sunday in Denver. Even worse, the defense doesn’t intimidate opponents anymore. Peyton Manning couldn’t have hit the deck more than seven times all night long. Michael Vick is on the ground that many times in the Eagles first series. This much we know: Right now, Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers must carry the Steeler offense. Considering the Jets have one of, if not the best secondary in the league, that won’t be an easy task. Therefore, it’s up to the Pittsburgh defense to win this game. Flustering Mark Sanchez into turnovers and errant passes looked like a sure thing a week ago, but after Sunday’s showing against Buffalo who knows what Sanchez will bring to the steel city. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers -5.5

Titans at Chargers
Jake Locker is my favorite of the first year starting quarterbacks. I was somewhat surprised he and the Titans only managed one touchdown last week. Locker’s job may get easier in the coming weeks, though, as Kenny Britt works himself back into form. If you recall, Britt was on a tear to start 2011 before his knee blew out. I wish I had something to say about the Chargers but they were so unbelievably boring on Monday night that I fell asleep and didn’t even think to rewind what I missed. Have we seen the best of Philip Rivers already? I’d like 2008-2010 Rivers to return. Hopefully, Ryan Matthews brings some life back to the San Diego offense. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers -6

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Lions at 49ers
If the 49ers were able to successfully frustrate and contain Aaron Rodgers, how am I supposed to believe Matthew Stafford will perform any better? The Lions best and perhaps only shot of getting this win is to make the game a shootout. I’d put their chances of doing so at 4%. 49ERS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers -7

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Broncos at Falcons
Remember, everything from Week 1 gets ridiculously blown out of proportion. All of a sudden, Peyton Manning became the best quarterback in the world after beating the Steelers. With a Broncos loss, the Manning hoopla drastically fades to panic and the attention will undoubtedly turn to whether or not Manning still has enough in the tank to carry Denver. If the Broncos win again, on the road in a difficult venue, the Manning mania will only escalate. (Repeat this cycle for the next 15 weeks, or until Manning goes on IR.) 2012 will be the year of Peyton Manning whether we like it or not. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons -3

*****

If I were Charles Barkley
Last Week: 8 – 8 – 0
Season:     8 – 8 – 0

2 Comments

  1. I agree with all of your picks Ryan accept for the Eagles over the Ravens. Flacco looks like he is ready to start entering the conversations of Manning, Brady, and Breeze.

    I know it may be a little too early to be so high on the Ravens, but its hard to the Eagles beat them after that horrible game they played at Cleveland.

    I also can’t wait to see the Redskins play. RG3 looks like he can be an exciting player in the league.

  2. Ryan (Author)

    You’re probably right, John, but I can’t pick against the Eagles this early in the season. I’m too much of a homer.
    Thanks for the comments.

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