Week 2 NFL Picks

Jameis Winston and Tampa’s potent offense has the Buccaneers thinking playoffs. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Last Week:    8 – 8 – 0
Last Season: 164 – 92 – 0

Thursday Recap

Jets 37 at Bills 31
The Jets are hilarious. In a game they completed dominated, the Jets found themselves on the verge of starting 0-2. The Bills were only in the game because of three big plays. That was it. Without touchdown bombs of 84 and 71 yards, and a fumble returned for a touchdown, the Jets win Thursday’s AFC East showdown by at least 20 points. I know I ripped him a few days ago, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was really good despite a rocky start Thursday. Though, I’m not sure if that says more about Fitzpatrick or the quality of the Bills defense.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Bengals at Steelers
The Bengals season didn’t start well, to say the least. In the first eight minutes of the Bengals 2016 campaign they committed four penalties, got one 1st down, Andy Dalton was sacked twice, and the defense was lucky to only surrender seven points. The Steelers experienced a similar start in D.C. The offense went three-and-out on its first possession, threw an interception on its next possession, and if not for a boneheaded play by the Redskins, would have lost a fumble on their 3rd possession. Like the Jets against Cincinnati, the Redskins were unable to punish Pittsburgh for its slow start. I’m not sure how any of that relates to this game but I found it interesting. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals +3

Titans at Lions
Kudos to the Lions for fighting back and not surrendering another 21-3 lead on opening weekend. Due to surrendering a 10-0 lead and allowing two defensive returns for touchdowns, the Titans aren’t getting enough credit for their performance against one of the NFL’s better teams and elite defenses. TITANS If I were Charles Barkley; Titans +6

Ravens at Browns
Dating back to last season, Baltimore has surpassed 20 points only once in their last nine contests. I’m a Joe Flacco fan, but I can’t imagine too many other starting QBs producing so little over that long of a stretch and not catching flak for it (pun intended). RAVENS If I were Charles Barkley; Ravens -6

Cowboys at Redskins
Jason Garrett is still my favorite coach in the NFC East. How he’s yet to be fired boggles my mind. I understand you have a rookie quarterback under center, but if you’re going to have that rookie throw the football 45 times Dez Bryant better have more than 5 targets. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins -3

Saints at Giants
We don’t appreciate Eli Manning enough. Manning has thrown for at least 4,400 yards in consecutive years. He’s also strung together back-to-back 30+ touchdown seasons. Did I mention Manning has done so with a subpar rushing attack and a 2nd receiver (Ruben Randle) that is currently out of the league? I think the Giants will be a handful this season with all that talent at receiver. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -4

49ers at Panthers
Cam Newton doesn’t get the protection he deserves from the NFL or the Carolina Panthers. Newton is the league’s reigning MVP. Could you imagine a traditional pocket passer taking so many uncalled hits to the head? I understand it’s a little more difficult to identify a vicious hit on a target moving in the open field, but still, if the NFL can’t protect a prized star how can we trust them to care about the bottom of the roster guys? Look at this hit…

Brandon Marshall should have been ejected right then and there. I’m generally willing to give the defense the benefit of the doubt on these kinds of calls. However, a hit like that on an offensive player that is NOT the ball carrier is completely unacceptable. I think booth officials should be permitted to eject players for hits, even if they aren’t identified in real time. I don’t need there to be a retroactive penalty, either. Just eject the guy targeting the skull of your MVP. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -13

Dolphins at Patriots
Rob Gronkowski will apparently be out again this week. At this point I think Bill Belichick doesn’t want any of Gronk’s reps wasted without Tom Brady out there. Though the Patriots looked great last week, I’m expecting some struggles from the offense against a tough Miami defense. If the Dolphin offense were even slightly competent I’d take them to win outright. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Dolphins +6.5

Chiefs at Texans
The Bengals/Steelers will steal most of the attention Sunday, and deservedly so, but this is a sneaky good matchup between teams many consider to be in the postseason three months from now. Houston’s defense was superb in the 2nd half against the Bears last week. They would have won that game by 20+ if Brock Osweiler connected on some O-P-E-N deep balls. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs +3

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Seahawks at Rams
Both teams looked awful last week. The Rams managed to look worse than awful. Considering how the Rams always give Seattle a tough time and not knowing what I’m getting from Russell Wilson, I’m not sure I can take Seattle. Taking the Rams makes me cringe, too. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams +6.5

Buccaneers at Cardinals
Despite what many considered an embarrassing loss in Week 1 to the shorthanded Patriots, it’s too early for anyone to worry about the Cardinals. It’s only Week 1. As a rule, fans should never panic nor celebrate in regards to anything that happened in Week 1. In 2015, five teams that would eventually reach the postseason fell in Week 1. One thing fans should feel comfortable celebrating is Jameis Winston. I’m sure Buccaneer fans have PTSD after Josh Freeman fell off a cliff after one stellar season but Winston is the real deal. Some of the passes he threw last week were art. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals -7

Jaguars at Chargers
Combine a devastating collapse with general lack of home field advantage and it’s hard to see how the Chargers pull out a victory here against a talented and feisty Jaguars team. JAGUARS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +3

Falcons at Raiders
The Falcons were a hot mess last week against Tampa Bay. Of the Buccaneers five scoring drives, three were kept alive by an Atlanta penalty AFTER the defense had forced 4th down. The defense wasn’t alone in the costly mistake department. Julio Jones dropped an easy ball early in the 4th quarter that would have given Atlanta a 1st down inside field goal range. They were trailing by 10 points at the time. Also, when can we get worried about Devonta Freeman? After rushing for 100+ yards in four of his first seven games as a starter, Freeman has failed to reach triple digits in his last nine outings. Furthermore, Freeman hasn’t cracked 3.4 yards per carry since Week 11 last year. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons +5

Colts at Broncos
No Peyton Manning. This will be weird. COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; Colts +6.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Packers at Vikings
It feels like the Packers have been mired in a two year funk. Even when they win it’s often an ugly struggle. Jordy Nelson was supposed to bring back the high-flying offense Green Bay so sorely missed last season. Perhaps Nelson is still working himself back into shape or maybe the magic of those unstoppable offenses has run out. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -3

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Eagles at Bears
All the Eagles did was beat the lowly Browns last week, or so that’s what I keep reminding myself. I’m not sure the Bears are all that much better. Chicago’s offense mustered only 71 yards in the 2nd half in Houston. After a nice 1st half, Jay Cutler went 6/17 for 60 yards and one interception. He was also sacked four times. Carson Went’s first road game will be under the lights in front of a national audience. Let’s hope the hype is real. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles +3


If I were Charles Barkley;
Last Week: 5 – 11 – 0
Last Season:    130 – 122 – 4

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