NFL Week 2 Picks

The thing I love about these spread out games that make the week feel shorter: It seems like football’s on all the goddamn time. The thing that I kind of (but not really) hate that Mrs. RLS absolutely hates about these spread out games that make the week feel shorter: It seems like football’s on all the goddamn time.

Enough about my problems, though. It’s time to dive into Week 2 of the NFL season. First, a quick recap: Got off to a decent but somewhat rusty start (sorta like RGIII-and-out!) going 10-6—that puts me ahead of a few ESPN experts, and two games back of their top performer. Let’s make that up right now.

New York Jets (+12.5) @ New England Patriots, Thursday, 8:25pm

If it wasn’t for daggone Lavonte David’s late hit on Geno Smith, the Jets would already be hitting the panic button and I’d have had another win on Sunday. Meanwhile, Pats fans have their hands hovering above that same button after Stephen Gostkowski had to put one through the uprights for Brady, Belichick and Co. to walk out of Buffalo with a 3 point win. It was Week 1, which meant anything could happen. With one game under everyone’s belts, it’s time for the Jets to start acting like the Jets, and same with the Pats. Pats win 42-17

San Diego Chargers (+7.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1pm

I’m derrunkkkakakunk on Chip Kelly and this offense. They’re turning around on a short week, and have an even shorter one in front of them, but Kelly has this team focused. The bookies are noticing that. And it helps that they’re going up against another team coming off a short week, and that team is the Chargers, to boot. San Diego looked OK early on, but collapsing the way they did in the fourth quarter isn’t something you get over easily. Plus, at gametime, their West-Coast body clocks will have barely woken up—should play right into the Eagles’ up-up-up-tempo style. Eagles win 87-24

Cleveland Browns (+6.5) @ Baltimore Ravens, 1pm

It’s easy to blame what happened to the Ravens on Opening Night on the whole Super Bowl hangover, but this team just straight got Manninged. I mean, 7 TDs. Yikes. At least B’more gets a Week 2 matchup that’ll help them forget about what happened at Mile High, right? Ehhhh, I’m tempted to go against them here, because of that hangover and because of the daze the defense is probably still suffering from after that shellacking, but let’s be real. We’re talking about the Browns here, a team the Ravens haven’t lost to in, literally, year—like since November 2007. They may not get the spread, but they’ll certainly make it 11 in a row against their town’s former residents (and finally put the AFC North in the win column this year!). Ravens win 27-21

Tennessee Titans (+8.5) @ Houston Texans, 1pm

Don’t let Tennessee’s numbers fool you. They may have, statistically, the best defenses in the league after one game, but don’t forget that they were going up against a team that has neither a real running game or a real offensive line, which also helped them get five sacks and hold the Steelers to just 32 yards rushing and nine points. They’ll have a much tougher task going into Houston. The Texans put up some gaudy numbers of their own last week, en route to a come-from-behind victory at San Diego. There’s just too much talent on Houston’s sideline, more than the Titans will be able to handle. Texans win 34-17

Miami Dolphins (+3) @ Indianapolis Colts, 1pm

The last time these two teams hooked up—just last season—Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record for passing yards in a game (433), but if Miami’s first game against Cleveland is any indication, this is a defense that isn’t going to give up those kinds of numbers again—they had three INTs and six sacks last week, while only allowing the Brows to rush for 47 yards. A key matchup here is going to be Miami’s pass rush (a.k.a. Cameron Wake) versus the Colts offensive line, which, if they don’t show up again like last week against the Raiders, will mean a long day of scraping their QB off the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. A challenge from their coach and owner should light the fire barely enough to get it done. Colts win 24-23

Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Buffalo Bills, 1pm

Both of these teams were in a position to pull off some pretty impressive first week upsets against playoff teams from last year. Both managed to let victory slip away in the final moments. E.J. Manuel looked impressive in his debut against the Patriots, going 18-of-27 for 150 yards and two TDs. If it weren’t for failing to convert on their final five drives, the game could’ve gone a completely different direction. For the Panthers, turnovers killed them, especially a DeAngelo Williams fumble on their final possession, in the red zone. This one may come down to the passing game, and it’s not that I like Manuel better than Cam Newton—it’s more that I like the Bills defense (the one that held Tom Brady TD-less over the final 30 minutes) against Cam. Bills win 21-17

St. Louis Rams (+7) @ Atlanta Falcons, 1pm

Not much guesswork here. The Rams struggled to eek out a win against an Arizona Cardinals team that wasn’t supposed to amount to much this season in a stacked NFC West (that felt weird to type out); Atlanta nearly quieted a packed Super Dome on Opening Weekend. These are two teams on two different levels right now. The ceiling is high for the Rams, but they’re not quite there yet. And do you really think the Falcons are going to drop their home opener (something they haven’t done in the five years Mike Smith has been the head coach)? Falcons win 37-24

Washington Redskins (+7) @ Green Bay Packers, 1pm

If Green Bay were facing the Robert Griffin III of last year—you know, the one with a health right knee and still-intact ego—just a week after getting torched by Colin Kaepernick, this would be a no-brainer. But they’re not. They’re going against an RGIII who looked rusty as all hell. Griffin did manage to get it together in the second half, but his passing technique is way out of whack and the Eagles D (as well as their O) was obviously stepping off the gas a little. Green Bay definitely has some huge question marks in the secondary, but I’ll take a healthy Aaron Rodgers going up against a defense that was demoralized a week ago over a still-suspect offense lining up against an equally suspect defense. Packers win 27-20

Dallas Cowboys (+3) @ Kansas City Chiefs, 1pm

This one’s going to sicken me so I’ll make it quick. Andy Reid had the Chiefs looking great in his debut, but without a fully-healthy Jamaal Charles, Alex Smith is going to be under a lot of pressure. Reid knows these Cowboys well, but he didn’t fair well in his final campaign in Philly. Cowgirls win 20-17

Minnesota Vikings (+6.5) @ Chicago Bears, 1pm

It seems the loss of Brian Urlacher didn’t hurt the Bears defense too much as they were able to hold a potentially potent Bengals offense to just 21 points and forced three turnovers. That doesn’t bode well for a Vikings team that’ll try to win in Chicago for the first time sine 2007. Adrian Peterson should have a typical AD kinda day, but Christian Ponder just isn’t cutting it in my eyes. Bears win 32-24

New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05pm

This one could turn out to be the game of the weekend. You have a team coming off of a huge win in Week 1 against a Super Bowl favorite, going up against a team that should’ve been 1-0 coming into this matchup that’ll be playing pissed off. There’s the potential that this could turn into a barn-burner with points coming fast and often. Rob Ryan seems to have found the answer with a defense that was historically awful last year, and I’m sure he’s hoping the momentum his defense built with their last second stand against Atlanta will carry over to this week, and they’ll definitely need it. It’s a coin flip, but I’ll go with the guy who carried my fantasy team last year. Saints win 38-34

Detroit Lions (-1) @ Arizona Cardinals, 4:05pm

Howdayalike Carson Palmer circa 2009 showing up in Week 1? His impressive outing fell just short, though. For the Lions, adding Reggie Bush may have been the best move this team has made in years—defenses are going to have to absolutely key in on him now, which should open up some passing lanes for Matthew Stafford (much like last week). The line’s close in this one, and I know that these Lions are got just their first win in their last nine games, but they may be legit—at least on the offensive side of the ball. Lions win 34-28

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) @ Oakland Raiders, 4:25pm

This may be the best chance the Raiders have at cracking into the win column this year. This may also be the best chance the Jags have at doing the same thing. I know this is going against my Big Bold Prediction for the Raiders, but they’re going up a team that managed just 2 points last week—essentially a shutout. Maybe I’ll slide that bold prediction on over to “Duval”. Raiders win 6-3

Denver Broncos (-4.5) @ New York Giants, 4:25pm

Manning vs. Manning! This is absolutely appropriate here:

While there will be plenty of talk about the brothers squaring off, most of it will be focused on Brother Peyton’s 7 TDs and Brother Eli’s 7 turnovers (at least that’s what it felt like). I’m kind of depressed I made this my Super Bowl pick after the G-men’s no-show last week, but, hey, it’s a long season. Broncos win 35-20

San Francisco 49ers (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks, 8:25pm

There’s the potential that eyebrows could be lost after this game. No, seriously:

That probably won’t actually happen, but we can keep our fingers crossed until then… This one’s absolutely deserving of it’s primetime slot, Madden commercials aside. Two of the most exciting young quarterbacks, in (again, this is going to be weird) one of the most stacked divisions in the NFL squaring off. While everyone was focused on RGIII and Andrew Luck early on in 2012, it was these two rookie quarterbacks who made the biggest splashes in the postseason. I’d love to point to some stat and say that’s going to be the difference in the game, but these two teams have a lot of things going in their favors. It’s going to come down to a possession or two. I’ll go with the gut on this one. 49ers win 31-28

Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) @ Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, 8:30pm

What do you think’s going to be higher by the end of this one: The Steelers’ score or Big Bens sack total? It was close in their Week 1 game against the Titans, 5 to 9, and could be even closer when they travel to take on the Bengals on Monday night without their most veteran starting offensive lineman, Maurkice Pouncey. Oh, and there’s that one guy, James Harrison, who’ll be lining up in tiger stripes instead of black and gold and probably has just a small chip on his shoulder. Cincy may be the class of the division at this point. The Steelers defense is going to have their hands full with the likes of A.J. Green, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who should bounce back nicely), and Andy Dalton. This one could get ugly. Bengals win 26-13

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