After the first week, thanks to some disappointing games from the likes of the Colts and Chargers and the Niners, I am 9-7 straight up, 8-6-2 against the spread. Let’s go for better this time around.
Kansas City at Cleveland (1.5) – I think Cleveland is better this year than last. I think Kansas City is NOT much better, and they were feeding off the energy of a home crowd opening a refurbished stadium in game one against the Chargers. Even so, I have to go with the Chiefs. Fluke or not, they beat the Chargers. And the Browns lost to the Bucs. Kansas City in a squeaker, thanks to good field position from their special teams. Chiefs, 16-14.
Real final score: Chiefs, 16-14. Could I start the week any better? I was so right here that it hurts…if only all the other games were similar.
Buffalo at Green Bay (13) - Yes, it’s the biggest mismatch of the week. The Packers should be winning their division and are favourites for the Super Bowl. The Bills may not win a game all season. In week two, the Packers are still not going to take anyone lightly. They steamroll. Packers, 31-10. This is the lock pick this week without question.
Real final score: Packers, 34-7. The Bills hung in there for a while, but the Pack are just too strong and the Bills are definitively weak.
Baltimore (2) at Cincinnati – The Bengals looked weak against the Patriots, and even with a late surge they couldn’t make it close. Their defense is weaker than the Ravens’ offense, and the Ravens defense is much stronger than the one they saw in New England last week. Ravens, 17-10.
Real final score: Bengals, 15-10. The Bengals have won eight in a row against division opponents. That must count for something. Their season could turn around entirely on this game.
Pittsburgh at Tennessee (5) – The Titans looked like world-beaters in Week One, but that was against the awful Raiders. The Steelers squeaked out a win in their first game, but I don’t think they can stop Chris Johnson. This will be close, but Tennessee is the better team right now. Titans, 23-21.
Real final score: Steelers, 19-11. Without Vince Young, the Titans have no secondary running threat and are not at all the same team. Polamalu is once again the dominant force in the NFL on defense.
Philadelphia (4) at Detroit – Frankly, I don’t see the Eagles being as good as they looked in the second half against Green Bay. Now they have a QB controversy, and the Lions will likely game plan for both Kolb and Vick. That being said, the Lions are still the Lions and they do not travel well at all. Eagles, 26-17.
Real final score: Eagles, 35-32. Once again, the Lions last second magic falls short. When Kevin Kolb comes back to the lineup, the Eagles are going to have QB questions – and by extension, trouble.
Chicago at Dallas (8) – Eight points? Really? I get the the Cowboys are at home, and that they are supposed to be a great team. But Romo still has a pretty poor decision making process, his offensive line looks dreadful, and the Bears are coming off a week one victory. I think Dallas should win, but it won’t be a blowout. Cowboys, 17-14.
Real final score: Bears, 27-20. This game says more about the Cowboys than it does the Bears. Dallas is really, truly in trouble here early in the season. With that talent, they should be an easy 2-0. Romo still looks pretty bad.
Tampa Bay at Carolina (2.5) – The Panthers defense looks pretty aggressive, with their three picks against Eli Manning in week one. They don’t look particularly good though, having given up 31 points. The Bucs remain bad. The line is about right. Panthers, 16-13.
Real final score: Buccaneers, 20-7. Tampa looked better this week than last. The Panthers might just not have the talent to make a move this season. But Tampa, at 2-0? Who could have predicted that?
Arizona at Atlanta (6.5) – Good line again. The Cardinals got really lucky against a really bad team in week one, and needed career games from several players just to eke out a victory. Atlanta’s loss was a bad one, but they can (and ought to) bounce back. Falcons to win, Cards to just barely cover. Falcons, 24-18.
Real final score: Falcons, 41-7. I should have picked the Falcons to cover, I guess. Matt Ryan looked like Peyton Manning, the defense made a statement, and the Falcons have re-taken their position of “dark horse contender”. I like ‘em.
Miami at Minnesota (5.5) – Not a gimme, by any means. Yes, the Dolphins looked bad against a bad team, while the Vikings looked good against a good team. But the Fish won, and Minnesota lost. This one will be close. Vikings, 17-14.
Real final score: Dolphins, 14-10. Can the Vikings score, at all? Brett Favre seems to really confuse his own team with the opposition…lotsa picks so far…I think Sidney Rice is the big difference - without him, Favre is just throwing the ball up and hoping. Hope gets you, in the NFL…0-2.
St. Louis at Oakland (3.5) – The Raiders (although you wouldn’t know it from last week) are an improved team this year. The Rams are tough, as they showed in week one. Another close game. Raiders, 12-10.
Real final score: Raiders, 16-14. Once again, I’m totally right. That takes the sting of the last three games away. A little.
Seattle at Denver (3.5) – The Seahawks beat the living hell out of the favourite in their division, and the Broncos got beaten pretty good by Jacksonville. And yet – the spread is this big in favour of Denver? I don’t get it. I think Seattle not only covers the spread, but wins outright. Seahawks, 24-17.
Real final score: Broncos, 31-14. Denver not only wins, but blows them out? Didn’t see that one coming…didn’t get a chance to watch the game…still don’t get it.
Houston (3) at Washington - You beat the Colts once, and suddenly you’re world-beaters? Well, kinda. The Skins beat a really unprepared Cowboys team, and aren’t as good as they seemed. Houston will be able to win, but it won’t be easy. Texans, 21-20.
Real final score: Texans, 30-27. The Skins really came apart at the end – they had this game IN HAND, but their defense forgot what their job was. You know, to stop Matt Schaub. Or, at least, slow him down enough that time could run out. 500 yards passing? Really? Ugly.
Jacksonville at San Diego (8) - The Chargers have to be reeling. The Jags are better than the Chiefs, and the Chargers don’t even think about getting good until October and November. Jaguars in a BIG upset here. Jaguars, 23-17.
Real final score: Chargers, 38-13. Could I have been more wrong? I guess no. I could not have been more wrong. And I guess that Chiefs opener was a fluke, after all.
New England (1.5) at New York Jets – Imagine seeing only a 1.5 point spread on this one just two years ago. I know, the Jets lost in week one, and New England looked sensational. But the Jets lost to the Ravens, and I think Baltimore is better than the Patriots this year. Also, the Jets are built to beat New England, not Baltimore. Revis vs. Moss is key – and Revis will win that matchup. Jets to cover and win. Jets, 24-20.
Real final score: Jets, 28-14. I would not have predicted the big margin, but the Jets were built for this game. Look for them to do the same once, maybe twice more this year.
New York Giants at Indianapolis (5.5) – Like the rest of the world, I’m not yet sold on the Giants, nor am I off the Colts bandwagon. Indy has played without Bob Sanders an awful lot the last few years, doesn’t affect Manning. Peyton, that is. Colts, 27-21.
Real final score: Colts, 38-14. Colts are back, Giants are not great. Imagine this – Dallas is 0-2…Redskins are 1-1, Giants are 1-1, Eagles are 1-1…imagine someone wins THAT division with a 9-7 record. Or 8-8.
New Orleans (4.5) at San Francisco – The Niners are in disarray after that embarassment against Seattle last week. They won’t right the ship in time to stop the Saints on Monday night. Saints, 30-20.
Real final score: Saints, 25-22. Whew! Close one, heartbreak for the Niners. But they sure rebounded from that week one humiliation. This could be the start of their turnaround this year. Or not.
So far this week I am 9-7 straight up, making me 18-14 overall. I’m 8-7-1 against the spread, making me 16-13-3 overall.