It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for me to pretend I can beat Vegas at it’s own game. Those of you familiar with Vegas, know it’s bright lights aren’t shining 24/7 because they lose a lot, but it doesn’t stop everyone from taking their best shot. Last week I broke even (9-8) by taking the over in the Chiefs/Falcons game. That isn’t bad, since the preseason gives you about as much information as a slot machine to go on. (Week 17 is brutal, but at least you know what teams will be sending in the scrubs ahead of time.) Week 2 is Over Reaction Week. With only 16 games to a season, each week is big in the NFL. The natural thing to do is to read into each game as if one game dictates how the rest of the season will go. This isn’t any more evident than going into week 2 where everyone will extrapolate what happened in week 1 and say Chicago will go 16-0 and the Titans will go 0-16. If you can keep your head, I think this is the week you can make up for the games you lost in week 1. (The pick is in bold; Green is a winner, Red is a loser.)
Washington (Give 3) at St. Louis – RG3 and the Redskins were able to put up almost 100 more yards of offense than the Saints did in New Orleans. Now the Redskins march into a stadium that sometimes makes the visitors feel at home, and a Rams squad that has a lot less talent than the Redskins faced last week. Last week I called the Rams one of my two sleeping losers of the year (a team that does just enough to cover, but still lose.) However, in order for them to do that this week, they would pretty much have to win, and that just won’t happen this week. Don’t be surprised if Shanahan is doing the Griffin by the end of this game.
Chicago at Green Bay (Give 5.5) - The first example of over reaction week. Chicago does have a stout defense and a running game. Two things that got Green Bay beat in week 1. But look back a week, Chicago played the Colts. Do you really wanna extrapolate how well the Bears will do after beating up on last year’s worst team in the league….at home? Do you think Rogers is a little upset that he had to take a blow to his ego after losing a bet to Boys II Men? Green Bay is a tough place to play, and Rogers and Matthews will take out revenge on the visiting team.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (Give 7) - This is a case where over reaction meets let down. The Browns lost at home after dropping an interception in their own end zone that would have sealed the game. Big let down followed by a road game. This is not a good combination. Cincinnati lost in what I think is one of the hardest places to play, and where Dalton has a tough time. Dalton woke up the next morning doing a Tebow that he doesn’t have to play the Ravens for four months and now plays a suspect defense.
Houston (Give 7) at Jacksonville – Jacksonville is another team on a let down going on the road (have you seen their ticket sales at home?). Jacksonville gave up two touchdowns to a guy that had not even played in the preseason. Maybe they thought this was good because their own running back had a good game after skipping the preseason, but I can assure you, this is not good. Foster is already looking on his schedule for more Florida teams to play.
Kansas City (Take 3) at Buffalo – Maybe I’m overreacting, but Buffalo gave up 48 points to a team that needed their previous five games combined to score that many points! 48 points to a team that has two first string quarterbacks. Now they face a team that ran for over 150 yards last week. When the Bills, have the ball the Chiefs get back one of the best pass rushers back in Hali, and won’t be starting a third string corner back this week. Buffalo on the other hand is missing pieces of their starting offense in Nelson and Jackson.
Oakland at Miami(Take 2.5) - Rule #1, if you bet on a West Coast team playing a 1 P.M. start time, have a good reason. Practicing how to long snap this week is not a good reason. Palmer is well over due for two interceptions since he didn’t turn it over last week. The Raiders wide receivers are competing with the tight ends as to who has bigger names… (name a Raider TE/WR that you have starting this week on your fantasy team.) McFadden gaining 2.1 yards a carry. Yup. No reason. I’ll take Miami.
Tampa Bay (Take 7.5) at N.Y. Giants – Tampa Bay proved me right last week by taking them as my true sleeper team of the year. If “Don’t Forget Your” Ogletree can put up gaudy numbers against a Giants secondary, I figure Vincent Jackson should have a halfway decent game. I’m not delirious. I do think the G-men will win, but Tampa’s defense will give the Giants fits and keep the game close to the end.
New Orleans (Give 2.5) at Carolina – Carolina better find a running game, and before Sunday. RG3 was able to have a great game against the Saints, but it was the running game that really hurt the Saints last week. Carolina didn’t have a rusher go over 5 yards. That’s not 5 yards for their longest run, but 5 yards in total for the game. It looks like Cam Newton’s kryptonite is a lack of a rushing attack.
Arizona at New England (Give 13.5) - Look at the Miami game for my Rule #1. At least the Raiders have McFadden and are facing Miami. What does Arizona have going for it? Well Arizona State is 15 mins away, so they get to go back where the partying is great, and the women are always tan….besides that I pretty much summed this one up yesterday on my Survivor’s Pick post. Kevin Kolb.
Baltimore (Take 2.5) at Philadelphia – Did I miss something last week? The Eagles put up 17 against the Browns. Weeden threw four interceptions and the Eagles scored 17 points! Paging Mr. Reed. Get your hamstring healed, Vick is trying to help you pad your NFL record of most INT return yardage. One thing that can’t be forgotten in all of this, is the Eagles do have a better defense than the Bengals, so I’m going to double up on this one and take the under(46.5). Flacco has to take his show and the road and did I mention the Eagles put up 17 off of four turnovers!
Minnesota at Indianapolis (Take 1.5) - What’s the difference between Jacksonville and Indianapolis? Andrew Luck and a decent defense. I put my faith in the wrong rookie quarterback last week, but I still like this team against the bottom of the NFL. Luck is a cool customer and didn’t look intimidated last week against a tough Bear defense. Minnesota had a hard time against a team that starts Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and doesn’t expect people to stack the box up against MJD.
Dallas (Give 3) at Seattle – Hmmm….if it’s September and I can’t name who Romo is dating/married to then I can still take Romo. Seattle couldn’t close it out last week when the refs gave them a 4th time out and two extra plays at the end of the game. Of course Mike Williams “effort” evened things out when all was said and done. What’s even more amazing than me picking Romo in Seattle (hopefully he isn’t the holder on Sunday) is the fact that there isn’t the customary drama we associate with the Cowboys. But it is only September…give it time.
N.Y. Jets @ Pittsburgh (Give 5.5) – Speaking of drama. Welcome to the Jets. What? No drama? And which do you think will happen first: the Jets score 48 more points, or Tim Tebow starts a game. I give it even odds. Meanwhile The Pirate (Roethlisberger I swear last year played on a peg leg and an eye patch at some point) is not likely to be out dueled again this year, even if he is up against two quarterbacks this week.
Tennessee (Take 6) @ San Diego – San Diego was two bad long snaps and a blocked punt away from losing to a Raider team that targeted McFadden 18 times on pass plays. On the 3 botched punts, the Chargers scored 9 points, and now you’re asking me to give away 6?! Do you think the Titans holder is going down this week? Tennessee on the other hand had to face Brady, and the Titans didn’t look that good against what is an unproven defense. Six points is just too many to give away with a team that really doesn’t have their offense clicking.
Detroit @ San Francisco (Give 6.5) – Who would have thought that the most amount of drama surrounding the NFL this week would involve the rematch of a fight ( ok shoving match) involving Jim Harbaugh. Everyone is over-hyping the machine in S.F., and if I’ve learned anything over the years, is that only the ’72 Dolphins will obtain perfection. However, until someone shows me this team has a weakness, I’m going to give points at home, especially in prime time (even if Candlestick can’t keep the lights on.)
Denver (Take 3) @ Atlanta – Anyone have any questions about Manning’s arm now? Are we sure he wasn’t playing in the CFL somewhere last year just to get out of a rebuilding Indianapolis? Well now you are going to see Manning where he is at his best: In a dome in prime time. On the other side of things, Matty Ice will have to face a first string defense this week. What will this team look like when they aren’t picking on a third string defensive back?