We Pats' fans need another game! After all, we're still dissecting that ugly 13-10 win over the Jets. On to next Sunday, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, hopefully, a 3-0 start to the season. I'm leaving on a business trip tomorrow, and will be gone til Saturday. For this reason, I won't be posting for the rest of the work week.
Here are my picks, with the "Game of the Week" being:
1.) (2-0) Houston Texans @ (1-1) Baltimore Ravens (+2): Both teams may be without a top offensive weapon. Texans' WR Andre Johnson will likely miss this game due to concussion symptoms, while Ravens' star RB Ray Rice is "day to day" with a hip injury. Though the Texans' defensive unit is highly touted, led by stars Brian Cushing and A.J. Watt, they have surrendered 55 points in two games, against the Chargers and the Titans. In addition, Houston had to mount two furious fourth quarter rallies to win each of these games. After being embarrassed by "The Horseface" on opening night, the defending SB champs tightened things up considerably on defense, in holding the much less potent Cleveland Browns to just six points. What's particularly intriguing about this game is that long time Raven Ed Reed could face off against his ex-team. The Texans porous secondary is badly in need of a talent infusion, and the leadership that Reed should provide: PICK: Texans;
2.) (2-0) Kansas City Chiefs (+3) @ (1-1) Philadelphia Eagles: This Thursday night game will mark Andy Reid's return to the City of Brotherly Love. Philly's new fast break offense appears to be a double-edge sword. On one hand, it's a blitzkrieg attack which can pile up yards and points in a hurry. On the other hand, their offense exposes QB Michael Vick to multiple hits, and tends to wear out their offense by halftime. Philly's pass defense has been awful, as it is currently ranked 31st in the league. Their "D" has given up 60 points in two games, against the Redskins and Chargers. If Philly gets off to a fast start, and builds a commanding early lead, the Chiefs don't have the fire-power to come back. Look for Kansas City to try to control the clock with their ground game, to keep the Eagles' offense off the field. You know that Andy Reid wants this one badly: PICK: Chiefs;
3.) (1-1) San Diego Chargers (+3) @ (1-1) Tennessee Titans: The Titans are kicking themselves for giving one away last week in Houston. The Chargers rallied big-time, and won in OT, after spotting the Eagles an early lead, in Philadelphia. The Titans have a better defense, and the ground game to keep Philip Rivers off the field. Still, the Titans don't score a lot of points. So, this could wind up being a 3 point game, either way. Nonetheless: PICK: Titans;
4.) (0-2) Cleveland Browns (+5) @ (0-2) Minnesota Vikings: Browns starting QB Brandon Weeden sprained his thumb last week in Baltimore, and likely won't play. He'll be replaced by Jason Campbell. The frustrated Vikings will be licking their chops: PICK: Vikings;
5.) (0-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) @ (2-0) New England Patriots: Both of these teams are having trouble getting their offenses untracked. Tampa will be without starting DT Derek Landri (knee injury), and are not yet completely healthy on the OL. But hard hitting safety Dashon Goldston has been reinstated, and will play Sunday. Still, the fact that Bucs QB Josh Freeman is not moving the team, and reportedly wants out from Tampa, cannot be doing head coach Greg Schiano any good. Freeman may get his wish, sooner than he thinks. The problems with the Patriots have been well documented here. QB Tom Brady was clearly frustrated last week, as the Pats offense turned in one of their worst performances in years. I don't know if this team is capable of beating anybody by eight or more points. But, I'm still in a bit of a homer mode, so I believe that BB and Brady will get more production out of their injury riddled skilled positions this week: PICK: Patriots;
6.) (1-1) St. Louis Rams (+4) @ (1-1) Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys could have and should have beaten the Chiefs last week. Their defense appears to be much improved. But, they still haven't shown the ability to establish a rushing attack, to take some of the pressure off QB Tony Romo. Though the Rams appear to be more balanced, the Cowboys appear to be more talented: PICK: Cowboys;
7.) (1-1) Arizona Cardinals (+7.5) @ (2-0) New Orleans Saints: Loosing OG Jonathan Cooper for most of the season (broken leg) was a bitter pill to swallow for the Cards. Though WR Larry Fitzgerald may play, he may be handicapped by a hamstring injury. The Saints were lucky to beat Tampa last week. It remains to be seen whether their good fortune continues: PICK: Cardinals;
8.) (1-1) Detroit Lions (+1.5) @ (0-2) Washington Redskins: Has all that controversy over the team name "The Redskins" caused a distraction? Something has, as this team looks awful on offense, and, especially, on defense. But, there is a silver lining to their poor play. If they continue playing as badly as they have, no one will care what they call themselves. Currently, they are pro football's answer to the Washington Generals. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the Generals were the basketball team that repeatedly got trounced, and were the butt of jokes and pranks by the Halem Globetrotters, year after year. But, I digress. The Lions aren't roaring either...and last weeks' knee injury to Reggie Bush could slow them down even further. But, not enough: PICK: Lions;
9.) (1-1) Green Bay Packers @ (1-1) Cincinnati Bengals (+1): If the Bengals are to win this game, they must put constant pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers. No so for Green Bay, as they have little to fear from the pedestrian Cincy QB, Andy Dalton: PICK: Packers;
10.) (0-2) NY Giants (+2) @ (0-2) Carolina Panthers: Carolina gave the Seattle Seahawks all they could handle, before losing they opener, 12-7. A ticky-tack penalty on all-world MLB, "Crazy Luke" Kuechly, costs the Panthers a win last week in Buffalo. The Giants have been a turnover machine this far, "featuring" RB David Wilson fumbles, and QB Eli Manning interceptions (9). Jason Pierre Paul (back injury) is not nearly the player that he once was: PICK: Panthers;
11.) (1-1) Atlanta Falcons (+1.5) @ (2-0) Miami Dolphins: The Falcons are hurting, with RB Stephen Jackson likely out, and WRs Roddy While and Julio Jones supposedly playing hurt. Still, after what Jones did last week, one couldn't tell. Miami is playing well on both sides of the ball, and may be the leagues' most improved team: PICK: Dolphins;
12.) (1-1) Indianapolis Colts (+10.5) @ (1-1) San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh should know best how to contain his former stud QB during his Stanford days, Andrew Luck. Look for the 49ers to come out smoking, after being pushed around and embarrassed last Sunday night in Seattle: PICK: 49ers;
13.) (0-2) Jacksonville Jaguars (+19.5) @ (2-0) Seattle Seahawks: The Jaguars may be the worst NFL team since the 2008 Detroit Lions, and the 2007 "Fail Fast First" Miami Dolphins. The Seahawks have the best overall defense in the NFL. But still...19.5 points? Yessir: PICK: Seahawks;
14.) (1-1) Buffalo Bills (+2.5) @ (1-1) NY Jets: The Jets were lucky to beat the Buccaneers, and, despite catching the Patriots playing one of their worst games offensively in years, still couldn't get the job done. The Bills are a feisty lot. Rookie QB E.J. Manuel is a better QB prospect than Jets' rookie Geno Smith: PICK: Bills;
15.) (2-0) Chicago Bears @ (0-2) Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5): The Bears won too very close games against two pretty good teams, while the Steelers look awful. I can't remember a Steeler team that was this weak at running the ball. My condolances to my pal, Steeler Jim. It's looking like an uncharacteristically long season in the Steel City: PICK: Bears;
16.) (1-1) Oakland Raiders (+14.5) @ (2-0) Denver Broncos: Though the Raiders may have found themselves a QB in Terrelle Pryor, they don't have the weapons or the defense to keep pace with The Horseface: PICK: Broncos.
BEST BETS: Green Bay, Minnesota, and Buffalo.
As always, your thoughts and predictions are welcome...particularly with regards to our beloved Boys in Blue! Have a great week! Goodnight!