Here are my Week 2 NFL picks.
Jets (+13) at Patriots (-13) — Geno Smith was mostly solid in his NFL debut, but he struggled when facing pressure. He was 3 of 12 on 20 drop backs when pressured and was sacked five times. All the Patriots need is to bring a little pressure to really run the tables. But there is great doubt the Patriots can cover a 13-point spread after struggling with the Bills. There’s too much uncertainty with the availability of Danny Amendola, Zach Sudfeld, and Aaron Dobson in question.
My pick: Jets
Rams (+7.5) at Falcons (-7.5) — If the Falcons are the Super Bowl contenders we think they are, they should beat the Rams handily. But after considering the Rams’ season-opening win, as well as the Falcons’ season-opening loss, there is no reason to believe Atlanta will cover.
My pick: Rams
Chargers (+9) at Eagles (-9) — The new Chip Kelly Eagles were explosive in their opener, reminding us of Michael Vick’s exceptional abilities after a porous 2012. Meanwhile, the Chargers seemed to remind us of why they are so frustrating for their fan base.
My pick: Eagles
Cowboys (+2.5) at Chiefs (-2.5) — Don’t buy the Alex Smith hype. Against the hapless Jaguars, the Chiefs offense was 5 of 15 on third down, a tell-tale sign that he’s still unable to convert when called upon. Now he’s facing an immensely talented Cowboys team that is not even favored.
My pick: Cowboys
Dolphins (+3) at Colts (-3) — Never trust a team that struggles against the Oakland Raiders. The Colts managed to escape with a win in Week 1 thanks to an errant throw by Raiders rookie QB Terrelle Pryor down the stretch. The Dolphins are talented and are only likely to get better after their season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns.
My pick: Dolphins
Titans (+10) at Texans (-10) — The Titans are much better than odds-makers are giving them credit for and the Texans aren’t nearly as good, even after their come-from-behind win against the Chargers. Chris Johnson is bound for a better than decent game, just not this week. And Jake Locker has to be better.
My pick: Titans
Redskins (+8) at Packers (-8) — It was pretty shocking to watch Robert Griffin III struggle against the Eagles, given what we saw of Philadelphia in the preseason. RGIII was much more rusty than we were led to believe, finishing 30 of 49 for 329 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. It’s hard to believe that he can regain his end of 2012 form within a week, especially against a talented Packers team that was will be itching to bounce back after getting shellacked by the 49ers.
My pick: Packers
Browns (+7) at Ravens (-7) — The Browns, led by Brandon Weeden (48.4 QB rating in Week 1), are not really competitive. It doesn’t really help that Trenton Richardson only managed 47 yards against the Dolphins. Meanwhile, in their home opener, the Ravens will unveil their new Super Bowl banner, so there will be pangs of pride in Baltimore. But that’s not the only reason for the Ravens to be prideful. Baltimore will be looking to redeem itself after getting smoked by the Broncos in the NFL’s opening game of the season. And they’ve had plenty of time to dissect what went wrong.
My pick: Ravens
Panthers (-3) at Bills (+3) — The Panthers proved to have a stout rushing defense in Week 1 against the Seahawks, holding Seattle to 70 yards on 26 carries (2.6 average). They’ll need that sort of run defense against Bills team that has a two-headed monster in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. And Cam Newton, who was 16 of 23 for 125 yards and 1 TD against Seattle, will likely find more open space against the Bills.
My pick: Panthers
Vikings (+6) at Bears (-6) — Take away Adrian Peterson’s 78-yard touchdown run and the All-Pro running back had 17 carries for 15 yards against the Lions. Either the Lions are really good or he has to be better. The Bears, with the tag team of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, continue to be one of the better teams in the NFL.
My pick: Bears
Saints (-3 1/2) at Buccaneers (+3 1/2) — Drew Brees was on fire against the Falcons, picking his NFC South rival apart for 357 yards passing and two touchdowns. His effort was helped by a tough defense that held the Falcons to 3 of 11 on third downs.
My pick: Saints
Lions (-2) at Cardinals (+2) — The Lions look really good through one week of football. QB Matthew Stafford (28 of 43 for 357 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and Reggie Bush (21 carries for 90 yards, 4 catches for 101 yards, 1 TD) had great games in their opener. And the defense was stout against Minnesota’s running game, holding Adrian Peterson to 93 yards and one touchdown. The Cardinals will of course be a more passing centric team, but in the past two years I’ve yet to see Carson Palmer have two decent performances back to back.
My pick: Lions
Jaguars (+6) at Raiders (-6) — If there were ever an opportunity to pick the Raiders and not feel foolish about it, it’s now. The Jaguars are the bottom of the barrel.
My pick: Raiders
Broncos (-4 1/2) at Giants (+4 1/2) — How can you go against Peyton Manning after he throws seven touchdowns in one game? How do you go for the Giants after they turn the ball over six times?
My pick: Broncos
49ers (+3) at Seahawks (-3) — Count me among those who was extremely impressed with the way the 49ers operated on Sunday. And at the same time, the Seahawks’ 12-point output against the Panthers has me quite concerned. They’re not the juggernaut they were at the end of the 2012 season and that’s enough reason to believe the 49ers can win this one.
My pick: 49ers
Steelers (+7) at Bengals (-7) — You gotta think that this is a game the Bengals can win after the Steelers lost an ugly game to the Titans. Pittsburgh struggled to run the ball behind Isaac Redman (2 fumbles and 9 rushing yards) and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t nearly as masterful as he has been in the past, finishing 21 of 33 for 191 yards with a TD and an interception. But you gotta think the Steelers bounce back in some way, making this competitive. While Cincy has all the tools to come out with a win, including the phenomenal A.J. Green (9 catches, 162 yards, 2 TDs), this one looks like it’s another AFC North matchup that will come down to the stretch.
My pick: Steelers
Last week: 6-10