Friday, September 13, 2013

NFL Picks, Week 2

But first, 3 quick thoughts on the Patriots' win over the Jets:

1) For a guy who completed over 70% of his passes during one stretch for West Virginia last year, Geno Smith wasn't as accurate as I expected. His touch on his deep passes wasn't very good, and many of his short crossing pattern passes were off the mark enough to break his receiver's stride. His makeup, which is what most people were questioning after the draft and his offseason looked perfectly fine. His actual ability is what held him back. Then again, it's just the second game of his career.

2) Is this the straw that finally breaks Brady's back? Brady has consistently taken less than he "deserves" (note: I don't want to get into the greater question of how much does an athlete deserve to be paid here) to enable the Patriots to put a solid team around him to better their chances of winning more Super Bowls. Despite this, New England has never applied any of those savings to try and keep his favorite targets around, most notably Deion Branch in 2006 and Wes Welker this past offseason. Despite this, Brady has always toed the company line and not publicly flown off the handle at having to make do with lesser options. Last night Brady almost popped multiple blood vessels with the performance of every receiving option not named Julian Edelman. Will this finally lead to the first public fracture in the Brady/Belichick relationship?

3) Really, my thoughts on the game can best be summed up with
Fellas, what you've just done is one of the most insanely incompetent things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent attempt at a display of football were you even close to anything that could be considered a functional offense. Everyone in this nation is now dumber for having watched that game. I award you both no points, and may God have mercy on your souls. 

Onto the picks (feel free not to look at last week's record at the bottom of these picks...especially if you have recently eaten):

Atlanta (-7) over St. Louis
Even with Roddy White still not close to 100%, and even facing a sneaky strong defense in the Rams, the Falcons should be able to put up enough offense to outpace Sam Bradford's offense.

Carolina (-2.5) over Buffalo 
Carolina's defensive front made life miserable for the Seahawks last weekend, both in clogging the running lanes and in forcing Russell Wilson to run for his life as often as not. The Seahawks are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Buffalo is a below-average team with a rookie quarterback.

Chicago (-6.5) over Minnesota 
Adrian Peterson has historically had very good success against the Bears defense. But unless Christian Ponder shows up as a completely different quarterback than he was last week (and most of last season), Chicago's defense will devour him.

Green Bay (-7.5) over Washington 
I just can't see the Washington defense slowing down Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Add in I'm not sure if we're going to see last week's 1st half RG3 or 2nd half RG3 this week, and I'm taking the Packers to bounce back.

Indianapolis (-3) over Miami 
These two teams are evenly matched. Indy has the bettter offense, and Miami has the much better defense. Normally in this situation I'd take the points, but the Colts have a significant advantage at the quarterback position, so I'm taking Andrew Luck over Ryan Tannehill.

Kansas City (-2.5) over Dallas
Dallas put up a lot of points last weekend against the Giants, but they were handed 6 turnovers. Alex SMith has shown that, when in a real, NFL offense (read: not one drawn up by Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, or someone under them), he can avoid turnovers better than most. Add in that Kansas City's defense is as good as New York's, and I don't like Dallas' chances on the road this week.

Baltimore (-7) over Cleveland
I still believe in Cleveland's defense, and I think they'll give Joe Flacco and the offense fits considering the Ravens are relying on Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark as important cogs in said offense. I simply can't put faith in Bradon Weeden though, especially not on the road.

Tennessee (+9.5) over Houston 
This feels like an old school matchup where both teams commit to running the ball and playing defense. As a result, there are a couple fewer possessions than in a normal 2013 NFL game. I think Houston wins, but Tennessee will keep things closer than anyone expects.

Philadelphia (-7) over San Diego
If San Diego can put up 28 points on Houston's defense, they'll put up points on Philly's. Their defense will most likely give up more points to Chip Kelly's offensive revolution. Add in the cross-country trip, and I'm forseeing a comfortable Eagles win.

Arizona (Even) over Detroit 
Detroit does not travel well. Lack of discipline tends to be even harder to overcome on the road than in friendly surroundings. Assuming Suh doesn't rip off Carson Palmer's lower leg mid-game, the Cardinals will win this one.

New Orleans (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Let's review what happened in the last week: 1) Tampa Bay loses to the New York Jets thanks to bad offense and an incredibly stupid penalty. 2) Reports emerge that head coach Greg Schiano rigged the team captain elections in order to prevent Josh Freeman from being named captain. 3) After defending himself and dismissing that report, Schiano related to reporters how Freeman missed the team picture because he showed up late. 4) This team quit on the previous head coach during the 2011 season. You could add 10 to the line and I still wouldn't touch the Buccaneers this week.

Jacksonville (+5.5) over Oakland 
Jacksonville can't be as bad as they looked last week. Blaine Gabbert's injury will be a blessing and they'll be much more competitive this week against the Raiders. And as good as Terrelle Pryor looked in last week's much-closer-than-expected loss to the Colts, the Raiders aren't good enough to be giving more than 5 points to anyone. Even Jacksonville (unless Gabbert is involved).

Denver (-4.5) over New York Giants
On the one hand you have big brother always beats little brother (Peyton is 2-0 head-to-head against Eli). On the other hand you have the "just when you thought you could count us out we show up and flex our muscles" Giants. It's a tough call, but I'm going to side with Peyton.

Seattle (-2.5) over San Francisco
The best home field advantage in the NFL makes the difference in this one. The atmosphere got to Kaepernick and the 49ers last season. This game won't be a blowout like that one was, but Seattle will look much better on offense this week in Century Link field.

Cincinnati (-7) over Pittsburgh
Coming into Cincinnati with a wounded offensive line and no running game will be disastrous against that Bengals defense.

Last week: 2-13-1 (.156)
2013 Season: 2-13-1 (.156)

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