This is when I start to get cocky – and doubly dangerous for it. Because I’m looking at stats and trends based on all of two games, which is pointless. It’s way too easy with this sample size for one oddball outing to throw everything off. And still, I can’t help myself. One more reason for you not to believe a word of what you read here. Except these: Here’s what not to expect.
San Francisco (-2.5) at Kansas City
OK, yeah, I get it. The 49ers may be 0-2 and the Chiefs 2-0, but the week two results tell a slightly more complicated tale. The Niners played very well in their Monday night loss to the Saints, while the Chiefs essentially backed in to their win at Cleveland. Fair enough. But, you know, here’s what I see: Each of these teams has faced a strong opponent at home and a weak one on the road. One of them has found a way to win in both cases, the other has found a way to lose. I’m not celebrating the Chiefs for beating the Browns, nor am I gonna bash the Niners for losing to the Saints. But I’ll be damned if I’m gonna pick a road team (that, by the way, has played horrendous pass defense so far this season) to top a home team that appears to me to be playing better in many phases of the game. Chiefs by a field goal.
Tennessee (+3) at NY Giants
The Giants offensive line can’t pass protect worth a damn. And their defense can’t stop the run. This, I tell you, is not a good combination when you’re facing the Titans. Chris Johnson has another big day. Eli Manning hits the deck three times. And Tennessee wins by seven.
Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
So, say you’re still (for whatever reason) a fan of Ben Douchelisbagger. How do you make the case that your guy is an elite quarterback when his team has been winning with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch taking the snaps? Setting that question aside (for someone who might actually care), I’ve gotta say I’m confounded by this game. If the Bucs could stop the run, I’d probably take them in spite of the fact that I think their passing D stats are seriously skewed by having played no one. But they can’t stop the run. So that leaves me to what? Take the Steelers, who have yet to mount an offense? I mean, yes, that’s what it does. But I don’t feel good about it. And I’m sure as hell not giving two and a half points. Pittsburgh by one.
Detroit (+10.5) at Minnesota
I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that Jahvid Best won’t have the kind of day against the Vikings defense that he had at home against the Eagles. And that even old, washed up Brett Favre will manage to complete a few passes (though to whom, I have no better idea than Favre does) playing against the Lions’ terrible D. Vikings by nine.
Atlanta (+4) at New Orleans
Can someone, without referencing Super Bowl XLIV, give me a reason why I should pick the Saints in this game? Because I’m looking at the results of weeks one and two and I’m just not coming up with one. Falcons pull off the upset with a three-point win.
Cleveland (+10.5) at Baltimore
The Browns reportedly have contacted the Eagles about the possibility of trading for Kevin Kolb. Because, yeah, that’s the fix to the Browns’ problems. Baltimore by two touchdowns.
Buffalo (+14) at New England
The Patriots defense has work to do, which might be a bit easier if the offense were to start playing 60 minutes of football now and again. The Pats build a 35-3 first half lead and end up winning 42-20. Because the Bills are … well, they’re the Billls, aren’t they?
Cincinnati (-3) at Carolina
Look, I know he came out of a pro-style college offense and all, but I still can’t help but wonder, if Jimmy Clausen were a quarterback who was likely to be ready to start three weeks into his rookie season, would he have fallen to the second round of the draft? Bengals by six.
Dallas (+3) at Houston
The Texans are going to be brought back to earth at some point by way of their almost complete lack of anything resembling a pass defense. But that won’t happen against a team with an almost complete lack of anything resembling an NFL offensive line. Houston by a field goal.
Washington (-3.5) at St. Louis
Got Clinton Portis on your fantasy team? Start him. Racial Slurs by 10.
Philadelphia (-3) at Jacksonville
There was a point, I remember, during the pre-season when I found myself wondering if there were a journeyman quarterback whom I thought might have a big season. Couldn’t come up with a one. That as it turns out, was because I’m stupid. Don’t expect a lot of defense in this game. Neither team appears to have one. The Eagles, however, do appear to have an offense. That should prove enough to get the job done here. Philly by four.
San Diego (-5.5) at Seattle
The Chargers haven’t done a whole lot to impress me this season, but I still rather suspect they’re better than the Broncos. And I’m certain that the Seahawks team we saw last weekend in Denver was more likely the real thing than the team that victimized San Francisco a week earlier. So I’m taking the Chargers straight up, though I’ll go with the Seahawks with the points.
Oakland (+4) at Arizona
Considering the fact that neither of these teams has a run defense, this game could be over (I mean literally) before the rest of the late games make it out of the third quarter. I’m not giving four points, but I’m taking the Cards straight up.
Indianapolis (-5.5) at Denver
If Denver had any ability to run the football, this game could be interesting. The Broncos certainly appear to bring the more balanced defense to the field. They should have the ability to slow the Colts down some. Or at least they should early. As the game wears on and time of possession begins to weigh heavily in Indy’s favor, I’m expecting the Broncos to fall apart. It may look close at halftime, and possibly as late as the middle of the third quarter, but at the end of the afternoon, I expect to see the Colts in front by somewhere between seven and 10.
NY Jets (+2) at Miami
Let’s see if the Jersey Frat Boys can stay sober long enough to get a game in. If they can, they might not lose too bad. OK, in all seriousness, this game comes down to turnovers. Or, more likely, a turnover. Both teams come in with what look to be significant Ds. And both have less-than-stellar offenses. So it stands to reason you’re not gonna see a lot of scoring. This game could very well end with both teams scoring in the single digits. My guess is that there’s gonna be a key turnover at one point in the game that will either lead to points for the recovering team or deny the losing team a scoring opportunity. And that will be the difference. Since the Fins are home, I’m giving them the edge. Miami wins 7-6.
Green Bay (-3) at Chicago
Who knows? There may yet come a point this season when I actually believe the Bears are for real. But they’re gonna have to beat better teams than the lowly Lions and vastly overrated Cowboys before that happens. A win here would make a huge impression. But that’s not gonna happen. Packers by eight.