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Week Two Picks

September 17th, 2015

Not a great start with the picks for me. I went 9-7 straight up, 6-9-1 against the spread. But, you know, here’s where I start digging myself out of the hole. Or maybe just digging a deeper hole. Probably that last thing.

Here’s what not to expect.

Denver (+3) at Kansas City
The Chiefs got their season off to a promising start Sunday in Houston. It’s nice. But it will be meaningless if they don’t make it 2-0. If they want to win the AFC West — hell, if they want so much as slide into January as a potentially dangerous wild card team — the Chiefs have to be able to defend their home turf against a Broncos squad traveling on a short week after a hard-fought home opener. If Kansas City can do that, they’re in the mix. If they can’t, they’re probably headed for another 9-7 finish and seats on the couch for the postseason. It’s really that simple. Simpler still, the way to beat the Broncos continues to be stop the run and force Wobbles McGee to beat you with his noodle arm. Can the Chiefs pull that off? I suspect they can. Kansas City by four.

Houston (+3) at Carolina
I don’t know what to make of this match. That’s got something (a lot, actually) to do with the fact that I don’t know if last week’s flat open had more to do with the Texans or the Chiefs. And if it was the Texans, is a change at quarterback going to fix it? What I do know is that I wasn’t in any way impressed by the Panthers’ win at Jacksonville. If this game were in Houston, I’d probably pick the Texans. It isn’t, and I’m still tempted to pick the Texans. But I’m not going to. Ugh. Panthers by a point.

Tampa Bay (+9.5) at New Orleans
I know the Saints didn’t fare well at Arizona last weekend, but … um … Bucs. If the Tennessee can win by four touchdowns in Tampa Bay, I’ve gotta figure the Saints can beat the Buccaneers by at least two TDs in New Orleans. So let’s say Saints by 14.

San Francisco (+5.5) at Pittsburgh
The Steelers defense is suspect, but I don’t see them giving up 230 yards on the ground. Pittsburgh by a touchdown.

Detroit (+3) at Minnesota
I can’t imagine the Lions blowing a big lead yet again this week. Trouble is, I can’t decide whether that’s because I don’t think the Vikings can overcome one, or because I don’t think the Lions can build one. Coin comes down home team. Vikings by a field goal.

New England (-1) at Buffalo
For the Bills, the key to this game isn’t stopping Rob Gronkowski. It’s stopping Tom Brady before he can get the ball to Gronk (and others). For the Patriots, it’s not about stopping Tyrod Taylor. It’s about stopping Karlos Williams. I’m not sure I think either team can be entirely successful. I think both can do enough to keep this game very tight for at least the first half. But I think the Patriots are more likely to make successful adjustments as the game wears on. So I’ll take New England. Let’s say by six.

Arizona (-1.5) at Chicago
The Bears may be the second best team in the NFC North. By default. I don’t think you get anything for that. Cardinals by eight.

Tennessee (-1) at Cleveland
Works out the Browns are still the Browns. Who ever would have guessed.  Titans by a touchdown.

San Diego (+3) at Cincinnati
I think the Chargers should be able to beat the Bengals. I just haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe the Chargers will be able to beat the Bengals. So … whatever. Cincinnati. By a point. I guess.

St. Louis (-3.5) at Washington
Pretty sure I’ll be picking against the Racists every week this year. Also pretty sure I’d be picking against them this week even if that weren’t the case. Rams by a touchdown.

Atlanta (+2) at NY Giants
It took all of a week — really, just one game (really, just the last couple of minutes of one game) — for me to lose all faith in the Giants this year.  Which means they’re about to go on a 18-0 run through the Super Bowl. Or not. Falcons by four.

Baltimore (-6) at Oakland
Second straight road game for the Ravens. That’s never easy. Except when it is. Second straight home loss for the Raiders. Baltimore by 10.

Miami (-6) at Jacksonville
And speaking of second straight home losses. Dolphins by 14.

Dallas (+5) at Philadelphia
With a win, the Cowboys would take a commanding lead in the NFC East just two weeks into the season. I’m sure they’d love that. But it’s not going to happen. Philly rights the ship with a win by seven.

Seattle (+3.5) at Green Bay
The last time the Packers beat the Seahawks was the last time the two teams met in Green Bay. That has nothing to do with this game. Just something to say other than “the Packers have to beat the Seahawks sometime.” And, you know, Seattle is playing on the road for a second straight week. Packers by six.

NY Jets (+7) at Indianapolis
I think it’s pretty much a given that the Colts defense is going to have trouble stopping Chris Ivory. The good news for Indy, and bad for New Jersey, is that the Colts can still neutralize the Jets running game — by piling up enough points to force New Jersey to the air. Indianapolis by 10.

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