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Monday, January 22 2018

NFL Predictions 2013: Week 2

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I am never happy with early season results, so it should come as no surprise that I had an uneven opening to my campaign. Straight up I went 11-5 and as first weeks go that’s fine. Against the spread I struggled badly at 5-10-1. The lone bright spot was the over/under at a sparkling 12-4. Let’s move on.

 

 NY Jets (1-0) @ New England (1-0): Both teams went down to the wire in their respective openers. The Patriots avoided an upset by squeezing past Buffalo 23-31 and the Jets took advantage of a bonehead personal foul penalty to steal an upset over the Bucs 18-17. Neither team was particularly sharp, but let’s not pretend that this is anything other than a heavily favored team hosting an opponent only being considered competitive here because it is a rivalry game in primetime.

I had to laugh when I saw rookie Geno Smith lifting his arms as the winning field goal secured New York’s improbable win. Had linebacker Lavonte David not shoved him out of bounds, they lose the game 15-14 and it’s “same old Jets”. Smith wasn’t awful, he just didn’t blow the game. Tom Brady was mortal with a new set of receiving targets and while it hurts to lose running back Shane Vereen, the backfield has options with LaGarrette Blount around to share the load with Stevan Ridley. This is a tight game because New York’s defense can play: New England 24, NY Jets 12 (NYJ +13/under 43.5)

Washington (0-1) @ Green Bay (0-1); Starting 0-2 is brutal and barring a tie that’s going to be reality for one of these returning playoff teams. The Redskins looked like a worn out team at the end of their season. The Packers simply ran into a great team on the road and came up on the short end at San Francisco. My concern here for the visiting Robert Griffin III is how much he gets hit by a defense that has expressed their strategy for stopping offenses like this is by hitting the quarterback.

I feel like Washington’s offense started to click in the second half and maybe Griffin shook off some rust. They need to run the ball more and get better play from their offensive line. Defensively the pass rush has to play like they have Ryan Kerrigan on one side and Brian Orakpo on the other, which they do. Green Bay’s offense is every bit as dangerous as just about any unit in the league. I look for a shootout here and the healthy quarterback with better weapons wins: Green Bay 27, Washington 21 (WAS +9/under 49.5)

Cleveland (0-1) Baltimore (0-1): The AFC North is starting over. Every team lost and now the lead is up for grabs. The Ravens come home mad after having to start their season on the road, and losing in a weather-delayed game in Denver. The Browns were humbled on their home field by Miami and inexplicably passed the ball about three times as much as the armchair quarterbacks thought was necessary.

It’s going to be a slugfest and no one should underestimate this Cleveland defense. They can keep their team in it. Baltimore’s defense got worn out last week, but with extra rest and back at sea level against a mortal quarterback it is a whole different story. Brandon Weeden is no Peyton Manning, and has nowhere close to the offensive weapons. Trent Richardson has to be a monster for the visitors to hang tough here. The home offense won’t roll them over, but it’s not going to be too close either: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 13 (BAL -7/under 44)

St. Louis (1-0) @ Atlanta (0-1): Both teams play their second straight indoors after the Falcons lost in New Orleans and the Rams beat Arizona. I was disappointed in Atlanta’s offense for sure, and this week Steven Jackson faces his former team so he should be plenty motivated to help balance the attack. Roddy White is hobbled and that’s a bummer. St. Louis got a mediocre debut from Daryl Richardson in their backfield and not too much from rookie Tavon Austin who has big play ability.

This result is going to tell me a lot about where these respective teams are heading. If the Rams are for real this is the statement victory they need. If the Falcons are going to make a deep run in the NFC playoffs this is a game they can’t afford to lose. Atlanta is way too good at home for me to pick against them in this spot. I think they come out focused and while it won’t be a walk in the park I don’t see a photo finish either: Atlanta 27, St. Louis 16 (ATL -6.5/under 47.5)

San Diego (0-1) @ Philadelphia (1-0): Both teams played on MNF last week and roared out to big leads. The Eagles held their lead and beat Washington, but the Chargers blew theirs and lost to Houston. San Diego now has to travel on a short week while Philadelphia stays in the area, and that’s a big advantage. Chip Kelly’s offense clearly has the ability to wear out an opposing defense and will get the added fuel of a home crowd in their corner.

Philip Rivers is fading fast. He ironically was drafted to replace Drew Brees, while Brees was traded for Michael Vick. I’m not sure that means anything it’s just a random fact. These days Vick has an offense he is well suited for while Rivers is lacking the finishing touch required of elite pocket passers. Defensively I liked half of what both teams did in their openers. I’m going with the Eagles because of their offense: Philadelphia 27, San Diego 21 (SD +9/under 55)

Minnesota (0-1) @ Chicago (1-0): Right off the bat I can sense this being a tough call. The Bears just vanquished a solid Cincinnati team. The Vikings got whipped at Detroit and now has to travel again. Generally speaking I like Adrian Peterson in a spot like this if the defense can hold up their end of the bargain. Jay Cutler has a new offense and a lot of options at his disposal. Christian Ponder is very reliant on Peterson who for the most part was bottled up last week.

My instinct is for the visitors to steal a victory here and leave both teams level for the season, but I don’t throw darts when I make my picks. It’s not my style. Chicago has two solid receiving options, a capable tight end and a dynamic lead back with someone to provide relief when he needs it. Their offensive line held up last week against a solid front, so I’m taking them to do it again, possibly in OT: Chicago 26, Minnesota 23 (MIN +7/over 42) 

Buffalo (0-1) @ Carolina (0-1): Disappointing losses for both teams in week 1 against solid opponents. Seattle beat the Panthers while the Bills lost to New England. I liked Carolina’s defense as I suspected I would, and now they go from trying to stop Russell Wilson to dealing with a raw rookie in E.J. Manuel. Cam Newton needs more help, and that’s going to limit the win total in Carolina even if their defense is awesome.

In a defensive struggle, C.J. Spiller should be able to keep the visitors alive. I suspect there are going to be a lot of punts and limited opportunities in the red zone for either team. Carolina does have to deal with being worn out having just played a physical opponent, but they stay at home while the Bills need to travel. I’ll take Newton: Carolina 17, Buffalo 16 (BUF +3/under 43.5) 

Tennessee (1-0) @ Houston (1-0): The Titans turned in a stunner winning at Pittsburgh. The Texans avoided an upset, rallying at San Diego in the finale of week 1. The AFC South is off to a good start, making this game important to both teams. Houston obviously expects to compete and they were victimized in the opener by overconfidence. Eventually it all worked out. Tennessee’s defense was terrific, but it came against a suspect offense.

There is no elite quarterback here, it’s just a matter of which quarterback makes the crucial error. Matt Schaub has better weapons around him, and should have the advantage of playing with a lead while of course also being at home. Jake Locker is one of the worst starters in the league and can’t get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Unless Chris Johnson breaks big runs this offense sputters. I don’t see their defense being as good as they were last week and that’s the difference: Houston 24, Tennessee 17 (TEN +10.5/under 43)

Miami (1-0) @ Indianapolis (1-0): This is a tough call. The Colts were barely able to hold off Oakland last week and that’s a team with a lot of new parts that was unimpressive in the preseason. The Dolphins went on the road and handled the Browns who are also not a great team, but they looked better. Teams settle in after working out the kinks in season openers and I think Indy is primed to make adjustments. Miami’s running game is off to a shaky start and while Ryan Tannehill took advantage of a defense keying on Mike Wallace, the Colts are going to see that coming here.

It was a shaky opener for Andrew Luck, but he got the win. He wasn’t helped enough by the backfield and this week I think Ahmad Bradshaw is going to be a bigger factor. Complementary receivers are also going to step up. I thought the defense was competent and cornerback Vontae Davis gets a crack at his former team. I can go either way here, and I’m erring on the side of the home team in a dome with a more balance offense: Indianapolis 21, Miami 19 (MIA +3/under 43)

Dallas (1-0) @ Kansas City (1-0): I expect a tight game here because the Chiefs are better than most people realize and the Cowboys aren’t as good as most people think. Last week Dallas took down the Giants on SNF while Kansas City trashed the Jaguars. It’s a new season and bad teams from 2012 think they can compete, which is a wonderful thing. Alex Smith settles down the Chiefs on offense and Andy Reid is a similarly calming influence.

For me, Dallas is erratic. Dez Bryant is already nicked up, and their backfield is still shaky. Kansas City has a dangerous weapon in Jamaal Charles, and dominated even without getting much out of Dwayne Bowe in the opener. Their defense effectively pitched a shutout. I’m looking for a tight game throughout. Tony Romo pulls out wins every season, just not enough when it matters. In this spot he gets it done: Dallas 24 Kansas City 20 (DAL +3/under 46.5)

New Orleans (1-0) @ Tampa Bay (0-1): On paper this looks like the Saints march in here and walk on the Bucs. They won last week over Atlanta, a team fresh off the “final four” while their opponent lost to the hopeless Jets. However, traveling outdoors on grass has always been tough for this offense. Drew Brees is in assassin mode to be sure though, so I still like them to pull this out.

Josh Freeman looks defeated. He has Doug Martin to balance the offense, but all they seem to do is pile up yards without finishing in the clutch. I liked what I saw out of the New Orleans defense, surprisingly enough, and if they can keep it up in a tough road environment their chances are good to stay atop this division. I’m not underestimating Tampa Bay’s ability to rebound, but they just laid a pretty big egg: New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 24 (NO -3/over 47)

Detroit (1-0) @ Arizona (0-1): The desert is a tough place to play. The Cardinals are coming off a tough loss at St. Louis while the Lions dusted off the Vikings. Both games were high scoring and this one could be too. The quarterbacks are both former number one overall picks and can throw the ball around. Detroit has Reggie Bush and he’s a difference maker. They have Calvin Johnson too, and having him on the same field matching catches with Larry Fitzgerald is fun to watch.

The better offense is the visitors, but the home field helps Arizona’s defense level the playing field. There is going to be some defense played here to be sure, especially in terms of pass rush. The question is how much the defenses can hold off these offenses to keep it from turning into a shootout. If it gets high scoring, turnovers are even more important. Carson Palmer is too prone to the key mistake, so I’m sticking with the visitors: Detroit 27, Arizona 20 (DET +0/under 48)

Denver (1-0) @ NY Giants (0-1): The Manning Bowl is always going to be hyped up, but since this is likely the final regular season meeting there is even more interest. Eli’s Giants fell flat in Dallas while Peyton’s Broncos beat the defending champion Baltimore. Denver has the advantage of extra rest since they played on TNF and New York had to travel home following a night game. The Broncos are brimming with confidence too.

Offensively I think the teams are pretty comparable. Running is an issue for both, especially the Giants who just brought Brandon Jacobs back from the dead they were so desperate. They can’ t balance their offense and it’s all on Eli. Peyton has weapons galore and it really doesn’t matter if his average backfield doesn’t produce. He’s Peyton. Denver’s pass rush is surviving, but I expect New York to be able to throw the ball quite a bit. This has the makings of a high scoring tilt with the brothers letting it all hang out. Big brother gets little brother one last time: Denver 34, NY Giants 31 (NYG +4.5/over 54.5)

Jacksonville (0-1) @ Oakland (0-1): No one really knew what to expect from the Raiders, and they were very competitive in a loss at Indianapolis. The Jaguars had no fight in a loss to Kansas City. Now the Jags have to go across the country to the Black Hole and get it done? Maurice Jones-Drew does tend to play well in his “hometown” and they are probably better off with Chad Henne at quarterback, so there’s that.

However, Terrelle Pryor looks like the perfect remedy for an offense dealing with the loss of both expected tackles. He was poised in hostile territory against a competent opponent and should thrive at home even if he does have to run through the dirt. I was impressed with Oakland’s totally new defense and they typically play better at home. All in all these are probably both relatively bad teams when games start to get in the books, but for now I like the Raiders by a bit: Oakland 24, Jacksonville 16 (OAK -5.5/over 39)

San Francisco (1-0) @ Seattle (1-0): TV ratings push this game to the front of the schedule and that’s a shame. The Seahawks really aren’t ready for this. Last year they were peaking when they demolished the 49ers here. Now they come in tired from a road win at Carolina having to deal with a team that is still better than them. Colin Kaepernick threw for 412 yards, proving he can win with his arm when the running game stalls. Anquan Boldin was all over the field, but against this defense that won’t happen again.

Last week Seattle’s running game was also flat, but Russell Wilson threw for 320 yards and got the ball to eight different players along the way. The defense is as nasty as ever. I look for this one to be a battle defensively, with points at a premium. I think both teams can really limit the opposing offense. There just aren’t enough dynamic threats with guys like Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin sitting out. I have to take the team that is more prepared: San Francisco 22, Seattle 20 (SF +3/under 44.5) 

Pittsburgh (0-1) @ Cincinnati (0-1): What in the world happened to the Steelers? They were stunned by Tennessee last week, a result far worse than the Bengals losing at Chicago. The winner here is going to have the division lead while the loser is facing a tough hill to climb. Cincinnati’s defensive front should terrorize Pittsburgh’s soft offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger just doesn’t have the weapons around him to compensate for not being protected. 

Andy Dalton has some serious offensive firepower at his disposal. They didn’t get it done last week, but it’s not like they lost at home to a bad team. Pittsburgh did, and I think they are in serious trouble. Primetime is going to be the best out in the Steelers. I’m not sure it’s nearly enough for them to be competitive here. They could get blown off the field: Cincinnati 27, Pittsburgh 17 (CIN -7/over 40.5)

 

NFL Predictions 2013: Week 2 | 10 comments | Create New Account
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NFL Predictions 2013: Week 2
Authored by: dbsmall onThursday, September 12 2013

I went 9-7 in straight up picks, week 1, which is pretty horrible.

Worse, I'm going a bit "crazy" with some of my picks, week 2, if Vegas is to be believed.  For that matter, I'm differing from norcalfella on 3 games, which is a risky proposition.

San Diego at Philadelphia
Dallas at Kansas City

Miami at Indianapolis

 

NE
 
ATL
SD
KC
MIA
HOU
GB
BAL
CAR
CHI
NO
DET
OAK
DEN
SF
 
CIN
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