Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 2

Bree vs Brady Sunday night 

Back again with another round of picks for NFL week 2. Last week a modest 8-6-1, and this week things appear to be a little more clear after seeing some teams in action with the memories of preseason behind us all. Here are my selections for a full slate of games for week two.

Buffalo at Pittsburgh (-9) – The Mike Tomlin era got off to a great start for the Steelers, who pounded the sorry Browns 34-7 Sunday in Cleveland. The offense was more balanced then we were all led to believe they would be, as Willie Parker led the running attack while Ben Roethlisberger got off to a great start with 4 TD passes. Now the Bills, 15-14 losers on the last play of the game come to town. The offense was stuck in the mud last week, with J.P. Losman only throwing for 97 yards vs the Broncos. Marshawn Lynch will not get the 90 yards he got last week vs a good Steelers run defense, and while I think the Bills will get better as the year goes, this is a tough spot vs a team that looks poised to start the season strong. Take Pittsburgh minus the points. Pittsburgh 24 Buffalo 7

Cincinnati (-6) at Cleveland – Have you ever heard of a team starting a QB in week one, and then two days later trading him? Welcome to Cleveland, where the Browns are just one mess of a football team right now. They dispatched Charlie Frye to Seattle on Tuesday after he looked more like Charlie Brown Sunday vs the Steelers. Now they go with Derek Anderson vs the Bengals, whose defense forced 6 Ravens turnovers in a 27-20 win Monday night at home. The Bengals offense got off to a slow start with just 236 yards vs Baltimore, but the Browns defense will be a lot more in the giving mood here. Look for Rudi Johnson to go over 100 yards on the ground, and for wide outs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to have their way with the Browns. I would not be surprised to see a Brady Quinn sighting during this blowout. Bengals easily minus the 6. Cincinnati 31 Cleveland 14

Indianapolis (-7) at Tennessee – Last season the Titans shocked the Colts with a 60-yard field goal to beat them in Tennessee last December. This time the Colts won’t be looking past Vince Young and company, and with well over a week to prepare, they should be able to get it done here on the road. The Titans overcame the Jaguars last week with the running attack of Chris Brown and LenDale White, but the Colts run defense has gotten a lot better with a healthy Bob Sanders now back. Just ask the Saints. Indy’s offense went off for 31 second half points last week in their 41-10 opening night win, and I think 24 points here will be enough to slow the Titans. Tough to give seven points here, but I think the Colts will be able to cover. Indianapolis 24 Tennessee 13

Houston at Carolina (-6.5) – Interesting matchup at Bank of America Stadium, as the Texans off a win vs KC visit the Panthers, who stopped the Rams in St.Louis last week. Carolina was solid up front, putting pressure on Rams QB Marc Bulger and stopping stud RB Steven Jackson in his tracks for most of the day. Their defense may be a bit underrated, and this will be a good test vs Texans QB Matt Schaub and the Houston offense. Jake Delhomme also looked solid for Carolina, and the running game did a nice job as well. I think the Panthers defense is the key here, and while Houston was impressive vs the Chiefs, the Panthers are a much tougher test than a weak KC team at home. Carolina will win and cover. Carolina 20 Houston 13

San Francisco at St.Louis (-3) – The Rams offense last week looked in preseason mode, as QB Marc Bulger was rushed all day with pressure from the Panthers front seven. Steven Jackson didn’t have much in the way of room to run, and they were taken out of their game plan and didn’t throw downfield all that much. Look for them to test the 49’ers secondary more here, and try and spread the field a bit more. The Rams O-line simply has to play better, but that will be tough with Orlando Pace now out for the season. St.Louis does own this series at home, with beating the 49’ers 7 of the last 8 games at the Edward Jones Dome. The 49’ers offense also was rusty on Monday night, and they had just enough to get past the Cardinals 20-17. Alex Smith and Frank Gore both had sub par nights, and I think on a short week it will be tough for them to have break out games. I’ll go with the home team here minus the three. St.Louis 21 San Francisco 17

New Orleans (-3) at Tampa Bay – The Saints start the 2007 season with two straight on the road, and this might be the spot for their offense to finally get on track after their opening night disaster in Indianapolis. New Orleans had 293 yards vs the Colts, but were shutout in the second half after going into the locker room 10-10 at halftime in the 41-10 loss. Tampa Bay led early in Seattle last week 6-0, but gave up 20 unanswered points in their 20-6 opening day loss. With Cadallic Williams nursing rib issues, and the passing game still trying to find it’s way, I think the Saints have too much talent to lay an egg here. Look for Drew Brees to get in sync with WR’s Marques Colston and Devery Henderson and the Saints to put Tampa Bay away by midway though the 3rd quarter. Saints easily minus the three on the road. New Orleans 27 Tampa Bay 10

Green Bay at New York Giants (-4) – Tough call here with the Eli Manning injury, so keep an eye on the injury report as we get closer to kickoff. Manning did take some snaps in practice on Wednesday, but it’s still way too early to determine if he can go. Last week the Giants looked like an offensive powerhouse, putting up 438 yards and 35 points. The problem was their defense was awful, giving up 45 points and allowing 478 yards in a loss to Dallas. Things on both sides of the ball should even out a bit this week, as even with Manning I can see the offense taking a step back. Also don’t forget that RB Brandon Jacobs is out with a knee injury, so Derrick Ward will get a lot of the carries. The Packers didn’t score on offense last week, but a few gifts from the Eagles led them to a 16-13 win. They only put up 215 yards of offense, but against the Giants should be able to turn that around. Maybe the toughest game to call due to the injuries to Manning and Jacobs. I think the Pack loses, but covers the four. NY Giants 17 Green Bay 14

Atlanta at Jacksonville (-10) – The Falcons looked terrible last week in a 24-3 loss to the Vikings in Minnesota, and this week go up against the Jaguars in Florida. Jacksonville fell to the Titans last week 13-10, as their offense didn’t do what it does best – run the football, while their defense looked like swiss cheese vs the Titans run game, allowing 282 yards on the ground. Look for both teams to try and establish the run early and often, with the Jags having more success vs the Falcons front seven. Atlanta has to do a better job protecting QB Joey Harrington, as he was sacked six times. Look for the Falcons to use Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood more out of the backfield catching the ball, as both of them have to be more involved in the offense. While the Jags should win here, I don’t like the whopping spread. Take the Falcons plus the point. Jacksonville 20 Atlanta 14

Dallas (-3.5) at Miami – Can the Cowboys offense continue to pile on the yards? That is the big question here, as they travel to Florida to take on the Dolphins, who hung tough but fell in OT to the Redskins. Dallas scored 45 points and put up a whopping 478 yards vs the Giants last week, and seemed to hit on all cylinders with new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. This week the Dolphins will look to pressure Tony Romo more, as the Giants did not get much push against the Cowboys O-line. As for the Dolphins on offense, they will look to get the passing game on track vs a Dallas secondary that allowed a lot of yards to Eli Manning and the Giants. Look for Trent Green to go over the 219 yards he had a week ago. Miami shot itself in the foot with penalties and dropped passes. Dallas won’t score 45, but they will put up enough to win and cover. Dallas 24 Miami 17

Oakland at Denver (-9.5) – The Broncos offense piled up 470 yards last week, but only 15 points. Don’t look for that again this week, as they open up their home schedule vs their rivals from Oakland, a team that gave up 392 yards to the Lions in a 36-21 home loss last week. The Raiders finally showed signs of having a NFL offense, but might be without starting QB Josh McCown, as he suffered a finger injury on the last play of the game. That would put the ball in the hands of QB Daunte Culpepper, who lost a preseason battle for the starting job with McCown. I like the Broncos here with their tough defense and running game to wear down the young Raiders and take home the win. Give Oakland the points. Denver 31 Oakland 17

Minnesota at Detroit (-3) – A classic NFC North battle, the Lions high powered offense will try and move the ball and score against the stout Vikings defense. Jon Kitna last week threw for three scores vs the Raiders, but will find the going much tougher here vs the Vikings good D-line and linebackers. Kitna will do a lot of throwing, as the Vikings are very good vs the run. In his last three regular season games, Kitna has thrown for 878 yards and 10 scores. Last season though he threw six picks vs Minnesota. The Vikings offense got a boost from rookie RB Adrian Peterson last week, as he ran for 103 yards and took a pass out of the flat and went 60 yards for a score. He gives a nice safety outlet for QB Tavaris Jackson. Minnesota goes for 11 in a row over Detroit, and I think their defense gets it here. Take the purple guys plus the three. Minnesota 20 Detroit 17

Seattle (-3) at Arizona – Seattle struggled early vs Tampa Bay last week, trailing 6-0, but then started to put the running game in motion, and with some solid defense in the last three quarters they beat the Bucs 20-6. Arizona blew it Monday night in San Fran, as they allowed the 49’ers to march down the field in the last two minutes to lose 20-17. Tough to go against what looks to be a good Seahawks team here. Seattle is 30-6 when Shaun Alexander goes over 100 yards, and 4-0 when he does it vs the Cards. I like him to do it here, and I like the Seattle defense to do enough to bring home their second win of the season. Seattle minus the three is the play here. Seattle 19 Arizona 14

Kansas City at Chicago (-12.5) – Bad luck for the Bears as they lost both defensive starters Mike Brown and Dusty Dvoracek for the season with injuries vs the Chargers last week. They won’t miss them this week though, as their D-line and linebackers will do more than enough to overwhelm the listless Chiefs, who put up just three points vs the Texans last week in Houston. The Bears were impressive vs San Diego, holding LaDainian Tomlinson to just 25 yards, and should keep Larry Johnson in check as well. As for the KC passing attack, Damon Huard gets the start again, but he was mostly ineffective, throwing for 168 yards in the loss. Rex “in effect” Grossman will look good here vs the patched up Chiefs, and the Bears will roll to win number one. Give the 12.5. Chicago 30 KC 7

New York Jets at Baltimore (-7.5) – The Ravens are right up there with the Giants for teams already looking cursed with the injury bug in 2007. Monday night in Cincy, they lost LB Ray Lewis with an arm injury, had OT Jonathan Ogden re-injure his toe, and QB Steve McNair leave with a groin injury. It looks as if Lewis will play, Ogden is for sure out, and McNair is up in the air. The Jets have their own issues, as QB Chad Pennington will likely miss the game with an ankle injury, putting the ball in the hands of Kellen Clemens. The Ravens D will be on the hook for this one, as they have to step it up and force the Jets into some turnovers and short fields for their offense. New York has to run the ball better with Thomas Jones, and pressure either McNair or backup Kyle Boller more than they did Tom Brady a week ago. This is going to be a low scoring, tight game, so take the points. Baltimore 16 NY Jets 13

San Diego at New England (-4) – A classic here, as both teams want to show they are up there as the power team in the AFC. The Chargers are still miffed at losing to the Pats last year in the playoffs, while New England’s new look players are out to prove something here. Last week the Pats looked awfully good in scoring 38 points vs the Jets at the Meadowlands. Tom Brady’s shoulder seemed fine, and Randy Moss looked like it was 1998 all over again. The Pats have been hit all week with “spy gate,” but once the ball is kicked Sunday night, that will all be behind them one way or another. Look for the Chargers to run the ball much better than they did against the Bears, but for some reason I think New England will play more within themselves, and pull this out in the end – by three. Take the Chargers with the four. New England 23 San Diego 20

Monday Night:

Washington at Philadelphia (-7) – Boy the Eagles sure under whelmed last week in Green Bay. They put the ball on the ground twice that led to 10 Green Bay points, didn’t make plays on offense, and while the defense played well, they didn’t force any Packer mistakes. That is why they are 0-1 heading into Monday night vs the Redskins, who on offense last week ran the ball well in a 16-13 OT win over the Dolphins. I expect Philly to be a bit angry over last week, and they have owned the Skins as of late, winning 9 of the last 11 against them. Seven is a lot, but I like the Eagles here to win with some flair – so give it. Philadelphia 24 Washington 10

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