Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 2

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Week Two is upon us in the National Football League, and the landscape due to injuries have changed teams outlooks already. Last week the season started for me with a 10-6 mark vs the spread (losses – Cincy, New England, Detroit, SD, Indy, Minn). Here we go with what should be a very interesting week two around the NFL.

Oakland at Kansas City (-2.5)

The Raiders got off to an awful start on Monday night, getting pounded by their rivals in the Broncos 41-14. The Chiefs lost to the Pats 17-10, but gave the AFC hope by knocking out Tom Brady for the rest of 08. I like what the Chiefs showed me Sunday, and I think that with Damon Huard playing for the injured Brodie Croyle they will do what they normall do, which is beat their rivals at home. Look for a steady dose of Larry Johnson, and for Huard to make enough plays in the passing game to win. Kansas City 24 Oakland 14

Tennessee (-1) at Cincinnati

The drama around the Titans and QB Vince Young this week worries me, and with Kerry Collins starting at QB I am thinking the Titans may have a bit of a letdown here. The Bengals cannot be that bad, and last week they were out of sync vs a good Ravens defense that stopped Carson Palmer short of 100 yards passing. Weather (rain) could be a factor in Cincy Sunday. The Titans will pound rookie RB Chris Johnson and LenDale White as much as possible, and even though their issues off the field worry me, I think they sack up to win a close one. Tennessee 20 Cincinnati 17

Indianapolis (-2) at Minnesota

The Colts slept-walked through their home opener Sunday night vs the Bears, and didn’t deserve to win that game. I think a cold slap in the face will wake them up this week in Minnesota. The running game will be held in check, as the Vikings always do a good job of that, but Peyton and his weapons will start to shine, and with or without Dallas Clark the Vikings will be challenged by a big day for Manning. The shackles have to be taken off Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson. Either let him throw or put someone else in there. I like the Colts to bounce back. Indianapolis 27 Minnesota 20

New Orleans at Washington (-1)

The Saints will miss WR Marques Colston who is out after thumb surgery, but it will be a good time to see Reggie Bush and some other WR’s, like David Patten, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson shine. The Skins looked lost on offense vs the Giants on opening night, and it is going to take some time for Jason Campbell and the offense to fully embrace the new Jim Zorn offense. New Orelans played okay on both sides of the ball vs the Bucs, and even on the road should have enough. New Orleans 21 Washington 16

Green Bay (-1) at Detroit

Leave it to the Lions to tease us with a 4-0 preseason then stink it up on opening day vs Atlanta. The defense was gashed by Michael Turner for over 200 yards, and rookie Matt Ryan didn’t have to do all that much to make sure they scored enough to win. The Packers showed they can beat a good team without Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers wasn’t perfect, but was good enough and should keep getting better. Look for the Lions to try and get the ball to their playmakers Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson more, but in the end, the Pack is just a better team. Green Bay 26 Detroit 14

Chicago at Carolina (-3)

Two NFC teams expected to lose opening day that scored big wins battle in Carolina. Jake Delhomme makes such a huge difference for the Panthers, and with that two-headed monster at running back, the Panthers suddenly look like a team that can make some noise. The Bears have a good back of their own in Matt Forte, and as long as Kyle Orton doesn’t turn the ball over, the Bears are going to win more games than people thought. At home though, I think the Panthers are a bit better, and their defense will hold the Bears enough in check. Carolina 20 Chciago 13

NY Giants (-8.5) at St.Louis

The Rams looked like a team lining up for the 2009 number one draft pick last week in Philly. They will be anxious to prove they are better than the 38-3 beating they got by the Eagles, but against the Giants, that won’t be easy. New York was on fire early vs the Skins, and then did more than enough for a win on opening night. They will attack the sad Rams secondary, and Brandon Jacobs will have a big day as well. No doubt that the Rams will play better, but not nearly well enough to win or cover. NY Giants 31 St.Louis 17

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-6)

I have mixed feelings about the Jags, who are banged up and enter Sunday’s game missing both starting guard. The Bills won 34-10 over Seattle in their opener, and their defense is solid against the run and pass. The ball will be in the hands of Jags QB David Garrard to make enough plays, while the running game is going to find it slow going with a banged up line. Buffalo will run a steady diet of Marshawn Lynch and throw enough with Trent Edwards to score a win over a Jags team that will be scratching their heads at 0-2. Buffalo 19 Jacksonville 12

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-9)

The Falcons shocked the NFL and the Lions last week with new RB Michael Turner going over 200 yards in a big win to start the new Mike Smith era. In Tampa Bay, rumors are out there that Jon Gruden wants QB Jeff Garcia out, and that the play to put Brian Griese in this week at QB is not just because Garica is hurt. The Bucs will try and pound Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn into that Falcons D-line. Matt Ryan will find the Bucs D a little more tough than Atlanta, and they should be able to force him into turnovers and mistakes. Look for Tampa Bay to rebound nicely at home. Tampa Bay 27 Atlanta 7

San Francisco at Seattle (-9.5)

I think with the injuries woes the Hawks have, the NFC West is wide open, and Seattle at this point should not be giving anyone 9.5. Last season the Hawks pounded the Niners by a combined 47-3 in two games, but the Niners showed a lot of life on offense last week, and if they wouldn’t have put the ball on the ground five times, losing four, they would have given the Cardinals a better game. Seattle is in trouble. They lost RB Maurice Morris to injury, and their WR core has been smashed by injuries. Look for the Hawks to have trouble moving the ball in this one. Tough to take em even at home, but they find a way – barley. Seattle 17 San Francisco 13

New England at New York Jets (-1.5)

My how things have changed in the AFC East in one week. Now the Jets with Brett Favre may very well be the favorites to win the division. The heat will be on Matt Cassel to come right in and try to be as effective as possible, but it won’t be easy. Look for the Pats to try and run more to take the pressure off of Cassel, but with the Jets run D playing well, it will be all on the QB’s shoulders. The Jets are licking their chops, and at home they beat down the slumping AFC Champs, ending their long regular season winning streak. NY Jets 23 New England 16

San Diego (-1.5) at Denver

The Chargers started the season slow, again. Falling on the last play of the game vs Carolina, the team wasted what was a good comeback vs the Panthers. Now they learn that LB Shawne Merriman is done for the season, and L.T. is also struggling with an injury, but should play. Phillip Rivers is going to need to make plays, and Denver will look to force mistakes against him. The Broncos did what they wanted to vs the Raiders a week ago, and Jay Cutler looked poised and ready to have a big season. Denver at home here is not a sure thing, but a strong play. Denver 28 San Diego 20

Miami at Arizona (-6.5)

The Cards played takeaway a week ago vs the Niners, and now finally at 1-0 come home to take on the Dolphins, who played tough but fell to the Jets. Kurt Warner and the Cards passing game is going to attack the Dolphins secondary, and they should be able to make some plays. Miami with Chad Pennington will look to establish a passing game of their own, and combine that with a running game that had a tough start vs the Jets, and this could be somewhat of a shootout. Still gotta like the Cards offense and defense better in the end, and they should win and cover. Arizona 34 Miami 24

Pittsburgh (-6) at Cleveland

Rain in the forecast in Cleveland Sunday night, and the Steelers should be able to take advantage of sloppy conditions with a running game that kills Cleveland when they matchup. The Browns were the darlings of the offseason, but reality hit last week and they allowed 497 yards and 28 points to the Cowboys. They have to play better on defense, but now will be without starting safety Sean Jones, and no one knows if fellow safety Brodney Pool (head) will play. Look for the Steelers D to punish Derek Anderson and force a few mistakes, and for the team no one talked about all offseason to push to 2-0 with a convincing win. Pittsburgh 29 Cleveland 14

Monday

Baltimore at Houston (-4.5)

The Texans got a rude welcome to the season by a Pittsburgh defense that punished Matt Schaub and the team last week 38-17. This week the Ravens, who played well and stunned the Bengals at home come to town, as this game was moved to Monday for the hurricane. Look for Houston to play much better, as their passing game (weather permitting) should be able to move the ball vs a hurting Ravens secondary. The running game will look for some cracks, but it will be up more to Schaub to get the job done. Joe Flacco did a good job in his debut, but the Texans will have more tape to look at, and they should hold the Ravens offense in check for a big win. Houston 23 Baltimore 13

Philadelphia at Dallas (-7)

Both teams showed a lot of firepower in week one, the Eagles scoring 38, while Dallas put up 497 yards of offense. Look for both defenses to step it up here. You can bet that Terrell Owens will do his usual best to make a statement vs his old team, and the Cowboys will look for him early and often. Philly will need ball control, and that will be up to Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. A tight game here is the call, and while there will be points, the Cowboys will be slightly better and get the job done. Dallas 24 Philadelphia 21


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