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Last week’s record: Jesse 9-7, Tom 8-8
Overall record: Jesse 9-7, Tom 8-8
NFL 2013 – Week 2
NY Jets at New England
Jesse: The first week of the NFL season is usually a mirage, with fanbases across the league either getting their hopes up for a dream season (for Chargers fans, this lasted a half) or expecting the worst after an awful start (for Browns fans … well, Browns fans are right).
Jets fans are ecstatic after their team eked out a miracle win against the Bucs, while Patriots fans are nervous after New England won on a last-second field goal. I think the Patriots will right the ship this week, even without Danny Amendola, the Porcelain Wes Welker.
Tom: Hey Pats fans–get ready to see Amendola on the injury list a lot this year. Even more than Tom Brady is. But you know, legit injured. How can New England lose this game? I really can’t see a way, unless Brady breaks a leg, Mallet falls into a bottomless hole, and they have to usher Tebow back in as an emergency QB. This is your suicide pick if you didn’t already get burned by the Jets last week.
St. Louis at Atlanta
Tom: The Rams and Falcons both screwed me last week–one by winning in the last few minutes, and the other by losing in the last few minutes. The Falcons are back in the Georgia Dome, and if they can remember that Steven Jackson can actually run the ball when they’re inside the red zone, they shouldn’t have the problems scoring they had last week against the Saints. The Rams still haven’t convinced me that they’re beyond mediocre.
Jesse: The Falcons seemed confused in the final moments against New Orleans last week, unsure of which of their prized skill position players to give the ball. Jackson? Gonzalez? Jones? White? It’s a nice problem to have, and one that I think they’ll solve as the season goes on, starting this week.
Carolina at Buffalo
Jesse: Carolina and Buffalo were co-winners of the Losers Who Made Their Fanbases Feel Good About Their Team Award, with Carolina playing Seattle close, and Buffalo losing to the Pats by a field goal. With the Bills playing at home, and Ron Rivera continuing to coach the Panthers, I pick the Bills to win.
Tom: Ugh, this is another “pick’em” game to me. Are the Panthers that good after holding Seattle to 12 points last week (no), and are the Bills that good as they hung with the Pats (probably not). But there is new blood in the Bills veins, both on the coaching staff and at QB. If this game was in Charlotte, I would take the Panthers, as I think their weak run game will finally get some traction this week. But after not siding with the home teams in my toss-up games last week, I have seen the error of my ways (for now).
Minnesota at Chicago
Tom: Well, just about everything went the way I predicted for Minnesota last week…except for the whole winning part, that is. Chicago was another game last week where I waffled on who to pick (similar to Cardinals/Rams). The Vikings’ defense waned in the final minutes and now they’re facing Marshall/Cutler and the takeaway crazy Bears defense. Ponder will have to be mistake-free for them to win this one, and I don’t think that will happen.
Jesse: Adrian Peterson’s 78-yard run at the start of the game against Detroit made the highlight reels, but after that run, AD only ran for 17 yards on 15 carries. I don’t think the Bears will contain A.D. that well, but the way to beat Minnesota is clear: Force Christian Ponder to make plays. I think the Fighting Trestmen will contain Noodle-Arm Magoo.
Washington at Green Bay
Jesse: What kind of team is Washington? Are they the bad defensive team with a gimpy quarterback that we saw during the first 3 quarters against Philly? Or are they team that executed so well in the 4th? I lean towards the latter, but I’m not sure it matters at Green Bay. Washington started slow last year, and I think they’ll be fine in the long run, but I’m picking the Packers to win handily.
Tom: The Pack is back at home vs. the Redskins, who are on a short week after finally waking up in the 2nd half vs. the Eagles on Monday night. The Green Bay defense looks to be improved, at least on the “keeping Colin Kaepernick from scoring 19 TDs” improvement scale. And now that they’ve just kept a running QB pretty much in check, the possibly still rusty RGIII isn’t as good (yet) as CK7. Packers rebound with a win and the ‘skins continue the slow start.
Miami at Indianapolis
Tom: There were one of two games you should have picked for your suicide pool last week–the Jets/Bucs and Colts/Raiders. One of them almost made you cry, and the other one did. I expect it to be a close one, but look for Luck’s luck to continue, and for Fleed to weep while Mike Wallace complains.
Jesse: I have a feeling about the Dolphins. A feeling that they will lose. By a lot.
Dallas at Kansas City
Jesse: Andy Reid vs. Jason Garrett! This rematch of former NFC East coaching rivals promises to feature too many passes and atrocious clock management. I’m picking the rejuvenated Chiefs to beat the Cowboys at home after Garrett burns the clock down to try a long, last-second field goal that his kicker couldn’t make in a million years.
Tom: Andy Reid knows the Cowboys, but the Cowboys don’t know his new team. Alex Smith is under yet another coach, and looked OK vs. the Jags last week. Of course, I probably could have looked OK vs. the Jags, too. I am really tempted to go along with Jesse and take the Chiefs at home as well, but I’m also trying to get back even with him and need to pick against him a few times. Plus, I think the Cowboys are the opposite of the Redskins, starting hot and then cooling off during the season.
Cleveland at Baltimore
Tom: So, the big swing and miss for both of us last week was picking Baltimore over Denver. Peyton took it personally as he threw 7 TDs and made us (and Baltimore’s 2nd half defense) look silly. Now, Cleveland comes a callin’. May God have mercy on your Browns, Jesse.
Jesse: Ah, ye of little faith, Tom! You see, quarterback development is a lengthy process, and it takes time for someone to reach their full potential at the position. I’m confident that over time, Brandon Weeden will . . .
My God. We’re doomed.
Tennessee at Houston
Jesse: For me, the most shocking outcome of last week was the Titans winning at Pittsburgh, and while the Steelers’ offense is clearly in trouble, it’s still stunning to see last season’s worst defense play that well. Even more impressive was the Titans’ offensive line. Chance Warmack is the stud they hoped for when they drafted him in the first round this year, and I think they may keep the Texans’ D at bay long enough to pull off the upset. Yep.
Tom: I will reserve my thoughts on the Titans/Steelers game last week for the Pittsburgh pick. Houston had to count on the Chargers collapsing (Surprise!) to win last week. Now they’re home, and I still don’t believe in the Titans yet, and I really don’t believe in Jake Locker.
San Diego at Philadelphia
Tom: “Well, hopefully no collapses by the Chargers this year” is what I said last week. Whoops. Sorry, Mr. Rivers. And speaking of 2nd half collapses, the Eagles stormed out in front of the Redskins and looked like Chip Kelly’s team would be the new “Greatest Show on Turf”. And then the 2nd half happened. Unfortunately for RGIII, his rustiness in the first half left them in too much of a hole. Being in Philly, and the fact that Vick and Kelly both said they still weren’t fast enough Monday night, I’ll go with the home team. But this game could be Arena Football-like in final score. Or at least after the first half.
Jesse: The collective creaming of pundits on Twitter over the Eagles’ offense notably subsided during the second half of the Redskins game. The Eagles’ offense is pretty thrilling (OH how I wish I had LeSean McCoy on my fantasy team), but I think Vick is going to be snapped in half before the halfway mark of the season, as Kelly’s high-octane offense ends up wearing his players down. I think he’ll end up missing those 30 extra bodies he had on his college rosters, but it won’t matter this week. I expect the Eagles to resemble a video game at home.
Detroit at Arizona
Jesse: Detroit looked great against the Vikings, but this is the Lions, and I’ll believe that they aren’t a team of undisciplined schizos when I see it. Arizona almost beat the Rams, and I think they’ll surprise Detroit at home.
Tom: Detroit certainly is a Jekyll/Hyde type of team–and speaking of infuriating play, how many times will a Calvin Johnson TD be overturned this game? I took the Cardinals last week vs. the Rams, and came up just short. I’ll roll with them once more. Which probably means the Lions will win by 28.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Tom: New Orleans looked like they were happy to welcome their head coach back, and Tampa Bay looked like they were holding in a fart in losing to the Jets. At home. New Orleans travels to Tampa for this one, and if their defense is even a smidgen better than they were last year, that’s all they’ll need. The offense didn’t light up the scoreboard vs. the Falcons, but they did enough to win. The Josh Freeman experiment may be over. Soon.
Jesse: Before the season, the Buccaneers players voted, and decided not to vote Josh Freeman captain, after he was captain the last few years. Indictments don’t get much more damning than that. The Bucs seem to be so sick of Freeman, I’m surprised the uniform staff didn’t put “KICK ME” on the back of his jersey. Saints in a blowout.
Jacksonville at Oakland
Jesse: My condolences to anyone who lives in the regions where they’re showing this game. This matchup is so sad, I fully expect to hear Sarah McLachlan singing in the background for the game’s entire duration. At the very least, Terrelle Pryor provides the Raiders with the illusion of hope, while Chad Henne’s main attribute as a quarterback is that he isn’t Blaine Gabbert. (I so badly want to post the Real American video again.)
Tom: My prediction for this game? Pain. As in painful for those that have to endure it. Chad Henne gets another chance to show that he’s a better QB than Blaine Gabbert. But in the end, it won’t matter, as per usual. Gabbert will continue to be the starter until they can draft someone else in 2014. Even if they just ran the triple option, I think the Raiders would win this game. Let Pryor drop back, do his one read, and then run with the ball. It almost worked last week, and this week they’re in the Black Hole (your interpretation of that phrase may vary). I still give props to the ‘stache of the Jags’ owner, though.
Denver at NY Giants
Tom: Peyton Manning destroyed the defending Super Bowl champs last week, and now he gets the chance to duct tape little brother Eli to a picnic table and leave him for the weekend. The Giants are to RBs right now as the Jets are to QBs. Hell, they’re even considering bringing Brandon Jacobs back as I write this [and they did]. This is the Manning Bowl that we all want, but we’ll probably just get the Manning Bowl we deserve (what the hell does that mean anyway?). Peyton and Welker look to be BFF’s already and even if the defense is still a little soft, the offense should be enough for Denver to make it 2-0.
Jesse: I think the best way for the Giants to win is for Eli to go off at home. However, the Giants’ weird tendency of being mediocre during the first half of seemingly every season will come back to bite them once again. It will be close, but I think Welker aka The Good Version of Danny Amendola, will have a huge game and be the deciding factor.
San Francisco at Seattle
Jesse: The new best rivalry in the NFL takes center stage on NBC Sunday night, and I am clammy with excitement. I’m so excited for this game, I plan on DVRing Breaking Bad and watching it later. Seriously.
Seattle didn’t look like one of the best teams in the NFC last week, but you know they’ll be amped playing in front of the loudest home field advantage in the NFL. However, I don’t think the Niners are going to be intimidated by the situation. They spend every day dealing with Jim Harbaugh; nothing could possibly be too intense for them. I think the Niners win this round, but it could be very different in the playoffs.
Tom: Seattle was nearly unstoppable at home last year, and they continued to show in the first game of this season that they really struggle away from home. I don’t believe the Panthers defense was that good, but I don’t understand why the Seahawks just fall all over themselves away from home. As Jesse mentioned, this is a big rivalry these days, and the last time the 49ers went to the home of the 12th man (copyright Texas A&M), they went home with tail firmly between legs. But with Boldin now, and Kaepernick running the show permanently, I think this is a different 49ers team. That being said, and perhaps unwisely for me to think, it is in Seattle, so I’m gonna roll with that madman Pete Carroll. I’m still waiting for him to get so excited that he accidentally punches out a water boy or asst. coach.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Tom: Unfortunately this question goes unanswered at the moment. A quarterback that just eclipsed 30k yards probably will be lucky to see 32k before the season is over due to an offensive coordinator that somehow has decided the short passing game is better than your Super Bowl-winning QB running a quasi-no huddle offense that includes heaving the ball way down the field. And without a running game, and your best offensive lineman hurt (again), all I can say is W. T. F. They quickly filled all the injury gaps with guys they just cut, so there’s that, I guess. The more recent Mike Tomlin era Steelers seems to win the games that they’re not favored in, and then lose the games where they are favored. That is not good. Cincy has always played them tough, and being at home, I expect another “guys better step up and be accountable” speech by Tomlin, et al., after this loss.
Jesse: The Steelers lost 3 starters last week to season-ending injuries, and while I think Tomlin is a much better coach than Marvin Lewis, I don’t see the Steelers being able to stop Geno Atkins. The Steelers will regroup as the season goes on (unless Roethlisberger snaps and murders Todd Haley), but even taking into account the “Andy Dalton isn’t that great” factor, I think the Bengals win with ease.