Can you have a must-win game in Week 2? Yes, you can because the Giants do.
After this week’s game against the Buccaneers, the Giants play the Panthers on Thursday Night Football, and after that, it’s all downhill schedule-wise except for Week 5 against Brandon Weeden’s Browns. After Week 3, they will have five NFC East games left, seven games against 2011 playoff team and then of course the Browns in Week 5. (For some reason I have this feeling that Weeden won’t be the Browns’ quarterback by Week 5.)
I have gotten over last week’s Opening Night disaster though the Yankees are trying their best to keep me down and I have moved on to the Buccaneers, who are one of only three “easy” games on the Giants’ schedule now that it appears the Redskins are for real for the first time since 2007.
Last week, I warned about what happens for the Week 2 lines and how perception shifts and changes. It was only a week ago we thought the Giants would finally be an all-passing team, the Redskins still sucked, the Bills might finish a season with a playoff game, the Jets would be a joke and the Packers would be out to avenge their 15-1 season and early playoff exit. All of these things might still be true and could still happen, but all we have is one game and one week of play to go off of, as does Vegas.
I took plenty of tests in my day where I sat down, started reading through the questions and didn’t know the answer to a single one. I’m sure we all had this happen at one point. (Well, I hope I’m not the only one or I will feel terrible.) So what did I do? I started writing, made things wordy, made things up and put together a test full of 100-percent BS. I knew I wasn’t going to get an A on it, but I wasn’t looking for an A either. I was looking to salvage my grade and weather the storm and just survive the class and not fail. In Week 2, I’m not looking to go 15-1 or even 12-4. I’m trying to stay afloat until I can make more sense out of the 2012 season and how good or bad each team is.
Week 2 … let’s go!
(Home team in caps)
Chicago +5.5 over GREEN BAY
There are probably a lot of people that want their “Packers in the Super Bowl” predictions back right about now. Last year’s 15-1 and defending champion team doesn’t look like it’s back for 2012. The offensive line has holes and the defense let Alex Smith complete 20 of his 26 pass attempts and throw for two touchdowns and Frank Gore run for 112 yards on just 16 carries. And I don’t think we even need to get into the Packers’ running game and Cedric Benson.
Not only do the Packers not look like the team that went 15-1 and then lost their first playoff game, but they have now lost back-to-back games at Lambeau Field with the loss to the 49ers and the playoff loss to the Giants. Before the playoff loss in January, their last home loss was on Oct. 17, 2010 against the Dolphins in Week 6. Their last home loss before that? Nov. 1, 2009 against the Vikings in Week 8.
There’s a good chance the Packers make me pay for picking the Bears, but until they show me something in 2012, I can’t be giving away 5 1/2 points to a division rival.
NEW YORK GIANTS -7.5 over Tampa Bay
If the Giants can’t blow the Bucs out at home after a Week 1 embarrassment then I’m going to need a hobby this fall and winter if there’s no NHL.
NEW ENGLAND -14 over Arizona
If the Patriots were favored by 21 points in this one I would still take.
The last time the cardinals went to Foxboro, I took the Cardinals. They lost 47-7 to Matt Cassel’ Patriots. Sure, that was nearly four years ago and neither team is even close to being the same, but that loss scarred me when it comes to trusting the Cardinals away from home and like the Packers, the Patriots don’t lose at home (unless they’re playing the Giants.)
INDIANAPOLIS -1.5 over Minnesota
The “Do I Have To Pick This Game of the Week?” Last week we had two of these games with Seattle-Arizona and Carolina-Tampa Bay. Next week we have Buffalo-Cleveland and Jacksonville-Indianapolis. (It’s weird that because of one Redskins game I’m not putting the Washington-St. Louis game in this paragraph.)
New Orleans -3 over CAROLINA
Last year the difference between the Saints at home and the Saints on the road was like the difference between Tara Reid in 1999 and Tara Reid in 2009. But the Saints no longer seem to be the hot blonde in American Pie and are now that girl that was in American Pie, but had a liposculpting procedure that went wrong. Even though the Saints were embarrassed at home by the Redskins, the Panthers scored 10 points against the Buccaneers and I can’t erase that from my memory.
Kansas City +3 over BUFFALO
There’s a good chance that if this game were played in three more weeks it would be a “Do I Really Have to Pick This Game of the Week?” But because perception is that the Chiefs and Bills are supposed to be playoff bubble teams, this game isn’t ready to be classified as a joke yet. Then again, these teams allowed a combined 88 points last week, so maybe we’re already there.
Baltimore +2 over PHILADELPHIA
When I thought of Joe Flacco between the AFC Championship Game and Week 1, I thought of an old vet who just wasn’t good and that was because of ridiculous facial hair last season. I still knew he was a 27-year-old who had been to two AFC Championship Games, but that facial hair really screwed with my head. All offseason I kept hearing about how he was going to have a big year and could receive “elite” status and I laughed because of his appearance and not his abilities. Then on Monday Night Football he looks like 2008-2010 Joe Flacco, throws for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
Oh yeah, the Eagles beat the Browns by one point and Michael Vick threw four picks. Let me trust him right away!
Oakland -2.5 over MIAMI
The Raiders’ blocked punts kept me from an 8-8 record in Week 1 and for some stupid reason I’m going to pick them again. Well, maybe the reason isn’t that stupid … they’re playing the Dolphins.
CINCINNATI -7 over Cleveland
I could talk about how the Bengals are a 2011 playoff team coming off an embarrassing loss to the Ravens on Monday Night Football or how Andy Dalton will be out for revenge. But I’ll just talk about the only things that matters…
Brandon Weeden: 12-for-35, 118 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT, 5.1 QB Rating.
Houston -7.5 over JACKSONVILLE
I hate when people say, “The man who needs no introduction…” but then they give one anyway. Well, this pick needs no explanation, so I’m not going to give one.
Dallas -3 over SEATTLE
I don’t think the Cowboys are as good as they looked on Opening Night against the Giants, but I also know that there are passengers on the Russell Wilson hype train that are willing to jump off while it’s still moving.
Washington -3 over ST. LOUIS
I can already see a letdown game from the Redskins here and I’m fully prepared for it.
New York Jets +6 over PITTSBURGH
Is it ever a good idea to believe in the Jets, especially after a 20-point win that is most likely not indicative of what type of team they are at all? Of course not. Am I letting one game after an offseason full of chaos make me think differently? Of course I am.
SAN DIEGO -6 over Tennessee
I hate picking the Chargers ever, but I don’t really have a choice here.
SAN FRANCISCO -7 over Detroit
It can’t be good that I think the best team in the NFL is the one whose quarterback is Alex Smith.
Denver +3 over ATLANTA
Peyton Manning’s second week back and his second primetime game in as many weeks. After this game, Peyton still has another Monday Night game (Week 6 against San Diego), a Sunday Night game (Week 8 against the Saints) and a Thursday Night game (Week 14 against the Raiders). I will be taking him in all of them.
Last Week: 7-9-0