Can you have a must-win game in Week 2? Yes, you can because the Giants do.
(I opened my 2012 NFL Week 2 Picks with that same question. I’m hoping I won’t have to use it in 2014.)
OK, maybe it’s not a “must-win game” because the Giants could bounce back from an 0-2 record even if they have to go on the road to Carolina and Kansas City in Weeks 3 and 4. But maybe I’m just saying it’s not a must-win game because the Giants have a very good chance of losing to the Broncos (and Vegas believes they will) and if they do then technically the season would be over if they lose a must-win game. So let’s not classify this game as anything (since I’m too scared to) and how about the Giants just win an important home game?
Since the “Disaster in Dallas,” the Giants have signed Brandon Jacobs, who was last with the team for the 2011 Super Bowl season before performing and talking his way out of town. And the Giants signed Jacobs because David Wilson destroyed the season opener and all Wilson’s done since that game is gotten into Twitter fights with upset Giants fans and angry fantasy team owners, which is exactly what you want your 22-year-old No. 1 running back doing in the days following him being benched.
But if the Giants had the “Disaster in Dallas” then I’m going to have to also name my Week 1 Picks, which actually went worse than the Giants’ six-turnover performance against the Cowboys. So I’m calling the Week 1 Picks just “The Disaster” because that’s what it was. A 3-12-1 week to start the season (I actually went 7-8-1 in my picks pool, so I’m not sure how I managed that much of a difference) is embarrassing. But unlike CC Sabathia, when I say I’m going to try to figure things out and be better, I really am. Even if like CC, I put my season in an early hole and it might take a while to get back to respectability and over .500, I’m going to get back on track. No fake accountability here.
Week 2 … let’s go!
(Home team in caps)
New York Jets +11.5 over NEW ENGLAND
Last week I let Mike Hurley tell me that the Patriots blowing out the Bills was “a guarantee.” “A guarantee” he said! Everyone knows how guarantees go when it comes to NFL picks. So I went along with Hurley and his Patriots needed a last-second field goal to put away the Bills.
This week I’m going the way I wanted to go lat week which is against the Patriots because I don’t think they’re that good (there not) and their best receiver is Julian Edelman (yes, that Julian Edelman) and because my friend Scott sent me a 717-word email with the subject “Why you should bet the Pats even at -13.” (To be fair, Scott is a Patriots fan and would probably bet them even at -42.)
The Jets won’t be able to score because not only are they the Jets, but Geno Smith is their quarterback and they had trouble scoring against Tampa Bay at home. So that means I’m reeling on the Jets defense (which means I’m relying on Rex Ryan) and Tom Brady to not be able to score at will. Wait. Why am I picking the Jets again?
PHILADELPHIA -8 over San Diego
I don’t know if I buy the Chip Kelly offense hype. I don’t want to because that doesn’t mean good things for the Giants. But I’m going to buy it this week with the Chargers coming across the country for a 1:05 game after losing to the Texans in San Diego in the late edition of Monday Night Football.
BALTIMORE -7 over Cleveland
The defending champions were embarrassed in Denver to the point that their season and offseason and future have been called into question since last Thursday night. What better way to turn the negativity around than to have Brandon Weeden and the Browns come to town? The answer is none. There isn’t a better way to get your season on track than to face Weeden and the Browns at home.
HOUSTON -9.5 over Tennessee
I’m not a fan of taking the Texans with a line this high, but I’m also not a fan of needing Jake Locker to cover a game for me. And when in doubt, pick against Jake Locker.
Miami +3 over INDIANAPOLIS
Last week I said, “Because I initially picked the Dolphins to cover here and then switch my pick to the Browns like a ninth-grade U.S. History Scantron test, I know the Browns are going to lose and their offseason hype bandwagon is going to stall.”
So I’m going to give the Dolphins another chance because I screwed them over in Week 1 (and in turn they screwed me over).
Carolina -3 over BUFFALO
The Bills surprised everyone when they nearly upset the Patriots in Week 1. The problem is the Bills and their fans are likely proud of their effort against the Patriots and feel as though their loss on a last-second field goal was sort of a victory. That’s why they’re the Bills. And that’s why I will pick against them.
ATLANTA -7 over St. Louis
All of these seven-plus lines this week are making me think this could be a make-or-break week given my record from Week 1, and it probably will be because I keep picking the home team and favorite to cover in them. It’s no different here with the Falcons returning home where they are just like the Saints when it comes to home-field advantage.
GREEN BAY -7.5 over Washington
The Packers lost a revenge game and are coming home where it’s nearly impossible to win unless you’re the Giants and it’s the playoffs and they’re playing a Washington defense that was embarrassed by Chip Kelly’s college football and an offense led by a rusty second-year quarterback coming off knee surgery. I’m going to bank on the Packers, who haven’t lost back-to-back games in three years coming out with a purpose and helping my picks and my rooting interest in the NFC East in this one.
Dallas +3 over KANSAS CITY
I’m not going to sit and here tell you the Giants should have beaten the Cowboys even though they lost 36-31 despite making six turnovers. But I am here to tell you that I don’t think the combination of Andy Reid and Alex Smith is going to do much against legitimate teams even if Reid knows the NFC East better than any opposing head coach in the league.
Minnesota +6.5 over CHICAGO
It would be much easier to pick against the Vikings if my girlfriend wasn’t a Vikings fan and if they had just missed the playoffs last year and I didn’t keep thinking they were actually a “playoff” team because really Adrian Peterson was a playoff team and the Vikings were just the same old Vikings.
New Orleans -4 over TAMPA BAY
Every once in a while there is a line that comes out that makes you think “I need to jump all over this before they realize they entered it wrong.” This is one of those games. But it’s always these games that turn out to be the nail-biter. And because of that and because the Saints outside of the Superdome are not the same team as they are in it, it won’t surprise me if Drew Brees needs to go down the field with under two minutes and no timeouts to win, but not cover.
Detroit -2.5 over ARIZONA
I will always go against Carson Palmer. Always. When the line is this low it just makes it that much easier for me to do so.
OAKLAND -6 over Jacksonville
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Raiders fan or a Jaguars fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that. (I used that write-up twice in Week 1 and will probably use it for every Jaguars game for the season because what else am I going to say about the Jaguars? Unless they finally realize they should sign Tim Tebow.)
NEW YORK GIANTS +5.5 over Denver
The last thing Eli needs to do to officially be able to tell Peyton to “Shut up” at Thanksgiving every Thanksgiving forever is to beat him directly.
San Francisco +2.5 over SEATTLE
I’m hoping for the Seahawks hype bandwagon to come to a crashing halt the way I used to watch The Weather Channel religiously in high school during the winter the night before a test or a project was due. The 49ers can start that process.
Pittsburgh +7 over CINCINNATI
The Steelers look ready to go into rebuild mode, especially when they’re losing to the Titans at home. But even though the Steelers are nowhere near the Super Bowl team they were three years ago, I’m not ready yet to start taking the Bengals to cover a touchdown at home against a team they have trouble barely beating in a nasty division rival matchup. Prove to me that you mean business, Cincinnati, and then we can talk.
Last week: 3-12-1