Straight Up Picks - 8-8
Picks vs Spread - 7-9
Over/Unders - 9-7
Week one wasn't great, but it wasn't awful. If you played all of my spread picks and my over/unders it came out to an even 16-16, though you lost 1.6 units on vig. Week one is a bit of a crap shoot though, and the picks should improve this week, now that I've seen more than half the games from last week myself and have results for all sixteen games to help me judge each team....
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-7) O/U 47.5
This game is fairly rough to predict. On one hand, the Saints looked very good on offense on opening night and any defensive lapses are excusable because of their opponent. On the other hand, the Bears had a dominating performance against the Falcons at home in week one, looking good in all three phases. I think the difference maker in this game is going to be the Superdome turf. The Bears play much better at home on the slow Soldier Field grass. I just don't think they have the defensive speed to deal with the Saints offense, especially with Darren Sproles looking like a huge upgrade in the Reggie Bush spot. Jay Cutler is also a much better quarterback when he's ahead than when he's playing from behind. The Saints are going to get up early, and Gregg Williams defense is going blitz Cutler into mistakes.
Prediction - Saints 35 Bears 14
Picks - Saints -7 and Over
Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions (-7.5) O/U 45.5
Detroit's offense looks to be operating at peak form early this season, and that is going to be dangerous as long as all the major players stay healthy. While I think the Chiefs are going to be better this season than they showed in week one, I don't think it's going to turn around this week. The Lions defense might let the Chiefs get the ball to Bowe and Charles for some big gains, but I don't think that the Chiefs defense will be able to do much at all to shut down the Lions offense.
Prediction - Lions 34 Chiefs 20
Picks - Lions -7.5 and Over
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets (-9) O/U 39.5
While the Jets needed Romo to gift them their week one victory, they should have no problem wiping the floor with the Jaguars here. I don't know how the Jaguars will score points in this game. Maurice Jones-Drew will get fed the ball and probably give you a handful of points for fantasy purposes, but the Jets defense is going to mostly shut him down. The Jets stop the run, and do it especially well when they don't have to worry about their opponents' quarterback beating them. They don't have to worry about Luke McCown beating them. I would bet my house on the Jets here if it weren't for Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Sanchez has had some awful games at home and is always a risk to just give a way a game. Take the Jets with confidence here, but know the line reflects the Sanchez factor.
Prediction - Jets 28 Jaguars 10
Picks - Jets -9 and Under
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-3) O/U 43
Oakland looked good to me on Monday night, and is a team I'm still high on after their 6-0 divisional performance last season. The Bills looked good in week one, but that was largely a byproduct of how awful the Chiefs looked. I think that the Raiders can take care of business here in Buffalo, even though they are overcoming the hurdle of a playing a late Monday night game on the road and then traveling from the west coast to the east coast for a one o'clock game. The Raiders are a run first team who aren't going to be too affected by the lack of time for game planning. They'll run Darren McFadden all day at the Bills and gash them on the way to a close win.
Prediction - Raiders 24 Bills 20
Picks - Raiders Straight Up and +3 and Over
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins (-3.5) O/U 44.5
I don't want to have to pick this game. I don't think either team is very good. The Redskins had an unconvincing win over an injury-ravaged Giants squad, and the Cardinals had a similarly unconvincing win over the Panthers and rookie Cam Newton. I'm going to fall back on an old rule here... When in doubt take the home team. I'm also going with the over, because I don't have confidence in either defense.
Prediction - Redskins 28 Cardinals 20
Picks - Redskins -3.5 and Over
Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at Tennessee Titans O/U 38
This line scares me. After last week's performances, I would take the Ravens here at minus ten points without batting an eye. The Ravens' offense looked excellent against the Steelers, and the Tennessee defense let Luke McCown complete 70.8% of his passes less than a week after he was given the starting job. The Tennessee offense couldn't score on the Jaguars, while the Ravens shut down the Steelers and caused seven turnovers. All that said, I'm just saying the line is just 5.5, and the oddsmakers generally don't make big mistakes. I'm still taking the Ravens here though and don't see a scenario where this game doesn't go over, unless Tennessee doesn't score at all.
Prediction - Ravens 35 Titans 7
Picks - Ravens -5.5 and Over
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14) O/U 40
I feel sorry for the Seahawks here. The Steelers don't take whippings like they did last week often, and when they do, they usually come out the next week and return the favor to another team. Tarvaris Jackson coming in to play Pittsburgh is not appealing at all, and Jackson will likely turn in a performance this week similar to what the Steelers' Ben Roethisberger turned in last week. I'm taking the Steelers in a landslide here, don't get suckered by the 14 points.
Prediction - Steelers 38 Seahawks 3
Picks - Steelers - 14 and Over
Green Bay Packers (-10) at Carolina Panthers O/U 46
It was overshadowed by the Patriots passing for over 500 yards on Monday night, but I think the Packers performance in week one was more impressive. They scored the most week one points, and did it looking efficient in all phases of the game against a better opponent than the Patriots played. The Panthers had a fine week one, but that was in a loss against a cream puff Cardinal team. There is a whole different level of opponent here with the Packers this week, and Cam Newton is not going to be breaking any records here this week.
Prediction - Packers 30 Panthers 14
Picks - Packers -10 and Under
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (-3) O/U 41.5
This is another line where the bookmakers have me worried, as the Vikings shouldn't be favored over anyone after McNabb's horrific week one. The Buccaneers are better than they played in week one, and were in a position to tie that game on the last drive. The Bucs and run and pass the ball efficiently, and the defense will look much better when they aren't playing the elite Detroit offense. I'm taking the Buccaneers here in a run away.
Prediction - Buccaneers 27 Vikings 14
Picks - Buccaneers Straight Up and +3 and Under
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts O/U 40
I don't see how the Browns lose this game. The Colts can't stop the run, and even if they do, Colt McCoy is efficient enough to beat their defense as long as the Browns don't fall too far behind. Playing against Kerry Collins, I don't see how they can fall far enough behind for the Colts pass rushers to take over this game. The Browns are going to bounce back from the bad game against the Bengals, and are going to ride Peyton Hillis to an easy victory over the former powerhouse.
Prediction - Browns 21 Colts 17
Picks - Browns -2.5 and Under
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at San Francisco 49ers O/U 42.5
While the 9ers did win in week one, the game was closer than the 33-17 final score really showed, and that shouldn't have been the case when Tarvaris Jackson was in town. The Cowboys looked excellent through three quarters on Sunday night, and Tony Romo isn't likely to give away two games in a row. The Cowboys shouldn't have much of a problem here cleaning up against the NFC West foe.
Prediction - Cowboys 25 49ers 17
Picks - Cowboys -3 and Under
Houston Texans (-3) at Miami Dolphins O/U 48
While I like the Dolphins this year, I think that the Texans are just the better team in this game. The Texans offense is just going to look better this week with Arian Foster back, and the Dolphins offense isn't built to really attack the Texans' weaknesses on the defensive side. The Texans are going to get up early, and Wade Phillips is going to unleash the blitzes on the Dolphins. It'll be high scoring, and Miami might get back into the game late, but the Texans should win and cover here.
Prediction - Texans 35 Dolphins 27
Picks - Texans -3 and Over
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots (-6.5) O/U 53
I know the Patriots offense looked all world in week one, but I still think this line is too high. The Chargers are much closer to the Patriots than the line reflects, and tend to play to the level of their opponent during the regular season. I think the Chargers come into New England and Philip Rivers will go score for score with Tom Brady all night. The Chargers tend to win these big games during the regular season, and lose to the good teams in the playoffs. In terms of x's and o's, the Chargers are just athletically freakish on offense, and the Patriots don't have the athletes to really match-up with them.
Prediction - Chargers 31 Patriots 27
Picks - Chargers Straight Up and +6.5 and Over
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-3.5) O/U 40
This game started at Broncos -6 and was bet down to -3.5 already and it's just Friday morning. I have to agree with the sharps here on the Bengals, as the Broncos team just seems to be a mess. It would be kind to say the offense didn't look good on Monday night, and there is no home field advantage when your crowd is booing your quarterback every time he throws an incomplete pass. Until Tim Tebow gets the nod in Denver, I think I'm going to be staying away from Denver, even against the Bengals of the world.
Prediction - Bengals 21 Broncos 14
Picks - Bengals Straight Up and +3.5 and Under
Philadelphia Eagles (-1) at Atlanta Falcons O/U 49.5
It's not going to be a happy homecoming for Michael Vick. The Falcons looked poor in Soldier Field week one, but are poised to bounce back in a big way here against the Eagles in week two. The Eagles have been getting praised all week for what was really an ugly performance week one against the Rams, and won't have the same success against the Falcons better defense. The Falcons are also in much better shape on offense to take advantage of the Eagles' weakness at linebacker, pounding them all day with Michael Turner and Jason Snelling. I think it's a much lower scoring game than people think, as the Falcons control the clock with the run game on the way to a Sunday night win.
Prediction - Falcons 21 Eagles 17
Pick - Falcons Straight Up and +1 and Under
St. Louis Rams at New York Giants (-6) O/U 44
Both of these teams have been snake bitten by injuries early in the season, but the Giants will be getting reinforcements this week, while the Rams just lost their key players last week. Starters Ron Bartell, Danny Amendola, and Steven Jackson are all going to be out for the Rams. On the other side of the ball, Justin Tuck will be back after missing the week one opener against the Redskins, and they Giants added slot receiver extrodinaire Brandon Stokley to help them with their problems in the slot. The Giants should have good energy in the Monday night home opener, and should have enough gas to put away the Rams here.
Prediction - Giants 27 Rams 20
Picks - Giants -6 and Over
Ended up picking more favorites than I would like this week, but it's always better to just take it one game at a time and not worry about taking the eleven favorites.
Fantasy preview coming out tomorrow, though not sure if it will be in some sort of game by game form, a random collection of players I'm high and low on, or a full rankings list like last week.
-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin