Each week, with the exception of last week, I will pick the winners of each game as well as five games based on the spread.
All lines are courtesy of FootballLocks.com.
Sunday, Sept. 18 games: (Home team in ALL CAPS and winner in bold)
NEW ORLEANS -6.5 Chicago
- The Bears shocked me in Week 1 with their win over the Falcons while the Saints lost in a shootout to the Packers. The Bears were able to win with a suffocating defense that held Atlanta’s offense to zero touchdowns. They won’t have the same luck against the Saints who should be able avoid an 0-2 hole and pull out the win.
- The Lions may finally be for real this year. Last week they went into Tampa Bay, a 10-win team last year, and came out with a big win. Kansas City, on the other hand, had Buffalo come into their house last week and got their butts kicked. Now, with Eric Berry out for the year, Matthew Stafford should have an easier time of attacking the Chiefs defense and come out with a double-digit victory.
- Even before Jacksonville cut David Garrard I didn’t think it would be a close game. Now that they don’t I have a hard time believing they can keep this to a single digit loss. The Jets should be able to score a lot of points with their revamped air attack and consistent running game.
- Granted the Bills did put up 41 on last years AFC West champs, but Oakland looked pretty good on Monday in their win over rival Denver. Darren McFadden is consistently looking like the running back Al Davis wanted when he took him fourth overall in 2008. I think this will be a back-and-forth game that ultimately come down to 63-yard field goal kicking machine Sebastian Janikowski.
- Cam Newton threw for 422 yards against the Cardinals defense last week while Rex Grossman had a QB rating of 110.5 against a much tougher New York secondary. That mixed with Tim Hightower facing his former team will lead to Redskins rout.
- The Ravens looked like a Superbowl contender when they dismantled the Steelers, and now they head down to Nashville to face a much weaker team while still flying high. Matt Hasselbeck could connect with Kenny Britt again this week, but I don’t see this as being competitive.
- Big Ben and Steelers turned the ball over seven times and got dominated last week in Baltimore. This week they will come out firing and unfortunately for the Seahawks they will be the whipping boys. Until Pete Carroll wises up and loses Taravaris Jackson, the Seahawks will struggle to compete and make the best use of Sidney Rice.
- Aaron Rodgers looked like he was playing a game of Madden last week against the Saints. Now that he faces an inferior NFC South opponent in the Panthers, I see Matt Flynn under center by the end of the game with the Packers winning by at least two touchdowns.
- Donovan McNabb had 39 passing yards last week. Not in the first quarter or half, but in the entire game. I don’t think he will do that again, but at the same time it’s hard to go from 39 to 200 and a win. Also, I think the Buccaneers will show what made them a 10-win team last year and play mistake free ball en route to a comfortable win away from home.
- The Cleveland Browns are favored coming into Indianapolis this week. Just let that sit for a second. I know Peyton Manning is out but that is just such a sad state of affairs. Eventually things will click with Kerry Collins and the Colts will stand a chance, but fortunately for the Browns it won’t be this week.
- Jim Harbaugh had a good win in his debut last week, but it probably would not have been if not for Ted Ginn’s two touchdowns in under two-minute effort. That will not happen this week and will lead to a palette cleanser for the Cowboys after their choke act last week.
- Not only did the Texans dismantle the Colts offensively last week, but their defense also showed vast improvement under Wade Phillips. In fact, I believe their defense is better than the Patriots’ and as such, Chad Henne will not throw for over 300 yards in a losing effort that drops the Dolphins to 0-2 and puts Tony Sparano on the hot seat.
- I don’t see how Phillip Rivers doesn’t throw for 500 yards this week against a defense that gave up 416 to Henne. That mixed with a better-than-advertised defense will lead to a big upset on the road against the Patriots.
- Already there are chants for Tim Tebow, the third stringer. Kyle Orton wasn’t terrible last week, a lot of the misses and drops were due to the rain, and he can win. A clear day and the visiting Bengals should be exactly what the fans need to see that Orton can still air it out and make the Broncos relevant.
- Mike Vick returns to Atlanta for the first time as a starter since his unfortunate departure. And although he won’t be as unattached as The Onion “reports,” I do believe it won’t really affect his performance. On the other hand the Falcons should have plenty of emotion after least seasons beat down received at the hands of Philadelphia and their disappointing game last week. I see Matt Ryan putting it all together for an emotional win on Sunday.
- St. Louis is not a bad team but I don’t see how they avoid falling into an 0-2 hole this week. No Steven Jackson and a dinged up Sam Bradford will be a hard sell against an angry Giants team. Steve Spagnuolo would love to beat his former team, but I see the Giants jumping out to an early lead and coasting to victory.
- Chicago will lose by less than 6 to beat the spread on the road in New Orleans.
- Indianapolis will have the lead late but lose it on a field goal, beating the 2.5 point spread.
- Pittsburgh will jump out to an early lead and pile it on late to win by three plus touchdowns to cover the 14-point spread.
- Green Bay has the offense and defense to win by 30 against Carolina. No matter what, they cover the 10-point spread.
- San Diego will probably win, but no matter what they don’t lose by 7, allowing them to beat the spread.