Phew. After a horrible Week 1, I think it’s fair to say I redeemed myself with a strong 9-4-1 ATS record, going 3-1 with my recommended plays (including my recommendation on Thursday night). Needless to say, Larry David was impressed. My wife, on the other hand, was not impressed when our living room couch absorbed two liters of my back sweat.
Anyways, here are my thoughts from Week 2.
Buccaneers @ Giants
Predicted Outcome: Giants 17, Buccaneers 16
Actual Outcome: Giants 41, Buccaneers 34
Greg Schiano is a Grade A loser. As much as I hate Tom Coughlin and his permanent red face, I’m glad he got into Schiano’s face for his last second antics. Aside from that, how the hell did Tampa Bay blow this game? Eli Manning continues to boggle my mind. He looked like a deer in the headlights in the first half, but once again, when it mattered most, he came up clutch. Josh Freeman could learn a thing or two from Eli. Tampa Bay looks like they’re on the verge of taking the next step as a franchise, but they’re probably still a year away right now.
Cardinals @ Patriots
Predicted Outcome: Patriots 28, Cardinals 20
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18
I figured the Cardinals would put up a fight, but I didn’t expect this. I’ve been preaching about Arizona’s defense in my NFC West Preview and my Week 1 picks, and finally they’re going to get some respect. If they can win games while Kevin Kolb continues to look like a high school quarterback, then they could be a real contender once John Skelton is healthy again. As for the Patriots, they’re still awesome. They have a stinker like this once a season, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. It just sucks that it had to come when I used them as my survivor pick. #orbit
Vikings @ Colts
Predicted Outcome: Colts 24, Vikings 16
Actual Outcome: Colts 23, Vikings 20
Andrew Luck was outstanding in his home debut. He missed on some easy throws to open receivers, but for the most part, he did a good job of working the entire field, and he didn’t make any costly turnovers. If the Colts can protect the ball, they can be a competitive team at home. All in all, this game went almost exactly like I expected it to, with the exception of the Vikings mounting a little bit of a comeback. Indianapolis stacked the box, limited the running game, and forced the Vikings out of their comfort zone. It’s going to be a long season for Minnesota once their division games roll around.
Saints @ Panthers
Predicted Outcome: Panthers 38, Saints 24
Actual Outcome: Panthers 35, Saints 27
This result probably comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but it really shouldn’t be shocking. The Saints defense is in shambles. They can’t stop the run and their pass rush is non-existent, so they’ll be giving up a boatload of points all season. Offensively, the Saints are putting up points, but it just seems as though they’re out of sync and they’re really missing the play calling of Sean Payton. I’m not sure what to make of the Panthers. They laid an egg against a mediocre Bucs team last week, and then they beat an overrated Saints team this week. In my mind, they’re an average team, but the jury’s still out.
Chiefs @ Bills
Predicted Outcome: Bills 24, Chiefs 20
Actual Outcome: Bills 35, Chiefs 17
For the second straight week, the Chiefs got absolutely shellacked. I’m not surprised that they lost, but I’m shocked that they didn’t even put up a fight. I thought Kansas City would be a competitive team this season, but right now, the defense is porous and the offense can’t put together consistent drives. They better shore things up in practice this week because they have a visit to the Superdome on tap store in Week 3. As for the Bills, I didn’t lose faith in them after their pathetic performance in Week 1. The loss of Fred Jackson is big, but C.J. Spiller is obviously a capable replacement, and this team still has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. Buffalo is going to the playoffs this season…I think.
Ravens @ Eagles
Predicted Outcome: Eagles 27, Ravens 23
Actual Outcome: Eagles 24, Ravens 23
This game was really frustrating to watch. While I correctly predicted the Eagles to win, they didn’t cover the three-point spread, in large part due to their four turnovers. When Philadelphia finally learns how to take care of the ball, they’re going to be a huge threat in the NFC. Baltimore is a solid team, but this was just a bad spot for them coming off of a blowout win on Monday Night Football. On a side note, it was pretty classless of Joe Flacco to rip the replacement referees after the game, although I found it particularly hilarious. I actually found this game to be one of the better officiated games of the week. I can only imagine what Mister Unibrow would have done if he got stuck with the zebras from the Rams/Redskins game.
Raiders @ Dolphins
Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 13, Raiders 9
Actual Outcome: Dolphins 35, Raiders 13
I don’t know where all of these Dolphins points came from, but I was certain that the Raiders would piss themselves this week. Oakland stinks. Carson Palmer racks up yardage throwing screens and quick passes, but he’s useless in the red zone. The Raiders are in for a long season (what a shocker). As for Miami, I’m pretty impressed that they were able to put up 35 points considering they only have one legitimate scoring threat (Reggie Bush) on offense. Bush wet his beak on Sunday afternoon, and proceeded to give me a hard anal fisting in a head-to-head matchup in one of my fantasy pools. Thanks Reggie. Miami still isn’t very good; this game was a mirage.
Browns @ Bengals
Predicted Outcome: Bengals 17, Browns 12
Actual Outcome: Bengals 34, Browns 27
After Brandon Weeden looked absolutely lost in his first career NFL game against the Eagles, the Bengals made him look like the second coming of Joe Montana. OK, maybe that was a stretch, but they made him look far better than he actually is. Even with Weeden having the game of his life, the Browns still trailed by a couple of touchdowns for the majority of the game. I’m not sure if the Browns are that bad, or if the Bengals are actually better than I thought, but I’d venture a guess that it’s somewhere in the middle. Cincinnati beat up on bad teams all of last season, so until they actually beat a quality opponent, they’re the same old Bengals in my mind. Oh, and welcome to the NFL, Trent Richardson. All of the Draft Day comparisons that were drawn between Richardson and Adrian Peterson look to be bang on.
Texans @ Jaguars
Predicted Outcome: Texans 20, Jaguars 14
Actual Outcome: Texans 27, Jaguars 7
Sometimes I do some pretty stupid things. I know that the Texans are way better than the Jaguars, but for some reason, I convinced myself that this would be a close game. The Jaguars are brutal. Every time it looks like Blaine Gabbert is showing signs of turning the corner, he has a game like this that reminds me that he’s a lemon. Houston looks great, but I don’t want to get carried away with a couple of wins over the Dolphins and Jaguars. A trip to Denver next weekend will be the first real test for Wade Phillips’ defense this season.
Cowboys @ Seahawks
Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 19, Cowboys 17
Actual Outcome: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7
If you weren’t already aware, I’m a diehard Cowboys fan. My success rate at picking outcomes in Cowboys’ games is outstanding. If I had any balls whatsoever, I would have put Seattle on my recommended plays this week, but I just didn’t have the cojones to do it. Everyone overreacted to Dallas’ win over the Giants in Week 1, but that was the Cowboys’ Super Bowl. They’re still an average football team that makes way too many gaffes to be trusted as a road favorite. I’m pretty sure that they get a punt returned for a touchdown in every other road game. As for Seattle, you know what you’re going to get from them as well. They’re great at home in front of their raucous fans, but they’re an atrocity on the road.
Redskins @ Rams
Predicted Outcome: Rams 20, Redskins 16
Actual Outcome: Rams 31, Redskins 28
I’m sure there are a bunch of people scratching their heads and wondering how the Redskins managed to lose this game. Most people will point the finger at Josh Morgan who took one of the biggest bonehead penalties in recent memory, but ultimately, the Redskins are just another average team. The loss of Pierre Garcon was a huge blow as Robert Griffin III struggled to find chemistry with any of his other receivers. We’ll get a lot of opportunities to bet against Washington this year because the public perception is that RG3 is God. The Rams, on the other hand, are going to be a tough out this season. Sam Bradford looks like he’s back to being a solid quarterback, and I love the stability that Jeff Fisher has brought to this team.
Jets @ Steelers
Predicted Outcome: Steelers 27, Jets 17
Actual Outcome: Steelers 27, Jets 10
Mark Sanchez is a bum, and will always be a bum. When Rodney Harrison called Sanchez “a great quarterback” on NBC’s post-game show I nearly fell off of my couch. If the Jets don’t turn to Tim Tebow sometime soon, their season is all but over, and no, that’s not a joke, because Tebow can’t possibly be a worse option at this point. New York’s defense played fairly well for the first half of the game, but once the Jets’ offense became stagnant, the Steelers had their way with them. As for the Steelers, this is what you should expect from them. Even with a lack of a rushing presence they were able to move the chains consistently thanks to Big Ben. Once Rashard Mendenhall gets back into the lineup, they should be a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses.
Titans @ Chargers
Predicted Outcome: Titans 20, Chargers 17
Actual Outcome: Chargers 38, Titans 10
I’d say I was a little bit off on this one. I forgot that Chris Johnson is a complete tool and refuses to run with any sort of determination whatsoever. With Tennessee’s running game bottled up, the Chargers were able to tee off on Jake Locker all afternoon. The Titans are crap; I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. On the other side of things, the Chargers aren’t melting down in September like they usually do. Philip Rivers is back in fine form, and San Diego has started the season 2-0 despite not having the services of Ryan Mathews in both games. This has all the makings of a 13-3 season, a first round bye, and a home playoff loss in the divisional round for the Chargers.
Lions @ 49ers
Predicted Outcome: 49ers 23, Lions 20
Actual Outcome: 49ers 27, Lions 19
For the second straight week, I undervalued the 49ers. I know Detroit isn’t as good as people think they are, but I figured they’d be motivated after losing to San Francisco at home last season. Well, I was wrong. The Lions missed about 267 tackles in this game, and were bullied by a much more physical 49ers team. I think it’s fair to say at this point that San Francisco is the team to beat in the NFC. I’ll probably continue betting against the Niners in upcoming weeks, in large part because pundits are crowning them as the best team of all-time after two games, but they’ve definitely earned my respect.
All in all, Week 2 was a great rebound week for me. In fact, I’m in such a good mood that I’d like to exhibit no class whatsoever and rip some people for taking shots at me in the last week. My ultimate pet peeve is when people call me an idiot before the games are even played. Do people not realize that anything can happen in the NFL?
So here were my two favorite comments from last week:
Aside from the fact that I don’t understand what this ass clown is talking about, it’s clear that he was drinking the RG3 Kool-Aid. I wasn’t kidding with that Rams pick, Gary.
Wow, JJ really hates Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick wasn’t the reason the Bills won this week, but his 120.1 quarterback rating didn’t hurt. I don’t think that “Week 2 KC” pick worked out very well.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure that there are three different JJ’s that post comments here. One of them seems to hate me (this guy), one of them seems to really like me, and one of them is indifferent. If these comments are all coming from the same JJ, it’s very likely that he suffers from Dissociative identity disorder.
What really sucks is that there were two comments lambasting me for taking the Steelers and Panthers this week. When I woke up this morning, they had been deleted from the comment thread of my Week 2 betting preview. That’s the ultimate troll move right there.
Monday Night Football pick
Now that I’ve aired my grievances, let’s take a look at tonight’s intriguing matchup between the Falcons and the Broncos. Peyton Manning looked out of rhythm to start last week’s game against the Steelers, but once the Broncos switched to a no huddle offense, Manning was unstoppable. With the Falcons having lost their top cornerback Brent Grimes for the season, I’m not sure how their secondary will be able to generate any stops.
Atlanta’s defensive ends Ray Edwards and John Abraham will really have to generate a strong pass rush for the Falcons to have any chance of limiting the Broncos’ offense. Unfortunately for Atlanta, their front seven isn’t very stout against the run, so Manning will probably be in manageable situations throughout the course of the game.
Defensively, I trust Denver more than Atlanta in this matchup. While cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter will surely have a tough time with the Falcons’ wideouts, they should be able to at least generate a few stops. Matt Ryan was methodical last week in Kansas City, but the Chiefs were missing their top pass rusher in Tamba Hali, and weren’t able to generate much pressure. Ryan’s pocket won’t be so clean this week with two elite pass rushers — Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller — in Denver’s front seven.
Ultimately, this is a tough game to call, but I’m going to go with the Broncos. Atlanta is an elite home team, but Denver looks like a tough matchup for them. It doesn’t hurt that Peyton Manning is 14-3 ATS in his last 17 games as an underdog. I’ll make a small recreational play on Denver +3 and Denver money line. Broncos 27, Falcons 24
Week 3 Early Lines
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 3 have been posted. Here are my thoughts:
NY Giants @ Carolina +1.5 – People will be lining up to bet the defending Super Bowl champs here.
St. Louis @ Chicago -8.5 – St. Louis will be a publicly backed underdog. No one has forgotten Jay Cutler’s stinker of a performance on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay @ Dallas -7 – Even though Dallas is a public team, people will be betting Tampa Bay here. After all, everyone seems to only remember what they saw last week.
San Francisco @ Minnesota +6 – The action on San Fran will be through the roof. I can’t make a case for the Vikings right now, but I’ll probably end up betting them.
Detroit @ Tennessee +3 – Tennessee looks horrid and people still love the Lions’ offense. Matt Stafford doesn’t look right — this game reeks of a trap.
Cincinnati @ Washington -4 – All aboard the RG3 hype train!
NY Jets @ Miami +3 – I can’t imagine either side will be bet heavily here. The Jets are coming off of a huge loss and the Dolphins are coming off of a huge win.
Kansas City @ New Orleans -9 – I’m sure people will be lining up to bet the Saints. They can’t start the season 0-3, can they?
Buffalo @ Cleveland +3 – All aboard the Bills bandwagon!
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis -2.5 – I don’t think Jacksonville is a ½ point better than Indy, so I don’t see why the Colts aren’t favored by more than three.
Philadelphia @ Arizona +4 – Kevin Kolb vs. the team that traded him away. The Eagles will probably get most of the action here. Arizona still gets no respect.
Pittsburgh @ Oakland +4.5 – Pittsburgh is a huge public team AND they’re coming off of a dominant win. The Steelers will probably be the most heavily bet side of the week.
New England @ Baltimore -3 – I think public perception is that the Patriots are not as good as people thought they were. I think Baltimore will get more action than New England here.