Hammering it Out: Week 2 Predictions

The following are our picks for Week 2 of the NFL season. After one week, Jared has picked one more game correctly and the standings are as follows:

Jared – 8 for 16
Travis – 7 for 16

Here’s our picks and a word or two about each match-up.

Oakland at Buffalo

This game features a beat-up Oakland team that runs the ball on offense and pressures the quarterback on defense. With all the injuries on Oakland’s side, I just fail to see them effectively moving the ball. On the flipside, Buffalo appeared to put it all over Kansas City. Under normal circumstances , Oakland keeps it close and who knows, maybe they win. These aren’t those circumstances. -Jared

Both of these defenses did very well last week and based on that I’m guessing, the score won’t be too high. While the Raiders have a very good defensive line and solid secondary they still don’t have an offense. Campbell was just 13-22 with 105 yards a lot of which was yards after catch (YAC). If Campbell can start making some deeper throws of 15 yards or more that will help this offense a ton and with their good run attack we could see a real offense of some sort. The Bills, on the other hand, have a very underrated QB in Fitzpatrick who has shown the ability to move the ball via the pass and get touchdowns out of drives. Then they also have a complementary running game. Not elite but more of a complete team than Oakland and I think there offense will prevail. -Travis

Jared – Oakland over Buffalo (-3.5)
Travis – Buffalo (-3.5) over Oakland

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

I’ve still got New Orleans in the NFC Championship and flatly, how long can Chicago pretend they have a decent offensive line? New Orleans big at home. -Jared

New Orleans wins a close game where their offense prevails over the Bears defense. -Travis

Jared – New Orleans (-7.5) over Chicago
Travis – New Orleans straight up over Chicago

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

Flatly, prior to the news that broke today concerning Gary Brackett and Ernie Sims, I would have squarely picked the Colts in a tight one (you know, all homer-like). I just have a hard time seeing the Colts defense stopping enough of Peyton Hillis to get the offense on the field. We can always hope. I’m calling the Browns in a sloppy contest. -Jared

I’m just a Homer, but I believe that the Colts have improved on the line at least some since last week and have hopefully fixed some of the schematic issues on defense from last week. -Travis

Jared – Cleveland over Indianapolis (+2.5)
Travis – Indianapolis (+2.5) over Cleveland

Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions

They say in football that the biggest improvements occur in the 2nd week of the season. With the Chiefs getting manhandled by the Bills last week in addition to losing Eric Berry for the season, there isn’t much hope for this being a close one. Detroit throws up big numbers and Kansas City can’t keep up. -Jared

So far, I am extremely disappointed in Kansas City. I had high expectations for them on defense. They had a young, solid D last year but were horrible against Buffalo in the opener. On top of that they lost their defensive leader in Eric Berry (highest paid safety in the league in only his second year). Their offense is still very questionable. On the other hand, Detroit’s defense looks very good especially on the line and their offense has and will continue to be dynamic as long as Stafford is healthy. -Travis

Jared – Detroit (+8.5) over Kansas City
Travis – Detroit (+8.5) over Kansas City

Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers

I’ve got Green Bay back in the NFC Championship and the Panthers are not on that level. Cam Newton is for real, but Aaron Rodgers holds the belt (see what I did there?). Green Bay early and often. -Jared

Yes, I can acknowledge that Cam Newton had a great game and I was surprised and impressed. However, he still has a lot of maturing and growing to do both as an NFL quarterback and as a player in the Panther’s system. Considering that and the fact they are facing arguably the best team in the NFL this year (coming off a Super Bowl win), I think the Panthers get killed. -Travis

Jared – Green Bay over Carolina (+10.5)
Travis – Green Bay over Carolina (+10.5)

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans

The bottom line is, defense wins games; advantage Baltimore. I will take Joe Flacco and Ray Rice over Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson any day; advantage Baltimore. -Jared

I don’t know if last week’s defense for the Ravens was a fluke or not but I’m believing it is as it looked as it appeared much more solid than last year. Their offense also played well together and I think they take care of the Titans. One thing the Titans must do though is run the ball much better to even give themselves a chance. -Travis

Jared – Baltimore over Tennessee (+5.5)
Travis – Baltimore over Tennessee (+5.5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Here is a match-up between two teams who were largely underwhelming in Week 1. I simply expect more offense out of both teams, as these two teams put up 27 points combined last week. That said, Tampa Bay does have Josh Freeman, who I like a lot. They do not, however, have Adrian “All Day” Peterson. If I’m Minnesota, I give him the rock and let him win me the game. -Jared

Tampa has two things going for them. First their quarterback has better talent around him, specifically at TE and WR. Second, Tampa’s team has better timing with it’s players, unlike McNabb (who is new to the system he’s in). I do think that both teams will play better than last week; Minnesota in the pass game, and Tampa in the run game. -Travis

Jared – Minnesota (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Travis – Tampa Bay over Minnesota (-3.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets

If I’m a fan of any team outside of the Colts, it’s the Jets (like it or not). The Jaguars do have Maurice Jones-Drew, and that’s a good thing. They don’t, however, have the defense to keep up with the Jets offense, which isn’t necessarily legendary, it’s just more capable of big plays a la Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez has a great red zone target in Dustin Keller. -Jared

Luke McCown. Does anymore really need to be said? To be honest, he did do a serviceable job considering the circumstances, although it was against the Titans. This week he will face the Jets who have both a better defense and in my mind a better offense as well with a better QB. Jets win. -Travis

Jared: New York (+10.5) over Jacksonville
Travis: New York (+10.5) over Jacksonville

Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins

The bottom line is, Rex Grossman is still Rex Grossman. At least, I thought he was last week (although, the Giants were pulling people from the stands to play defense). That said, Kevin Kolb appears to have been worth the money. Larry Fitzgerald all day (no really)! Look for Tim Hightower to remind Arizona how dumb of a decision it was to trade him. -Jared

I consider what Rex did at quarterback last week to be a fluke. There is no doubt that Kevin Kolb has better targets and is the better quarterback. Kolb goes off this week. -Travis

Jared – Arizona over Washington (-4.5)
Travis – Arizona over Washington (-4.5)

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers

I just… I can not believe that Pittsburgh got manhandled like they did last week against Baltimore. Seattle got beat by two special teams touchdowns at the hands of Ted Ginn, Jr.. Part of me has the feeling that this 14.5 point spread is huge. The other part of me is reminded that 7 turnovers is way less likely than two special teams touchdowns. Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall have big days against this porous Seattle defense. -Jared

Seattle played a close game last week against the 49ers (neither of which is a great team). They take on a Pittsburgh team that couldn’t hold the ball against Baltimore last week. Being as it may, the Steelers come into this game with something to prove to people after last weeks dismal performance and I expect Mendenhall to have a much better game. 1 turnover for Steelers but they win and are back on track. -Travis

Jared – Pittsburgh (-14.5) over Seattle
Travis – Pittsburgh (-14.5) over Seattle

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

Dallas is better than they showed last week (they absolutely gave a game away late thanks to Tony Romo’s two 4th quarter turnovers). San Francisco scored 2 special teams touchdowns, otherwise would have barely squeaked by Seattle. Alex Smith is not on the same level as Tony Romo, and the score will show this. -Jared

Dallas has the talent, but where they fail is in the close game late in the fourth quarter. They won’t have that close game this week though. Dallas wins. -Travis

Jared – Dallas over San Francisco (-2.5)
Travis – Dallas over San Francisco (-2.5)

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos

This game is going to be ugly. Average in all ways, this game will come down to who plays the whole game. Brandon Lloyd (WR) for Denver and Andy Dalton (QB) are both question marks. Denver wins but doesn’t cover. -Jared

As weird as it may seem to say, Cincinnati is the better team here. Where are they better, you ask? Well I’d say their running backs are about even with a slight edge to Benson. The Bengals seemingly have better targets, have a QB who isn’t far behind Orton (who couldn’t do anything against the Raiders), and to top it off their offensive line has been much better. -Travis

Jared – Denver outright over Cincinnati
Travis – Cincinnati over Denver (-5.5)

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins

Chad Henne, you frustrate me. Most of my brain says you do not belong here. Then you go out and you put up 400+ yards on New England. As long as Henne keeps doing what he did last week, they will score some points and win some games. However, this Texans team is quickly approaching viability as a playoff team. I see this game going largely like the Miami/New England game did last week. Lots of points, lots of yards, Houston by a touchdown or two. -Jared

As good as Henne did against New England, their team as a whole (especially their defensive line) has a lot of work to do. Houston, on the other hand, had a very good overall game against the Colts. I see Schaub picking apart the defense (although not like Brady did). I think the Texans defense could be the difference in this game. -Travis

Jared – Houston over Miami (+2.5)
Travis – Houston over Miami (+2.5)

San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots

This has my early vote for game of the week. This game comes down to whoever has the ball last. I see it as a field goal game either way. New England can’t be stopped on offense and can’t stop anyone on defense. Philip Rivers is on Tom Brady’s level. -Jared

Are shootouts able to be predicted? -Travis

Jared – San Diego by a field goal
Travis – New England by a field goal

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

This off-season, the Falcons decided to address their pass rush. They also traded up and got Julio Jones to complement Roddy White. Flatly, the Eagles have done a better job early on putting the pieces together and making it work. Provided Michael Vick doesn’t get killed, the Eagles run away with this one.

I think Matt Ryan and the Falcons will bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance. I still don’t trust the Eagles offense or defense as a whole to remain consistent. -Travis

Jared – Philadelphia over Atlanta (+2.5)
Travis – Atlanta (+2.5) over Philadelphia

St. Louis Rams at New York Giants

St. Louis is just as banged up at New York. The Giants win, and here’s why: Eli, Bradshaw, Manningham and Jacobs are still taking snaps. Giants by at least a touchdown. -Jared

I’m guessing many of the offensive issues for Giants this game will be fixed and as a very important point it appears Nicks will be fine and play (so start him in your FF leagues). On the other hand, what is worrisome for me is that the Rams suffered some key injuries last week. One was on defense but the others were to Steven Jackson (who will at least miss this week it sounds like (sit him)) and the other was Danny Amendola who could miss up to 7 weeks but is definitely out for this game. -Travis

Jared – New York (-6.5) over St. Louis
Travis – New York (-6.5) over St. Louis