by Ryan Meehan with Scott Hulderson
With everything we’ve been up to around here at FOH, Week Two in the NFL has snuck up on me like a serial killer. So it’s only fitting that this week I have somebody shorter than me to do picks with. I’ve known Scott for about ten years now…I went to school with him at Western Illinois, and he’s a diehard Lions fan. One of the many things we both have in common is our obsession with pro football. Scott could provide you with a lot more college information than I can, but just about everybody loves the NFL. The strategy that he used to make picks on was to look over first week results, home status w/ win loss record at home last year, and included Power rankings while mine were based on less important criteria and more gut. Hopefully you’ll agree that this comes through in our work, so here are our picks for Week Two.
Thursday Night Football:
Chicago Bears (1-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Meehan: For some ridiculous reason, the NFL has decided this year to do Thursday games starting at week one and then continuing them throughout the whole year as opposed to waiting until week ten. Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea. Think about how much this sucks for the Packers: Even though both games are at home, they played the late game Sunday against a team whom most analysts have the goods to win the whole deal, and then just 96 hours later they have to turn around and host the Bears, who looked very hot in their opener even though it was against Indianapolis. That’s total bullshit. I’m starting to think that what the league wants to do is eventually start doing Saturday games earlier on in the season as well, so everything will be more than spread out. A lot of people are suspect of a game this early on in the year being important, but this game is extremely crucial. If the Packers lose here, they drop to 0-2 and then all sorts of questions come to light about how the NFC North will pan out. Every single one of these games mean exactly the same 6.25% of the season that the rest of them do. And as hard as it is to visualize, I have the Packers dropping to 0-2 here, even if it is just barely.
Meehan’s Prediction: Bears 24, Packers 23
Scott’s Prediction: Packers
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Meehan: In week one, both of these franchises gave up a metric shitton of points. I wasn’t really sold on the Bills being as good as everyone expected them to be before the season started, so I have to go with Kansas City here. Cassel will play better, but that doesn’t mean this matchup will be overwhelmingly entertaining to watch. The Buffalo Bills need to prove to the rest of the AFC that their offseason acquisition of Mario Williams was at least half as big of a deal as it seemed at the time. (The loss of his presence certainly didn’t affect the Texans week one) The only thing that the Kansas City Chiefs need to prove is that they can somehow scoe one of the two Wild Card spots that will remain when the season’s over and the Denver Broncos have won the division.
Meehan’s Prediction: Chiefs 24, Bills 17
Scott’s Prediction: Bills
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Meehan: Just when I thought that Cincinnati was going to have a breakout season again, they got curbstomped by the Ravens who are apparently ageless. However I can’t believe that they blow this one, as the Browns’ Brandon Wheedon threw four picks last week. My gut tells me that even though both of these teams may end up finishing under .500 when it’s all said and done, the Bengals are still much better than the Browns. How much? We’re about to find out…
Meehan’s Prediction: Bengals 25, Browns 17
Scott’s Prediction: Bengals
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Meehan: This one should prove to be a game with serious draft pick implications. How bad do the Colts need another running back? How bad do the Vikings need an offensive line? This very game might actually be the deciding factor in figuring those two things out. It is going to be weird if Minnesota wins because that will mean they’re 2-0. I don’t forecast that happening, and I believe that Luck will be much more comfortable playing at home this week.
Meehan’s Prediction: Colts 19, Vikings 16
Scott’s Prediction: Vikings
New Orleans Saints (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Meehan: As one of those people who was hoping for big Cam Newton-related news this year, I was very upset that he didn’t bring more to the table last week in Carolina’s loss against Tampa. The Saints I have a little bit more sympathy for, because we had no idea what we were going to see from the Redskins. Washington was going to either come out and stink up the Superdome or just go crazy, and the second one is what happened. Maybe it was just me, but in a majority of the clips I saw of the New Orleans sideline from Sunday the coaching staff seemed to be awfully distant. They’ll know that they can’t make the same mistake two weeks in a row, and the defense will make it another miserable week for Cam Newton.
Meehan’s Prediction: Saints 30, Panthers 13
Scott’s Prediction: Saints
Houston Texans (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Meehan: This one should be an easy pick. The Jaguars were able to hang with Minnesota last week, which is useless information – All we know now is that they aren’t better than a team that isn’t better than 80% of the rest of the NFL. Houston is just getting started…Hardly a sleeper when you consider their performance last year, they have realized the importance of obtaining the best record possible in order to get a playoff seed they can actually use. Schaub will throw for over 300 yards with very little trouble.
Meehan’s Prediction: Texans 36, Jaguars 15
Scott’s Prediction: Texans
Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Meehan: Heaven forbid that anyone have to watch this – If you’re not a diehard fan of either team I assure you that there are a lot of other things that you could be watching. You can probably find a rerun of that woman who says she can talk to pets telepathically if you really spend a lot of time looking for it. SpikeTV has a whole series about all of the different ways you can die and SpikeTV isn’t one of them. (How twisted is that?) My point is, nothing super important is going to happen here. Both teams looked bad in what we’ve seen so far, and likely weren’t worth mentioning because everyone basically knows who is going to win both of those divisions. Maybe the long snapper from the Raiders will be able to get the ball back to the punter without the pitcher’s mound “getting in the way”. I said MAYBE. Either way the only reason someone will win is because some has to.
Meehan’s Prediction: Raiders 17, Dolphins 15; Dolphins 17, Raiders 15; or possibly even Edmonton 37, Toronto 33
Scott’s Prediction: Raiders
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0)
Meehan: For the second time in less than a month, the Arizona Cardinals have a quarterback dilemma: Named starter John Skelton was hurt week one in their less than enthralling victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Now they’re back with Kevin Kolb and they have to treat him as if that was the whole plan all along, and they have to do it in Massachusetts against Tom Brady. Speaking of which, I don’t forsee the injury that he “suffered” to his nose last week to be something that is going to affect his play one bit. As someone who’s had a broken nose, I can tell you it hurts a lot but I can also tell you that I have not personally won three Super Bowls. Brady and the rest of the Patriots will be fine, and they’ll be able to set this one on cruise control by five minutes into the third quarter.
Meehan’s Prediction: Patriots 41, Cardinals 10
Scott’s Prediction: Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Meehan: After seeing the way the Giants played on opening night, it’s hard for me to think that they have the direction to figure out any offensive scheme. You’d think seeing a team like Tampa pop up this week would be fantastic news for any Giants fan (especially when put next to the second half of the season schedule) but I’m not so sure. I’m still not high on Freeman at all, but nonetheless I’m picking against the Giants. I can totally see him coming into town and making us look just as stupid as Dallas did week one. Upset Special of the week.
Meehan’s Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Giants 23
Scott’s Prediction: Giants
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Meehan: Man, this one is proof that one week’s worth of play can cloud our judgment. I would love to take the Eagles here but how can I? How can I make the agrument that if Michael Vick and his second $100 million couldn’t cover the spread against a guy who had a passer rating of 5.1 that they are going to be able to just throw the Ravens around like some wool sock? I may be very far off on this prediction, because this one could end up being a blowout for Baltimore. Last week the Eagles better have had something serious scared into them because they can’t even fake their way to 6-10 pulling some of the shit they pulled on Sunday.
Meehan’s Prediction: Ravens 20, Eagles 18
Scott’s Prediction: Ravens
Washington Redskins (1-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-1)
Meehan: The Rams came ever so close to upsetting the Lions in the first frame of the season, but this one won’t be so easy. Yes, I am hopping on the extremely crowded Robert Griffin the Third bandwagon, but how could you not after seeing that? And how could you think that a team like that couldn’t beat a St. Louis squad that for the most part owned Detroit for three quarters? Washington has the luxury of a really good set of players that were in place before Griffin got there, which I hate to admit because Daniel Snyder had made so many poor decisions up to this point. At the moment, it doesn’t look like Griffin will be one of them. If this keeps up and Washington starts to win more games against some better than average teams, we’ll know more about them as the year progresses. With the Rams we won’t need to go into such detail.
Meehan’s Prediction: Redskins 38, Rams 27
Scott’s Prediction: Rams
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
Meehan: Although extremely tempting to pick an upset here, the crowd in Seattle shouldn’t phase Romo if he just went into the Giants home turf and waxed them the night they were giving themselves trophies. He can handle the Seahawks. If the Cardinals could handle the Seahawks…well, that’s a poor example and maybe they really got lucky. Matt Flynn: you are officially in the on deck circle. Through the eyes of Jerry Jones’ whiskey goggles, the one thing Cowboys fans will be focused on is how the Dallas Cowboys are going to spread the ball around and how (or if) they will be able to use Ogletree as effectively as they did the first week.
Meehan’s Prediction: Cowboys 26, Seapoultry 21
Scott’s Prediction: Cowboys
New York Jets (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
Meehan: As you can probably tell if you read FOH, Koz is a Patriots fan and I hold a special place of hatred in my heart for the New York Jets. In my defense, I never USED to. I used to really like the Jets a lot. Somewhere along the line (probably right about the same time Rex Ryan came into power) I decided that enough was enough and they weren’t worth listening to unless they could actually get to the Super Bowl. Then, last week they ran up 48 pts on Buffalo and I just braced myself for the fact that hearing abou them is pretty much going to be unavoidable. The Steelers didn’t play poorly at all last week, they just ran into a buzzsaw in Denver and all it took was one bad passs for them to seal the deal. I want to think that they can at least beat the Jets, but for some reason I can’t type it. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?
Meehan’s Prediction: Jets 24, Steelers 18
Scott’s Prediction: Steelers (interesting, I like it…)
Tennessee Titans (0-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-0)
Meehan: If you had the patience to stay up through the second Monday Night game, either you really love football or your sleep medication isn’t working. I’m taking Tennessee and I don’t really know why…I just have a gut feeling the Chargers still can’t defend against some teams in the NFL. And not even the ones with the better records – Weird, awkward and below average teams like the Titans. I’m liking Philip Rivers less and less every year, which coincides with his lack of ability to distract himself from fathering a million children long enough to make sure he wins the AFC West. It’s a sad, sad world.
Meehan’s Prediction: Titans 25, Chargers 20
Scott’s Prediction: Chargers
Detroit Lions (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Meehan: All joking set aside, it’s great to see Scott’s Lions on Sunday Night Football, which I have mentioned in these pieces before is the most well produced NFL product. They have made substantial progress as a franchise, and they deserve to be featured as on of the prescheduled primetime games early on in the season. But the question remains: Will they be in the hunt later in the season so that one of their games gets flexed into the Sunday Night game on NBC? I certainly hope so, they deserve it. However, that’s not going to change my pick in this game at all. This is the home opener for the strongest, hardest, most business oriented team in the NFL. The 49ers are far beyond for real, and although the Lions are good I can’t help but think that if it took them until the final drive to beat the St. Louis Rams that they are going to have some serious problems with San Francisco.
Meehan’s Prediction: 49ers 29, Lions 20
Scott’s Prediction: 49ers (Yes)
Monday Night Football: Denver Broncos (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
Meehan: I know I had some less than favorable things to say about the Atlanta Falcons in our preview article, but they proved a lot doubters wrong with their victory Sunday at Arrowhead. But the Broncos played a much tougher team in the Steelers in their opener, and looked very good. Peyton Manning is back and ready to roll, and it shouldn’t be that much of a challenge to dissect the Falcons defense in the way that he did against Pittsburgh. Not to toot my own horn, but I do remember strongly reiterating that Von Miller is to be feared in his second season as a linebacker in the NFL.
Meehan’s Prediction: Broncos 33, Falcons 21
Scott’s Prediction: Broncos
Even though there is a possibility that when Week 2 is over we will have a better idea of how certain teams will fare this season, don’t forget that this could also be very deceiving. Take for example Green Bay and Pittsburgh, who met in the Super Bowl just two years ago. Say that the Packers lose to the Bears, who are very comparable to their skill set this year. That would drop them to 0-2, as stated earlier. Now say that the Jets beat the Steelers, which is also a very real possibility. All of a sudden, they’re winless as well. Does that mean that their situations are bleak and it’s okay to abandon ship, calling them dead in the water? Of course not. I didn’t have the Steelers making the postseason this year, but even if you’re the world’s biggest Ravens fan and you have a “Wacko for Flacco” bumper stick on your purple Impala you know that they aren’t a 4-12 football team. Same thing with Green Bay…even if they lose their first two is doesn’t mean they’ll miss the playoffs. Both of these teams are perfect examples of how the talent level in the NFL has increased to the point where everybody’s schedule is getting harder and harder every year, and if you have a couple of rough matchups two weeks in a row it can send you flying into a slump. I don’t see the Packers and the Steelers headed in that direction, but it is possible. Don’t jump the gun on anybody though just yet.
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