by Ryan Meehan
Week one of the NFL season is in the books and it was a nutty one to say the least. So let’s take a look at week two and see if it equally resembles the contents of squirrel droppings.
Thursday, September 12th
New York Jets (1-0) + 13 at New England Patriots (0-1)
The Patriots showed some signs of error in the Bills game that we weren’t used to seeing. The Jets on the other hand were just as uneventful and sloppy as expected. This should prove to be a good one because these teams hate each other, and most of America hates them. I have to believe the Pats play a little bit better here – it’s at home and the Jets are still pretty easy to pick apart. And, Tom Brady no longer has to worry about Darrelle Revis or whether or not he’s healthy. This could very well be a blowout, so let’s just select one of those.
Prediction: Patriots 43, Jets 19
St. Louis Rams (1-0) +7 at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
This is the exact type of game the Falcons need in order to get back on their feet after failing to re-establish their dominance in the NFC South clash last week. They aren’t going to get much out of this other than that, and this won’t be easy. The Rams play in a similar building, and they are coming off of a win. Look to see how much the Falcons use Tony Gonzalez in this game. (If you said very little, good work!)
Prediction: Falcons 27, Rams 17
Carolina Panthers (0-1) -3 at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Although not a game that’s likely to have playoff implications, you have to admit this one is a lot more enticing than I thought it was when I hammered out this template back in August. Both of these teams lost tough games to much better teams last week, and both of those games could have been wins. When you get that close frustration can set in, and this one could have potential for chippiness. I was impressed by Carolina and I buy them going in there and doing it this weekend.
Prediction: Bills 26, Panthers 23 (OT)
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) -6 at Chicago Bears (1-0)
The Bears got away with one last week, and the Vikings showed us that as long as fantasy football is popular they will always be on television when they shouldn’t be. They led the Sunday Night Sportscenter with a clip of Adrian Peterson rushing for the first touchdown in that game. Twenty years ago, I can guarantee you that they would have never led with a highlight from a player whose team lost the game. A lot has changed in today’s NFL. The Bears on the other hand might be developing their own fantasy threat in Brandon Marshall, who I believe is poised to have a killer year. These NFC North games sometimes tend to be close, so that’s the only reason I would say this isn’t a lock to cover the spread.
Prediction: Bears 20, Vikings 16
Washington Redskins (0-1) +8 at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
The odds would tell you that a team as solid as the Redskins aren’t going to lose two games in a row, but the odds also told us they were going win Monday night. The Robert Griffin return really could not have gone that much worse, he was actually more ineffective than bad but that’s not what we wanted to see. I think for all of the hype and the T-shirts that were printed up to try and sell the return of a 2nd year player proved to be very much a disappointment, which usually happens in similar situations. After seeing how inoperable that Redskins offense was in the Monday night game against the Eagles, I’d be crazy to pick them to win this one. It’s Green Bay’s home opener and it’s going to be a great day for a football game up there, so I see them with the escalated comfort level. However, I would recommend against taking them to cover.
Prediction: Packers 16, Redskins 13
Miami Dolphins (1-0) +3 at Indianapolis Colts (1-0)
Ah, the old AFC East. The division that was so in need of restructuring that the NFL chose to do so right in the middle of the Brady/Manning era. The Dolphins played a Browns team that was essentially practicing out on the field as though the game did not count. The Colts had to struggle to get by Oakland at home which should not have been something that required a rally. Both of these teams could be floating around the two remaining Wild Card spots when you’re taking down your Christmas lights this year. New Dolphins wideout Mike Wallace is a bit upset that he only caught one ball last week, but they won and he’s going to have to find his own way through the defenses that he faces from here on out. He might do it, but the Dolphins should lose this game. On the flipside of the coin, I bet the Colts really wish they still had Dwight Freeney for games like this.
Prediction: Colts 22, Dolphins 16
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) +3 at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Chiefs fans heard news this week that Jamaal Charles was going to be okay after that quadriceps scare he had, and they’ll get to host Dallas this week with his services readily available. I absolutely love the fact that the Cowboys won a big divisional home opening face-off, and they are still underdogs to the Chiefs. I don’t believe that they’ll actually lose this game, but it speaks volumes about how untrustable the Cowboys can be at any given point of any year.
Prediction: Cowboys 26, Chiefs 24
Cleveland Browns (0-1) +7 at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
This game should give one of these teams the chance to pick up some unnecessary ground on the Steelers, but the fact is that one of these teams is in a hole after this one. I have to think that the Ravens are the better team here. Cleveland will get better, but still won’t be ready to face the likes of guys such as Elvis Dumervil and Ray Rice who are much more experienced and much more difficult to outsmart. And for some reason, I think that Flacco facing off against Brandon Wheeden on a Sunday afternoon at home is going to be a little less pressure than going out to Colorado to face Peyton Manning opening night during the breaks of the world’s longest Coors commercial. This should be an easy one…
Prediction: Ravens 32, Browns 17
Tennessee Titans (1-0) +10 at Houston Texans (1-0)
The Texans had to come from behind to beat the San Diego Chargers who looked much improved, and it was a bit of a challenge. The Titans simply had to plug the unit into the wall and they could get out of there with a victory. it won’t be as easy of a task facing the team I STILL have winning the AFC and representing that conference in Jersey come February. Houston has no reason to lose this game – not at home with Jake Locker coming in. They need to really make a statement on defense here so that every other AFC South team realizes they won’t make the playoffs.
Prediction: Texans 23, Titans 11
San Diego Chargers (0-1) +9 at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Isn’t it crazy how you see a game on the schedule and say to yourself “Man, this would have been an awesome game to watch four or five years ago!” Well, welcome to the world of free agency that is the NFL today. Although I don’t agree with about 175% of the stuff that spews from Stephen A. Smith’s piehole, I will say that he had a really good point Tuesday morning: Philip Rivers has had one of the most impressive skill sets amongst quarterback that aren’t considered to be elite, but he always finds new ways to lose games. Truer words have never been spoken. One of these teams is about to be exposed as a fraud, but the reality is both of them might already be. The Eagles aren’t going to be able to do this “Amphetamine Dream” offense forever, even with one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the game. And plus, the Chargers are pissed because they found out late Tuesday they got hosed by the wrong call. Vegas must be crazy because Philadelphia being favored by nine in this one is more than just a little ridiculous.
Prediction: Chargers 21, Eagles 19
Detroit Lions (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
As of August 20th, tickets for this game were available starting at just five dollars. Reggie Bush is trying to make those prices go up by a significant amount, while Carson Palmer will be looking to even it out by being as mediocre as he possibly can. It was nice this week that Ndamukong Suh told us that his $100,000 fine isn’t going to “change the way you play football”. Look – the commissioner is an idiot and I don’t know of a single Roger Goddell fansite to speak of, but he has a very important power in this matter because he has the ability to change the way Suh DOESN’T play football. If he keeps this up, he’s just going to be the guy who knows he’s being a dick and doesn’t care. And if he does it for years on end again (like he already has) eventually he’ll end up like Cliff Avril and Shaun Rogers and get sent right out of town. They’re still better than Arizona though, at least for the moment…
Prediction: Lions 20, Cardinals 9
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
The Saints are back indeed, only this week they’ll be outside in the sunlight as opposed to their home where it’s pretty much just like a dark alley and they’re just waiting to rob you. If they can take out the Falcons, they surely can take out the Buccaneers who lost to the Jets last week. The Saints need to play well on the road to get their shit together again, and this would be a great place to start. They need to prove to the rest of the NFC that they deserve a higher seed because they can pickup a win in Carolina and Tampa without doing something stupid.
Prediction: Saints 28, Bucs 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) +6 at Oakland Raiders (0-1)
This should be a gift for the Raiders. This is exactly the type of confidence booster that Terrelle Pryor needs, up against a team that makes me feel guilty for using the prepositional phrase “up against”. Dubs was a little harsh on Pryor last week in the SBM “What we Learned” piece but I think the kid might be decent here. It might be until October until the Jaguars score their first touchdown of the 2013 NFL season.
Prediction: Raiders 23, Jaguars 6
Denver Broncos (1-0) -4.5 at New York Giants (0-1)
In this rematch of Super Bowl XXI, a team that cannot stop shooting itself in the head will face off against a team that only shoots for the head. The only real test here will be how the Broncos defense will be able to capitalize off of the Giants turnovers without having a touchdown negated. The giants picked up Brandon Jacobs, and although it isn’t going to fix the labyrinth of issues they have when it comes to hanging on to the football for extended periods of time it is a smart move. I’m not sure that they would have been happy with McGahee anyway, and plus if it took them a couple of weeks to figure out that they weren’t, it might be too late for them to save their season. So how’s this for a flashback where the roles are reversed? Remember this score?
Prediction: Broncos 39, Giants 20
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) +3 at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
This is it – the two teams that lead the NFC West are going to be who we will be watching all year, and that’s precisely why this game is on Sunday Night. Like I mentioned in the wrap-up piece, if the Panthers game taught us anything it’s that the Seattle Seahawks have come out flat as all hell in the past two first halves of their last two actual games. They can’t continue to take that long to get it going like they did in the playoff loss to the Falcons, because now that team’s got Super Bowl expectations and they’ll have to play a lot of teams like the Falcons in the playoffs in order to claw their way to the Super Bowl. The read option offense will dominate the play calling in this game, and for obvious reason. San Francisco’s got the better roster, and I have them going further than the Seahawks but I believe the 12th man first time this year is going to be pretty intense.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 25
Monday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) +7 at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
I can’t say enough bad things about the Steelers right now. They are inept in almost every facet of the sport itself, and have no roster to even begin fixing a majority of the problems they are currently facing. They’ll look even worse come Monday, as the sports media will continue to pose the question: “What’s wrong with the Steelers?” as if it’s something that can easily be remedied and an explanation is owed to them. The Bengals threw away a game last week against Chicago, so they are going to be furious. To make matters even more severe, the game is in Cincinnati so the Burgh might not even sniff the endzone. Not that they would remember what it even smells like in the first place. According to NFL.com Ben Roethlisberger was given the day off on Wednesday for “personal reasons”, which could mean anything. It probably doesn’t mean he spent the day becoming a magician, so I think picking them to lose by just nine points is being extremely generous here in their favor.
Prediction: Bengals 29, Steelers 20
It’s fairly obvious that I am reluctant to pick a lot of these teams to cover. That’s for two reasons: 1) It’s the beginning of the season and that’s always risky; and 2) A couple of the week one games were those standard clichés about how the score didn’t exactly match the content of the game. Particularly the Houston – San Diego game as well as the Giants/Cowboys. Keep your money in your wallet on some of these that look shaky. I couldn’t BELIEVE that the Seahawks were only 3.5 point favorites against the Panthers, and it was way late in that game before they actually did. Be careful out there.
As early as it is, we’re still not going to know it all but we’ll probably notice some trends developing by dinner time on Sunday. Speaking of which, please use the word “dinner” around me when referring to mealtime late in the day. Don’t ever say “supper”. For some reason, that word bothers me to no end. Also Coach Ryan will be making his return to the site here very shortly so we’ll be taking some deeper looks into the matchups that shape all of the games in the 2013 NFL season.
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