Had I actually remembered to post my Week 1 picks here last week, you’d know how I did. Instead, you’re just gonna have to trust me when I tell you it was bad. Dismal, even. Abysmal. Horrific. A sight not befitting small children.
Were gambling legal, I’d have spent the whole week hiding out from people who had their sights set upon doing unspeakable things to my kneecaps.
So, yeah, not a great start to the season for me. But undaunted, here are my week two picks, after already missing on the Bears getting the cover against the Packers at Lambeau Thursday night. Home teams are in CAPS.
Buccaneers (plus 8) over GIANTS: Another one of these games where I like the home team, hate the line. Did the people in the know in Vegas not see Tampa Bay swallow up and spit out Carolina’s vaunted running game? Did those same people not see the New York offensive line struggle to move anything forward once they left the huddle? Just a baffling line.
PANTHERS (plus 2½) over Saints: New Orleans can put all the brave words forth that it likes but there’s no way that being down to the interim-for-the-interim head coach amid all the brouhaha over the payment-for-injury scandal (I confer a death sentence upon any journalist who takes the lazy approach of just adding the suffix “-gate” to every single scandal since Watergate). Carolina will want a bounce-back game and I don’t see the Saints’ defense being any better equipped to handle Cam Newton than it was Robert Griffin III.
Cardinals (plus 15) over PATRIOTS: Oh, New England will win the game. I just have a hard-and-fast rule (most of the time, anyway) that warns me to stay away from giant lines early in the season. This line seems a bit drastic to me, considering Arizona, you know, actually won last week.
Vikings (pick ‘em) over COLTS: Indianapolis took those first steps on the road to recovery last week, enough steps to determine that it’s going to be a long damn road. Dwight Freeney’s injury didn’t help the Colts. Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, proved himself to be some sort of medical freak or perhaps a cyborg, coming back to score two touchdowns and rush for 80-some-odd yards just eight months and change removed from reconstructive surgery on his knee. Am I going to bet against a dude that’s a machine? Ummmm, no … at least not this week.
Ravens (plus 1) at EAGLES: Fun factoid: Philadelphia has lost its last three home openers to the team that went on to win the big game at the end (Saints in 2009, Packers in 2010, Giants last season). Coincidence? Yeah, more than likely. But I still like Baltimore in this one.
BILLS (minus 3) over Chiefs: Note to Ryan Fitzpatrick: That’s not just an effect of your rear-view mirror; Tarvaris Jackson really is gaining on you. Keep throwing picks like clowns throwing candy at a parade and you’re going to find your rich Harvard behind next to Tyler Thigpen on the bench.
Browns (plus 8) over BENGALS: Yet another skewed early line. Cleveland should have beaten the Eagles last week, had it not been for Brandon Weeden deciding to hold Pickpalooza 2012 in his NFL debut. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has a short week to recover from being completely undressed on national TV.
Texans (minus 8) over JAGUARS: Not sure there’s a line big enough to keep me off Houston. They blew out the Dolphins without ever really getting into gear offensively. Jacksonville, meanwhile, couldn’t beat the Vikings. This just in: The Texans are better than the Vikings.
Raiders (minus 1) over DOLPHINS: “Hard Knocks” was more than just a preseason look at the Fighting Fish on HBO. It’s also a likely candidate to be the title of Miami’s 2012 highlight video. I can almost picture Ryan Tannehill humming (think “Wizard of Oz” here), “If I only had a receiver ….”
SEAHAWKS (plus 3) over Cowboys: What goes up must come down and that means Dallas is ripe for a crash landing under the Space Needle. The Cowboys were super-high against the Super Bowl champs last week and have had more than a week to read and listen to how good they are. That’s never been a good thing for this group.
Redskins (minus 3½) over RAMS: St. Louis gave away a game it should have won. Washington went in and won a game in a venue they never should have. Yeah, sometimes the picks make themselves.
CHARGERS (minus 6) over Titans: Philip Rivers didn’t have a turnover Monday night in Oakland. For some quarterbacks, that’s fairly routine. For Rivers, based on last season anyway, it’s breaking news.
Jets (plus 5) over STEELERS: I’d love Pittsburgh in this game if I hadn’t seen its patchwork, paper-thin offensive line get manhandled in Denver. Think Rex Ryan wasn’t salivating when he saw that game film?
49ERS (minus 8) over Lions: I realize each week is a different opportunity with entirely different circumstances. On the other hand, what on Earth would make me think Detroit could beat the team–on the road, no less–that went 13-3 in the NFC West last season when it barely escaped the one that went 3-13 at home?
Broncos (plus 3) over FALCONS: Atlanta looked great at Kansas City in the opener. Peyton Manning came back after not playing an NFL game in more than 600 days and looked like he never left. I like me some Matt Ryan, I really do. But I’ve learned over the years not to bet against Hall of Famers with something to prove.
Last Week: 5-11 (yes, 5-11 … sigh)