NFL Week 2 Picks

This was not part of the plan.

This may take a couple of weeks. As excited as I’ve been for this years NFL season, I haven’t really been able to get  a good grasp on my which teams are going to climb their way out of the blob of mediocrity to become contenders in 2012. For instance, I thought for sure Chicago would take a page out of San Fran’s playbook by running the ball and using playaction off the run to beat Green Bay. That sure didn’t happen. If anything the Packers were the one’s that were happy to play conservatively on offense, while relying on their defense to make big plays to get the win. I’ve got a lot of studying up to do if I want to get my head around the league this year, but that’s half the fun.

This week I’m most interested in seeing how Peyton Manning will play on the road against a legit contender. Not to take anything away from the Steelers, but that team is not the same without Earl Clark and James Harrison. When Chad and I were looking over the lines for the week he warned me that I should never bet against Peyton Manning in a primetime game, but I’m still not 100% sold on Manning being back yet, but I’m prepared to be proven wrong.  The Falcons play great at home, and a win this week will put the league on notice that they are for real.

Another game I’m looking forward to watching is Philadelphia against Baltimore, a battle of two preseason favorites to play in the Super Bowl. Mike Vick had one of the worst games of his career against Cleveland last week, throwing four picks and finishing the game with a QB Rating of 51. Andy Reid has been getting beat up in the media for calling so many pass plays when LeSean (Shady) McCoy was averaging 5.5 yards per rush. If Cleveland’s rookie QB Brandon Weeden didn’t have one of the worst first games in NFL history the Eagles would be coming into week two 0-1, and everyone in Philly would be hitting the panic button.

It seems like all the talk coming out of Baltimore about the Ravens finally opening up their offense was true. Joe Flacco played masterfully against the Bengals defense, going 21-29 for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Ray Rice only carried the ball ten times but still managed to rush the ball for 68 yards and two touchdowns. If the Ravens were looking to make a statement last week that they are willing to throw the ball down the field when opposing teams but extra defenders in the box, they made it loud and clear. The Eagles have good corners, so it will be interesting to watch if they will try to match up with Baltimore’s WRs one-on-one and challenge the Raven’s to beat them with their passing game.

My beloved 49ers play against the Lions on Sunday Night Football. It’s been a long time since San Francisco has been on national TV two weeks in a row, and if the can do to Detroit what they did to Green Bay last week, every football fan in the country will be talking about how the 49ers are the team to beat in the NFC. I’m just happy to be able to watch my favorite team play live in consecutive weeks. It’s been a tough decade to be a 49ers fan, let alone one that is out of market to watch most of their games.

The 9ers strength is that they know who they are. They play to their strengths; their defense and running game, and refuse to beat themselves. When a team can completely buy into their coaching and a system of play, it makes executing a gameplan that much easier. San Francisco will clamp down on Megatron Sunday night, and make Matt Stafford try to make use of his other WR’s while dealing with constant harassment from Aldon Smith and co.  I have a hard time trying to think of a way the Lions come out of the Bay Area with a win Sunday night.

This week’s picks. (Home teams in caps)

Bears +6 over PACKERS
GIANTS -7.5 over Bucs
PATRIOTS -13.5 over Cardinals
Vikings -1 over COLTS
PANTHERS +2.5 over Saints
BILLS -3 over Chiefs
Ravens +2.5 over EAGLES
Raiders -2.5 over DOLPHINS
BENGALS -7 over Browns
JAGUARS +7 over Texans
Cowboys -3 over SEAHAWKS
RAMS -3 over Redskins
Jets +6 over STEELERS
CHARGERS -6 over Titans
49ers -6.5 over Lions
FALCONS -3 over Broncos

Last Week: 5-11
This Week: 0-1
Season: 5-12 (Ouch!)

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