We finished the first week of the season going a respectable 4-1. Our only loss coming in the Bucs 16-10 win over the disappointing Carolina Panthers. No one figured on QB Cam Newton’s total of 10 rushing yards for the game and that Tampa’s defense would prove too much for the visiting Panthers. Here are our picks for week #2:
*Home team in CAPS:
Ravens over the EAGLES: If coach Andy Reid needs to finish the season at better than 8-8 in order to return next year, then he’s going to be off to an inauspicious 0-2 start if we’re right. Watching veterans Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and company on defense even without Terrell Suggs, is a lot for any team to handle. QB Joe Flacco looked more like Joe Montana passing for 299 yards,( no INTs) and 2 touchdowns. The 44-13 rout made the Ravens only the fifth team in NFL history to score 40 or more points in a season opener. The Eagles just barely beat the lowly Browns 17-16 in a game that saw Michael Vick throw 4 picks. They’ll need more than 17 points to defeat Baltimore this Sunday.
CHARGERS over the Titans: San Diego, who usually starts the season off very slowly out of the gate, might be finally bucking that trend . In 2011 they won 4 out of their first 5 and we think they’ll go 2-0 after this week’s contest vs the Titans. RB Chris Johnson had a poor showing vs the Patriots last week rushing 11 times for a net of only 4 yards! He said before the season began that we would see the 2010 version of C.J. but it didn’t look like it in week 1. QB Jake Locker who injured his shoulder on opening day practiced this week and said he felt no pain. Besides the Chargers, history goes against Tennessee as the Bolts have beaten the Titans/Oilers franchise six straight times by 17 or more points. Do you believe in history?
GIANTS over Buccaneers: The Dallas Cowboys simply outplayed the G-Men in East Rutherford in their first meeting of the season. The Giants will not be outplayed by Tampa Bay in their building this week. The defensive tandem of Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and JPP didn’t record a sack or knockdown of QB Tony Romo and we don’t think that will happen on Sunday vs QB Josh Freeman. Nor do we think that WR Victor Cruz drops three passes again this week. They will need to run the ball successfully against a very stout Tampa defense and the 10 days that the Giants had to prepare for this one should help to do that. Big Blue will ruin coach Greg Schiano’s return to N.J. with a convincing win but will have only four days rest before they face the Panthers on Thursday night.
Redskins over the RAMS: Although the ‘Skins gave up a ton of points to the Saints last week, they still managed to do some great things on defense like picking off stud QB Drew Brees twice and sacking him a couple of times as well. But the most impressive part of the Redskins game was the play of the two rookies; QB Robert Griffin (320 yards and 2 touchdowns-10 rushes -42 yards) and RB Albert Morris (96 rushing yards and 2 TDs). The Rams defense will not be able to keep them both in check and we expect another two amazing performances by the first year duo. The Rams could only manage 251 total net yards and 14 first downs vs the Lions in week one and they’ll need more than that to topple Washington who put up 40 points vs the Saints a week ago.
COLTS over the Vikings: Indianapolis, our second underdog pick this week, features rookie QB Andrew Luck in his home opener. In his debut last week against the Bears at Chicago, Luck made some rookie mistakes (3 interceptions-2 fumbles) but that wasn’t too shocking considering he was going up vs one of the premier defenses in the NFL. However it wasn’t all bad for the Colts. They had 11 less minutes in time of possession and still were able to amass almost as many 1st downs as the Bears (22 vs 26) so they did move the ball. Luck threw for 309 yards and a TD and RB Donald Brown out of UCONN had a rushing TD and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. The Vikings just pulled out an OT win over the Jaguars at home last week which is no great feat because if you can barely win at home you’ll probably lose on the road.