Time issues and other matters kept me from publishing 2012 Week 1 NFL picks, something that I'm sure devastated football followers from all around this great land. My first week picks were mostly a missable affair, as the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers all cost me wins and Week 1 bragging rights among friends who obviously know much more about picking NFL contests than do I. As always, these just for funsies picks are merely the thoughts of a football fan who spends way too much time watching NFL Red Zone on Sunday afternoons, and thus I must again stress;
The Bears have, as of early Thursday afternoon, evolved into a sexy pick for those looking to cash in on an upset. Chicago putting 41 points on the board at home against a very "meh" Indianapolis team didn't excite me as it did others, and I also just can't see Aaron Rodgers and company dropping back-to-back home games. Rodgers is no wide-eyed rookie QB playing in his first NFL game, after all. Truth be told, I like Green Bay to cover the five-point spread and win comfortably.
2012 Week 2 NFL picks: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Both defenses were thoroughly embarrassed in Week 1, and both teams are in serious danger of losing ground in the standings to division foes. I'm going to be boring and state the obvious: I need to see how a Buffalo offense without both Fred Jackson and David Nelson plays against a defense that isn't phoning it in because they have a three-touchdown cushion before I can again believe in the Bills.
2012 Week 2 NFL picks: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Two things I'm sure of: Brandon Weeden will play better than he did against the Eagles, and the Cleveland run defense is no better than it was one year ago. I'm really not sure why so many are in such a panic over Cincy being dominated at Baltimore. Last time I checked, the Ravens were legitimate Super Bowl contenders, not to mention a team that never loses at home. Look for Andy Dalton to have plenty of fun throwing on a Cleveland secondary that is without Joe Haden.
2012 Week 2 NFL picks: Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
So Andrew Luck is human, after all. Big deal. The Indy o-line is slated to be stronger in Week 2 thanks to a couple of midweek acquisitions and the possible return of Winston Justice (concussion), and the Minnesota defense helped Blaine Gabbert look like a star while playing at home last Sunday. With the Indy defense concentrated on stopping Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder may be called upon to orchestrate another game-winning drive, this time at a loud Lucas Oil Stadium. I have my doubts.
My first thought is that there is no way the Raiders will again give a game away. Then I remember that they are, in fact, the Oakland Raiders, and that this is one of those "west coast teams travel east to play at 1 pm" games that routinely disprove point spreads. Ryan Tannehill may not have looked like an All-Pro QB in Week 1, but he was also playing against a Houston defense that is significantly better than is Oakland's. Now he just has to avoid turning the ball over three times in under seven minutes.
All indications are that Kevin Kolb is going to get the nod against the Pats. I'm sure he'll hook up with Larry Fitzgerald multiple times on Sunday, but nobody should forget that Kolb is still the guy who lost his starting gig to John Skelton. New England, on the other hand, looked like your same old Patriots in Week 1. All latest lines I've seen give the hosts a double-digit advantage as of the posting of this piece. Don't be surprised if the Patriots cover the spread and then some.
There's something about analysts and fans turning on a Giants team that loses a season opener that just never gets old. It seems like just yesterday when some were wondering if Rex Grossman was capable of leading Washington to the playoffs after the Redskins knocked off Big Blue last September. The Giants are playing a home game at the end of summer, which means it's probably going to be a close encounter, Tampa Bay will likely have a lead at some point, and Eli Manning will lead his offense down the field for a fourth quarter drive that puts New York up for good.
2012 Week 2 NFL picks: Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
Joe Flacco is a better quarterback than is Michael Vick in 2012. There, I said it. As did Cleveland, the Ravens will force Vick into making several decisions that could result in turnovers. Unlike the Browns, though, Baltimore's defense probably won't give up 456 yards of total offense. All things considered, I think Baltimore is the best team in the NFL right now. I expect they'll prove it on Sunday.
2012 Week 2 NFL picks: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
All it took was one uninspiring performance from Cam Newton for some to break out the "sophomore slump" phrase. A popular thought is that Carolina will look to run the ball more in Week 2, but the Panthers may not have to do that if the New Orleans pass defense is again sleepwalking while on the field. No team, regardless of talent, is going to survive all of the off-the-field issues the Saints have dealt with in 2012 without going through a bit of a rough patch. Brees vs. Newton could make for the most entertaining shootout of the weekend, one that the hosts win.
Week 2 NFL picks: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
This could prove to be a trap game for Houston if they underestimate the Jags. With MJD likely needing at least one more week to truly get into season form, the previously mentioned Gabbert will have to be at his absolute best against one of the more tenacious pass defenses in the league. Simply put, Houston is a very good football team, one that managed to beat Miami by 20 points despite being far from perfect in that contest.
An upset special on paper, as the Rams kinda/sorta should have beaten the Lions in Detroit last week, and RG3 and company are likely to be at least a little overconfident after the big win in New Orleans. While the Washington defense is still very suspect, St. Louis will be without two starting offensive linemen this Sunday. Better days are coming for the Rams, but their nasty habit of starting out at 0-2 will continue in 2012.
Week 2 NFL picks: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
This one should, in theory, be an easy game to pick. Tony Romo and the Dallas offense looked great against the Giants, and the team's defense is much better than it was a year ago. Seattle benefited from a few fortunate calls at Arizona last week, and the Seahawks still couldn't win that game. The worry is that Seattle hardly ever loses a home opener, and you just know CenturyLink will be rocking on Sunday. I don't trust this pick in the slightest.
I really wanted to go with the Jets here. Pittsburgh's offensive line is still a significant concern, and you know Ben Roethlisberger is going to take numerous shots due to his holding onto the football until the final nanosecond time after time after time. The defense of the Steelers just plays that much better at home, though, and one outstanding game at MetLife Stadium hasn't convinced me that Mark Sanchez won't get rattled in Pittsburgh. We also don't know if Darrelle Revis (concussion) will be traveling with New York this weekend, although the most recent reports suggest that he won't play.
Week 2 NFL picks: Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
I like San Diego even if Ryan Mathews is sidelined (broken clavicle) this weekend. QB Jake Locker is banged up thanks to a shoulder problem, and Chris Johnson is averaging under 0.5 yards per carry after Week 1. The story remains the same with the Chargers: They'll win if Philip Rivers doesn't turn the ball over.
Week 2 NFL picks: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Games at Lambeau and at home against Detroit will test the toughness of any team. San Fran proved they are "for real" by beating the Packers at Green Bay in Week 1, but now they've got to avoid a letdown that could affect any team faced with a similar scenario. Matt Stafford redeemed himself after a dreadful first half with a game-winning drive against St. Louis, but he still threw three picks in under 30 minutes against the Rams. What should you realistically expect from him when facing the defense of the 49ers on the road?
Week 2 NFL picks: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons
Peyton Manning is back and all is right in the football world. It is Denver's defense, though, that has me believing the Broncos could be more than just a Wild Card team this fall. With that said, it's very hard to pick against Matt Ryan when he's playing at the Georgia Dome. Ryan has just four home losses in his NFL career, and he looked to be in midseason form against the Chiefs. The three-point spread could be spot on, as this should be a close game that's a lot of fun to watch.