Ok so I’ve been getting request to make weekly predictions..ok this might be a little harder for me to do since I tend to stay busy but I will do my best to stay on top of it and give it my best each week I predict. So here we go:
Cleveland Browns (0-2) vs. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Dont so readily dismiss the Browns. They are a pretty good team. Brady Quinn has a great arm and a good knack for getting the ball where it needs to be (for the most part). Josh Cribbs is becoming quite a quality receiver and Jamal Lewis in the backfield is always a threat. That being said they are facing the crushing defense of the Ravens who finished 2008 ranked #2 overall (behind the Steelers) and who are starting off this season in that same form. Joe Flacco in only his 2nd season has become a phenomenal quarterback and the unretirement of Derrick Mason has made him a favorite target of Flacco. They are 2-0 so far and playing at home where they always play their division rivals tough. I’m picking the Ravens.
Washington Redskins (1-1) vs. Detroit Lions (0-2)
Lions jumped out to early lead against the Vikings last week before crumbling and losing 27-13. Stafford’s touchdown to Johnson was fantastic and shows the rookie has the capability to get the ball to his #1. Redskins meanwhile have looked downright awful at times on offense. In week 2 they were unable to score a single touchdown and a questionable call to go for a touchdown on 4th down at the end of the game instead of kicking a FG and going up 12-7 left many folks confused. However, the Redskins have a good defense. Can the Lions keep from breaking the tie for 2nd place all time in losses? Unfortunately for them I dont see that happening. I’m picking the Redskins.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) vs. Houston Texans (1-1)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Jaguars are just 2 years removed from the playoffs and now look rather horrendous. Gurrard seems unable to get to his open receivers and Jones-Drew has not looked like the same back from 2 years ago. They are sputtering badly and looking bad in a very tough division. In the meantime the Texans provided a shocking upset last week against the Titans. Matt Schaub has thrown with some consistency and Chris Brown has become a quality back for them. It is their defense though that has become quite a force. I’d love to see the Jags get their first win but that may be hard against this D. I’m picking the Texans.
San Francisco 49ers (2-0) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
The battle of the unbeatens. Who is the true contender and who is a pretender? Will this week answer that question? I highly doubt it but 1 of these teams will mark their first L of the season. The 49ers have looked good in their 2 division wins beating the Cardinals in Arizona and a Hasselback-less Seahawks at home. Frank Gore? Wow..where ya been? Glad to see you doing well. Shaun Hill is a quality QB which has been the missing element for them for the last few years. The Vikes…well you cant talk Vikes without talking Adrian Peterson. It is frightening what this child can do to opposing defenses. He may not be an all around back but he is the very definition of RUNNING back. Nothing needs to be said about Brett Favre. He may be a gun slinger and a risk taker at times but the man’s passion for the game and throwing ability cannot be denied. This is definitely going to be an interesting game to watch. I’m picking the Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) vs New England Patriots (1-1)
The New England Patriots got lucky on a fumble to win their first game of the season. Last week they looked terrible on offense as they were unable to score a single touchdown. Brady on his 1st year back from a season ending injury has not looked like the Brady of old. Not to say that as the season goes on he wont improve but an ACL injury usually takes 2 years to fully recover from so I expect him to struggle a bit this year. Their running game with Kevin Faulk and Laurence Maroney hasnt been quite as explosive as we’ve seen in the last few years but then they arent getting many opportunities in the red zone. Falcons on the other hand have played superb in their 2 wins so far this season. Matt Ryan in only his 2nd season at QB is proving he has the ability to be the future of this franchise. He throws with consistency and threads the needle to his receivers in coverage. Michael Turner in the backfield has the make-them-miss ability that you want in a great running back. These 2 together are becoming a force in their own right in the NFC South division. Pats at home is hard to pick against though. Hmmm. I’m picking the Falcons.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Ahh the Chiefs..somehow this team cannot seem to get it together fully. I never know what to expect from them week to week. Sometimes they look good and sometimes they look downright awful. Regardless the last few years they havent mustered up enough wins to be considered any threat in the AFC West division, typically finishing dead last. Not to say that they are getting blown out. I think Cassell will be fine in Kansas City but it will take some work. The McNabb-less Eagles looked terrible last week but then everyone seems to look bad against the Saints who look nearly unstoppable. Kolb is a proficient quarterback and proved he can get the ball where it needs to be. The question everyone is curious about is will the Eagles play Vick who has become eligible to play his 1st regular season game this week. The Eagles say Kolb will start if McNabb isnt up to starting but whether or not they play Vick remains to be seen. It’s possible they will bring him in on some wildcat plays playing as wideout..we’ll see. I’m taking the Eagles.
Green Bay Packers (1-1) vs. St. Louis Rams (0-2)
Aaron Rodgers is proving that he is a good quarterback to follow the legend that is Brett Favre. While the Pack plays a bit inconsistent at times, their passing game is fantastic. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings have the speed, strength and good hands to keep the ball moving down the field. Ryan Grant is a strong power runner that can bust one up the middle. Add to it a solid defense and you can see why they are a contender in the NFC North. The Rams on the other hand have been abysmal for the last few years finishing in the bottom 3 last year. Mark Bulger is injury prone and extremely inconsistent. Steven Jackson has not been able to break for any long runs this year, but then his opportunities so far in the red zone have been nearly non existent. I think the Rams can win at home, but I dont think this will be that game. I’m picking the Packers.
New York Giants (2-0) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)
Everyone thought with the loss of Plaxico Burress that the Giants would be struggling this year to establish their passing game. Ha..boy did they have everyone fooled! Not only has Eli thrown with great accuracy so far (he was easily rattled last year when his pocket collapsed), but Mario Manningham and Steve Smith have proved that the Giants have moved on from the loss. Smith already has 214 receiving yards and a touchdown this season and Manningham has caught for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns..and this is only 2 weeks into the season! They are going to be a force and definitely dominate the NFC East having already beaten 2 division rivals in their first 2 games. Buccaneers are in a rebuilding period. Raheem Morris is a first year head coach trying to turn the ship around on a team that has been playing up and down since their superbowl appearance. Byron Leftwich has looked good at times and bad at times. The running game with Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams has been mediocre. Hard to kick a team when they are in the rebuilding phase, but I do feel they are going to struggle this year. I’m picking the Giants.
Tennessee Titans (0-2) vs. New York Jets (2-0)
Hello Mark Sanchez..where have you been all of the Jets life? Who knew the Jets not the Pats would be atop the AFC East division..wow. Mark Sanchez has proved he has a gun for an arm. Jerricho Cotchery has turned into his primary target and has the soft sweet hands to stay that way. Thomas Jones consistently runs up the middle with a breakaway speed able to get him in the endzone (he has 2 TDs already this season). Their D last week looked incredible, keeping New England from scoring a single TD. Amazing. Titans meanwhile have lost some close heartbreakers..in Pittsburgh against the defending Superbowl champs and in the waning minutes at home against Houston. Kerry Collins has kept them in games with his accuracy and ability to get to the open man down the field. Chris Johnson has become an explosive runner right up the middle with a speed that leaves defenders in the dust (he has scored 3 TDs already this season, 2 of them just last week) and proving he is reliable at receiving as well. I think the Titans will get it together and put together a good season, but hard to pick against the Jets at home. This is a toughy here…hmmmm. I’m taking the Jets (only because they are at home).
New Orlean Saints (2-0) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Can anyone stop the Saints? Wow..have you seen them play? Drew Brees has already thrown for 669 yards and 9 (yes count that NINE) touchdowns and we are only in week 2!! Marques Colston has already caught 3 of those. Mike Bell has run for 229 yards and a touchdown (though he’s out for this game) and Reggie Bush has scored 1 as well. The defense has been playing outstanding. Darren Sharper had an interception for a TD last week as the Saints went on to blowout the McNabb-less Eagles. Bills meanwhile are tied for 2nd in their division with the Pats. They lost a last minute heartbreaker due to a fumble at home in week 1 against the Pats and they beat the rebuilding Bucs in Tampa. While T.O. has only caught 1 TD so far he has helped open up their passing game by allowing Lee Evans to get more open down the field. Fred Jackson has 220 yards rushing so far and may break for a long one if his line can open up a hole for him. The Saints right now are just too much for any team to handle…I’m picking the Saints.
Chicago Bears (1-1) vs the Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
The Chicago Bears had a devastating loss to open the 2009 season. Not only did Jay Cutler throw for 4 interceptions, but they lost Brian Urlacher for the season because of a dislocated wrist. However, Bears were able to get it together and muster up a win in week 2 at home against the Steelers. After the disastrous week 1, Cutler threw for 236 yards, 2 TDs and 0 interceptions in Week 2. Johnny Knox had 152 yards on 8 receptions. Matt Forte hasnt quite exploded yet, but has kept his hands on the ball which has kept the offense on the field. Even with the loss of Urlacher the defense stepped up and played well last week. Seahawks meanwhile lost last week against the 49ers in San Francisco and lost Hasselback for atleast 3-6 weeks with a broken rib. The lost may be troubling for them, but Seneca Wallace will have Deion Branch at wideout this week, which may help to open up the field more for him. Carlson has been playing consistent even with Branch out having already scored 2 TDs so far this season and Julius Jones though stuffed up the middle last week is a great running back. However without Hasselback, Seahawks are not the same team. I’m taking the Bears.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Steelers lost a close one last week in Chicago last week after winning a close one at home against the Titans in week one. Roethlisberger has thrown for 584 yards and 2 TDs but also 3 interceptions in 2 games. He is a gun slinger and a risk taker so certain levels of up and down play is expected with him (you get that with gun slingers). Santonio Holmes has been the leading receiver with 214 yards and a touchdown while Hines Ward has only 160 yards and a fumble so far. Willie Parker hasnt been a factor so far this season but if he stays healthy can be a threat. Bengals in the meantime lost a heartbreaker at home in week 1 on a last second fluke of a play against the Broncos. They came back last week against the Packers in Green Bay to win 31-24 and put them at 1-1 and tied for 2nd in their division behind the Ravens. Carson Palmer plays hot and cold, having thrown for 432 yards and 3 TDs but also 4 interceptions (2 each week). Chad Ochocinco was shut out of the endzone in week 1 but managed to score his 1st TD for the season in Week 2. Cedric Benson didnt score a TD last week but still managed to rattle off 141 yards on 29 rushes. Bengals arent a bad team, they just need to step up more and make the big plays. I’m picking the Steelers.
Denver Broncos (2-0) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-1)
While no one expected the Broncos to start fast out the gate, they have managed to rattle off a 2-0 record. Week 1 was won on a last second play that will most likely go down in NFL lore (good heads up Stokely). Week 2 against the miserable Browns was a blowout (but the Browns look awful so it was expected). Kyle Orton has thrown for 506 yards and 2 TDs with 0 interceptions so while not the gunslinger that Cutler was, he hasnt turned the ball over either. Brandon Marshall may have had some off season and preseason issues with the Broncos, but still played hard in the first 2 weeks. Broncos for years have played running back by committee and Moreno and Buckhalter have kept drives alive (though Moreno is now injured). Broncos defense meanwhile has looked remarkable. Mike Nolan made some moves in the off season and the addition of Brian Dawkins at safety was a good pick up for them adding leadership in the secondary that was sorely needed. Elvis Dumervill at linebacker stepped up last week against the Browns and caught Brady Quinn for 4 sacks. Meanwhile the Raiders have played 2 division rivals with 2 different results. They lost a close one at home against the Chargers and won a close one in Kansas City against the Chiefs. JaMarcus Russell has played extremely awful. His QB rating is only 46.6 and he’s only thrown for 317 yards and 1 touchdown while being picked off twice. While JaMarcus has a gun for an arm his accuracy is terrible and he does not have the fundamentals down. He throws with no follow through in his hips sometimes flinging the ball as he leaps causing the ball to go way over the head of his receivers. Darren McFadden did manage however to score a TD last week so he is a bright spot for them on offense. What has kept them in games though is their D. The addition of Richard Seymour at DE and the always reliable Nnamdi Asomugha at corner keeps the Raiders in games even when they struggle to score. The Raiders are always tough for the Broncos in Oakland, but unless JaMarcus gets it together fast, the Raiders are going to have a horrible season. I’m picking the Broncos.
Miami Dolphins (0-2) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-1)
ROAR! Did you hear that sound? That’s the sound of the wildcat offense, that the Dolphins played superbly last year. This year it hasnt roared so much as meowed as they’ve started the season 0-2. They lost to the Falcons in Atlanta in week 1 and lost to the Colts at home in week 2. Chad Pennington has thrown for 359 yards and a touchdown, but also 2 interceptions. Ronnie Brown was stuffed during week 1 against the Falcons but managed to run for 136 yards and 2 TDs last week against the Colts. The team is in a rebuilding phase though so it is going to be a tough season for them. Chargers meanwhile have managed to look both good and ugly at the same time. Against the lowly Raiders they looked pretty good beating them 24-20 in Oakland. Last week they struggled and lost against the tough defense of the Ravens with Rivers throwing for 2 picks and Sproles being held to just 26 yards and no TDs. With L.T. out with an ankle injury Sproles will have to run with the explosiveness that he was known for last season. Can the Dolphins pull out the wildcat offense and beat the Chargers in San Diego. I have to say no. I’m picking the Chargers.
Indianapolis Colts (2-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Peyton Manning is a remarkable if not downright spectacular quarterback. You cannot deny his throwing ability nor his vision or ability to audible his own plays. He has made the Colts a contender for more than 5 years now. 2 games in and they sit alone atop their division. Manning has thrown for 604 yards and 3 TDs w/ only 1 pick. Tight end Dallas Clark struggled to make catches in week 1 but week 2 had 7 catches for 183 yards and a TD. Reggie Wayne struggled last week against the Dolphins in Miami but has 13 receptions for 199 yards and a TD so far this season. While Addai only has 74 yards and a TD so far the rookie Donald Brown has been a welcome addition to the Colts running game. At the same time Colts D has been playing very well. Dwight Freeney and company have kept opposing offenses from racking up yards or TDs. Cardinals have looked a little soft this season. Week 1 against the 49ers Kurt Warner struggled throwing for just 288 yards and only 1 TD while being picked off twice. Last week however he bounced back against the Jaguars throwing for 2 TDs and no picks and setting a completion record at 92.6% on 24/26 passes. Larry Fitzgerald has 2 TDs and 105 yards receiving over 2 games. Running back Tim Hightower was stopped in week 1 but last week managed to score his first TD of the season. While the D didnt look good in week 1 they managed to turn it around last week and keep them in the game. Much as I’d like to go out on a limb with this pick I just have too much faith in Peyton. I’m picking the Colts.
Carolina Panthers (0-2) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Wow what can you say good about the Panthers? Jake Delhomme has looked downright atrocious. Week 1 against the Eagles he threw for not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 interceptions and 0 TDs. Unbelievable. Week 2 against the Falcons while he managed to throw for 308 yards and a TD, he also threw another pick giving him 5 already this season. DeAngelo Williams has managed to rattle off 116 yards and 2 TDs so far which is a bright spot for them. The D was god awful against the Eagles in week 1 but last week against the Falcons kept them in the game (they only lost by 8). The Cowboys started the season as many forecasters favorite to not only go but to win the superbowl. Week 1 against the Bucs rolling up 34 points made it look like this prediction wasnt far fetched. Week 2 against the Giants proved to be a much tougher contest with Tony Romo throwing 3 picks and costing the Cowboys the game. Despite this though, the Boys only lost by 2 so they can keep games close and competitive even when on the losing end of such contest. Credit their D for that. Marion Barber has 2 TDs and Felix Jones has 1 TD so the running game is solid. I dont think the Panthers are going to have a good season and I dont think they can beat the Cowboys in Dallas. I’m picking the Cowboys.
Ok that’s it for this week…we’ll see how accurate I am. I dont think I went out on a limb with any of my picks this week but we’ll see how well I do.