We start off the prognostication on a mildly high note, finishing the week 4-3 in our Week 1 picks (hooray for not being sub-.500!). We get back to our normal slate of five picks this week, and hope to match (or even exceed) the luke-warm success of last week. The games this week include some really terrible matchups that I wouldn’t want to wish on my worst enemies. Cleveland-Cincinnati, Buffalo-Kansas City, and Oakland-Miami sound like games that you would show to Guantanamo detainees when you needed them to talk. We don’t pick any of those games and send our deepest condolences to the markets that those games will be shown. Picks are in bold!
Chicago Bears (+5) @ Green Bay Packers
The Bears are high off their Week 1 win where they look to have a prolific offense for the first time in history. The Packers, meanwhile, are coming off a disappointing effort and a short week to get over it. There’s been plenty of talk this week, with Jay Cutler wishing the Packers’ secondary “good luck” in a manner that suggests he actually doesn’t want them to have any luck at all and Aaron Rodgers called Alex Trebek “pompous,” which is a valid criticism, especially during Kids Week. But in Alex’s defense, the kids don’t know about Tarzan, so they have it coming.
There are also important things happening ON the field that have a bit more weight to tonight’s game. The Packers defense looked just as bad as it did last season against San Fran. They failed to get a pash rush with their front four, needing to bring blitzes from all over, which opened up their secondary to getting torched…by ALEX SMITH. Jay Cutler is many things, including a better quarterback than Smith, and he has two new weapons to throw to in his old-crazy-buddy Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffrey. But he is still Jay Cutler…on a primetime game…againt the Packers. All things that count against him, causing the Bears to lose close. Packers by 3.
Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are coming off a narrow win over the Cleveland Browns where they had to rally late to overcome Michael Vick’s four-interception nightmare. Baltimore just finished wiping the floor with a 2011 playoff team in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens will not be so forgiving to Vick mistakes like Cleveland was, returning all four interceptions with interceptions of their own. The Ravens offense looks to be potent and will be a much tougher test for the Eagles defense that saved the team from an embarrassing Week 1 loss. Joe Flacco is no Brandon Weeden, and will hit his guys much more often than he hits the Eagles’ defenders. Plus, Ray Rice might get to touch the ball more than just 10 times this week (says hopeful fantasy owner). Ravens by 7.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)
The Jets are feeling pretty good about themselves after dropping an NFL-high 48 points last week on the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers are probably really pissed off after losing on Sunday Night Football to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They’ll also have Ryan Clark back in the secondary and hope to have James Harrison back at linebacker. So who do you have more faith in? Mark Sanchez feeling all bubbly about himself after shredding the Bills (who never play well in Jersey) or the Steelers getting healthy, coming home, and with something to prove? Another stat to keep in mind, the Steelers are 0-4 against the Broncos and Ravens since the start of the 2011 season. Agaisnt the rest of the league? 12-2. James Harrison leaves this game with Tebow’s head as a souvenir as payback for last year’s playoff loss. Steelers by 10.
Detroit Lions (+7) @ San Francisco 49ers
The Lions and Niners of course played a thriller last season with Alex Smith throwing a touchdown in the waning moments to put San Fran up 1, which of course led to “handshake-gate.” The Lions are coming off a tougher-than-it-should-have-been win over St. Louis where Matt Stafford threw three interceptions. He has the ability to play sharper than that and will in a game that this team will be more mentally prepared for. The Lions have enough weapons on offense to test the 49er defense and enough strength on defense to stand up to the physical Alex Smith led offense. The Packers rallied and only lost by eight and played horribly. The Lions will be able to keep it within a touchdown. 49ers by 4.
Denver Broncos (+3) @ Atlanta Falcons
The Denver Broncos looked REEEALLY good in dispatching the Steelers last Monday night, with Peyton Manning settling into that old familiar groove in the no-huddle that we got so accustomed to seeing during his prime in Indy. The Falcons were impressive, too, as Matt Ryan led all quarterbacks in fantasy last week (to the surprise of everyone) as they dispatched an overrated Chiefs defense. But the Falcons lost their top cornerback, Brent Grimes, for the season, which hurts their secondary depth leading into the week they did not want to have issues with their secondary. The Falcons can score, but the Broncos can too step for step, and the Broncos defense has that one big play in them to put it away late. Broncos by 10.
2 thoughts on “Poor Prognostication: Tiny Fists Of Triumph”
Could the Vikings end up (gasp) 2-0?
Getting to open the season against Jacksonville and Indianapolis certainly helps their chances. “NFC North leading Minnestoa Vikings” is not something I thought we’d get to say this year though.