Week 2 - NFL picks
Oakland at Kansas City (-4) - Since these two teams play twice head-to-head, we're pretty much guaranteed that they'll combine to win at least two games on the season. I wouldn't count on much more than that.
Green Bay (-3) at Detroit - The Lions allowed 34 to the Falcons last week. They're a better team at home, usually, but are they enough better not to lose by a touchdown or more? I don't think so.
Tennessee at Cincinnati(-1) - Are the Bengals a great team? No. They'll be 8-8 again this year, as they have been basically every year under Marvin Lewis. And this week takes them to 1-1.
Chicago at Carolina (-3) - Two of the biggest surprises of week 1 as far as I was concerned were these two teams winning in Indianapolis and San Diego respectively. Since I think the Panthers are a better team, and they're at home, I'm going with Carolina.
Buffalo (+6) at Jacksonville - Jacksonville may not have the ability, with their current offensive line, to blow anyone out. The Bills are a tough team, who should be competitive with anyone. The Jaguars end up winning by a field goal.
New Orleans at Washington (+1) - There are a few bad teams. There are a few good teams. And there are a host of teams in the middle, teams that will finish with 6-10 wins, separated, over the course of the season, by a couple of bounces of the ball, teams that can beat just about anyone on "any given Sunday," and lose to almost anyone on "any [other] given Sunday." These two are both in that last group. Going with the home team.
Indianapolis (-2) at Minnesota - Yes, the Vikings are supposed to be good. Yes, the Colts were shocked by the Bears last week, and may not be what we thought they were. I need to see far more evidence in support of both of those propositions before I buy either.
N.Y. Giants (-9) at St. Louis - Given what the Rams have done over the past year-plus, isn't that kind of low?
San Francisco at Seattle (-8) - This game will not be broadcast in my local area. I will not get to watch it. This does not fill me with jealousy, rage or a sense of deprivation.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-8) - I think Matt Ryan's going to be a good pro QB. He'll discover this week that there's a difference between an NFL defense and the Detroit Lions defense.
Miami (+7) at Arizona - I've been a Chad Pennington detractor for years, but it's because I've focused on his limitations. His arm limits the upside of any offense that he runs. But he's smart, efficient, and much better than anything the Dolphins have had since Marino retired. And once again, Bill Parcells has chosen to come in and rescue a team that had injury and ineffectiveness problems lead to a record that significantly underperformed its talent level. I think Miami actually wins this outright.
New England (+1.5) at N.Y. Jets - If the spread had been set for this game during the first week of training camp, the Patriots would be favored by 10. Since then, however, the Jets have replaced Chad Pennington with Brett Favre, and the Patriots have replaced Tom Brady with Matt Cassel. Everyone should understand that I'll be picking the Patriots every week regardless.
Baltimore (+4.5) at Houston - Two of the mass of teams "leading lives of quiet desperation." Houston wins, but that's too many points to give.
San Diego at Denver (+1.5) - On paper, before the season started, the Chargers are a better team than the Broncos. In the thin air, without Merriman, not so much.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Cleveland - If the Browns can score 30, the Steelers might not cover. Might not.
Philadelphia at Dallas (-7) - How much of what happened last week was the Eagles and how much was the Rams? I don't know. I know this will not go the same way...