Sunday, September 20, 2009

Picking the Second Week in the NFL

This must be Division Matchup weekend in the NFL. Nearly half of the games are between division rivals.
  • Houston at Tennessee — The Titans are at home and they are favored by 6½ points over the Texans. I think Houston will be better this year, but the Texans may not improve upon their 8–8 mark from last year. Tennessee, meanwhile, won its division last season. I'll take Tennessee.

  • Carolina at Atlanta — Atlanta is the favorite. Atlanta is at home. Jake Delhomme is the quarterback for the Panthers. Need I say more? I'll take the Falcons.

  • New Orleans at Philadelphia — If Donovan McNabb hadn&apo;t been injured, I wouldn't hesitate to take the Eagles in this game. But McNabb is injured and the Eagles' quarterback situation is, well, you pick the word. Be it polite or profane, I'm not inclined to take Philly this week with Kevin Kolb directing the offense. Give me the Saints.

  • St. Louis at Washington — The Redskins are favored by 10 points. If I was picking against the spread, I'd take the Rams. But I'm not. The Redskins should win the game.

  • Minnesota at Detroit — Since the Vikings and Lions are in the same division (and have been, practically since the dawn of time), I was going to look up their head–to–head record over the years. But then I remembered. This is the Lions we're talking about! Why make it hard on yourself? I pick the Vikings.

  • New England at N.Y. Jets — The Patriots didn' cover themselves with glory against the Bills last week, but they're still better than the Jets. I'll take New England.

  • Oakland at Kansas City — This is the kind of game that poses a challenge for me. Two teams that appear to be equally bad. A glance at the recent history of the series doesn't help much. Just about a year ago, on Sept. 14, 2008, the Raiders came to Kansas City and returned home with a 23–8 victory. The year before, on Nov. 25, 2007, the Raiders left Kansas City with a 20–17 triumph. But the Chiefs won the five home games before that, and they have an 11–7 record against Oakland since the 2000 season. Overall, Kansas City's record against Oakland, including three playoff games, is 51–44–2. So I guess the numbers favor the Chiefs. But I'm going to go with the Raiders.

  • Arizona at Jacksonville — The Cardinals are favored. After their loss to the 49ers, I don't know why. I'll take the Cardinals to win. Again, I don't know why.

  • Cincinnati at Green Bay — In the battle of the quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers has shown me more than Carson Palmer, even though Rodgers hasn't started a playoff game yet. The Pack is playing at home. I'll go with Green Bay.

  • Seattle at San Francisco — Seattle has never been much of a road team yet the Seahawks are favored by 1½ points. The winner of this game takes the early lead in a weak division. I'll take the 49ers.

  • Tampa Bay at Buffalo — Not much to say about either team's offense. Buffalo at least has something resembling a defense. My pick is Buffalo.

  • Pittsburgh at Chicago — I don't think Jay Cutler and his receivers are on the same page yet. That was a bad thing against the Packers last week. It will be a disaster against the Steelers today. I'll take Pittsburgh.

  • Cleveland at Denver — Do you remember the days when the Browns and the Broncos used to play with a Super Bowl berth on the line? Those days are gone. I'll take the home team.

  • Baltimore at San Diego — The Chargers are favored. How can that be, with LaDainian Tomlinson nursing an ankle injury? I'll take the Ravens.

  • N.Y. Giants at Dallas — It's the Cowboys' first regular–season game in their new stadium. Dallas handled Tampa Bay last week but couldn't handle the running game. New York should be able to run the ball fairly efficiently. I'm not a fan of either team, but I'll take the Giants.

  • Indianapolis at Miami — This game might be competitive enough to keep the Monday night audience tuned in, but, unless Peyton Manning gets hurt, I expect the Colts to prevail.
I went 13–3 in the first week of the season.

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