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NFL Picks, Week 2: Eagles-Falcons, Packers-Panthers, Bears-Saints And More

Michael Vick returns to Atlanta in an early season nail-biter, Cam Newton faces his first non-Arizona defense, and Indianapolis is a home underdog - to Cleveland. Your bookie eagerly welcomes you to the NFL's second week.

The light stretching of Week One is over, and the nation's oddsmakers finally have some tangible results to study. A rather ho-hum slate of games is spiced up by some very close spreads, including a single-point Sunday night blockbuster.

The picks:

Oakland @ Buffalo (-3 1/2). It's a battle of the undefeateds as Jason Campbell's Oakland Raiders visit the high-powered Buffalo Bills, led by NFL touchdown leader Ryan Fitzpatrick! No, seriously, I just typed that. And it's freakin' true. The wide-eyed innocence of Week Two is glorious. PICK: Buffalo

Cleveland (-1) @ Indianapolis. That's insane. That's just downright insane. The Browns just fell by double digits to the Bengals AT HOME, and they're suddenly favored in Indy? I know the Colts looked like boiled denim last week, but this is crazy talk. PICK: Indianapolis

Jacksonville @ NY Jets (-10). Last week's Jets-Cowboys game was an emotional affair. On one hand, I was overjoyed to watch the Dallas lose a heartbreaker, particularly when the blame laid so squarely on Tony Romo's shoulder pads. At the same time, I had to witness the fluky Jets get a fluky win and smile their dumb fluky smiles. Here's hoping Jacksonville rides the karma train into the Meadowlands. PICK: Jacksonville

Kansas City @ Detroit (-9). It appears I was wildly overstating the facts when I called the Chiefs "an average team" last week. One 34-point loss to the Bills later - in which Ryan freakin' Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns - I'm ready to go ahead and preorder my Andrew Luck Chiefs jersey. PICK: Detroit

Green Bay (-11) @ Carolina. Sorry Mr. Newton, you can't play Arizona every week. Ok, fine, this UGA/Falcons fan will give a slight bit of credit to Cammy-Cam, who didn't look like an all-out Clausen-shaped disaster last week. The guy might win another game or two in the NFL, and he may or may not be my new fantasy team's backup QB. But there's a wake-up call to be had, and those yellow and green bastards will be the ones to give it. PICK: Green Bay

Arizona @ Washington (-3 1/2). My brain will never accept Rex Grossman as an employed NFL quarterback, much less one who throws for 300 yards and wins. Call it what you will - a disease, a condition, an overbearing attachment to logic - but I just can't do it. PICK: Arizona

Chicago @ New Orleans (-7). There's a lot to be learned here for Falcons fans. The Saints demolish the Bears, and last week's loss looks even scarier. The Bears thrash the Saints, and our division rivals look hella-mortal (but give us an unforeseen conference foe up north). I think the best-case scenario is a low-scoring, injury-riddled affair, followed by mass suspensions and retirements. PICK: New Orleans

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-15). This could be advertised as the next Saw movie. A pissed-off Steelers team will set elaborate and increasingly gory traps for a cloying and stupid Seahawks squad, and there will be blood. I'm thinking the spread would have to hit 24 before I even thought about Seattle here - Heinz Field will be a hornet's nest after last week's embarrassment. PICK: Pittsburgh

Baltimore (-7) @ Tennessee. Watching the Titans play football is like trying to take the Saltine cracker challenge. Your mouth gets dry, swallowing becomes impossible, failure is guaranteed, and pastiness ensues. This has always been true, but of course Matt Hasselbeck has only exacerbated the problem. PICK: Baltimore

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota (-1 1/2). The NFC South went 0-4 last week, but no team is kicking itself more than the Bucs. They were the one with a winnable game at home, and a huge opportunity to separate itself from the pack. Sometimes, though, all it takes to get on track is a big dose of Donovan McNabb suckage. PICK: Tampa Bay

Dallas (-2 1/2) @ San Francisco. I pictured a sucker-punched Texas native last Sunday night, picking up his guitar to put his pain into song. He cranks out a slow country melody, eventually addressing his patron saint of ill-timed quarterback dumbassedness. "Oh Tony Romo, you're such a ..." But he stops, looking up at the stars, trying to find the perfect rhyming word. "Domo? Too foreign. Nomo. Nah. Womo? Eh, screw it, let's just call him a jackhole." You may choose to think of this as a Texas native's lack of vocabulary, but I think it's damned progressive. PICK: Dallas

Cincinnati @ Denver (-3). On Wednesday night, I stayed at home by myself, drank a couple of raspberry vodka and Sprite Zeros, and watched eight Netflix'd episodes of "Cougar Town." I tell you this to prove I don't embarrass easily - and yet if I were caught publicly watching this game, I'd hang myself. PICK: Denver

Houston (-2 1/2) @ Miami. It's a little nerve-racking when a line is this obvious, no? Miami is still walking funny from New England's thorough violation, and the Texans just whipped Indy for 60 full minutes. Eeks. Vegas is practically begging folks to take the Texans here, and that usually means run the other way. But damn, I just can't in this case. PICK: Houston

San Diego @ New England (-8). It's a really disconcerting, messed-up week when the Patriots are involved in two controversies, and I take the side of the current Pats players in both of them. First, there was Tedi Bruschi's ridiculous, media-whoring criticism of a tame Chad Ochocinco tweet. It was actually one of the most respectable things Ochocinco could have written, after garnering only 14 of Tom Brady's 511 passing yards. And then Brady himself stepped in it, humorously suggesting Pats' fans imbibe before their late afternoon contest. Predictably, panties were bunched, and the team offered a hilariously unbelievable explanation that the quarterback was talking about water (despite the fact he used the term "lubed up"). C'mon, NFL season - don't have the Falcons go 0-2 and have me on Tom Brady's side. Not nice. PICK: New England

Philadelphia (-1) @ Atlanta. My expectations for this game have changed with each passing minute. Eagles win big, Falcons shock 'em, Michael Vick wins it in the last minute, Matt Bryant kicks a winner. All I know is I'll be there, and am perhaps as nervous about the crowd as I am about the game. Over 70,000 football fans, many who've been drinking all day, all there to see the ever-so-slightly polarizing Vick make his first start against his old team. The Georgia Dome has an emergency number for fans to text in case of rowdiness - that sucker is going to be burnt out by the second drive. PICK: Atlanta

St. Louis @ NY Giants (-7). Seemingly half of St. Louis's roster is injured, and thus New York enjoys what is bound to be its biggest spread of the year. There's no ignoring this is still the 2011 Giants, though, and they shouldn't be a 7-point favorite over Tennessee Tech at this point. They're not exactly healthy, either, with minor names like Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora filling this week's injury reports. PICK: St. Louis

Last week: 8-7-1

NFL Odds found here.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.