NFL Picks - Week 2

Sunday Morning

San Francisco @ Cincinnati
If you choose to watch this game, be prepared to see the clip of Joe Montana’s Super Bowl XXIII winning TD pass to John Taylor at least six times. Also, you might catch a highlight from that other Super Bowl these teams played in. A lot of people don’t remember the first Niners/Bengals Super Bowl from the 80s. And I say that based solely on conjecture. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anybody about that game, and I absolutely haven’t polled a wide enough sample size to have a good idea of what percentage of the population has any knowledge of it taking place. But yeah, like I said not many people remember Super Bowl XVII. Oh whoops, it was actually Super Bowl XVI. Wait a minute, do I remember the game? What was the score? Did it even actually happen? The only reason I thought it did was because Cris Collinsworth bragged to me that he had 100 yards receiving in a Super Bowl once. He said it was Super Bowl XVI, but I never bothered to verify. Hmm, I’ll have to get back to you about this.

Bengals 23-20

Los Angeles Chargers @ Detroit 
Last week, with their starting kicker hurt, the Chargers turned to first year punter Ty Long to pull double duty. He performed admirably, which is borderline stunning for a Chargers kicker, by converting all three of his extra point attempts and nailing a 40 yard field goal. It’s still TBD whether or not LA's starter Michael Badgley will be returning for this match-up, but I for one hope that he doesn’t. Not because I have anything against the guy, I just want Long to handle the kicking duties again, and make another 40 yarder, so that we can see the headline: Ty Long Ties Long. It’s the storyline that I’ll be monitoring most closely this week.

Chargers 31-21

Minnesota @ Green Bay
The Vikings manhandled the Falcons in Week 1 en route to a 28-12 victory. And how many passes did Kirk Cousins throw in his team’s win? 10. Cousins went 8-10 for 98 yards. And I say bravo! In today’s modern NFL where everyone says you have to throw to win, Cousins has proved that when your defense forces 3 turnovers, and the special teams blocks a punt, you don’t necessarily need to throw the ball 30+ times to compete. Meanwhile, the Packers only scored 10 points in their opening win at Chicago. In the process they proved that you don’t need offensive fireworks to prevail, you just need to be playing against Mitchell Trubisky. But who wins this Sunday? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cousins go 1-1 for 99 yards and 1 TD in an 8-7 loss to Green Bay. That’s the kind of hyper-efficiency we’re dealing with on both sides here. But I suppose I should guess something a little more realistic. After all, that’s what you come here for, right? The realism.

Vikings 20-19

Indianapolis @ Tennessee
I don’t think anybody wanted Andrew Luck to retire, but I’m guessing the Titans weren’t extremely disappointed by his decision. It’s not they’re jerks (though Marcus Mariota seems like a real bastard, don’t be fooled by his calm demeanor and sterling reputation), it’s that they just couldn’t beat Andrew Luck. And I’m not exaggerating, they literally never beat him. Luck went 12-0 against Tennessee. The old saying goes: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Well if you can’t join ‘em, you can always hope that they’ll retire prematurely. The sea has now parted for the Titans. No longer do they have only 14 winnable games on their schedule. And judging from their Week 1 romp in Cleveland they’re invigorated by that prospect. 

Titans 27-20

New England @ Miami
Normally a trip to Miami has been a stumbling block for the Patriots, with the Dolphins winning five of the last six games played in America’s finest state. So normally it’s circled on New England’s calendar as a potential problem. This season it’s circled on the NFL’s calendar as a potential problem, because afterwards they may have to address the issue of the league’s sudden competitive imbalance. I’m tempted to pick this score to approach the all-time record rout of 73-0 (from the 1940 NFL Title game in which the Bears kicked so many PATs into the stands that they were forced to go for two after their last few TDs due to a shortage of balls (that's actually real)), but I suspect that the Antonio Brown will be such a team cancer that he instantly poisons the culture in New England, causing their margin of victory to be a paltry 40ish.

Patriots 45-3

Buffalo @ New York Giants
If you looked solely at the amount of points these teams scored in Week 1 you might assume they’re on equal footing. You’d also be pretty dumb though. Sure they both scored 17 points last Sunday, but did you even bother to look at how many points they gave up? What’s going on with you? Sometimes I wonder if you even know football. Maybe I'm just on a higher level. Anyway, as for this game ... Um ... Hey, did ya ever notice how these teams have similar colors? Also they played in a Super Bowl once. So that should be interesting to keep an eye on. 

Bills 16-12

Seattle @ Pittsburgh 
Pete Carroll has long preached the motto “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” It’s a nice sentiment, but unfortunately it seems like Pete believes that means you have to start poorly. At least that’s what one could infer based on the Seahawks’ routinely sluggish beginnings to games and recent seasons on the whole. Look, I’m all for growth and improvement, but it couldn’t hurt to try to start off well and then just keep building off of that, right? Seattle managed to slip away with a win last week, but beating the Bengals by 1 point at home is sort of like microwaving a frozen dinner. Yes, you accomplished what you set out to do by eating a warm meal, but don’t be offended if no one congratulates you for it. The Hawks will need a few more metaphorical culinary flourishes when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on a Steelers team that figures to be real peeved after being embarrassed by the Patriots on national TV. Whether or not said peevishness will result in improved play is anybody’s guess, but one thing we can be certain of is that ... um ... Whoops, I didn’t really know what I was going to say there, I just started typing, and now I look like a real moron. Whoa, Pete Carroll was right! Finishing is the important part. Now I have to pick Seattle.

Seahawks 27-24

Dallas @ Washington
 Sure, Dak Prescott was impressive against the Giants in Week 1, but let’s also give some credit to Case Keenum. In his Washington debut he threw for 344 yards and 3TDs in a one dimensional offense that only mustered 28 yards rushing. Just when we think we can count this guy out he comes storming back to have a serviceable enough season that he catches on with a different, quarterback-needy team the next year. Washington is now the fourth squad in four years Keenum has started for. He’s played in 58 career games, but never more than 16 with any single team. Taking all of this into consideration I don’t think it’s too early to start speculating on where Case will be playing in 2020. I’m going to guess Tampa, and I’m setting a reminder in my phone right now to revisit this in about 9 months. 

Cowboys 30-16

Arizona @ Baltimore 
After an up and down opener it’s hard to know exactly what to make out of this Cardinals squad. So far though it really seems like they play to the level of their competition. And I mean exactly to that level, because they tied the Lions in their first game. It will likely be tougher to match a Ravens team that looked unbeatable in Week 1. Of course, Baltimore was playing the Dolphins, and as of now it’s unclear whether or not a 49 point win over Miami should be considered impressive. 

Ravens 33-21

Jacksonville @ Houston
Last week the Jags opened their season at home in the swampy 90 degree heat of Jacksonville and Myles Jack lost his mind as a result. He was ejected from the game for throwing a punch, refused to leave the field, appeared to attempt to go after a ref, had to be escorted off the field by two Jags staffers, and then seemed to feign fainting in a failed last-ditch effort to escape his escorts and get back on the field. Sometimes a player just feels too much inside. And then other times a player’s brain is melted by the heat and there’s no turning back. Speaking of players’ bodies deteriorating, if Deshaun Watson keeps absorbing the kind of hits he took in Week 1 he’ll likely be wheeling himself to the field in a Rascal scooter by Week 6. And he’ll probably still throw for 3 TDs. 

Texans 34-17

Sunday Afternoon

Kansas City @ Oakland
In Week 1’s nightcap of Monday Night Football the Raiders proudly proclaimed that they didn’t need the petulant receiver, who shall no longer be spoken of in Oakland, to win football games. Heck, they’re probably better off without him! And I agree! ... As long as they get to play the Broncos every week. I checked the schedule though, and unfortunately that’s not the case. In fact, the 3 time defending AFC West champs are coming to town on Sunday, and after a 40 point performance in their opener, the Chiefs seem to have picked up right where they left off. Though if there’s one team that could slow KC down it may be the Raiders. Not because of their defense, but because they still play with a partially dirt field, which may literally slow KC down. I’ve heard they’re even leaving the pitcher’s mound and some of the bases in on Sunday. Every little bit helps; but it likely still won’t be enough.

Chiefs 31-20

Chicago @ Denver
Looking at Joe Flacco’s stats from the Broncos Week 1 loss could fool one into thinking he had an average outing. I, however, watched (a good amount of) the game and I can tell you that Flacco was well below average. Even worse, he was totally non-threatening. Well, except for that one series where he brought a knife on the field. But that threat wasn’t exactly football-related. Fortunately for Denver, they’re going up against a quarterback who had an even more tepid 2019 debut. To his credit, Mitchell Trubisky did throw a pass that was caught in the end zone. The refs ruled that it didn’t count for points however, because it was caught by a Packer. So which QB will get nearest to mediocrity this Sunday? Hard to say, but I can’t imagine Flacco having any chance against this Bears D, with or without the knife. 

Bears 16-9

New Orleans @ Los Angeles Rams
I’ll consider it a surprise if Sean Payton doesn't challenge for pass interference on the first throw of the game. Strangely it will be a 75 yard Saints touchdown, but this man has principles damn it. Sure, the TD will get overturned, and the Saints will go on to lose by 4, but Payton will have proved his point! And yes, this loss will trigger a downward spiral that results in the Saints missing the playoffs, Drew Brees retiring, and Payton getting fired, but the world will known that he meant business. And certainly, losing his job will send Payton into a deep depression that will ruin his marriage and he’ll one day die alone because of a pass interference challenge. But I’m sure that when he gets to the pearly gates he’ll tell St. Peter that he doesn’t regret it one bit. St. Peter will then cast him down to hell for his stubbornness, but at least Sean Payton will be able to look himself in the mirror. Of course, there are no mirrors in hell, but you get what I mean. 

Rams 31-27

Sunday Night

Philadelphia @ Atlanta
 The Falcons looked like straight up garbanzo beans last week in Minnesota. Now they come home in need of a win against a tough Eagles squad. Which bird will fly the highest this Sunday? Why ask me when you can turn to ol' CriColl himself:
That seems a bit biased Cris. I'm going to stray from convention and disagree with you, likely to my own detriment.

Eagles 26-23 

Monday Night

Cleveland @ New York Jets
Both of these would-be upstarts had disappointing openers last week, with the Browns getting creamed in Cleveland (possible title for a much racier, long overdue, Sleepless in Seattle sequel), and the Jets treating their home fans to a blown 16 point lead. Now an 0-2 start looms for one team, as does a reaffirmation for that fan base that God does exist, and s/he hates their football team. But who does the lord despise most? Tune in this Monday to find out! And don’t be surprised if there’s a lightning delay. 

Browns 24-10

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