Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Official NFL Week 2 Primer (With Picks)

Russell Wilson hopes to put Seattle at the top of the NFC West with a win over San Francisco. (Flickr)
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Welcome to Overreaction Weekend.

Everyone went into the season with pre-conceived notions, and many of them were trashed in Week 1. Both of us feel it - we were both under .500 by a good clip in our Week 1 picks. Week 2 is a balancing act - you have to really weigh how much one game really matters, and even beyond that, you have to weigh both sides of the coin. For instance - a lot of people picked the Colts to regress, and a lot of people expected Oakland to be one of the worst teams in the league. So when the Raiders cover a 10-point spread against Indianapolis (and almost win the game outright), does that mean the "Colts Regression" camp was right, or does it mean the "Oakland Sucks" camp was wrong? Or is it both? Or is it neither, and the game was just a fluke? It's only one week, so nobody knows for sure.

In other words, let the overreactions begin.

Game(s) of The Week:

Jacksonville @ Oakland (4:25 p.m. Sunday; CBS)

Just kidding.

Washington @ Green Bay (1:00 p.m. Sunday; FOX)

In the playoffs last year, San Francisco went zone read all over Green Bay's defense to a tune of 570+ yards of offense. Last Week, Green Bay swallowed up the 49ers zone read, but the Colin Kaepernick sliced and diced Green Bay's defense through the air. So it will be interesting to see how Green Bay holds up against Washington - will they stick to their Week 1 gameplan and hope Robert Griffin III can't beat them through the air? Or will they revert to old strategies and perhaps give the Washington offense running lanes up front?

San Diego @ Philadelphia (1:00 p.m. Sunday; CBS)

After watching what the Eagles did in the first half on Monday night, all Philadelphia games will appear in this space until further notice. We both agree on this.

Denver @ New York Giants (4:25 p.m. Sunday; CBS)


San Francisco @ Seattle (8:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC)

Will this be the 13-6 slugfest from Week 7 of last year (which San Francisco won), or will it be the 42-13 ass-whoopin' from Week 16 (which Seattle won)? Making things even more confusing is that San Francisco is coming off a shootout win over Green Bay and Seattle is coming off a grind-it-out win over Carolina.

Here Are The Picks We Agree On (Home Teams in CAPS): 

New York Jets (+12) over NEW ENGLAND 

JC: It's supposed to be overreaction weekend, right? The Jets somehow managed to win a game they shouldn't have won (and would have covered the spread regardless), the Patriots BARELY won a game in which they were double-digits favorites, and now the Patriots will be without their two best offensive players from that game (Shane Vereen, out indefinitely with a broken wrist, and Danny Amendola, "almost certain" to miss the game with a groin injury, per And now the Patriots are even larger favorites than they were against Buffalo? I don't get it.

JP: It's not that I think New York will win the game, but I just don't see New England as the same offensive team they've been in recent years. For that reason, asking them to win by more than 10 against a defense that showed some bite is a little much for me.

PHILADELPHIA (-9) over San Diego

JC: For one, it's the NFC/AFC thing (which I'm going to roll with until I see a reason not to), and two, I'm fairly certain Philadelphia is going to go 19-0 this season so a single-digit spread seems low to me.

JP: On one hand, I don't think Philly is going to be as dominant as they were in the first half of week one, but on the other hand, I don't think San Diego will play as well as they did in a loss to Houston either. Okay, I'm going with Chip Kelly. How can you bet against this man? He just makes the game so damn fun!

BALTIMORE (-7) over Cleveland

JC: Let's be honest - Baltimore isn't nearly as bad as they looked last Thursday. Sometimes Peyton Manning just goes America all over your ass and there's nothing you can do. If Miami can make Brandon Weeden look bad, I'm very confident Baltimore can as well.

JP: Yeah dude, I don't know what everybody is smoking thinking the Browns are halfway decent. They have zero playmakers on offense, a decent young running back, and a few pieces on defense, but nobody overwhelming. Sounds like a pretty crappy team that's going to get devoured in Baltimore's first home game since winning the Super Bowl.

Tennessee (+9) over HOUSTON

JC: Yeah, this is probably an overreaction. I'm cool with it, though.

JP: Tennessee has the offensive line and defensive front to stay in games, and they're always one Chris Johnson juke away from scoring. Like the Jets, I don't think they'll win, but I also don't think Houston will beat them by double digits.

Carolina (-3) over BUFFALO

JC: If we were going to pick a team that looked most impressive in a losing effort in Week 1, Carolina would either be first or second behind Cincinnati (Jacksonville would be last - as usual). Carolina's front ate up Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, so I can only imagine what they'll do to E.J. Manuel and C.J. Spiller.

JP: Wait, you mean you weren't impressed with the Bills in a loss to New England? Yeah, I guess that was a little flukey and Patriots can no longer throw it down the field-ey. I'll go with Cam and the Cats.
ATLANTA (-7) over St. Louis

JC: St. Louis was having some problems corralling Larry Fitzgerald, and that was with Carson Palmer throwing him the ball. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should be able to replicate that. Although the loss of Roddy White certainly gives pause.

JP: The loss of Roddy makes this an attractive line, because I just don't see how the Rams can stay within a touchdown of any team with a pulse, especially on the road.

GREEN BAY (-7.5) over Washington

JC: After seeing what the Eagles did to Washington's defense I can't imagine what Randall Cobb is capable of. He catch the ball in the flat and end London Fletcher's career with a spin move.

JP: I liked the way Washington bounced back in the second half, but they suffered some injuries on defense, and RGIII is still going to be shaking off the rust. If it was this same line in DC, I'd probably bet on the Skins backdoor covering, but I can see this being a 35-24 type of affair where it isn't even as close as the score suggests.

Dallas (+3) over KANSAS CITY

JC: Okay, let's pump the breaks here. Kansas City beat up Jacksonville, not the '98 Broncos. I'm going to wait to see what they do against a real football team before I'm comfortable laying points.

JP: I actually don't feel great about this, because if the Chiefs get going, Arrowhead is a tough place to play. But, you get the feeling that the Boys have a little too much talent, and they're still at least eight weeks away from a breakdown that costs Jason Garret his job.

CHICAGO (-6.5) over Minnesota

JC: After the Vikings got manhandled by Detroit at home (and I really mean that even if the final score didn't show it), I'm definitely going to be picking against them on the road (where they weren't good to begin with).

JP: I was impressed with the Bears last week and let down by the Vikes. Hard to see this one being close, unless AP goes bananas. 

ARIZONA (+2.5) over Detroit

JC: If anyone actually has a strong opinion about this matchup, seek help.

JP: Yeah, I'll take the home team with the points. Plus, like I said last week, I actually think the Cards are gonna be decent this year.

CINCINNATI (-7) over Pittsburgh

JC: Pittsburgh wouldn't have been able to cover this spread at home against the Titans. I think I'll go with Cincinnati here.

JP: Yeah, things look like they're going to get a lot worse before they get better for the Steelers. They need to stabilize the offensive line and find a reliable third option in the passing game. The former won't happen in the course of one week, and the latter won't happen until tight end Heath Miller is healthy.

Here Are The Picks We Don't (Home Teams still in CAPS):

JC: San Francisco (+2.5) over SEATTLE

When two teams are this even it really just becomes a coin flip of whether you want the home team or whether you want the points. I'll take the points.

JP: SEATTLE (-2.5) over San Francisco

You really gonna bet against Seattle at home?

JC: NEW YORK GIANTS (+5.5) over Denver

NFC over AFC.

JP: Denver (-5.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS

Did you see Peyton last week? Did you see Eli last week?

JC: Jacksonville (+6) over OAKLAND

This is a real dilemma for me - picking Jacksonville over anyone or I picking Oakland laying a touchdown over anyone are both options that make me want to throw up. This isn't a football game so much as it's a televised dumpster fire. Let's just move on.

JP: OAKLAND (-6) over Jacksonville

I love what I saw from Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders last week, and I just honestly see no reason why this Jaguars team can't go 0-16. Well, they do get a forced quarterback upgrade with Chad Henne stepping in for the injured Blaine Gabbert, but still...

JC: TAMPA BAY (+4) over New Orleans

This is an overreaction to everyone else's overreaction. Yeah, New Orleans won against Atlanta on the road, and Tampa Bay lost to the Jets. So New Orleans giving four is a reasonable line. But I'm still rolling with Tampa Bay. I'm probably going to feel like an idiot by about 1:45 on Sunday.

JP: New Orleans (-4) over TAMPA BAY

Yeah, you probably will. Honestly, I would have taken this line if this was an opening week matchup. I just don't believe the Saints are as bad as they showed last year, and I like Tampa's collection of talent, but I just don't trust them yet.

JC: Miami (+3) over INDIANAPOLIS

I'm still riding that "Colts Regression" bandwagon. And Miami looked like a semi-legitimate football team against the Browns. Although, now that I think about it, it WAS the Browns. But I still like the Fish here.

JP: INDIANAPOLIS (-3) over Miami

That's a popular bandwagon, and if the Colts can't beat Miami at home by a field goal or more, I'll be jumping on. But, I'm still not buying Miami after a win over freaking Cleveland. How did a win over Cleveland suddenly become reason for optimism?

Three Team Tease(s) of The Week:

JC: Atlanta (to +3), Green Bay (to +2.5), Baltimore (to +3) 
JP: I still don't do these things.

Jeremy's Records:

Last Week: 5-10-1 
Season: 5-10-1
Last Week's Disagreements: 1-2-1
Season's Disagreements: 1-2-1 
Teases: 1-0

Joe's Records: 

Last Week: 6-9-1
Season: 6-9-1
Last Week's Disagreements: 2-1-1
Season's Disagreements: 2-1-1
Teases: 0-0

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