Friday, September 16, 2016

NFL Week 2 Primer (With Picks): Overreaction Weekend!

The Steelers and Bengals are, uh, not fond of each other.

 By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Week 1 is in the books, and now we roll onto Week 2, where everyone over-reacts from Week 1 and teams you thought were Super Bowl Contenders end up kind of sucking and teams you thought were dead in the water end up going 12-4.

Week 1 brought a lot of surprises. The team that went 15-1 last year lost on opening night, Carson Wentz turned out to be kind of okay, Minnesota turned out to be just fine without Teddy Bridgewater, the Jets borderline out-played Cincinnati (and won fairly convincingly Thursday night), and two Florida teams (Jacksonville and Miami) held their own against two of the elite teams in the NFC (Green Bay and Seattle). And, perhaps the coup de grace, New England went into Arizona and beat the Cardinals sans Tom Brady.

Week 2 usually also brings a lot of surprises, but they're usually compared to what (we thought) we learned in Week 1. With that in mind, let's get on to the lines.

Game(s) of The Week

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (1:00 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

Our first re-match of a playoff game from last season, and perhaps the most memorable. Obviously, the teams look different than they did last January, but the broad strokes are still in place, and it's still a divisional rivalry. This is easily the best game of the early slate.

Dallas at Washington (1:00 p.m. Sunday, FOX)

Because it's the NFC East and my mother can name at least one player on each team. Granted, the player she can name on Dallas is Tony Romo (who isn't playing) and the player she can name on Washington is "isn't that the team with the racist nickname?" (who, technically, isn't a player) but you get what I mean.

Kansas City at Houston (1:00 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

Another playoff re-match! Except, this playoff game sucked. The only thing I remember is that Kansas City won by a lot and Houston decided they needed to replace everybody on their offense not named DeAndre Hopkins.

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

New York Jets (PK) over BUFFALO

This one turned out to be closer than we thought - as it turns out, the Jets might actually be good and the Bills might actually suck. Although, giving Matt Forte 30 carries every week probably isn't the best long-term strategy. Let's keep an eye on this.

DETROIT (-6) over Tennessee

JC: Detroit went on the road and did work against Indianapolis' woefully over matched defense, and Tennessee looked like one of the worst teams in the league (like, they held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on 19 carries and *still* lost by double-digits). Detroit might end up being better than everyone expected (and by that, I mean, like, 8-8), so they should win this one pretty easily.

JP: Tennessee's front seven is underrated, but it's just about the only thing the Titans have going for them. Detroit continues its (surprisingly) hot start, before an inevitable mid-season swoon.

HOUSTON (-2.5) over Kansas City

JC: Kansas City needed a miracle comeback last week to beat San Diego at home (which I find to be pretty embarrassing), and I still think that Houston is going to surprise a lot of people over the course of the season.

JP: Houston looked competent on offense last week. If they can do that consistently (keep getting the ball to Hopkins), they can be scary good. Kansas City, on the other hands, looks like it has lost some juice on defense.

NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) over Miami

JC: Miami certainly looked good last week, but New England didn't really seem to miss much of a beat, if at all, with Jimmy Garoppolo replacing Tom Brady. Garoppolo borderline earned "sure, I'll bet on this guy until he proves I shouldn't" status, but then again, I'm also a Patriots homer.

JP: I have zero faith in Miami. Unlike my Tampa Bay love, I've learned my lesson with this "it's our year" Florida team. Phins are gonna need to do more than almost beat a good team to get that confidence back.

Baltimore (-6.5) over CLEVELAND

JC: If Cleveland can't even contain Philadelphia's offense, they aren't going to do much better against Baltimore. Also, Baltimore's defense looked pretty damn good in Week 1, and Cleveland is rolling with [insert irrelevant backup quarterback here] under center.

JP: You've gotta give it to Cleveland. They even sped up RG III's injury timeline.

Cincinnati (+3.5) over PITTSBURGH

JC: We're going with a classic "hey, one of these teams looked bad in Week 1, one of these teams looked great in Week 1, but lets' not forget, these teams were basically even last year, and the losing team only lost because of a lot of weird crap that's probably not likely to happen twice" reasoning here. I'll take the points.

JP: That half-point is what did it for me. This looks like a field goal game either way, so if one team is getting more than that, you've gotta take em.

Dallas (+3) over WASHINGTON

JC: Washington had one of the worst run defenses in football last year (they surrendered 4.8 yards per carry, good for 31st in the league), and gave up 4.9 yards per rush last Monday night. This seems like a huge game for Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott.

JP: Dallas should have won last week, so I'll take them with the points against a team that doesn't know how to use their big-money corner.

New Orleans (+4.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS

JC: It just seems like New Orleans is going to put up a buttload of points every week, regardless of who they're playing. Every year, we try to write off New Orleans because of a crappy defense before we remember that they're in pretty much every game because they have a great offense, regardless of who they're throwing out at the skill positions. Hell, they turned Willie Snead into an above-average wide receiver.

JP: If Drew Brees plays like he did last week, the Saints win this thing straight up. Seriously, that was some vintage Brees stuff, and I don't know if we can count on that week in and week out. But, I've actually done a 180 on this New Orleans offense, even after the loss to Oakland.

San Francisco (+13.5) over CAROLINA


JP: Hey, they can run the ball and defend. They can't do much else, but that should keep them within two touchdowns of most teams.

Seattle (-7) over LOS ANGELES

JC: One thing I'm totally willing to over-react to? Los Angeles sucks. Like, a lot. They thought Case Keenum gave them a better offense than the dude they drafted with the first overall pick. Then they gained like, 14 total yards, against the 49ers. This team sucks.

JP: Man, that Rams offense looked rough. If they get behind the sticks (they will), I've gotta think the Seattle defense turns them over multiple times in a blowout win.

Jacksonville (+3) over SAN DIEGO

JC: Both of these teams impressed against impressive teams from last year, and both of them tried to establish themselves as the quirky "hey, we might not be *that* bad!" team in the AFC. If these teams are equal (which they might be), I'll take the one getting the points that didn't lose their No. 1 receiver last week.

JP: I think San Diego had its chance, and the Chargers blew it. Jacksonville looked solid against Green Bay, so why not take the Jags and the points?

Green Bay (-3) over MINNESOTA

JC: I wouldn't bank on Minnesota scoring two defensive touchdowns again.

JP: And that Aaron Rodgers guy looks pretty good too. 

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

JC: ARIZONA (-6.5) over Tampa Bay

I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1. I will not overreact to Week 1.

JP: Tampa Bay (+6.5) over ARIZONA

I'm torn on this one. On one hand, Tampa Bay is my "seriously, they're gonna be good this year" pick, but Arizona was my Super Bowl pick, and them falling into an 0-2 hole would really put a damper on that. So, I'll pick the Cards to win by a field goal, thus giving Tampa the cover, and allowing Arizona to bounce back.

JC: Indianapolis (+6.5) over DENVER

This is another "hey, let's not overreact to Week 1." Denver's offense still might not be good (I remain unsold on that Trevor guy who was a 7th round pick out of Northeastern or wherever the hell he's from) and Indianapolis has established that, at least offensively, they're a much (spoiler alert) better team with Andrew Luck playing quarterback.

JP: DENVER (-6.5) over Indianapolis

I don't want to overreact to Denver's Week 1 performance, but man that defense looked good again, and freakin' C.J. Anderson made me really regret blackballing him in all my fantasy leagues. Neither team is great, but Denver can run it and defend, while I don't know what Indianapolis does well, other than watch Andrew Luck run for his life.

JC: Atlanta (+5) OAKLAND

Everybody and their brother and their brother's cousin and their brother's cousin's roommate is going to be on Oakland this week. No thank you.

JP: OAKLAND (-5) over Atlanta

I've been on the Oakland train for a while, and I also secretly think Atlanta is hot garbage. So yeah, I'll be in on that hot Raider action this week. You're missing out.

JC: Philadelphia (+3.5) over CHICAGO

The points, please, just the points. Especially more than a field goal. Especially when I hate both teams. Especially when the team I'm taking might have a sneaky-good defense and might be a super-sneaky bet to win the NFC East (they're at +400 right now). Just sayin'

JP: CHICAGO (-3.5) over Philadelphia

I'm already regretting this pick, but I'm gonna keep my Bears suicide pick going for another week. It looked good for a half last week, but I think they should beat the young Eagles at home, and why can't Jay Cutler put together a complete game while the stakes are still low?

Jeremy's Record:
Last Season: 131-117-8
Last Week: 7-9
Last Week's Disagreements: 2-2

Joe's Record:
Last Season: 132-116-8
Last Week: 7-9
Last Week's Disagreements: 2-2

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