Getting into Gear
Week 2 Has Long-Term Implications
One of the tough things about predicting Week 2 is drawing too much from the performances of Week 1. But some teams already have their backs against the wall. Hard to believe games can be important this early in the season, but you don't want to start 0-2, especially if they're both home games -- a situation St. Louis may be in if they can't hold off San Francisco.
Time is short, so here are the picks:
Sunday, Sept. 16
Atlanta (0-1) at Jacksonville (0-1), 1 p.m.
Neither team looked particularly good last week, but Atlanta looked particularly bad. Taking another road trip doesn't bode well for the Falcons. But the Jags couldn't hold home field last week, so maybe it's not all that bad. I don't think Jacksonville is as bad against the run as they were against Tennessee, but Atlanta just might be that bad against everybody.
Prediction: Jaguars, 24-10.
Buffalo (0-1) at Pittsburgh (1-0), 1 p.m.
Buffalo nearly beat Denver last week, thanks to a rare pair of Jason Elam missed field goals. Still, they played well against a very good team. Pittsburgh, not surprisingly, pummeled Cleveland. I want to think Buffalo is more prepared after playing better competition, while Pittsburgh beat up a weak team. But Pittsburgh looked like they had it all together in Week 1 and they're playing at home. We'll see if Buffalo is able to draw on the emotion of Kevin Everett's injury or crumble under it.
Prediction: Steelers, 21-13.
Cincinnati (1-0) at Cleveland (0-1), 1 p.m.
Cincinnati had a short week after an emotion Monday Night win over division rival Baltimore. Cleveland got pasted and then traded their starting quarterback. Unless Cincy suffers some serious post-win hangover, Cleveland will need videotapes to beat them.
Prediction: Bengals, 38-10.
Green Bay (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1), 1 p.m.
Eli Manning is expected to start. Despite losing last week, New York put up 35 points against Dallas, scoring two touchdowns in each of the final three quarters. Green Bay, despite beating Philly at home, looked like .. well, like an NFC North team. New York is already desperate for a win, but will they be more focused or will they panic?
Prediction: Giants, 28-21.
Houston (1-0) at Carolina (1-0), 1 p.m.
It's hard to tell if Houston is getting better, or if Herman Edwards has already ruined Kansas City. Carolina hit the road and thrashed St. Louis at home. But St. Louis has no defense and Houston does. But Carolina has an offense and Houston doesn't. I think at the end of the day, or at least around 4 o'clock, we'll find out that Houston is who we thought they were.
Prediction: Panthers, 27-14.
Indianapolis (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0), 1 p.m.
Indy has had a couple extra days to prepare, and they looked plenty good in dismantling New Orleans. Tennessee won a big game on the road and return home with big heads. I don't know how they're going to fit all those egos in that little stadium. Last year's head-to-heads were decided by a total of 4 points with Tennessee losing by 1 in the dome in Week 5. I still think they'd call it an upset.
Prediction: Colts, 34-17.
New Orleans (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-1), 1 p.m.
N'awlins also has had a couple extra days to lick wounds and prepare for an overmatched team. That's pretty much it.
Prediction: Saints, 31-21.
San Francisco (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1), 1 p.m.
San Fran barely held home field against Arizona and they have a short week on top of it. If they beat St. Louis, they already have two division wins. That will be very important in this division. St. Louis blew their home opener and can't afford to lose their first two home games, especially since they're the first two games of the season. St. Louis will be able to score a little more easily against San Francisco than they were against Carolina. The question is whether they can stop Frisco.
Prediction: Rams, 24-21.
Dallas (1-0) at Miami (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
WHY? WHY DIDN'T WE TAKE BRADY QUINN? WHY?
Prediction: Cowboys, 21-10.
Minnesota (1-0) at Detroit (1-0), 4:05 p.m.
Minnesota's defense looked great against against inept Atlanta. Detroit's defense looked .. um .. serviceable, against Oakland. Detroit also scored 19 points in the fourth quarter against what last year was a pretty good defense. But, c'mon. It's Detroit. They might go 14 more games without a win.
Prediction: Vikings, 24-16.
Seattle (1-0) at Arizona (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
I hate to say simply that Arizona has no chance, because they gave San Francisco a good run on the road. But .. well, it's Arizona. The short week doesn't help, either.
Prediction: Seahawks, 28-14.
Kansas City (0-1) at Chicago (0-1), 4:15 p.m.
How much will injuries affect Chicago's defense? Today may be a good test. Or maybe not.
Prediction: Bears, 10-6.
New York Jets (0-1) at Baltimore (0-1), 4:15 p.m.
I wonder what excuse New York will use after they lose this one?
Prediction: Ravens, 17-13.
Oakland (0-1) at Denver (1-0), 4:15 p.m.
Six afternoon games. Only one worth watching. This one isn't it.
Prediction: Broncos, 30-16.
San Diego (1-0) at New England (1-0), 8:15 p.m.
Please see separately posted game preview.
Prediction: Thank you for your continued support of Pats Pulpit.
Monday, Sept. 17
Washington (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1), 8:30 p.m.
Donovan McNabb is going to have to complete at least 50 percent of his passes sooner or later, and it would help if Brian Westbrook doesn't have double the number of receptions of any receiver or tight end on the team. Then again, Washington's Jason Campbell was just 12 of 21. It's almost a toss-up in Week 2, but I'll give Philadelphia the edge for home field.
Prediction: Eagles, 21-13.
Open Date: None
Last week: 12-4.
Maybe my best Week 1 ever. Let's see if I can maintain that for 17 weeks. (Done laughing yet?)