NFL Picks: Week Two
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
The lyrics from the famous song by The Doors are rolling through my head, sung of course by Jose Feliciano: "The time for hesitation is through … c'mon baby light my fire." With the Orioles grabbing a significant portion of our sports attention span, we'll blame that for a fair week straight up and a downright off-full (as in awful) week versus the spreads. "Light my fire … light my fire," indeed. Here are my picks during a week when I see enough value to select nine games.
Note: Stan "The Fan" Charles made his for the Thursday game before it kicked off.
Picking The Winners
NY Jets at Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay at NY Giants
Chicago at Green Bay (Thursday)
Arizona at New England
New Orleans at Carolina
Oakland at Miami
Kansas City at Buffalo
Minnesota at Indianapolis
Baltimore at Philadelphia
Detroit at San Francisco
Dallas at Seattle
Houston at Jacksonville
Washington at St. Louis
Denver at Atlanta
Tennessee at San Diego
Cleveland at Cincinnati
*winners in bold
Picking Against The Spread
NY Jets +5.5 at Pittsburgh
OK, the Jets shocked the western hemisphere last week with their total domination of the not-so-awful Buffalo Bills. But this week, they go into a hostile environment at Heinz Field and will need to play with some mustard, if you will. But ketchup and Big Ben Roethlisberger will turn the high-octane Jets back into more of a putt-putt offense. On defense, the Jets will have to go it alone. The Steelers really have to have this one, and they will get it decisively.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 29, NY Jets 13
Tampa Bay at NY Giants -7
Like the other New York team's game, this matchup really should boil down to who needs and wants the game more. The Cowboys were ready to make a statement against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants and took them to the woodshed during the season opener. Tampa beat Carolina in Week One, but Week Two is the welcome-to-the-NFL moment for coach Greg Schiano. The Giants' defense will make it a long, long afternoon for the Bucs' young offense.
Prediction: NY Giants 26, Tampa Bay 7
Arizona at New England -13 ½
Arizona was able to hold off the Seahawks' precocious quarterback Russell Wilson last week, but Tom Brady is no rookie. The Patriots will hone what they have, and they play the right team to sharpen their teeth on. The Cardinals' new-old starting quarterback, Kevin Kolb, will wish he was on the bench and the injured quarterback John Skelton was standing upright. The Patriots will make it messy and painful to watch … if you are a Cardinals fan in Foxborough, Mass. This one will be a big-time beatdown, which will end 5-7 minutes into the second quarter.
Prediction: New England 34, Arizona 10
Houston at Jacksonville +7 ½
Maybe the Jaguars' new headman, Mike Mularkey, will have matured into the type of coach a lot of people felt he would be 8-9 years ago in Buffalo. Maybe. But the reality is he'll need a lot to break in his favor in order to make this seem like a sensible hire. And by breaks, we don't mean breaks of legs and arms for the opposition. The Jaguars will not be seen on local Jacksonville television this entire season. For the locals, that's the good news. They still seem to be the first choice to end up in La-La Land. In this game, they have not only zero chance to win, but zero chance to stay within hailing distance of the tough Texans.
Prediction: Houston 31, Jacksonville 6
Minnesota at Indianapolis +1 ½
This game pits two not-very-good teams against one another for the underdog's home opener. In betting parlance, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's team is a "home-dome dog." I'll double down on Luck, simply because the spread in this situation just doesn't seem right. And, I might add, that Colts defense is still impressive at times.
Prediction: Indianapolis 20, Minnesota 16
Cleveland at Cincinnati -7
It's always easy to knock owner Mike Browns' Bengals for a myriad of things done wrong. But, plain and simple, they were overwhelmed by what Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Co. brought to the table. And despite the blowout final score, four minutes into second half, they had the Ravens' defense rattled. The Bengals should easily win the first battle for Ohio in 2012, in a fashion close to what the Ravens did to them last week in Baltimore.
Prediction: Cincinnati 33, Cleveland 13
Kansas City at Buffalo -3
Both of these teams were thrashed by their respective opponents last week. Normally, I'd go with the team that is playing its home opener (Buffalo). But Kansas City lost at home against a far superior opponent. To make matters worse, the Chiefs have a huge revenge factor stemming from a year ago, when the Bills came into Arrowhead and put a 41-7 butt whooping on the Chiefs. Although the Chiefs' Romeo Crennel wasn't the head coach then, his defense has probably been licking its wounds, readying for this second act.
Prediction: Kansas City 26, Buffalo 17
Oakland at Miami +2 ½
Both of these teams are starting new regimes. The Raiders do travel 3,000 miles and are coming off a Monday night debacle, but even with a short work week, they are much further along than the Dolphins. The Raiders were giving the Chargers all they could handle until their now-ex long snapper entered the game. Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer and his friends should be tough to stop here.
Prediction: Oakland 27, Miami 13
Baltimore at Philadelphia -2 ½
I’ll make you a prediction right here, on top of my game prediction. This spread will go down as the most obvious gift to betting fans all year. In this boy-plays-father-to-the-man matchup between Eagles coach Andy Reid and his protégé, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Philadelphia will be every bit as overwhelmed by the Ravens' offense as the Bengals were. And once Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees has the leaf, he'll let his defense loose again. It will be another long afternoon for Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
Prediction: Baltimore 28, Philadelphia 14
Denver at Atlanta -3
Is Peyton Manning truly back? Not yet, but what is left of him, along with an underrated Broncos defense, will combine to win again. The only way the Falcons win is if their quarterback, Matt Ryan, plays out of his mind.
Prediction: Denver 23, Atlanta 16
10-6 picking winners (10-6 last week)
2-4 picking against the spread (2-4)
This version of the story corrects Stan "The Fan" Charles' record picking winners. PressBox regrets the error.
Posted Sept. 15, 2012