The curse of having a 'good week' at the coalface that is NFL picks is, the only way is down. Way down. This columns went 11-4 against the spread last week, and that should have been an enjoyable achievement, instead it is weighing this column down, an albatross around its neck. How can we go 11-4 again? So much expectation! The only answer is, success is depressing. Mediocrity is the obvious way forward. Here's to a nice, Toronto Blue Jays, Ryan Reynolds, Stoke City, 'average' kind of week, a nice 8-8 week.
Last weeks totals against the spread - 11-4 Running total - 11-4
On to the picks.
Oakland @ Buffalo -3.5 The theme of week two from a gambling perspective is undoubtedly ‘over-reaction’. When was the last time Buffalo were -3.5 against anyone? Was Jim Kelly at the helm? Buffalo have a whiff of friskiness about them, but you would have to argue, did they turn into World beaters over night? Should we suddenly be considering the 1000/1 Superbowl odds on the back of one win against a very erratic Kansas side? Backing Buffalo does not pass the million dollar test. That is, if someone handed you a million dollars and told you to place a single bet on this game, you would only have one ‘safe’ option, right? The Pick: Oakland +3.5
Chicago @ New Orleans -7.5 So I guess we are continuing to ignore the fact that Chicago actually won the NFC North last season? It is incredible how the sporting media can affect the general consensus on a given team. There is no way the Bears are more than a touchdown underdogs to New Orleans. Not right now. Everyone is aware the Saints top two wide outs are probably out of this game, right? Maybe at their peak the Saints would be ‘that’ scary, but not right now. A more realistic handicap would have been -3 or maybe even -4.5, but over a touchdown? Really? Take the points and watch the Bears keep it close. The Pick: Chicago +7.5
Cleveland @ Indianapolis +2.5 More market over-reaction. The Colts will be more prepared, Kerry Collins will have had another week to get his house in order, the Colts will be pumping crowd noise in like nobody’s business, and Cleveland are still reeling from losing badly to the Bengals last week. Just a feeling, but take the few points on offer in what should be a close one, and side with the slightly more desperate of the two. Not often you get a home dog with as many quality players (Freeney, Garcon, Collie, Clarke) as the Colts have. The Pick: Indianapolis +2.5
Kansas @ Detroit -8.5 You know at first This Column balked at the sight of that gaudy looking handicap. However, then we considered the game more closely. Detroit are on a serious upswing. Kansas are in complete disarray. Detroit won a tough road game against another up and coming team with a potentially great QB (Tampa/Josh Freeman) while Kansas were completely humiliated by one of last season’s worst sides (Buffalo). Detroit have a veritable tone of momentum going into this one, and frankly nothing bar the reverse lock theory can save Kansas. The Lions score early and often and questions start getting asked in Kansas. The Pick: Detroit -8.5
Green Bay @ Carolina +10.5 What on earth is going on here? Is this the run in to the playoffs, are Carolina already out of it and are Green Bay playing for their lives? How on earth are we already dishing out double figure handicaps?! Everyone saw Cam Newton play last week, right? Once again, Carolina go into a game with two dynamic running backs and a sense that they have nothing to lose. Their explosive rookie QB was the toast of the NFL last weekend, yet the bookies don't appear to be anywhere near impressed by his strong opening showing. Admittedly the Packers are a fine unit, and torched the Saints, but they had their own home crowd and that particular opening night momentum behind them. Carolina get that on Sunday, and can ride that and the youthful exuberance of Cam Newton to, well, to within 10 points anyway!
The Pick: Carolina +10.5
Baltimore @ Tennessee +5.5
Oh those saucy Ravens! Such a tease. That was an overwhelming showing against the bemused looking Steelers last week. Everything on both ends of the ball went right for Baltimore. More often than not, unless you are the 2007 Patriots, perfection is not the norm within the confines of the NFL. Meanwhile, Tennessee continue to search for an identity. Chris Johnson continues to attempt to get going. A home opener and a sense of urgency point to Tennessee keeping this close.
The Pick: Tennessee +5.5
Tampa @ Minnesota -3.5
Tampa ran into the exploding star of momentum that is the Lions. Let's just say the Vikings do not quite represent that much potential energy. Josh Freeman gets his 2011 season going by leading the Buccs to a show road win against a Vikings team looking for an identity amongst so much change.
The Pick: Tampa +3.5
Jacksonville @ New York Jets -10.5
Oh right, I thought it was the completely and utterly ringless New York Jets, but according to those 10.5 points in the handicap this is the '85 freakin Bears. C'mon man! Hey, there's no doubt the Jets are a decent ball club and etc and etc, however Jacksonville know what they have to do, which is namely ram the bowling ball that is Maurice Jones Drew into the line 35-40 times and pray he comes out the other end for 120-130 yards. This clown thinks he does.
The Pick: Jacksonville +10.5
Arizona @ Washington -4.5
That was a fantastic opening from the 'Skins, who look younger, hungrier and more, well, more 'into' the whole thing. Washington won all the little battles against a wildly over matched Giants team. Arizona meanwhile had a nice little opener to themselves. Beanie Wells stayed on the field for an entire game, a miracle in itself, and Kevin Kolb looked like the real deal. A major red flag however is 'Zona's horrific road results the last few seasons. Add to the the fact that Wells could hobble off the gridiron at any time, and you find yourself grunting, and saying ''Well, maybe Washington are the pick!''
The Pick: Washington -4.5
Seattle @ Pittsburgh -14.5
Okay now this one wide margin handicap I actually understand. Seattle are a complete mess. In almost every element of the game. The Steelers are licking their wounds, and have to come out flying to bring their home crowd back in on the deal. Seattle could be in for a royal hiding here.
The Pick: Pittsburgh -14.5
Dallas @ San Francisco -2.5
Good for Alex Smith. Now he's only the eleven games under .500 for his NFL career. The Cowboys looked pretty feisty last week in New York, and have the tools and skills to beat the Niners, even on the road.
The Pick: Dallas +2.5
Cincinnati @ Denver -5.5
When This Column first saw this line, jaw dropping did follow. While Denver are busy losing at home to Oakland and spending the rest of the week ripping themselves apart from the inside with one of the more head scratching QB controversies of all time, The Bungles were busy proving themselves to be in possession of, you know, heart. If they keep this up, The Bungles will be a term of endearment, rather than one of derision.
The Pick: The Bengals +5.5
Houston @ Miami +2.5
What's the over for this one? Anything below ninety is still tasty. Miami have jettisoned their running game in favour of slinging the ball round the park like one of those 50-60 pass attempt Bledsoe led Patriot teams of the nineties. Meanwhile Houston kicked the dog that is the Colts while it was down last week, piling on the points like a big bully. We could easily see eighty points combined here.
The Pick: Houston -2.5
San Diego @ New England -6.5
Gosh imagine that! San Diego struggling to cover an early season whopper of a handicap last week? We all know the script when it comes to the Chargers. Start slow, come on strong, evaporate when the playoffs start. They do it every single season, they are as predictable as the seasons. Or at least, as predictable as the seasons were, you know, a decade ago. Meanwhile, The Brady Bunch look like they have decided to dust off the old 2007 playbook and let loose the old passing game. How on earth are teams going to cover not one but two incredible Tight Ends? And by the way, remember, you heard it hear first, Hernandegronk is a beast. With Welker and Branch catching everything thrown within ten feet of them, and Ochocinco, eh, providing a distraction, it is a nightmare for any defensive coordinator to rein in the Patriots. The obvious answer would appear to be, get after Brady, but the Patriots offensive line is good enough to give him enough time to pick apart any Blitzing defence. It is early, but the Patriots look really, really good.
The Pick: The Patriots and Hernandegronk -6.5
Philadelphia @ Atlanta +2.5
Interesting smoke and mirrors for these two last week. While the Eagles had their way with a injury riddled Rams, the Falcons had to endure a bit of a bashing at the hands of the Bears. The same Bears who won the NFC North last season. And the same Bears who were enjoying the momentum of their home opener. This week, the market correction will apply itself, and the Falcons and their bevy of brilliant receivers, will cause the Eagles more headaches than expected.
The Pick: Atlanta +2.5
St Louis @ New York Giants -6.5
No Steven Jackson? You want to say 'No problem', however, the fact of the matter is the Rams relied heavily on Jackson last season, he often single handedly kept them in games. Without him there's no need to stack the line. The Giants can pin their ears back and go after Bradford. The Giants do not look like world beaters, however the home opener factor, combined with a tinge of desperation after losing last week, should provide enough impetus to whitewash a badly bruised Rams team that's going to have to get healthy to realise its promise.
The Pick: The Giants -6.5
Good luck all ya'll.
Feel free to copy and paste the below into the comments section to do your own picks! Week 2 Oakland @ Buffalo -3.5 Chicago @ New Orleans -7.5 Cleveland @ Indianapolis +2.5 Kansas @ Detroit -8.5 Green Bay @ Carolina +10.5 Baltimore @ Tennessee +5.5 Tampa @ Minnesota -3.5 Jacksonville @ New York Jets -10.5 Arizona @ Washington -4.5 Seattle @ Pittsburgh -14.5 Dallas @ San Francisco -2.5 Cincinnati @ Denver -5.5 Houston @ Miami +2.5 San Diego @ New England -6.5 Philadelphia @ Atlanta +2.5 St Louis @ New York Giants -6.5
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