The first week of the 2011 NFL season brought a series of major surprises, great games, gaudy statlines and exciting finishes.
Meanwhile, there was nothing exciting with my picks from last week, posting a painfully subpar 6-10 record against the spread during Week 1. Heading into the week, there were three picks that I knew were major risks, and I lost all three of them.
Week 2 features another hefty batch of marquee matchups, including Bears at Saints, Chargers at Patriots, Bucs at Vikes and Eagles at Falcons.
Time to get pickin’…
Last Week: 6-10
Last Season: 144-112
It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows” – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 1’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appear through CBSSports Fantasy).
Pick Your Knows: 2011 NFL Week 2 Picks Against the Spread
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
The Bills were one of the big Week 1 surprises, posting a 41-7 drubbing of the Chiefs. This week, Buffalo hosts the Raiders, a team that dominated the Broncos in the trenches. Oakland had five sacks and had a 150-yard rushing performance by Darren McFadden. Expect Buffalo’s offensive line to have trouble with the Raiders D-line.
KP’s Pick: Oakland
Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (+10.5)
Cam Newton shocked the football world when he threw for 422 yards against the Cardinals last week. Newton should have plenty of chances to rack up more yards, but likely due to the Panthers playing from behind against the potent Packers. And speaking of potent, Green Bay’s defense is much better than Arizona’s, too. Green Bay covers on the road.
KP’s Pick: Green Bay
Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions (-8.5)
Like many, I’ve hitched a ride on the Lions’ bandwagon, but I also don’t think that the Chiefs – a playoff team in 2010 – are as bad as they played last week. Eric Berry is out for the season, and Stafford could take advantage of that. But expect the Chiefs to regroup and ride the momentum of Jamaal Charles. Kansas City keeps this game within a score.
KP’s Pick: Kansas City
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts (+2.5)
Veteran Kerry Collins struggled during Week 1, a blowout loss to the Texans. Colt McCoy and the Browns struggled, too, losing to Cincinnati. The Colts have always been a much better team at home, and it’s hard to imagine that Collins won’t play better with another week under his belt. There’s just too much talent in Indy, and the Colts win outright at home.
KP’s Pick: Indianapolis
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
Donovan McNabb can go nowhere but up after his Week 1 performance. The Bucs were one of just two teams to not get a sack during Week 1. With home field advantage and big bodies on the O-line, expect the Vikings to run Adrian Peterson right down Tampa Bay’s throat. Minnesota rebounds, and sends the Bucs to a 0-2 start.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)
The Bears dominated the Falcons at home during Week 1, accumulating five sacks. This week, they face a road test against a potent Saints offense that will be without Marques Colston (broken collarbone) and could be without Lance Moore (groin). But Gregg Williams’ aggressive defensive style will force Jay Cutler mistakes, and the New Orleans crowd will be amped.
KP’s Pick: New Orleans
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets (-10.5)
For anyone that has followed the Jets in recent seasons, they are a team that frequently plays down to its opponents. A Jets team rarely blows anyone out. Jacksonville will likely also attempt to run the ball often with MJD, eating up lots of clock. With all this in mind, it’s a safe bet to take the Jags and the points, assuming Jacksonville could keep this game at 10 points or less.
KP’s Pick: Jacksonville
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5)
Again, another high spread. Pittsburgh looked horrible last week, turning the ball over seven times against the Ravens. Seattle didn’t play any better, but the Seahawks did manage to hold Frank Gore and the San Francisco running game in check. Combine that fact with a potential for one great special teams play, and it will be hard for the Steelers to cover. Take the safe bet.
KP’s Pick: Seattle
Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (+5.5)
The Ravens were one of the most impressive teams during Week 1. This week, Baltimore travels to Tennessee, and faces off against a weaker foe. Tennessee is notorious for giving the Ravens fits, but in the end, the suffocating Baltimore defense shuts down a rusty Chris Johnson and forces too many Hasselbeck errors. Ravens cover on the road.
KP’s Pick: Baltimore
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Rookie QB Cam Newton threw for 422 yards against the Arizona defense in Week 1. This week, the Cards get Rex Grossman, who had a 300-yard game of his own. Combine that with a much-improved Redskins defense, and it could spell trouble for Arizona. Jim Haslett will be Kevin Kolb’s nightmare on this day. ‘Skins cover at home.
KP’s Pick: Washington
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5)
The Cowboys gave away a win to the Jets during Week 1. This week, Dallas – which clicked offensively during most of its first game – faces the 49ers on the road. Dez Bryant may be battling a thigh injury, but Dallas has too much talent on both sides of the ball, especially against a San Francisco team that struggled offensively versus Seattle in Week 1. Dallas covers.
KP’s Pick: Dallas
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-5.5)
The youthful Bengals played well, upsetting the Browns in Week 1. Denver is dealing with the Tebow-Orton distraction, plus has a number of players battling injuries (eight players didn’t participate in practice earlier this week). Andy Dalton will likely start again, and all signs are pointing to this being a tight game throughout.
KP’s Pick: Cincinnati
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (+2.5)
Both teams were explosive offensively during Week 1. Chad Henne’s solid first week performance was drowned out by an even better effort by Tom Brady. But the Texans appear that they will have Arian Foster back, and have the stronger pieces in place. If Miami gets stuck in another shootout, go with the Texans.
KP’s Pick: Houston
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots (-5.5)
The 2010 Chargers were among the NFL’s best teams both offensively and defensively. The issue was on special teams. The Chargers improved there, but just lost kicker Nate Kaeding for the year. New England was clicking on all cylinders at Miami last week, and plays even better at home. A shootout is likely, with each team trading touchdowns. Go with the home team (by 7).
KP’s Pick: New England
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (+2.5)
In the NFC’s game of the week, Michael Vick travels back to Atlanta, while the Falcons return home in a borderline must-win situation after getting spanked by Chicago last week. Matt Ryan can count his number of home losses on one hand. Ryan’s efficiency, combined with a steady dose of Michael Turner (aimed at the Philly linebackers), and Atlanta can win this one.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta
St. Louis Rams at New York Giants (-6.5)
One week in, and the Rams are already banged up, with Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford and Danny Amendola all getting hurt during Week 1. Bradford is likely to play, while Jackson is still a question mark. Meanwhile, the Giants will get Justin Tuck back, and will be looking to rebound at home. Eli and the offense bounce back, knocking off St. Louis by a TD at home.
KP’s Pick: New York Giants