NFL Week 2 Locks: Teams You Can Count On
There are so few things in this world that are certain. Death and taxes, as they say.
As conscious beings, we strive to understand every aspect of our world. We want to know how and why things happen. And anyone that tells you that they enjoy surprises is a blatant liar. If we could have it our way, we would choose to know, beforehand, every major event that would happen in our lifetimes. People hate the unknown.
Well look no further, my friends!
There are five NFL matchups on the docket that I find so lopsided, I'm willing to all but guarantee victories. You can lock these games up.
Bengals over Browns
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Both teams had highly disappointing season openers. For Cincinnati, they traveled to Baltimore and were steamrolled by a Ravens team that looked like a well-oiled wrecking machine coming off of preseason.
The Bengals defense, that had been solid in 2011, was picked apart by Flacco and Co., to the tune of 44 points. The game wasn't close. But I wasn't terribly surprised.
Now, the Browns. That was surprising.
Cleveland had a legitimate chance to win in Week 1 against the loaded Philadelphia Eagles. And I'm not talking one of those "Well if only they didn't muff that punt, they only would've been down nine points in the third quarter" kind of chances. No, I mean a "They were winning in the last two minutes of the game" kind of chance.
And yet, they were terrible.
Brandon Weeden was truly a sight to behold. His historically bad debut left him at the bottom of the NFL barrel. Pick any offensive passing statistic, and Brandon Weeden will be No. 32, guaranteed.
The Browns "offense" mustered just 210 yards on 59 plays, an average of 3.6 yards per play. Twenty-four NFL players have higher yards-per-rush-attempt averages, including backups Kendall Hunter and Rashad Jennings.
Oh, and their only touchdown of the game was a defensive return of one of Michael Vick's four interceptions.
The point here is that the Browns are going to be really, really bad this year. You thought Colt McCoy was bad? You better tighten your seat belt. The Bengals got run over by a great team, and will rebound for their home opener. Brandon Weeden will add a couple more interceptions to his ever-growing tally.
Lock it up: Bengals win by 21
Patriots over Cardinals
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
I don't know that this one needs much explanation. The Patriots have been a lock for about a decade now against average or worse opponents. Despite the 1-0 record, I don't know a better phrase to describe the Arizona Cardinals than "average or worse."
Luckily for the Cardinals, John Skelton was forcibly removed from the game by injury, allowing the team to actually make a progressive attempt toward victory with much-maligned backup Kevin Kolb. Also, Russell Wilson was pretty bad and his receivers were even worse. It was not a pretty game.
The Patriots barely had to lift a finger against Tennessee, Chris Johnson took care of everything for them. His 11-rush, four-yard performance makes you physically cringe when you think about it (How did he even do that?!), and the rest of his team's performance didn't do much else to challenge New England at all.
I don't know that the Cardinals are better than the Titans.
I don't mean to start the hysteria too early, but the Patriots really might flirt with 16-0 again. I'm serious. They look dangerous.
There's too much pressure on Kevin Kolb. It won't end well for Arizona.
Lock it up: Patriots breeze to 30-point rout
Saints over Panthers
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I will not overreact to the Saints' Week 1 loss to Washington. They played a sloppy game (without their head coach and several players, might I point out), but it was just one game. Drew Brees was still Drew Brees; he'll be fine. And maybe the Redskins are better than we think. They weren't completely terrible last year.
The Panthers were manhandled by the Buccaneers in Week 1, and Cam Newton's sophomore season got off to a less than stellar start. The running game, prolific with a two-headed attack in years past, grounded to a complete halt. Carolina couldn't get anything going all day.
New Orleans is going to be hot after being the victim of Washington's single biggest victory in recent franchise history, and Carolina's defense is like a soft slab of Gouda waiting for the metaphoric knife that is Drew Brees' right arm to slice through them.
Lock it up: Saints rebound with a 27-point shellacking
Texans over Jaguars
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Let me be the first to congratulate Blaine Gabbert on his exponential offseason improvement. It was a vastly different Gabbert who showed up last week in Minnesota, and also one that deserved a win.
If it weren't for Vikings kicker, also known as the Blair Walsh Project, and his clutch field goal at the end of regulation, we might be living in a world where the Jaguars are undefeated...scary, right?
The Texans game was another story of dominance from Week 1. The Tannehill era got off to a shaky start in Miami, only to be saved for the time being by the exploits of Weeden in Cleveland.
Ryan Tannehill wasn't the worst quarterback in the league, but he wasn't far off. His terrible stat line was a testament to the Texans' staunch defense, which appeared to pick up right where it left off from last year.
Despite the nice things I felt compelled to say about Blaine Gabbert, he's not going to stand a chance in Week 2.
The Jaguars defense was unimpressive in their first game, and really is the reason they're 0-1. The offense gave them a chance to win, and they couldn't hold it late in the game. They won't get that chance in Week 2; the Texans will get up early and stay up throughout.
Arian Foster will be rammed through that defensive line over and over. It's not going to be pretty.
Lock it up: Texans assert their dominance with a 23-point blowout
Cowboys over Seahawks
Al Bello/Getty Images
I have been thoroughly disillusioned with the Seattle Seahawks. Funny what one game can do to you, huh?
A week ago, I was touting Pete Carroll's team (my first mistake) as a veritable contender in the NFC West. In my defense, I began building the case for the Seahawks in my head when I thought "best backup quarterback ever" Matt Flynn would be in the starting role.
I just wonder how many games we will have to wait before he is given a chance. Nothing against Russell Wilson, he just...didn't look very good.
The Dallas Cowboys were another team I liked a lot heading into the season. I predicted them to go as far as the NFC Championship game, so I have to stick to my guns, you know.
They made the defending Super Bowl champion Giants look silly in Week 1, which I watched giddily, finally getting one bold pick right. Tony Romo looks good, and with healthy receivers, he has a highly potent receiving attack.
The Cowboys may be the cream of the NFC East crop this season.
I have fallen completely out of love with Seattle. I don't think they can stay with Dallas for a half, let alone a whole game. I wouldn't be surprised if Wilson has a bad first half and we get to see some Matt Flynn fireworks late in the game.
But the Cowboys will be comfortably ahead, with a great 2-0 start in their pocket.
Lock it up: Cowboys win it by 17