The first two weeks of NFL action have done very little to clarify some of the outstanding questions on the 2012 season. It seems as though any question that was answered gave rise to two more quandaries.
Despite the uncertainty, there are several matchups this weekend that create outstanding opportunities for prognosticators, be it for fun or potential financial gain.
The Green Bay Packers are playing good defense, but their air assault has been absent. The Chicago Bears learned that the hard way, and the temporary loss of Matt Forte could undermine their season.
The New England Patriots will miss Aaron Hernandez for almost half the season and lost at home to the Arizona Cardinals, while the Philadelphia Eagles have a pair of one-point wins despite a slew of turnovers.
Game: Tampa Bay vs. Dallas
Line: Cowboys -8
The Dallas Cowboys will make their home debut and do their best to show their Week 2 loss in Seattle isn't reflective of their potential. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense isn't in the same league as the Seahawks', particularly in the secondary.
I see Dallas winning a high-scoring affair, but am taking the Bucs and the points. The value bet here is the over as both teams have the ability to put points on the board.
Game: San Francisco vs. Minnesota
Line: 49ers -7.5
The Minnesota Vikings have opened the season making two young quarterbacks look very good. But Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck did very little in their other game, leading me to believe the Vikings defense just isn't that good.
The San Francisco 49ers, on the other hand, will throw arguably the best front-seven in the NFL at Christian Ponder and his offensive line.
This game is one of the best bets this weekend. Give up the points and take the under as San Francisco uses its ground game to eat up yards and the clock.
San Francisco 27-10
Sunday Night Game: New England vs. Baltimore
Line: Ravens -3
After a pair of softballs, the primetime games present some challenges. Neither the New England Patriots nor the Baltimore Ravens looked crisp last week, wasting opportunities to reach 2-0 on the young season.
Both teams can present a strong offense and defense, but they've been inconsistent. The Patriots added a pair of offensive players this week, but it is likely too early for Kellen Winslow Jr. to make much of an impact.
But when one can get the Patriots and points, it is tough to turn it down, even if they are on the road. The over is too tempting to pass.
New England 28-27
Monday Night Game: Green Bay vs. Seattle
Line: Packers -3½
On the surface, this is an easy pick. The Cowboys are clearly the superior team with a talented offense and capable defense. Despite playing in the noise at the CLink...oh, wait. That was last week.
Seattle lost a heart-breaker in Week 1 on the road to the team that beat the Patriots. Then they dominated the team many believe will win the NFC East.
The Seahawks have a physical defense, particularly in the secondary, despite the assertions to the contrary by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They are one of the few teams that can match up with the Packer receivers.
Seattle will need to keep the Packer offense in check, as rookie QB Russell Wilson won't likely have much success passing the ball in this game. The Packers will apply too much pressure to allow him to get comfortable and give his receivers time to find openings.
Marshawn Lynch is looking to continue his solid start to the 2012 season, and he'll find room to run on the Packers.
Game: Detroit vs. Tennessee
Line: Lions -4
Detroit has too much offense, and the Titans have too little.
Game: St. Louis vs. Chicago
Line: Bears -7½
The Bears will struggle without Forte, who accounts for more than half their offense. Bush isn't in the same league.
St. Louis 20-17
Game: Cincinnati vs. Washington
Line: Redskins -3
The over on this game is a great value. Visit my game summary: Bengals vs. Redskins: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
Game: New York Jets vs. Miami
Line: Jets -3
Even on the road, the Jets should cover.
New York Jets 24-17
Game: Kansas City vs. New Orleans
Line: Saints -9
One of these two teams should put together a complete game. The Saints are without their leaders on defense, so I'm picking the Chiefs.
Kansas City 30-27
Game: Buffalo vs. Cleveland
Line: Bills -3
The Bills need to demonstrate who they really are this weekend.
Game: Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis
Line: Indianapolis -3
The Colts are one of the better gambles this weekend. Visit my complete game summary: Jaguars vs. Colts: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
Game: Philadelphia vs. Arizona
Line: Eagles -3½
Michael Vick can't escape the desert with a win if he turns the ball over three times.
Game: Atlanta vs. San Diego
Line: Chargers -3
With Ryan Mathews now looking like he'll play, this is an early-week prediction I may regret.
Game: Houston vs. Denver
Line: Texans -3
This is a tight contest for the spread and the over/under. Visit my complete game summary: Texans vs. Broncos: Spread Info, Line and Predictions
Game: Pittsburgh vs. Oakland
Line: Steelers -4½
Another value, as the Raiders have looked lost so far this season. Mike Wallace should be ready to run.
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