Making predictions can be a messy business, but I’m not going to shy away from my mistakes. I made quite a few in week one of the NFL season. I’m not afraid to admit it.
Moving ahead to week two, however, can’t happen until I hold myself accountable for my erroneous picks, and pat myself on the back here and there for the games that worked out in my favor.
Here is The Ledger, where I briefly run down each game from the past week in the NFL (my picks are in parentheses).
Thursday Night: Pittsburgh 13, Tennessee 10 (OT) (Steelers, -6)
I was right in saying the game would be competitive at least, but Tennessee looked like the better team and the Steelers were fortunate to open the season 1-0. Pittsburgh needs to improve at protecting Ben Roethlisberger if they’re going to be a serious threat to repeat. (0-1)
Atlanta 19, Miami 7 (Falcons, -4)
The Dolphins were careful with the football last year, but made four turnovers in this one. Atlanta didn’t get much going on the ground, relying on field position and the arm of Matt Ryan to win. Miami ran pretty well on the Falcons. (1-1)
Baltimore 38, Kansas City 24 (Ravens, -13)
If one were to go strictly by the box score, they’d figure the Ravens won this game with ease. Yet the score was tied at 24 with just over five minutes remaining. I hate picking double-digit favorites in week one and I admit I got lucky here. (2-1)
Philadelphia 38, Carolina 10 (Panthers, +1)
Probably my biggest miss of the week. I’m still not sold on the idea that the Eagles are a special team. Jake Delhomme has nine interceptions in his last two games. I won’t be picking Carolina again until their QB proves he isn’t a turnover machine. (2-2)
Denver 12, Cincinnati 7 (Broncos, +4)
Even without the Stokley catch, the Broncos would have covered the spread last week. I know the Bengals are not a Super Bowl contender, but they have some good offensive players. To hold that team to seven points in the season opener on the road, especially considering how maligned the defense was last season (and deservedly so) is a major step in the right direction for the Broncos. (3-2)
Minnesota 34, Cleveland 20 (Vikings, -4)
This pick was a no-brainer; it was the easiest pick of the week for me and it panned out. (4-2)
NY Jets 24, Houston 7 (Texans, -4.5)
OK, maybe this was my worst pick of the week. Honestly though, I didn’t see it coming. I figured Matt Sanchez, a rookie quarterback on the road in his pro debut, would have struggled against a decent Texans’ defense. Instead, he posted solid numbers and the Jets’ defense was much better than I imagined they’d be against a team with good offensive players. (4-3)
Indianapolis 14, Jacksonville 12 (Colts, -7)
I wonder which of the following statements is more true, after this game:
–The Jaguars are better than I thought.
–The Colts, who I picked to miss the playoffs, are worse than I thought. (4-4)
New Orleans 45, Detroit 27 (Saints, -13)
Mike Bell sighting!
Detroit’s going to make a lot of teams look good this season. Meanwhile, if the Saints are going to turn the ball over three times to the Lions, what does that say about them going forward? (5-4)
Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21 (Buccaneers, +6)
The Bucs were attractive home underdogs, and they put up a decent fight, rushing for 174 yards on 31 carries (a robust 5.6 yards per carry). The Cowboys benefitted from big plays (TD passes of 42, 66 and 80 yards), however. (5-5)
San Francisco 20, Arizona 16 (49ers, +6.5)
Many will blame the ol’ “Super Bowl Hangover,” on this loss, but I think the 49ers are heading in the right direction and the Cardinals are not the runaway NFC West champs everyone pegged them to be this year. (6-5)
NY Giants 23, Washington 17 (Redskins, +6.5)
I picked Washington outright, but I’ll take the backdoor cover. Beggars can’t be choosers, especially when the score was 23-10 with under 2 minutes to play. Eli Manning did a nice job spreading the ball around; perhaps he is the Manning brother with the better receiving corps after all. (7-5)
Seattle 28, St. Louis 0 (Rams, +8.5)
Let’s not anoint the Seahawks as the favorites coming out of the NFC yet. Oh sure, Julius Jones ran for over 100 yards, and Rams’ QB Marc Bulger was hit seven times. Wonderful. However, the Seahawks turned the ball over three times to the Rams, who were too inept to capitalize on Seattle’s miscues. Maybe I’m just mad because I blew this one. In any event, I’m not sold on the Seahawks as a NFC Superpower. (7-6)
Green Bay 21, Chicago 15 (Packers, -3.5)
Aaron Rodgers looked like a leader in the fourth quarter. Jay Cutler looked like, well, Jay Cutler. I smiled with every Cutler pick. The Bears, known for their running game, were stuffed all night. (8-6)
New England 25, Buffalo 24 (Patriots, -10.5)
The Bills, whose offensive line and offensive game plan was in flux the week leading up to the game, nearly beat The Best Team In Football on their home synthetic grass-like surface. What will a team with a great offensive line and a better running game do on the Pats, I wonder? Perhaps we’ll find out this week. (8-7)
San Diego 24, Oakland 20 (Raiders, +9.5)
The Raiders ran the ball pretty well and held their own defensively. If their QB were further developed, they’d be on to something. Meanwhile the Most Overrated Team in Football squeaked one out. If the Chargers play like that every week, it’ll be a long season. (9-7)