Season prediction tally: 12-4
Last week I went 12-4, not a bad warm up, I’ll take it. In my mind I had picked the 49ers to beat my Cardinals but my heart wouldn’t let me do it. Mike Singletary’s team is one to watch. They play with a sense of purpose, have a solid Defense and if they can get their running game going look out. Don’t sleep on Shaun Hill either, he has the moxy to make it work. San Fran has finally found their QB. Hill is the prototype winning ugly QB. What he lacks in measurables he makes up for with leadership and desire.
On to Week Two…
Carolina at Atlanta. Has Jake Delhomme’s ability to play the game of football vanished overnight? If so it could be the most sudden, shocking collapse of any player in recent memory. Remember, the Panthers were 12-4 last season before the playoff debacle. Sadly, if Jake can’t muster more than a mediocre performance this week, Carolina will find themselves in an 0-2 hole. Atlanta has improved on both sides of the ball and with home field advantage, I give them the edge again. Falcons
New Orleans at Philadelphia. Wow, this one should be fun to watch. I know it was Detroit’s bad Defense giving up six TDs to Drew Brees, but it seems like he just keeps elevating his game. Not sure if Pierre Thomas will be ready to roll or not, likewise Donovan McNabb, but I am not sure it matters. The Eagles Defense is still stifling, and the Eagles are still the stronger team. Eagles.
Houston at Tennessee. I didn’t see anything from the Texans in their first game to give me any indication that they are ready to challenge the Titans this week. The Titans are better than the Jets and need a win. Titans.
Minnesota at Detroit. Lets see where to begin? A rookie QB versus a stout Defense, advantage Minny. Adrian Peterson versus anyone, advantage Minny. Detroit versus anyone, advantage Minny. Vikings.
New England at N.Y. Jets. I’m taking the Jets! The Patriots lost a lot on the Defensive side of the ball and should have lost to the Bills. I like what I saw from Rex’s Gang Green versus Houston, limiting their Offense to ZERO Offensive points. Home field advantage and a new era in the AFC East? Jets.
Arizona at Jacksonville. These teams would seem to be going in opposite directions. The Cardinals are defending NFC Champions and the Jaguars are a bad year away from full rebuilding mode. However this is anyone’s game. The Jaguars played the Colts tough last week and the Cardinals looked rusty. Factor in the West Coast teams’ difficulty in winning on the East Coast, especially in early games, and this is surprisingly more of an uphill battle for Arizona than Jacksonville. Despite that, Jacksonville’s strength is running the football and last week the Cardinals held the 49ers’ Frank Gore to 30 yards on 22 carries. I will give the benefit of the doubt to Arizona even though it is not easy. Cardinals.
Oakland at Kansas City. Both of these teams showed a lot of fight last week, yet both have a long way to go. In this classic rivalry, its all about the home field advantage. Chiefs.
St. Louis at Washington. The Rams were shut out last week and the Redskins were not. Redskins.
Cincinnati at Green Bay. Stinks for Carson Palmer and company to try and get better on Offense this week. Dom Capers has Green Bay jacked up on Defense. Packers.
Tampa Bay at Buffalo. As I mentioned already, Buffalo gave the game to New England, but had it won. I don’t see them doing that two games in a row. I also don’t see Byron Leftwich throwing for nearly 300 yards again this week. Bills.
Seattle at San Francisco. Playing for the early season NFC West top slot, both of these 1-0 teams are improved and coming off of impressive wins. I like San Fran at home, seeing them duplicate last game’s QB pressure tactics and lessening Matt Hasselbeck’s effectiveness. 49ers.
Pittsburgh at Chicago. It is not outrageous to think that Jay Cutler will come out fired up and perform much better than his four INTs from last week. The Steelers proved they can leave receivers open without Troy Polamalu in the lineup in the Titans game, so he may have his chance. It won’t be easy, especially without Brian Urlacher manning the middle of the Midway, but the Steelers can’t run the ball effectively and need a wake up call. Bears.
Cleveland at Denver. Kyle Orton, Knowshon Moreno, Eddie Royal, and Brandon Marshall will play better this week, and their Defense is improved with Mike Nolan running the show. Cleveland is doomed. Broncos.
Baltimore at San Diego. Baltimore has a lot of playmakers on Defense but I am not sold just yet that they are as dominating without Rex Ryan. Could be, but they have to show a little more for me to buy into it. I keep blabbering on about Joe Flacco, and I really do believe with their three headed running attack and Joe airing it out more, the city now has their finest Offense since the Baltimore Colts. The Chargers can be juggernauts though and can’t stand the Ravens. L.T. is hurt and may not play, but Michael Bennett can fill in nicely while Darren Sproles gets his usual dose of touches. Look out for Legedu Naanee, he has had a great preseason and may overtake Chris Chambers for touches this year. Chargers.
N.Y. Giants at Dallas. I was not impressed with the Dallas Defense last week. They are excited about their home opener no doubt, with their bazillion dollar scoreboard, but the Giants are still the better team. Giants.
Indianapolis at Miami. Miami needs a win and the Colts looked rusty beating the Jaguars. Dolphins.