NFL Picks Week 2: Where the Experts' Predictions Are Wrong

Andrea Hangst@FBALL_AndreaFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2011

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 11: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams huddles up against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Everyone has their NFL predictions for the upcoming week, laypeople and experts alike.

Ostensibly, the experts should have a leg up on the rest of the football-obsessed population, having the benefit of examining games and players over a lifetime of covering (and sometimes, playing) football. But that doesn't mean that they always get it right when it comes to the week's picks.

Let's take a closer look at the expert picks from ESPN and see who I think made bad calls about the outcomes of this week's games.

Nine of the 16 games received unanimous picks from the 10 ESPN experts (with Ron Jaworski abstaining from picking the Monday night game between the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams, as he is working that particular contest), and I cannot say that I disagree with the majority of them.

I am surprised, however, that, in regard to the Giants game, no experts picked the Rams to win. I think the Rams have an excellent shot to defeat the defensively-depleted New York squad, even without starting running back Steven Jackson active on the night.

Granted, they need to get their aerial offense in line, but this week they face the injury-plagued Giants secondary and should have better success than against the Eagles.

The Rams defense isn't likely to struggle against the Giants the way they did against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

While it is looking more and more probable that Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks will play on Monday, Vick only completed 44 percent of his passes against the Rams last week, and Manning is even less reliable.

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Right tackle Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs for a 39 yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium during a season opener on September 11, 2011 in Clevelan
Jason Miller/Getty Images

To count the Rams entirely out of that contest is, to me, shortsighted. I don't see the Giants taking the win as a foregone conclusion.

Another thing that surprises me is that only Eric Allen chose the Cincinnati Bengals over the Denver Broncos.

The two teams are near the bottom of the league in terms of both talent and their prospects to end the season above .500. However, I see this game as more of a struggle for the Broncos than the Bengals, even if Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton does not start.

The Bengals will likely focus on their running game, anchored by Cedric Benson and Brian Leonard, to lead the team's offense on Sunday, and this could prove costly to the Broncos defense that struggled to stop the Raiders rush last week.

If Cincinnati can put adequate pressure on Denver quarterback Kyle Orton and control the pace of the game by running the ball, I think they can grind out a surprising second win of the season.

Another surprise is that seven of the 10 analysts chose the Indianapolis Colts to beat the Cleveland Browns.

Though they lost to the Bengals in the final two minutes of their season opener last week, the Browns are a better team than their record indicates.

Cleveland should be able to bring significant pressure to stopgap Indy quarterback Kerry Collins, limiting the Colts' ability to move the ball in the air. If they can consistently stop the run for all four quarters, Indianapolis has no chance to score more than a few field goals in this contest.

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Starting quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks down field for a pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Clevela
Jason Miller/Getty Images

At the same time, the Colts will be without linebackers Ernie Sims and Gary Brackett on Sunday, which provides an excellent opportunity for Browns running back Peyton Hillis to have a commanding performance.

While the Colts will win a game at some point this season, I don't see it happening in their Week 2 game against the Browns.

Remember, ultimately, NFL experts aren't any different from anyone else when it comes to picking games. Even Accuscore went just 10-6 last week, and Chris Mortensen went just 8-8.

Yes, having above-average knowledge of the game, of the teams and of the players who make up those teams gives one an advantage when making an informed prediction of the week's NFL action. But ultimately, it's still a guess. None of these 10 men have any control over the outcomes of the games they have picked, and even games that seem to be a sure-thing win for one team is still subject to a great deal of chance.

And though these men are experts, it doesn't mean they can't be wrong.