Week Two NFL Writer Picks
Considering the unpredictable nature of the NFL, our Week One writer picks actually went pretty smoothly. Gregg Ring and Keet Bailey led the way, each going 12-4, with none of us finishing any worse than 8-8.
We’ll be keeping up with the standings throughout the season, but there isn’t much more explanation required here. Here are the picks for Week Two.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Kevin Roberts: New England Patriots – Geno won’t be so lucky two weeks in a row, will he?
Keet Bailey: New England Patriots – Sorry, Jets fans, but I don’t see a victory coming your way against Tom Brady in New England.
Taylor Smith: New England Patriots – With the way their offensive players are dropping like flies, I’m not all that confident in this pick, but winning in Foxboro is tough for any opponent.
Gregg Ring: New England Patriots – Tom Brady will be looking to make a statement after a close one with the Bills and the Jets are the unlucky victims. A penalty won’t save Geno Smith and Team Green this Thursday. Patriots big.
Terrence Kirker: New England Patriots – Belichick will win. No way he’ll let Geno Smith beat him.
Jonathan Pollak: New England Patriots – The Pats certainly looked vulnerable last week, and are still banged up, but it’s their home opener vs. a Jets team that just barely squeaked by a Tampa team that looked like it was trying to lose.
Ben Thaler: New England Patriots – This could be interesting. The Patriots seemed to struggle in Week One and the Jets have a better defense than the Bills. I think it’s going to be a lot closer than anyone expects, but the Jets don’t have enough.
Brian Thorne: New England Patriots – Without a legitimate running game, the Jets become one-dimensional and and the rookie QB will be forced to make mistakes. The Patriots knock-off the rust and win this one easily.
Michael Cellars: New England Patriots – Geno Smith won’t get as lucky when facing Bill Belichick’s defense.
Consensus: Patriots (9-0)
St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons
Kevin Roberts: Atlanta Falcons – I can’t see ATL dropping to 0-2 on their home field. That’s cray cray.
Keet Bailey: Atlanta Falcons – We all know that Matt Ryan is money at home.
Taylor Smith: Atlanta Falcons – As encouraging as the Rams’ offense was last week, the Falcons are too good to let this one get away.
Gregg Ring: Atlanta Falcons – The loss to the Saints was less than a surprise as the emotion from Sean Payton’s return and the Superdome crowd was too much for the Falcons to overcome. The Falcons will begin their march towards the No. 1 seed in the NFC this week against the Rams.
Terrence Kirker: Atlanta Falcons – The Rams might stick around for a few, but Atlanta has way too much firepower for the Rams to handle.
Jonathan Pollak: Atlanta Falcons – The Rams are improving, but the Falcons have too much talent not to sharpen their talons. A questionable Falcons secondary has an easier time versus the Ram receivers.
Ben Thaler: Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons will get back on track this week at home.
Brian Thorne: St. Louis Rams – Atlanta has problems on both the offensive and defensive lines, and the Rams should be able to exploit each of those. Roddy White being limited caps the Falcons’ potential.
Michael Cellars: St. Louis Rams- It’s a big upset pick, but I have enough confidence in the Rams’ defense to keep this game interesting in the fourth quarter.
Consensus: Falcons (7-2)
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills
Kevin Roberts: Carolina Panthers – Even if the O fails to show up again, I believe in Carolina’s defense.
Keet Bailey: Carolina Panthers – This game intrigues me, but I think Cam and the Panthers roll here.
Taylor Smith: Carolina Panthers – I’m really tempted to take Buffalo at home, but Carolina is probably just a little bit better.
Gregg Ring: Buffalo Bills – I’ll give the Bills credit where credit is due. They might not be as bad as I thought they would be. EJ Manuel looks like he might be the real deal and the defense did an alright job against Brady and Co. I understand the Panthers were playing the Saehawks, but the offense just looks anemic at best. Bills take it at home.
Terrence Kirker: Buffalo Bills – I think CJ Spiller will have a monster game and the Bills get the win at home after a tough loss to the Patriots.
Jonathan Pollak: Carolina Panthers – Both teams suffered heart-breaking losses last week, as each almost pulled off a major upset to start the season. The money here says that Cam Newton steps it up to show this year’s top rookie QB how it’s done.
Ben Thaler: Carolina Panthers – The Panthers absolutely stifled the Seahawks’ run game and I think Cam Newton has a day against this secondary.
Brian Thorne: Carolina Panthers – Defense will be the story of this game, where the Panthers have a solid one and that of the Bills is weak. Cam Newton may walk away from this one looking like a stud.
Michael Cellars: Carolina Panthers – After losing a heart-breaker to the Seahawks last week, the Panthers finally get into the win column.
Consensus: Panthers (7-2)
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Kevin Roberts: Chicago Bears – Chicago is for real. Sometimes. But if the Lions can shut-down Peterson on his final 17 carries, so can Chicago.
Keet Bailey: Chicago Bears – I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Vikings overall, and the Bears’ defense is tough.
Taylor Smith: Chicago Bears – Minnesota’s defense was roasted by Detroit last week, and Chicago’s weapons are fairly similar. Not a lot of faith in that secondary.
Gregg Ring: Chicago Bears – Adrian Peterson can’t do everything for the Vikings no matter how badly they need him to. The Bears put on an impressive show last week in a game I didn’t expect them to win. If Brandon Marshall continues to get healthier every week, look out, NFC North. The Bears should take this one easily.
Terrence Kirker: Chicago Bears – The Bears’ defense will be able to slow Minnesota and Adrian Peterson down just enough.
Jonathan Pollak: Chicago Bears – The Vikes were decimated by pass-catching running back Reggie Bush last week, and the Bears have an even better one of those in Matt Forte. Plus, the Bears’ D could positively pummel Ponder perpetually.
Ben Thaler – Chicago Bears – Adrian Peterson can only do so much.
Brian Thorne: Chicago Bears – The inability to defend against the pass will be the downfall for the Vikings as the Bears spread the ball around through the air. The Minnesota pass rush won’t dominate the improved Bears’ O-line.
Michael Cellars: Chicago Bears – The Bears at least have a complete team, whereas the Vikings rely solely on Adrian Peterson.
Consensus: Bears (9-0)
Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers
Kevin Roberts: Green Bay Packers – The Redskins were pretty shaky across the board, and the Pack gave too much of a fight last week to let their fans down like that.
Keet Bailey: Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers against this secondary equals disaster for the Redskins.
Taylor Smith: Green Bay Packers – RGIII looked much better in the second half on Monday night, but Philly was clearly letting off the gas, too. Green Bay has too much firepower for that defense.
Gregg Ring: Green Bay Packers – I’m sorry to all the media members that just love the Redskins, but face it. They just aren’t that good. If the Eagles’ offense can do what they did, what is Aaron Rodgers going to do coming off a loss? I say bombs away in Lambeau. 0-2 start for the ‘Skins.
Terrence Kirker: Green Bay Packers – The ‘Skins didn’t look great against Philly, and I think the Pack scores a bunch.
Jonathan Pollak: Green Bay Packers – The Pack went blow-for-blow with the Niners last week, and the defense will be eager to rebound from a disappointing start. RGIII won’t run wild on the ground, though he could have a big yardage day in the air.
Ben Thaler: Green Bay Packers – The Pack are gonna have an easier time stopping RGIII than Kaepernick.
Brian Thorne: Green Bay Packers – Both are coming off of disappointing losses in Week One, but only Green Bay has a QB who is in top form already this season. Having an extra day to prepare helps, too.
Michael Cellars: Green Bay Packers – RGIII proved Monday night that he can’t really run yet, which will make it easier for the Packers’ defense to contain a second straight read-option quarterback.
Consensus: Packers (9-0)
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
Kevin Roberts: Indianapolis Colts – Miami could easily go 2-0 here, but Indy will have tougher stretches later. They need to take care of business at home.
Keet Bailey: Indianapolis Colts – Another intriguing matchup as the Colts’ defense is not that impressive. Still, I think Luck leads them to a close victory.
Taylor Smith: Indianapolis Colts – The Colts probably won’t be able to run the ball on this Miami front, but when do the Colts (other than Luck) ever run well?
Gregg Ring: Indianapolis Colts – Okay, it’s probably too early to call the Mike Wallace signing a bust, but I’ll do it anyway. Easily the worst move of the offseason. Brian Hartline can’t be the No. 1 receiver the Dolphins need and Tannehill won’t carry them by himself. Colts should take this one at home without much problem.
Terrence Kirker: Indianapolis Colts – Luck started off with a good game against Oakland, and should continue that play. Miami is dealing with the diva, Mike Wallace, who is nothing more than a distraction.
Jonathan Pollak: Miami Dolphins – Going for an upset here. The Colts’ offensive line looked shaky, and their defense gave up 171 yards on the ground, barely beating the awful Raiders. The Fins, meanwhile, totaled 20 rushing yards and still won against the awful Browns. Something will have to give.
Ben Thaler: Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck knows how to win, but this one will be close. All you need is a little bit of Luck.
Brian Thorne: Indianapolis Colts – Both teams have deficiencies, and this one comes down to another last-minute Andrew Luck game-winning drive. If Indianapolis has both tight ends available, theirs should be the mismatch to exploit.
Michael Cellars: Indianapolis Colts – Though both in their second year, Andrew Luck is miles ahead of Ryan Tannehill.
Consensus: Colts (8-1)
Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs
Kevin Roberts: Dallas Cowboys – I might actually believe in KC this year, but not as much as I believe in Dallas. For now.
Keet Bailey: Kansas City Chiefs – I really love what I’m seeing out of the Chiefs’ defense. Get pressure on Romo and force mistakes. Do enough offensively to win.
Taylor Smith: Dallas Cowboys – Arrowhead is a tough place for a road team to win, and the Cowboys haven’t been 2-0 since 2008. Still, the defense, which looked incredibly opportunistic against the Giants, helps them eke this one out.
Gregg Ring: Kansas City Chiefs – The Cowboys got lucky to win a game in which their opponent turned the ball over six times. Think about that for a second. Six turnovers, yet the Giants had a chance inside five minutes to win the game. Alex Smith and the Chiefs won’t be that careless with the football. If Jamaal Charles is looking healthy by game time, this could be a blowout.
Terrence Kirker: Kansas City Chiefs – I’m not buying the Cowboys’ sloppy win against the Giants. Charles will run on them.
Jonathan Pollak: Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid knows how to scheme for the Cowboys, and the Chief pass rush could seriously endanger Tony Romo.
Ben Thaler: Kansas City Chiefs – Upset alert. I think the Chiefs get it done against the historically inconsistent Dallas.
Brian Thorne: Dallas Cowboys – Dallas has too many weapons for Kansas City to have to address, though the Chiefs defense has enough defensive playmakers to keep this game very close.
Michael Cellars: Kansas City Chiefs – I feel this will be a close game, but my gut is telling me to go with the Chiefs in this one.
Consensus: Chiefs (6-3)
San Diego Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin Roberts: Philadelphia Eagles – Philly is at home and that show on Monday was beyond impressive. Something tells me Philip Rivers will die on the field.
Keet Bailey: Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles offense looks unstoppable at the moment. I don’t think San Diego is the team to shut them down.
Taylor Smith: Philadelphia Eagles – The depth-less Chargers defense may be forced to fake some injuries just to have a chance of keeping up with this high-flying Eagles offense. Fortunately, Manti Te’o knows a thing or two about faking things.
Gregg Ring: Philadelphia Eagles – Fresh off a meltdown in the second half of Monday Night Football, there’s just no way the Chargers recover to even put up a fight. Look for another big week from the new and improved Philly offense.
Terrence Kirker: Philadelphia Eagles – Philly might double the Chargers in offensive plays.
Jonathan Pollak: Philadelphia Eagles – The newfangled Chip Kelly offense still added up to Vick handing the ball off 40 times. The Bolts will be licking their wounds, and the short week won’t give them enough time to heal.
Ben Thaler: Philadelphia Eagles – The Chargers don’t have the defensive chops to keep up with Chip Kelly’s offense.
Brian Thorne: Philadelphia Eagles – San Diego doesn’t have the defense to be able to stop Philadelphia, and I don’t think the offense is as good as they showed during the first half of the late game Monday night.
Michael Cellars: Philadelphia Eagles – The new Chip Kelly offense was mighty impressive Monday night. Now let’s see if they can do it again.
Consensus: Eagles (9-0)
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
Kevin Roberts: Cleveland Browns – If Cleveland is ever going to step up and be a legit contender, the time is now. The Ravens are vulnerable.
Keet Bailey: Baltimore Ravens – The Browns are clearly shaky on offense without Josh Gordon, while Baltimore looks to shake-off an embarrassing Week One performance.
Taylor Smith: Baltimore Ravens – As terrible as they looked in the second half in Denver, it was actually a close game until the S hit the fan for the Ravens. The Browns’ Week One dud at home against the Dolphins does little to inspire much confidence in them.
Gregg Ring: Cleveland Browns – Anyone that owns Jordan Cameron in their fantasy league should be having a party on Sunday. Fresh off the best performance of his career, he gets to face a Baltimore defense that was embarrassed in a way the franchise has never experienced. The defense will get better, but not in enough time to win this one. 0-2 start for last year’s Super Bowl champs.
Terrence Kirker: Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Weeden hasn’t shown me anything yet.
Jonathan Pollak: Baltimore Ravens – The defending champs were embarrassed in Denver, and have had extra time to stew about it. Brandon Weeden’s career and very possibly his life may be in danger here. The final score will not be pretty.
Ben Thaler: Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Weeden will throw more picks than touchdowns.
Brian Thorne: Baltimore Ravens – They’re one of the best teams in the AFC when they don’t have to face Peyton Manning.
Michael Cellars: Baltimore Ravens – This game will be closer than most people expect, and though I want to take the Browns, I just can’t see the defending champs starting 0-2.
Consensus: Ravens (7-2)
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
Kevin Roberts: Houston Texans – As much as I’d love Jake Locker to blow up in a huge game like this, it’s not happening. The Texans are riding a mile-high wave of momentum right now.
Keet Bailey: Houston Texans – The Texans squeezed out a comeback victory over the Chargers and should have little problem with the Titans.
Taylor Smith: Houston Texans – Am I the only one that doesn’t understand the problem with Arian Foster saying the Texans’ defense is better than the Titans’? Because it is.
Gregg Ring: Houston Texans – After a close call Monday night, the Texans should be refocused in their home opener. The Titans won’t be able to shut down Houston’s offense like they did to the Steelers last weekend. This game will be closer than I would have thought two weeks ago, but the Texans still take it.
Terrence Kirker: Houston Texans – Too many weapons for Houston and Jake Locker just isn’t that good.
Jonathan Pollak: Houston Texans – The Texans came out flat last week, but got it together in time to eke out a win. This could be a low-scoring affair, as the Titans defense is better than people realize. But Jake Locker is not.
Ben Thaler: Houston Texans – The Titans looked good against the Steelers. The Texans are a lot better.
Brian Thorne: Houston Texans – Jake Locker still isn’t good enough to lead his team to victory against a quality defensive opponent, and the Texans’ only demonstrated weakness is elite QB play. The one gets ugly.
Michael Cellars: Houston Texans – They won’t fall behind by three scores in this one.
Consensus: Texans (9-0)
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Roberts: Arizona Cardinals – Evenly-matched team and it’s in the desert – never easy to play there. I believe in Carson Palmer. Today.
Keet Bailey: Detroit Lions – Reggie Bush, Matthew Stafford and Megatron spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for the Cardinals.
Taylor Smith: Arizona Cardinals – No reason not to expect plenty of points here, but I think Arizona at home has the slight edge…as long as they can keep N’damukong Suh from decapitating Palmy.
Gregg Ring: Detroit Lions – Reggie Bush!! Taking us back to his days at USC, Bush was electric in the opener. Larry Fitzgerald should have a huge day against a suspect Lions D, but I think the offense carries Detroit to a victory. Calvin Johnson might want to make an appearance this week, though.
Terrence Kirker: Detroit Lions – Wow, does Reggie Bush look good.
Jonathan Pollak: Detroit Lions – The Cards are definitely better than last year, but probably won’t run the ball well enough to keep the Detroit offense off the field. The Lions’ defensive line is also a mismatch for a bad Cardinals line and the immobile Carson Palmer.
Ben Thaler: Detroit Lions – Stafford and Megatron outshoot Palmer and Fitz.
Brian Thorne: Detroit Lions – Injuries to the offensive line will cost the Cardinals when they go up against the dangerous Lions front four. Other than that shortcoming, these teams match-up fairly well with strength-on-strength at most opposing positions.
Michael Cellars: Arizona Cardinals – I can’t wait to see Larry Fitzgerald and Megatron tear up the field.
Consensus: Lions (6-3)
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kevin Roberts: New Orleans Saints – New Orleans is on a mission and I don’t have faith in anyone who just lost to the Jets.
Keet Bailey: New Orleans Saints – There’s no reason for the Saints not to put up more points this week, despite an improved Tampa Bay defense that somehow lost to the Jets.
Taylor Smith: New Orleans Saints – I wanted to believe in you, Josh Freeman. I really did. Then you go and do that.
Gregg Ring: New Orleans Saints – This one could be slippery for Drew Brees and Co. coming off the emotional high of last week. Ultimately, the Bucs just aren’t very good and there’s too much Jimmy Graham this week to pull off the upset.
Terrence Kirker: New Orleans Saints – This one might look like a one-sided track meet.
Ben Thaler: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I don’t trust the Saints’ defense and the Bucs have a lot to prove after Week One.
Brian Thorne: New Orleans Saints – It was only one game, but it looks like Rob Ryan may have started to fix the Saints’ defensive issues. Josh Freeman can’t match Drew Brees in production, and the Bucs open the season 0-2.
Michael Cellars: New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees could easily throw for 500 yards in this game.
Consensus: Saints (8-1)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders
Kevin Roberts: Oakland Raiders – Terrelle Pryor could be even better this week and the Jags had 2 points last week. Enough said.
Keet Bailey: Oakland Raiders – Terrelle Pryor may be a worthy fantasy start this week against a very weak Jaguars defense.
Taylor Smith: Oakland Raiders – I can’t believe I’m picking the Raiders to win a game with confidence. Though I’m hoping for a 2-2 tie.
Gregg Ring: Oakland Raiders – Oh boy. This is an ugly one. I’ll take the lesser of two evils and go with the home team. Jacksonville looked like the worst team in football last week and this should just be another step in cementing their status at the top of April’s draft.
Terrence Kirker: Oakland Raiders – Jacksonville looks putrid. Oakland looks less putrid.
Jonathan Pollak: Oakland Raiders – Condolences to anyone who actually has to watch this game. Terrelle Pryor gets to make believers for another week, before the schedule gets hard and we remember why no one else wanted him.
Ben Thaler: Oakland Raiders – I would love to pick the Jaguars, but I just can’t.
Brian Thorne: Oakland Raiders – On paper, these two teams look incredibly similar, so the advantage goes to the home team and the one with the X-factor at quarterback. Starting a backup on the road won’t be good for Jacksonville.
Michael Cellars: Oakland Raiders – Terrelle Pryor has brought a rejuvenated spirit to a Raiders team that so desperately needed it.
Consensus: Raiders (9-0)
Denver Broncos @ New York Giants
Kevin Roberts: Denver Broncos – Big brother Peyton puts little brother Eli in a headlock here. Broncos are the far better team.
Keet Bailey: Denver Broncos – Peyton > Eli. It’s that simple.
Taylor Smith: Denver Broncos – Based on last week, how the hell can you not pick the Broncos?
Gregg Ring: Denver Broncos – Well-polished offensive machine vs. turnover machine. I’ll take the former. There won’t be six turnovers by the home team, but this one could get ugly early. Can Tom Coughlin get any more red than he was last week? Tune in for more.
Terrence Kirker: Denver Broncos – Big brother gets the best of little brother as usual, and shows him how it’s done.
Jonathan Pollak: Denver Broncos – The Broncos scored seven touchdowns last week. The Giants turned the ball over six times last week. The Broncos got surprisingly good performances from guys they didn’t expect much from. The Giants got abysmal performances from players they were counting on. The Broncos have Peyton. The Giants have Eli. You do the math.
Ben Thaler: New York Giants – Welcome home, Brandon Jacobs.
Brian Thorne: Denver Broncos – Big brother Manning shows why his team is a Super Bowl contender as the Broncos feast on the secondary issue of the Giants. It won’t be another seven touchdown evening, but five isn’t out of the question.
Michael Cellars: Denver Broncos – The Manning Bowl III once again goes to Peyton (Eli gest the last laugh, though, because he has more rings.)
Consensus: Broncos (8-1)
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
Kevin Roberts: San Francisco 49ers – The Seahawks don’t look nearly as formidable as they did last year, and the 49ers do. Case closed.
Keet Bailey: San Francisco 49ers – Colin Kaepernick is too good for this team to lose a crucial division game.
Taylor Smith: Seattle Seahawks – While I do think the 49ers are the better team, Seattle is an incredibly tough place to play. West coast teams historically have a tough time playing early games out East, so I’m not putting too much stock in last week’s ugly win in Carolina.
Gregg Ring: San Francisco 49ers – That guy playing QB in the Bay Area ain’t no one trick pony, that’s for sure. If the Seahawks can’t figure out a way to score against the Panthers, how do they expect to do it this week? 49ers atone for the beatdown they received in Seattle last year.
Terrence Kirker: San Francisco 49ers – Two tough defenses, but I just like Kaepernick-to-Boldin right now.
Jonathan Pollak: San Francisco 49ers – The Niners were blasted out of the building the last time they were here. There’s a good chance that HC Jim Harbaugh may say something to his team about that. The Seahawks won last week, and Russell Wilson passed for 320 yards, yet the team scored only one touchdown. I think the Niners are still a bit better on paper, 12th man be damned.
Ben Thaler: San Francisco 49ers – If the Birds had trouble running against the Panthers, then they might as well sit Marshawn Lynch against the Niners. I do think their defense keeps them in it for a while, though.
Brian Thorne: San Francisco 49ers – Seattle still doesn’t have their defense at full strength and that will be the difference in this very close game. Home field advantage almost makes up for the lacking personnel.
Michael Cellars: Seattle Seahawks – All offseason, I’ve said that I think Seattle is a better team than San Fran. I hope this game proves my point.
Consensus: 49ers (7-2)
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Kevin Roberts: Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers are the pick on paper, but a closer look suggests they might just be terrible this year.
Keet Bailey: Cincinnati Bengals – Pittsburgh looked awful to open up the season, and the Bengals were tough luck losers. Bengals improve to 1-1 this week.
Taylor Smith: Cincinnati Bengals – I don’t see how the Steelers’ O-line without Pouncey is supposed to hold up.
Gregg Ring: Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers aren’t as bad as they played in Week One, but neither are the Bengals. Look for another huge game from A.J. Green as the Bengals make up for last week’s tough one in Chicago.
Terrence Kirker: Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers looked awful against the Titans. A.J. Green might have another two TDs.
Jonathan Pollak: Cincinnati Bengals – Watch this game closely – after Commissioner Goodell sees James Harrison break Ben Roethlisberger with an old-school WWE-style piledriver, it will be the last time we see either of them in the NFL this season. The Bengals have a ferocious defense and the Steelers have no offensive line or running backs. Yipes, Yinzers.
Ben Thaler: Cincinnati Bengals – Without Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers don’t stand a chance against Geno Atkins and the Bengals up front.
Brian Thorne: Cincinnati Bengals – The Steelers don’t have a running game and lost their center last week. Cincinnati ought to dominate every phase of this contest.
Michael Cellars: Cincinnati Bengals – What better way to take out a frustrating loss than on a battered division foe? A.J. Green is going to shred the Steelers’ defense to pieces.
Consensus: Bengals (9-0)