Peyton Manning versus younger brother Eli Manning in Week 2!
Can the 2013 NFL season get any better? Yes, yes it can. With matchups on Sunday that pit the Chiefs against the Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium, as well as Andrew Luck against Ryan Tannehill and Aaron Rodgers hosting Robert Griffin III, what could be better?
Well, how about a potential NFC title game preview between NFC West rivals San Francisco and Seattle? With a great set of games for Sunday and Monday, let’s dive head first into the second weekend of pro football’s action.
*Note: All spreads are courtesy of FootballLocks.com. Also be wary of the lines as they may change before kickoff of each game.
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles (-7)
Will Philip Rivers continue turning the ball over after starting strong against the Texans in Week 1? Well, he faces an improved Eagles defense in Week 2. In addition, Philly’s pass rush and uptempo offense will get ahead versus the Bolts early.
Pick: Philadelphia straight up and against the spread
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Too many turnovers cost Cleveland in Week 1. On the other hand, Baltimore’s defense gave up far too many big plays. The difference? The Ravens offense with Ray Rice, run-blocking and playmaking receivers.
Pick: Baltimore straight up and against the spread
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-9)
This divisional matchup has more to it than meets the eye. Tennessee got a strong road win over Pittsburgh in Week 1, while Houston won in comeback fashion over San Diego. That said, Houston still fields the better defense, ground attack and passing game. Plus Tennessee has yet to establish a legit aerial assault.
Pick: Houston straight up and against the spread
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
This contest was a three-point finish in 2012 as Andrew Luck edged out Ryan Tannehill. As for this year, Indianapolis started well versus the Raiders in Week 1 but didn’t finish in convincing fashion. On the other hand, Miami proved to be a second-half team on the road against Cleveland. The difference, though, is the Dolphins having to face Luck instead of Brandon Weeden.
Pick: Indianapolis straight up, Miami and the points
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Buffalo Bills
Two mobile, strong-armed quarterbacks in Cam Newton and EJ Manuel face off in Week 2. Flip sides and Carolina fields the healthier defense with a better pass rush. So, expect a rather low-scoring game since each offense isn’t overly explosive.
Pick: Carolina straight up, Buffalo and the points
St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
St. Louis’ defense struggled in Week 1, but so did Atlanta’s offense in a loss to New Orleans. Interestingly enough, the Rams offense proved better while the Falcons defense did slow down Drew Brees pretty well. As for this matchup, Matt Ryan gives Atlanta an edge, not to mention the Dirty Birds are capable of matching up with the Rams defensively.
Pick: Atlanta straight up and against the spread
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (-7)
Two previous division champions squaring off at 0-1, as the Redskins and Packers continued to struggle defensively last week. Green Bay, however, has the more reliable offense with Aaron Rodgers and an improved running game. Factor in Washington’s slow start in Week 1 and the Redskins will have trouble keeping pace.
Pick: Green Bay straight up and against the spread
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
The sleeper game of the week, as Dallas and Kansas City each present strong front sevens and cornerback tandems. Offensively, K.C. has an advantage with Jamaal Charles and Dallas has yet to find a true ground attack. And with a deeper secondary consisting of veterans Dunta Robinson and Quintin Demps (after the notable starters), the Chiefs will be able to slow down Tony Romo and co.
Pick: Kansas City straight up, Dallas and the points
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Minnesota doesn’t have much of a passing game. Chicago does, not to mention its own sound running game with Matt Forte. The Bears also field a solid defense that will simply need to stack the box to stop Adrian Peterson.
Pick: Chicago straight up and against the spread
New Orleans Saints (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay’s offense isn’t capable of matching that of New Orleans. Even with Doug Martin, anticipate the Saints stacking the box to force Josh Freeman to throw. With Kenny Vaccaro, the Saints clearly saw immediate improvements after shutting down Atlanta in Week 1.
Pick: New Orleans straight up and against the spread
Detroit Lions (-1.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Detroit’s offense displayed another level with Reggie Bush complementing Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. And fortunately for Arizona, Carson Palmer gives new life to Larry Fitzgerald’s career. Still, the downside for each remains defense. Detroit wasn’t tested by Minnesota in Week 1 and Arizona was diced up fairly well by St. Louis. In the end, however, the Lions’ running game is far better entering Week 2.
Pick: Detroit straight up and against the spread
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
Each of these teams took tough road losses in Week 1, but Oakland fared much better. Terrelle Pryor’s mobility paid off and the Raiders do have speedy receivers. Although the Jaguars are also athletic, Jacksonville doesn’t have a passing game and Maurice Jones-Drew is just one guy and can’t do it all by himself.
Pick: Oakland straight up and against the spread
Denver Broncos (-4) at New York Giants
Ah, the Manning Bowl. Unfortunately for the Giants, older brother Peyton is capable of one-upping Tony Romo’s performance against them. Denver has the attack to push the pace, as well as the defense to get pressure on Eli. New York doesn’t have a consistent running game and it won’t get the big plays that happened against Dallas.
Pick: Denver straight up and against the spread
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3)
A potential NFC title game preview, the 49ers and Seahawks are virtually exact replicas on each side of the line. With a dual-threat quarterback, punishing ground game, reliable offensive line and overall defense, who could possibly have an edge? Seattle. Right now the Seahawks are better up front and Marshawn Lynch is the best overall back on either team.
Pick: Seattle straight up and against the spread
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
A once exciting duel in recent seasons, the Bengals and Steelers are going in opposite directions. Pittsburgh lacks its rumbling ground attack and has no deep threat at receiver. Cincinnati, however, has just that and a defense capable of applying pressure and generating turnovers.
Pick: Cincinnati straight up and against the spread
Straight Up: 10-7
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