Friday, September 14, 2012

NFL Week Two Picks: Look for Action Where There's No Action

Picking games in week one is like trying to predict what to say on a blind date. Basically the best case scenario is to get a second date. So regardless of last week's 1-2 start, the fact is that we found something to talk about.

The Jacksonville Jaguars. That was the one game that was correctly picked. The reason? A basic fundamental of all betting karma. The reason to bet on something is to generate higher interest (and depending on your lifestyle, as a means of income). Nobody was talking about Jaguars vs. Vikings. It was a game that the football gods were begging fans to bet on, so the few that did were rewarded. I'm back for a second date, and I'm only talking about awful games since that is what made the first date great. Therefore the following games are untouchable:
  • Chicago Bears versus Green Bay Packers:. Despite the fact that it's the lock of the week since the Pack won't go 0-2 since this is at home (and since they already played the game and the Pack covered it), this game involves two contendahs as of week two. Stay away! By the way, from this point forward I'm betting against the Bears. Jay Cutler is as likable as Biff Tannen.
  • New Orleans Saints (+2.5) at Carolina Panthers: Yes they are both 0-1, but that's what makes it interesting. Everyone was thinking they would be 1-0 coming into this game. Way too big of a story line.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) at NY Giants: People are calling it a must win for the Giants. That's people do in New York, but it shows that people care. You can watch this game without any other incentives.
  • Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles: Joe Flacco is looking like he's ready to take a leap up into the elite QBs while Mike Vick appears ready to take the fall down from the second tier into the average guys. I'll watch.
  • Washington Redskins (+3) at St. Louis Rams: Trading the number two draft pick was a bad choice. This should be a fun game to feel awful for Rams fans. Unless you're a Rams fan. 
  • NY Jets (-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers: This gave us reason number 31 as to why the preseason is worthless. The possibility of the Jets beating a good team this week to get to 2-0 gives us a reason to watch the game. I like the idea of Rex Ryan getting his confidence built up so that it will eventually break down.
  • Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Seattle Seahawks: Tony Romo has to implode. It's what he does. Based on my interest level though, this game screams stay away. 
  • Detroit Lions (-7) at San Francisco 49ers: As if having the only game on the tube isn't enough to get you to the couch, the geniuses at NBC have dubbed the game Handshake Gate. Gotta love going into work tired because you had to stay up after all four quarters. 
  • Denver Broncos (-3) at Atlanta Falcons: I want to see how Jon Gruden handles Peyton Manning. I'm not talking about calling the game. I'm worried for families that watch this game. 
That said, everything else is worth getting invested in. Here are the seven least intriguing games on the schedule in Week Two. In yawning order.

7. Tennessee Titans (-7) at San Diego Chargers:
This game has no story lines, which is perfect. The Chargers won while I was asleep last week which could be the case again this week despite the fact that it will start 6 hours sooner. That said, Philip Rivers has started a season 2-0 only once since 2006. Jack Locker looked good in spots last week, but the Titans were no match for the Patriots. I don't think they'll be the first team to say that this week. 

Verdict: Titans lose, but cover. 31-28
6. Houston Texans (+7) at Jacksonville Jaguars: MJD is back and is the obvious number one back this week, while Blaine Gabbert protected the ball enough last week. The Jaguars invented the "Find Action Where There's No Action Theory." 
Verdict: Jags lose, but cover. 23-17

5. Minnesota Vikings (+2) at Indianapolis Colts: 
The Vikings getting to 2-0 is somewhat of a storyline because they could be a feel good story, but we would have to call them a paper tiger either way. I also wouldn't mind watching Andrew Luck in week two. That said, I'm not getting my popcorn ready for this. Both of these teams are bad, but the Colts are at home, the underdog, and not facing the Bears defense this week. 
Verdict: Colts win. 24-23.

4. Arizona Cardinals (-14) at New England Patriots: 
The last time the Pats and Cardinals played the final score was 47-7. Matt Leinart started that game. Kevin Kolb starts this one. Tom Brady is still pitching for the Patriots.
Verdict: Patriots win. 77-3. 
3. Cleveland Browns (-7) at Cincinnati Bengals: I want to like the state of Ohio. I do. A.J. Green and Trent Richardson could be fun players to watch for a while. I'm still not going to watch though. Even though the Browns kept it close with the Eagles, the Bengals looked really bad at Monday Night and had one less day to get the taste out of their mouth.
Verdict: Browns lose and cover. 21-20.

2. Oakland Raiders (+3) at Miami Dolphins: Oakland lost at home game and the Dolphins looked bad against the Texans. These two teams have below average quarterbacks and below average expectations...all perfect recipes for a pick. The trouble with making it is trying to come up with a rationale for who. But let's keep it simple. The Dolphins greatest contribution to our culture is Ace Ventura. The Raiders greatest contribution to our culture is Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. I'll take Ace over Bo. If someone picks the up button, Bo can be stopped. Ventura's engine doesn't stop. 
Verdict: Dolphins win outright. 24-20.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Buffalo Bills: A ratings dream scenario. Matt Cassel vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jamaal Charles vs. C.J. Spiller. The Chiefs coach (who is it anyway?) vs. Chan Gailey. These two teams just don't like each other. In all seriousness, this is the lock of the week. The Chiefs gave up 40 points against the Falcons. The Bills gave up 48 against the Jets. A little arithmetic shows that these two teams combined to give up 88 points last week. 
Verdict: Take the over on 44.5. Don't bet the game.

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