It's time for another year of NFL predictions that will blow your mind and your bookie's money. In case you're thinking to yourself, 'didn't the season start last week?' The answer is yes, but I needed a one-game preview to gauge how teams looked beyond the speculation. I didn't want to act a fool with my picks. But I'm not just going to start a week late without a peace offering (because all three of you couldn't wait to read this). This year I'm instilling a guarantee pick of the week, where I give you the game I would bet your life savings on in a heartbeat. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing…
The Jock Strap-On Lock:
Detriot Lions over the Kansas City Chiefs
When was the last time the Detroit Lions were guaranteed to win anything? But the Chiefs are coming of a 41-7 drubbing at the hand of my Buffalo Bills. And when you get a beating by 34 points from a Buffalo team that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years, you suck so bad, that it only makes sense your season will be personified by the first two games you lost back-to-back to the two teams with the longest playoff droughts in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders
Speaking of my Bills, did you see that game!? How amazing was it to watch the Bills turn in the surprise performance of the week, even if it still wasn't good enough to get highlight material on any of the postgame shows? The best aspect of the win is how balanced it was, and unlike Bills teams of the past that showed spurts of brightness, the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led squad and the reformed defense has a consistency we haven't seen in years. Oakland is also coming off a big win over division rival Denver, as one of these perennial have-nots looks to go 2-0. But the Raiders' win was a bit fortunate, as the Broncos' offensive inability killed early drives that started in Oakland territory. Not to mention the Raiders went undefeated in their own division last year, 2-8 in the rest of the league. The Bills will head in to their matchup with New England in week 3 as the division leader. Say that until it sounds real.
Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens
I know I sound like a homer, but when Lee Evans was traded to the Ravens, Baltimore became an overlooked dominant offensive force. Don't forget, this is a team already with Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin, a smart, efficient quarterback and a perennial defensive juggernaut. The Titans are going nowhere fast. Expect an early knockout.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns
Do i have to make a pick here? Without Peyton Manning, the Colts look like they might be in the running for a top pick in next year's draft. But the Browns are almost assured of one. I'm expecting a rebound from the quarterback who now has more passing yards than Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas. That's Kerry Collins in case you didn't know. Colts in a close, boring one.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Donovan McNabb had 39 total passing yards last week against the Chargers. Thirty-Nine! He had two in the second half. TWO! The Bucs are a good, but not great team, and I fully expect them to compete in every game they play in. They lost to a good Detroit team who just held on to win, in a rare inefficient performance by Josh Freeman. I see Freeman and LeGarrette Blount balancing the plays a bit better, while McNabb might be a game or two away from retirement.
New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears
Everytime a player plays on short notice after losing a relative to an untimely death, they seem to perform at an extremely high level. The bears have a quiet, professional demeanor right now, and I think it will continue against the all-of-a-sudden underachieving Saints.
New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stop the presses, the Jets got lucky AGAIN! Listen, I hate the Jets, and I'm not afraid to admit it, but this is an average team with an average quarterback who always seems to get the bounce when they need it (except in the Conference Championship games). But there is one team they haven't been able to beat since the Bush administration, and that's the Jags. Sanchez got hit early and often in week one, and you can expect the same while Maurice Jones-Drew runs up and down the porous defense that gave up over 400 total yards last week.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Don't look now, Roethlisberger is mad. And when he gets angry, he gets drunk and feels up girls in bathrooms. But now he's married, so he has to transition that emotion to the football field. And what better team to take out his aggression than Seattle, who is starting to look like a Pete Carroll-coached pro team.
Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals
Both of these teams come in off of impressive offensive performances, with their respective quarterbacks — Rex Grossman and Kevin Kolb — each throwing for over 300 yards. The big difference between the two is their defenses. The Redskins were a powerful force against an undermanned Giants team, while Arizona gave up the most passing yards to a rookie quarterback ever. I expect Rex Grossman to dissect the Cards D as his own defense does just enough to give the Skins the win.
Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers
This is easily the most exciting matchup of the day. Everyone wants to see what Cam Newton will do in week two, while the defending Super Bowl champions look like a team capable of repeating. The only unfortunate for Newton (aside from losing) is that he had his breakout debut on the road, and now has to come home to the Pack. However, the Packers defense is looking almost as weak as the Cardinals did last week, so don't be surprised if he has a repeat performance. That said, I still think Green Bay is too much and will sneak by the Panthers in a game that lives up to its billing.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo carved up the Jets D, taking aim right at Darrelle Revis and making him look silly for three quarters. Then he single-handedly lost the game, handing Revis a gift-wrapped interception that will allow Jets fans to believe he still is the best corner in the league for another week. While Romo might not be the most head-strong quarterback in the league, he's definitely feeling the pressure from that loss, and I expect him to come out on a mission. As much of a mission he can be on that doesn't involve flying to tropical islands with beautiful women.
Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnatti Bengals
I have no fucking clue how the Bengals are 1-0 after getting 92 yards out of their leading passer. The Broncos lost because they were unable to score when the Raiders gave them three drives past the 50-yard line in the first quarter and they were unable to score. Roles will be reversed and wrongs will be righted when the Broncos win on a Tim Tebow touchdown plunge (he still plays right?).
Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans
Once again, I'm perplexed. I am starting to believe the hype around the Texans, but how do you judge their performance against a Peyton Manning-less Colts team? Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost a shootout to the Patriots, but got over 400 yards passing from Chad Henne. I'm going to pick the Texans, because Arian Foster's return should help compound Miami's defensive woes while Houston's does just enough to hold down the fort. But I'd have no qualms picking the Dolphins here.
New England Patriots vs. San Diego Chargers
Expect a shoot out in New England, and Tom Brady to score at will right? Wrong. The Chargers are the team who held Donovan McNabb to 39 total passing yards. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers is just doing his thing, throwing for over 300 yard in pretty much every game he plays in. I know Brady's 517-yard day is all the talk of the league, but the Pats D gave up over 400 yards passing to Chad Henne, imagine what Rivers is going to do under those easy passing conditions? Enough to spoil Brady and the Patriots home opener.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I've decided to retire all dog-related puns when it comes to Michael Vick. That was so 2011. It's now 2012, and we can expect him to go back to his old form against his old team. And by old form, i mean the freewheeling days he had in Atlanta. I don't expect him to have the consistency of 2011, and while no one thinks the homecoming will be an emotional day, I find that hard to believe. This will be a close one that can go either way, and on this day, it's going the way of Georgia.
New York Giants vs. St. Louis Rams
Week two wraps up in boring fashion with two teams who will be lucky to hit eight wins this year. But while the Giants have been on a steady decline since winning the Super Bowl in 2008, the Rams are on the up and up since drafting Sam Bradford two years ago. His sophomore season just starting, yet I'd still take him over Eli Manning, and I'm taking the Rams over the Giants.