NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 2
September 13, 2012 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note:the quotes in this article are fictional.
Chicago @ Green Bay (-4)
The Bears and Packers meet after a short week, and nothing says "short" like Cee Lo Green, the bug-eyed gremlin tabbed by the NFL Network to perform the Thursday Night Football musical number. The Packers hope to avoid an 0-2 start on the season, while the Bears look for the early upper hand in the NFC North.
"We're still working out the kinks of our defense," Charles Woodson, "and so is the opposition. They seem to be having more luck with it, though. Our defense certainly doesn't strike fear into the hearts of opponents. Clay Matthews used to make offensive linemen swoon; now it's only women.
"No one is afraid of going across the middle on our defense. That is, no one except Cee Lo, because he's definitely got alligator arms."
The Bears whipped the Colts last week, as Brandon Marshall, acquired from the Dolphins this offseason, caught 9 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
"Brandon spells trouble for any team," Jay Cutler said. "Often, it's the team he plays for. Brandon has the size of Terrell Owens and the athleticism of Randy Moss, and the emotional baggage of both."
Do we sense the balance of power shifting in the NFC North? Should the Bears win, it will have shifted. Should the Packers win, the balance of power will have shifted even more, in seismic proportions, in fact, because the 2-0 Vikings will be sitting atop the division.
Aaron Rodgers puts his team on his back, including the Packer defense, which is quite a burden, and throws for 3 touchdowns and rushes for another. Cutler and the Bears battle score for score, but a late pass ricochets off Marshall's head and is picked off, leading to the decisive points for the Pack.
Green Bay wins, 34-31.
Tampa @ NY Giants (-9)
The G-Men are still reeling from their opening 24-17 loss to the Cowboys, on a night when their Super Bowl XLVI team was honored, no less. After a long rest, New York hosts the 1-0 Buccaneers and new head coach Greg Schiano, formerly of Rutgers University.
"On a night when our whole team was the toast of the town," Tom Coughlin said, "only our defensive backfield performed like the toast of the town. You better believe they've heard it from me. I don't pull punches. Unlike some former Giants, I shoot from the hip, not at it."
The Bucs, in their Week 1 win over the Panthers, displayed a defensive presence that made Tampa fans nostalgic for the good old days, when the Tampa defense terrorized the league.
"Our defense was impressive indeed," Ronde Barber said. "I hear it even made Warren Sapp salivate, which is not easy to do, unless you're food, or a darn good smokeless tobacco.
"This team is headed to MetLife Stadium with a ton of confidence. That is, everyone except me. I get the impression that Giants' fans hate me. Let me just remind them that although I look exactly like him, I am not Tiki Barber."
New York wins, 27-13.
Oakland @ Miami (+4)
Sixteen teams lost in the NFL's opening week, which means there's 16 fewer teams the 1972 Dolphins have to worry about. One of those teams is the 2012 Dolphins, who lost 30-10 last week to the Texans.
"Hey, we like to do what we can for those old geezers," Joe Philbin said. "I don't think we'll ever see another undefeated team. I would hazard to say that the surviving members will take that undefeated record to their graves. And the sooner the better."
The Raiders began their season with a 22-14 loss to the Chargers, a defeat marked by three botched punts, one of which was blocked, and all of which led to San Diego points.
"Backup long snapper Travis Goethel was terrible," Dennis Allen said. "Not since John Matuszak starred as Sloth in The Goonies has a Raider looked so bad. Against Miami on Sunday, you may see an NFL first — a punter taking the snap from under center."
The search for deep snappers takes the Raiders to the waiver wire, and takes Sebastian Janikowski to South Beach's hottest nightclubs, where he signs numerous autographs, most indicating his agreement to terms of restraining orders.
Darren McFadden rushes for 124 yards and a score, and the Raiders win, 27-14.
Houston @ Jacksonville (+7)
After a slow start, the Texans overwhelmed the Dolphins 30-10, and now head to Jacksonville for the AFC South opener for both teams. Superstars Arian Foster and Andre Johnson accounted for three touchdowns, while Matt Schaub passed for 266 yards, then announced a contract extension.
"In Houston," Schaub said, "when someone asks you to sign something, it's usually a cast. But so far, we're injury-free. The only time I've heard someone say 'Pull!' is when Texans' president Jamey Rootes goes skeet shooting. Rootes is supremely confident that we'll emerge victorious in this game. History indicates that Texas presidents are undefeated against Pakistanis."
Maurice Jones-Drew looked like his old self, rushing for 77 yards on 16 carries in the Jags' 26-23 overtime loss at Minnesota last week.
"Indeed," said Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey. "Maurice is apparently a lot like Jags' owner Shahid Khan — the holdout had no effect on him. Personally, I think Maurice deserves a new contract. Apparently, Khan doesn't think he can afford it. In other words, MJD was doomed by the 'Math of Khan.'"
Houston wins, 30-13.
Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-6)
Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four interceptions in the Browns' 17-16 loss to the Eagles last week. It was a nightmarish debut for the former Oklahoma State quarterback, who now faces a solid Cincinnati defense.
"I threw as many picks as Michael Vick," Weeden said. "That was certainly unexpected. But you know what was even more unexpected? Vick throwing as many interceptions as me.
"As you know, cornerback Joe Haden has been suspended four games for testing positive for a banned stimulant. He was taking Adderall, which is banned under the NFL's drug policy. So, much like Adderall, I've been 'flagged,' as well."
The Bengals enter the battle of Ohio reeling after a 44-13 beating at the hands of the Ravens on Monday night.
"This team seriously needs a wake-up call," Marvin Lewis said. "And I don't mean one given by Boomer Esiason pitching 8 O'Clock Coffee. The last Bengal with such ties to Colombian imports was running back Stanley Wilson, and he slept through Super Bowl XXIII after a cocaine bender."
Despite the Browns' organization's objections, the home-standing Bengals proceed with a tribute to Modell, as Scottish rockers Nazareth reunite to sing "Please Don't Judas Me" before the game.
Things go downhill immediately for the Browns, as Weeden, during the performance of the national anthem, courtesy of funk legends Ohio Players, gets his right hand stuck in his jersey.
The Bengals bounce back, as Andy Dalton throws for two scores to A.J. Green, and Benjarvis Green-Ellis punches in a short score.
Cincinnati wins, 27-6.
Kansas City @ Buffalo (-3)
The Chiefs and Bills both lost big last week, disappointing starts for what many believe could be playoff-caliber teams. Sunday's loser will be 0-2 and facing an uphill climb to a playoff berth.
"I may be the NFL's most inconsistent quarterback," Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "I'm brilliant one minute, and terrible the next 14. Luckily, I've got a Harvard education to fall back on. I'm the master of accumulating 'Harvard Yardage,' which is passing yardage gained well after the game's outcome has been determined."
The Chiefs will need a better effort all around, especially on defense, to win in Buffalo. And speaking of "all around," Romeo Crenel is the Kansas City head coach.
"I'm mystified by our performance last Sunday," Crenel said. "We just didn't show up. It was a disappearing act that would have made Penn and Teller proud. By the way, what do you get when you combine me and one-half of Penn And Teller? 'Romeo and Jillette.'"
Kansas City wins, 24-22.
Baltimore @ Philadelphia (-2½)
After squeaking by the Browns 17-16 last week, Michael Vick and the Eagles continue the Art Modell Farewell Tour, hosting the Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I hear Modell was hated in Cleveland," Vick said, "but loved in Baltimore. I know what it's like to be detested, and so does Vince Young — he was after scoring a one on the Wonderlic test.
"But we'll have to be at our best against the Ravens. I certainly can't turn the ball over four times like I did last week. I think it's best that I place the football in protective custody."
Baltimore pummeled the Bengals, offensively and defensively, in a 44-13 win on Monday night. The Ravens, led by aging veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, have their work cut out in defending against Vick and a potentially explosive Eagles offense.
"If it's not Hines Ward creeping up behind me," Reed said, "it's old age. Like Ward did, Father Time throws a mean crackback block, usually in the morning when I wake up."
The Philly defense outplays Baltimore's, and Vick accounts for three scores, all for the Eagles, and a late interception of Joe Flacco seals the deal.
Philadelphia wins, 24-23.
New Orleans @ Carolina (+6½ )
The Saints' defense was no match last week for rookie sensation Robert Griffin III, who threw for two touchdowns in the Redskins 40-32 win over New Orleans. Up next is last year's rookie sensation, Cam Newton, as the Panthers host the Saints.
"We still have reason to celebrate," Drew Brees said. "A review panel overturned the suspensions handed down in the bounty scandal. The 'Bounty Four' will meet with Roger Goodell soon. Maybe if they out their heads together, they can put him out of commission."
The Panthers are looking for their first win, and facing a New Orleans team embroiled in the bounty scandal may lend the perfect opportunity for the Panthers to strike.
"I certainly don't fear the Saints' defense," Newton said. "Bounty or no bounty. Heck, I already know what it's like to play with a price on my head. I've got my dad to thank for that."
Brees throws for 325 yards and 3 scores, and the Saints hold on for a 32-30 win.
Arizona @ New England (-13)
Tom Brady took a knee to the nose late in the Patriots 34-13 win in Tennessee last week, but not before carving up the Titans defense for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"Merely a flesh wound," Brady said. "I've been hit harder, usually when I check my record in Super Bowls against the Giants. It's rumored that when I took that shot to the head, a yellow flag mysteriously fell out of the air at Terrell Suggs' feet. T-Sizzle's right about one thing — I got 'special treatment' after my nose got busted."
John Skelton was largely ineffective last week against the Seahawks before leaving the game with an injured ankle. Kevin Kolb promptly took over, and led the Cards on the game-winning drive, hitting Andre Roberts from six yards out for the decisive touchdown.
"Skelton is still my quarterback," Ken Whisenhunt said. "That's no indication of our starter for Sunday, but it is the perfect answer to the question, 'What are five words an NFL coach never wants to say?'"
Skelton, on a gimpy ankle, is unable to start, so Kolb assumes the position, and shows his gratitude to Whisenhunt by yelling, "Thanks you sir, may I have another?!"
Kolb plays well enough to keep the Cards close for three quarters, but in the end, Brady is too much for the Cards' defense to stop.
New England wins, 35-27.
Minnesota @ Indianapolis (+1½)
Andrew Luck's NFL debut did not go as smoothly as that of fellow rookie Robert Griffin III. Luck threw for 309 yards, but threw 3 interceptions and was sacked 3 times. The numbers were quite similar to those of Peyton Manning in his first game as a Colt.
"It appears I'll be compared to Manning for the rest of my career," Luck said. "I suppose that's will be the only reason I can say I'm 'comparable' to Manning. You may not know this, but I'm occupying the locker space once used by Manning. As opposed to Manning having 'Luck' rub off on him, I'm hoping to have some 'Manning' rub off on me."
The Colts will have to stop Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Vikings' 26-23 overtime win over Jacksonville last week.
"Peterson's recuperative powers are amazing," Leslie Frazier said. "I'm not sure what he did to recover so expediently, but it couldn't have been a sex cruise on the healing waters of Lake Minnetonka; that makes you weak in the knees.
"It was only nine months ago that he tore his knee up, and I don't think anyone expected him to return this early. It's a case of 'Oklahoma Sooner than later.'"
Peterson amazes again, topping 100 yards with a touchdown.
Minnesota wins, 29-24.
Washington @ St. Louis (+3)
Robert Griffin III kicked off his NFL career with a bang, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns in Washington's 40-32 win in New Orleans last week. Of five rookie quarterbacks who started in Week 1, Griffin was the only to emerge victorious.
"It was a fantastic coming out party," Griffin said. "There was no pressure, believe it or not. As the second quarterback taken in a draft in which the Colts took a QB with the first pick, I had absolutely nothing to live up to. Finally, someone's got something to thank Ryan Leaf for."
The Rams, under new head coach Jeff Fisher, nearly upset the Lions, losing 27-23 on Matthew Stafford's five-yard pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left.
"Robert Griffin III is no Matthew Stafford," Fisher said, "and Redskins' fans are thrilled to hear that. Griffin will be a handful, but I've got a defense, led by James Laurinaitis, that can contain him. James just signed a contract extension, and surprisingly, it wasn't finalized inside a wrestling ring, although there was one Road Warrior in attendance."
The Rams put the brakes on the RGIII bandwagon, forcing 3 Griffin turnovers. Sam Bradford, not quite a Redskin despite being 1/16 Cherokee, throws for 249 yards and 2 scores.
St. Louis wins, 24-21.
Dallas @ Seattle (+3)
The last time Tony Romo was in Seattle, he fumbled away the Cowboys' opportunity for a playoff win. But that was then, this is now, and Dallas is riding high after knocking off the Giants on September 5th.
"As a rule," Romo said, "I try to always look forward and not back. Unfortunately, looking back is the only way to see a Dallas Super Bowl.
"That fateful day back in 2007 weighs heavily on me. Times have changed, though. Back then, we blew chances for playoff wins in the playoffs. Now we blow chances for playoff wins in the regular season."
The Seahawks, tabbed my many as a sleeper pick in the NFC, lost a tight 20-16 decision in Arizona. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson flashed moments of adequacy, but was often erratic, completing 18-of-34 passes.
"As his jersey number would suggest," Pete Carroll said, "Russell played like a 'No. 3' quarterback. He was a two-sport star in college. Last Sunday, he was a star in no sports."
Dallas employs an interesting defense, overloading the middle of the line, thereby obscuring the 5'11" Wilson's view, and unleashing Demarcus Ware from the outside. Wilson is sacked four times, and knocked down more often than not, leaving him seeing stars.
Dallas win, 23-17.
NY Jets @ Pittsburgh (-6½)
After a preseason of offensive ineptitude, the Jets exploded for 48 points in a blowout win over the Bills. Mark Sanchez passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns and temporarily silenced his many critics.
"According to those critics," Sanchez said, "two of my major distractions are Eva Longoria and Tim Tebow. That's a 'cougar' and a 'wildcat.' Eva's old enough to be my girlfriend's mother. People can't doubt my ability to throw the deep pass, but they can no longer doubt my ability to 'go Long.'
"I hear that Ben Roethlisberger is expecting a son later this year. That's great. I hear they plan on calling him 'Loo,' because that's where he was likely conceived."
The Steelers fell victim in the return of Peyton Manning, who led the Broncos to a 31-19 win last Sunday night.
"Injuries will be a factor in this game," Roethlisberger said. "Darrelle Revis has a slight concussion, and Troy Polamalu has a strained calf muscle. Troy plays with such reckless abandon, it appears he doesn't fear for his safety. But we certainly fear for our safety."
Sunday afternoon's contest at Heinz Field will have a playoff atmosphere, meaning Sanchez will likely succumb to "atmospheric pressure." But the Jets' defense keeps it close, and the Steelers win when a long pass to Mike Wallace sets up Sean Suisham's game-winning field goal.
Pittsburgh wins, 18-16.
Tennessee @ San Diego (-7)
Chris Johnson gained only 4 yards on 11 carries last week, adding doubt to the notion that he could return to the form of a 2,000-yard back. With a loss at San Diego, the Titans would fall into an 0-2 hole in the AFC South.
"That's 0.4 yards per carry," Johnson said. "That's pathetic, but I can find comfort in knowing that a real man is measured in inches."
The Chargers opened the season with a 22-14 win in Oakland's O.co Stadium. Nate Kaeding kicked five field goals, and Rivers was an efficient 24-31 for 231 yards.
"We're putting everything we've got into this season," Rivers said. "This may be our last hurrah. There are those that say I'm more likely to lead a prayer than a team to the Super Bowl, but I'm intent on proving them wrong."
San Diego wins, 27-23.
Detroit @ San Francisco (-7)
Give the folks at NBC a pat on the back for scheduling the Lions-49ers game as their Sunday night showcase. It's "Backslap Bowl II," and Jim Schwartz and the Lions are keen on avenging last year's regular season loss to the 49ers.
"Let's not let the coaches overshadow some of the intriguing matchups here," Schwartz said. "For example, it's Calvin Johnson versus Randy Moss. In Transformers world, that would be 'Megatron' versus 'Optimus Past His Prime.'
"Plus, the 49ers have arguably the league's finest linebacker corps, led by Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman. Hopefully, my 'backers will use this game as an opportunity to make a name for themselves, because I darn sure don't know their names."
The 49ers stormed into Green Bay last week and left with the win, as well as the swagger of a team considered the NFC favorite right now.
"As you may know," Jim Harbaugh said, "I'm expecting a child. That's exactly what I said just before signing Moss. But I couldn't be happier with Randy's attitude. I like to think I've had a positive influence on keeping him in line. Like my California homeboys Korn like to say, I've got the 'Freak on a Leash.'"
Megatron wins the battle, but Moss and the 49ers win the war. Turnovers are again the Lions' downfall, and San Francisco powers to a 30-21 win.
Denver @ Atlanta (-3)
Peyton Manning's return to football was the big story in football, as the former Colt christened the Broncos as his team with a 31-19 win over the Steelers on Sunday night.
"Some casual Broncos fans woke up Monday morning and were alarmed by the headline they saw," Manning said. "It read, 'Peyton's Back!' They thought it was a new injury.
"No one's happier about me in Denver than the receiving corps. They're just happy to be catching passes instead of blocking."
The Falcons blasted the Chiefs 40-24 in Kansas City last week, lending proof that Atlanta's offense will be greatly improved this year. With more performances like that against the Chiefs, the Falcons will certainly be the clear favorite in the NFC South.
"We're setting the bar high," Matt Ryan said. "Our goal is to win the South outright. That appears to be the only way we can advance to the second round of the playoffs.
"Beating the Broncos, led by Manning, won't be easy, even in front of a raucous home crowd in the Georgia Dome. This could be a career-defining game for me, which could be bad news, because I'm winless in those games. But I think if we keep it close, we'll win. In a neck-and-neck game, we've certainly got the edge."
Denver wins in a shootout, 38-34.
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