The picks (All picks are straight-up)
Minnesota (0-1) at Cincinnati (1-0)--> The Vikings couldn't have had a worse offensive performance a week ago. Could they? Meanwhile, the Bengals look like the only serious contender to Pittsburgh's dominance in the AFC North. With Carson Palmer at the helm, I like Cincy at home.
The pick: Cincinnati
Jacksonville (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0)--> I know Baltimore's offense is bad, but the Colts look like they may have a defense capable of allowing them to actually challenge New England now. Jacksonville won in Indy last year. It won't happen again this year.
The pick: Indianapolis
Pittsburgh (1-0) at Houston (0-1)--> Like the Vikings, I'm not sure Houston could have looked worse in their opener. The Texans have playoff thoughts this year, but for us to take them seriously, David Carr has to play better. Even if they're without Roethlisberger (game-time decision), I like the Steelers to win.
The pick: Pittsburgh
San Francisco (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1)--> The 49ers surprised many by winning their opener. Philly surprised many with a somewhat listless effort against the Falcons on Monday night. With the Eagles seeking redemption, and McNabb sounding like he'll start, I don't like San Fran's chances in this one.
The pick: Philadelphia
Buffalo (1-0) at Tampa Bay (0-1)--> J.P. Losman managed the game well last week against Houston. With Tampa's defense looking strong once again this year, Losman will be tested early and often, and he'll have to avoid the mistakes that plagued Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings a week ago.
The pick: Tampa Bay
Baltimore (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1)--> Every time I hear about this matchup, I think back to that playoff game a few years back where Ray Lewis almost singlehandedly destroyed the Titans in Nashville. That might happen again this year. After all, Lewis knows his offense won't be carrying the Ravens to victory anytime soon.
The pick: Baltimore
Detroit (1-0) at Chicago (0-2)--> Could the Lions be the class of the NFC North? Well, they'll be for at least the first two weeks. Sustaining success could be more of a problem for this team.
The pick: Detroit
New England (1-0) at Carolina (0-1)--> I know their schedule is hard and all, but it's really not smart to pick against a team that hardly ever loses...especially when people are expecting them to. New England will handle the first of many difficult tests that await them in the first half of the season.
The pick: New England
St. Louis (0-1) at Arizona (0-1)--> The Rams lost to San Francisco, yet Mike Martz still has a job? Maybe the standards in St. Louis aren't what they used to be. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will be looking to bounce back from an effort that could be generously described as "bad".
The pick: Arizona
Atlanta (1-0) at Seattle (0-1)--> I just don't trust this Seattle team. Normally, you'd pick against a team that's coming off a Monday night game and has to travel cross-country. But I just don't trust Seattle to contain Michael Vick and make him throw the ball effectively.
The pick: Atlanta
Miami (1-0) at N.Y. Jets (0-1)--> The Jets are looking to show that they're actually not a terrible football team. The Dolphins have Gus Frerotte as their starting QB in a road game. That should sound an alarm for anyone who is considering taking Miami in this game.
The pick: N.Y. Jets
San Diego (0-1) at Denver (0-1)--> This is a tough call. On one hand, Denver doesn't have anyone who can cover Antonio Gates when Gates isn't fuming over having to miss the season opener, a game the Chargers lost by four points because they didn't have their best end-zone target on the field late. On the other hand, Denver can't possibly start 0-2 by losing at home to the Chargers. Can they?
The pick: Denver
Cleveland (0-1) at Green Bay (0-1)--> The NFL isn't all about the coaches. The NFL isn't all about the coaches. Please, let this be true. The NFL isn't all about the coaches. It better be true, because if it's all about the coaches, the Packers are doomed on Sunday, because Crennel could down twenty Cap'n 'n' Cokes before the game and still outcoach Sherman.
The pick: Green Bay
Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (0-1)--> I need an upset special somewhere, right. To me, there's no better option than the overrated defense on the road against a team led by Randy Moss. Imagine the celebration with the Black Hole fans after his first home touchdown.
The pick: Oakland
N.Y. Giants (1-0)
The pick: New Orleans
Washington (1-0) at Dallas (1-0)--> ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
The pick: Dallas
Later this season, I'm going to start ranting regularly about the poor quality of analysis during NFL telecasts. I've grown to tolerate many of the ESPN personalities (Michael Irvin is a flaming idiot, and Mark Schlereth isn't very good, but most of them are tolerable), as well as the FOX pregame team (I'm still a Terry Bradshaw fan). But the game analysts that these people employ need to be clubbed in the head repeatedly.
In Week One, I was treated to J.C. Pearson (Vikings-Bucs) talking about how the Buccaneers practice the tip drill with their defensive backs. The replay he was talking over was of a ball bouncing off the hands of Viking RB Moe Williams and right into the arms of CB Brian Kelly, who was basically standing there when the ball came to him.
Then, as already mentioned, I had to hear Brian Baldinger try to sell to me that the ball never comes out of Brett Favre's hand while he's trying to pass...even though I've seen it happen at least a half-dozen times in his career.
Just wait until I get to hear the likes of Phil Simms, Randy Cross, Cris Collinsworth, and Dan Dierdorf call a game. This list will only grow.
If you hear anything stupid that comes out of the mouth of an NFL game analyst on TV (which is bound to happen if you watch an NFL game), feel free to drop me a line. Maybe we can start a separate blog to list them. I'll try to tag a couple on most of our NFL entries this season.
Enjoy the weekend. We'll check back with you on Monday with some quick-hit analysis on the college games.