The Oratory's NFL Picks for Week 2
by John Canton(NFL)
Posted on September 18, 2009, 11:31 AM
John: Welcome to week two of the Oratory's NFL picks. Last week I was joined by three other prognosticators. Now it's down to two with Anthony Logan stepping aside for personal reasons. Don't worry, though, because James, Matt and I will have you covered. We'll let you know how we did last week, then we'll get to the picks and I'll bring it home with my four picks against the spread and the over/under.
James: Well, last week was quite the success for me. Unfortunately, this week presents a much, much more daunting slate of games to predict. I doubt Iíll even get 10 right this week.
Matt: What an opening weekend for the 2009 season. The Steelers/Titans game lived up to the hype and the pick of many as the game of the week. There were some small surprises, but nothing earth shaking so far. I have the 49ers as my 6 seed in the NFC so I wasnít completely shocked by the win against the Cards. I gave Arizona too much credit based on the playoff run last year, and forgot about how poor their regular season was last year. The Jets, what can I say. I wouldnít be shocked if I pick wrong on 10 of their games this year. Chances are, just when I start to have confidence in this team I feel theyíll fall back to í08 form. Several teams will be playing without some key talent this week due to injury, and a few have the chance to jump out to an early lead in their divisions with games that could have playoff implications down the road. I have a lot of faith in the road teams this week for some reason.
The standings after week one:
Let's get to the picks. All times are Eastern.
Carolina at Atlanta 1:00 PM James: Atlantaís defense, of all things, turned out to be the story of the game for the Falcons last week, much to my immense delight. If they keep that intensity up, and the offense clicks on all cylinders, this is going to be a very long day for Jake ďTurnoverĒ Delhomme and company. (Side note: if you havenít seen the video of Steve Smith talking to Delhomme after he was benched, find it. Itís priceless.) Atlanta 30 Ė Carolina 17
Matt: I donít usually have much confidence in my NFC picks each week, but seeing how the Eagles just embarrassed the Panthers last week gives me no confidence in Carolina this year. Atlanta has somehow managed to draft and trade their way to the forefront of the NFC. The success of the Panthers in í08 was a fluke. If Atlanta can follow the gameplan of pressure on Delhomme that has worked in favor of the last two teams to face him, this one will look much like the Eagles game. Falcons 30-6
John: What the hell happened to the Panthers? I know the playoff game last year was brutal for them, but I thought maybe they'd put it behind them and play better. Instead of establishing the run, they had the erratic one Jake Delhomme throwing picks again. I think this week they'll be smarter by running the ball with Williams & Stewart while keeping it close. Will it be enough to win? No. The Panthers defense isn't as scary as it once was and the Falcons offense is too multi-dimensional to really stop them especially in that dome. Falcons 27-17
Minnesota at Detroit 1:00 PM James: Adrian Peterson is going to be picking piece of the Lionsí defense out of his cleats for hours after this massacre is over. (Note to Nike: please stop showing that snakeskin-looking Peterson commercial. Itís creepy!) Minnesota 40 Ė Detroit 14
Matt: The Vikings have got to get the passing game together. Did they bring Farve in just to be a game manager? If so, it might not be a bad use of the long time vet for the early part of the season. Maybe his arm will be in better condition toward the end of the year if he keeps the gunslinging to a minimum. Still Peterson canít be expected to run all over every D they face this year. Detroit isnít going to force anyone outside of their comfort zone this year though so chances are AP has another big night. Vikings 28-17
John: The Lions win! Against the spread. Hey, that's something right? I know that everybody is thinking the Vikes will go in there, run Peterson down their throats (I hope so since he's on my most important fantasy team) and shut the offense down with their formidable defense. It might happen. However, this is the NFL. The predictable things don't always happen. I think the Lions defense will blitz the hell out of Favre, he might make some mistakes when that happens and as a result Detroit might be able to work on the short field to get them some points. Still, I don't see them scoring enough to win. I do like them to cover the 9Ĺ points, though. They'll keep it within a touchdown in their home opener. Vikings 24-17
Cincinnati at Green Bay 1:00 PM James: *Lock of the Week* Green Bay was sloppy against the Bears, but Cincinnati was ghastly against a much worse team. Thereís no way the Bengals beat the Packers in Lambeau. Green Bay 35 Ė Cincinnati 14
Matt: From last weekBroncos win not because they are that good, but the Bengals are that bad. Difference is the Packers are a good team. This will be brutal, sorry Bengals fans but this team is going to challenge for the #1 draft pick next year. Packers 32-3
John: The Packers pulled one out in the closing seconds (no that's not a sex joke) of their game against the Bears last week even though they should have won by more thanks to all of Cutler's picks. The Pack's offense didn't seem ready last week. I think they'll correct it this week against a Bengals defense that is probably a bit underrated. Not sure why the Bengals struggled so much offensively against the Broncos. I don't like this matchup for them, though. I see it as a comfortable Packers win. Packers 31-13
Houston at Tennessee 1:00 PM James: Neither of these two teams was particularly impressive last week, so Iím going to take the home team here. Chris Johnson should have a field day all over Houstonís poor run defense. Tennessee 23 Ė Houston 19
Matt: Houston has been seen as on the cusp of greatness every year and they have yet to live up to the hype. The Texans were outclassed across the board last week. The Titans lost a close game that should leave them wanting redemption. The Texans are in the cellar of the AFC South this year unless they can step up and win games just like this one. I just donít see it happening. Titans 24-10
John: I was really disappointed in the Texans because I had them as a playoff team this year. Losing to the Jets is fine, but the way they lost was really disheartening to see. They didn't show much in the way of heart or toughness throughout the game. No offensive touchdowns is pretty bad too. Now they're playing in Tennessee against a team that's stewing after a tough loss and a couple of extra days of rest. I see this being a ball control type domination of a game from the Titans offense. It's going to be difficult for Houston to slow that running attack down. Titans 23-7
Oakland at Kansas City 1:00 PM James: Both of these teams provided some hope to their fanbases last week, but both came up short where it mattersóthe W-L column. I like Kansas City a lot more in this matchup of AFC doormats simply because whether Brodie Croyle or Matt Cassel starts at QB for them, they automatically have a huge advantage on Oakland. Kansas City 28 Ė Oakland 21
Matt: It isnít often this year that Iím going to say this, but Iíve got to go with the Raiders here. The Raiders D looked good last week against the Chargers, while I think KC is going to find themselves a bit banged up after the game against the Ravens. These are two teams that have a lot of work to do to get back to their former glory. I really donít feel good about picking either team here so it is what it is. Raiders 24-17
John: The Chiefs and Raiders both surprised the hell out of me. KC's offense performed much better than I ever thought they would in Baltimore while the Raiders ran the ball consistently well. The problem is Jamarcus Russell is still a limited QB because he's unable to make the tough passes when they need it. It seems like he can only throw it in a straight line. You need to be able to make the tough 12 yard out patterns when it's 3rd and 10, yet he seems incapable of that. Ugly game, but somebody has to win. Chiefs 20-14
New England at NY Jets 1:00 PM James: *Game of the Week* Iím definitely looking forward to this matchup. I got questioned for ranking the Jets #2 in my Week 1 power rankings, but I donít take into account preseason hype or lack thereof. You perform well when it matters, and you get ranked higher; and vice versa. I donít like New Englandís defense, and losing Jarod Mayo for half the season is going to hurt them even worse. I actually like the Jets to upset here. New York 24 Ė New England 20
Matt: The Jets looked really good last week. Shockingly so. The Patriots almost lost to the Bills but somehow managed to steal a win. Iím thinking this will be a game that either shows the Jets to have what it takes to make a run at the playoffs, or that the Patriots dynasty is dying. Based off of last week, this is an easy pick for the Jets. Still, the Jets being the Jets, and the Patriots being the Patriots is all I need right now to give a slight edge to the Pats here. Patriots 28-27
John: Tough game. I think the Jets can definitely win it, but I won't pick them. I don't like the prospects of a rookie QB against a Bellichick defense although without Mayo they are vulnerable. The Jets need to have Jones & Washington making plays out of the backfield while trying to slow down the Pats passing game. I don't like the trash talking that the Jets did this week, though. Brady's already great without the extra motivation. Patriots 27-20
New Orleans at Philadelphia 1:00 PM James:Very intriguing game here because I want to see if New Orleansí defense is really improved. Of course, in a way, since Donovan McNabb isnít playing (and consequently, Philadelphia will lose) you still might not have an accurate read on them. New Orleans 28 Ė Philadelphia 17
Matt: I donít think Drew Brees is going to be throwing more than two TDs this week. Game one has people thinking that he is going to shatter records this year. That might be the case if he got to face the Lions in the dome for another 15 games. I donít see the weather being much of a factor here, but the Philly D was all over the Panthers last week and I think they disrupt Brees into what could turn out to be more of a Favre 08 performance than a Brady 07 performance. Eagles 30-17
John: And the most overrated team in the NFL after one week: The New Orleans Saints! Congratulations fellas. Because you destroyed with six TD passes from Drew Brees everybody loves you right now. Me? Not so much. I still like them to make the playoffs, but I don't like them on the road playing a very good defense, especially against the pass, like the Eagles. I know McNabb's probably out too. That doesn't bother me that much. They will still be able to run the ball with Westbrook and I think they'll be able to do enough offensively to win the game because the Saints defense still has to improve a lot more. Eagles 30-20
St. Louis at Washington 1:00 PM James: I think that St. Louis having to open at Seattle and then at Washington is pretty cruel. But that said, Washington, as bad as they looked last week, wonít lose to a much worse Rams teamówhich happens to be the only team that failed to put points up in Week 1óespecially at home. Washington 20 Ė St. Louis 7
Matt: The NFC West is going to be won by a team that isnít very good and has no business being in the playoffs. The Rams arenít even good enough to be that team. I honestly havenít seen enough of Washington to form a solid opinion, but they hung in there with the Giants last week so Iím sure they can handle the once again hapless Rams. Redskins 38-3
John: I don't think it's fair to make a team have to start their first two games on the road. The Rams got destroyed by Seattle last week (it was actually close in the first half) and now they're heading to Washington against a pissed off Redskins team. The Rams beat them last year. I still don't know how because Jackson missed that game. This year the Skins will get their revenge on my once again hapless team. Remind me again why I love the NFL? Oh right, the fantasy and gambling stuff. Thanks. Redskins 30-10
Arizona at Jacksonville 1:00 PM James: Iím not impressed by either of these teams. Arizona has some key injuries on the offensive side, and Jacksonville just seems to be spinning its wheels in the mud. I think Arizona will rebound on the road here. Arizona 25 Ė Jacksonville 13
Matt: Did the Cards play that bad, or were the 49ers building on the end of last season toward my predicted playoff run? Iím going to say it was a little of both. Make no mistake about it, the Cards can play some football from time to time. They arenít going to win them all. They arenít going to win this one either. That D has just got too many holes, and Iím starting to lean towards this team not winning the division. Jaguars 30-28
John: These AFC/NFC games are always tough to figure out because these teams only play once every four years, so there's no history to really go on. Last week they each played divisional opponents and lost. Now that they're back to playing unfamiliar foes, I'm going with the better offense here even though I know the Cards have struggled on the road against East Coast teams the past few years (I think they were 0-5 last year). That's fine. Trends are made to be broken at some point. When in doubt, pick the team that you think is better. Cardinals 21-14
Tampa Bay at Buffalo 4:05 PM James: Terrell Owens just canít help himself. Mark Schlereth put it bestóheís a guy who is willing to admit that...it was someone elseís fault. I think Buffalo can rebound at home against a Tampa team that really has no identity whatsoever. This could be another ugly game, though. Buffalo 21 Ė Tampa Bay 20
Matt: TO avoids another good excuse for a meltdown this week as the Bills win the game. That does not imply that TO doesnít melt down though. My bet heís questioning the sexuality of everyone else on his team by week seven this year. The Bucs were unable to stop the passing game of the Cowboys last week. Look for a lopsided win for the Bills here. Bills 34-17
John: My pick is more against the Bucs than it is for the Bills. However, it should be noted that the Bills can absolutely stink up the joint because of how emotionally upset they must be after losing on Monday. Still, the Bucs are that bad in all aspects that Buffalo should roll. Bills 27-10
Seattle at San Francisco 4:05 PM James: It will be downplayed since itís the pitiful NFC West, but this is a very important game for each team since it is divisional and both teams are 1-0. This one is really hard to predict since Seattle took it to one of the worst teams in the league, and as such, you really donít know what kind of team they are yet. And San Francisco pulled an upset, but again, you really donít know much about them. I feel slightly safer picking the 49ers. San Francisco 17 Ė Seattle 14
Matt: Iíve seen a few people getting on the Seahawks bandwagon after the shutout win last week. Iíll be impressed when they win over a top 30 team in the league. The 49ers are managing to put things together very well despite that little off the field distraction. Look for them to be one of the most shocking 4-0 or 3-1 teams by week four. In the off season I had this team squeaking into the playoffs possibly as a wildcard, but if the Cards donít start to turn things around in the next week or two SF has got a shot at the Division 49ers 27-17
John: These are hard teams to figure out. I was surprised the Niners handled the Cards as well as they did. The Seahawks looked great against the Rams, but are they really great or are my Rams really bad? It's hard to say. I think these teams are about the same except that Seattle's QB is better. I think Hasselbeck is on his way to becoming a Pro Bowler again, so with that in mind I'll pick them here. Seahawks 23-13
Pittsburgh at Chicago 4:15 PM James: Both of these teams lost key members of their defenses in Week 1, but Chicago had about as bad a week as a team as you can imagine. Things donít get any easier facing Pittsburgh here. Cutlerís four picks were bad, but his receivers gave him absolutely no help, either. He may be able to take advantage of the Polamalu-less Steelers here, if they can get on the same page. Iím going to go out on a limb and predict an upset here. Stranger things have happened. Chicago 18 Ė Pittsburgh 17
Matt: Two teams known for bringing the D in this game. The Steelers need to establish a running game this year, but even with Urlacher out of the lineup I donít think this is the week it develops. Look for the Steelers to continue to develop into more of a pass first team until someone can figure out how to contain the sandlot football like Roethlisberger. I donít like picking the Steelers in a blow out win ever mainly because they have developed into the cardiac kings when it comes to close games. I honestly donít expect the Bears to do much here at all. Cutler will throw fewer INTs this week, but he will get knocked around quite a bit Steelers 24-3
John: In the NFL the QB gets the most credit and the most blame. In Chicago's case, I don't blame Cutler for offensive problems. Instead I say who's he going to throw to? Guys like Hester and Bennett would be the third or fourth receivers on most good NFL teams (definitely on Pittsburgh), yet they're the guys that Cutler's relying on to get open against top corners. It's not going to happen. As a result, the Bears offense will continue to struggle. Now with Urlacher out I think their defense might have some problems too. They're still a tough team, but not good enough to beat a championship caliber team like the Steelers. Steelers 23-10
Cleveland at Denver 4:15 PM James: This could be even worse than the Cincinnati/Denver game. Cleveland 19 Ė Denver 13
Matt: The Browns arenít very good, the Broncos are just plain bad. Games like this are the reason that NFL network was founded. I donít think there is anyone in the country who wants to see this game. Browns 17-6
John: I have Sunday Ticket, so I see all the games, but I can honestly say I didn't watch the Browns on offense at all (it was only on that game to watch Peterson) and the only part I saw of Broncos/Bengals was the crazy finish because nothing else was that close. In saying that, I think both teams are bad. When that happens I used to pick the home team. This year, though, I'm going against that. Browns 24-21
Baltimore at San Diego 4:15 PM James: Last week, San Diego looked exactly like what they areóa Norv Turner-coached team. They have a ton of key offensive injuries, and even though Baltimore had their own problems last week (mainly on special teams) against the Chiefs, I see the Ravens winning here. Wow, the AFC West is awful. Baltimore 28 Ė San Diego 23
Matt: Very tough game for me to call. Baltimore did not look as strong against KC last week as most people thought they would. Is the aging of the legendary D finally catching up to this club? The Chargers also did not impress in week one. The Raiders should never have been in control of that game. The last minute drive to win showed some character for this team, but it should have never come to that. If the Oakland D looked that good against these guys then they are very lucky that the Ravens seem to be off of their pace. Ravens 21-20
John: The Chargers are not one of those teams that is great at home. Other teams love playing there. The weather's nice, the fans are laid back and it's a nice atmosphere for opponents to play in. A hardnosed team like the Ravens is going to walk in there, pound the ball down their throats and hope for a few breaks in their average passing game. With San Diego being a second half team typically, this is the kind of game they will lose. I think that theory will hold true to form here. Ravens 23-14
NY Giants at Dallas 8:20 PM James: This should be one hell of a spectacle with the new Cowboys Stadium opening up to a bitter division rivalry game. While I have no doubts the game will be entertaining, I canít see Dallas losing this game simply because New Yorkís offense just doesnít gel well enough together (as evidenced last week). Dallas 28 Ė New York 20
Matt: Game of the week as both teams try to prove that they have improved over last year. The Giants are one of the top teams in the NFC this year and should be able to keep Dallas in check in this one. I still think this will be exciting to watch and the opening of the new stadium is going to have the home crowd pumped. This isnít even that close for me if the Giants are at home, but since itís in Texas Giants 24-20
John: Tough game. Honestly, I think I'm most interested in how many punts hit the scoreboard. I say two just for fun. I'm not really sure about the Giants passing game, but I know they can run the ball and that defense can force mistakes from just about any QB. With Umenyiora back the pass rush is elite once again while the Cowboys might be over confident after an easy win against a bad Bucs team last week. I like the Giants on a late field goal. Giants 20-17
Indianapolis at Miami 8:30 PM (Mon) James: Miami was totally outclassed last week, but they should be able to make Indianapolis one-dimensional with a good-looking run defense. Indianapolis will stay in the game because of Manning-to-Reggie Wayne, but I think Miami pulls it out. Off-the-wall side prediction: I think this game will go to overtime. Miami 27 Ė Indianapolis 24
Matt: The success Miami had last year continues to hurt the team this year as they find themselves facing teams that are a step or more above their level. They arenít going to get blown out this week, but they wonít really ever be in this game. Colts 20-10
John: I tend to like home dogs on Monday night especially when they have a good defense. I think the Colts offense might struggle with only Wayne and Clark for Manning to throw to. The question is can Miami's offense score enough? I think they can. Barely. Dolphins 20-17
JC's Money Picks John: Every week I'll pick four games against the spread or using the over/under. Last week I went 2-2 by getting the Bengals/Broncos under and the Vikings to cover. I lost the Pats and Cards picks to cover. These odds come from pinnaclesports.com on Friday morning as I write this.
Bills -5 over the Bucs. Like I said in the picks, it's more against the Bucs rather than for the Bills.
Falcons -6.5 over the Panthers. Tough team and environment for the Panthers to bounce back against.
Bears/Steelers UNDER 37.5. I know it's a low total, but I think it's going under.
Colts/Dolphins UNDER 42. I think Indy's offense will struggle and Miami doesn't score much anyway.
Thanks for reading. We'll see you next Friday for week three.