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NFL Picks for Week 2
by John Canton (NFL)
Posted on September 15, 2006, 11:57 PM

John: Welcome to week two of our weekly NFL picks column. This week Brett Berliner has joined us to make it a three man team. The others are of course Drqshadow and myself, John "that's not my real last name" Canton. What we'll do is pick the games straight up and then I will also give four picks for those of you who like to bet against the spread like I do. Each week before we get to the picks we'll post our season record and also how we did last week just in case you were wondering.

Here's the current standings...

John Canton: 12-4
Brett Berliner: 12-4
Drqshadow: 8-8

The Q has some making up to do, but he'll have his chance because it is a very long season. Now, before we get to the picks, here's an intro from Brett Berliner since he missed out last week. After that, we'll get straight to the picks.

Brett: Because John C is a huge jerk (just kidding - maybe a bit unorganized, but that's it) - he didn't ask me to make my picks until it was too late. I didn't have time to write anything up, so I just kept track of what I thought would happen and I tallied up my score, so that I could post it this week and we could tally up how we did. Here's who I picked:

Pittsburgh (1-0)
Carolina (1-1)
Tampa Bay (1-2)
New England (2-2)
Cincinnati (3-2)
St. Louis (4-2)
Cleveland (4-3)
N.Y. Jets (5-3)
Philadelphia (6-3)
Seattle (7-3)
Chicago (8-3)
Dallas (8-4)
Arizona (9-4)
Indianapolis (10-4)
Minnesota (11-4)
San Diego (12-4)

Great first weekend for me. I think it's because I didn't get to break down the games, I just picked a winner. The more I write, the more I trick myself out the right picks. Starting now will be the real test...

Buffalo at Miami 1:00 p.m.
Drq: MIA 20 – BUF 17
I liked Miami a lot more before I saw them visiting Pittsburgh last week, and vice versa for the Bills. Buffalo has a long way to go before they're contending for the divisional title, but they showed a lot of life in New England last week, and traveling to Miami should be a comparably difficult test. I like them to keep it close, but the Dolphins always seem to play well at home and that gives them the slight nod here.

Brett: I'm not a huge fan of either of these teams right now. I think that both offenses are going to struggle as the QBs settle in. Both Losman and Culpepper had flashes of brilliance and flashes of awful last week, so it's really going to come down to which QB can make the fewest mistakes. I put my faith in Daunte in that one, plus Miami has the better defense, plus they're at home (my ultimate tie-breaker). Miami 24, Buffalo 13

John: I believe in Miami quite a bit. I don't know what to think of the Bills although I was impressed with their defense last week. People forget that a few years ago they were considered the best defense in football (or at least fantasy football) and it looks like they might be better on that side of the ball this year. With that said, I think their passing game is as bad as anybody in the league. The Dolphins are the better team here although I see the Bills keeping it tight most of the way. Dolphins 17-13

Carolina at Minnesota 1:00 p.m.
Drq: CAR 14 – MIN 17
Another game that Minnesota really has no business even being in, and one that I think they'll keep very close right up until the final moments. I loved what I saw out of Brad Johnson last week, and if he had a #1 WR who could hold onto the ball when it's put right into his gut, he'd be seriously considered one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Carolina, on the other hand, showed that they're lost without Steve Smith in a surprise loss last weekend. I think Minnesota squeaks by again this week.

Brett: I feel bad for the Panthers. I don't get the feeling this season is going to be any different than the 2004 season, when everybody and their mother picked them to go back to the Super Bowl, but they're already decimated by injuries. Steve Smith is not likely to play, Dan Morgan is out, and their underrated tackle, Travelle Wharton, is gone for the season. Once Smith gets healthy and Wharton's replacement gels with the rest of the line, they could be dangerous, but I liked what I saw out of Minnesota's new defense, attacking with their suddenly tough DL, lead by ends Kenichi Udeze, Ray Edwards, Darrion Scott and Erasmus James, and their new offense with Brad Johnson and Chester Taylor. They need to get more out of their WRs to be considered a real threat, but I think at home against a weakened Carolina team, they have a good chance. Minnesota 17, Carolina 14

John: Like usual the Panthers are off to a slow start. I think they bounce back in a few weeks although I'm not sure if they are the elite team that everybody seems to think. Right now they're hurting in a lot of different places, most notably Steve Smith, so I'm sensing a solid Vikings team scoring a victory here because they don't make mistakes. Vikings 20-14

Cleveland at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Drq: CIN 28 – CLE 17
If the Housh returns for this game, I like the Bengals by even more. Cleveland's a tough club on the rise, but they still aren't in their cross-state rivals' league. I was disappointed by Carson Palmer's numbers last week, but I've got a hunch we'll see more out of him here, complimented by another 100 yard game from Rudi Johnson.

Brett: I have a hard time picking Browns games because I'm so superstitious. On one hand, I believe that if I pick them and they lose, it's my fault, but on the other, I believe that if I pick against them, they're just doing what I told them I expected of them. I'm crazy. I think the Browns are a better football team than they showed against New Orleans, and even last year, they played the Bengals tough. Still, I don't think they've quite come together as a team yet. The D will keep them from getting blown out (especially with LeHigh Bowden on Chad Johnson), but the Browns aren't quite there yet. We'll see later in the season when the Bengals visit Cleveland Browns Stadium. Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 16

John: This is one of those games where the better team is going to win the game (Cincinnati), but the other team (Cleveland) is so scrappy and so determined that they are going to put a scare into the better team. It's just hard for me to pick a team like Cleveland to win on the road in a game like this. Maybe next year. Not this year. Bengals 28-16

Detroit at Chicago 1:00 p.m.
Drq: CHI 14 – DET 3
Detroit barely managed two field goals at home against Seattle last week, so I can't imagine they'll fare much better in the windy city. Rex Grossman continues to impress with a couple bombs this week.

Brett: Last week was a fluke for the Lions. The defense stepped up way bigger than it will most of the year - to be fair, though, Rod Marinelli had them more prepared than I would have ever guessed. Still, while neither offense is explosive, I think the Bears hold a little advantage there, and their defense is just miles ahead of the Lions' D, improved or not. Kitna's going to be on his back quite a bit on Sunday. Chicago 31, Detroit 17

John: I like both defenses a lot. Yes, that means Detroit. They got some really good playmakers on that side of the ball with Rogers, Bailey and Bly just to name a few. Throw in a defensive head coach and you got a defense that could be similar to Chicago last year, or at least something that might be similar by year's end. Problem is Chicago's defense is that much better. Bears 13-7

Houston at Indianapolis 1:00 p.m.
Drq: IND 31 – HOU 10
Indy's defense had a big test against the Giants last week, which I think they almost universally failed. They showed that they couldn't stop the run, that they had trouble rushing the passer when a competent O-Line is in place, and that they still can't cover the deep ball. If it weren't for those two gift turnovers in the second half, they would've lost this game. A match against Houston should give them a chance to regain some of that lost confidence and (hopefully) begin playing a little better in the near future.

Brett: You gotta feel for Texans fans, especially when they see Reggie Bush with about 150 total yards of offense, while Mario Williams had two tackles. I didn't see anything in the 'new' Texans that made me feel like they have much of a chance of beating the Colts, something they've never done, if I recall correctly. I wasn't super super impressed with the Colts, either, but besides the loss of Edge, they're pratically the same team, and at home against a bad Houston team, well, I feel blowout. Indianapolis 35, Houston 10

John: Everybody thinks it's going to be a blowout. Everybody is right. But isn't this why the Texans drafted Mario Williams? To terrorize Peyton Manning. Good luck, rookie. No pressure. Colts 35-7

New Orleans at Green Bay 1:00 p.m.
Drq: NO 17 – GB 10
I like the Saints this season. They've got a fairly easy schedule, a lot of big playmakers on offense and a defense that doesn't hand the game away every week. In a way, they're in the same position that the Jacksonville Jaguars were last season, just with tougher divisional games. Green Bay's at home, but visiting Lambeau against these Packers isn't like diving into the hornets' nest that it was a decade ago.

Brett: The Browns don't have an entirely great defense, but it's light years ahead of the Green Bay unit, and the Pack are struggling big time on offense. I expect to see a big day, a true coming out party, for Reggie Bush. I think the Saints could surprise some people. New Orleans 19, Green Bay 9

John: I don't think the Saints are good enough to be 2-0 without any home games, but they've been blessed with a good schedule. The Packers really suck right now. They're one of the five worst teams in the league. And when you're that low on the totem pole I can't pick you. Saints 27-20

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia 1:00 p.m.
Drq: PHI 13 – NYG 24
I liked a lot of what I saw from the Giants last week. Tiki Barber looked like a man possessed, the offensive line halted a great Indy pass rush, and Plaxico Burress showed hints of greatness with his circus catches. Throw in Jeremy Shockey, one of the league's top tight ends, alongside a tough defense, and I think you have a candidate for NFC front runner this season. Philadelphia won't know what hit them.

Brett: This is probably the matchup of the week and I'd be surprised if it didn't produce the game of the week. The Eagles looked very solid last week. Their passing game is beyond explosive, adding Donte Stallworth to Reggie Brown, Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb and LJ Smith, and their defense - albeit against the hapless Texans - looked good, too. The Giants may have the best running game in the league. Tiki Barber looked explosive, Brandon Jacobs beastly, and their pass rush actually slowed the Colts down quite a bit. These are both very tough teams, and to be honest, I have a hard time picking against the home team, but I think the mental mistakes (and bad calls) that plagued the Giants in game one will disappear. New York Giants 23, Philadelphia 21

John: Game of the week right here. Since I got the Giants going to the Super Bowl I got to ride them early on in the season even with the tough schedule. I just like a lot of things about this team. I think the defense is going to be dominant, but it may take a few weeks. Since these two know eachother so well the difference is probably going to be the turnover battle, which is never easy to predict. I just think the Giants will find some way to get it done this week, probably thanks to the legs of Tiki Barber. Giants 26-23

Oakland at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.
Drq: BAL 28 – OAK 7
The difference between the way these two teams played last week is just off the charts. Oakland played like the road team against San Diego, while Baltimore played like the home team at Raymond James. If the Ravens are as fired up and focused at home as they were on the road last week, Raider fans should begin to cope with the fact that they could easily go into week three with zero total points scored.

Brett: This is probably the matchup of the week and I'd be surprised if it didn't produce the game of the week. These teams are just SO evenly matched that it's scary. Sure, the Ravens looked good last week, but if I'm a betting man, I have to take the awesome combo of Aaron Brooks to Jerry Porter. From what I've heard, the two veteran winners have really just an uncanny chemistry that they share, and it's going to show this week. Take it to the bank. Baltimore 31, Oakland 6

John: Hahaha Oakland. They make me laugh. Just horrible. There is no turnaround for this team. They are the laughingstock of the NFL. Is Baltimore back? Maybe. Let's see how they do against Cincy or Pittsburgh before anointing them anything okay? Ravens 30-3

Tampa Bay at Atlanta 1:00 p.m.
Drq: ATL 24 – TB 14
Tampa is a better club than they let on in that humbling 27-0 spanking against the Ravens. Throw in the fact that they always play the Falcons tough in the dome, and I think this will be tight until the fourth quarter. I don't understand how the announcers are all over the Bucs' offensive line for Chris Simms' continuing troubles with tipped passes. This is something he had a problem with in the postseason last year, and something he should've concentrated on in the off-season. Instead, his ball is barely clearing his line's heads and he's getting one tipped every dozen plays. That isn't something Brian Griese had a problem with, and he played with the same line a year ago. Simms' mental errors will cost the Bucs another game here.

Brett: I'm of the group that believes that Tampa Bay is nowhere near as poor as they played against Baltimore last week, but I think that Atlanta is a really strong team this year. It looks like I wasn't right about Jerious Norwood, who's explosive as all hell, and can combine with Dunn for some big plays this year. If Atlanta doesn't force it and uses Vick to the best of his ability, they could come out strong, and with that defense, I see playoffs in their future. I think the Bucs can rebound and finish 9-7 without much of a problem, but I don't see them being able to keep up with the Falcons. Atlanta 17, Tampa Bay 13

John: I said in the preview of the season that the Falcons defense is the best part of that team. Last week, though, Mike Vick and Warrick Dunn showed they can still put up the points. The Falcons are a very dangerous team again in my opinion. The Bucs, meanwhile, are hungry to prove that last week was just a fluke. I don't think it was. I think there's problems there. Falcons 26-13

Arizona at Seattle 4:05 p.m.
Drq: SEA 10 – ARI 21
I said last week that I expected a let-down out of Shaun Alexander this season, but even I was surprised by how big a change there was in his game at Detroit. He'll have another shot at a big game here, against a Cardinals defense that allowed Frank Gore into the end zone twice last week, but I like the Cardinals to surprise with their offensive weaponry this week, picking up a huge road win.

Brett: This game is interesting for a couple of reasons. For one, the Seahawks didn't look entirely great on offense last week, and the Cardinals certainly did, so if it's getting into a shootout, I think the Cardinals have them beat. However, I think the 'Hawks have the horses to slow them down on defense, and if they get Shaun Alexander going (and I think they will), the grind it out game could keep the Cards out of the air. But still - I can't help but think that Arizona's going to shock the 'Hawks. Tough call - big upset of the week. Arizona 31, Seattle 28

John: Both of you pick Arizona on the road? Wow. Do you realize they gave up all those points to the hapless Niners last week? The Cards defense sucks. The Seahawks defense, meanwhile, could be the best part of that team. Throw in the fact that Seattle has owned Arizona the past couple years and I like the Seahawks to use this game to make a statement that everything is good there. The Cards aren't good enough to win a game like this. Seahawks 30-17

St. Louis at San Francisco 4:05 p.m.
Drq: STL 21 – SF 6
The Rams played a completely different game than I'm used to seeing from them in week one, which is indicative of the new coaching and the completely reworked defense. Granted, Denver gave them a lot of chances to make some big plays, but there is something to be said for making the most of an opportunity. See the Giants' defense, and their three dropped interceptions last week. Two in the end zone.

Brett: I was pretty impressed with a few things regarding the Niners last week, specifically, Mike Nolan's intelligent decision to kick a field goal late in the game, giving his team time after a recovered onside kick, Alex Smith's decision making and Frank Gore's running. I think they look better already. However, the Rams actually won with DEFENSE, and the offense should start to click against a young SF D. Big week for Bulger as the Rams roll. St. Louis 33, San Francisco 16

John: I was very, very pleased with my Rams last week. This week I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm hopeful that the offense wakes up, but worried that if they do that the defense will disappear. I'm just so used to that as a Rams fan. It's been three years since both were working together in such harmony. That's why it is hard for me to not worry. Plus, the Niners offense impressed the hell out of me last week thanks to a back in Frank Gore that looks to be for real. Remember, it was the Rams pass D that was strong last week. The run D sucked. So while I am a bit worried I still think Bulger will wake up to lead the team to victory here. Rams 30-20

Kansas City at Denver 4:15 p.m.
Drq: DEN 17 – KC 14
There's a ten-and-a-half point spread on this game. That's absolutely retarded, considering Denver fell to a Rams squad that didn't make the playoffs last year while the Chiefs collapsed against a hot Cincinnati team after losing their starting quarterback. I think a Chiefs team with Trent Green under center could take this one, but the chaos of a fresh face taking the snaps will proved to be overwhelming. Who would have thought one of these teams would be starting the season 0-2?

Brett: I think the Broncos have a shot, if Gerard Warren pulls a Robert Geathers. In all seriousness, I don't think I can pick a team QB'd by Damon Huard, thereby forcing me to pick Jake Plummer. Yikes. Hard to pick this one - I go with the home team and the decent QB vs. the bad one. Denver 13, Kansas City 9

John: The Chiefs are another team who I feel like I nailed before the season when I said their run game would suffer due to the offensive linemen changing and the coaching change. Now that Trent Green is hurt they're going to get their asses whooped against a very pissed off Broncos team that is great at home. In a week where a lot of blowouts will happen, this is another one. Broncos 31-7

New England at N.Y. Jets 4:15 p.m.
Drq: NE 14 – NYJ 21
I like the Jets in my upset of the week. I fear that I'm buying into a lot of hoopla over a good performance against a sad Tennessee Titans team, but I liked what I saw out of Chad Pennington last time out. I also liked their pass coverage, picking off three passes in the Coliseum. Against a New England secondary that's suspect as it is and a very weak passing attack, that may be enough to make the Jets 2-0 this week.

Brett: Another tough one. I'm actually a big Chad Pennington fan, and I always have been. When healthy - not that often - Pennington is a solid passer with good accuracy. He had a great game last week. The problem is that the Jets aren't well balanced. I'm loving their passing game, with Pennington to Coles, McCareins and Cotchery and their suddenly awesome line, but they need help at running back. Once teams start to dare them to run on them, it's not going to be pretty. The Patriots didn't look great, but I didn't expect a Super Bowl. They should be able to handle this one. New England 21, New York Jets 13

John: I'm sure you'll get lots of mentor Bellichik vs. protιgι Mangini stories on the millions of pregame shows so I won't go there. However, I do think it's interesting because the Jets in one week won a game the way that Bellichik would have with that group of players. Anyway, I'm not sold on the Jets defense at all. I think Brady will pick them apart especially because he didn't have a Brady-like game last week. Pats 23-13

Tennessee at San Diego 4:15 p.m.
Drq: SD 28 – TEN 10
The Chargers looked unbelievable against Oakland last week, running through both lines and absolutely raping the Raiders in every way. I don't think the Titans will provide to be a much more difficult opponent. Tomlinson runs for three, and the defense nets another four sacks in a home rout.

Brett: In San Diego, one of the worst teams, with a past-his-prime Kerry Collins takes on one of the best defenses in the league. I'm not sold yet on Philip Rivers - he didn't have to throw on Monday - but the Titans are a mess. This one could get ugly. San Diego 30, Tennessee 10

John: Shawne Merriman is going to kill Kerry Collins or Billy Volek - doesn't even matter. Oh, and that Tomlinson guy is pretty awesome too. How many times can you write it? Blowout. Chargers 24-6

Washington at Dallas 8:15 p.m.
Drq: DAL 24 – WAS 14
This is always a fun game, if just for the vibe in the crowd at game time. I loved how Jamie Foxx came into the booth during the Skins / Vikings game Monday night and said "I'm a Cowboys fan, you know that, so I love the Redskins." Isn't that like walking into a church and saying "Well, I'm a Satanist, but I love the baby Jesus, y'know?" I like Dallas to rebound from a tough loss in Jacksonville here.

Brett: I really don't like the Redskins' team this year. I think they lack talent on both lines and their defense is especially weak. Dallas, before TO implodes, could be decent. They have talent pretty much everywhere, and one of the greatest coaches of all time. I won't say Super Bowl, but I will say Redskins lose. Dallas 24, Washington 14

John: No Clinton Portis for Washington (we think) means no win for them. I don't like either of these teams very much. The aging QBs aren't going to last. Still, somebody has to win the game and since Dallas is at home with the better defense as well as the best player on the field (Terrell Owens) I'll take them. Did I mention I'm already sick of these teams in only week two? Cowboys 24-10

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
Drq: PIT 24 – JAX 10
I don't think Pittsburgh is that good, so much as I think the Jaguars are overrated. I think Willie Parker runs holes through the Jaguars defense here, and the defense locks it up early in the second half.

Brett: As I've said before, I have a tough time picking against the home team, but I think Jacksonville isn't quite at Pittsburgh's level. If Roethlisberger plays up to his standards, I think they have a great shot of keeping the Jags at bay and starting off the season at 2-0. Pittsburgh 19, Jacksonville 13

John: It's hard for me to pick against the Steelers because they seem to have so much momentum coming off of last year, plus last week with Charlie Freakin' Batch playing QB. The defense is as good as ever, the running game is still strong and the passing game is solid with Roethlisberger or Batch in there. It's just a good offensive system all around. I think the way to beat Pittsburgh is with a passing game that can get vertical. Jax doesn't have that. They're losing here. Too bad Tommy Maddox isn't around to throw an OT pick to Rashean Mathis again. Steelers 23-14

JC vs. The Spread
I'll use the line that Yahoo provides and I'll pick four games that I think you should bet on for the week. Did I really pick Tampa last week? Oops.

Last week: 2-2.

Atlanta (-5.5) over Tampa Bay
Since Tampa screwed me last week I get my revenge this week. Plus, I just think Atlanta's the more dominant team.

Indianapolis (-13.5) over Houston
I hate spreads this high, but Houston has nothing on either side of the ball that makes me think this will be a close game.

Dallas (-6) over Washington
The Skins are officially going to be reeling after this one. Owens kills 'em here.

Baltimore (-11.5) over Oakland
I will pick against Oakland every week until I'm wrong. The point spread does not matter. The strategy is as simple as that.

I hate not picking an underdog, but it's just that way this week. I like the favorites.

Until next week, for Drqshadow and Brett Berliner this is John Canton saying enjoy the games. You know we will.

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