NFL Tips: Week 2 – Handshake Gate

Well, thank goodness proper Gridiron is back! Coupled with College Football, the weekends can’t get much better. And after a very enjoyable and infuriating (*coughrefscough*) spate of games, I’m back to do it all again for week 2. Which I’m going to title Handshake-Gate, even though it sounds as crap as the hype around the post-game festivities. Let’s get going, shall we.

Thursday Night Football

Chicago at Green Bay: Week 2 kicks off with a doozy between the Packers and Bears, the classic NFC North grudge match. In week 1 the Packers took the loss to the 49ers as Rodgers couldn’t overcome the 49ers’ defense, to lead the Pack to victory (boy what a great prediction that was). On the other side, Chicago welcomed Andrew Luck and the new-look Colts with quite the hiding. The Bears ran up 41 points on the Colts, with Brandon Marshall having quite the field day with 9 receptions for 119 yards and a score. The Packers defense looked frightfully poor against quite a tame 49ers’ offense, so this definitely has some worry signs and a score of 40+ for both teams isn’t out of reach, by any means. This really is a tough match-up to call, as Chicago have the more complete team, but the Packers have the supreme offense and the home field. I’ll give it to the Pack in a tight, high-scoring affair

Prediction: Green Bay 40, Chicago 38

Sunday & Monday games

Kansas City at Buffalo: With both teams coming off rather poor performances last week, where they both had a 40 burger put on them, the Chiefs and Bills will be looking to replicate their opponents performances from last week. Buffalo has lost Fred Jackson again for a few weeks, so the entertaining CJ Spiller will carry the bulk of the work in their backfield. Kansas City was upstaged by the very real and deadly Atlanta offense. Of course it helped that the Chiefs were without their best CB, Brandon Flowers, who is likely to return this week and shadow Stevie Johnson. With the results of last week in mind, this will either be the opposite of the Green Bay vs Chicago game, or the same. Both defenses were heavily talked up before the season got underway, and both didn’t show up. So they’ll either show up this week, or we’ll get a high-scoring game. This could be quite an under-the-radar game in the scheme of things, but there isn’t much to choose from the 1pm games. I think Kansas City has the better real offense, so that’s who I’m going with.

Prediction: Kansas City 28, Buffalo 17

Cleveland at Cincinnati: Another match-up of two teams who lost, and played quite poorly. Let’s just hope for both fanbases that their QB’s play a little better. Cleveland were a lot closer last week than Cincinnati, but that was with Joe Haden, who’s been suspended for 4 games for a banned substance. The Bengals showed no signs of their playoff form last week, or perhaps I’m underrating the Ravens, or both…Anyway, Cincinnati got torched on the scoreboard as well, and their offense wasn’t really clicking. But the Cleveland defense shouldn’t be anywhere near the problem that Baltimore’s was. Cincinnati should get a relatively easy win.

Prediction: Cincinnati 26, Cleveland 14

Minnesota at Indianapolis: Here’s an interesting point. If Minnesota win this game, they will be leading the NFC North. Early days of course, and the Jaguars nor Colts are some sort of significant win, but it’s still the truth. Anyhow, the Vikings got over the aforementioned Jags in overtime while the Colts got demolished by Chicago. The Colts poor season is expected, and to a point so it Minnesota’s, but if they can’t get past the Colts, then there’s some problems in Minny.

Prediction: Minnesota 31, Indianapolis 20

Oakland at Miami: If you were unfortunate enough to see the 2nd Monday Night Football game, you’d realise that back-up long snapper could be the most important position in Football. At least back-up QB’s actually know what the hell they’re doing and it’s their natural position. The Raiders, obviously, never planned on training a back-up long snapper. Miami don’t seen to have any natural players, or any with skill on their roster outside of Ryan “3 straight picks” Tannehill, who wasn’t terribly accurate against the Texans. Oakland’s defense CAN be good, as I mentioned last week in my crappy tipping exercise and they should be able to come together for the Dolphins, who could be in a race with Indianapolis for the #1 pick next year. And Jarvis Jones will be going to whoever gets it.

Prediction: Oakland 27, Miami 13

Arizona at New England: Arizona have won their last 7 games dating back to next year, but their fortunes against the Brady’s isn’t so fortunate. New England’s defense was stout last week, keeping the Titans to 20 rushing yards and making big plays with a fumble TD. They haven’t lost to Arizona since 1991, so it doesn’t seem like anything is going to change, even with Kevin Kolb under center. And the Patriots have lost one of their last 25 games at home. Very impressive and gives Arizona next to no shot.

Prediction: New England 45, Arizona 20

Tampa Bay at New York: The Giants Super Bowl defending campaign didn’t get off to the start they wanted, going down to their hated rival Cowboys to open the season. Although any knowledgeable Football fan knows the Giants only show up in the 2nd half of the season. Tampa Bay looked alright against the Panthers, though the Panthers looked quite poor. The Giants will need to win the easy games to keep pace in the East this season, and this is one of them.

Prediction: New York 24, Tampa Bay 7

Baltimore at Philadelphia: Easily the worst performance last week was Michael Vick, throwing 4 interceptions and beating the Browns by 1 point. But that’s the beauty in NFL, if you suck, but win, it doesn’t matter! Although the problem is that Cleveland’s defense is second rate to Baltimore’s and Vick and the Eagles could be in for a long day. Baltimore came out of the gate scorching hot, completely destroying the Bengals in all facets of the game. And although Philly is better than Cincinnati, this game will only show by how much, because Baltimore won’t be taking a backseat, I don’t imagine.

Prediction: Baltimore 30, Philadelphia 21

New Orleans at Carolina: Both coming off surprising losses, the Saints head to North Carolina to take on the Panthers. The Saints got lit up by the Redskins and their rookie QB, Robert Griffin III. Carolina had a great chance to open the season with a division win, but couldn’t capitalise on their game in Tampa Bay and before they know it, they could be 0-2 in their own division. Last season’s encounter at Bank of America Stadium was rather enthralling contest and there was a blatant sign of Bountygate with Roman Harper’s late hit on Steve Smith, after he had scored a TD. The Panthers will definitely be looking for a lot of revenge, but I’m not confident they can stop Brees and his offense.

Prediction: New Orleans 28, Carolina 17

Houston at Jacksonville: Houston looked as good as I expected in week 1, against a poor Dolphins team. And now they take on a Jacksonville team who got over the Vikings in overtime. Even though both of these teams of 1-0, I don’t think Houston will have much competition to make it 2-0.

Prediction: Houston 30, Jacksonville 13

Washington at St. Louis: The ‘Skins shall be flying high after their impressive win over the Saints. RGIII was fantastic in his NFL debut, and their defense got 2 interceptions off Brees. The Rams couldn’t overcome the Lions offense in the dying seconds, but will be pleased with their CB duo, both getting interceptions off Stafford, with Finnegan’s going to the house. I think this could be a bit of a danger game for Washington, and this is my upset of the week.

Prediction: St. Louis 24, Washington 20

Dallas at Seattle: Dallas looked pretty impressive in the opener against the Giants and were able to take the win. Seattle went down to the wire with Arizona, but just couldn’t get the ball into the endzone when it counted. I think this could be a bit of a tough contest for both teams, and could be a tad low-scoring. In the end, I think Dallas will be able to take their record to 2-0.

Prediction: Dallas, 17, Seattle 14

New York at Pittsburgh: The Jets were the surprise of the week, for me. Without their first team offense scoring a single Touchdown in the preseason, they put up 48 points as a team against the hapless Bills. Pittsburgh weren’t able to get over the Peyton Manning-lead Broncos, but didn’t play horribly as a team. It’s only one game, so I’m not completely convinced about their offense, but Pittsburgh is a good test to see if they’re for real or not. Pittsburgh have a very good chance to get off the snide and I expect them to.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, New York 17

Tennessee at San Diego: The Titans were shown up by the Patriots and their offense looked anaemic. The Chargers played well, but got pretty lucky that the Raiders’ long snapper got injured and basically turned the match. However the Chargers’ defense was outstanding, against the run. Tennessee is buoyed by the return of Kenny Britt and Locker could play a lot better, despite his injury. This is another tough game to call, I think. But I’ll back the Chargers at home.

Prediction: San Diego 21, Tennessee 16

And then there were two…

Detroit at San Francisco: Even though the media love to focus on a handshake, this game could be the game of the week. The Lions only won by 4 points last week, but kept the Rams to under 200 yards of passing and under 75 yards rushing. The 49ers stopped the Packers at every turn and beat them convincingly. If the Lions can produce the same defensive performance and Matthew Stafford can cut down on the turnovers, they’ve got a very good chance in the game. But of course, the biggest factor is the 49ers defense, which is easily the best in the game and the most consistent. I think people are somewhat underrating the Lions, but the 49ers definitely deserve the favouritism from fans and media. I’ll be taking the 49ers on here, but not by much.

Prediction: San Francisco 24, Detroit 20

Denver at Atlanta: Two very good offenses face off in the Monday Night Football fixture. Peyton Manning returned in style being able to put up good numbers in a win over the Steelers, while the Falcons offense dominated the Chiefs and looked like the hype predicted. The defenses won’t be talked about a lot, but Denver’s played pretty well, getting a pick-6 and racking up quite a few sacks. And the Falcons did a good job, as well. I’m going to give the edge to Atlanta, because of the home field.

Prediction: Atlanta 34, Denver 27

Good luck with your teams and have a great week!

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