Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season begins with a Thursday night showdown in New England that could get out of hand before the start of the second half. The Manning brothers will face off on Sunday, and two divisional contests will finish off the week. It's possible that Green Bay could, for the second straight Sunday, be involved in the weekend's most exciting contest.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: New York Jets at New England Patriots
Buffalo couldn't manage to hold onto the lead at home against the Patriots. Nobody should believe that an even worse offense will get the job done at Gillette. The New York defense would have been lit up by a better offense in Week 1. They'll be facing just that on Thursday night. Yikes.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
I realize that the new-look Baltimore defense looked lousy against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Apparently those who are giving the Browns only 6.5 points as of the writing of this sentence didn't watch the Cleveland offense last Sunday. My prediction for this one? Pain.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons
The Rams are a team that is stuck in NFL purgatory. They're hardly awful, but they are also not yet in the same league as the San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks. St. Louis could make a huge statement in beating an Atlanta side that maybe should have won against the Saints last weekend. I just can't see it happening.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
While E.J. Manuel played just fine in his NFL debut, there's little chance that the offense of the Panthers could be worse than they were at home against Seattle. Indications are that the Carolina defense is improved from one year ago at this time, but it's not going to matter all that much if the team's offense isn't going to take any chances. The match-up is favorable for the Panthers to air it out. Let's just see if they actually do it.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
It's another year of the same story for the Vikes. They don't have a reliable quarterback nor do they have any consistent deep threats, meaning that the Bears can focus all of their defensive efforts on Adrian Peterson. Peterson is once again set for a monster year personally, but even he can only find the end zone so many times per game. I don't trust the Minnesota defense enough to go with them here.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers
Nobody panic about RG3. Monday was essentially his first preseason game of 2013, and he did improve after a shaky first half. Alfred Morris picking up only 45 yards could be something to keep your eye on, especially if he struggles during a game that isn't a blowout before halftime. Washington is likely going to contend for the NFC East title when all is said and done. The Packers are simply in a higher tier, and they recover from losing to San Fran in Week 1 with a quality victory here.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Don't no-sell Miami's victory over the lowly Browns. The pass rush of the Dolphins embarrassed Cleveland's offensive line, and Indy's unit up front did not do well enough to protect Andrew Luck against the Raiders. What makes it hard to put the Colts on upset alert isn't that Miami can't hang with Indianapolis on the road. It's that, if down by under 10 points in the fourth quarter, Luck will probably lead his team to a rally; because that's what he does.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
The minus with Dallas is that they nearly lost to the Giants at home despite causing six turnovers. The plus is that they did cause six turnovers, and also that Tony Romo, unlike Eli Manning, took his team down the field for the most important offensive touchdown of that particular game. I can't trust the Chiefs, at least not yet. They dominated in Jacksonville, but let's not kid ourselves. The Jags are awful.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
This would normally scream “letdown game” for the Eagles following an offensive onslaught against the Redskins nobody outside of the Philadelphia locker room saw coming. Then you remember that San Diego is flying east for a 1 pm game after choking away a lead at home in front of a national television audience on Monday night. That was the type of collapse you'd expect to see from the Chargers after Thanksgiving, not before it.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
This is my first “upset alert” of the weekend. Tennessee didn't merely beat the Steelers and do so in Pittsburgh where hardly any opposing teams win. Their defense was dominant, holding Ben Roethlisberger to under 200 passing yards. Those expecting the Texans to blow Tennessee out shouldn't forget how bad Houston looked at San Diego until the final 20 minutes of that game. As long as their offense limits mistakes, Tennessee can pull it out on the road. They've done so already this season.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
The Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald partnership is, on paper, one that will thrive following what we saw last weekend. Then you remember that the Arizona offensive line surrendered four sacks, and that it will be facing off against a pass rush that brought the QB down on three occasions in Week 1. There's also the fact that Fitzgerald could be limited because of a hamstring issue. I can't trust the Cards without knowing Fitz will be 100 percent on Sunday.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rookie Geno Smith threw for over 250 yards on the Bucs at MetLife Stadium this past Sunday. A rejuvenated Drew Brees, who lit TB up last year and who also has his head coach back, could double that mark. That this game is taking place in Tampa means little to me. This one could get ugly.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
This would have been a true “Toilet Bowl” candidate but two weeks ago. Then, Terrelle Pryor gained over 300 total yards of offense by himself, including over 100 yards on the ground. Chad Henne will have to be heroic to give the Jags a shot in Oakland.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Denver Broncos at New York Giants
Two things need to be pointed out. Peyton Manning isn't tossing seven touchdowns per weekend, and the Giants aren't nearly as bad as they appeared to be at Dallas. New York has, under Tom Coughlin, rallied back from such poor performances with banner wins in the past. The numbers, most notably the age of the older brother, suggests that this could be Eli's final opportunity to win a Manning Bowl; unless the two meet again in February, of course.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
I'll just come right out and say it. The Seahawks don't lose at CenturyLink, and you know the stadium will be rocking for Seattle's home opener. San Fran was routed the last time they visited Seattle on a Sunday night. I don't think that will happen this time around, but I also can't go against Russell Wilson and company.
2013 Week 2 NFL picks: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
It's bad times for the Steelers. There were questions about the team's wide receivers even before the Tennessee game, and losing Maurkice Pouncey for the season is a huge blow. Cincy gave a win away to the Bears in Week 1, and they'll be looking to rebound against a wounded animal. Andy Dalton is bound to have a big game against the Steelers one of these days. Why not Monday night?