Sep 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings (15) and quarterback Matt Cassel (16) celebrate after an 8-yard touchdown during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Thoughts from Ian
PIT over BAL
Baltimore does not want to start the season 0-2. The Steelers have a pretty good team. These teams both hate each others guts. Glad its on Thursday Night! I think the Steelers can win this one in Baltimore.
MIA over BUF
I like Tannehill better than EJ Manuel. If the Dolphins can pressure EJ Manuel like they pressured Tom Brady last week, they will have success. The Dolphins are pretty good at stopping the run as well. Going back to the run on offense will help open up passing lanes for Tannehill.
DET over CAR
Both secondaries are horrible, but the Panthers have a better front seven. I don’t know if Cam Newton is 100% yet but he is going to have to establish a connection with Kelvin Benjamin, whereas Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson definitely have a connection. I’m buying Megatron has another huge game here.
ATL LOSS CIN
I doubt Atlanta can put together as perfect a game as they played against the Saints this week. Cincinatti is a TOUGH, PHYSICAL football team. If Vontaze Burfict is ready to go, Matt Ryan is going to be in for a long day. The running backs won’t have nearly as easy a time running the ball.
NO over CLE
The Saints offense is dangerous so the Cleveland defense will have to come with all its got. The Browns secondary didn’t look good in Week 1 and if Joe Haden is on Colston, Brandin Cooks is going to have another big game. The Saints need to tackle better and shore up their run defense. They should be able to generate a pass rush on Brian Hoyer
NE LOSS MIN
If Brady says he is worried about Mike Zimmer’s defense in Minnesota, I believe him. This defense is going to have a tough time containing AP, Jennings, and Patterson. If this defense can keep the Patriots under 20 points, I think they have a good chance to win this game.
ARI over NYG
Seriously, the Giants are becoming this year’s Jaguars. Arizona proved their defense is far from deplete of playmakers. The Cardinals should have success by air but some resistance on the ground. They’ll definitely get the win until the Giants sort themselves out.
DAL LOSS TEN
Dallas has the firepower to be in the playoff conversation but that defense is holding them back. Meanwhile, Tennessee featured a great defense against Kansas City but they really didn’t give the ball to their best playmaker all game. If the Titans defense can limit the big play, I can see them taking this game from Dallas.
JAX over WAS
No one else seems willing to say it, so I guess I will. RG3 is all hype. He used to be able to run, he used to throw deep balls, he used to be a dynamic playmaker. After this game, ESPN won’t be able to lie anymore. Jacksonville is much better than we have been led to believe and they will give Griffin trouble. Their secondary can’t cover so expect Chad Henne to look better than he should.
SEA over SD
Anybody surprised by San Diego on Monday night? I sure was! Their defense can generate a rush up front and their run defense isn’t bad either. Expect Lynch to have some trouble in this game. I think Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin are dangerous enough to give the secondary fits though. Rivers will struggle to connect with his receivers against this defense.
STL LOSS TB
I’m not very confident in this pick. Tampa Bay proved they couldn’t even handle Derek Anderson. Can they do better against Shaun Hill? Tampa Bay shut down the Panthers running attack and they should be able to handle Zac Stacy. Maybe Tavon Austin makes the difference? I’ve got no idea. I’ll take a Buccanners rebound over miraculously good Shaun Hill play.
KC LOSS DEN
A little bit concerned over Peyton Manning having a weak second half last week. The Chiefs lost Mike Devito and Derrick Johnson for the year so they should be able to open up some holes for Montee Ball. If they can establish the run early, it might slow down their excellent pass rushers when Manning passes the ball. Alex Smith better not get cute against this Denver secondary or he will pay big time.
NYJ LOSS GB
Green Bay’s defense was.. uh.. not so good against Seattle. The Jets will look to establish the run to slow down the pass rush, but I don’t trust Geno Smith to put together two good games in a row. Rodgers has lost Bulaga and hopefully Lacy can clear concussion protocol. Rodgers will be able to communicate to the offense much better than this week than last week though. Rodgers will guide this team back to .500.
HOU over OAK
Ugh, another game that could go either way. I think Arian Foster will have a great day against the Raiders weak front seven. I still have no confidence in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Its a shame Derek Carr can’t learn from an actual NFL quarterback because he seems to be inheriting Schaub’s tendency to check the ball down. The Texans have J.J. Watt and will be coming at him fast.
CHI LOSS SF
Both of these teams have soft defenses but only one has a quarterback that can use that to his advantage: Colin “Captain Kaep” Kaepernick. Marshall and Jeffrey are a big banged up, but Kaepernick can make plays with his feet and tight end Vernon Davis and wideout Michael Crabree. Factor in that Frank Gore should have a good day running against the Bears front and I say the 49ers will have a great first game in their new stadium.
PHI over IND
I guess Nick Foles didn’t have as easy a time against Jacksonville as I thought he would. They had better luck in the second quarter once the Jaguars safety got hurt though. Shady and Sprolesy should have a good day against this defense and Foles won’t have to worry about a pass rush like he faced against Jacksonville. The Philly defense couldn’t stop Allen Hurns and Chad Henne which is a serious problem. I think the Eagles can outlast Luck though.
Agree or disagree with our picks? Who do you have as a ‘upset of the week’ candidate?