Mike Ivcic’s Week 2 NFL Preview and Free Picks

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Mike Ivcic’s Week 2 NFL Preview and Free Picks ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Redskins by 3.5
Most of the talk surrounding the Redskins has been borderline negative, as if most are still too unsure of the team to buy any stock that it will hold up for the full season. And yes, Rex Grossman at QB certainly isn’t the most convincing of options, but he played well enough to win and the defense was extremely impressive, bottling up the Giants offense. They’ll need another good performance this week, as Arizona’s suddenly potent attack arrives in D.C. But defense usually trumps offense, and if Washington was able to confuse Eli Manning, then Kevin Kolb is likely in for a long afternoon.
Pick: Washington 21, Arizona 13

Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Ravens by 6
Two weeks ago, I said the Titans could be a possible AFC sleeper, while the Ravens were going to be in a dogfight to just make the postseason. This is why preseason predictions are so much fun to look at after the season – because they’re usually wrong. Baltimore thrashed the Steelers in convincing fashion, while Tennessee couldn’t get out of their own way in Jacksonville. Six points may seem high, but this Ravens defense is out to prove they’re still elite, and Matt Hasselbeck just hasn’t had enough time in the Tennessee offense to be capable of handling what he’ll see from Harbaugh’s squad.
Pick: Baltimore 24, Tennessee 10

Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Saints by 6.5
The biggest question heading into this week, for me, is what to make of that Atlanta-Chicago game from week one. Are the Falcons overrated, the Bears underrated, or maybe a little bit of both? While I did say Atlanta would lose the division to the Saints, I have to believe this Bears team will eventually be the borderline .500 team I thought they’d be at the outset. A visit to the Superdome isn’t pleasant for anyone, and if New Orleans still harbors any thoughts of being able to play to that homefield crowd in January, they know this is a must-win.
Pick: New Orleans 27, Chicago 20

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Browns by 2
When was the last time the Cleveland Browns were favored on the road against a defending division champ? Probably in the 1980’s, and this Browns team is nowhere near the level of those clubs. That said, the Colts are nowhere near the level of their teams from the past decade without that Manning guy, and that won’t change this week. I’m giving Cleveland one more week to prove they can be a surprise team in the AFC this season.
Pick: Cleveland 17, Indianapolis 13


Green Bay Packers @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Packers by 9.5
Two very misleading stats have led this line to be much lower than it should be. First, Cam Newton threw for 422 yards last week, therefore the Panthers offense is legit, right? And clearly the Packers defense isn’t anywhere close to what it was since Drew Brees and the Saints put up 34 points, correct? Both assumptions would be wrong, and when the Packers secondary shuts down Steve Smith and forces Newton into a three-pick performance, remember where you read it first.
Pick: Green Bay 34, Carolina 13

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 8.5
So Luke McCown beat Matt Hasselbeck. I’ll eat crow on that one. But if McCown can even keep this game close against one of the top-five defenses in the league – and one that last week didn’t play up to its potential – then McCown will be off the hook from me for the rest of the year. Now then, back to writing those Luke McCown jokes…
Pick: New York 24, Jacksonville 9

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Lions by 7.5
No one looked worse last week than the Kansas City Chiefs, who got smacked in the mouth over and over and over again by the Buffalo Bills. Combine that with a team riding high after a crucial win, and this screams classic let-down game. I think Detroit can still win this game, though, so I’m going against my axiom from last week (which was absolutely terrible advice anyway) and taking the Chiefs to cover, but the Lions to be 2-0.
Pick: Detroit 21, Kansas City 20

Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Bills by 3
It’s a scary thought that one of these teams will be 2-0 after this game, but it makes a lot more sense if it’s the Raiders who remain undefeated than one of the three front-runners for top overall draft pick in 2012. And that’s as far as I need to think with this one.
Pick: Oakland 28, Buffalo 17


Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Steelers by 14
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. If it did, it would be very similar to what awaits the Seahawks at Heinz Field. That line could be double and I still would probably take the Steelers. True, the Pittsburgh defense looked bad last week, and any offense that turns the ball over seven times is lucky to simply not get shut out. But this is the defending AFC champion coming off their worst loss ever to their biggest rival. Something tells me Mike Tomlin’s squad won’t be pulling off the gas pedal on this one.
Pick: Pittsburgh 34, Seattle 7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Vikings by 3
I’m still trying to figure out exactly what Vikings team the oddsmakers were watching last weekend, because the Vikings got pushed around and managed to keep the game close only because they returned the opening kickoff and then watched as the Chargers tried desperately to give the game away. Tampa, meanwhile, is coming off a tough home loss and knows their playoff hopes take a huge hit with an 0-2 start. The Bucs have more to play for, and win this one outright.
Pick: Tampa Bay 20, Minnesota 17

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49’ers
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Cowboys by 3
Lost in the fourth quarter collapse last Sunday night in the Meadowlands was the Cowboys domination of the first three quarters. The defense succeeded in making Mark Sanchez uncomfortable, and Dez Bryant made Antonio Cromartie look like a turnstile. And lost in the 49’ers win over the Seahawks is that Alex Smith is still San Francisco’s quarterback. I don’t say this very often since I stink against the spread, but this one is a gimme.
Pick: Dallas 28, San Francisco 13

Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Broncos by 3.5
Who can forget Gus Johnson flipping out as Brandon Stokley raced to the endzone for the winning touchdown after the improbable deflection-completion two seasons ago? Well… actually… most of both of these fanbases, who have seen much better days. This is almost a pure toss-up, which usually means take the points, but I just can’t pull the trigger on actually picking the Bengals to win back-to-back road games to start this season.
Pick: Denver 20, Cincinnati 14


Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Texans by 3
Wes Welker, 99 yards. Tom Brady, 517 yards. Matt Schaub, meet Andre Johnson. Ballgame.
Pick: Houston 35, Miami 20

San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots
Sun, 4:15pm, CBS
Line: Patriots by 7
The last time the Chargers played well in New England, I think Dan Fouts was the quarterback. The Patriots clearly watched the Sunday night game and came out in full “did everyone forget who won the AFC East the last two years?” mode. With Bill Belichick at the helm, there won’t even be a chance of a letdown game this week, so San Diego will have to significantly cut down on the mistakes this week if they hold any hopes of getting off to a surprisingly different (for them) 2-0 start.
Pick: New England 33, San Diego 21

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons
Sun, 8:20pm, NBC
Line: Eagles by 2.5
Storylines, anyone? Lost in the saga of Michael Vick returning to Atlanta, though, is how desperately the Falcons will need this win. The Eagles showed plenty of flaw last week that the defending NFC South champs can exploit, which combined with the home crowd and primetime spotlight should be enough to lift Atlanta to the victory.
Pick: Atlanta 30, Philadelphia 24

St. Louis Rams @ New York Giants
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: Giants by 6.5
If the Rams were a completely healthy team, this would be a very good game (and a slightly lower line). But Steve Spagnulo’s return to the Big Apple will be spoiled by a desperate Giants team that knows it coughed one away in Washington last week. Big Blue can’t afford an 0-2 start, especially with a loss to a potential tiebreaking team, so expect more energy and passion from the Giants in the game than what was shown on the field last week.
Pick: New York 20, St. Louis 10

Straight-Up: 10-6
Against Spread: 4-10-2

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