NFL Week 2 Picks: Will the Packers Start 0-2?

Below, Daniel Evans makes his week two NFL picks. Come back each week to see which teams he is picking to win Saturday’s games. The lines used for the spread picks are from USAToday.com’s odds page (Cover.com odds). The opening line is used for the picks.

NOTE: These picks are subject to change leading up to the games’ start time due to late injury news or a Brett Favre type change of heart. The rest of week two’s games will be added Thursday night/ Friday night.

WEEK 2 NFL PICKS

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26 Chicago Bears (+5.5) at Green Bay Packers
I’m sorry Green Bay fans, but every year a talented team with a ton of expectations seems to start 0-2 and fail to meet high expectations right out of the gate. This year, it is going to be the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is great, but this team can’t run and it can’t defend. Jay Cutler and the Bears offense is rolling and the Packers defense doesn’t look like it could stop a small child from scorching its secondary. Randy Moss, who last year at this time was sitting at home watching games, caught a touchdown. Imagine what Brandon Marshall might do.

NFL Week 1 Picks: Can the Cowboys Upset the Giants?

Below, Daniel Evans makes his week one NFL picks. Come back each week to see which teams he is picking to win Saturday’s games. The lines used for the spread picks are from USAToday.com’s odds page (Cover.com odds). The opening line is used for the picks.

NOTE: These picks are subject to change leading up to the games’ start time due to late injury news or a Brett Favre type change of heart.

WEEK 1 NFL PICKS
   
24 20 Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) at New York Giants
The Giants are the World Champions and since the NFL began this Thursday (er, Wednesday) night tradition where the champions open the season at home, the games have been pretty predictable.  This one has a little different feel to it though. Dallas played well in both games against New York last season and the Cowboys’ revenge factor has to be factored in here somewhere. Even without Jason Witten playing, I’ll take Dallas in the upset.

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Indianapolis Colts (+11) at Chicago Bears
Any time a NFL team is favored by double digit points, I usually go the other way. I know how bad the Colts were last year, but this is a new era of Indianapolis football. Andrew Luck brings new hope and this team will compete for four quarters Sunday. Despite that, Chicago will be thankful it gave Matt Forte a new contract after this one.
 
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Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5) at Minnesota Vikings
I actually like this game a lot. You get Christian Ponder vs. Blaine Gabbert, who both have a lot of pressure on them to perform this year after subpar rookie campaigns. Plus, there’s the interesting dynamic of the running backs. Will Adrian Peterson play coming off an ACL injury? If he does, will he be effective? And how will Maurice Jones Drew, who just failed to get a new contract, react when Rashaad Jennings scores a touchdown and he is sitting on the bench, still out of shape? The Jags pull the upset.
 
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Buffalo Bills (+4.5) at New York Jets
The loser of this game is going to have a very long week. New York has not shown a speck of offense all season and now has to deal with the Tim Tebow pressure that will start building after Mark Sanchez throws his first incompletion. The Bills will try to ride Fred Jackson, but I think the Jets are smart enough to know that forcing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them is the best gameplan. Why? Because he can’t do it.
 
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Miami Dolphins (+7.5) at Houston Texans
Miami fans have a lot of concerns about the current makeup of this team and they rightfully should. Ryan Tannehill will start as a rookie, Reggie Bush has never had back to back 1,000 yards seasons, and the receivers are a huge question mark. Houston lost some big pieces this offseason but has more answers than the Dolphins. Expect a big dose of Adrian Foster and expect him to deliver a big day for Houston. Texans win big.
 
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 New England Patriots (-7.5) at Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker will get the start at QB for the Titans, who have to hope that Chris Johnson can get back on track in 2012. If he can run well in this one, they have a chance. Even with a big day from CJ2K, the Titans are going to need someone to step up for suspended receiver Kenny Britt. The biggest question for Tom Brady and the Patriots is whether the defense has improved this summer. The offense will be fine. The Pats win and cover.
 
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 St. Louis Rams (+10) at Detroit Lions
The Lions, those Detroit Lions, are ten point favorites on opening day and nobody is wondering why. That shows that nobody is questioning how good the Lions are anymore and the entire organization should take credit for that. Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, & Co. will win, but the Rams have a lot of prove in a division with room for growth. I’ll take the Rams to keep it within the spread.

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Washington Redskins (+10) at New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has a lot to deal with in this game. All of the suspensions, unless they get overturned before kickoff, will play a part in this Saints season whether or not fans want to believe it not. Robert Griffin III will have a Sportscenter play or two, but he won’t be able to overcome a Saints team, playing at home, that is full of emotion.

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 Philadelphia Eagles (-8) at Cleveland Browns
Andy Reid has been put on notice: Win or lose your job. It probably was not a big surprise to Reid that he needed to win with his team of superstars, but Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie wanted to remind him anyways. This is a big one for Philly, because it is a winnable opener. Cleveland will start rookies at quarterback (Brandon Weeden) and running back (Trent Richardson). 

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Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs
Atlanta’s offense has looked powerful this preseason, with Julio Jones beginning to come into his own. The Falcons have quietly become a popular pick to win the NFC South. Meanwhile, Kansas City is like a wolf hiding in the middle of the night. The Chiefs are talented, but hardly anyone is talking about them with Peyton Manning in Denver, the Chargers always failing with top talent, and Oakland as the more interesting teams in the division. Shhh, I won’t tell anyone Kansas City, but you may not be hiding for long.
 
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21 San Francisco 49ers (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers
The NFL served up some dandies in week one, including this great one in Green Bay. The Packers are all offense and the 49ers are led by a suffocating defense that hopes it can rely a little more on its offense in 2012. The Packers only lost two games all of last season and this one is at Lambeau. I’ll take Green Bay.
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 Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
I find it interesting that the Seahawks are favored playing a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson on the road in Arizona. That alone shows how little people trust Arizona, given the Cardinals are starting John Skelton are Sunday afternoon. I want to pick the Cardinals, because this one feels ripe for an upset but I’ll go with my initial gut and take Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the Seahawks.
 
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Carolina Panthers (-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game will be all about the quarterbacks. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman took a step back last season after looking like the real deal in 2012. Cam Newton was the real deal in his rookie season and looks to have improved even more this offseason. I’ll take Carolina.
 
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Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos
I keep flip flopping on this game. First of all, Denver was considered a huge underdog in the 2011 playoffs against Pittsburgh before winning off of Tim Tebow’s pass to Demaryius Thomas. Throw in Peyton Manning, subtract Tebow, and all of a sudden Denver is a favorite in this game? Pittsburgh was banged up in the playoffs last year and in a way, the Steelers are still feeling the effects from the injury bug. It is absolutely crazy to believe any team in this league could ruin Peyton Manning’s home debut for Denver. Those fans are going to be going nuts and the stadium will be as loud as it will be all season. Well, call me crazy.
 
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 Cincinnati Bengals (+7) at Baltimore Ravens
The knock on the Bengals in 2011 was that Cincinnati went winless against Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Young offensive standouts Andy Dalton and A. J. Green have heard that all offseason. In Baltimore, it has been another ho-hum offseason. Joe Flacco called himself the NFL’s best quarterback and RB Ray Rice got a last second contract extension. This one will be a dog fight. The Ravens prefer dog fights.

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San Diego Chargers (-1.5) at Oakland Raiders
The Chargers seem to start slow every season, but with Peyton Manning’s arrival in the AFC West a slow start might not be as easy to overcome as it has been in the past. Oakland traded a ton for Carson Palmer last season and that trade did not work out. This game will be all about the quarterbacks. Between Phillip Rivers and Palmer, the guy who makes the last amount of mistakes will win this game for his team. I don’t trust Palmer anymore.

Predicting Every NFL Team’s Record for the 2012-2013 Season

Below are my record predictions for each NFL team for the 2012-2013 season. At the bottom of the page are my AFC Championship, NFC Championship, and Super Bowl picks.

Quick thoughts on these predictions:

Will Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers meet in the Super Bowl?

AFC EAST: The Patriots are the easiest division pick in the NFL. As long as Tom Brady is healthy, New England should win the AFC East. The Jets get the wildcard, although I feel less confident in that wildcard selection than in any of my other wildcard picks.

AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh and Baltimore seem like postseason locks, but I have the Ravens missing the playoffs due to a tough schedule that gives Joe Flacco and company a tough slate to begin the season.

AFC SOUTH: With Indianapolis and Jacksonville in rebuilding mode, Tennessee and Houston should be battling for the division title. I’ll go with the Texans–the more complete team from top to bottom.

AFC WEST: Although Peyton Manning enters the division, I’ll go with the more talented team overall. San Diego had a disappointing season in 2011, but the Chargers should use that as fuel to win the AFC West in 2012.

NFC EAST: It’s just time for the Cowboys. While everyone is picking Philadelphia and New York, Dallas is the only team that appears to have fixed its biggest weakness. Plus, running back DeMarco Murray will be back healthy. And yes, I have New York missing the playoffs.

NFC NORTH: Green Bay is not going to keep storming through the league at its current pace (has won 21 of last 23 games), but the Packers will win the NFC North over the Bears and Lions.

NFC SOUTH: The Saints are a risky pick due to their suspensions, but I trust Drew Brees more than Matt Ryan or Cam Newton. The Panthers are the NFC”s X-factor. It would not surprise me if they won this division.

NFC WEST: Look, the 49ers are not going to win 13 games again, but San Francisco will win the hard to watch NFC West. If Alex Smith begins to struggle offensively, the Niners could be in a race with Arizona and Seattle.

X-denotes wildcard team

AFC EAST RECORD NFC EAST RECORD
New England Patriots 12-4 Dallas Cowboys 10-6
New York JetsX 10-6 Philadelphia EaglesX 9-7
Miami Dolphins 6-10 New York Giants 8-8
Buffalo Bills 6-10 Washington Redskins 6-10
AFC NORTH RECORD NFC NORTH RECORD
Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5 Green Bay Packers 12-4
Baltimore Ravens 9-7 Chicago BearsX 9-7
Cincinnati Bengals 9-7 Detroit Lions 8-8
Cleveland Browns 5-11 Minnesota Vikings 4-12
  AFC SOUTH  RECORD   NFC SOUTH  RECORD
   Houston Texans  10-6    New Orleans Saints  10-6
   Tennessee Titans  9-7    Atlanta Falcons  9-7
   Jacksonville Jaguars  8-8    Carolina Panthers  7-9
   Indianapolis Colts  3-13    Tampa Bay Buccaneers  6-10
  AFC WEST  RECORD   NFC WEST  RECORD
   San Diego Chargers  11-5    San Francisco 49ers  10-6
   Denver BroncosX  10-6    Seattle Seahawks  7-9
   Oakland Raiders  7-9    Arizona Cardinals  6-10
   Kansas City Chiefs  5-11    St. Louis Rams  4-12

 

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: San Diego Chargers over New England Patriots
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Green Bay Packers over Dallas Cowboys
SUPER BOWL: San Diego Chargers over Green Bay Packers