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NFL Week 2 game picks: Seahawks, Niners roll; Colts fall again

Week 2 Game Picks are here, friends.

Let's hope it goes better than Week 1, when we went 9-7, dropping the twoovertime games in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday while the Chargers fell apart Monday night.

Trying to decipher who's for real and who's not at this early stage is tough, and usually the opening-week results reflect that. But kudos to all of you out there who 1) foresaw Allen Hurns playing like Randy Moss in the first half of Jags-Eagles, 2) knew Cordarrelle Patterson would morph into the best running back in Minnesota and 3) successfully rocked out in's Weekly Pick 'Em game. Speaking of rocking out, I relived some of my childhood in the Falcons-Bengals blurb.

Will Seattle relive its Lombardi moment from February and continue on that unexpectedly expected journey this Sunday in San Diego? Seahawks-Chargers should be one of the best matches on the sked -- and my answer lies below. Would particularly love your take on that ballgame -- @HarrisonNFL is the place. And don't forget to check out the latest edition of the Dave Dameshek Football Program, in which Dave, Handsome Hank and myself discuss our predictions.

As for the rest of the slate ... let's get to it.

Elliot Harrison went 9-7 on his predictions for Week 1. How will he fare in Week 2? His picks are below:

Can the Dolphins do it again? Well, if you read the score, I guess you know my answer. Here's what I like about the matchup for Miami: Against New England, the 'Fins were able to get pressure with just the front four, without having to spend resources blitzing. If they can do that in Buffalo, they'll be able to leave plenty of defenders in the backfield to get in quarterback EJ Manuel's line of sight. Yes, Manuel played efficiently in Chicago, but getting the ball vertically to Sammy Watkins has to be a priority on Sunday.

One more note on this one: Fred Jackson will be a large factor. He might not out-rush his Miami counterpart in Knowshon Moreno, but once again, he remains the most reliable back in Bills Mafia-land. Love No. 22 there. #MIAvsBUF

Detroit will get a Matthew Stafford-to- Golden Tate touchdown connection late, but it won't be enough down in Carolina, as the Lions' offense won't even manage 80 yards on the ground. Sure, Detroit survived a mediocre performance Monday night, but that's because the Giants couldn't hold the fort in coverage. That won't be true of these Panthers -- partially because their pass rush will be on time.

Forcing the Lions to be one-dimensional has been the Honolulu blueprint to beating them in recent years. So expect coach Jim Caldwell to stubbornly run Joique Bell into the teeth of the Carolina defense, in the hopes of keeping it honest. Meanwhile, Cam Newton should have fewer than 30 pass attempts to his name for the Panthers, although Kelvin Benjamin will make a touchdown grab in traffic for the second week in a row. #DETvsCAR

The key for Cincinnati in this game will be scoring touchdowns, not field goals. That said, Bengals running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill should fare better on the ground than they did in Baltimore last week. The main issue centering around this game is whether Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will receive the same sort of protection in Cincinnati that he enjoyed versus the Saints (one sack on 43 pass attempts). ... I'm guessing the answer will be no.

Other than those storylines, I'm looking forward to seeing stud receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green on the same field, especially with both Ryan and Andy Dalton playing at a high level. Green was so smooth on that long Bengals touchdown last week, all I could think about was Venus Flytrap. I'm taking Cincinnati over Atlanta. #ATLvsCIN

On the surface, this might seem like an easy chance for the Saints to bounce back. Well, actually, not at all. The Browns should feel a sense of urgency early on at home, with big-play opportunities for the taking against a Rob Ryan defense that let its hair down time and again in Atlanta -- and not in a good way. New Orleans has already given up nine pass plays of 20-plus yards, the most in the NFL. Although Cleveland still lacks a true deep threat, the Browns should be able to run the football with Terrance West ... at least if New Orleans tackles poorly for the second consecutive week. Look for Drew Brees to throw a pick against Cleveland, recover and exploit matchups, the way Ben Roethlisberger did in the opener. How disappointing was the Browns' defense last week? #NOvsCLE

New England avoids starting 0-2 for the first time since 2001, and the Super Bowl talk dies down in Minnesota. OK, so maybe they're not talking Super Bowl in Chuck Foreman country, but the energy is high throughout the Vikings' fan base. The volume will only get louder when Adrian Peterson rips this terrible Patriots run defense (30th last year, 191 yards last week) for 146 yards and one touchdown. ( UPDATE: The Vikings announced Friday that Peterson will be deactivated for Sunday's game after news broke that he'd been indicted by a Texas grand jury for reckless or negligent injury to a child.)

The key will be how much time quarterback Matt Cassel receives in Minnesota, and whether the Vikes' pass rush will get to Tom Brady. This just in: Brady > Shaun Hill > Austin Davis. On the flip side, will defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph be able to clog lanes to keep New England's attack from gaining any balance? I expect Bill Belichick to run the rock after last week's terrible 20:60 run-pass ratio. I'm putting faith in that offense. And we need to see Cassel perform at a high level two weeks in a row. #NEvsMIN

Looking for a low-scoring game in New York this week, for a multitude of reasons:

a) Eli Manning is playing like the love child of Kent Graham and Dave Brown.

b) Big Blue's offensive line had serious issues in Detroit -- and then some.

c) For a guy who doesn't score, Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is getting more attention in the media than Steve Carell.

d) Larry Fitzgerald isn't getting open.

e) Andre Ellington is still not healthy.

The Giants have consistently rebounded during the Tom Coughlin era, and this could be a game they take somewhat unexpectedly. But I choose to place my faith in Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer. Say what you want about the latter, but he got it done in the clutch for the Cards in Week 1's narrow win over the Chargers. #AZvsNYG

Tony Romo will bounce back this week in Tennessee, although I wouldn't anticipate him posting a 350-yard passing game against this Titans defense. Hopefully, the Cowboys' plethora of offensive minds -- Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan and Scott Linehan -- forget for one afternoon that they are on the Cowboys coaching staff and run the football 30 times. One would hope that the Three Amigos caught on, after Romo took a sack on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line against San Francisco last week, to the notion that abandoning an effective running game will spell 0-2.

As for the Titans, I suspect Jake Locker won't even sniff 40 pass attempts -- but running backs Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey should find this Dallas defense to be easy pickings. #DALvsTEN

Something tells me the Redskins are going to get some big plays and some kind of special teams return to beat the Jags in Washington, because there ain't no way Jay Gruden's offense is putting up a 30-spot on its own. You see, one must throw the ball 15 yards past the line of scrimmage occasionally for that happen. Or maybe the Redskins can use DeSean Jackson's 4.3 speed on some more 3-yard outs and none-yard ins.

If Jacksonville is to have a chance, Chad Henne must avoid the big turnover while receiving some form of help from a ground game that was missing last week against Philly. Can we quit talking about the fact Toby Gerhart gained more than 7 yards per carry (on just 36 attempts) as the Vikings' backup running back last year now? #JAXvsWAS

This will be a tough road test for the Seahawks, who looked mighty impressive during the season opener last week. Will there be a letdown from the reigning Super Bowl champs? Don't think so. Seattle should be able to stuff the Chargers' running backs as effectively as Arizona's defensive front did on Monday. Just one-third of the Packers' runs against Seattle last Thursday managed to net 4 yards, and that was with the modern-day John Riggins, Eddie Lacy, powering Green Bay's attack. On the flip side, not a single one of Seattle's 37 rushes on kickoff night resulted in a negative play. Considering the Bolts allowed 109 rushing yards to the Cardinals' Andre Ellington- Carson Palmer- Jonathan Dwyer-led offense, I'm expecting a tough matchup down in So Cal this weekend. #SEAvsSD

Austin Davis could be the next Kurt Warner. Or he could be the next Tony Banks, Jamie Martin or Kellen Clemens. Either way, if Davis starts for the Rams in place of the injured Shaun Hill, the Bucs will be facing the prospect of falling to 0-2 via consecutive home losses against backup quarterbacks. But it's doubtful they'll falter against another understudy after being beaten by Derek Anderson and the Panthers in Week 1.

The key for St. Louis will be to get either Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham or maybe even Brett Hull going. Meanwhile, this is the weekend during which Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown should develop some continuity with the trees running the route tree for him out on the field -- namely, Vincent Jackson and rookies Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Those three didn't get 100 yards between them last week. #STLvsTB

Not gonna lie: Hoping the Chiefs can stay within 20 points in this one. Somebody has to got to help poor Jamaal Charles out. The seven carries he notched last week against the Titans represented his lowest total since the middle of the 2012 season, when then-Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel seemed to forget Charles was on the team. Crennel's predecessor, Todd Haley, might have looked like the creepy guy camping way to close to you in a tent attached to his minitruck, but even he coaxed more out of the Chiefs' offense than we saw in the opener. And now Kansas City is facing that potent Denver offense.

Putting that aside, how about the Broncos' defense, which shut down three Colts drives when it had to last Sunday night, posting two fourth-down stops and an interception? Unless Dwayne Bowe miraculously comes up with a 150-yard special for the Chiefs, it's looking like K.C. might barely see the red zone in Denver, much less get bogged down in it. #KCvsDEN

Quick ... who led the NFL in third-down passing last week? OK, it was Matthew Stafford, who has absolutely nothing to do with this matchup. Believe it or not, but Geno Smith was second with a 140-plus passer rating. Although Geno pizza-rolled the Raiders on the all-important down last week, the Jets will have trouble Sunday against a team (and quarterback) that is not falling to 0-2 in front of the home folks. Sure, Green Bay struggled on defense against the Seahawks last week, but Smith lacks Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson's ability with his legs, and Marshawn Lynch > Chris Ivory. The key for Gang Green will be how effectively they can keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, i.e., they have to run the rock. Curious to see how much James Starks factors into the outcome Sunday. He played well for the Pack in the preseason and Week 1. #NYJvsGB

Whose front seven will make life more miserable for the other starting quarterback? That is the story of this game, as neither the Texans' Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Raiders rookie Derek Carr should perform well under heavy pressure. Although, the latter would likely handle it better than the former. Houston's defensive line and linebackers (even without Jadeveon Clowney) form a stronger group than what Oakland will field. The Texans allowed a mere six points last week while amassing three sacks and consistently harassing RGIII. Houston recorded 18 combined QB knockdowns and hurries -- a phenomenal number. That said, the Texans' advantage is their Arian Foster-fueled ground game; the sixth-year pro produced a 103-yard performance in Week 1. The host Raiders must try to get MJD or Run DMC going Sunday afternoon. #HOUvsOAK

Interesting matchup between prospective playoff teams in San Francisco, though last week's showing against the Bills left many doubting the Bears' postseason viability. If Chicago is to get on the W board, feeding the run game plenty is one way to do it. Now, the Bears don't normally run Matt Forte 25 times on the ground, so why not provide rookie Ka'Deem Carey with some opportunities?

The 49ers struggled against the Cowboys' run game (pretty much the only area in which they faltered, by the way) and must prove that won't be a recurring issue. Meanwhile, I anticipate Colin Kaepernick will be able to suck the Bears' safeties up with effective play-fakes, connecting with Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin in the process. Frank Gore: 90 yards. #CHIvsSF

This, without question, is the toughest game to pick this weekend. Will the Colts maintain any semblance of a run game? Will the Eagles sleepwalk through most of the first two quarters? Indy's running backs carried the football a grand total of nine times last week. Give Andrew Luck some help, man. And if you recall, Philly followed up a strong opening-day performance in 2013 with a lackluster loss to San Diego in Week 2. I'm giving the road team the benefit, here, because the Colts' coverage is suspect, with not much of a pass rush to make up for it. #PHIvsIND


So many contests between these two AFC North rivals have gone down to the wire over the past six years, including last year's Turkey Day matchup. One thing you can bet on: Emmanuel Sanders -- who, of course, left the Steelers for the Broncos -- won't be dropping any potential game-tying throws. You can also bet Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin will not "accidentally" do a Texas two-step during a long Ravens kick return.

Now that we've gotten that bitterness out of the way, it's safe to say that, after yielding 183 rushing yards to the Browns in Week 1, Pittsburgh won't be giving up over 190 yards on the ground to these Baltimore running backs. After all, just once in the past 10 years have the Steelers allowed 120-plus rushing yards in consecutive games (although that occurrence did come last season). On another note: While Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce won't produce huge numbers, methinks the Baltimore defense steps it up Thursday night at home. No way the Ravens start 0-2 in the division at their place. #PITvsBAL

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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