Week 2 Game Picks are here, friends.
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 NFL.com'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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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