Not to toot our clownish horn too much, but last week was a smashing success for our Pigskin Pick’em as we nailed all 5 games we picked, including the KC over SD upset (ARTICLE HERE). 5-0 is a nice place to be. However, that really just means you can expect me to go around 1-4 this week. Maybe 2-3 if I’m lucky. But that’s half the fun, because if I was right every time, I wouldn’t really bother watching the games because I wouldn’t have to prove my omniscience (please put some clothes on). So let’s get to the somewhat weaker slate of games for the week so we can put fears of my omniscience to rest.
(9) Iowa Hawkeyes vs. (24) Arizona Wildcats
How do I put this lightly… The college football games this week are going to be worse than American Idol without Simon. There are almost no good games to even pick from to watch, let alone pick, so we are just going to do the one college game this week and cut our losses. It will get better, but we are stuck with a Saturday full of disappointment for now. However, we appear to have a dandy in the desert as the Hawkeyes head to Tucson to take on 24th ranked Arizona. The result? The Big Ten proving it really does not suck like people out west and down south like to think. The Hawkeyes are a well-drilled team with a QB who almost never loses in Ricky Stanzi, a running back who produce (regardless of who it is, they ALWAYS have a good RB), and a defense that hits harder than Ivan Drago. Arizona will obviously try to spread it out and like Nick Foles jab at the defense, but I do not think the Cats have the speed or route-running to get open for Foles to get it to them. I think the result is a lot of forced throws, and thus, a lot of turnovers for Arizona, and nothing kills an upset bid faster than turnovers.
Iowa 26, Arizona 14
With our shortage of college games, that means we are picking 3 NFL games before our Upset Special. Unfortunately, it seems the teams that played intriguing games week 1 are back at it again. Once again, we will be covering the Pats, Jets, Bengals and Ravens, and while that is less than ideal, I want to pick the games that people are most likely to disagree on instead of gracing you with the knowledge that Green Bay will beat Buffalo, or boring you to death talking about the KC vs Cleveland game.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
The Jets need this game like Tyrone Biggums needs crack. Maybe worse. Their offense was horrendous against the weakened Ravens, their defense was penalty-prone, and they just seemed to make dumb plays over and over (I’m looking at you Dustin Keller). The Pats on the other hand, dismantled the Ravens in winning 38-24, and it wasn’t that close. Has all the makings of a classic “We Need It More Than You Do” game for the Jets and a “Rest On Your Laurels” game for the Pats. BUT. Do you really think a Bill Belichick coached team can rest on its laurels? I don’t think so. I do not think the Jets running game will be as incompetent as it was against Baltimore, but I also know that Bill Belichick is going to make Mark Sanchez beat him if the Jets are going to win. There is no way that happens. None. Do not expect the Pats to go out and score 30 points, because the Jets defense is still really good, but the Jets offense is going to need to score a TD or 2 to keep up and I think they will fall behind and be forced to the air. The Pats are the pick.
Patriots 21, Jets 10
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Many have been saying that you do not pick a team that played in an emotional Monday Night game the following week. My rule is that you do not pick a defense that just got exposed and an offensive line that couldn’t block anyone to beat a team that is more talented than they are. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I am picking the Ravens here. The Ravens faced the best defense in the league last week, and going into the season it looked like they would face another good one in Cincinnati, but I am not so sure that is the case. The Patriots absolutely shredded that secondary, and the Ravens have enough weapons to do the same. Add in the fact that the Ravens are way more physical up front than the Pats and I could see the Bengals just getting mauled by the running game and the passing game not needing to thrive. The Bengals showed an inability to run the ball against the Patriots and they will not run the ball against Baltimore either. They will once again get forced to the air, where they put up good stats, but did not do any of it until garbage time. The Ravens will win this game. I would say they would win by a lot, but I do think they will be a little tired and Cincy will bounce back enough to make it seem respectable.
Baltimore 24, Cincinnati 17
Alright, we are fairly short on interesting teams playing interesting games this week, and the two NFL games we picked this week are the exact same teams as we talked about last week, so let’s throw a pick against the spread in there to keep it interesting.
Chicago Bears (+7.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Oh, the Cowboys. Eternally talented. Eternally inept. The Bears defense looked just good enough to force Tony Romo to throw it 35 times (we went over this HERE). The Bears offense, on the other hand, while still completely useless when it matters (like 1st and Goal on the 2), looked almost respectable. The Bears are not winning this game because Dallas will pressure the QB relentlessly, but I think that Dallas -7.5 line is way too high. Gimme da Bears over da underachievers.
Chicago 16, Dallas 21
Upset Special (Underdog by around 5 points picked to win)
I am not looking forward to writing this section this week. There were plenty of options, but the one that really stuck out to me kind of felt like a smack across the face. It was such an inviting game to pick as an upset, and yet it goes against every rule about overreacting to week 1. Part of me is picking it as the upset in hopes that it will jinx the team I am picking to win, but part of me really thinks that it is going to happen. The underdogs clearly have what it takes to pull it off. A brutal rushing attack, a defense with a pass rush, and a QB good enough to beat a mediocre defense when he has to.
Drumroll please, though you probably already know where it is headed…
New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts
Ugh. The Giants have a big, strong offensive line, and I am really just sort of at a loss for what to say about the Colts run defense. I really hope it is just the zone blocking like some of the analysts said, but what if it wasn’t. What if the D-line was just getting manhandled? What if the LBs are good, but can’t handle offensive linemen getting to the second level immediately because they are using TEs to block Robert Mathis? The Colts will be screwed. Of course, Colts-screwed is different than most-teams-screwed because they have Peyton Manning. Last week, the Colts gave up around 250 yards rushing. 250. And they had very few offensive possessions (they routinely have the fewest in the NFL due to teams trying to play keep-away with Manning). And up until Austin Collie caught a pass down the middle, got popped, and lost the football, the Colts were right in that game. They were getting annihilated on defense, and the offense was getting on the field twice a quarter, and they were right in it. Amazing in one sense, but awful news on the other.
The Giants clearly have what it takes to beat the Colts. Eli can pick Cover 2 apart all day, and the running game can take care of the rest. The defensive line will indubitably be able to get pressure on a rusty and sieve-like Colts O-line. The only concern I have as far as the upset pick (or to phrase it differently, “the big hope I have as a Colts fan”), is that the Colts have a way of bouncing back, and as I said, the Colts were right in that Texans game despite getting mauled, until that fumble. But if Garcon keeps dropping the ball, the offensive line keeps playing matador, and the defense can’t stop anyone, then the Colts are going to be on the train to 0-2ville.
However, I should make it perfectly clear I like the Giants a lot this year, and would go as far as to pick them to win the NFC East if Dallas does not figure it out soon. They have the pieces to beat the Colts, and if they execute well enough, they can do it. It hurts me to do it, but…
Giants 31, Colts 27
Season Record: 5-0
Last Week: 5-0
Upset Special: 1-0