I'm participating in a weekly media NFL picks contest for charity on RichardGardner.com. Richard Gardner is the sportsbook manager for Bodog, a website that I know many of you/us are very familiar with. I'll leave it at that.
As I mentioned before, this particular "pick 'em" contest is for charity only. For each weekly winner, $250 is donated to the charity they chose, and the overall winners will have $5,000 and $2,500 donated. I chose the American Cancer Society.
Obviously it's not a situation where you're angry if you lose each week or anything, as it's all for a great cause("Oh they chose THAT charity?" Yeah, not happening). Still, it's a chance to see how good you are at picking NFL games compared to a lot of reputable sports media members. Fox Sports' Ben Maller won the first week. I'm tied for 22nd, picking nine games correctly last week.
I figured I could also just show you who I'm picking each week and why. The picks are to be made against the spread, rather than just picking the winner.
My week 2 picks
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons(-6.5)
After Jake Delhomme's peformance last week(which may have still been worse than his previous game in the NFC divisional playoffs), I have a hard time picturing the Panthers going into Atlanta and winning this one. Now, if they just hand the ball off to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart like crazy, they might have a chance. They'll have to stop a terrific Falcons offense though, and I don't see that happening.
St. Louis Rams vs. Washington Redskins(-10.5)
The Rams, not the Lions, are the worst team in the NFL. I wouldn't pick them against the spread in a single game this season.
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans(-7.5)
The Texans looked terrible at home against the Jets in week one, and the Titans outplayed the Steelers on the road, even though they didn't come out with a win. I really like the Titans to win this one at home, but not by over a touchdown. The Texans will come out with a better effort this week and make it a game, even though they will still lose.
New Orleans Saints(-1.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I think the Eagles are the much better team, when healthy. With Donovan McNabb likely out though, it will be up to Kevin Kolb to keep the Eagles up with the Saints' terrific offense. The Eagles haven't shown much confidence in Kolb themselves with the signings of Michael Vick and Jeff Garcia in recent weeks. Why should I? I like the Saints to win this game on the road.
New England Patriots(-5.5) vs. New York Jets
Jets coach Rex Ryan sent out a voicemail to all Jets season-ticket holders to come out to the game and be loud in this one. Noise won't bother Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. They got a lucky win at home against the Bills in week one, but they will look like the offense we expected to see in this game against their AFC East rival. The Patriots win by over a touchdown.
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs(-3.5)
The Raiders and Chiefs each surprised people with how good they looked in week one, even though they each lost. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is a game-time decision and Brodie Croyle would start in his absence.
I really like the Raiders' defense. Richard Seymour made a noticeable difference in his first game as a Raider, and Nnamdi Asomugha should shutdown the Chiefs' main target, Dwayne Bowe. I think the Raiders will go into Kansas City and not just cover the spread, but get a win.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars(-4.5)
The Jaguars held the Colts offense to just 14 points in Indianapolis last week. The Cardinals were only able to put up 16 at home against the 49ers, and Kurt Warner didn't look right all game. He definitely does not appear to be 100%. I think the Jaguars win by a touchdown or so at home.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers(-9.5)
The Packers will win this game, but I think the Bengals can make it close. Both teams were disappointed in their performances on offense in week one. The Packers were at least able to come away with a win, while the Bengals had about the most heartbreaking loss in the history of sports. They'll still lose this week, but will go into Lambeau and make it tough on the Packers.
Minnesota Vikings(-9.5) vs. Detroit Lions
Adrian Peterson will go off as usual in this game. The Vikings' run defense is probably the best in the NFL, so it will be up to Matthew Stafford to keep this one close. I don't like the rookie's chances to do that in week two.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills(-4.5)
Antonio Bryan is likely out for the Bucs, leaving Byron Leftwich with some pretty poor options to throw to. Cadillac Williams looks great and Derrick Ward is very good himself, but the Bills will likely crowd the line and make Leftwich beat them. The Bills deserved a win in New England and they'll get one comfortably at home against the Bucs this week.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers(-1.5)
This game is a toss up... but I think the Seahawks will win the NFC West. To do that, they need to win games like this.
Pittsburgh Steelers(-3.5) vs. Chicago Bears
Another toss up. I like the Bears to win in their home opener and for Jay Cutler to bounce back with a solid game. There might be 80 passes thrown in this game.
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers(-3.5)
The Chargers might win this one, but the Ravens and their outstanding defense will keep it close.
Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos(-3.5)
The Broncos' defense really impressed against the Bengals in week one. That was quite a shock. In their home opener, it should be loud and a tough environment for Brady Quinn to succeed. We don't know enough about either team yet to have a firm prediction here, but I like the Broncos to win and cover the 3.5 points.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys(-3.5)
Tony Romo played a great game at Tampa Bay, but their were holes left and right in that defense. The Giants won't let that happen and will apply a ton of pressure on Romo. I don't have a certain pick as to who wins this game, but the Giants at least keep it within a field goal.
Indianapolis Colts(-3.5) vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins were terrible in Atlanta and think a letdown season is very possible after they shocked the world in 2008. But, they're facing a Colts team that will be without their best defensive player in Bob Sanders, and without their #2 wide receiver in Anthony Gonzalez. Add in that it will be a home game on Monday night, I like them to at least cover the 3.5 points.
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