NFL Week 2 open thread

Ed: The NFL — or most of it — returns to action today. Since I scored a 7-0 sweep last week, I get the honors for writing the post and kicking off the festivities this week. Of course, Week 2 actually started on Thursday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost a nailbiter in Baltimore to the Ravens … you know, one of those 26-6 nailbiters. It was closer than it looked, I swear. At any rate, I’m willing to change my preseason prediction of a 19-0 Steeler season to, er, 18-1. Fortunately, the Steelers on my fantasy team were sitting on the bench, while my pal Allan Bourdius had two on his starting lineup in our head-to-head this week, so I have a bit of a consolation heading into the rest of the games.

Jazz: As to week 1, I’d like to go on record as stating that Ed clearly cheated. (I’ve yet to discover where he’s hiding his time machine, but when I do you can count on a full expose here.) There were quite a few upsets, but none were the ones I picked. I wound up getting smoked by Mr. Morrissey and ended up with a 4-3 record. Clearly I have a lot of work to do if I want to catch up. As to our fantasy league, I handed a whopping 113-62 beat down to the Jersey RINOs, leaving me tied for 1st place in the East. Ed is, um… somewhere below there. This week I face Brad Essex’s Team Pundit (who took out Ed last week). He’s got a heck of a lineup, but I’m fine tuning my starters this morning.

Ed: Since we don’t have the Steelers game to pick, we’ll go with the Jets and Vikings to start. The Jets travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. The Pack got their clock cleaned in Seattle last week, but have had a long rest period to improve and practice for their home opener. The Jets had a big rushing day against the Raiders at home, but barely got by Oakland 19-14. I’ll take the Pack at home with the better rest, 27-14. The Vikings welcome the New England Patriots to the outdoor field at the University of Minnesota while taxpayers subsidize the construction of their new playground, but the weather should be nice and not a factor in the game. Adrian Peterson’s legal troubles have him sidelined for at least today, but Cordarelle Patterson put up most of their rushing yards last week on three carries against the Rams. They may need to make him more explicitly part of the rushing game with Peterson out, because Matt Cassel didn’t look all that impressive against the Rams last week, with just a 55.1 total QB rating. Of course, Tom Brady only got a 32.2 in Week 1 too. Should be a good game, but I’ll pick the Pats on the road to take advantage of a Cassel-heavy offense without Peterson, 27-20.

Jazz: Today the Jets travel to Green Bay to meet the Packers. Ed quickly overlooked them (of course) but the close score in last week’s win over the Raiders didn’t tell the whole story. Once the stats had been compiled, the Jets were ranked the number one NFL defense against the pass, against the rush, and overall. Also, the Jets rushed for 212 yards, largely on the backs of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. Aaron Rodgers and company may be in fine form, but they aren’t going to put many points on the board when they’re sitting on the bench watching their defense get slowly eaten by the New York ground and pound. The “experts” have the Pack as 8 point favorites, but the Jets will wake up the world today with a grueling 21-17 victory. As for the Vikings, they destroyed a Rams team which many people were expecting big things from. New England, on the other hand, got their butts handed to them by a very suspect Miami Squad. I don’t think they’re up to the job today either, so I’ll once again pick against Ed and take the Vikings in a shootout, 34-24.

Ed: I get to pick the other four games, as part of the spoils of Week 1 victory (all times Eastern):

  •  Saints at Browns (1 pm, Fox) – I have Drew Brees on my fantasy league, and I need a big game from him today. New Orleans got upset on the road last week in Atlanta but played tough, going into OT in the loss. They won’t have the same trouble with the Browns, even though Cleveland staged an impressive rally against the Steelers last week in the second half of their loss. I’ll pick the Saints to win a shootout, 34-30.
  • Lions at Panthers (1 pm, Fox) – The Lions looked sharp last week in dominating the Giants in their home opener, but they have to take on the Panthers at home, who won on the road last week in Tampa Bay without Cam Newton. Newton will start this game, but will have to square off against a tough Detroit defense (#2 against the pass and #3 against the run in Week 1). Carolina’s offense will put a dent in those stats, though. Expect the Panthers to get tough at home and beat Detroit in a low-scoring game, 20-14.
  • Bears at 49ers (8:30 pm, NBC): This one should be easy. Da Bears gave up 193 yards rushing to Buffalo at home last week, and the 49ers beat Dallas on the road last week while rushing for 127 yards. San Francisco easily tops Chicago, 35-21.
  • Eagles at Colts (MNF, 8:30 pm ESPN) – Andrew Luck almost led a big comeback last week against the Denver Broncos on the road, and Nick Foles lead the Eagles to a big home win last week over Jacksonville. The home field will make the difference this week. It should be one of the best games of the week, but I’ll take Indianapolis 38-33 over Philly.

Jazz:

  •  Saints at Browns (1 pm, Fox) – Cleveland put up a spirited fight last week against the Steelers and the Saints just looked sad in their opener. But I don’t expect that trend to continue. Drew Brees and company have too much quality to stay in the dumps, so I’ll go with Ed on this one and take New Orleans, but in a lower scoring game, 21-10.
  • Lions at Panthers (1 pm, Fox) – I’m starting Cam Newton in our fantasy league today, so I’m relying on him to put on a good show for the home crowd. Detroit looked good last week, but hey… they’re still the Lions. Give me Carolina in a decisive win, 27-17.
  • Bears at 49ers (8:30 pm, NBC):  I like to believe in miracles, but it’s not going to happen for the Bears. San Francisco is too good of a team to blow this one, so I will also take the 49ers 28-14.
  • Eagles at Colts (MNF, 8:30 pm ESPN) – I agree that the Monday night offering will be a great match, but the Colts need to show me a lot more to convince me that they can dominate against the top lines in the league. Nick Foles seems to be at the top of his game and the Eagles are hungry for an NFC East title. I’ll break with Ed and give the nod to Philadelphia in a small upset, 28-13.