Last week the NFL began its 16 week grind towards the playoffs. Last week also marked the start of my weekly picks for the games. After a 12-4 week one, I’m off to a solid start. Let’s see if we can keep this up for week two. Here are the three games that intrigue me most, and my picks for the rest of week two.
1. Lions @ 49ers- This game is a rematch of a great game between these two teams last season. It also pits my favorite team against the team that represents the state I am from. So, there is a ton of excitement for this matchup for me.
Last week the Niners went into Green Bay and knocked the Packers 30-22, in a game I was ridiculed for picking the Niners to win. The defense was able to harass Aaron Rodgers all day, and keep the Packers offense from looking as great as it did last season. The offense showed a great balance, that is lost on most people with the NFL currently a pass-happy league. The Niners are being talked about as a Super Bowl contender by many, and did nothing to disprove that week one.
The Lions pulled out an ugly 27-23 home win over the Rams in week one. Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions, but made up for it with an impressive two-minute drive to win the game. This was hardly the debut for a team that is on their way back up the NFL ladder. The defense did a great job of negating the picks thrown by Stafford and keeping the Lions close enough to pull out the late win.
These teams are coached by two of the most intense coaches in the league. Their teams exhibit that same intensity, and play a very physical brand of football. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Niners are just a touch more intense, and physical than they are, which will result in a home win for the Niners.
2. Bears @ Packers- As noted earlier, the Packers lost at home to San Francisco last week. They come back on a short week, for a Thursday home game against the Bears. This one is huge for them, because going to 0-2 in the NFC North will be a tough hole to climb out of. Aaron Rodgers, and the offense should be able to move the ball, and get points against the Bears. The defense, which was picked apart by the Niners, will have to step up and make plays. The front office made a lot of moves to improve the D, but they have to start paying dividends soon so the Packers can stay afloat in the NFC North.
The Bears ruined the debut of Andrew Luck with at 41-21 home win against the Colts. Jay Cutler took advantage of his reunion with Brandon Marshall, and put up very good numbers. The Bears displayed a potentially explosive offense that could be fun to watch as the season goes on. The defense bothered Luck all day. He was sacked three times, lost a fumble, and threw three interceptions. They will need to be that aggressive with Aaron Rodgers to get a win against the Packers.
This game is really a toss-up, but I’m going with the Packers at home. They need this game in a bad way, and I believe they will score enough points to keep themselves out of the NFC North basement this week.
3. Ravens @ Eagles- The Eagles escaped what would have been the ugliest loss of week one against the Browns with a 17-16 win in Cleveland. Michael Vick threw four interceptions, and opened the door for his detractors to claim he is a horrible quarterback he is. Their playcalling left a lot to be desired. Why throw the ball fifty-six times in a close game, and you have LeSean McCoy on your team? The Eagles are a team that placed high expectations on themselves. They must have better performances from their players and coaches to reach those. Playing how they did in Cleveland will leave them on the outside looking in come playoff time.
The Ravens put on a totally different display on the Monday Night Football stage. They dismantled the Bengals 44-13 in their home opener. Joe Flacco looked like he is ready to take the next step as a quarterback. Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and only had ten carries. The defense showed the dominance that has been typical for years. Ed Reed got a pick six, and broke the record for most interception return yards. Ray Lewis had fourteen tackles, including eleven solo, and looked like he drank from the fountain of youth in the offseason. As always, come the playoffs, the Ravens will be a huge factor.
The Ravens offense played at a high level in the preseason, and that carried over to the first game. There is no reason to expect that to slow down. The defense will pressure Vick and the Eagles defense into mistakes, and that will be enough or a Ravens road win.
Those are the three games that I’m looking forward to. A lot of teams are hoping to get wins, and stay away from the dreaded 0-2 start. Only thirteen percent of NFL teams have made the playoffs after going 0-2. That stat alone makes this week very important. Enjoy rooting for your teams this weekend(real and fantasy), and I’ll check back in next week with my picks for week three.
Rest of Week Two Games:
I’m Jimmy L. Wilson, Jr. and I approve this message.
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