Patriots Still the Team to Beat / Week Two Picks
If there is one thing we learned from New England’s dismantling of Cincinnati last Sunday it’s that a superior coach and a superior quarterback trumps all – tough, inspired play from your defense and outstanding special teams play doesn’t hurt either. Week one also proved that all the off-season hype regarding the New York Jets was just that, hype, and the New England Patriots are clearly still the team to beat in the AFC East.
I may have to eat those words on Sunday night but all signs point to a Patriots win on Sunday.
Let’s start with the fact that the Jets put up a stinker against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. It was the Jets home opener in a new stadium but they played like it was their fifth pre-season game. The Jets defense held the Ravens to one touchdown and a field goal. Not too shabby against a Ravens team that finished 9th in the league in points last season. Then the Jets lost starting nose tackle Shaun Ellis, again, to a season-ending knee injury and young gun, Mark Sanchez looked like he may give new definition to the term “sophomore slump.”
Darrelle Revis, as expected, played like a guy who missed virtually all of the Jets’ pre-season but he also played like someone who had a “no tackle” clause included in his brand new contract. I realize Revis is a cover-corner but when the running back actually crosses the line of scrimmage it’s time to leave your man and the big guys stop the run.
In stark contrast to the Jets home opener on Monday night, the Pats smoked Cincy on Sunday and are now 9-0 in home openers at Gillette Stadium.
It should come as no surprise that the Patriots came out well-prepared and looked sharp on Sunday. The play from a young and relatively inexperienced Pats’ secondary was a bit of a surprise. Jonathan Wilhite and Darius Butler played better than anyone could have expected and Patrick “Don’t Call me Eugene” Chung looked like Rodney Harrison reincarnate as he lead the team with 12 tackles.
Randy Moss needs to have a big game on Sunday against the Jets for a variety of reasons. Let’s start with the fact that Moss didn’t fare too well against the Jets during the 2009 campaign with only 9 catches for 58 yards in two games. Moss made himself the center of attention this week with his confusing and cryptic post-game press conference where he all but admitted that he spent his off-season working to “stay off of Revis Island.”
It’s Week Two. Patriots and Jets. Let the smack talk and division rivalry begin!
Week Two NFL Pick Six
Week One/Overall: 4-2
*Note: My weekly NFL picks are strictly for “s***s and giggles,” folks. I don’t bet money on actual games and even if I had any money, I still wouldn’t use it for illegal sports betting. Have a great weekend and enjoy the games! The odds used in this blog come from the CBS Sports.com. They o a great job and you can check then out at http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/odds
New England Patriots (-1 ½) @ New York Jets
This game was last listed with the Pats at 1 ½ point favorites. It’s currently “off” the board but I have a blog to write. The Jets continued to create unrealistic expectations for themselves and their fans when Mark Sanchez told reporters this week that there is, “nothing wrong with going 15-1.” Concerned that everyone’s hopes might be getting a little too high, head coach Rex Ryan let everyone know that All-World cornerback, Darrelle Revis is listed on the Jets injury report under “limited participation in practice.” Apparently Revis felt a little tightness in his hamstring during Thursday’s practice but Coach Ryan assured everyone that he would “kiss Revis’ boo-boo and make him feel better” so that he wouldn’t miss Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Pick: Patriots.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1 ½) @ Cleveland Browns
The line opened with the Browns as 3 point favorites, moved to 1 ½ and is now “off” the board. Clearly, everyone is ready to “flee the Cleve” or the Chiefs have become the pick du jour around the league. Regardless, I picked the Chiefs upset of the Chargers last week and I’m sticking with ‘em. Pick: Chiefs.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions (+5 ½)
Both the Lions and Eagles will head into their match-up on Sunday with their respective backup QBs at the helm. It’s only Week Two and I’m already sick of all the Michael Vick talk. Matt Stafford was having an outstanding game last week and had his team up by 14 before getting walloped by Julius Peppers right before the half. Backup QB, Shaun Hill played admirably but in the end, let’s just say the Lions got screwed. Coach Schwartz handled the controversy with class saying,” the time I stand up here and start blaming officials for a loss is a time that I don’t need to be doing this anymore.” Things can’t possible get worse in Detroit. Pick: Lions
Chicago Bears (+8 ½) @ Dallas Cowboys
I don’t believe in locks but this is a no-brainer. I cannot emphasize how overrated the Cowboys organization is. As I mentioned last week, Tony Romo might be the only QB in the league that’s more overrated than Phillip Rivers. The Bears barely squeaked out a win in Week One against the Lions and should have been a wake-up call. Romo’s head will need to be on a swivel against the Bears defense. Pick: Bears
New York Giants (+5 ½) @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts endured a humiliating loss to the Texans and lost Bob Sanders, again, for the season. I can’t say with any degree of certainty that he Giants will go into Indy and win this one but I do think they will keep it close. Pick: Giants
New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers (+5 ½)
I am going directly against my “better coach and better QB trumps all” theory on this game. I’m not sure what happened to the Niners in Seattle last week but when all is said and done I believe Mike Singletary is a very good NFL head coach. The 49ers have announced plans to retire Jerry Rice’s number during half-time on Monday Night Football – always good to karma on your side – and Drew Brees, like all great quarterbacks, puts up a stinker every once in a while. Pick: 49ers.
David Bloodsworth is a writer, communications professional and blogger for 985thesportshub.com. He can be reached via email email@example.com or followed on Twitter @dhbrockton.