Last week the Bears trampled the Falcons while the Eagles ran over the
Rams. Philadelphia looked like a team still finding its way.
Admittedly, the offense looked more in sync than the defense and that
makes perfect sense to me. Offensively, the Eagles retooled their
line but remained largely intact in the skill positions. The line
will struggle all year, its just not that talented of a bunch. Of
course, the Eagles balance that out somewhat by having Vick run around
when things break down. The defense features a slew of new comers in
key positions. The Rams broke off some very impressive runs and
Bradford found open receivers without a great deal of difficulty.
Unfortunately for him, his receivers have hands made of stone. The
Falcons have a great deal more fire power and unless the Eagles begin
to gel, we could be in for a shootout. The Bears embarrassed Atlanta
last week. Matt Forte is a versatile back who can beat you receiving
the ball out of the backfield as easily as he can running it. Sound
like anyone on the Eagles roster?
Obviously we'll be treated to a montage of Vick's great runs ending
with shots of him on the courthouse steps and in prison garb. Save
it. It's not like Atlanta is known for its rabid fan base. Unless a
vindictive stadium employees plays that Sarah McLachlan song from the
animal cruelty commercials during warmups, I think the return of Mike
Vick to Atlanta is a non-factor. The Falcons can't keep pace and drop
to an almost-behind-the-eightball 0-2.
Eric's Prediction: Philly 31 - Atl 27
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 @ Minnesota Vikings
Everyone in the NFC south lost last weekend. Of those clubs Atlanta
and Tampa Bay looked the worst. The Bucs still have a very young team
lending credibility to the theory that the lack of an off season would
affect them more. LaGarrett Blount was terrible last week. Was he a
one hit (pun intended) wonder? The Bucs should bounce back after last
week's wake up call. Another NFC loss may not hurt much in the
division race but thinking long term towards a wild card race, this
game may have big implications. The Vikings aren't a playoff team.
Adrian Peterson took advantage of Johnson's contract to leverage his
own mega deal. Time to not get hurt in what will soon become a lost
season. There's a number of great players on the Vikings, they're
just lacking in so many other areas. Is there another team with as
many superstars and nobodies? As the Pats have shown, fill a team
with a lot of good guys and one or two stars and you're set. The Bucs
win and get this thing back on track
Eric's Prediction: Tampa Bay 30 - Minnesota 14
Chicago Bears +7 @ New Orleans Saints
The Bears were impressive last week in thumping the Falcons. Cutler's
lives up to his potential every September, take advantage of it before
his inevitable late season swoon. Saints won't start 0-2, but the
Bears won't go down without a fight.
Eric's Prediction: NO 27 - Chi 21
Kansas City +8.5 @ Detroit Lions
It's been a long time since we've seen the Lions on the favorite side
of a line like this. Are the Chiefs really this bad? Probably not,
but I like Calvin Johnson's chances against an Eric Berry-less Kansas
City secondary. Still, it's too many points for me at this juncture.
I need a few more dominant games from Detroit and one more hapless one
from KC before I buy into their 2011 destinies. I'd stay away but
with a gun to my head (and we're talking a .44 magnum).
Eric's Prediction: Detroit 24 - KC 17
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets
- Can the Jets muster enough offense to win big? Jacksonville's
primary weapon is MJD and the Jets have a stout run defense. Take the
Jets to cover unless you're staunchly in the pro-Luke McCown camp.
Eric's Predictions: Jets 31 - Jags 9
Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills -3.5
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson versus Darren McFadden and whoever
else is still on the Raiders. Not exactly Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed
and Jim Kelly vs. Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen and Howie Long. My how the
mighty have fallen. Fitzpatrick stays hot for Buffalo.
Eric's Predictions: Bills 17 - Oak 7
Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins -4
Tim Hightower runs roughshod over his former team, and for at least
one more week people stop referring the Washington's QB as Gross
Eric's Prediction: Skins 21 - Ari 10
Baltimore Ravens -6.5 @ Tennessee Titans
Ravens win big, we have a Jake Locker sighting, and the Titans claim
they were drunk when they signed Chris Johnson's contract.
Eric's Prediction: Baltimore 27 - Tenn -3
Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers -14.5
That's a mighty big line for a team that didn't score 15 in the
opening game. Seattle loses but gets a late field goal to cover.
Eric's Prediction: Pitt 24 - Seattle 10
Green Bay Packers -10.5 @ Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton comes back to earth, Aaron Rodgers doesn't. Packers win in
a blowout and cover.
Eric's Prediction: Packers 42 - Car 17
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts +2
If the Colts don't win this one, it could be an epic season. The
team has more grit than that, Colts win and cover.
Eric's Prediction: Ind 17 - Cle 12
Dallas Cowboys -3 @ San Francisco 49ers
Terrance Newman is still hurt, Orlando Scandrick is out with an ankle
sprain, and Mike Jenkins has leprosy, which means Alan Ball is back in
the starting lineup. Alex Smith must have done something right in a
previous life. Dallas gives up more than it should but win and cover.
How sad it is those 25 have no idea how important games between these
two teams once were.
Eric's Prediction: Dal 31 SF 24
Houston Texans +3 @ Miami Dolphins
The Texans are heating up and have a chance to prove once again how
right they were to select Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. The Texans
get the cover and roll over Miami. Tony Sparano and Chad Henne ought
to dust off those resumes.
Eric's Prediction: Hou 17 - Miami 10
San Diego Chargers +7 @ New England Patriots
New England will find more resistance in San Diego than they did in
Miami. Chargers cover, NE wins.
Eric's Prediction: NE 34 - SD 31
Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 @ Denver Broncos
A game only a mother could love. The nations is on the edge of their
seats, can Andy Dalton play or will it be Bruce Gradkowski? Will John
Fox succumb to the Bronco faithful and bench Kyle Orton in favor of
Tebow? Will Vonn Miller become the first rookie threaten retirement
for a trade after week 2? Honestly, how can anyone say the Broncos
are 5.5 points better than the Bengals? Take Cincy to cover.
Eric's Prediction: Den 17 - Cin 14
Monday Night Football
St. Louis Rams @ New York Giants -6
The Giants are uber thin in the secondary, but St. Louis doesn't have
a lot of threats especially with Ammendola sidelined. The Giants
bounce back from a tough loss with the win.
Eric's Prediction: NYG 21 - STL 7