Each Saturday morning during the NFL season, we’ll wake up early, take a hearty cut at predicting the unpredictable league, wince at how it went the week before and ponder the definition of insanity.
Week 2 wasn’t bad at 10-5 straight-up and at least a winning record (8-7) versus the spread (14-16 through two weeks is why money doesn’t accompany the mouth). But, yeah, the reasoning behind last week’s upset special – “dem Saints can score, score, score!” – needed a mulligan after New Orleans fell 16-13 at the Giants.
To make up for that whiff, I’ve swung even harder on the week’s biggest underdog Browns (plus-10 at Miami). The risk-reward is great on this one. So I’m either going to hit 3-wood over the lake to a small green from 220 yards out, or I’ve just topped the ball 10 yards into the water and I’m hitting 4.
Miami seems like the lock pick for the suicide pools. But beware the September lock. The league’s worst teams haven’t completely given up yet.
In 2013, the Vikings were a lock against a visiting Browns team that was changing quarterbacks and traded its leading rusher four days before kickoff. That was the week then-Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner and quarterback Brian Hoyer ruined a lot of suicide pools by winning at the Metrodome.
WEEK 2 PICKS
Vikings plus-7 at Panthers: Panthers 27, Vikings 17.
Why?: Believe it or not, there will be adversity on the field at some point this season. Sam Bradford is an excellent pickup, but he won’t throw 32 touchdowns with no interceptions and set the league record for passer rating. The Vikings are a solid team with an elite defense. But there’s a reason Carolina has won 14 straight at home while averaging 40.4 points in the last seven of those wins. Go with the home team, but don’t bury the visitors’ season when they return home.
LAST WEEK: Packers minus-2 at Vikings. The Pick: Vikings 23, Packers 21. The Result: Vikings 17, Packers 14. Record: 2-0.
Browns plus-10 at Dolphins: Browns 24, Dolphins 23
Why?: Yeah, this one makes no sense. The Browns are already down to their third quarterback and, well, let’s just say they ain’t the Patriots. But it’s still early in the NFL season, which means there’s still some fight left in even the league’s laughingstock. Their standout rookie receiver broke his hand in practice, they’re on the road and they blew a 20-0 lead a week ago at home. But I just have a feeling Cleveland is going to wreck a lot of suicide pools, sort of like they did a few years back when they came to the Metrodome and beat the Vikings while at one of their deepest points of the season.
Last week: Saints plus-4 ½ at Giants. The Pick: Saints 34, Giants 31. The Result: Giants 16, Saints 13. Record: 1-1.
Broncos plus-3 at Bengals: Bengals by 7
Raiders minus-1 at Titans: Titans by 3
Cardinals minus-4 at Bills: Cardinals by 7
Ravens minus-1 at Jaguars: Jaguars by 3
Redskins plus-3 ½ at Giants: Giants by 6
Lions plus-7 at Packers: Packers by 14
49ers plus-9 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 7
Rams plus-5 ½ at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 7
Steelers minus-3 ½ at Eagles: Eagles by 6
Jets plus-3 at Chiefs: Chiefs by 7
Chargers plus-2 ½ at Colts: Colts by 7
Bears plus-7 at Cowboys: Cowboys by 3
Falcons plus-3 at Saints: Saints by 10
Record (Last week/Season): 10-5/21-9
Vs. spread (Last week/Season): 8-7/14-16
CRAIG’S LIST: Power Rankings
1, Patriots (3-0)
2, Steelers (2-0)
3, Cardinals (1-1)
4, Broncos (2-0)
5, Vikings (2-0)
6, Panthers (1-1)
7, Bengals (1-1)
8, Packers (1-1)
9, Eagles (2-0)
10, Giants (2-0)
11, Jets (1-1)
12, Ravens (2-0)
13, Chiefs (1-1)
14, Chargers (1-1)
15, Buccaneers (1-1)
16, Falcons (1-1)
17, Texans (2-1)
18, Titans (1-1)
19, Cowboys (1-1)
20, 49ers (1-1)
21, Rams (1-1)
22, Seahawks (1-1)
23, Raiders (1-1)
24, Lions (1-1)
25, Saints (0-2)
26, Dolphins (0-2)
27, Colts (0-2)
28, Jaguars (0-2)
29, Bears (0-2)
30, Redskins (0-2)
31, Bills (0-2)
32, Browns (0-2)