10-6 last week. Let’s get it.
Bounce Back Games/Impending Blowouts
Bounceback/Impending blowout #1 ~ Cowboys at Niners – Some things never change, but it’s pretty hard to ignore that for 55 minutes, Tony Romo was back in a big way. The Niners are a godawful mess, and they’re not ready under a new coaching regime and an organization that’s endorsed their mediocrity instead of blowing it up to deal with a team that was executing like I saw them executing Sunday night. Cowboys dominate on the road and make Jim Harbaugh wonder what he got himself into. Big day for Miles Austin. Cowboys 41, Niners 17.
Impending Blowout #2 ~ Raiders at Bills – That wasn’t a cheap secondary the Bills torched. Kansas City is no easy place to get a win if you’re not an established contender, Eric Berry, pre-IR, was on his way to being a perennial pro-bowler, and Brandon Flowers has played well enough to get a 5-year deal this week. I thought about making a case for the Bills in my kickoff column for 0.00034 seconds before counting how many things had to go right for them to make noise. Honestly, I think most of them have already happened. Ryan Fitzpatrick is at least a legit game manager, Steve Johnson is a bona fide #1, Jackson and Spiller works in the backfield (as long as Jackson gets 60% of the work minimum), and that O-line kept everyone really clean. Pair that with legit corners like McGee and McKelvin on the outside and you might just have enough to hide the insufficiencies. The Raiders are coming off a late night Monday game and going cross country to play a 1:00 game on the east coast. This might get ugly. Bills 34, Raiders 14.
Impending Blowout #3 ~ Panthers at Packers – Ooo-o-o-o-oh boy this could be bad. Cam Newton with a shred of confidence against the best young defense this league has seen in a while on its home field with championship swagger. The worst part? Steve Smith is convincing him right now via text that this can actually happen. Cam’s gonna force ALOT of throws Steve’s way caving into his mouth in the huddle. Remember, this is a guy that punched teammates in training camp. He’s not backing down. Cam loses composure and gets evaporated. Oh shit, Jon Beason’s on IR, too. Packers 48, Panthers 17. That’s 100 points in 2 games for the Packers if you’re counting.
Bounceback #2/Impending Blowout #4 ~ Seahawks at Steelers – ooooo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh this one’s even worse. You’re sending Tarvaris Jackson into Pittsburgh after they just got fisted by an opponent they were supposed to beat handily? Ooh boy. There might be blood. Steelers 30, Seahawks 6.
Bounceback #3 ~ Browns at Colts – Were the Browns caught off-guard? I think so. They’re better than this. Are the Colts really this bad? Unfortunately, this looks positively awful. The Colts look unprepared and are headed for disaster. This won’t be a blowout. The Browns just aren’t capable of it, but the Colts just…. just…. aw man it’s sad. Browns 23, Colts 7.
Bounceback #4 ~ Bucs at Vikings – All the hype around the young Bucs got fizzled real quick at home against a fellow young gun. An 0-2 start brings the Bucs back to Earth, but an 0-2 start for the Vikings will put this season in the shitter for Minnesota, as things don’t exactly get easy in the division this year. Donovan McNabb’s lack of professionalism is going to hurt him as he bounces from team to team late in his career, but he’ll have enough basic throws to eek this one out at home. There’s also that AP guy, too. Best player on the field wins here. Vikings 19, Bucs 16.
1-1 is a very different picture from 0-2, idn’tit?
Season Swinger #1 ~ Bears at Saints – Toughest game of the week to call by a mile. Was that Bears assault for real? How will the Saints get by without Colston? Even if the Bears are legit, will that offense translate to an unfriendly dome? Is the Saints defense really this bad or was that just Rodgers being Rodgers? All unanswerable questions until Sunday afternoon. When push comes to shove, I have a hard time picking against the Saints at home. Sean Payton has gotten this team schemed right when it matters. The Bears can stand to lose this game, and the Saints can’t. Saints 31, Bears 24.
Season Swinger #2 ~ Chargers at Patriots – I don’t think this is the heavyweight matchup people are making it out to be. Rivers plays well against he Patriots, but he also loses alot, too. I think the Pats are scary legit, and filleting the Fish was just the start. When the Patriots get ballsy, the league gets put on notice. The swinger is if the Chargers pull this one out early. If San Diego wins this, they stomp the early struggle demon and the vs. elite team demons out in Week 2 and get crowned as the leader early, relieving ALOT of pressure on Norv Turner and a defense that has yet to gel…. a defense that has yet to gel… yet to gel… Tom? Patriots 34, Chargers 24.
Season Swinger #3 ~ Chiefs at Lions – Marginal impending blowout. I was really down on Tampa to begin with, and Stafford didn’t go legend on them to an extent that I’d throw this game earlier in the column. The Lions aren’t experienced enough to blow a team like this out, but they are good enough to beat them. The Lions starting 2-0 is an auspicious beginning to the 9-7 place I have pegged for them. The Chiefs getting destroyed at home, losing their best safety, and having to go to a dome team with a very capable passing game is a recipe for disaster. Todd Haley gets mad at his 0-2 Chiefs. Lions 28, Chiefs 17. Megatron goes apeshit.
Season Swinger #4 ~ Eagles at Falcons – Competing thoughts: Can the Eagles go 2-0 starting two games on the road against dome teams? vs. Are the Falcons bad enough to go 0-2? I’m not a Matt Ryan guy, especially in the clutch, but this matchup favors Atlanta. There isn’t a corner on this planet who can take away Roddy White, and Ryan is 20-2 in his house for his career. Vick, as great as he can be, is mirroring his Atlanta career path in Philadelphia. He’s going to lose discipline due to the gravity of the moment, make some great plays on his own that aren’t part of the plan, and leave just enough of the plan unexecuted to let the more grounded notion of Michael Turner and good-enough defense prevail. The law of averages jails the dream team, if just for a week. Falcons 26, Eagles 23.
Season Swinger #5 ~ Cardinals at Redskins – Kross Kountry Kolb against The Dragon. The whispers in Washington about the Skins being back from writers who were generously invited to their training camps will definitely heighten if the Skins dominate here. Lose, and the NFL goes back to underestimating them. If this was another east coast team, I’d probably pick against Arizona here, but Kolb’s been watching this defense since he got drafted, a guessing corner like DeAngelo Hall is a TERRIBLE matchup for Larry Fitzgerald, and even if the Skins get their run game going, Arizona’s safeties aren’t as bad as they looked last week, and they’ll never be so out of this game that Larry can’t pull it out for them. Did I mention big game for Fitz? Cardinals 27, Skins 21.
Jets, Ravens, Denver, Houston
Steve is not letting 600+ yards of Grossman and Kolb fool him, and is taking ARI-WAS
Cardinals-Skins is a nice dark horse, but I like Larry Fitzgerald too much, and I can’t turn away something like Bengals-Broncos when I get it. CIN-DEN is my pick.