Sliced Spread: 2011 NFL Football Week 2 Picks and Predictions

Welcome to SLICED SPREAD, the place on Inside Pulse Sports for weekly NFL picks against the spread, head to head survivor picks, and score prognostications.

Week 1 was certainly an educational experience, and here’s what I learned:

–I am EXTREMELY happy I got the Chargers out of the way in H2H Survivor Picks, because with all the injuries they suffered against Minnesota, I don’t think I would have picked them for a long, long time.

–The Bears (+2.5), Lions (+1.5), Titans (+3.5) and Redskins  (+3.5) did me proud by covering their numbers, and all of them except Tennessee managed to win head to head as well. I think the Bears will continue to be tough at home, the Redskins are going to be fighters, and the Lions just might be for real.

–Speaking of teams that are for real, the Packers and Eagles showed why they are heavy playoff favorites, and the Ravens and Texans certainly made me suffer this week for picking against them at home.

–As for my three biggest Week 1 disappointments, I have to go with the Steelers, Chiefs and Browns. Pittsburgh looked completely unprepared and unmotivated against a division rival and the Browns proved they are still the same old Browns against the Bengals when I thought they had made some strides. As for the Chiefs, all I can say is WOW. I knew their preseason was shaky, but for the Bills to just light them up like they did at Arrowhead is unforgivable. It’s going to be a LONG season in Kansas City after all.

–The Colts really are simply atrocious without Peyton Manning, so he must have really deserved every accolade he’s ever received in the NFL. Hell, after this display, it’s a miracle he even has that one Super Bowl ring, considering how his teammates completely choked and wilted without him. My pick for worst Week 1 catchphrase comes from Indy: “Next man up!” <— Really?

–Props to the Texans for taking care of business — regardless of Indy’s situation — and Houston just might fulfill their potential with Manning out of their way.

–I must say that I was extremely proud to see my New York Jets come back to get that head to head win over the Dallas Cowboys, even though they didn’t cover the 4.5 point spread in my gut feeling pick of the week. It was the same old story for both quarterbacks in this one: Tony Romo played very well until it counted most, while Mark Sanchez played an uneven game until he stepped up when it mattered most.

–Lastly, we move to Monday Night Football, where I split the difference at 1-1 ATS. The Patriots proved they are on a mission to dominate once again as they crushed the Dolphins, whereas the Broncos let me down by getting knocked off by the Raiders. The Tebow chants have already begun, so who knows how that will affect Kyle Orton if Denver doesn’t right the ship very quickly.

One more sidenote: I found out this week that SLICED SPREAD has attracted thousands of clicks, so I wanted to say thanks for reading. And, if you feel like it, you can check out a separate side project of mine that I released over the weekend. This has nothing to do with football, but some of you might find it an interesting read nonetheless.

OK, with that mouthful out of the way, allow me to say…

Onto the breakdown!

SLICED SPREAD: NFL WEEK 1 BREKADOWN

WEEK 1 ATS: 8-8
WEEK 1 LOCKS ATS: 2-1
WEEK 1 H2H SURVIVOR PICK: WIN (Chargers over Vikings) 

THIS SEASON ATS: 8-8
THIS SEASON LOCKS ATS: 2-1

H2H SURVIVOR TEAMS USED:
Chargers (Week 1, Win) 

SLICED SPREAD: NFL WEEK 2 PICKS

Home teams are shown in CAPS
Point spreads shown in ().

WASHINGTON (-4.5) over Arizona The Redskins did me proud last week by dispatching what I will think will be an ultimately hapless Giants team over the course of 17 weeks. The Cardinals looked good too withstanding the Panthers’ relentless offensive attack, but I think Arizona is in a tough spot out here on the East Coast for an early game. I am not thrilled with laying 5 points against Kevin Kolb and Co., but the ‘Skins’ defense should come up big enough throughout the game to keep this one comfortably on Washington’s side of the spread. Redskins win 24-17

*LOCK IT UP/H2H SURVIVOR PICK: DETROIT (-9.5) over Kansas City I know, I know. The Lions suddenly find themselves as heavy home favorites, a position that is completely foreign to them. However, I am sticking with my initial gut feeling that Detroit will turn this game into a rousing coming out party for two reasons: 1. Matthew Stafford is finally healthy and did right by me last week; and 2. The Chiefs looked so brutal all preseason and then got TORCHED by Buffalo in Week 1, and I just don’t see an immediate end to this downward trend. Therefore, my gut feeling pick and first lock of the week is… Lions win 34-13

MINNESOTA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay I stand by the fact that I simply don’t think the Bucs are all that good this year, and the Vikings defense definitely fought as hard as they could against the Chargers on the road even though the offense came up way short. Against Tampa’s offense, I think the Vikings’ D wrests this one away at home. Vikings win 17-13

Green Bay (-9.5) over CAROLINA I really wish this spread was a little lower, especially since Cam Newton proved last week on the road against the Cards that he’s the real deal. With that said, it’s a whole different ball game when you are going up against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Aaron Rodgers is a monster right now, and something tells me that Newton is going to press too hard to match Green Bay point for point, and that will spell the difference against the spread. If this was almost any other team I’d take the points, but this battle is one that Carolina just can’t win right now against an elite team that is also very well rested. Packers win 41-21

Chicago (+6.5) over NEW ORLEANS Something about the Saints just didn’t jive with me when I was making my Week 1 picks, and I have that same feeling here. The Bears are perennially underrated despite their success last season, and even if they come up short I think they will continue to be a tough out. The Saints squeak by but the Bears cover. Saints win 28-24

BUFFALO (-3.5) over Oakland Give the Raiders credit where credit is due: they took to the road on Monday Night Football and emerged with an impressive division win. But man, did this Bills team light it up or what last week?! Buffalo keeps the momentum going as Oakland comes out flat in their second straight road game — an early one at that — and never quite recovers. For some reason, I also sense a special teams or wildcat game-changer from Brad Smith this week to ensure a cover and even break this one open late. Bills win 34-20

INDIANAPOLIS (+1.5) over Cleveland My least favorite game of the week. On one hand you have the absolutely helpless Colts who proved that the catchphrase “Next Man Up” doesn’t work when you are talking about replacing Peyton Manning. On the other hand, you have a Cleveland Browns team that couldn’t get out of its own way in Week 1, featuring a quarterback in Colt McCoy who showed no guts and zero aptitude when trying to mount a 4th quarter comeback against the Bengals. I’m going with the Colts for one more week, if for no other reason than because they are a home dog that MUST have a chip on their shoulder after being completely humiliated last week, right? Colts win 19-16

NY JETS (-9.5) over Jacksonville I think the Jets definitely win head to head here against a Jaguars team that is vastly inferior. My hope is that the Jets defense comes up so big that Gang Green doesn’t make me regret  this pick, especially since I can see a backdoor cover ruining this for me. That said… Jets win 28-13

*LOCK IT UP: PITTSBURGH (-14.5) over Seattle The Steelers were humiliated their most hated rivals last  week, and so the Seahawks will plainly be nothing more that Pittsburgh’s punching bags in Week 2. Sometimes you have to suck it up and stare right through the big number, and this is one of those times. Steelers win 35-6

Baltimore (-5.5) over TENNESSEE The Ravens thoroughly battered the Steelers into submission in Week 1, and if that’s a sign of things to come — and I think it is — then they should steamroll over lesser opponents like the Titans. Ravens win 27-10

Dallas (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO Dallas might be banged up, but I am not about to jump on the Niners’ bandwagon simply because they won against the Seahawks last week. The Cowboys respect Jason Garrett way more than they did Wade Phillips, so they will fight hard and let their talents shine in this one. Cowboys win 24-21

*LOCK IT UP: Houston (-2.5) over MIAMI The Fins got smoked by the Pats last week and the Texans have the type of offensive firepower that will also burn Miami badly. Texans win 38-28

NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) over San Diego – The Chargers suffered a few key injuries in their win over the Vikings, and it’s never a good thing to hobble into a road game against the Patriots. Out of respect for Philip Rivers, I can’t lock up a New England victory as easily as I did in Week 1, but I do think the Patriots stay ahead of the spread for a second straight game. I sense a shootout. Patriots win 41-31

Cincinnati (+4.5) over DENVER – I can’t even guarantee the Broncos will even win this one, let alone cover. A late field goal decides the outcome, but thankfully that doesn’t affect my pick, so… Broncos win 20-17

Philadelphia (-2.5) over ATLANTA – I know Matt Ryan is usually stellar at home, but after last week’s meltdown in Chicago I can’t see the Falcons stymying the Eagles for four quarters no matter where they play. Eagles win 28-21

NY GIANTS (-4.5) over St. Louis – The Giants are not clicking at all, so this particular pick might be going against my better judgment. However, I don’t think the Rams are healthy enough to physically beat what should be an angry New York team coming off a bitter division loss, and the G-Men will ultimately grind this game out as a result. Giants win 24-14

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