Ace Picks: Week 2

The first week of a new season is always wild and unpredictable, so what can we take away from last week’s surprises? Are the Giants really as bad as they looked? Can Miami sustain the momentum from its victory over New England? Is the Thursday night rumble between the Ravens and Steelers a must-win for both clubs?

On the slate this week are some battles that should be incredible, and some more surprises waiting to happen. Here are my picks for week 2…

THURSDAY NIGHT

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – There is so much history between these two teams, but most of it has to do with physically punishing defenses, neither of which seem to be relevant anymore. That Ravens defense looks old, and the Pittsburgh defense performed poorly against a less than stellar Browns offense last week. Oh, and Joe Flacco threw the ball 62 times in the loss against Cincinnati. If he does that again, the Ravens lose. He won’t, and they’ll show they still have some chops. Pick: BALTIMORE.

SUNDAY GAMES

Atlanta @ Cincinnati – That Bengals defense looked like it was for real last week, but so did Matt Ryan. Which one will show up and dominate this matchup? My money’s on the Bengals’ defense, especially at home. I think it’s a low-scoring affair, but the better defense takes out the good offense. Pick: CINCINNATI.

Miami @ Buffalo – Talk about two big shockers last week, both of these teams had starring roles, with the Dolphins beating New England soundly at home, and the Bills taking out Chicago on the road. EJ Manuel actually looked like a starting quarterback, and that running game is going to be dynamic this season, what I call the three-headed beast. But Miami is getting its aerial ducks in a row, and Mike Wallace is just getting started. Miami wins a close one. Pick: MIAMI.

New Orleans @ Cleveland – The Browns were in the mix until the very end with a surprising run game (even without Ben Tate), and with a comeback effort from Brian Hoyer, and the Saints defense looked pedestrian against that Falcons offense. But Drew Brees is still Drew Brees, and I think he gets it going here. The game might be a close one because of the defense, but I think the Saints win one on the road. Pick: NEW ORLEANS.

Dallas @ Tennessee – If that Cowboys offense doesn’t wake up, they might well find themselves in a huge hole after week 2. They need Tony Romo to look like he realizes he’s on a football field, and for Dez Bryant to come around and live up to his potential. And Tennessee looked like world-beaters against a surprisingly awful Chiefs team. They got several turnovers, and against Romo they should get several more. This one won’t even be close. Pick: TENNESSEE.

Detroit @ Carolina – Will or won’t Cam Newton be back? Derek Anderson looked like the real deal against Tampa Bay, so it might not matter. But Detroit is no Tampa Bay, and their offense was clicking against a poor Giants defense. So this is dynamic offense against spectacular defense. Which one comes out on top? I think Stafford will be the difference since he’s turnover prone. He will try to force the ball into tight spots and the Panthers will expose his inadequacies. Pick: CAROLINA.

New England @ Minnesota – One word: Cordarelle. Minnesota has an offense now, even with Matt Cassel at quarterback. Watch out. New England looked very ordinary against Miami, particularly in the second half. This is pretty much a must-win for them, and as human as they looked in Miami, I think Belichick changes a few things and they win a close one. Pick: NEW ENGLAND.

Arizona @ NY Giants – Are the Giants even a professional football team anymore? It’s make-or-break this week for the G-Men, and I honestly don’t see any way they can pull this one out, even at home. Arizona didn’t look great against San Diego, but that defense is stronger than the one they face this week. Michael Floyd is the real deal and will expose that defense, and Eli Manning looks totally lost. I don’t think that changes here. Pick: ARIZONA.

Jacksonville @ Washington – Is this Jacksonville team the one that threw up 17 points in one half against the Eagles or the futile team that could do absolutely nothing in the second half? Can Chad Henne step up and deliver for more than one half, and can the defense hold up to the pressure… wait a second. They’re playing Washington, whose defense is pitiful. And RGIII, if forced to stay in the pocket, won’t be as effective as Nick Foles was in the second half last week. Pick: JACKSONVILLE.

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay – While both teams lost last week the only team that looked absolutely horrible was the Rams. Their vaunted defense never showed up against Minnesota, while Tampa Bay actually had a shot to win that game vs. Carolina. I just feel like this is already a lost season for the Rams, who just don’t play well without Bradford. Pick: TAMPA BAY.

Seattle @ San Diego – Will Seattle even lose this season? They didn’t look like it in their thorough beatdown of Green Bay in week 1, but that was at home. Now they take to the road where they decidedly aren’t the same team. San Diego played well enough to win last week even though they took the narrow loss, and I think if anyone can figure out that Seahawks defense it’s Philip Rivers. Look for a big week from Keenan Allen. Pick: SAN DIEGO.

Kansas City @ Denver – Do I really need to talk about this one? Alex Smith looked absolutely miserable last week, and that vaunted Chiefs defense just isn’t the same as last year. That is a recipe for disaster heading into Mile High Stadium against that juggernaut Broncos offense, even without Wes Welker. Julius Thomas looked unstoppable, and Demaryius Thomas is due for a bounceback game. I like Denver. A lot. Pick: DENVER.

NY Jets @ Green Bay – That Green Bay offense just didn’t look like itself against Seattle, but they were in Seattle so I’ll give them a mulligan. Even so, with the Jets win giving them momentum, do they come out feisty in this one? I honestly don’t think it matters. I don’t see Aaron Rodgers having two poor games in a row. And they’re at home. This one might be closer than you’d think, but in the end, I think the Pack wins it. Pick: GREEN BAY.

Houston @ Oakland – If you really want a toss-up, this game looks like it. Houston won the first game, but it was against Washington, so should it really count? And Oakland lost one they could have won against the Jets.  I think neither team is confident heading into this one with Houston losing Clowney in the process of their game. No way would I go anywhere near this game in survival football, but I think Oakland does just enough to even both teams’ records. Pick: OAKLAND.

Chicago @ San Francisco – Does the good Jay Cutler or the bad Jay Cutler show up in this one? Is that San Francisco defense for real? The answers to those questions are “the bad Jay Cutler,” and “yes.” So much has been written about how poor SF’s defense will be without key players, but they just patch up those holes, and they did so on Sunday against Dallas. What do Romo and Cutler have in common? Poor decisions at the wrong times. That shows up here, and the 49ers improve to 2-0. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO.

MONDAY NIGHT

Philadelphia @ Indianapolis – The Eagles played probably the worst half they could have played against the Jaguars, and they still ended up blowing them out in the end. That defense will improve, and it showed just how it could play in the second half of last week’s game. This game is in Indianapolis, and Andrew Luck is good at home. It will all come down to who owns the tempo. I think Chip Kelly gets his way and Shady McCoy gets going in a close road win. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.

The Fantasy Ace

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