NFL Week 2: Seattle, Eli, Rip Van Freeman (not)
My only demand about these NFL prognostications: If you lose a bet based on my advice, and Rocco the Bookie wants your hide, please don't contact me.
Week 1 record: 9-7.
With my most confident pick first and my least confident pick last ?
EAGLES 45, CHARGERS 17 AT PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly says an offense that produced these first-half numbers -- 53 plays, 26 points, 322 yards, 21 first downs -- wasn't fast-paced enough. So he'll spread his high-tempo mania through an entire game against a San Diego team traveling across the country after a demoralizing Monday night choke job.
SAINTS 30, BUCCANEERS 10 -- Rip Van Freeman will buy five iPhones, sleep through every musical alarm and miss the game. Mike Glennon will replace him but develop a staph infection. Lavonte David will decide not to tackle Drew Brees at all, leading to four touchdown passes. Tim Tebow will be summoned for a tryout and a mass prayer with the players, who don't trust Greg Schiano.
BEARS 24, VIKINGS 16 -- I will keep repeating the following until a change is made: Ponder This -- the Vikings don't have a quarterback. Adrian Peterson is entering a phase where his all-time rushing greatness is being wasted. Bears aren't a 2-0 team, but they'll take it.
PACKERS 27, REDSKINS 13 -- Robert Griffin III is playing like a guy who needs weeks of reacclimation after coming off a career-threatening knee injury. Eddie Lacy, after a slow start last week, gives Aaron Rodgers much-needed help in the running game. Rodgers hopefully stops doing those silly State Farm commercials.
TEXANS 31, TITANS 10 -- The San Diego comeback will unleash a monster that should win the AFC this time. Arian Foster shouldn't brood about sharing carries with Ben Tate -- think postseason, when you need to be fresh now that Brian Cushing is back and leading the defense.
RAVENS 23, BROWNS 12 -- Not that I'm sold on Baltimore returning from its opening-night crisis to make a playoff run, but almost anyone can beat Cleveland. Brandon Weeden, the dud of last year's QB class, was sacked six times and threw three picks. As usual, no one is coaching the Browns.
DOLPHINS 23, COLTS 17 -- Not a good sign when your owner is tweeting about bad protection schemes, exposing Andrew Luck to an Indianapolis Motor Speedway-like pass rush. When the only Miami controversy is Mike Wallace complaining about touches, my guess is the Dolphins will dominate these 60 Minutes.
CHIEFS 27, COWBOYS 20 -- Just when Dallas tries to be taken seriously, the smart prognosticator immediately goes the other way. Expect the usual crash by Tony Romo, while Alex Smith introduces himself to his new town with more of the passing efficiency that is becoming a habit.
SEAHAWKS 24, 49ERS 21 -- The best rivalry in football is a pick-'em until you consider the surroundings: the NFL's loudest stadium, filled with imbibed Pacific Northwesterners who smell a Super Bowl. Marshawn Lynch revs up the ground game, Russell Wilson makes enough big plays, and Seattle's NBA-front-line secondary slows the Kaepernick passing offensive.
LIONS 26, CARDINALS 18 -- I have an idea: Let Ndamukong Suh try a cheap shot on a defenseless cactus. As long as this knucklehead avoids a league suspension -- and I'm not sure how he did last week -- the Lions will ride new weapon Reggie Bush toward playoff contention.
FALCONS 23, RAMS 21 -- Guess what? The Falcons have a banged-up offense and are ripe for another loss. Time for Sam Bradford, he of the $50-million guarantee, to earn his money and move into the QB elite.
PANTHERS 17, BILLS 16 -- I'll have faith that Carolina offensive coordinator David Shula, a mechanic who likes his cars to putter down back streets at 35 mph, realizes he has a dual-threat Maserati in Cam Newton. If not, Ron Rivera may be the first coach fired. EJ Manuel is a worthwhile work in progress.
RAIDERS 3, JAGUARS 0 -- Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski says Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee lied when he said Janikowski isn't an Oakland A's fan. That's all I needed to know.