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2017 NFL Picks Week two: Finding the upset

All the picks for this week’s NFL games.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Bucs get their first look at Glennon as a Bear
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Week one of the 2017 NFL season was exciting but it was not good at all for the DP prediction business. I have to do better than the 6-8 mark posted in week 1 (a paltry 42.8%); no, I’m not worried about Sander bring back JC De La Torre, I’m worried I may be replaced by a monkey with a dart board and the Tuesday morning paper.

Group Pick ‘em Play:

Week 1 Winner: Pick set “Jameis Winston” won, going 12 of 14. The only games missed were Houston, who got thumped by the Jags, and the Chargers who got their potential game tying field goal blocked by Denver. Hat off to Jameis Winston and good luck in week 2!

If you have not signed up yet there is still time; the winner each week will get their 4 lines of fame and we’ll be keeping season long track (with the worst 2 weeks of predictions dropped):

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Enter Group #: 39438

Password : bucs (all lower case)

If you would just like to see the scores and giggle :

Three of the Best (Games of the Week)

Washington at the LA Rams (Sunday 4:25 PM EST)

The Rams bandwagon is getting pretty full. They blew out a hapless Colts team, while Washington fumbled their way out of a division game with the Eagles. I am a little nervous that everyone seems to be picking the Rams, this almost feels like a trick question from a HS pop quiz. Scott Tolzien is to Kirk Cousins as Trent Dilfer is to Jameis Winston. People are already counting Cooper Kupp’s 100 receptions up and that seems a tad ambitious to me. What I also didn’t see was domination by Todd Gurley, in a game that lopsided I would have expected Gurley to easily go over 100 yards owning the clock. Maybe I should stick with option C and stick with the pain but I’m fading the Rams and all 25,000 of their fans that showed up last week. Washington 24-LA Rams 21.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Game Manager ? I think not
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia at Kansas City (Sunday 1pm EST)

Kareem Hunt started the game with a fumble and then proceeded to treat the Patriots like he was still running against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes this past year giving up their 2018 first rounder and one of the big selling points was arm strength, they wanted the deep ball. Well Alex Smith gave them the deep ball. Tyreek Hill is still too fast to handle one on one. He’s certainly too fast for anyone in the Eagles secondary. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox will get more pressure than the Patriots did and I’m curious to see how Smith handles them; but in Arrowhead with way more than 25,000 fans I’m going Chiefs 24-13.

Green Bay at Atlanta (Sunday 8:35 pm EST)

Carrie Underwood’s tremendously talented voice doesn’t always get a great matchup to tell us we’ve been waiting all day for. This is one you can make a legitimate argument is the best matchup of the week. Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Ryan, Jordy Nelson vs. Julio Jones, this game is loaded with some of the best and the matchup quality is every bit as on par with Game of Thrones’ the Mountain vs. the Viper. The Falcons are at home so I’m taking the Falcons 31-28.

Other Games

Houston at Cincinnati on a Thursday night snoozer, both teams looked awful in the opening week. The Bengals got blanked and any QB under center for Houston was running for their life and turnover prone. I’m picking the Bengals solely on just how hideous that Texans offensive line looked. If your power is out still on Thursday don’t worry you are not missing much. Bengals 22 Houston 9.

New England at New Orleans. Brees is a better player at home and the Patriots pass rush is nearly non-existent but picking Brady to drop two in a row seems like a dangerous prediction to me, so Patriots 33 Saints 31 in a high-scoring fantasy football fantastic game.

Minnesota at Pittsburgh. I love you Jon Gruden but no, Sam Bradford is not “just as good” as any of the other great QBs. Le’Veon Bell is back on track as well in a lopsided 35-13 Steelers romp.

Buffalo at Carolina. The Bills are not playing the Jets this week so I’m going the other way: Panthers start off 2-0, with a 24-14 victory.

Tennessee at Jacksonville. Either the Jags defensive line is the best in the NFL or the Houston line is downright awful. I’m betting the Jags are better on defense this year but not THAT much better. The Titans are still smarting from the loss to the Raiders at home. No Allen Robinson disrupts the Jags balance and the Titans walk away 28-17.

Cleveland at Baltmore. Kizer did some really nice things in his debut with the Browns, time will tell if they finally have the answer. However, Jeremy Maclin did some even nicer things with the Ravens who also suddenly remembered how to play defense again. Ravens 23 Browns 15.

NY Jets at Oakland. I checked my phone as of this writing and Jack Del Rio had not called me to see if I want to QB Oakland as a lark in the 4th QTR so I’m 100% sure I’m on safe ground here picking Oakland in a blowout 44-3. Oakland would probably still be my favorite even if emergency quarterback Michael Crabtree has to play the entire second half under center.

Dallas at Denver. This one is going to be a close slobber-knocker of a game. Denver’s defense is better than Dallas’s offense but there were some gaps in Denver’s ground defense against the Chargers. The short prep week plus a playing Ezekiel Elliot means Dallas probably grinds out a really narrow victory 10-7. If Elliot doesn’t play due to the NFL appeal I’ll switch this later.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle. 49ers are better but Seahawks are still a far superior club and smarting over their week 1 loss. Seattle in blowout fashion 28-10.

Detroit at NY Giants. The Giants were manhandled without Odell Beckham , he’s supposedly going to play this week on Monday night. That’s bad news for Detroit who looked horrible in the first half then like a Super Bowl contender in the second half against Arizona. The Lions inconsistency will be their undoing if…if Beckham plays Giants 26 Lions 23.

Hide the Children Matchup: Arizona at Indianapolis.

Jacoby Brissett with two weeks of practice and a really bad 30 year old Scott Tolzien versus a rapidly declining Carson Palmer without David Johnson. Top notch stuff there. Don’t get me wrong I like Brissett but that trade with the Patriots should have been made in the offseason; come to think of it, Stephen Morris looked better in the preseason than Tolzien. Yet Tolzien, who Pagano lobbied for, had guaranteed money on his deal Morris didn’t. Chuck Pagano suffered under Grigson’s thumb with the offensive line mismanagement for awhile but he fouled up the QB position all on his own. Tolzien came into last week’s game with 2 career TD’s over 7 INT’s , Tolzien promptly raised that INT number to 9 being throwing two pick 6’s in the game. Now to compound his error he’s considering asking Brissett with all of 2 career starts and limited practice reps with his receivers to bail him out.

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots
Colts turn offense over to new arrival Brissett
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

On the flip side the Cardinals have known for some time now that Palmer was on his last legs and that their depth chart behind David Johnson was terrible. To prepare for that they’ve signed Blaine Gabbert (9-31 as a starter) and retained uninspiring Kerwyn Williams. You should consider not allowing any children with aspiring dreams of playing, coaching, or running a team to watch: this is going to get ugly. This is not how football is supposed to be played at the highest level, it’s not how the game is supposed to be coached, and dang sure is not how you are supposed to put a roster together. Arizona 15 Colts 11.

Upset of the Week : Miami at LA Chargers

Every rational thought I have says teams with disrupted travel schedules tend to do poorly. There is something about this “spot” though for the Dolphins. The Chargers played a road game on Monday night that ended in heartbreak. While they are now safely back home, this could still cause trouble, particularly because right now they have no tape defensively on what Miami plans to do while the Phins probably all watched them Monday night. I’m calling the Dolphins 27-24 on a couple splash play squeakers.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals
Jackson the difference maker?
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs Game of the Week

Don’t be surprised if the Bucs start this slowly even at home, just don’t start too slow with a slew of turnovers. The Bears came within a last-second TD of beating the mighty Falcons at home. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard will likely give the Buccaneers defense fits so I hope Mike Smith has his defense ready. What won’t give us fits is the Bears’ passing attempts…err I mean attack. There is no one to be afraid of and Zach Miller looks like the Bears’ best 3rd down weapon. Tampa’s linebackers, especially Lavonte David, can cover out of the backfield so they can neutralize the RBs as receivers.

The bigger advantage we have is we have an actual passing game. Atlanta’s Julio Jones got bracket coverage courtesy of the Bears, expect the same treatment for Mike Evans. If Winston can avoid forcing it to Evans early and DeSean Jackson can hit a big pass play somewhere in the first half this game could get blown open. I’m calling a big game for Jackson against single coverage without help, big game for Winston , opening season win for Tampa 25-17.