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NFL Week Two predictions

It's Dallas Week, baby!

By Abe Schwadron, Online Managing Editor, Josh Zipin, Online Managing Sports Editor and Phillip Allen, Online Managing Sports Editor
September 16, 2006
Okay, so the Redskins dropped a tough game to the Vikings on Monday night. Boo-hoo. Buck up and get ready for week two, the weekend that solidifies our opinions on teams that looked great or terrible in week one. More importantly, if you're still looking to win that friendly wager with a buddy or you just want to check out how bad our crew of "experts" is doing this week, we've got you covered. And by the way, don't sleep on Pia, the leader out of the gates.

Josh 8-7
Abe 7-8
Pia 12-3
Phil 11-4


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Miami Miami Buffalo Miami


Josh says: I actually have faith in the Daunte Culpepper-Chris Chambers combination. Eventually it will work. Maybe not this week, but sometime in my lifetime it will work. All I know is that J.P. Losman is not an NFL quarterback. That's all I know for sure.

Abe says: Despite their opening week loss to the defending champion Steelers, I have faith in the Dolphins. Daunte Culpepper showed sparks of his former self, and if Ronnie Brown can run the ball with any more success than he did against the Steel Curtain, the 'Phins will coast to an easy victory in the MIA.

Pia says: These AFC East rivals both held their own against playoff teams last week, but failed to come though in the fourth quarter. Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman had a career-high completion percentage, whereas Daunte Culpepper, in his first game with Miami, was intercepted twice and had no touchdowns. In the battle of mediocre quarterbacks, Buffalo will come out on top.

Phil says: After a tough loss week one, the Dolphins rebound to beat up on a weak division rival.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota


Josh says: Without Steve Smith (he is listed as questionable, but hasn't practiced this week), the Panthers are mortal. The Vikings will run the ball down their throat this week.

Abe says: Brad Childress is one of the smartest coaches in the NFL. He's made a commitment to the run, no matter how many yards his running backs pile up, and when the Vikings pass, Childress puts QB Brad Johnson in position to succeed on every play. Without a healthy Steve Smith, neither the Panthers nor my fantasy team will win.

Pia says: The Panthers clearly suffered against Atlanta last week without their Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith. Smith is questionable for Sunday's game, and linebacker Dan Morgan is out. Minnesota could be lucky enough to pull off another win this weekend, after a nail-biter with the Redskins opening week.

Phil says: Carolina desperately missed their Pro bowl wide out, Steve Smith in last weeks defeat at the hands of the Falcons. Even if he plays on Sunday his injuries affects will still be lingering. So here the door opens for Minnesota to surprise another contender. Upset of the week as the Vikings roll on.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati


Josh says: Apparently this is a bitter rivalry, but I don't see it. It's just too one-sided. Cincinnati wins big.

Abe says: The Bengals didn't heap too much of the offensive load on Carson Palmer last week, a strategy that made running back Rudi Johnson extremely happy. Johnson ran wild on the Chiefs, and the Browns D is no better.

Pia says: Carson Palmer is back and rolling. Cleveland is still struggling to find its grove after going 36-76 in the seven seasons since they rejoined the league in 1999. Next.

Phil says: How do you stop number #85? I'm pretty sure the Browns have no idea and unless they come up with some innovative answers this one goes to the Bengals.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Chicago Chicago Chicago Chicago


Josh says: If Rex Grossman isn't out for the season, the Bears have a shot.

Abe says: Chicago is just one of those teams that will grind you into submission by running the ball and playing gritty defense. Rex Grossman is never a sure thing at quarterback, but against the Lions, he's good enough to give the Bears a second W.

Pia says: It must have been a fluke that the Detroit Lions managed to hold the Seattle Seahawks to 9 points, and score 6 themselves. That's why Chicago, who beat the Packers 26-0 last week, will triumph in this battle of the sad NFC North.

Phil says: The Bears defense seems to be as good as ever as evident from their opener shut out and Detriot only managed six points in there week one loss. Doesn't take a genius to see were this is going.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis


Josh says: Houston is 0-8 all-time against the Colts, and it should just be same old, same old this week.

Abe says: If Peyton Manning puts up less than 400 yards passing and 4 touchdowns through the air, I will be genuinely surprised. The Colts win in a rout, and the Reggie Bush whispers continue in Houston.

Pia says: Peyton Manning won the much-touted "Manning Bowl" last Sunday night and is now looking to breeze past the Texans. Houston put up a good initial show against Philadelphia last week, but then they remembered they were the Texans and forgot to score in the second half.

Phil says: Running Back controversy isn't as bad as that of the Quarterback variety but it still can derail any team. Since the Texans were shaky to begin with the failure of Wali Lundy to provide any source of offense in the back field leaves them with only one burning question: Why did they pass on Reggie Bush?

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay

Josh Abe Pia Phil
New Orleans Green Bay New Orleans New Orleans


Josh says: It's starting to look more and more like the Texans passed on a future stud in Reggie Bush. With 151 all-purpose yards in his first NFL regular season game, we should start calling him Reggie "I'll burn you" Bush (no bible references intended).

Abe says: The Bush Stops Here! I just have a gut feeling that the Packers will win one for the aging Brett Favre and give their fans a false sense of playoff hopes for this year. If all goes well, could Favre be back for '07?

Pia says: While not spectacular, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and running back Reggie Bush both made decent debuts, beating the Browns 19-14. Brett Favre and the rest of the Cheeseheads were shutout 26-0 in their home turf.

Phil says: Brett Favre is done. The packers must recognize this season was over before it started and they should take the next four months as a long mini-camp in which they can see if Aaron Rogers has any potential. Bush and the Deuce will run wild and grab their second victory.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Josh Abe Pia Phil
New York Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia


Josh says: In what is sure to be an NFC East thriller, young Manning leads the troops to one of the loudest stadiums in the league. Tiki Barber and Plaxico Burress shut up the Philly faithful.

Abe says: Donte' Stallworth looked like Jerry freakin' Rice last week against the Texans, and although he won't have similar success versus the Giants, the Eagles defense is good enough to keep them in the game Sunday. Philly's raucous crowd tips the scale in favor of the Iggles.

Pia says: Eli Manning came second in last week's game against older brother, Peyton, but he was still impressive. He's come far from the unsure, interception-prone quarterback he was last year, but not quite far enough. Manning had two untimely mistakes, a fumble and an interception, that helped cause the Giants' loss. Donovan McNabb is back with the Eagles and looking as good as ever. McNabb didn't miss a beat without troublesome #1 receiver Terrell Owens, finding Donte' Stallworth a more than suitable replacement.

Phil says: After losing to his brother Eli Manning will fell he has even more to prove. Unfortunately he will be throwing into the talons of the Eagles staunch secondary who will give him trouble all day. Donovan seems to have found a new target in Donte Stallworth and the two together should put the Giants away.

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore


Josh says: Here comes another shutout. If the Raiders want to win at all this season, they need to establish some sort of running game with Lamont Jordan. Too bad Baltimore can stop the run better than anybody else.

Abe says: Air McNair is back and better than ever, and so is the ravens' stifling defense. Oakland, on the other hand, is in need of a complete team overhaul. The Raiders gained less than 100 yards of total offense on Monday night against the Chargers. This game is borderline unfair.

Pia says: The Ravens showed an explosion of talent in their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shutting them out 27-0. Steve McNair had an impressive debut and the defense caused three sacks and three interceptions. The Raiders are coming off another 27-0 game; they however, were the scoreless team in that game.

Phil says: Jerome Bettis retire but his nick name should live on through any running back wearing the Purple and black of the ravens. Jamal Lewis even on a bad knee seems roll along with striking resemblance to the Bus. The ravens roll over Oakland in week 2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta


Josh says: This could be a turning point for Mike Vick. Last week he threw for three touchdowns and ran for 48 yards. He wasn't looking to run every play, mostly just scrambling to pick up extra yards. If he keeps passing as well as he did last week, the Falcons could win a lot of games this year.

Abe says: Mike Vick has the ability to be one of the most explosive players in the league and Warrick Dunn is one of the best running backs in the NFL despite his age. The Buccaneers had one of the worst showings in the league last weekend, getting shut out and being scored on with ease by a classically low-scoring offense in the Ravens. 1+1=2. Falcons win.

Pia says: Both these teams contradicted expectations last week, for better or for worse. The Buccaneers were shut out at home, with Cadillac Williams being held to 22 yards. The Falcons, on the other hand beat the Carolina Panthers, who were in the NFC Championship game last year. The Falcons can look to take advantage of the Bucs' weak offensive line.

Phil says: Michael Vick seems to have finally come to terms with himself as a football player. He knows he wont pass for 300 yards a game and he can't rush for a 150. He just needs to handoff to Warrick Dunn and keep the chains moving. The Buc's still don't seem to be sure if Chris Simms can serve as their long-term quarterback. John Abraham won't make his job any easier and the Falcons will continue their domination of the division.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Arizona Seattle Seattle Arizona


Josh says: I just love Arizona's offense. No other team is as stacked at the skill offensive positions as the Cardinals are. They can't play defense, but their offense will win this one in a shootout.

Abe says: Shaun Alexander will not be kept out of the endzone for two straight weeks. It is simply impossible. The Cardinals' offense is exciting, but the Seahawks have solid corners and added linebacker Julian Peterson in the offseason.

Pia says: The Seahawks surprisingly struggled against the lowly Lions last week, but have taken a step to remedy that. They added ex-Patriot WR Deion Branch on Monday to an already stellar receiving corps and should have a better time against the Cardinals (who won last week simply because they were playing the 49ers.)

Phil says: The Cardinals prove they truly are a force to be reckoned with.

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Josh Abe Pia Phil
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis San Francisco


Josh says: The 49ers played well last week and made it close with Arizona, but they have no defense. They can't stop the bulldozer that is Steven Jackson.

Abe says: Up until this matchup, my plan was to pick the home team to come out on top in every game. Then, I saw the words "at San Francisco." My plans have changed.

Pia says: With the Rams' improved defense and kicker Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis is set against San Francisco. Wait, did I just say kicker? Yup. Wilkins accounted for all the points scored by the Rams last week, setting a franchise record of 6 field goals, and tying the record for 7 attempts.

Phil says: I can't really explain it but I just hate teams that kick six field goals.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Denver Denver Denver Denver


Josh says: Denver bounces back after a surprise loss last week, and Kansas City can't manage without Trent Green. Larry Johnson looks to be struggling to run with the loss of his fullback and Willie Roaf. His struggles could continue this week.

Abe says: Simply put, the Chiefs defense is horrid. Denver will run it right at K.C. and avoid forcing Jake Plummer to make bad decisions. And without Trent Green, the Chiefs are left with, ahem, Damon Huard at quarterback. Yeah, that guy is the starting QB.

Pia says: Kansas City fans, along with everyone else, watched in horror as Trent Green took a nasty hit from Cincinnati's Robert Geathers in the home opener. Green was knocked unconscious and sent to the hospital. Without their popular starting quarterback, the Chiefs are going to suffer.

Phil says: My Super bowl pick better not lose two straight. Plus the Chiefs are lost with out Trent Green.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Josh Abe Pia Phil
New England New England New England New England


Josh says: In a week that lost him his number one wideout, and best target, Tom Brady will take out his frustrations on the New York Jets. Sorry Jets fans, a focused Tom Brady means there is only one logical outcome to the game: Pats win.

Abe says: Jeopardy Answer: Talent, experience, great coaching. Ding! What are things the Patriots have that the Jets don't?

Pia says: Chad Pennington was on fire last week, but then again, he was playing the long ago down-and-out Tennessee Titans. New England, embarrassed after its near loss to the Buffalo Bills will be sure not to repeat the same mistakes this week.

Phil says: The patriots seem to have mastered winning with out wide receivers I don't see how it will last but the Jets just aren't in their league.

Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers

Josh Abe Pia Phil
San Diego San Diego San Diego San Diego


Josh says: It's all LT all the time in Ron Burgundy's native San Diego. Keep it simple for Phillip Rivers: give the ball to LT.

Abe says: LT ran wild on the Raiders last weekend, and the Titans defense is no better. Vince Young could see some snaps in garbage time against the Chargers, who despite starting a first-year quarterback in Philip Rivers appear to be among the NFL's elite.

Pia says: With inexperienced Phillip Rivers, the Chargers are going to try and use star running back LaDainian Tomlinson as much as possible. They don't need to worry about that strategy against the Titans, who have wide holes, well, everywhere.

Phil says: With another shut out San Diego's defense will grab the leagues number 1 defense and never let it go.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Washington Washington Dallas Washington


Josh says: All I'm going to say is that this is a must win. It's going down in Dallas.

Abe says: It's Dallas week, and although the Skins are coming off a devastating loss to the Vikings (I hate John Hall!), Clinton Portis looks like he's nearly back to normal and Santana Moss frightens the Cowboys. This is my cross-your-fingers-in-hope pick of the week.

Pia says: In the battle for the Old West the Cowboys won out, and it looks like they will again Sunday night. Both teams are coming off opening week losses, but the Redskins performance was disappointing at best. The defense could barely contain the second-rate Vikings receivers and the offense floundered in the red zone. Cowboys' quarterback Drew Bledsoe was also below par in his first game, but new acquisition Terrell Owens did not let down the team, being involved in all three scoring drives. I love the Redskins, but it doesn't look like it's happening this week.

Phil says: In the words of the great journey, "don't stop believing!"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Josh Abe Pia Phil
Pittsburgh Jacksonville Pittsburgh Jacksonville


Josh says: Roethlisberger rises again. The defending champs hit the Jaguars hard and confuse Byron Leftwich. The secondary will have a field day.

Abe says: The Jaguars came through for me last week in a come-from-behind victory over Dallas. I'll take this opportunity to defend my pick of the Jags for this year's NFL champs. Byron Leftwich is finally the type of quarterback who can lead a team deep in the playoffs, and although the team is aging at running back with starter Fred Taylor, their O-line is solid enough to establish the run. But the real reason I love the Jags is their defense. Their defensive line is among the NFL's toughest and biggest, and they have playmakers like Rashean Mathis in the secondary. Just remember that you got it here first, Jacksonville is going to the Super Bowl.

Pia says: The Super Bowl champs managed to win Week One without their star quarterback, and they can do it again. Jacksonville was strong against the Dallas Cowboys and T.O. but they were aided by several Dallas mistakes, including penalties and missed field goals.

Phil says: Who? Matt Jones!

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