Any given Sunday
Opening week has ended and week two of NFL football is right around the corner. We got a taste of what's to come this season, but we've only touched the surface. Much of the week played out as many had expected; Adrian Peterson once again tops the league with 180 rushing yards, Peyton Manning connected with Reggie Wayne for 162 receiving yards and ol' Tom Brady threw for 378 yards. Each of their teams won. On the other hand, there were also some new faces making a name for themselves. Rookie receivers Kenny Britt, Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin were selected as nominees for the Rookie of the Week award.
But the unexpected moments came mainly from Monday Night Football's doubleheaders with the Bills v. Patriots and the Chargers v. Raiders. Both the Bills and Raiders were underwhelming last year, but both teams showed renewed determination in their season openers. The Bills led the Patriots for much of the game until a late touchdown after a fumbled kick return by Buffalo CB Leodis McKelvin. The Raiders played the same way against the Charger favorites, but a fourth quarter rally set up the San Diego win. Nonetheless, both the Raiders and Bills looked impressive in their debuts.
This is the week to build upon first impressions and to prove or disprove the notions brought on by the first games. Put your favorite jersey on and bring out the popcorn, because we're headed into another wild week of gridiron greatness.
Sunday, Sept. 20
Houston Texans (0-1-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-1-0)
Rose - Tennessee
Dennis - Tennessee
Both these teams have already faced a loss, but the Texans won't quite be able to match the ranks of the Titans for their second game. Tennessee's close 13-10 loss to defending Superbowl Champions last Thursday demonstrates dedication and skill that can easily surpass the Texans, who made a pitiful attempt against the Jets at their Sunday game. Looks like Ava and Dennis were right about Houston - the team is just not up to par.
Tennessee is rebounding after a tough loss in overtime to the reigning league champions. Nonetheless, both their offense and defense put in valid efforts at overthrowing the Steelers. More production needs to be seen from RB Chris Johnson, as expected. Houston looked a bit shaky last week against the Jets, allowing 24 points and scoring a single touchdown. The Titans will manhandle the Texans.
Props to the Titans for a game well-played last week, but unfortunately they couldn't finish strongly enough to keep Roethlisberger at bay. In addition, Houston didn't play well in their opener. But I'll be watching, if only to see Rick Smith show up in shoes that say "Pay me, Robinson." Now that's catchy.
New Orleans Saints (1-0-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0-0)
Rose - Philadelphia
Dennis - New Orleans
Ava - New Orleans
With Saints players Will Smith and Charles Grant off the chopping block for their banned substance abuse during the 2008 season, New Orleans is looking at a top-notch defensive team to combat the Eagles. But Philadelphia's 38-10 win against Carolina shows stamina. It's a tough match, but the Eagles are a favorite and they will pull through.
This match-up is set to be a great game: a classic unstoppable force versus an immovable object. Drew Brees returns to play after a six-touchdown performance. With McNabb out of the picture for the Eagles, look for the explosive Saints' passing offense to take advantage. Saints will take the close win.
Ava says:Another tough decision! Donovan McNabb has a cracked rib, so if he does play on Sunday he won't be himself. As the orchestrator of the Eagles's offense, that may create a little hitch in Philadelphia's game. It's a close call, but Drew Brees had a career day last week, so I'll go with the Saints.
Arizona Cardinals (0-1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1-0)
Rose - Arizona
Dennis - Jacksonville
Jaguar defensive end Reggie Hayward signed a new incentive-packed contract at the beginning of the season only to break his leg and abandon Jacksonville after the first game. Promises, promises. Now Arizona, the stronger team in any case, will surely overcome this weak team.
Despite their loss, Jacksonville, maintained a small point gap with Indianapolis during their 14-12 loss. Arizona, the defending NFC champs, lost to one of the bottom five teams of last season. David Gerrard and Maurice Jones-Drew need to click in order to win this week. The Jaguars have won against the Cardinals in each of their two meetings. Watch for that number to rise to three.
Maurice Jones-Drew can't hold up the Jaguars all by himself, and last week David Garrard had only 122 yards in comparison to Peyton Manning's 301 yards. Sure it's Peyton Manning, but still. Arizona may have lost to San Francisco last week, but I still think the Cardinals will win this one.
Oakland Raiders (0-1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-1-0)
Rose - Oakland
Dennis - Oakland
Ava - Oakland
Oakland's loss against formidable San Diego doesn't say much. But the closeness of the final 20-24 score demonstrates their perseverence against what may be on of the top teams in the AFC West. The Chiefs aren't quite as imposing, and will probably fall just slightly behind the Raiders.
Oakland demonstrated that it can be a potent team against San Diego. The Raiders were able to find some rhythm with both their passing and rushing game. Their defense seems more productive with Richard Seymour lining up as an end. Though Kansas City performed well against Baltimore, the team is having problems with its defensive line and will be exploited by RB Darren McFadden. Expect to see a happy Raider nation this week.
Neither team played very well during week one, so this game should be a close match-up. The Raiders had a better 2008 season than the Chiefs, although that's not saying much. Despite the veterans that Chiefs recently drafted, Kansas City is still a relatively young and inexperienced team. It won't be an easy win, but at this point the Raiders need to fight for any "W" they can get.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1-0) at Green Bay Packers (1-0-0)
Rose - Green Bay
Dennis - Green Bay
Ava -Green Bay
The Bears were significant competition for the Packers before Green Bay embarrassed Chicago with a 25-15 defeat last Sunday. Now the Packers are on the rise and energized for another victory. On the other hand, Denver is in the middle of completely rebuildling their entire team and organization, but the Bengals could barely manage to give them a run for their money at the season opener. This match goes to the Packers.
After suffering a heart breaker in the final seconds of the game against Denver, Cincinnati looks to rebound and pull off a win at Green Bay. The only problem is that Aaron Rodgers was productive in his season debut. Carson Palmer will have to step up as the offensive leader for the Bengals and find a way to get the ball in Chad Ochocinco's hands. Green Bay prevails.
Carson Palmer is a little shaky and Chad Ochocinco didn't do much last game. Green Bay fans are still holding Aaron Rogers to a high standard, but so far so good, and he should perform well against Cincinnati.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1-0)
Rose - Minnesota
Dennis - Minnesota
Since Adrian Peterson almost single-handedly guaranteed Viking victory against Cleveland by scoring three touchdowns, we can only assume he will prove just as valuable against Detriot. Brett Favre also has great potential, if only he could avoid injury, and he should show admirable skill in this match. Without such allstars to pave the way, the Lions are looking at a loss.
Despite Detroit's "successes" against Minnesota last year, this game is almost too easy to predict. Calvin Johnson remains as the Lions' lone standout play maker and may be the only chance of winning against the Vikings. Still, the Vikings have been seeing lots of offensive explosion with star RB Adrian Peterson coming off of a 180-yard game and Percy Harvin fresh off of his performance worthy of Rookie-of-the-Week. Minnesota will run all over Detroit.
If you didn't watch the season opener (or you don't get Sports Illustrated), Adrian Peterson is coming off of an amazing day with 180 yards and three touchdowns. That was against Cleveland, a team just as capable as Detroit, so the Vikings shouldn't have too hard a game.
St. Louis Rams (0-1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1-0)
Rose - Washington
Dennis - Washington
Ava - Washington
While our home team's season opener was a disappointment (we won't make fun of Dennis for expecting the Skins to win), the Rams's 27-0 loss was even more of an embarrassment. With that giant zero on their record, the loss to the Seahawks proves that St. Louis will need a large dose of luck to challenge the Redskins. Our athletes are great at toughing out opponents, so let's root for the home team!
Although it takes effort to rally a comeback against New York after falling 17-0, Washington was able to prove that it had some kind of scoring ability. What about St. Louis? A 28-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks speaks for itself. Skins to win.
Luckily for the Redskins (and Dennis), St. Louis is a fairly easy team to beat and Washington has a decent enough team to win. I wouldn't be surprised if some Blazers ditch their pajamas on Monday and proudly sport their Redskins gear instead.
New England Patriots (1-0-0) at New York Jets (1-0-0)
Rose - New England
Dennis - New England
Ava - New England
When first-year Jets coach Rex Ryan left phone messages encouraging every Jets ticket holder to "make it miserable" for the Patriots and star quarterback Tom Brady, Brady reacted with class. "Talk is cheap," he responded. Behind-the-scenes lobbying is not only cheap, but it won't help the Jets. The Patriots are the clear favorite, and they should emerge victorious from a close game.
This game will allow fans to see how Mark Sanchez manages his second game of the season. The Jets' rushing attack with Thomas Jones looked quite intense, but the Patriot offense might be a bit too unstoppable. It's going to be interesting to see whether Randy Moss can put up fantasy-happy numbers this week. Patriots to win the game.
Tough decision, but the Patriots will emerge victorious. Mark Sanchez played well last week, and the Pats won't be getting a gift from the Jets's kicker any time soon. The Bill's mistake taught us something though: Tom Brady knows how to deliver when a game is on the line. A comforting thought for Patriot fans, but you can bet that New England will have to work for their win this week.
Carolina Panthers (0-1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0-0)
Rose - Carolina
Dennis - Atlanta
Ava - Atlanta
Carolina showed some stamina despite their 38-10 loss against the Eagles; they put up a good fight against one of the best teams in the NFC. This match is fairly even. Although the Falcons are 1-0, Carolina will show them up.
Jake Delhomme has thrown nine interceptions and been quite fumble-prone in his last two attempts at playing a full game. And with pass-rushing monster John Abraham against his odds this week, don't look for too much positive production from the Carolina QB. The Falcons for the win.
The Falcons are going to win this one; they're a much better team. On top of that, Jake Delhomme threw four picks and a fumble last game – not exactly the best way to start the season. Oh, and there are rumors of strife between Delhomme and his wide receiver Steve Smith! Basically, the chips are stacked against the Panthers, and the Falcons should do well.
Tampa Bay Buccanneers (0-1-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-1-0)
Rose - Buffalo
Dennis - Tampa Bay
Ava - Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills almost showed up the famous Patriots in their season opener; they lost by only one point! That incredible show-down is sure to indicate their success this season. Despite the quick recovery of Buccanneers runningback Cadillac Williams, the Bills will steal this one.
Both teams are coming straight from tough losses, but one team has a working rushing system: the Bucs. Cadillac Williams looked impressive in his season debut and Byron Leftwich was clicking. Buffalo needs to take immediate advantage of its receiving corps to overpower the Buccaneer defense. Tampa Bay comes home with the victory.
Thank goodness two teenagers were there to tell Leodis McKelvin to "learn to take a knee" because, gosh, without their wise words of wisdom Buffalo might not win this week. Last Sunday Tampa Bay had a rough outing against the Cowboys, so Buffalo will be successful. Besides, the Bills will be hungry for a win.
Seattle Seahawks (1-0-0) at San Fransisco 49ers (1-0-0)
Rose - Seattle
Dennis - Seattle
Ava - Seattle
The Seahawks smashed the Rams in their first game, no doubt they will show the same power and stamina against the 49ers. They already rank high in terms of their ability to score points, so this game should be an easy victory for Seattle.
Seattle successfully pulled off a 28-0 shut-out against St. Louis last week. Nate Clements may be the 49ers' greatest weapon and his ball-hawking skills will be greatly needed against Matt Hasselbeck. Otherwise, Lofa Tatupu and his defense is too much for the San Fransisco offense. Seahawks with the 'W'.
Seattle's defense did well last week, and their offense is on a roll. Though the 49ers have a win under their belt, I'm inclined to say that victories will be few and far between from now on.
Baltimore Ravens (1-0-0) at San Diego Chargers (1-0-0)
Rose - Baltimore
Dennis - Baltimore
Ava - San Diego
Both these teams have a lot of potential. They're strong and formidable. But the Ravens rank second 2nd in their league for points, yards and rush yards achieved so far. Baltimore takes the cake for this one.
Though Baltimore didn't completely take control of its match-up against Kansas City, the team got the job done and put up franchise records on offense. San Diego barely won against a second-rate team. Darren Sproles and his Chargers won't be able to manipulate the Raven defense this week. Also, look for Flacco to have another pass-heavy game in the Ravens' win against the Chargers.
Another close call. San Diego does have home-field advantage, and the Ravens didn't play too well last week. Despite everything, this should still be a close game.
Pittsburg Steelers (1-0-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1-0)
Rose - Pittsburg
Dennis - Pittsburg
Ava - Pittsburg
After losing their linebacker Brian Urlacher in the season opener, the Bears' future against the Steelers looks pretty bleak. Pittsburg is optimistic about facing this opponent, so the odds are with the Steelers on this one.
People want to see what Pittsburgh can do with star Troy Polamalu on injured reserve. Will the defense step up in his place? Chicago looks to use this to their advantage by running up the gut with RB Matt Forte. Cutler needs to shine as a true leader on his team in order for his offense to click. Pittsburgh will need improvements in its rushing game and pass protection. Other than that, look for the Steelers to control the game against the Bears.
Pittsburgh is playing well and Jay Cutler isn't. He'll need to be amazing on Sunday to win back the respect of Bears fans. The Madden curse should make Cutler's job a tad easier, as it has taken Troy Polamalu in its merciless and vicious grips. (Will it never end?!) Nevertheless, the Steelers should take care of business.
Cleveland Browns (0-1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0-0)
Rose - Denver
Dennis - Denver
Ava - Denver
After a turbulent offseason, no one expected the Broncos to snag a win. But Denver proved everyone wrong and showed remarkable promise for future games. But for this particular match, the future for those on the other side of the field isn't looking so bright. The Browns won't be victorious this time around.
These are two teams that were struggling mightily in week one. In this game, it's truly a matter of who wants it more. WR Brandon Marshall has play-making potential, but his attitude has limited his ability in the past few months. Cleveland saw a mediocre performance from Brady Quinn. The key to this game is the run. Look for Denver to initiate the stronger rushing game and take the win.
Denver should win this one fairly easily. Cleveland isn't a real threat.
New York Giants (1-0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (1-0-0)
Rose - Dallas
Dennis - New York
Ava - Dallas
The Giants defeated the Redskins, so it's natural to harbor some resentment. But in this case, the prediction for a Dallas victory does not just stem from petty bitterness. The Giants struggled more for their win than the Cowboys, so Dallas will emerge victorious.
Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the Giants' defensive line is a force to be reckoned with. Tony Romo won't have an easy job connecting with his receivers this week, but Marion Barber and Felix Jones won't have a great day running the ball. The Cowboys need to take advantage of the Giants' lack of receivers and beat them on offense. The Giants to come out on top.
Who cares about the game? I want to see the new stadium! Apparently, in order to enter the field the players must first run through a sports bar. I wonder how that will pan out. In addition, the new stadium should literally be packed; the Cowboys are selling standing-room only tickets for $29. If Romo decides to show up, the crowd will be pleased with a win, but this game largely depends on which QB will perform better.
Monday, Sept. 21
Indianapolis Colts (1-0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1-0)
Rose - Indianapolis
Dennis - Indianapolis
Ava - Indianapolis
The Colts squeaked by with a win against the relatively weak Jaguars, but mediocre Atlanta pounded the Dolphins in their season opener. This game is practically up for grabs, although the Colts are more likely to come out of this match with a win.
Let's face it - Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne are a virtually unstoppable QB-WR connection. Other WR Anthony Gonzalez was sidelined with a knee injury, so an inexperienced receiver will have to step up. Miami is relying on Chad Pennington's consistent play, but the team hasn't been able to come up with anything too big. This week, they won't be able to produce the type of play needed to win against a strong team like the Colts. Watch for a Colts win.
Manning is too much for the poor Miami defense to handle. Reggie Wayne had a good week, and even though Anthony Gonzales is benched for a while, the Colts should beat the Dolphins.
Dennis Chae. Whhaazzaaa, I'm Dennis Chae. I love my Baltimore Ravens and shoes. In fact, I collect sneakers and am always looking for a new pair of Nikes. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is probably going to be the greatest thing ever in a year or so. I … More »
Ava Wallace. More »
Rose Wynn. I love piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and the ladies of the Blair Pom Squad. More »