NFL Picks, Week 2: The Prison Test, And RGIII's Reality Check

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders outruns Demorrio Williams #58 of the San Diego Chargers during their season opener at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 10, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Get ready for NFL Week 2 with lines and picks for all the games this weekend, including the encore for RGIII, a Raiders-Dolphins blockbuster, and a couple of heavyweight matchups in prime time to cap off the weekend. WHO'S READY TO GET RICH?

Ah, Week 2. We're back with lines and picks for all the games, and man, Week 2 has gotta be the most nightmarish gambling week of the season. You have too many teams who overachieved in Week 1 that may still suck and go 6-10 (Bucs? Vikings? Cardinals?), and then a handful of teams who looked crappy but could still wind up as Super Bowl contenders (Saints, Packers, Giants).

A few of the supposed-to-be-crappy teams will actually be good, and then a few of the Super Bowl contenders will fall apart and have awful seasons this year, but WHICH ONES?

Well the Packers won't be in that second category, it turns out.

Without further ado...


All picks in BOLD.

Bears (+5) at Packers -- Starting off 0-1! Okay!

Jay Cutler is just the greatest.

That's not sarcasm. Cutler and all his shameless pouting and dickish quotes and atrocious body language--all of it makes him the funniest, most entertaining player in football. Whether he's winning or losing, on the bench or reacting to a play on the field.

Obviously he lost last night -- and gave us a Hall of Fame night of Cutlerfaces -- but for all the people blaming him today, let's set it straight: once a quarterback gets destroyed by enough unblocked defensive lineman, expecting him to play well in that game becomes unrealistic. Look at Aaron Rodgers in all the games where he gets knocked around. And thanks to the Bears' disastrous line, Cutler hit that threshold in like, the first quarter. He was better than most QBs would've been.

But anyway, yes, we completely botched the Thursday pick. So we're due for some wins!

Vikings (-1.5) at Colts -- Three years ago Andrew Luck was a precocious redshirt freshman who'd just been the named the starting quarterback for Jim Harbaugh's up-and-coming Stanford program. He was probably well-liked by teammates and all his classmates, and he went to Stanford, which meant A) If football didn't work out, he probably be just fine, and B) He was spending the next three or four years in Palo Alto, which is pretty much the most perfect place in America.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Now Andrew Luck has to spend the next decade in Indianapolis while playing for what is most certainly not an up-and-coming team. And that's just your weekly reminder that Andrew Luck's life really kind of sucks this year.

Bucs at Giants (-7) -- No such thing as a bad New York Times article about a mustache, and via @katiebakes, this piece on Kevin Gilbride's departed mustache is no exception:

Gilbride first grew the mustache as a student at Southern Connecticut State in the early 1970s, he said, noting that "at that time, with everything that was going on in the world, everyone was doing something." It fit well, he said, with his long, curly hair then and helped offset what he said was a pronounced baby face. He had had it ever since, he said, save for a two-year "California phase" when he was the head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 1997 to 1998.

"In the beginning, I wanted it because it made me look older," he said. "Now, it’s the opposite. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do."


Aaron Perlut, the chairman of the American Mustache Institute, said in an interview that Gilbride’s mustache was a perfect example of the so-called Chevron design, which is "your standard-issue, law enforcement-style mustache." Perlut admired Gilbride’s consistency, he said, as Gilbride stuck with the same look throughout his career, eschewing styles used by other N.F.L. personalities like "Andy Reid’s walrus or Shad Khan’s Mario Brothers Handlebar."

You should probably bookmark this article today and hopefully in a few months it'll make your day when you click on it by accident.

Texans (-7) at Jaguars -- Not done believing in Jacksonville! Just not against Houston.

Cardinals at Patriots (-14) -- Annnnd, no, not betting against the Pats here, either.

Saints (-3) at Panthers -- Ahh, memories.


We should never ever forget about this, the greatest headline to come out of the Bounty Scandal. And really: God bless the people at TMZ. They are so good at being the worst people in the world.

This is a huge game for both teams, and it should be awesome, especially if neither team plays anything like they did last week. Cam and the Panthers came out with a complete dud in Tampa, while Drew Brees and Co. looked totally out of sync starting from the first drive against the Redskins. You gotta think that comes back to Payton's absence, right? For now, we're going with New Orleans and putting my faith in Breesus, but if they look as mediocre this weekend as they did last Sunday, it may be time to just start betting against the Saints all year long as a rule.

Raiders (-2.5) at Dolphins -- Last year we came up with The Prison Test as the ultimate litmus test for a terrible NFL game: "If they showed this game on closed circuit TVs in prison, would the inmates even bother to watch?" And the answer to this one is... YES!

Everyone knows the Raiders are the most popular team in every prison in America.

Speaking of which... From NFL Talking Points this week, this commenter's story was fantastic:

Good friend of mine was in Long Beach California, walking in front of a Hooters. All of a sudden, a guy in a Chargers jersey gets devastated with a bar stool by none other than a guy in a Raider jersey. The Hooters subsequently empties, Chargers and Raider jerseys walking out with bar stools in an all out brawl. Not in SD, not in OAK, but at a hooters in Long Beach, which has plenty of hot girls but obviously not enough security to calm the situation. I FREAKING LOVE FOOTBALL!

Don't we all?

Browns at Bengals (-7) -- Why did CBS have to get rid of Gus Johnson? This would be a perfect Gus game. Two bad teams in a game everyone wants to ignore, and then--BOOM!--Gus gets involved and the game somehow becomes the best of the weekend and ends in a 60-yard Hail Mary. Instead we're stuck with Bill McAtee and Steve Tasker announcing the Ohio Bowl. Without Gus, this game probably does not pass the prison test, and if it does, it's only because of A.J. Green and Brandon Weeden jokes.

Chiefs (+3) at Bills -- The Chiefs looked great for a half against a good Falcons team. That's more than Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills can say about their work against a not-that-good Jets team.

Ravens (+2) at Eagles -- Philly goes to Arizona in Week 3, and even though the media is acting like the Eagles season is already headed nowhere, they did, in fact, win that abortion of a game in Cleveland, and there's a good chance the Eagles are 2-1 or even 3-0 coming into a Week 4 home game with the Giants. So anyway, we're picking the Ravens here, but don't let the Browns game or the Ravens pick confuse you: Philly's not THAT much of a disaster. For now.

Redskins at St. Louis (+3.5) -- Osi Umenyora in July:

"Who is this RG3 guy you guys keep talking about?'' Umenyiora said. "You talking about Bob Griffin? You guys are giving him a cool nickname already and everything. When he does anything in the NFL we're gonna call him RG3. Right now he's Bob Griffin.''

Osi Umenyora this week:

"Oh, um, RGIII? What is he? What does he like to be called? What does he want me to call him?"

"Yes," Umenyiora said. "I will call him RG3."

"He showed me that his name is RGIII. If he performs the way he performed that game, his name can be whatever he wants it to be."

Elsewhere, Tom Brady called his debut, "Incredible", and John Madden said, "And at some point, I have to admit that I said this, it just came out, I said RGIII’s the best player in the NFL today. That’s what I really thought. Those words did come out. Now, I don’t know that I’m gonna live with that or back that up the rest of the season."

Not only is the RGIII bandwagon already at capacity, but it's traveling 1000 miles-an-hour. Anytime Redskins fans are the ones trying to keep things in perspective, you know the world has gone truly insane. I like RGIII, but it feels like we're due for a reality check here.

Speaking of reality checks ...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Cowboys (-3) at Seahawks -- Do you get the feeling that of the people who were hyping Russell Wilson, more than 50 percent hadn't actually watched him play in a live game? Because I'm in that category, and I don't think I'm alone.

To be fair: His preseason numbers were incredible, he looked great in highlights, and hearing other people describe him, he certainly sounded like the type of guy who was drafted way too low and would turn into a killer QB. He probably still will.

But after a month of massive hype, the Seahawks were down 20-16 against the Cardinals Sunday and driving late for a game-winning TD. First, they got bailed out on a fourth down pass-interference call that kept the drive alive. Then, thanks to another pass interference call, Russell and the offense had SEVEN plays inside the Arizona 15, and they couldn't get it in the endzone. So, maybe he's not Drew Brees just yet. Russell and the Seahawks will get better as the year unfolds, but it's still very much a work in progress.

Anyway, all that makes me feel much better about this Cowboys pick.

[/cue Russell Wilson throwing for 400 yards Sunday]

Jets at Steelers (-5.5) -- Bill Barnwell took an in-depth look at the Jets outrageous performance against the Bills in Week 1, and it's great, but it ends with this:

Don't be surprised if the Jets passing offense is better than you think in 2012.

I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe in the Jets passing offense in 2012 or any other year where Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback. Don't you see? Sanchez ALWAYS sprinkles in a few games here and there where it looks like he's turned the corner and turned into a franchise quarterback. At this point it's just tradition. But then ... Nope! He's still Mark Sanchez.

Titans at Chargers (-6) -- Didn't watch the Chargers game Monday night, but hey it sure sounds like this team could kick off the year 2-0. And then ... [/checks schedule]

  • Week 3 -- ATL
  • Week 4 -- @KC
  • Week 5 -- @NO
  • Week 6 -- DEN

Yeah, 2-4 sounds about right by mid-October.

Lions at 49ers (-7) -- From Bovada:

WEEK 2 SPECIALS - Will Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz shake hands or hug after the game?

Yes -400 (1/4)

No +250 (5/2)

It'd be much cooler if you could bet on how many times NBC mentions it during the game Sunday night. You'd think it would only be once or maybe twice -- because really, what else is there to say? -- but oh, they will find things to say. The over/under for insufferable/unnecessary handshake discussions is at 12, and that's probably being too conservative.

Also, it's too bad we can't bet on Bob Costas' Halftime Essay Topic every week. Will he be lecturing us about Jay Cutler's and the importance of body language this week? Early odds are at 7/2!

Anyway, this game looks great, and we're going with the Niners mostly because of the PTSD I have from last year, when I ignored their success and continued betting against Harbaugh and Alex Smith for 10 straight weeks, losing just about every time. Not making that mistake again.

Broncos (+3) at Falcons -- Likewise, we're not picking against Peyton Manning. He looked great Sunday, the Broncos defense hasn't lost a step since last year, and until Peyton has one of those games where he looks like an old mess and you start to feel bad for him, he should be feared as much as he ever was. And hey, this should be the best game of the week.

Always good to end on a high note!



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