Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #2

Last Week

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 8-8

Current Standings

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 8-8

Chicago at Green Bay

Aaron: Last week, the Packers surprisingly lost at home to a team with an efficient quarterback, strong running game and ferocious defense.  It occurs to me that local beat writers may want to save their copy of last Sunday's game and swap out the 49ers names with their positional equivalents on the Bears.  Pick: Chicago 

Joe: I think I'm gonna chalk up last week's Packers sluggishness to Week 1 ... well, sluggishness. The Packers need to solve their running game inefficiencies, like, immediately. It's a testament to how far everybody bought into the "NFL Is a Passing League, Dammit" philosophy that the Pack were named Super Bowl locks with a completely empty backfield. Meanwhile, I'm not going to make a huge deal of me being right about the Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall thing. This week, they can give it a try against a good defense. Pick: Green Bay

Kansas City at Buffalo 

Aaron: Joe's heartbreaking real-time tweets from the first quarter of his beloved Bills' season-opener ended with "Aaaaand, there goes Fred Jackson's knee...". Not Joe-mentioned: WR David Nelson's torn ACL or the Bills' AWOL defense against the Jets. There's still plenty of season left for the Bills to rebuild Joe's hopes before spectacularly dashing them, but they'd better start winning if we're going to enjoy it. Pick: Kansas City 

Joe: I mean, no, it was not fun watching that game last week. But it wasn't like I didn't see it coming. It's tough to figure out what the takeaway is, though: Fitz looked absolutely brutal, but you could talk me into thinking he improved in the second half. The defense was SHOCKINGLY porous and exhibited that classic Bills trait of not being able to make a stop on 3rd down; but gosh, did CJ Spiller look good. I'd be all over KC on the road, but at home ... I think I'm gonna cross my fingers for a bounce-back game. Just don't make Matt Cassel look like Joe Montana, guys. Pick: Buffalo

Oakland at Miami 

Aaron: Well. I suppose there's some honor in establishing a sports precedent when your team's emergency long-snapper has become a national laughingstock.  That obvious narrative obscures the real story from Oakland's season-opening loss, which is: "Try throwing the goddam ball DOWNFIELD, you stupid Raiders!"  Pick:Miami 

Joe: As someone who had Houston in his knockout pool last week, Miami hung around uncomfortably long in the first half last week. I could see them being an exceedingly tough out this season, especially at home. But I think the Raiders bounce back here. After all, they've got the all-important "Aaron Cameron Doesn't Believe In Us" intangible. Pick: Oakland

Baltimore at Philadelphia 

Aaron: Oh, those first week narratives. If I pick the Ravens, I'd be buying into their impressive win against Cincinnati last week AND the Eagles somnambulant effort against Cleveland.  If I pick the Eagles, I'm ignoring all of the above.  Let's go with the one that's less effort for me.  Pick: Philadelphia 

Joe: Yeah, safe to say I wasn't expecting either of those narratives to emerge so dominantly. Week 2 is notoriously frustrating for this kind of thing -- was Week 1 an aberration or a trend? And since I am not in any way equipped to tell, I'm just gonna pick the opposite of Cam. Pick: Baltimore 


Tampa Bay at NY Giants 

Aaron: Wondering if two Super Bowl wins worth of collateral bought the Giants some slack locally after an Opening Night loss to the hated Cowboys.  Me thinks the Bucs will make it all better.  Pick: NY Giants 

Joe: The Giants running game looked seriously problematic last week, and the countdown is on before Victor Cruz's butterfingers become An Issue, but yeah, at home against the Bucs, they should be able to pull it out. Pick: NY Giants

Arizona at New England 

Aaron: Unless Cardinals' WR Larry Fitzgerald and his gargantuan wingspan is assigned to cover either of the Patriots' tyrannosaurus tight ends, it would seem Arizona's defense is ill-equipped for this encounter.  This will give us all more time to cover the juxtaposition of Tom Brady's broken nose and beautiful face FROM EVERY ANGLE.  Pick: New England 

Joe: Did I have a high fever on Sunday, or do I recall Kevin Kolb coming into the game late and "winning" it for the Cardinals? There is nothing that behaves more out of character than a QB coming off the bench. Pick: New England

Houston at Jacksonville 

Aaron: I'd have to think NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would at least listen when and if Jacksonville, Tennessee and Indianapolis decide to secede from the AFC South.  Pick: Houston 

Joe: I still can't trust the idea of a "dominant" Texans team, but if they keep playing these crappy teams from Florida ... okay. Pick: Houston

New Orleans at Carolina 

Aaron: The Saints' defense didn't show up last week and it wasn't an aberration.  They'll have to win a good share of shootouts if they have any hope of playing in January.  And, how can the Arena Football business model possibly fail?  Pick: New Orleans 

Joe: I'd have been all over the upset pick here if Carolina has shown even a little bit of life against Tampa last week. Pick: New Orleans

Cleveland at Cincinnati 

Aaron: I'm looking forward to over-thinking Browns games in November as I attempt to predict the inevitable upset that will be their first win of the season.  Pick: Cincinnati 

Joe: "The world's largest cubic zirconia." "What an eyesore!" That one's for you, Battle of Ohio. Pick: Cincinnati

Minnesota at Indianapolis 

Aaron: Unless the Colts drafted "an entire defense" with their next pick after Andrew Luck this past April...  Also, the impressive return of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson from reconstructive knee surgery just eight months ago is either a flashpoint in the evolution of 21st century sports medicine or accidentally symbolic of the league's reckless, win-at-all-costs culture that trades on a player's health for a few more wins.  Pick: Minnesota 

Joe: I hope somebody is telling Andrew Luck to enjoy this season full of padding his stats and not bearing any responsibility for his team's losses. It's rare and spectacular in this "blame the QB" world of sports media. Pick: Minnesota

Washington at St. Louis 

Aaron: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III isn't the most polished rookie passer, but his athleticism was breathtaking at times in week one.  I suppose no road game is a gimmie for a kid QB, but...the Rams, you guys.  Pick: Washington 

Joe: The Rams looked feistier last week and more like the team I thought could go 8-8 (and challenge for what I thought would be another 9-7 NFC West championship, before I realized the Niners could go 13-3) last year. God help me, though, the Redskins/Griffin look for real. Pick: Washington

Dallas at Seattle 

Aaron: Is it too early for a "let-down game"?  Probably, but I think the Seahawks give the Cowboys for the first half or so.  Unfortunately, Seattle's offensive line issues combined with RB Marshawn Lynch's wonky back combined with the Cowboys stout run know where I'm going with this.  Pick: Dallas 

Joe: Why was everybody so down on the Cowboys anyway, is my question? I know it's fun to hate on Jerry's Boys, but I think it fools us into thinking that "not great" equals "terrible." They're still not great, but Seattle looked ROUGH against a bad team last week. Pick: Dallas

NY Jets at Pittsburgh 

Aaron: New York City's collective crush on Jets QB Mark Sanchez ends here.  Well, for the week, anyway. Pick: Pittsburgh 

Joe: Yeah, I can't imagine the Steelers' defense is as generous as the Bills' was. BUT! I was kind of struck by how much better/more confident Mark Sanchez looks when he's throwing to wide receivers who don't hate him. It's that QB/WR chemistry thing again. Sorry, Santonio Holmes, but Whatshisname and That Guy have supplanted your complaining ass. Pick: NY Jets

Tennessee at San Diego 

Aaron: Look, Chargers fans...if you wanna take pride in a win over a rebuilding Raiders team, have at it. But, one touchdown and three field-position-gifted field goals aren't going to be enough to knock off any of the AFC's legitimate playoff contenders...right, AFC?!  Not so fast, Tennessee.  No one was talking to you.  Pick: San Diego 

Joe: One blowout loss to the Patriots isn't going to rob me of picking the Titans to be a sleeper this year. Chris Johnson starting the season with another deeply troubling ground outing ... that might. Pick: San Diego

Detroit at San Francisco 

Aaron: Looks like the 49ers might've been one of two teams that I grossly underrated coming into this season.  I'm still not sure how QB Alex Smith was both accurate and efficient last week in Green Bay, but here they're home and the Lions ain't the Packers.  Pick: San Francisco 

Denver at Atlanta

Aaron: And, here's the other team that might be better than I thought!  Broncos QB Peyton Manning was nothing short of surgical with his short-to-moderate passing approach last week.  The Falcons have a few more weapons on offense than the Steelers -- the Broncos' week one opponent -- but, Manning looked great against a much better defense than what's in Atlanta.  Pick: Denver 

Joe:  But that Julio Jones, though ... what a guy. Pick: Atlanta

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