NFL Week 2
Bet on the Jags To Best the Colts in an Upset
By Yong-Yi Zhu
This weekly column will preview NFL action as well as give you an idea of who to take with betting lines.
Game of the Week: Jaguars at Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a favorite to make the Super Bowl. The Jaguars are an up-and-coming team hoping to make the playoffs. On paper, most lines give the Colts a 9-point cushion. Trust me: this will be much closer.
Jaguar QB Byron Leftwich looks more comfortable than ever under the new Carl Smith offensive system. The Colts have solid offense and mediocre defense, although they stopped Baltimore last week.
I take the Jags. They might not win in the end because of a missed field goal or squandered redzone opportunity, but they will stick with the defending AFC South champs.
Upset Special: Browns at Packers
The Packers were horrible last weekend. To add injury to insult, they lost Jevon Walker for the rest of the season. Not even Mr. Iron Man Favre could save them. While most predict the Packers by a touchdown or more, I would take the Browns in a heartbeat.
Patriots at Packers: This nearly made game of the week, but the Panthers don’t look as good after losing to New Orleans and losing Pro Bowl DT Kris Jenkins. New England does the same thing week in and week out; they look to destroy the opponent. Panther destruction is imminent.
Vikings at Bengals: Vikings QB Culpepper needs to step up, especially coming off a three-interceptions game. The Vikings no longer have WR Randy Moss, and they are feeling it. They won’t do well against the Bengals, who have a real receiving group on top of RB Rudi Johnson. This game will not be as close as expected; the Bengals will run away with the game.
Steelers at Texans: Steelers’ QB Roethlisberger continues to roll. Houston QB David Carr, on the other hand, has looked awful. Both trends will continue this week. The Steelers will win by at least a touchdown, even on the road.
49ers at Eagles: The Eagles must win. The loss to the Falcons last week was tough to swallow; they are going to come back and pummel the Niners.
Bills at Buccaneers: The new Bills team cannot seem to punch it into the endzone. That will be the killer since the Bucs score touchdowns, not field goals. Tampa will win by at least a field goal.
Rams at Cardinals: The St. Louis Rams lost to the Niners last week. Meanwhile, WR Larry Fitzgerald was amazing for the Cardinals while WR Anquan Boldin could be as big a threat. They will easily handle the Rams, who have to rely on the unreliable arm of QB Marc Bulger.
Falcons at Seahawks: Seahawks RB Sean Alexander did little damage last week. Since the running game is the crux of the Seahawk offense, they will not manage many points. Falcon QB Vick and the Falcon rushing attack will completely break the Seahawk defense down.
Redskins at Cowboys: The Redskins are undefeated and have a good defense, but they do not have a chance against the Cowboys. I have a strange feeling that Cowboys RB Julius Jones will manage more than 31 yards. The Cowboys will win by at least a touchdown.
Dolphins at Jets: The Dolphins are better than expected, even as RB Ricky Williams serves his suspension. The Jets are worse than expected; they were shut out for the first 59 minutes against the Chiefs. They won’t fare better against a defense anchored by Jason Taylor. Take Miami.
Chargers at Broncos: The Broncos lost to the Dolphins last week. Chargers QB Drew Brees and RB LaDanian Tomlinson will roll right over them. Not even Maurice Clarett can help them now.
Chiefs at Raiders: No real contest here.
Giants at Saints: The Giants special teams helped them run up the score against the Cardinals last week, despite their offense not gaining many yards. They need to move the ball more effectively. I look for the Saints to win another one.
Ravens at Titans: I’ll take the lesser of two evils and pick the Ravens, even though they couldn’t produce against the Colt defense.
Lions at Bears: The Lions have a bunch of scary receivers, especially the young ones: Charles Rogers and Mike Williams. The Bears couldn’t do anything against the Redskins.