Expert Picks with Jeff Ellis and ESPN: Week 2

Last week was not a good week for my picks. I went 9-7 and embarrassed myself. Let’s see if I can back on track this week starting with Jets @ Patriots.

New York Jets @ New England
The Patriots will win this game. With WR Danny Amendola listed doubtful, the Patriots are once again short on receivers. Also, Patriots RB Shane Vareen is out with a wrist injury. However, as I stated last week and as the Patriots proved to us, the Patriots have a knack for creating heroes and I suspect that the remainder of the team will rise to the occasion and defeat the always-inconsistent Jets. The Jets eeked out a win last week against Tampa Bay and it will be interesting to see how rookie QB Geno Smith performs. This is New England’s home opener.

St. Louis @ Atlanta
St. Louis QB Sam Bradford threw for 299 yds and 2 tds last week against Arizona. I don’t expect him to have the same performance against the Falcons who gave up similar passing numbers, 305 yds, 2 tds, against the Saints last week. Bradford is no Brees so expect the Falcons to keep Bradford under 200 yds passing. The Rams gave up 327 yds and 2 tds to Cardinals QB Carson Palmer last week. Look for Falcons QB Matt Ryan to have a similar performance, if not better, and defeat the Rams in the Falcons home opener.

Carolina @ Buffalo
Carolina earned just seven points against Seattle last week. Seattle has an excellent defense but the fact that Carolina scored just one touchdown and no field goals tells me they are having serious problems moving the ball. Buffalo’s defense does not compare to the Seattle defense but they were able to keep New England to 23 points last week and allowed just two field goals in the second half. Buffalo rookie QB E.J. Manuel threw for just 159 yds but it was enough to get 2 passing  tds and he did not throw an interception. I like the Bills to win at home.

Minnesota @ Chicago
I like Chicago to win at home. They face Viking running back sensation Adrian Peterson but the Bears kept the Bengals to 63 yds total rushing yds last week. Chicago knows how to stop the run. They won’t stop Peterson but clearly they will be able to contain him enough to get a win. The Vikings passing defense is weak. They gave up 357 passing yds and 3 tds to the Lions last week.  Last week against the Bengals, Bears QB Jay Cutler gained a respectable 242 passing yds, 2 tds, 1 int for an 85.7 QBR. I’m certain he can beat that against the Vikings.

Washington @ Green Bay
I thought I was going to write about how the Packers would easily beat the Redskins. Then I started looking at the stats and I see that the Redskins could actually win this thing. However, this game will be decided by the intangibles like: it is painfully difficult to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field and the Packers rarely lose two games in a row. Packers win their home opener.

Dolphins @ Indianapolis
I think last week was just a warm up for the Colts. I expect the Colts to have a big passing game this week against the Dolphins who allowed Browns QB Brandon Weeden to gain 289 passing yds and 1 td last week. The Dolphins offense was unimpressive against the weak defense of the Browns last week. I don’t expect to see much from them against the Colts in Indianapolis. Colts win.

Dallas @ Kansas City
Dallas did not impress me in their win against the Giants last week. Early in the game they managed to score just three points on three turnovers and allowed Eli Manning to gain 450 yds passing and 4 passing tds. Three Giants receivers gained over 100 yds receiving. I think this sums up the game, the Giants gave up six turnovers to the Cowboys and the Cowboys still almost lost the game. The Chiefs kept the Jaguars’ lowly offense to 178 yds and no points last week. The Jaguars do not have a strong offense but keeping an NFL offense scoreless is quite a feat.  Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles is listed as questionable (quad) but I expect him to play. Chiefs QB Alex Smith should be able show off his passing skills against the weak Dallas secondary. KC wins.

Chargers @ Philadelphia
The Eagles will win. The Chargers will be studying the Eagles offense very closely this week but I don’t think they’ll find the solution to slowing down this offense. They were unable to stop Houston last week, an offense we already know about, so why would they stop the Eagles’ new Up-tempo offense?

Browns @ Ravens
This is the Ravens’ home opener after winning the Super Bowl last season. They were crushed last week by the Broncos while scoring 27 points and 362 passing yds. In most games that will bring you a win. Their opponent this week, the Browns, scored just 10 points against the Dolphins last week. It will be a win for Baltimore.

Tennessee @ Houston
Texans scored 31 points against the Chargers last week in San Diego. Titans amazingly kept the Steelers to just seven offensive points last week but they themselves scored just 16 points. The Texans will win.

Detroit @ Arizona
Last week the Cardinals lost and gave up 327 yds and 2 passing tds to Rams QB Sam Bradford. On the same day, Detroit QB Matthew Stafford gained 357 passing yds and 2 passing tds against the Vikings defense, a defense that is much better than the Rams defense. Detroit will go to the air the entire game and beat the Cardinals soundly.

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
The Saints just beat the Falcons. The Buccaneers just lost to the Jets. Saints win.

Jacksonville @ Oakland
The Jaguars just went four quarters without scoring one offensive point. Raiders win at home.

Denver @ New York Giants
Denver just beat the reigning Super Bowl Champions 47-27. The Giants turned the ball over six times last week and there is no way you can beat the Broncos playing that poorly. If the Giants can protect the ball they may be able to stand up against the Broncos and give them a fight. Despite the turnovers, the Giants managed to gain 450 yds passing and 4 passing tds. Three Giants receivers gained over 100 yds receiving. Based on the performances last week I have to go with the high percentage pick, I pick the Broncos.

San Francisco @ Seattle
This is going to be a great game to watch. It is a big divisional rivalry and a battle between the #1 ranked 49ers and the #2 ranked Seahawks. The Seahawks did a real nice job last week keeping the Panthers to seven points but the 49ers offense is much stronger than the Panther offense and the Seahawks will have much trouble containing the 49ers. Also, the Seahawks scored just 12 points against the Panthers and that kind of poor performance will not get you a win against the 49ers.

Pittsburgh @ Bengals
The Steelers managed just nine points against the weak Titans last week. The Bengals scored 21 against the strong Bears. Bengals win their home opener.

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