By Doug Halberstadt
Picking the NFL games for the first week is always tough. All the teams are 0-0 and have the potential to surprise their fans, or worse, they might end up getting surprised, just ask the Colts. With the two Monday night games still to be played at press time, I was 9-5 in the other games during week one.
Week No. 2 has some pretty tough matchups. The game I like the best features the two Manning brothers. Eli and his New York Giants take on his big brother Peyton and the Colts in the Sunday night game. The Giants are 1-0 after their win at the new Meadowlands Stadium, and the Colts suffered a disappointing road loss to the Texans during week one. The road team has won four of the five meetings since 1990. I think the Giants will make it five out of six and drop the Colts to 0-2 to start the year.
The Chicago Bears have to travel to Dallas. After last week’s lucky win against the Lions, the Bears won’t fare as well in week two. They will lose to the Cowboys and even their record at 1-1. The Packers survived a late-game surge by the Eagles in week one. The Pack are at home in week two to face the Buffalo Bills. The Packers will improve to 2-0 and jump out to an early lead in the NFC North division.
After losing the opening-night game against the Saints, the Vikings are at home to host the Miami Dolphins. The Vikings are 3-1 in their last four games with the fish. I like the Vikings in this game.
The Cleveland Browns host the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are 1-8 in their last nine September road games. I’m going with the Browns and their home-field advantage. The Ravens travel to Cincinnati. The Ravens are 1-4 in their past five games in Cincinnati. I’m sticking with the trend on this one and taking the home team.
The Steelers are on the road to take on the Tennessee Titans. Without quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are going to be hard-pressed to put up enough points to hang with the high-scoring Titans. I like the Titans at home. The Eagles are in Detroit. The Eagles will have little or no problem improving to 1-1 and dropping the Lions to 0-2.
The Carolina Panthers host the improved Tampa Bay Bucs. Even though Tampa has improved, they will still have their hands full trying to beat the Panthers at home. I’m picking Carolina.
In a battle of the birds, the Atlanta Falcons host the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals barely squeaked by the St. Louis Rams in week one, and the Falcons lost in overtime to the Steelers last week. Both teams need this game desperately. I’m looking for the Falcons to capitalize on their home-field advantage in a close game.
In another battle of 0-1 teams, the Raiders host the St. Louis Rams. Somebody has to win this game, might as well be the home team. I’m taking the Raiders. The Seahawks will visit the Mile-High City to face the Broncos. Seattle is 3-11 in the past 14 games against Denver. It’s hard for me to pick against the Broncos at home. I’ll say Denver by a field goal.
The Texans are riding high after defeating the Colts. They face the Redskins in the nation’s capital. I’m staying with the Texans until they lose this season. They should improve to 2-0. The San Diego Chargers are at home to meet the Jaguars. Much like the Broncos, I tend to like the Chargers when they are at home. I’ll take San Diego in the game and their weather in the winter.
The Patriots and the Jets square off in New York. I’ll ride the Patriots’ wagon until they lose. The Pats will improve to 2-0.
In the Monday night game (Sept. 20), the 1-0 defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints travel west to take on the 0-1 San Francisco 49ers. The Saints will remain undefeated in 2010, and the 49ers will have to wait another week to try to get their first win of the season.
There you have it for week No. 2 of the NFL season. I’d like to think it would get easier to pick these games as the weeks progress, but this is the NFL, and sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. I’m hoping that’s true in the Bears/Cowboys game!
From the Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue