NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Week 2
by Matt Severance - 9/17/2009
I had my lead for this story all but written. I was watching the "Monday Night Football" opener this week, and it seemed a sure thing that the Buffalo Bills were going to upset the New England Patriots - just as I warned you might happen in last week's Survivor Pool story. No doubt a Pats' loss would have eliminated at least a few members of your pool, and I felt a small sense of superiority or at least sageness (that a word?) … and then Leodis McKelvin had a Leon Lett moment by trying to return a kickoff with less than two minutes left. You know what happened next: McKelvin fumbles, Tom Brady throws yet another touchdown pass to Ben Watson and the Patriots pull out the win (but don't come close to covering).
So I am guessing you have a full slate of competitors in your Survivor Pool still. Really, what upsets were there last week? Yeah, the Jets beating Houston was one, and I did have the Texans as one of my teams to "swear by" but certainly not as my top choice. And it was clear that Houston QB Matt Schaub wasn't quite right, so that's my excuse there. About the only other upset was the 49ers beating the Cardinals, and I don't see that as an upset at all, frankly.
Just to recap: I suggested you choose the Saints as your top choice last week, and they handled the Lions rather easily.
Well, enough about Week 1. Let's look ahead to Week 2. I will give you five "teams to swear by" and five to be "scared by" this week. Honestly, I don't see five that I am that confident in this week, but it's what the bosses want!
FIVE TO SWEAR BY IN WEEK 2
Washington Redskins (vs. St. Louis). I hate this pick in a way. The Skins host the Rams this week, and it was this exact same matchup, also in D.C., that knocked me out of this pool last year. But that I am going back to the well on Washington should tell you two things: 1) there are that many close matchups this week; and 2) the Rams are that bad. The Seahawks held St. Louis scoreless last week, and I can't see Washington allowing more than maybe 14 points. And the good thing here is, you use a team that you probably wouldn't want later in the year in any other matchup. I just can't see Washington losing its home opener to the Rams.
Tennessee Titans (vs. Houston). I hate this pick too. But, as mentioned above, it's clear that Houston QB Matt Schaub's ankle isn't 100 percent, and the Titans' defense looked pretty darn good against Pittsburgh. Plus Tennessee had a few extra days to prepare, and it's the Titans' home opener. They can't afford to go 0-2 - not that Houston can, either. Plus Tennessee has won seven of the past eight in this series and has owned it at home.
Green Bay Packers (vs. Cincinnati). Aaron Rodgers has to be feeling as confident as ever. Sure, he struggled for most of the game against the Bears, but he also led the Pack to their first close victory in the final minutes. The Bengals will find another way to lose.
Buffalo Bills (vs. Tampa Bay). It's the Bucs' first-ever regular-season visit to Buffalo - too bad for the Bills it's not in the winter weather. The short week is a little bothersome for the Bills, but if they play anywhere like they did for most of Monday night, they will win fairly easily.
Atlanta Falcons (vs. Carolina). Paging Jake Delhomme.
FIVE TO BE SCARED BY WEEK 2
Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit). OK, OK, I said to fear the Vikes last week, too. But they were also down 13-10 at halftime to Cleveland before Adrian Peterson blew up in the second half. Minnesota probably should have lost both games to Detroit last season but won both by a combined six points. Trust me, the Lions are going to get someone early this season, and it might be this week.
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. New Orleans). It doesn't appear Donovan McNabb will play and that Kevin Kolb will start. Let's see, Kevin Kolb vs. Drew Brees … which QB would you favor?
San Diego Chargers (vs. Baltimore). Bolts probably won't have LaDainian Tomlinson this week and might also be missing two offensive linemen against arguably the best run defense in football.
Pittsburgh Steelers (at Chicago). No chance Jay Cutler has another game like he did Sunday night. It's the Bears' home opener, and they can't afford to start 0-2 with the Packers and Vikings looking like locks to start 2-0.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. N.Y. Giants). You never pick a rivalry game like this. Plus Tony Romo might not be 100 percent. You shouldn't be picking against the Giants at all this year, frankly.
Indianapolis Colts (at Miami). The Dolphins looked really bad last week against Atlanta, but the Colts are going to miss No. 2 receiver Anthony Gonzalez in a big way.
So, to recap, I suggest you bank on the Redskins this week. That eliminates Washington and last week's choice, New Orleans, from our pool of potentials for Week 3 - assuming we reach Week 3. It really is one of those weeks full of games that could go either way.
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