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RJ’s NFL Picks – Week Two

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I did better than I thought I would in Week One, going 10-6 with my picks. Now with a regular season game officially in the books, I have some actual data to look at and analyze. My accuracy should only get better from here on out (the occasional "fluke week" excepted, of course).

With that said, here are my Week Two NFL picks:

Sunday, September 17th

Buffalo (0-1) at Miami (0-1) – 1:00 p.m.

Buffalo lost a close one in New England last week. That should be seen as semi-encouraging news for the Bills. But Buffalo QB Losman will have to play better against Miami if the Bills are to avoid starting the season 0-2. As for the Dolphins, their entire offense looked out-of-sync last week against Pittsburgh. If Culpepper doesn't improve on his accuracy, we could be seeing Joey-freaking-Harrington starting under center before the season is out. And no one wants to see that. (The city of Miami doesn't need another street riot, thank you very much.) Miami by 3.

Carolina (0-1) at Minnesota (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

Carolina QB Jake Delhomme was harassed into a disappointing start last week by Atlanta's defense. For their part, the Panthers D was as weak as a Carolina cheerleader's sense of self-control, giving up over 250 yards on the ground. Minnesota, on the other hand, looked impressive all-around in their win against Washington. Their defense didn't put a lot of pressure on Redskins QB Mark Brunell, but they didn't make many mistakes either. I'm starting to think Carolina could struggle this season. Vikings by 9.

Cleveland (0-1) at Cincinnati (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

Cleveland lost to lowly New Orleans in Week One. At home. Cincinnati, meanwhile, handily beat Kansas City on the road. The Bengals defense was outstanding, recording seven sacks, causing four fumbles, and snagging an interception. This one will be ugly. Bengals by 18.

Detroit (0-1) at Chicago (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

Before I make my pick for this game, I would like to make an announcement of sorts, about a particular idiosyncrasy of my weekly NFL Picks:

• The First Rule of RJ's NFL Picks: RJ always picks the Lions to win — as long as they are still in playoff contention.

• The Second Rule of RJ's NFL Picks: RJ always picks the Lions to win — as long as they are still in playoff contention.

• The Third Rule of RJ's NFL Picks: RJ will still rarely pick against the Lions, even when they are statistically and mathematically *** eliminated from playoff contention

• The Fourth Rule of RJ's NFL Picks: RJ is kind of a stubborn idiot that way

So, with that out of the way…

The Bears handed Packers QB Brett Favre the first shutout loss of his career last week. They did this in front of approximately 71,000 rabid, wild-eyed members of the notorious Cheesehead cult, whose messiah is none other than … Brett Favre. As for Detroit, the Lions failed to score a single touchdown last week, playing at Ford Field. Add these two facts together, and a reasonable person, one who can be swayed by actual facts and logic, would naturally assume that the Bears will absolutely bury Detroit in Week Two, which is at Chicago. That being said, I pick the … Lions by 1.

Houston (0-1) at Indianapolis (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

Uh, yeah. This is a real tough one… Colts by 20.

New Orleans (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1) – 1:00 p.m.

Reggie Bush looked damn good in his first game as a pro, rushing for 61 yards on 14 attempts (about 4.4 yards/attempt) and catching eight passes for 58 yards. He's still a rookie, though, so expect a fumble or two in Green Bay. And Favre simply has to have a better game than he did in Week One. Packers by 2.

N.Y. Giants (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

If there can be such a thing as a "must-win" game this early in the season, this is an example of one for the Giants. Falling behind two games in the ultra-competitive NFC East so soon could come back to haunt them in December, especially when they are struggling to capture a playoff spot. Philly looked great in Week One, but they were playing against Houston, so I'm not sure how relevant that performance is. This one could go either way, but I choose the … Giants by 3.

Oakland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

The Raiders haven't scored a point yet. In fact, they haven't passed for 100 yards or rushed for 100 yards, either. On defense, they haven't recorded a single sack, an interception, or recovered a fumble. Basically, they suck, which can only be karmic justice for having Randy Moss on their roster. Baltimore hasn't allowed a single point yet. They've picked off three passes, and garnered three sacks. Their offense is pretty mediocre, however. Still, the Ravens shouldn't have too much trouble going 2-0 at home. Baltimore by 8.

Tampa Bay (0-1) at Atlanta (1-0) – 1:00 p.m.

If Vick can improve on his accuracy, Atlanta should be able to put a few points on the board. And since Tampa Bay's offense is horrible, "a few points" should be good enough for the W. Falcons by 6.

Arizona (1-0) at Seattle (1-0) – 4:05 p.m.

Seattle didn't look so great in Week One, but they played good enough to get the win. Arizona won a shoot-out last week against San Fran, with Kurt Warner throwing for over 300 yards and three TDs. I don't expect Warner to have quite as much success this week playing against a better defense. Seattle by 7.

St. Louis (1-0) at San Francisco (0-1) – 4:05 p.m.

The Rams beat Denver last week only because Jake Plummer committed four turnovers. He pretty much handed the game to St. Louis (literally). I think the 49ers will win their home opener in a high-scoring affair. San Fran by 9.

Kansas City (0-1) at Denver (0-1) – 4:15 p.m.

Both teams are facing some problems at quarterback. KC's Trent Green was injured with a concussion last weekend, and he could be out for a few weeks. He is likely to be replaced with Damon Huard, who hasn't started a game since 2000. As for Denver, watching them play the Rams last week, one almost had to wonder if the guy wearing the #16 jersey was recovering from a frontal lobotomy. I mean, Plummer hadn't played that stupid since he was a Cardinal. So, this matchup is likely to be decided by the running game. And I'll place my trust in Bell & Bell & Associates over Larry Johnson. Broncos by 3.

New England (1-0) at N.Y. Jets (1-0) – 4:15 p.m.

The good news for the Jets: Chad Pennington passed for 319 yards with two TDs and no interceptions last week. The bad news: It was against the Tennessee Titans. New England's D will not be as generous. Pats by 5.

Tennessee (0-1) at San Diego (1-0) – 4:15 p.m.

Tennessee's starting QB Kerry Collins looked bad last week. Tennessee's rookie backup QB Vince Young also looked bad. San Diego, on the other hand, looked like an All-Pro team Monday night. This could be a slaughter. Chargers by 17.

Washington (0-1) at Dallas (0-1) – 8:15 p.m.

As much as I'd like to see it happen, Dallas ain't gonna lose every week. And Drew Bledsoe will only rarely play as poorly as he did in Week One. Washington lost their chance to gain some early-season momentum when they saw Minnesota go ahead for good in the final minute of last Monday night's early game. Cowboys by 3.

Monday, September 18th

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Jacksonville (1-0) – 8:30 p.m.

The Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers vs. perennial also-ran Jacksonville. Not a difficult pick to make. Steelers by 10.

***For instance, suppose the Lions are 0-15. It's still technically possible for airplanes carrying the entire Bears team and the entire Vikings team to collide in mid-air, with the fiery remains falling on Lambeau Field during an all-team mandatory Packers practice…hey, we've got a division winner!

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About RJ

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    Down on Carolina just like that? Steve Smith begs to differ.

  • RJ Elliott

    I would like to think that NFL defenses have adjusted their Steve Smith strategies a little since he ran all over the Bears in the playoffs last season…

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    Well we don’t know that, as he didn’t play in Week one. I still posit he’s always good for 7/100 against any defense.

  • The Theory

    Buffalo (0-1) at Miami (0-1)… I was not too keen on Miami this past week, though they were playing a good team. However, I wasn’t jumping with joy with Buffalo’s performance, either. Miami in a close game.

    Carolina (0-1) at Minnesota (1-0)… I’m going to give Carolina the nod here because I *reallllly* don’t want to see Minnesota win.

    Cleveland (0-1) at Cincinnati (1-0)… Cincinnati in some kind of killing.

    Detroit (0-1) at Chicago (1-0)… RJ imposes weird and dumb rules on himself, thus oddly handicapping his score. Just think about how much he would be slaughtering the “experts” at ESPN if he picked properly? Chicago.

    Houston (0-1) at Indianapolis (1-0)… Houston showed potential for one great, crazy drive at the beginning of the game versus Philly. That sort of drive showed that Houston might be able to compete against other bad teams in the NFL, which is a marked improvement over last year. However, Indy is definitely NOT bad and, in fact, reside in the upper echolon of the Elite. Indianapolis.

    New Orleans (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1… NO looked decent last week. And Green Bay did not. New Orleans will excite the faithful by starting the year off 2-0.

    N.Y. Giants (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0)… The Giants must have looked at their schedule and groaned. Start the year off right versus Older Brother, then head into Philly for a bam-n-ram scuffle. That groan turned into a headache when last week showed that Philly seems to be fairly healthy AND has a decent reciever not named T.O. This is a tough game to pick… but I think I have to go with.. NY.

    Oakland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0)… Baltimore. Unfortunately.

    Tampa Bay (0-1) at Atlanta (1-0)… Atlanta.

    Arizona (1-0) at Seattle (1-0)… Two teams I haven’t really seen much this year. But we’ll take the historical stand and pick Seattle.

    St. Louis (1-0) at San Francisco (0-1)… St Louis may have been given a free-be last week, but that doesn’t mean a team like San Francisco will do much better. St Louis.

    Kansas City (0-1) at Denver (0-1)… Plummer can only improve over the first game of the season. Denver.

    New England (1-0) at N.Y. Jets (1-0)… NE.

    Tennessee (0-1) at San Diego (1-0)… SD

    Washington (0-1) at Dallas (0-1)… Last year, and the year prior, I was rather a Dallas fan. Not so much to actively follow them… but I was happy when they won because people didn’t expect anything from them. Now people expect them to make the playoffs AND they have the cuddly lil T.O. and to all of them I say NO. But Washington is probably my most hated team in the league. So this is an awkward pick. Neither played good enough last week to win… but then, neither was as steller as people hoped. We’ll pick Dallas. Barely.

    Pittsburgh (1-0) at Jacksonville (1-0)… With Rothlisbergherkjdljsoifu still reeling from injuries this game should be made more interesting than otherwise it could have been. But Pitts shall prevail and continue their bid to repeat.

  • Jared Wright

    I’m just waiting for someone to throw a fit over that airplane joke at the end. Although even as a Packer fan I found it humorous. Anyway, not too bad. I think you’re discounting Carolina a bit too quickly, and all the drama last year disguised the fact that the core of the Eagles is still a good team. As long as at least one receiver shows up each week, they should be a contender in the very overrated NFC East.

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    All right, RJ, no mention of my 11-5 week. That calls for some added pain:

    Dolfs over Bills
    Panthers over Vikings
    Bengals over Browngles
    Bearss over Loins (yeah, I said Loins)
    Texans over Colts. Just kidding.
    Pack over Saints
    Phiwwy over Giants
    Ravens over Raiders
    The Bay of Tampa over the sunken city of Atlanta
    C-Hawks over Cardinals
    Rams over 49ers
    Broncos over Chiefs
    Patriots over Jets
    Steelers over Jag-you-ares
    And just like 300 years ago, Cowboys over Redskins

    Although if I mimic RJ’s picks from here on out, I’ll be guaranteed to do better than him this season.

  • RJ Elliott


    You forgot Poland!

    Sersiously, what’s your pick for the SD vs. TN game?

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    Let me think about that one San Diego.

  • The Theory

    “Although if I mimic RJ’s picks from here on out”
    BUT there is no fun in that…
    Besides, why would you mimic his Lions pick week after wek?

  • MCH

    Or his prediction that Ben Roethlesberger was going to suffer a sophomore jinx last year?

  • rj

    Hey, “MCH” – Are you actually gonna put your money where your mouth is this season?

  • Emerson

    miami by 10
    Minnesota by 13
    Cincinnati by 24
    Chicago by 7
    Indy by 27
    Green Bay by 35, ( i hope its like last year 52-3)
    Giants by 3
    Baltimore by 7
    Atlanta by 14
    San Francisco by 6
    Denver by 10
    New England by 9
    San Diego by 14
    Dallas by 17
    Pittsburgh by 4

    Goodluck everyone and have a safe sunday. Also tomorrow 9/18 is my 21st birthday! later

  • Emerson

    also seattle by 10

  • RJ Elliott

    Happy b-day! Be safe… 😉

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Buffalo wins in Miami 16-6 (RJ 0-1)

    Losman only passes for 83 yards, but makes no mistakes in the road victory.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Chicago crushes Detroit 34-7 (RJ 0-2)

    Rex Grossman throws for four TDs, and passes for 289 yards with no INTs. Jon Kitna sacked six times, loses one fumble. Kevin Jones is pathetic, rushing 12 times for a mere 44 yards (29 of them on a single carry), and losing two fumbles. Matt Millen on suicide watch…we hope.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Atlanta beats Tampa Bay 14-3 (RJ 1-2)

    Chris Simms throws 3 INTs and “Cadillac” Williams drives more like a Yaris, rushing 15 times for a meager 37 yards. Vick and Dunn, however, gain a combined 261 rushing yards (though Vick fails to pass for more than 100).

  • RJ Elliott

    Indy dismantles Houston 43-24 (RJ 2-2)

    Both Carr and Manning throw 3 TDs, but Manning has nearly double the passing yards, and also benefits from having an actual offensive line.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Bengals 34, Browns 17 (RJ 3-2)

    Rudi Johnson runs for 145 yards and two scores. Cleveland still looking for a running game.

  • RJ Elliott

    Baltimore buries Oakland 28-6 (RJ 4-2)

    Andrew Walter throws 3 INTs, goes 10-for-27 passing, gets sacked six times, and fumbles three times (losing possession once) in his first NFL start.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Minnesota over Carolina in OT (RJ 5-2)

    Kicker Ryan Longwell makes three field goals and passes for a touchdown, accounting for all of Minnesota’s points.

  • RJ Elliott

    Oh yeah, and the extra point kick, too…3+3+3+6+1=16…

  • RJ Elliott

    Grrr…and the final score was Vikings 16, Carolina 13 (in OT)…

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    New Orleans over Green Bay 34-27 (RJ 5-3)

    Reggie Bush gains only 5 yards on 6 attempts rushing, but catches 8 passes for 68 yards. Favre goes 31-for-55 with 3 TDs and one INT in a losing effort.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Giants over the Eagles 30-24 in OT (RJ 6-3)

    What a game! The Giants came back from a 24-7 4th Quarter deficit (on the road!) to tie the game and force OT, where they eventually won. Manning was sacked eight times, threw one pick, and fumbled twice (although the Giants didn’t lose possession either time). McNabb looked quite good, but it wasn’t enough.

  • RJ Elliott

    ESPN’s “experts” are looking pretty good so far this week:

    Theismann 6-3
    Salisbury 6-3
    Hoge 8-1
    Jaworski 6-3
    Schlereth 7-2
    Allen 7-2
    Mortensen 8-1
    Golic 6-3

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    4-5 over here. Oof. McNabb is back to being overrated I guess.

  • RJ Elliott

    RJ 6-3
    Suss 4-5
    Theory 7-2
    Emerson 7-2

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    SF beats the Rams 20-13 (RJ 7-3)

    Frank Gore rushes for 127 yards on 29 carries, with one TD. Bulger gets sackes 6 times, loses one fumble.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Denver beats KC 9-6 in OT (RJ 8-3…and I picked the spread!)

    Plummer looked like crap, but the Broncos win anyway.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Seattle 21, Arizona 10 (RJ 9-3)

    Warner fumbles 4 times and tosses one INT, Hasselbeck throws 2 INTs and fumbles once…just an ugly game.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Pats 24, Jets 17 (RJ 10-3)

    Chad Pennington looks pretty good, but it isn’t enough.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    SD destroys Tennessee 40-7 (RJ 11-3)

    Kerry Collins stinks up the place…Vince Young does a bit better.

  • RJ Elliott

    Here is where ESPN’s NFL “experts” stand:

    Theismann 10-4
    Salisbury 10-4
    Hoge 12-2
    Jaworski 10-4
    Schlereth 11-3
    Allen 11-3
    Mortensen 12-2
    Golic 10-4

    So, I’m ahead of 4, tied with 2, and behind 2…

  • rj

    Final Score:

    Dallas 27, Washington 10 (RJ 12-3)

    Washington was simply outplayed on both sides of the ball.

  • The Theory

    i finished out sunday 12-3… soon to be 13-3 after Pitts kills whoever it is they’re playing.

  • RJ Elliott

    Hmmm…Jacksonville 0, Pittsburgh 0 (almost halftime)…

  • CallmeMaddy

    halftime. Steeler/Jags game. Really only about the defense today. I’m just glad Ben hasn’t thrown any interceptions. I probably jinxed it.

  • Mark Saleski

    soon to be 13-3 after Pitts kills whoever it is they’re playing.


    dang, that was some serious defense last night.

  • DJRadiohead

    Last night was football the way it was intended to be played. I loved that.

  • MCH

    Man, that Roethlisberger is one tough, son-of-a-bitch…playing the entire game and taking those those kinds of shots from 250-pound linebackers and 300-pound linemen, ONLY TWO FUCKING WEEKS AFTER AN APENDECTOMY!!!…you gotta be shittin’ me!!??

    The normal recovery time from that operation is 4 weeks, and that’s just for walking around type activities.

    Jack Lambert was right, there are no cowards in the NFL…

  • zingzing

    there are idiots though. he should have not played the game. what a horrific performance.

  • Emerson

    Well even though my packers lost like usual I still did pretty good. 13-3. Next weeks game between Pack and Lions is going to just be horribly disgusting. But I don’t think Pack can actually go 0-3 again like last year, so I wouldn’t doubt it.

  • RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Jacksonville 9, Steelers 0 (RJ 12-4)

    Here is how ESPN’s “experts” did:

    Theismann 10-5
    Salisbury 11-5
    Hoge 13-3
    Jaworski 11-5
    Schlereth 13-3
    Allen 12-4
    Mortensen 14-2
    Golic 11-5

  • Matthew T. Sussman

    Son of a bee sting!

  • MCH

    “there are idiots though. he should have not played the game. what a horrific performance.”

    Yeah, he was definitely rusty, no question…and I’m sure the combination of the trauma and missed time due to the crash/thumb/appendix had a negative affect, also…but I’m not so sure someone like Joe Montana or Payton Manning could’ve done much more with their best games, the way Jacksonville was playing defense last night…

  • Rich

    Need help…in a big football pool and not doing that good…got second last year out of 568 teams…please help

  • rich

    hey rj….i looked at your picks for the last two weeks and wonder if you be able give me some help on the picks….

  • RJ Elliott

    Sure, Rick – Just look for my upcoming post where I make my picks for Week Three!

  • Amber

    RJ – you rule! I won last week because of you!

  • Rich

    my picks for week 3

    T.B. +2.5 Ariz -4.5
    Chicago -2.5 Den +6.5
    Cinny +3.5 Atl -2.5 under 42.5
    Det -6.5
    J-Ville +9.5
    Buff -6.5
    Tenn +10.5
    Wash -3.5
    Balt -6.5
    Sea -4.5
    Phily -5.5

  • RJ Elliott

    Week 3 picks are up – here!