Record After Week #1: 2-3-0
California Golden Bears (+16 ½) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Golden Bears go to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State – they’re getting 16 ½ points, they’ll need more! Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miler is the perfect quarterback for Urban Meyers as he ran for over 150 yards in his first week. What’s troubling about Cal is that the program – promising years ago, is trending in the wrong direction. They lost to Nevada earlier this year and the Cal defense looked overmatched against Nevada. By the way, the Bears have had a sub .500 record over the past 2+ seasons despite playing 3 games against lower division schools, they are really trending down as a program. This is also very troubling: heavily penalized last year and nothing has changed as they had 19 penalties against Nevada. They lost top coaches in the off-season, doesn’t look like they’ve replaced them with top coaches. Swallow the points the energy is all on Ohio State, 40-13 Buckeyes!
Rams (+3 ½) vs. Redskins
The Rams are at home against the Redskins and are getting 3 ½ points. Listen, the Rams have met the Redskins in each of the past 4 years, they’ve been close games – they won 2 of them. RG3 had 26 throws with not INT, he’s certainly not going to be that efficient this time around. It’s also the 2nd straight road trip for the Redskins. The Rams’ Sam Bradford had an excellent pre-season and a solid opener, on the road, against an excellent Detroit team. The Rams showed signs of excellence and brilliance against the Detroit team many believe has as much talent up front defensively as anybody in the league. The Rams’ Chris Long, dramatic improvement with his counter moves, when he’s coming off the edge. He’ll meet RG3 this weekend – I thought the Rams looked good in Week #1 and now they go home. Remember, Washington was picked last in this division for a reason, let’s be honest here: New Orleans may just be a ship wreck this year because of all the issues they have gone through with the NFL. I’ll take the points Rams 24-20.
Seahawks (+3 ½) vs. Cowboys
Seattle is getting 3 ½ points and at home. Listen, I like Dallas and I love what they did against the New York Giants but extra time isn’t the same for every team. Tom Coughlin gets extra time, he’s 7-0. Cowboys haven’t proven that as they haven’t won back to back road games in 3 years. The key for Seattle’s defensive backs – and they are fantastic, is jamming Dallas’ wide receivers. There is quite the possibility here that the replacement refs – we saw the numbers last week, not going to call penalties against the home team, allowing the Seahawk defense to say “you know, we’ll bump and run on coverage” Special teams? Big edge to Seattle because between Sherman and Browner on the outside, you’ve got here the best secondary, I think, in the league. Jason Witten is not 100%, first full week of practice but he’s not 100%. Also, Kevin Ogletree had 8 catches last week, he won’t duplicate that and Dez Bryant is still inconsistent. I’m getting a home team, home opener, special teams edge and over a field goal. I’m not sure if Seattle wins, but I’m going to go 21-20 Seattle and the points here.
Colts (+1 ½) vs. Vikings
Colts are getting a point and a half and they are at home. First of all, they’ve got a better quarterback and they’ve got superior wide outs with Austin Collie – as he will play and Reggie Wayne. Luck is going to get better quickly and now he’s at home. Remember, Indy only ran the ball 15x last week because they got down on the scoreboard big and they got down on the scoreboard early. I don’t suspect that’s going to be the case this week as they’ll have a more balanced attack. The Vikings’ secondary, with one exception, is one of the worst in the NFL, very suspect on the back end. Now the Colts defense allowed a whopping 41 points in last week’s loss in Chicago but Chuck Pagano is an excellent defensive mind. I suspect they’re shore some things up. Jay Cutler, despite what you saw Thursday night, is still much better than Christian Ponder. I’m taking the points and an improved Andrew Luck; the Colts win 23-20.
Steelers (-5) vs. Jets
The Jets looked very good but the Jets’ offensive line faces a far more difficult match up. The Steelers are minus 5, it’s a pretty big number in the NFL but I’m going to lay it. I think they have a big edge at quarterback and on the defensive line. Big Ben is 24-5 at home with 43 TD’s and 15 INT and a 98 QBR. Pittsburgh has a big and physical front 7 and they are going to challenge that offensive line which was virtually untested in Week #1. Pittsburgh also has several offensive weapons that I love: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and Darrelle Revis is out. LaMarr Woodley didn’t record a sack in Week #1; he’s usually one of Pittsburgh’s best pass rushers, look for him to take Austin Howard to school this week. Swallow the points, much like Green Bay Thursday night, a good team at home like Pittsburgh and desperate, should win 28-20.