Friday, December 13, 2013
By Greg Cote
RAIDERS (0-1) at DOLPHINS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: For its home opener, Miami will hand out "Still Perfect" hats to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Perfect Season, torturing fans with the latest reminder that the good old days have grown ancient and the current team is comparatively lousy. Oakland isn't great but IS better than Miami, and the Dolphins don't have much in the way of home-field advantage these days. Miami won't be a good bet until the offense proves it can pop for three or four touchdowns on occasion.
Prediction: Raiders, 23-17
RAVENS (1-0) at EAGLES (1-0), 1 p.m.
Outlook: There were other solid nominees put before the Game of the Week committee (Lions-49ers, Broncos-Falcons), but a Bird Bowl doesn't get much better than Ravens-Eagles, which feels like a pick-'em game to me. Ravens looked great last week. Eagles certainly didn't but get the home-opener lift here. Plus Michael Vick won't suffer another four-interception game. Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy make this a major fantasy-watch game, another reason why it tops the Week 2 marquee.
Prediction: Eagles, 30-27
REDSKINS (1-0) at RAMS (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: "AAAWWWK!" trills the Upset Bird, pride battered but beak held high. Plainly our gamble is propped up on this: the Letdown Factor. Washington and sudden-superman Robert Griffin III fashioned a stunning upset at New Orleans and simply CAN'T but be overconfident in facing the lowly Rams. Thus the home hunch on St. Louis, which is playing harder under Jeff Fisher than we have seen in years.
Prediction: Rams, 23-21
CHIEFS (0-1) at BILLS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Dog of the Week refers to worst game, not a betting underdog, and Chiefs-Bills staved off a late charge by Browns-Bengals. Both hugely disappointed last week, the Chiefs crushed by Atlanta and the Bills by the Jets. See this game as coin-flip even so make it a venue call. The Bills have won seven of past eight at home in this series. I don't trust Ryan Fitzpatrick but I trust Matt Cassel even less.
Prediction: Bills, 24-20
BROWNS (0-1) at BENGALS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Browns haven't won a division game since Oct. 3, 2010. Why start now? Cincy got crushed by Baltimore last week but is due a big home rebound. The Browns gave Philly a game last week, and Brandon Weeden can't possibly be that bad again, can he?
Prediction: Bengals, 21-17
VIKINGS (1-0) at COLTS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Upset! Hunching Colts at home here largely because of Andrew Luck facing a susceptible, beatable Minnesota secondary. Luck topped 300 yards in his debut last week. Besides that, the Vikings tend to shrink on the road.
Prediction: Colts, 27-23
SAINTS (0-1) at PANTHERS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Anybody jumping off Drew Brees' bandwagon after one loss is knee-jerking to say the least. Brees and Cam Newton should make this one a shootout, and Newton gets a lift with the expected return of RB Jonathan Stewart. But give me Brees. Just can't picture the Saints 0-2.
Prediction: Saints, 34-31
TEXANS (1-0) at JAGUARS (0-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Houston has won three straight in the series and Matt Schaub (106.3 passer rating) and Arian Foster (103 rushing yards) have big career averages against the Jags. Plus, Blaine Gabbert is headed for a nightmare behind a seriously beat-up offensive line.
Prediction: Texans, 27-13
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