Thursday, April 17, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
The pick: Giants, 24-20
CARDINALS (1-1) at SAINTS (2-0), 4 p.m.
Outlook: Drew Brees has a 131.3 passer rating in two career meetings with the Cardinals, and him at home vs. this pass D should make for more fantasy-pleasing numbers. WR Larry Fitzgerald questionable (hamstring) bodes ill for Arizona.
The pick: Saints, 34-20
FALCONS (1-1) at DOLPHINS (2-0), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: Atlanta is a better team overall but also is diminished, with RB Steven Jackson (thigh) out and WR Roddy White (high ankle sprain) not himself even if he does play. That levels the field and makes me lean toward Miami in its home opener, presuming Ryan Tannehill will be OK after being limited in practice this week by a sore shoulder.
The pick: Dolphins, 24-20
JAGUARS (0-2) at SEAHAWKS (2-0), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: The involvement of sad Jacksonville alone makes any game a Dog of the Week candidate, and here we add the likelihood of a miserable rout. Looks like Chad Henne will start again at QB for Jacksonville over Blaine Gabbert, like it matters? The Seahawks figure to have an almost indifferent effort after an emotional rout of rival San Francisco but should still have no trouble here.
The pick: Seahawks, 24-7
BILLS (1-1) at JETS (1-1), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Round 1 in the fight for the AFC East cellar brings us a duel of young QBs -- EJ Manuel and Geno Smith -- who became friends out of high school attending a South Florida football camp together. The Jets have won eight of 10 in the series, including three straight at home, so make this one a venue call. Jets bring a bit better defense, too.
The pick: Jets, 19-16
COLTS (1-1) at 49ERS (1-1), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: The Niners should be on a fierce rebound after they were simply embarrassed in Seattle last week, and nobody knows Andrew Luck (or presumably how to defend him) better than his former Stanford coach, Jim Harbaugh. But the Colts got better this week by trading for RB Trent Richardson and should at least keep it close.
The pick: 49ers, 27-20
BEARS (2-0) at STEELERS (0-2), 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: Yes, Ben Roethlisberger needs a running game like popcorn needs butter. Yes, a once-vaunted Steelers' D has zero takeaways in two games. And yes, your home field does cede some mystique when you lose your opener there to Tennessee. Despite all that, the prime-time Sunday stage and a dose of early desperation will summon a vintage effort and allow Pittsburgh to dodge its first 0-3 start since 2000.
The pick: Steelers, 21-17
RAIDERS (1-1) at BRONCOS (2-0), 8:40 p.m.
Outlook: It's a record 17th MNF meeting for Raiders-Broncos, and this one finds Denver as only the third team in the last 30 years to start 2-0 with 40-plus points in each game. And you wonder why TV loves Peyton Manning? Do not see an upset, but see Oakland keeping it reasonably close.
The pick: Broncos, 34-23
-- Greg Cote, The Miami Herald (last week: 13-3; season: 24-8)