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Many, many minefields to dodge in Week 2

September 15, 2011
The Mining Journal

Opening weekend in the NFL is tough to pick because it's hard to assess where teams really stand. The past has proven the preseason doesn't help much either.

With Week 1 out of the way, some other minefields dot the landscape - Like thinking what you saw last Sunday is the be-all, end-all to what a team will do the rest of the season.

For instance, Buffalo went on the road and blitzed a division winner from last season, Kansas City, 41-7 last week. I ain't buying it. Not yet.

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Or Baltimore trashing Pittsburgh, 35-7. Don't give up on the Steelers so fast.

In fact, my three (yes, three!) picks for the Super Bowl this season are all 0-1 - the Steelers, New Orleans and Indianapolis - the last one I said could sprint through the playoffs if Peyton Manning gets back to them in time. It looks like he won't, so I AM ready to write off the Colts.

With a grain of salt taken from Week 1 games, here goes this week's picks:

Sunday, 1 p.m., Kansas City at Detroit - On paper, this looks like a mismatch. But on a computer screen, it appears more like a blowout. This may turn into a closer game than most think, but Lions, 35-21.

Green Bay at Carolina - At least the team with last year's worst record gets to host the Super Bowl champs. It's too early in the season for Carolina to put all their Humpty-Dumpty pieces together to form a real semblance of a team. Packers, 40-13.

Oakland at Buffalo - If the Raiders need another 63-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski, they'll struggle in a game played a lot closer to sea level. Bills, 24-20.

Cleveland at Indianapolis - Can the No. 1 draft pick be decided in Week 2? This game will give somebody a leg up in that race. Browns, 22-15.

Tampa Bay at Minnesota - One of the knocks on Tampa is that everybody it beat last season had a losing record. Minnesota will have a losing record. Bucs, 20-12.

Chicago at New Orleans - The Bears aren't as good as Week 1 indicated. Saints, 40-29.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets - Late in the season, Jets coach Rex Ryan might have a hard time pumping up his troops after their stirring win over Dallas. Early, though, the adrenalin is still flowing. Jets, 19-9.

Seattle at Pittsburgh - After last week in Baltimore, the Steelers will treat this game like the playoffs. Steelers, 37-13.

Baltimore at Tennessee - Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect the Titans to be rebuilt in a week. Ravens, 30-17.

Arizona at Washington - Was it bad that Cam Newton passed for more than 400 yards on the Cardinals, or was it good that Arizona won the game anyway? Cross-country trip could be a stinker. Redskins, 31-19.

Sunday, 4 p.m., Dallas at San Francisco - With coach Jason Garrett, Dallas has the makeup to bounce back after looking stupid in the loss to the Jets. Cowboys, 27-16.

Cincinnati at Denver - Bengals sitting fat and happy after unexpected Week 1 win. Broncos, 21-12.

Houston at Miami - Houston's Matt Schaub may not pass for 500 yards like the Patriots' Tom Brady did to Miami, but with running back Arian Foster's return, Houston won't need him to. Texans, 38-20.

San Diego at New England - If anybody can take advantage of a fumblin', bumblin' team like the Chargers, it's New England. And this is about as long a road trip as there is in the NFL. Patriots, 35-23.

Sunday, 8 p.m., Philadelphia at Atlanta - Two teams I preordained to win their divisions. But 0-1 Atlanta needs it more. Falcons, 31-28.

Monday, St. Louis at N.Y. Giants - Running back Steven Jackson's injury makes the Rams a shell of their preseason selves. Giants, 20-10.

Record last week and season record: 12-4

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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