The Lineman: Week Two NFL picks

September 16, 2011

The Lineman got the season off to a Tom Brady like start going 5-1 but still room to improve so here’s the Six Pack for Week 2.

Record: 5-1. Last week 0-0; Pick of the Week: 1-0

Houston Texans (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1) (Line Texans minus-2.5)

The Texans beat the Manning-less Colts like a rented mule in their opener while the Dolphins were filleted by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Monday nighter.

Brady shredded a Miami pass defence for over 500 yards and even though the Texans do not have the same offensive weapons as the Pats I expect to see Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson to put up big numbers.

More bad news for Miami, the Texans are likely to have Arian Foster back in the lineup after last season’s rushing leader missed the season opener with a tweaked hamstring.

Dolphins quarterback, Chad “I get no respect” Henne put in a gutsy effort against New England and wide out Brandon Marshall was a monster and that combo could give Texan cornerbacks nightmares.

It seems like the Dolphins have not won at home since Miami Vice was a hit and a short week means a long night Fish fans.

The Texans insist they are a playoff team and if they are, they have to be more than a field goal better than the Dolphins.

Fish flop. Take the Texans and give up the 2.5.
– – – –
Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-1) (Line Packers minus-10.5)

Did I miss something? Has Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton been voted into the Hall of Fame after one game?

OK, the kid looked good tossing for a rookie record 400-plus yards and two touchdowns in an opening LOSS to the Arizona Cardinals but let’s not get carried away.

And let’s not forget that a year ago the Panthers were the NFL’s worst team winning just two games and Newton is not going to turn them into Super Bowl champions — at least not yet.

The Packers, however, are Super Bowl champions. For all the buzz about Cam Newton, what about Aaron Rodgers? Remember him, the Super Bowl MVP.

Rodgers looked razor-sharp throwing three first-quarter touchdowns as the Packers opened defence of their crown with a win over a very good New Orleans Saints team and have had 10 days to pack for their trip to Charlotte.

Look for Rodgers and his fleet of sure handed wide receivers to exploit a leaky Panthers secondary that will be under more pressure with the loss of Pro-Bowl linebacker Jon Beason to injury.

Newton might have looked like Tom Brady against an average Cardinals secondary but an opportunistic Packers defence will be a different story.

The learning curve turns steep for the NFL rookie this Sunday.

Physics was not my best subject but I believe Newton’s law goes something like; what goes up must come down.

It is back to earth, with a big thud, for Cam Newton, who gets schooled by the Packers.

Take the Packers and give up the 10.5.
– – – –
Seattle Seahawks (0-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) (Line Steelers minus-14.5)

I break into a cold sweat giving more than two touchdowns this early in a season but the rumblings coming out of the Steel City this week have been ominous after a humiliating loss to the Baltimore Ravens in their season-opener.

Back home at Heinz Field, the Steelers have spent the week stewing in their poor effort and will look to vent all that frustration Sunday against the poor Seahawks.

The Steelers turned the ball over seven times against the Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger fumbling twice and serving up three interceptions and he has promised better in the home opener.

A Pittsburgh defence led by hard-hitting safety Troy Polamalu and surly James Harrison will make life miserable for Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

The Seahawks do not travel well at the best of times and this is a trip east they will be dreading.

Last week the Seahawks lost by 16 points to the 49ers and despite the Baltimore massacre the Steelers are better than that.

This one should be just plain mean and ugly. Steelers lay a bongo beat down on the Seahawks.

Take the Steelers and give up the 14.5.
– – – –
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0) (Line Cowboys minus-3.5)

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said this week he has infinite confidence in Tony Romo even though the Dallas quarterback had another fourth-quarter meltdown against the Jets that cost America’s team a victory in their opener.

Despite the vote of confidence, patience is wearing thin for Romo in the Big D.

Romo will be under immense pressure to make amends for last week and prove he is a frontline quarterback.

The Niners opened the new campaign beating the Seahawks thanks to Ted Ginn Jr., who returned a kickoff 102-yards and managed 55-yards for touchdowns.

The Cowboys had victory in New York in the bag and should win in San Fran if the Romo can avoid costly mistakes.

Romo delivers a San Francisco treat. Take Dallas and give up the 3.5.
– – – –
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-1) (Line Ravens minus-6.5)

It was not a massive surprise that the Ravens won their opener against the Steelers but the way they annihilated their rivals was chilling.

The always-ferocious Baltimore defence spearheaded by snarling Ray Lewis, pass rusher Terrel Suggs and safety Ed Reed forced the Steelers into seven turnovers and I expect more of the same against Tennessee.

Titans’ Matt Hasselbeck, the recycled Seahawks quarterback, has some weapons at his disposal in wide receiver Kenny Britt and running back Chris Johnson, who could be starting to hit his stride after missing most of the pre-season in a contract dispute.

But Baltimore also has plenty of offensive punch, quarterback Joe Flacco tossing three touchdowns in THE win over Pittsburgh while Ray Rice romped for 107 yards rushing.

Baltimore could be in for a letdown after the big win over the Steelers but it is unlikely Ray Lewis will let the Ravens fall into that trap.

Ravens still flying high. Take the Ravens and give up the 6.5.
– – – –
Oakland Raiders (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0) (Line Bills minus-4.5)

Despite crushing the Kansas City Chiefs 41-7, I am having trouble seeing the Buffalo Bills going 2-0.

But schedule makers have handed the Bills a gift with the Raiders playing a late Monday nighter in Denver then sending them all the way cross-country for an early kickoff on Sunday.

The Raiders have not traditionally found success travelling east and on a short week will have had little time to rest and prepare for a Bills team that looks to have developed some heart.

Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fired four touchdown passes against the Chiefs and the Bills showed a bit of a running game as well with Fred Jackson rushing for 112 yards.

But the key to this contest for the Bills will be controlling Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who was a one-man wrecking crew in Denver.

The Raiders can also strike from long distance, Sebastian Janikowski matching an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal against the Broncos.

I would feel better about this one if the spread were a field goal but I think all the planets are aligning in the Billls’ favour playing at home against the weary Raiders.

With the New England Patriots on deck next week this is one the Bills will be targeting for a win.

Billing time. Take the Bills and give up the 4.5.

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