The 0-2 teams have their backs to the wall, especially the ones that were predicted to or expected to have significant success. Those are the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Of these, the Redskins have looked the worst, giving up 50 points and not scoring an offensive touchdown in the first half of the first two games. RGIII looks tentative and his throwing mechanics are way off. The defense can't stop anyone and if they go 0 - 3, it may be too big of a hill to climb, even in the very balanced NFC East.
The Steelers are short on weapons in an offensive system that probably doesn't suit the skills of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as it could. But that being said, they were in the game against the Bengals well into the fourth quarter in Monday night's game. That division should be pretty tight, especially with the departures from the Ravens.
Without ten turnovers in the first two games, the Giants could very well be 2 - 0. I doubt they'll be great this season, but if they hold on to the ball and get even a semblance of a running game, who knows, especially given their late season success in the recent past.
Last Week: 12 - 4
Season: 22 - 10 - I've had some pretty good success early, but this week has a lot of close picks, so I expect to have some rough times one of these weeks. Now for the picks:
Kansas City (2-0) 24 @ Philadelphia (1-1) 27: This is a really tough one to pick. There are so many story lines, including Andy Reid's return to Philly so early in the season, Chip Kelly's mismanagement of the final couple of minutes that allowed San Diego too much time for a winning field goal, the number of plays Kelly's offense wants to run, trying to gauge how good the Chiefs really are and the fact that it's a Thursday night game. I'll go with the home team on a short week even though I think the Chiefs' defense can slow down Vick and the Eagles.
Arizona (1-1) 20 @ New Orleans (2-0) 24: Even with the return of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints don't seem to be clicking on all cylinders offensively. They've scored 23 points in each of their first two games, both wins. Right now, it's Rob Ryan's defense that's winning games for the Saints. I'll stick with that scenario against a pretty good Cardinals squad.
Green Bay (1-1) 28 @ Cincinnati (1-1) 20: I'm impressed with Cincinnati, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. They've been in the playoffs three of the last four years, but with little success. The Packers have won a Super Bowl in that span and look really good this season. They were within a touchdown of the 'Niners on the road, scorched Washington and now this week Aaron Rodgers brings them into Cincy. I don't think Andy Dalton is good enough to outscore Rodgers. I'm going with the Pack.
St. Louis (1-1) 20 @ Dallas (1-1) 30: The Cowboys got six turnovers in week 1 to beat the Giants, then had a bad call keep them from winning last week. Although I like the improvement of the Rams, but the Cowboys should win on Sunday.
Cleveland (0-2) 13 @ Minnesota (0-2) 24: The Vikings are a very good 0 - 2 team, the Browns are playing their third string QB and just traded Trent Richardson to the Colts. This doesn't add up to a great result for Clevelend.
San Diego (1-1) 27 @ Tennessee (1-1) 24: The Chargers head east for the second week in a row, not a great quirk of scheduling. But San Diego should have won in week 1 against the Texans and then surprised the Eagles. I like how the Chargers are playing and if QB Rivers gives it 100% for 60 minutes, then they can prevail over the Titans.
Tampa Bay (0-2) 17 @ New England (2-0) 24: Whether Patriots' tight end plays or not, I think New England will win this game. They'll have had ten days to get their young guys more familiar with Brady and to prepare for a disjointed Bucs' offense. It looks like Gronk will be ready, but I'm told by a reporter that follows the Pats that it's less than 50/50 for him to play.
Detroit (2-0) 27 @ Washington (0-2) 28: It's time for the 'Skins to unleash RGIII on what he says is a 100% knee. I agree with many who say that unless they call plays to utilize RGIII's running ability, the Redskins are better off starting Kirk Cousins at QB. Detroit is off to a good start, but Reggie Bush is probably out, which makes give Washington a better shot at winning. Last week I went with my head and picked the Pack over the 'Skins, but I'm going with my heart this time.
NY Giants (0-2) 27 @ Carolina (0-2) 21: This is most likely a must win for the Giants, although Dallas and Philadelphia are both playing losable games, which would drop them to 1 -2. But going 0 - 3 to start the season would certainly cause the team to doubt their chances at making the playoffs. Carolina has lost two close ones and really hasn't exhibited the ability to win tight games under Cam Newton. Without turnovers, the Giants win.
Houston (2-0) 30 @ Baltimore (1-1) 20: The Ravens got toasted by the Broncos and barely beat a weak Browns fan. Although the Texans are a couple of plays away 0 - 2, they still have a lot of talent and the Ravens are still trying to adjust to all of the personnel changes they experienced after their Super Bowl win. Also, after the Chargers' win over Philadelphia, Houston's win in San Diego is looking better and better.
Atlanta (1-1) 24 @ Miami (2-0) 27: This is a very compelling matchup. The Falcons play their first outdoor game of the year in what will surely be a hot and humid environment. The Dolphins, behind second-year QB Ryan Tannehill, have begun the season with two impressive road wins. Atlanta hasn't exactly been impressive and I believe the Dolphins will remain unbeaten.
Buffalo (1-1) 17 @ NY Jets (1-1) 20: Both of these teams have lost to New England in close games and each has a rookie starting QB. I'm sure Jets coach Rex Ryan will be showing a lot of different looks to the Bills' QB EJ Manuel. Although it's fashionable to knock the Jets, I really like the Jets to pull what would be considered a mild upset.
Indianapolis (1-1) 27 @ San Francisco (1-1) 31: The Niners have to be hurting after taking a drubbing from the Seahawks in Seattle. San Francisco's coach Jim Harbaugh is 17 - 0 after a loss, not a good sign for the Colts, who traded for Browns running back Trent Richardson to bolster their running game. I'm not sure the Niners are as good as last year, but they should prevail in a close games.
Jacksonville (0-2) 13 @ Seattle (2-0) 30: The Seahawks are an unbelievable 20-point favorite, but given their talent edge and home field advantage, they can probably approach that margin of victory. This is as big a lock as you get, but it's the NFL and on any given Sunday...
Chicago (2-0) 27 @ Pittsburgh (0-2) 17: I think this one will look very much like Monday night's game between the Steelers and the Bengals. Pittsburgh just doesn't have the weapons and their offensive line is just a mess right now. The Bears' QB Jay Cutler looks a lot better in Mark Tressman's system and the defense will just be too much for the Steelers.
Oakland (1-1) 20 @ Denver (2-0) 27: It's improbable to think that the Raiders can roll into Denver and pull an upset, but it's an AFC West contest and always a grudge match for these longtime rivals. The Broncos' offensive line has been decimated by injury and the Raiders have nine sacks in the first two games. Still, Denver is one of the top three teams in the league and should take care of business, but it won't be easy.