It might be very early in the season, but the New England Patriots have a very big game this weekend. Yes, Buffalo is lousy, and the Patriots haven't lost to the Bills since 2003. But Buffalo tends to play them pretty well even though they end up losing. The reason I think this is a big game is that it might give us an idea on what kind of team New England is. I don't know if they are the team that beat Cincinnati or the team that looked borderline pathetic in the second half against the Jets.
Even though one game doesn't make a team or a season, we might have a
better idea of where the Patriots are after this weekend. If they beat Buffalo
by a few points, then it could be a long season. If they crush them, they will
have people talking about them again. That is why I think Sunday's game is very
important. Now on to the picks.
As always, home team in CAPS.
NEW YORK GIANTS 3 Tennessee
Both teams are off to a decent start, but I think the Giants are the better team. Brandon Jacobs is becoming an issue and wants to be traded. May be not throwing his helmet would help his cause. I'll take the Giants here.
NEW ENGLAND 14 Buffalo
Before anybody starts to say that the Patriots are going to stomp the Bills, let's not look any further than last year's game. If Buffalo kneels down in the end zone, the Patriots likely lose. And Buffalo wasn't any good then. The Patriots seem to play down to their opponents, and this will be no exception. I think the points are too high here, so I am going to take the Bills.
BALTIMORE 10 1/2 Cleveland
The Ravens are one of the favorites in the AFC, but they have already lost once. They won't here though. Look for the Ravens to beat up a Browns team that simply isn't very good. The Ravens are home, and I don't see any problems here. The Ravens need to get their offense squared away, and this is the perfect game to do it.
Pittsburgh 2 1/2 TAMPA BAY
The Steelers are starting Charlie Batch at quarterback, and that is never a good thing. I don't know if it will matter though. Yes, the Bucs are 2-0, but they really aren't that good. The Steelers aren't great, but they should be able to beat Tampa here.
Cincinnati 3 CAROLINA
The Panthers are going to start Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, and Carolina really has nothing to lose. They are not a good team, and the Bengals are playoff contenders. The Bengals could be a tough out as the season progresses, and I don't see them losing to Carolina.
NEW ORLEANS 4 Atlanta
Both teams are off to a pretty good start, and this should be a real good game. I'm not sure if I am sold on Atlanta though. I am sold on New Orleans, like most other people. They are possibly the best team in the NFC, but Reggie Bush could be a big loss. I like the Saints here in this big NFC South matchup.
San Francisco 2 1/2 KANSAS CITY
Not sure why the 49ers are favored here, as they have been a big disappointment so far. The Chiefs are off to a great start, but we will see how long it lasts. They do have a lot of young players who are starting to emerge. The 49ers can't be as bad as they have been playing. I like the 49ers here. They have to break out sometime.
MINNESOTA 10 1/2 Detroit
It's a good thing that the Vikings resigned Brett Favre. He hasn't been playing well at all. The Lions haven't been that good for a long time, but they do have some young talent and seem to be going in the right direction. The Vikings though really need to get their act together. The Lions could be a cure for their ills. The Vikings will likely win this game fairly easily.
Washington 3 1/2 ST. LOUIS
The Redskins aren't that bad, but I am not sure they are a playoff contender. The Rams are one of the league's worst teams, and they are struggling to score points. I usually don't like the Redskins on the road, but I have no choice here.
Philadelphia 3 JACKSONVILLE
Andy Reid can't decide who he wants to start at quarterback, but as of right now it's Kevin Kolb. It could be Michael Vick come Sunday. Either way, I don't see too many problems for the Eagles. The Jaguars simply aren't that good. I am not even sure how many people will be in the stands watching the game.
Indianapolis 5 1/2 DENVER
Bob Sanders is out again for the Colts, this time indefinitely. It is amazing how one person can get hurt so often. As usual though, the Colts will win without him. I am not sure they win this game though. It is an emotional game for the Broncos, who have to deal with the death of another player. I'll take the Broncos at home here.
San Diego 5 1/2 SEATTLE
The Chargers are tough to figure out. Everyone thought they were going to be an elite team this year, but I don't see it. Even though Seattle has won a game this year, they are mediocre at best. The Chargers are pretty good even though they are inconsistent. I like them here even on the road.
MIAMI 2 New York Jets
This is another early season big game. I think the Dolphins are in fact for real, but I think the Jets are too. This might actually be a bigger game for the Jets, who really can't afford to go 1-2 after all the hype. I think they will though. I think Miami is better than people think. I like them here.
Green Bay 3 CHICAGO
The Packers are a favorite in the NFC, and for good reason. They have talent on both sides of the ball. The Bears are ok, but they can't seem to put it all together. This is a pretty big game this early in the season, and I like the Packers to cover the three points.
GAME OF THE WEEK
HOUSTON 3 Dallas
I picked this game as Game of the Week because the Texans are undefeated, and the Cowboys absolutely, positively cannot start the season 0-3. Jerry Jones' head might explode all over the new stadium if the Cowboys lose this week. Get ready for an explosion, because I think the Texans are going to win this game.
STINKER OF THE WEEK
ARIZONA 4 Oakland
I had a couple of choices this week, but I picked this one because neither team is very good. The Cardinals have actually disappointed a bit, and the Raiders, well they still have the Raiderettes. They can't win the game, but they make the Raiders a little more enjoyable to watch. Take Arizona here if you must.
Record For Week One: 8-7-1 (11-5 without spread )
Record Through Week Two: 8-7-1 (11-5 without spread )
Game of Week Record: 1-0
Stinker of Week Record: 0-0-1
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
Get Patriots Insider updates on Twitter Follow @PatriotsInsider
Want to find out what other Patriots fans think? Join them on the Message Boards