NFL Week 2: Five Games To Watch
Chicago Bears (+7) at New Orleans Saints
Danny Lee: Saints 27, Bears 24
The Bears' offense did not look as inept as many (myself included) thought it would be, in its Week 1 demolition of Atlanta. Jay Cutler can make plays if the offensive line holds up. But playing at home and wanting to avoid an 0-2 start will give the Saints enough sense of urgency to pull this out.
Jeremy Bergman: Saints
While Chicago was flourishing in all facets at home against Atlanta last Sunday, they will face a different beast when the Saints come marching in at the Superdome this week. There should be some fireworks in the Big Easy from Brees and company.
Ryan Nunez: Bears
The Bears are a seven-point underdog to a team that couldn’t beat Seattle in last year's playoffs. The Saints, under Drew Brees, always seem like a safe bet, but the reality is they are as soft as tissue paper.
Aaron Fischman: Saints
Brian Urlacher was all over the field in Week 1. It’s great news that he will be playing this Sunday, but I still don't think the Bears will be able to neutralize Brees. Big Easy wins thanks to Big Breesie.
James Santelli: Saints 31, Bears 20
The Bears benefited from three Atlanta turnovers last week, but simply don't have the offensive firepower to keep up with Brees and the Saints at the Superdome.
San Diego Chargers (+7) at New England Patriots
Lee: Patriots 31, Chargers 19
Quarterback Philip Rivers will move the ball up the field for San Diego, but the lack of a running game means the Chargers will have difficulty scoring from inside the 20-yard line. And against an offensive juggernaut like the Patriots, they will need all the points they can get.
Tom Brady and New England look scary good after their 622-yard offensive thrashing of Miami, but San Diego is no push over. Philip Rivers and the Chargers will get out to a quick start, but, like all other teams, will succumb to the Patriots' creative, fast-paced attack in the second half.
Brady is stupid good. San Diego is a good team with a good quarterback. New England is a good team with the best quarterback. I’ll take the best.
This game could go either way, but I’ll go with the Patriots for two reasons: 1) The Bolts tend to struggle early every season; they haven’t began 2-0 since 2006. 2) Tom Brady’s bunch is playing at home at Gillette Stadium.
Santelli: Patriots 31, Chargers 30
San Diego is a great team and will keep it close, but the fireworks put up by Brady last week showed that he is still a machine built to win football games.
Atlanta Falcons (+2) Philadelphia Eagles
Lee: Falcons 30, Eagles 27
Atlanta has the defensive line personnel to get physical with Michael Vick when the Eagles QB pays his former team a visit. If Falcons running back Michael Turner factors long enough to keep Philadelphia's offense off the field, then the Eagles hype machine might simmer down just a little this week.
The Falcons looked sluggish last week against Chicago, mustering a total of six offensive points while Mike Vick and the "Dream Team" Eagles put a whooping on NFC West faves St. Louis. This will be a very personal game for Vick as it will be his first home game against his old club. The Philly wideouts will get open against a weak Atlanta secondary and Vick will more than happy to spread the ball around.
Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta has been surprisingly low-key and underhyped, in my opinion. That calm before the storm will be bad for Atlanta. They go 0-2 to start the season and Michael Vick says, "See you in the playoffs. Oh wait. No. I won’t."
Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta is really being hyped up, and I’ll be honest…I’m psyched to watch. Still, call me crazy (and I know you will), but I cannot go against Matt Ryan’s 20-2 career record in home regular season games.
Santelli: Falcons 20, Eagles 17
People are giving too much credit to the Eagles for beating the Rams, who were 7-9 in a weak division last year. The Falcons were 7-1 in the Georgia Dome last year, and will give the Philly offense plenty of trouble.
Green Bay Packers (-10) at Carolina Panthers
Lee: Packers 30, Panthers 17
Rookie Cam Newton may have caught a few skeptics off-guard after he carved up the Arizona Cardinals for 422 yards passing and two passing touchdowns. But those numbers won’t come that easily when the Green Bay defense comes into town.
In all the excitement and anticipation around QB Cam Newton's debut last week and then his spectacular display at Arizona, two important facts were lost. One - Jon Beason, Carolina's best overall player, was lost for the season. And two - Carolina lost the game! The Green Bay D will atone for its sins on Opening Night and will make Newton wish he were still playing college ball.
Cam Newton is cool, but Aaron Rodgers is the king right now. He isn't Kevin Kolb and Green Bay isn't Arizona. The Packers' defense will be out for blood. This is the kind of game where guys like Cam get smashed at least a couple of times and possibly even put on the pine.
It looks as if Carolina's Steve Smith has finally found a quality quarterback to throw to him. That's great for Mr. Smith, but the Panthers are going to lose again this week, because the Packers' offense simply cannot be stopped. Not yet anyway.
Santelli: Packers 31, Panthers 24
This is Green Bay's game to lose, but anyone placing wagers in Las Vegas should like the Panthers getting 10 points in Newton's home debut.
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at San Francisco 49ers
Lee: 49ers 21, Cowboys 20
The Cowboys' Dez Bryant might show up for more than one quarter now that he doesn’t have Jets CB Darrelle Revis on him, but the 49ers' defensive line can keep it close. If Tony Romo is pressured to orchestrate a game-winning drive for Dallas, then you can chalk up an upset win for the ‘Niners. -- just saying.
This is a clash of two has-been organizations just waiting to get back on top. Dallas showed a lot of improvement from last year's disaster of a season in a heartbreaking loss in New York, while Ted Ginn had to save the Niners with two touchdown-returns in the fourth. The Cowboys are on the verge of elite status and they'll show that in the Bay Area this week.
Is it weird that I want to call San Fran here? Did I just say that out loud? Saying, "I’ll take San Fran" just sounds wrong. I;m with the Cowgirls. That sounds right.
Impressive special teams play and Tarvaris Jackson (the Seahawk QB committed three turnovers last week) allowed San Francisco to win last week; those factors cannot save the Niners again. Even Tony Romo won't mess this one up. Dallas rolls.
Santelli: Cowboys 24, 49ers 14
Ted Ginn will not return two kicks for touchdowns this Sunday (taking a big leap there). Expect Dallas to go up early and not look back.
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