By Josh Kramer
I know you all thoroughly enjoyed Week 1 of the NFL season. It lived up to all of the hype and more. A shootout in the opener. Cam Newton setting a rookie record for passing yards in his debut. Tom Brady throwing for the 5th most yards ever in an NFL game (517 yard). And more Tim Tebow controversy. I must say, it is great to have America’s most popular sports league back.
As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”
The participants this season are as follows:
TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team. After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.
After Week 1, here is the scoreboard.
Week 2 Slate:
Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: After an embarrassing performance in the opener, KC looks to stop the bleeding against the up and coming Lions.
Oakland Raiders (DC) at Buffalo Bills (TSK, CB, CV3)
-The Word: Buffalo looks to prove that Week 1 was no fluke against the 1 and 0 Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TSK, DC) at Minnesota Vikings (CB, CV3)
-The Word: America’s “Sexy” pick was not impressive in Week 1 while Donovan McNabb definitely did not eat his Chunky Soup before the opener in San Diego. Which team avoids falling in the 0 and 2 hole?
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Chicago shocked the defending NFC South Champions in the form of a whooping, while the Saints showed glimpses in their opener at Lambeau. Perhaps Bourbon Street is just the medicine Brees and the boys need to enter the win column?
Baltimore Ravens (TSK, CB, CV3, DC) at Tennessee Titans
-The Word: Do not expect the Chris Johnson of old to wake up against the always scary Raven defense.
Cleveland Browns (TSK, CV3, DC) at Indianapolis Colts (CB)
-The Word: I never thought I would see the day where I expected the Cleveland Browns to handle business at Indianapolis.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Can Jacksonville pull of another surprise victory in Week 2? Don’t count out on it in the Meadowlands.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: A rematch of Super Bowl XL. Seattle is an entirely different team these days and will face a very angry Mike Tomlin led Pittsburgh team.
Arizona Cardinals at Washington Redskins (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Rex Grossman will have a real chance to improve his passer rating against an awful Arizona secondary.
Green Bay Packers (TSK, CB, CV3, DC) at Carolina Panthers
-The Word: Cam Newton loves to win. In his home debut, he gets a lesson from Aaron Rodgers and the NFC’s best team.
Dallas Cowboys (TSK, CB, CV3, DC) at San Francisco 49ers
-The Word: Sadly it is not the mid 90s anymore, but Harbaugh will welcome the challenge of Tony Romo and the high-powered Cowboys offensive attack.
San Diego Chargers (CB) at New England Patriots (TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Many see this as a possible AFC Championship matchup. I do know one thing, both QB’s will fill up the stat sheet.
Houston Texans (TSK, CB, CV3) at Miami Dolphins (DC)
-The Word: Miami is just glad that they do not face Tom Brady and the Patriots until Christmas Eve.
Cincinnati Bengals (TSK, CB, CV3) at Denver Broncos (DC)
Philadelphia Eagles (TSK, CB) at Atlanta Falcons (CV3, DC)
-The Word: Michael Vick returns to the dome with his new “Dream Team.”
St. Louis Rams at New York Giants (TSK, CB, CV3, DC)
-The Word: The injury-riddled Rams head to the big city to take on an angry New York Giants team.
Game of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
-I do not think anyone is surprised by the choice for the Week 2 Game of the Week. Michael Vick says this is just another game. A chance to move to 2 and 0 with his new team. And it is. But it is also so much more than that. This is another stop on the Michael Vick redemption tour.
-These are two squads that had very different opening weekends. The Eagles started a bit slow, but eventually put on a show behind their very stout rushing attack and won easily against the Rams. Atlanta on the other hand, probably was the biggest disappointment of the opening weekend. We all knew Chicago was a solid team, and it is never easy to go on the road in the NFL. But did anyone really expect the Bears to give Matty Ice and the defending NFC South Champion Falcons the business the way that they did? Expect a different Falcons team in Week 2 to put up a major fight against a very good Philadelphia Eagles squad.
Stat of the Week:
-When Michael Vick enters the Georgia Dome on Sunday Night, it will have been 1,729 days since he last entered the heralded grounds as a starting quarterback. His last appearance in the Dome was on December 6, 2009. But his last real appearance as a starting quarterback was on Christmas Eve of 2006. On that night, he completed just 9 of 20 passes for a very unflattering total of 109 yards. In addition, he threw 0 TDs to go with two INTs. Hopefully his results are much better this time around.
-Another key statistic for all of my Steelers, Falcons, Cowboys, Giants and fans of 0 and 1 teams out there. Since 1990, only 12.4% of teams that have started 0 and 2 have ended up making the playoffs. So a victory in Week 2 may be more important for your favorite teams if they lost their opener than you realize.
CV3: Time for some defenses to show up this week. Look for a lot less yardage in these games and a more balanced attack from most teams.
CB: This is going to be a very emotional game for Michael Vick Sunday at Atlanta. Being his first time back to Atlanta as a starter, expect a lot of emotions from Mike Vick and also from the fans. I’m sure you will hear a lot of boos and cheers from the fans in the stadium, but hopefully the boos aren’t towards their starting quarterback, Matt Ryan. With a poor performance last week against the Bears and a previous poor performance in the playoffs, Atlanta fans could become impatient during this game as they see their former Pro Bowl quarterback doing what he does best, “just win baby win”.
DC: Week 1 was a dandy filled with excellent performances and thrilling endings. My Cowboys pick looked like a great one until Tony Romo basically handed the game back to the J-E-T-S. Some major take-aways were that Baltimore and New England look like the front runners with dominant performances and Aaron Rodgers is poised to have another big year in Title Town, USA. I have my eyes this week in Atlanta on Sunday night. It will be interesting to see what the Eagles can do in a hostile, intense environment. Vick returns to his former team and I think he is going to shine. A big game through the air, but the Falcons are going to make more plays since they are hungry to prove that Week 1’s embarrassing loss to Chicago was a fluke. Hot-lanta is a Super Bowl contender and I think they prove it this week in a grind-it-out victory at home.
TSK: A possible AFC Championship Preview (Chargers at Patriots) and a homecoming of sorts for Michael Vick highlight what should be another great week in the NFL.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.