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Week 2 NFL Picks: Lions Seek Revenge Against the 49ers

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I went 9-7 in the opening week with my NFL predictions, which is frustrating considering considering I had a better start to the 2011 campaign, when I when 11-5. I really struggled with the afternoon games last week, as the Panthers, Packers, and Seahawks all fell to their competition.

Week 2 is highlighted by Sunday Night Football again as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Detroit Lions. It'll be great to see these two coaches get together again, but let's not forget that the two teams also put on a heck of a show during the game in 2011. My Week 2 picks are after the jump.

Week 2 Games Explanation Pick
vs. Cobb to Make a Difference: Even though Greg Jennings is out, I'm not so sure he is critical to the success of the Packers' passing game anymore. I'm interesting in seeing what second-year man Randall Cobb brings to the table, since he could be used in more of a Percy Harvin role. The Bears' offense got off to a terrible start last week against the Colts until Matt Forte busted a big run. I don't think either defense is going to thrive in this game, but Aaron Rodgers won't be as stifled as he was against the loaded 49ers. Packers 24, Bears 20
vs. Reality Check: I was stunned by how good the Buccaneers' defense played against Carolina last week, especially since the Panthers blew out Tampa Bay twice last year. Mark Barron delivered in his first outing of the season with the Buccaneers, but I think their success also had a lot to do with Carolina struggling vs. a sign of things to come. Eli Manning was efficient against the Cowboys to start the season, but his receivers let him down big time. That won't happen again, and the Giants' front four are going to force the Buccaneers into some turnovers. Giants 23, Buccaneers 6
vs. Battle to See Who is Slightly More Competent: The Raiders looked pretty bad on offense this past Monday night, but one of the big reasons they fell out of the game was an injury to their long snapper. Things were messy in Miami, too, where Ryan Tannehill tried to match Brandon Weeden for the worst offensive performance by a quarterback in Week 1. I think the Raiders, besides Darren McFadden, are going to be very bland on offense this year. I guess that's what happens when you mix the front office up more often than even the Browns do. I still prefer Oakland's defense and McFadden over what the Dolphins have to offer, though, even on the road. Raiders 16, Dolphins 10
vs. Cruising Through the AFC South: I was surprised to see the Jaguars do as much as they did offensively in Week 1, but they were playing the Vikings and that certainly had something to do with it. The Texans are in a dream-like scenario in their division right now: the other three teams are so far behind them, it's ridiculous. What I'm wondering is if Ben Tate is going to see some action this week if the Texans get a sizable lead by halftime. The Texans are well on their way to securing the top seed in the AFC. Texans 41, Jaguars 20
vs. The Bills are Who I Thought They Were: In my preseason power rankings, I rated the Bills in the 25th spot. They were a popular pick to do well this season by many, but I saw the offensive struggles they had to close out last season and did not think two pass rushers were going to turn the entire thing around. Even I didn't expect them to be blown out as bad as they the Jets, to start Week 1. Ouch. I think the Chiefs, on the other hand, were met by a Falcons team that took everyone by surprise how good they were in the passing game. The Chiefs have a much better defense than what they showed last week, and if the Jets can make Buffalo look bad, so can Kansas City. When the Chiefs don't fall behind so quickly, they can utilize their ground game of Charles and Hillis early and often. Chiefs 31, Bills 17
vs. Defensive Struggle of the Week: This is an exciting matchup. The Ravens' no huddle offensive approach worked to perfection against the Bengals, and it was the first time I ever lumped "Joe Flacco" and "impressive" into the same sentence. Hold it, though -- I'm not going to jump on the Flacco bandwagon just yet. He'll be facing a much faster defense this week, including a group of cornerbacks who will test the Ravens' receivers all day long. Michael Vick struggled last week, but a good coach like Andy Reid will not let him throw it as often as he did against the Ravens. With their issues patched, Philly will pull out a close one. Eagles 17, Ravens 14
vs. Shootout of the Week: I thought both of these teams would come out guns blazing and be 1-0 heading into this Week 2 faceoff. Instead, they are each 0-1. The Saints appeared to have no defense, and the Panthers stunningly couldn't do anything on offense, especially in the running game. I think we are in for another shootout this week, but I can't see the Saints getting out-shooted for the second week in a row. Saints 38, Panthers 31
vs. Patriots-Weekly: Outclassing Opponents One Game at a Time: This quarterback situation in Arizona might just top the drama Cleveland has had over the years. Kevin Kolb is expected to start against the Patriots...oh, they are facing New England? Yep, that is not going to go well at all. Bill Belichick has all the weapons he needs on offense at every single position. Last week, they stuck with the running game and the tight ends more than the receivers. This week, I expect them to work in Welker a bit more again. They could probably just take a knee the whole game and still win this game handily. Patriots 31, Cardinals 10
vs. No Luck, Just Lesser Competition: Usually, I don't talk about teams' strength of schedules very much because I think you have to take things one game at a time. Looking at how Minnesota opens the season, though -- against Jacksonville and Indianapolis -- the Vikings have a chance to build some early momentum that could make them a surprise contender later in the year. Unfortunately, their defense won't let that happen. I think Andrew Luck will continue to gel with Reggie Wayne, and the tandem will put together another big day to get their first win. Colts 24, Vikings 9
vs. Taken Down a Peg: This is a compelling matchup. I was curious to see how the new-look Rams would do under Jeff Fisher, and they almost upset the Detroit Lions. I failed to realize how much the Rams had upgraded their secondary, which suits them well against Robert Griffin III in Week 2. The Rams still need a little more "punch" on offense, and I think they'll get it this week as Sam Bradford will show a glimmer of why he was a former No. 1 overall pick. Rams 21, Redskins 17
vs. No Receivers...Sound Familiar? Is Dallas for real? Tony Romo played one of the finest games of his career last week, and the Cowboys' secondary looked to be much-improved from a season ago. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson's debut in Seattle did not go as well as fans had hoped. One of the reasons? His receivers really aren't very good! Braylon Edwards could not haul in what should have been a game-winning touchdown on a quick slant. Seattle's lack of receivers will prevent them from moving the ball against Seattle, and Romo will continue to roll. Cowboys 20, Seahawks 10
vs. Tebow Beats Steelers, Part II? I picked the Jets to win in Week 1, but no one expected Mark Sanchez and company to go off like they did. Wouldn't it be awesome if Tim Tebow gets some more work this week...and torches Ike Taylor and the Steelers again? Unfortunately, James Harrison and Ryan Clark are expected to play against the Jets after missing Week 1. That will allow Pittsburgh's defense to return back to its roots, leading to a fairly easy win. Steelers 23, Jets 10
vs. No Running Games Allowed: The Chargers' defense showed some explosiveness against the Raiders in Week 1, but their running game was virtually non-existent without Ryan Mathews. Meanwhile, the Titans' Chris Johnson still can't get anything going. If he couldn't do anything against New England, I expect another disappointing effort against the Chargers. Tennessee isn't going to compete very often this year. Chargers 30, Titans 13
vs. Game of the Week: Sunday Night Football is going to be a dandy. This game could go either way, and I'd love to see Jim Schwartz get to stick it back to Jim Harbaugh after how last year's game ended (note: I also like Harbaugh, I just don't want it to be a one-sided competition). The 49ers are the best team in the NFC, though -- Alex Smith continued his impressive run as a quarterback, and their defense did enough to take down a Packers team in Lambeau that only lost one game in the regular season a year ago. 49ers 34, Lions 27
vs. Classic Back-and-Forth Action: Peyton Manning is back, and he might just have a better team in Denver than he did most years in Indianapolis, especially looking at some of the Broncos' key playmakers on defense. The Falcons played like one of the NFC's best teams in Week 1, and I don't think they will fail to execute against the Broncos. I expect this to be a classic back-and-forth game, but my faith in Manning is sky high at the moment. Broncos 27, Falcons 24
vs. Battle of Ohio: The Browns' defense will be without Joe Haden this week, but they have plenty of depth at cornerback and boasted an impressive pass rush in Week 1. Before the season, I projected that the Bengals would falter in 2012 after making the postseason a year ago. Andy Dalton and company got off to a terrible start in a division game against the Ravens. Will they falter again against the Browns? My official prediction for this game will be posted on Saturday -- stay tuned!

Survivor Pick:
I picked the Panthers in Week 1 and failed. Ouch. I'll try to build a new streak, but it won't quite be the same after losing already. In Week 2, I'll go with the Patriots -- better safe than sorry this week!