Poupart's picks: Week 2

Not everybody had as good a Week 1 as the Dolphins, and that certainly would include yours truly. Then again, opening weekend always offers a lot of surprises and it very difficult to predict. But enough with the excuses, here we go with the picks for Week 2.

Sunday, September 18

New England (1-0) at Carolina (0-1): It's always awfully hard to pick against the Patriots and the Panthers have to deal with the loss of stud defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. Still, we can't help but get the feeling Carolina will bounce back from their disappointing debut against the Saints. Jake Delhomme had a rough game last week, but will bounce back. Carolina, 20-16.

Detroit (1-0) at Chicago (0-1): The Bears are going to be involved in an awful lot of low-scoring games this year, and this is one they can win. They force a couple of Joey Harrington turnovers. Chicago, 13-10.

Minnesota (0-1) at Cincinnati (1-0): Remember all that talk about the Vikings being a Super Bowl team. That kind of died down after their loss to Tampa Bay, didn't it? The Bengals, meanwhile, looked very good last week, but they were playing a very bad Cleveland team. This one should be fun to watch. Minnesota, 34-31.

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Houston (0-1): Doesn't matter who plays running back for the Steelers, the yards will come. As for the Texans, if David Carr gets sacked five times by Buffalo, what do you think Pittsburgh's blitz will do to him? Pittsburgh, 26-10.

Jacksonville (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0): The Jaguars gave the Colts a lot of problems last year, but this Indy actually might have a defense. And you can't go against Peyton Manning in the Dome. Indianapolis, 24-20.

San Francisco (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-1): There's something strange about those records, isn't there? The 49ers scored a big win over St. Louis last week, but also gave up a lot of yardage. The Eagles offense struggled at Atlanta on Monday night, but should bounce back in a big way here even with Donovan McNabb nursing a sore chest. Philadelphia, 31-13.

Buffalo (1-0) at Tampa Bay (1-0): Tough one to call. The Bucs surprised us last week because they simply didn't look promising heading into the season. The Buffalo defense, meanwhile, is very, very good. It's just a matter of J.P. Losman managing the game. Buffalo, 17-14.

Baltimore (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1): Anthony Wright will be at quarterback for the Ravens, and the truth is he's just as good as Kyle Boller. But the big issue here isn't the Ravens quarterback, it's the fact that Tennessee is in the midst of a nasty rebuilding project that is going to be painful. Baltimore, 20-6.

St. Louis (0-1) at Arizona (0-1): The Rams are probably kicking themselves for losing that game at San Fran last week, but turnovers again became a problem for them. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have a quarterback and good receivers, but their offensive line remains awful. The Rams just have too much firepower. St. Louis, 33-20.

Atlanta (1-0) at Seattle (0-1): The Falcons have the look of one of the top teams in the NFC, with a very good defense and a very good running game. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have the look of a .500 team, at best. But the big factor here is Atlanta having to travel to the West Coast after playing on Monday night. That leads to the upset. Seattle, 21-19.

San Diego (0-1) at Denver (0-1): The loser of this game will find itself in an 0-2 hole in the very tough AFC West. San Diego lost to Dallas at home last week partly because of the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates and partly because they forgot to get the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson late in the game. But the other factor is that the San Diego secondary remains very weak. Dolphins fans couldn't have been very impressed by the Broncos last Sunday, but this is a much better than the one that showed up at Dolphins Stadium. Jake Plummer could have a big day. Denver, 27-24.

Cleveland (0-1) at Green Bay (0-1): Brett Favre had a rough opener in Detroit and it could be a long year for the Packers. But the Browns have the inside track on being the worst team in the NFL. Green Bay, 27-14.

Miami (1-0) at N.Y. Jets (0-1): We still don't know just how good this Dolphins team can be, but there are encouraging signs everywhere. It's difficult to envision Miami going to Giants Stadium and dropping the Jets to 0-2, but Coach Nick Saban has made us think anything is possible. Somehow, thoug, we see Chad Pennington and the Jets passing game rebounding from a poor outing. N.Y. Jets, 20-17.

Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (0-1): This should be a fun Sunday nighter with a lot of offense. The difference here is the Chiefs defense looks much-improved, while Oakland's defense has holes everywhere. Kansas City, 34-27.

Monday, September 19

New Orleans (1-0) vs. N.Y. Giants (1-0) at Giants Stadium: This was supposed to be a home game for the Saints, but Hurricane Katrina led to the switch. The Saints had an emotional victory at Carolina last week, but that intangible doesn't last forever. The Giants, meanwhile, could have a pretty good team if quarterback Eli Manning delivers. N.Y. Giants, 23-20.

Washington (1-0) at Dallas (1-0): The Cowboys have won 14 of the last 15 meetings between these teams, and because of their offense look to have the better team in 2005. So unless Mark Brunell comes alive at quarterback for the Redskins, the Cowboys should go to 2-0. Dallas, 24-16.

Last week's record: 7-9

Season record: 7-9

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