Mac's NFL Picks - Week 2

It was great to see Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' exuberance after his 1-yard touchdown and subsequent Lambeau Leap in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday night.

However, there was one thing that irked me about that play call.

Packers star running back Ryan Grant (and one of the starting running backs on the "Inconvenienced Badgers", my fantasy football team) set the Packers up with that 1st-and goal situation with a 57-yard run. Grant wasn't gassed, clearly wanted the chance to punch it in, but head coach Mike McCarthy kept him on the sidelines.

Instead, McCarthy sent Rodgers on quarterback sneak into a Vikings defensive line of Jared Allen, Pat and Kevin Williams, et al…risking injury to the only quarterback on the roster with any semblance of experience, instead of having Rodgers turn around and hand the ball to Grant, his top running back, who had clearly earned that cookie?

This isn't meant to be a rant about my fantasy team, (I won easily) I'm just puzzled McCarthy's thought process on that play.

I mean, Rodgers had never made it through a half of NFL action without getting hurt, rookie Matt Flynn is his back-up, and McCarthy calls for a QB sneak?

Anyway, it's time for this week's picks!

After another sub-.500 season in 2007 (122-127-7), I started off 2008 with a Dennis Erickson-esque 9-7. (Thanks, again Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Seattle and New England!)

The goal is always .500, and as always, these picks are "For Entertainment Purposes Only".

Green Bay (-3) at Detroit - Do you know whose thought process always puzzles me? Matt Millen's. Pick: Packers -3

Chicago at Carolina (-3) – Muhsin Muhammed has taken a lot of heat for saying that Chicago "is where receivers go to die" this off-season, but he was just repeating what someone told him. Oh, and he's right. Pick: Panthers -3

Tennessee at Cincinnati (-1 ½) – Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer put up 426 yards and three touchdowns on the Titans' defense last November. Now, I don't think they'll repeat that performance, but I expect him to put up more than the 99 yards he managed against the Ravens last week. Pick: Bengals -1 ½

Buffalo at Jacksonville (-5 ½)Marcus Stroud was dominant last week against Seattle and the Jaguars lost both of their starting guards for the season. That's not good news for David Garrard and a Jaguars running game that never got going against Tennessee. Pick: Bills +5 ½

Oakland at Kansas City (-3 ½) – Despite being the youngest and least experienced team in the NFL, you have to like that the Chiefs were a Dwayne Bowe dropped pass away from taking the New England Patriots to overtime at Gillette Stadium last Sunday. Pick: Chiefs -3 ½

Indianapolis (-2) at Minnesota – Who's more likely to start out a season 0-2: Tarvaris Jackson or Peyton Manning? Smart money says Jackson. Pick: Colts -2

NY Giants (-8) at St. Louis – Check out the Rams' schedule:

9/14 – vs. the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants
9/21 – at the four-time defending NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks
9/28 – vs. a potentially dangerous Buffalo Bills team
10/5 – Bye
10/12 – at the Washington Redskins
10/19 – vs. the Dallas Cowboys, the best team in the NFC (on paper)
10/26 – at the New England Patriots
11/2 – vs. the potentially legitimate Arizona Cardinals
11/9 – at Brett Favre and the New York Jets

Call me crazy, but I think Scott Linehan needs to win at some point this month to keep his job. Pick: Giants -8

New Orleans (-1) at Washington – The Saints losing Marques Colston for 4-to-6 weeks isn't enough for me to forget how dreadful the Redskins were in their season opener. I hope Jim Zorn has a long career as head coach in the NFL, I'm just not sure this is the week where he gets his first win. Pick: Saints -1

San Francisco at Seattle (-7 ½) – I know that the Seahawks wide receivers, special teams, offensive line, running backs and coaching staff looked pitiful against the Buffalo Bills a week ago, so this game is going to rest squarely on the shoulders of Seattle's defense. They're a different animal at home, and they should feast on J.T. O'Sullivan. Pick: Seahawks -7 ½

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-8) – Fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa can send text messages to report unruly fans to stadium security and law enforcement officials. If I send text messages asking them to stop firing that lame cannon whenever the Bucs enter the red zone, get a 1st down or sign another quarterback, will they shut it down? Pick: Falcons +8

Miami at Arizona (-6 ½) – Interesting tidbit: Chad Pennington and Kurt Warner are 1st and 2nd in completion percentage (among QBs with 1,500 attempts) on the NFL's all-time leaderboard. The difference this Sunday is that Warner will be completing his passes to Pro Bowl-caliber receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, while Pennington will be checking down to his running backs and non-Pro Bowl tight ends Anthony Fasano and David Martin. Pick: Cardinals -6 ½

San Diego (-2) at Denver – Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal had a phenomenal debut, but unlike Oakland, the Chargers defense will actually send pass rushers after Jay Cutler.Pick: Chargers -2

New England at NY Jets (-2) – Does anyone remember the last time we were able to take the Patriots and the points? As tempting as that may be, I simply do not trust Matt Cassel to win (or cover the spread) on the road against a Jets team who may not admit it publicly, but has to smell the blood in the water. Pick: Jets -2

Pittsburgh (-5 ½) at Cleveland – There's dominance and then there's what the Pittsburgh Steelers have done to the Cleveland Browns over the last four seasons. The Steelers have won 9 straight games over the Browns by an average of 15 ½ points per game. Pick: Steelers -5 ½ (and a bunch of panicking executives at ESPN, who still have three Browns games to broadcast this season)

Baltimore at Houston (-5) – This is probably the first time the NFL will have two Monday night games going on simultaneously within the same state. It's just unfortunate that fans in other cities won't be able to watch this game as part of the NFL's Sunday Ticket package. Pick: Texans -5

Philadelphia at Dallas (-7) – Word of warning: ESPN might mention Jessica Simpson and the T.O-McNabb feud a few hundred times on Monday night. Cancel all drinking games based on these subplots, as it's simply too early in the season to risk alcohol poisoning.

Here's something Ron Jaworski will certainly be talking about: Dononan McNabb could surpass "Jaws" as the Eagles' all-time leader in touchdown passes. He only needs two, so it's definitely a possibility on Monday night. I just don't think it will be enough to stop the Cowboys juggernaut. Pick: Cowboys -7


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