Week 2 NFL Picks
The 2008 NFL Season rolls into Week 2 and Sunday offers a full slate of games. Our writers and handicappers gave their picks and predictions for Week 2.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-1), 1:00 PM ET
It's been a while since the Indianapolis Colts felt what it was like to lose this early.
The Colts will try to regroup from a disappointing opening week Sunday when they travel to face another disheartened team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Indianapolis, which last year became the first team in NFL history to open 7-0 in three straight seasons, lost 29-13 to Chicago on Sunday night, ruining the coming-out party for its new stadium. The defeat snapped a 21-game winning streak for the Colts in September and October, the longest pre-November win streak in the NFL since the 1928-32 Packers won 23 straight.
Minnesota, which entered the season with playoff ? and even Super Bowl ? aspirations, also needs more balanced play from its offense. Despite Peterson's production, the team failed to move the ball several times, and settled for field goals twice inside the red zone.
Minnesota has lost eight of its past 10 interconference games while the Colts have won 17 of their previous 21 against NFC teams.
This is the first meeting between the teams since 2004, when the Colts won 31-28 at home. Indianapolis has lost five straight visits to Minnesota, but hasn't played at the Metrodome since 1997 - the year before Manning entered the league.
Miami Dolphins (0-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-0), 4:15 PM ET
It's been 17 years since the Arizona Cardinals opened a season with two victories. All that's standing in their way of doing that in 2008 is a team that's won once in its last 20 games.
The Cardinals will try to get off their first 2-0 start since 1991 on Sunday when they host the Miami Dolphins, losers of 10 straight on the road.
Arizona has a long history of losing, having failed to finish with a winning record in 19 of the 20 seasons since the franchise relocated from St. Louis. The Cardinals have begun 10 seasons 0-2. Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, 234 teams have started a season with two losses, and only 27 have gone on to the playoffs.
Those will be the long odds the Dolphins face if they can't win in their first trip to the desert since 1996, but Arizona can do something even rarer to the franchise since its move to Phoenix. The Cardinals have started 2-0 only twice since relocating, most recently when quarterback Tom Tupa - a punter later in his career - led the team to a pair of wins to open the 1991 season. Arizona went on to finish 4-12.
Aside from improving the running game, Miami needs to get better play from its receivers. Pennington completed 26 of 43 passes for 251 yards in his Dolphins debut, but 20 of his completions went to running backs or tight ends.
Free agent pickup Ernest Wilford, who signed a four-year, $13 million deal in the offseason, was healthy but inactive for the opener, and the playing time at receiver went to Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn Jr. and Davone Bess - a trio that had 42 career receptions entering this season.
Wilford led Jacksonville with 45 receptions a year ago.
Miami and Arizona last met in 2004, a 24-23 Cardinals win at Dolphins Stadium.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1), 1:00 PM ET
There's still a lot of mystery surrounding troubled Tennessee quarterback Vince Young. One thing that's certain is that he won't be in the lineup as the Titans try to open a season 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
With Young sidelined by a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, 14-year veteran Kerry Collins is expected to start as the Titans visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Young struggled in his season opener, completing 12 of 22 passes for 110 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Fans booed heavily as he was slow to head back onto the field late in the fourth quarter. Four plays later, Young hurt his knee and left the game.
Cincinnati is all too familiar with stingy defense after suffering a 17-10 loss to AFC North rival Baltimore last Sunday. The Bengals, who ranked in the top 10 in total offense each of the last two seasons, were held to eight first downs and an NFL-low 154 total yards.
Palmer didn't get much help from his offensive line, which gave up two sacks after allowing only 17 all of last season. Palmer was also knocked down repeatedly as the pass protection continued to break down.
The Bengals have won their last two games against the Titans, including a 35-6 rout on Nov. 25. Palmer completed 32 of 38 passes for 283 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in that game.
New York Giants (1-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-1), 1:00 PM ET
The New York Giants defense looked fine in the Super Bowl champions' first game of the season. This week, Eli Manning will try to get the offense running more smoothly when New York visits the St. Louis Rams - a club that wasn't up to the challenge defensively in its opener.
The Giants look to improve to 2-0 and extend their winning streak away from their home field to 12 games when they take on the Rams on Sunday.
Many observers thought New York would take a step back defensively this season after the retirement of Michael Strahan and a season-ending injury to fellow defensive end Osi Umenyiora, along with several other key departures. For one game at least, the Giants appeared prepared to overcome those losses.
Limiting Washington to 11 first downs and 209 total yards in a 16-7 home win to open the NFL season Sept. 4, New York performed like the tough defensive team that unexpectedly surged to the championship in 2007.
That road prowess could be put to the test on the turf of the Edward Jones Dome, where the Giants haven't had much success against the Rams. New York won its last game at St. Louis 26-21 on Sept. 15, 2002, but lost its previous three there. It's 4-13 all-time in road games against the Rams franchise.
St. Louis, though, will have to improve dramatically this week if it wants a win in its home opener. The Rams were pounded 38-3 last week by Philadelphia and Donovan McNabb, who threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns.
The Giants have won three straight over the Rams overall, although the teams haven't met since Oct. 2, 2005 - a 44-24 New York home victory.
Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1), 1:00 PM ET
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't even look like a playoff-caliber club in their season opener.
The Buffalo Bills did, and after a key injury to a division rival, they're suddenly looking like contenders in the AFC East.
Buffalo goes for a 2-0 start on Sunday when it travels to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are hoping to rebound from an ugly offensive performance.
The Bills were 7-6 last December and flirted with an AFC wild card spot before fading down the stretch, losing their final three games and winding up nine games behind undefeated New England in the East to extend their playoff drought to eight years.
The expectations for this year's team may be raised after Week 1. While New England quarterback Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury, the Bills were thrashing Seattle at Ralph Wilson Stadium, using a punt return and a fake field goal to help blow out the four-time reigning NFC West champions 34-10.
Buffalo's offense relied on the run primarily in 2007, led by rookie Marshawn Lynch, who had 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns in only 13 games. Lynch had 18 carries for 76 yards and a score against Seattle, but the Bills also weren't afraid to let Trent Edwards throw.
The Bills threw fewer passes than all but two teams in 2007 - Edwards' rookie season - but gave him more of a green light in the opener. He responded by going 19-for-30 for 215 yards and a touchdown.
Life may soon get easier for both Lynch and Edwards soon. All-Pro tackle Jason Peters, a training camp holdout who signed just one day before the opener, is practicing with the team and may play against Jacksonville.
Taylor ran for 104 yards against Buffalo in a 36-14 Jaguars home win last Nov. 25.
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