We don't know that Kevin Ogletree is the newest receiver out of nowhere because the Giants' secondary was rolling practice squad players out against him. We don't know that the Patriots' defense is vastly improved because the Titans' have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Pump the breaks. We've got a long season ahead (which isn't bad for me. considering I stumbled out of the block picking games).
What we do know is that the NFL is changing. Three QBs threw for over 5,000 yards last year, which was the first time that many players have done that in one season. The league has somewhat abandoned the running game and has embraced the wide open style. It doesn't hurt that the replacement referees are too scared to make judgment calls on potential pass interference calls that they just swallow their whistles. Five teams scored over 40 points last week, the most ever in an opening NFL weekend. With the success of passing offenses last year, you can expect a lot more high scoring games going forward.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
NEW ENGLAND over Arizona
Houston struggled through the first quarter of last week's game against Miami, but they eventually found their footing and rolled to a victory. After Detroit and Philadelphia staged fourth quarter comebacks, it was only those who took New Orleans that felt the survivor burn. This week the Patriots are the easy choice. For starters you have the obvious theory of crummy West Coast team coming east for an early start. While the Cardinals' defense may me a little better than people gave them credit for before Week 1, they will likely struggle against the Patriots' high-powered offense.
Tom Brady is a little better than Russell Wilson. Kevin Kolb was able to lead the comeback for Arizona last week, but he hasn't exactly shown his worth over his time in Arizona. Their offensive line is also a sieve. You could also consider the Giants (I always worry about their historic clunkers at home against bad teams) or Cincinnati (divisional games are usually ones I like to stay away from).
Team used: Houston
Thursday Night Pick:
GREEN BAY -5 over Chicago
The Packers' offense didn't look like the same explosive force last week against the 49ers. They haven't been the best running team in recent years, so the limited output by Cedric Benson wasn't a complete surprise. What was surprising was the lack of cohesiveness in the Packers' passing game compared to how well executed everything was last year. The receivers are the same group from last year, so it's not like anything new needed to be learned in the off-season. The Packers' secondary also looked rather miserable, constantly blowing assignments and leaving San Francisco' receivers wide open.
The positive thing for the Packers is that they only had to wait a few days before getting right back on the field. They're 5-1 against the Bears in the last three years with a margin of victory of 8.8 points in those five wins. Their vaunted pass rush, who recorded four sacks last week, should be all over Jay Cutler. Remember the Bears' only turned up the dial last week once Indianapolis lost Dwight Freeney. Teams who lose in Week 1 naturally show a little more desperation in Week 2 because they don't want to dig themselves a large hole to start the season. It won't take long before the Bears' offense looks as well coordinated as this chicks' stripper act in the parking lot before last Sunday's Bears' game.
Last Week: 6-10
Survivor Pick: 1-0