Based on my initial impression of each NFL team and the week 1 results, here are my rankings of the 32 teams going into the week 2 games:
1. Denver (1-0) – the best team in the league until proven otherwise
2. Seattle (1-0) – basically tied with San Francisco, great QB and defense
3. San Francisco (1-0) – Kaepernick may be unstoppable, run D is suffocating
4. Green Bay (0-1) – best QB in the league but shaky O-line and mediocre D
5. New England (2-0) – offense should improve dramatically when Gronk returns
6. Washington (0-1) – when RG3 is physically 100 percent, the Redskins will be very good
7. Houston (1-0) – balanced offense and very tough D
8. Pittsburgh (0-1) – not overreacting to one game, giving Steelers benefit of doubt for now
9. New Orleans (1-0) – great QB, if D is for real then they’re a Super Bowl contender
10. Atlanta (0-1) – good QB/defense but not exceptional on either side
11. Cincinnati (0-1) – quality defense and improving QB
12. St. Louis (1-0) – underrated QB/defense = underrated team
13. Kansas City (1-0) – even against Jacksonville, winning 28-2 on the road is a feat
14. Dallas (1-0) – Romo can win games but defense is very shaky
15. NY Giants (0-1) – OK/good everywhere, great nowhere
16. Carolina (0-1) – defense is for real but Newton can’t beat good teams
17. Baltimore (0-1) – losing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed stings
18. Arizona (0-1) – much improved pass offense but if pass D is gone they will fall quickly
19. Detroit (1-0) – looked awesome against Minnesota, decent QB and improving D
20. Chicago (1-0) – defense can create turnovers but I still don’t trust Cutler
21. Miami (1-0) – have playmakers on D but need Tannehill to improve
22. Tennessee (1-0) – surprising performance in Pittsburgh but Locker is still the QB
23. San Diego (0-1) – not terrible anywhere but not great anywhere either
24. Minnesota (0-1) – if Ponder is a turnover machine the Vikings are toast
25. Indianapolis (1-0) – I’m a fan of Luck but barely beating Oakland is not a good sign
26. Philadelphia (1-0) – shockingly good in first half against Washington, again not overreacting to one game
27. Tampa Bay (0-1) – Freeman is unlikely to survive the year as starting QB
28. Cleveland (0-1) – defense is OK but Weeden is not a long-term answer
29. NY Jets (1-1) – Smith is a disaster but pass D will keep them in games
30. Buffalo (0-1) – close game against Patriots doesn’t look as impressive in retrospect
31. Jacksonville (0-1) – deserves to be #32 with Gabbert starting, with Henne they get to be #31
32. Oakland (0-1) – it’s not good when Pryor is forced to throw
With that said here are my picks against the spread for week 2… I didn’t publish my week 1 picks but they were 5-10-1 so it’s just as well. My straight-up picks were 13-3 so that’s good.
NY Jets (+12) at New England – I know, the game already happened, but that was my pick. I just admitted to going 5-10-1 last week so cut me some slack.
San Diego (+7.5) at Philadelphia – Not buying the Eagles as a playoff team yet. They’re better than I thought but need to prove it in more than one game.
Baltimore (-6.5) vs. Cleveland – The Ravens are now an average team but that’s good enough to win at home against Cleveland.
Tennessee (+9.5) at Houston – Pretty tough line, I’ll take the points but this could swing either way.
Indianapolis (-3) vs. Miami – Exactly where the line should be. I’ll default to the home team.
Buffalo (+3) vs. Carolina – I like Carolina to win the game but if you’re giving me three points I’ll take Buffalo to cover.
St. Louis (+7) at Atlanta – Rams might be the most underrated team in football right now. They can keep this one close.
Washington (+7.5) at Green Bay – The Redskins should cover if RG3 is back to 100 percent… but I doubt he is.
Kansas City (-3) vs. Dallas – Fair line, time to see what the Chiefs can do against non-Gabbert.
Chicago (-6) vs. Minnesota – Normally I would take the points, but as a Vikings fan I know bad things happen in Chicago.
Tampa Bay (+3) vs. New Orleans – Seems counter-intuitive but it’s almost always a good idea to bet against the dome team going outdoors.
Jacksonville (+6) at Oakland – This line makes no sense. With Henne at QB the Jaguars should be +1.5 at Oakland.
NY Giants (+4.5) vs. Denver – The Giants won’t always be a turnover machine like they were in Dallas. This should be a close one.
Arizona (+1) vs. Detroit – I believe the Rams/Cardinals are badly underrated, time to put that to the test.
San Francisco (+3) at Seattle – Seattle by 3 is a correct line, but when I made the pick San Francisco +3 was cheaper than Seattle -3.
Pittsburgh (+7) at Cincinnati – I’m not ready to bury the Steelers yet, but I might change my mind if the Bengals squash them.