Vinnie is overall more excited about the line on a handful of this week’s games, as compared to Week 1. After calling both the Ravens-Jets under and Colts-Texans over, Vinnie decided to begin this week’s article with another appetizer.
Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins (over/under 44): It’s teacher versus student, here, as Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak played backup quarterback on the Mike Shanahan coached Denver Broncos, then moved up the assistant coaching ladder until he was the offensive coordinator under Shanahan. Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son, coached the last several years under Kubiak in Houston, but now joins his father in Washington. But that’s not why you read Vinnie, loving every word as you go! Simple formula, really, as to why Vinnie isn’t buying that this game will turn into a shootout. While Houston has offensive playmakers coming out of the proverbial woodwork and laid 34 on Indianapolis a week ago, Jim Haslett is working wonders with the Redskins personnel on defense and will have an answer for Arian Foster and Matt Schaub. The result will be a lesser scoring game than many people anticipate.
44 total points.
As for Vinnie’s four premiere picks, enjoy …
Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons (-6.5): Make no mistake, Arizona won last week but tried their very best to give the opener away to the rebuilding St. Louis Rams. Derek Anderson was anything but sharp and Tim Hightower played well at times, but also came down with a case of fumbleitis. The Falcons are a team Vinnie had near the top of his power rankings coming into Week 1, but even after the heartbreaker at Pittsburgh, the Falcons appear to easily have what it takes to overwhelm Arizona. Expect a big, big game from Michael Turner but perhaps even more so from the entire Atlanta defense.
Gimme the Falcons minus the points.
Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns (-2)
: Going strictly by last year, this would appear to be a battle between crappy teams. But aided by the weather though they were, Kansas City played well enough on defense and special teams to make it difficult for Vinnie to think of the Chiefs as a pushover opponent going forward. And in this case, whereas the Chiefs’ offense features Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel decides to perform above average, and can get some production out of its receivers. Also, the Browns are lackluster on offense at best. Yep, the distance between these two teams will be a lot more obvious heading into Week 3.
Gimme the Chiefs plus the points.
Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-2.5)
: Tampa Bay won a close one at home last week while Carolina was trashed visiting New York and the Giants. Interesting statistic: the Panthers are 7-2 against the spread over their past nine games hosting the Buccaneers. This is the week that the gruesome DeAngelo Williams led ground game gets on track, much to the dismay of Tampa Bay fans. Josh Freeman could potentially make another nice accounting of himself, throwing to rookie Mike Williams, but it will not be enough.
Gimme the Panthers minus the points.
Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5)
: Got to love these intense divisional rivalries with possible playoff implications. The Ravens escaped New York with a win on Monday night, but unfortunately travel to Cincinnati in Week 2. The Bengals nearly always give the Ravens more trouble than they’re ready for – that has been the case in recent years anyway. Baltimore has gone 1-4 straight up and against the spread over its last five trips to play the Bengals. Furthermore, Cincinnati has gone 8-3 against the spread in its last 11 games, home or away, versus Baltimore. Mark Sanchez and the Jets were not able to take advantage of the vulnerable Ravens secondary, but you can bet Carson Palmer and his many weapons will be able to.
Gimme the Bengals plus the points.