Sport

Packers stumble, RG III dominates on debut, and Peyton is back

NFL WEEK 1 IN THE BOOKS

BY TONY SCOTT

Friday, September 14, 2012    

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MY fellow expert Andrei Roper is off and running after his week one predictions were for the most part on point.

But its early days and Andrei's one week dominance will inevitably change.

Another member of our pack, Andre Hutchinson has promised to be the agent of this change and has thrown down the challenge for the rest of the season. So far Peter Lindo has nothing to say. Neither do I for that matter, after bringing up the rear in the predictions against the spread. For the record, Roper was 10-6, not bad considering that predicting week one outcomes is at best tricky indeed, so well done Drei. As far as the rest of the protagonists are concerned, both Hutchinson and Lindo were 8 -8 and yours truly was less than impressive with a 7- 9 tally. But things will improve starting this week hopefully.

Week one of any NFL season is always revealing as it can set the tone for the rest of the season. If this proves to be the case again, then we're in for some interesting times.

It all started on Wednesday with the Cowboys going into New York and convincingly beating the Giants 24-17. Remember, the Giants are the current Super Bowl Champs and as far as most people were concerned, the Cowboys did not have a hope in hell of beating them. Well they did and convincingly so. But it's only Week one and I believe the Cowboys will falter and the Giants will get their act together and end up in the playoffs, somehow. I say playoffs because there are some serious contenders for the postseason who are worth mentioning now. One such team is the San Francisco 49ers who looked awfully impressive in their 30-22 win over the Green Bay Packers - on the Packers' home turf at Lambeau Field. Another team that signaled its playoff intentions was the Chicago Bears, who looked comfortable on both offense and defense, as they did a number on the Indianapolis Colts and their rookie signal-caller, the much heralded number one overall draft pick Andrew Luck, by beating them 41-21. The Baltimore Ravens, who always appear to be just hanging around, did more than that on Monday Night Football as they hammered the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13, and looked the complete team in doing so.

Quarterbacks were in the spotlight in Week one as five rookie quarterbacks started and one seasoned veteran returned to centre stage. It was a confident Pittsburgh Steelers team that visited the Mile High Stadium in Denver to meet the Denver Broncos and their re-engineered quarterback, Peyton Manning, previously of Indianapolis Colts fame. Recovering from three (or is it four?) neck surgeries and recuperating for over a year, some folks questioned his readiness to play again at the level to which he was accustomed. Well he quickly answered their questions. The old Peyton turned up and played his role as the master 'Field General' and led his troops to a convincing 31-19 win over a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team (albeit without their top running back Rashard Mendenhall and their top defensive back Ryan Clark). Good to have Peyton back in command.

Good also to have an exciting rookie being the focus of intense attention by both the media and the fans. He is none other than Robert Griffin III, affectionately known as RG III, quarterback of the Washington Redskins and, in Week one, chief architect of the Redskins 40-32 beating of the New Orleans Saints in their season opener in the New Orleans Super Dome. No small feat for a rookie who's showing a lot of promise.

Credit must also go to the much criticized, under pressure New York Jets and their quarterback Mark Sanchez, who turned up the heat and blew past the Buffalo Bills 48-28, with Sanchez tossing three touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Tim Tebow didn't have much of an impact on the game though - this was the Sanchez show, and good for him.

Other impressive week one performances were turned in by the Philip Rivers Rivers-led San Diego Chargers who won on the road 22-14 over my Oakland Raiders on Monday Night, and by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for whom it was business as usual as they trounced the Tennessee Titans 34-13. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons look darn good in beating up on the Kansas City Chiefs 40-24, and Arian Foster and Houston Texans tripled up the hapless Miami Dolphins 30-10.

So here we go with our take on Week two. There was a game last night between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers cannot afford to lose two games in a row, worse, two games in a row at home, and they are up against a well balanced and highly motivated Chicago Bears team. With some trepidation I picked the Packers to pull it off and cover the spread. I sincerely hope that, by the time this article goes to press, they did.

Some other games to look out for in Week 2 include the Baltimore vs Philadelphia game which will let us know quickly if Mr. Michael Vick can survive an entire season injury free. Incidentally, the Ravens lost one of their owners last week with the passing of Art Modell. Ray Lewis delivered an impassioned eulogy on the life of a man whom he admired and respected. I suspect that the Ravens will be playing to win one for Mr. Modell. The Jets will take their show on the road and try to deal with the Steelers, while the Detroit Lions will face the vaunted San Francisco 49ers defense in what could be a tough outing for Lions' quarterback Matt Stafford. The Dallas Cowboys will be in Seattle as Tony Romo and company will look to give another indicator as to whether the boys from 'Big D' are the real deal or not. The Monday Night game should be a sweet affair, with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on the road facing the impressive Atlanta Falcons.

Well, that's it from me for now folks. Enjoy the games this weekend and remember to place your bets on the NFL, with JustBet!!!

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NFL WEEK 2 SCHEDULE

(Handicaps in bracket, Under/Over included)

Thursday September 13

GB Packers v Chi Bears +5.5, U/O 49.5

Sunday September 16

Buf Bills v KC Chiefs (+3.5), U/O 45.5

Car Panthers (+2.5) v NO Saints, U/O 50.5

Cin Bengals v Cle Browns (+9.5), U/O 40.5

Ind Col_s (+0.5) v Min Vikings, U/O 43.5

Jac Jaguars (+8.5) v Hou Texans, U/O 42.5

Mia Dolphins (+1.5) v Oak Raiders, U/O 40.5

NE Patriots v Ari Cardinals (+14.5), U/O 49.5

NY Giants v TB Buccaneers (+9.5), U/O 44.5

Phi Eagles v Bal Ravens (+1.5), U/O 44.5

Sea Seahawks (+4.5) v Dal Cowboys, U/O 42.5

STL Rams (+3.5) v Was Redskins, U/O 45.5

Pit Steelers v NY Jets (+6.5), U/O 40.5

SD Chargers v Ten Titans (+5.5), U/O 44.5

SF 49ers v Det Lions (+7.5), U/O 46.5

Monday September 17

Atl Falcons v Den Broncos +3.5, U/O 49.5

*Handicaps and Under/Over subject to change without notice, prior to kick-off

EXPERTS' PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD

Andrei Roper's

Week 2 Picks (in bold)

Packers v Bears

Bills v Chiefs

Panthers v Saints

Bengals v Browns

Colts v Vikings

Jaguars v Texans

Dolphins v Raiders

Patriots v Cardinals

Giants v Buccaneers

Eagles v Ravens

Seahawks v Cowboys

Rams v Redskins

Steelers v Jets

Chargers v Titans

49ers v Lions

Falcons v Broncos

Last week: 10-6

Season to date: 10-6

Andre Hutchinson's

Week 2 Picks (in bold)

Packers v Bears

Bills v Chiefs

Panthers v Saints

Bengals v Browns

Colts v Vikings

Jaguars v Texans

Dolphins v Raiders

Patriots v Cardinals

Giants v Buccaneers

Eagles v Ravens

Seahawks v Cowboys

Rams v Redskins

Steelers v Jets

Chargers v Titans

49ers v Lions

Falcons v Broncos

Last week: 8-8

Season to date: 8-8

Peter Lindo's

Week 2 Picks (in bold)

Packers v Bears

Bills v Chiefs

Panthers v Saints

Bengals v Browns

Colts v Vikings

Jaguars v Texans

Dolphins v Raiders

Patriots v Cardinals

Giants v Buccaneers

Eagles v Ravens

Seahawks v Cowboys

Rams v Redskins

Steelers v Jets

Chargers v Titans

49ers v Lions

Falcons v Broncos

Last week: 8-8

Season to date: 8-8

Tony Scott's

Week 2 Picks (in bold)

Packers v Bears

Bills v Chiefs

Panthers v Saints

Bengals v Browns

Colts v Vikings

Jaguars v Texans

Dolphins v Raiders

Patriots v Cardinals

Giants v Buccaneers

Eagles v Ravens

Seahawks v Cowboys

Rams v Redskins

Steelers v Jets

Chargers v Titans

49ers v Lions

Falcons v Broncos

Last week: 7-9

Season to date: 88-72

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