By Garrett Eagan
The upcoming NFL season has already been shrouded in scandal, deception, suspension, and hold-outs. The name Michael Vick has been said enough on ESPN to yield an ESPN3: VickOnTrial. However, Vick is not the only NFL
athlete to sit back and watch his teammates from home, the strip club, a wrestling arena, or even jail. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handed down a one-season suspension for Titans’ Adam “Pac-Man” Jones; ten games for Bengals’ Chris Henry; eight games for ex-Bears’ Tank Johnson; four games for Raiders’ Dominic Rhodes; and an indefinite suspension for ex-Falcons’ Michael Vick.
On the opposite side of those who actually are scheduled to play, many players are holding out for what they deem as “a fair wage.” Ja-Marcus Russell has held out while another hold-out Asante Samuel from the Patriots has accepted his franchise tag. Roger Goodell has gone through more hell in his first 12 2/3 months in office than Tagliabue went through in his 17 years of service.
Here are my picks for week two:
• Panthers 31, Texans 13 – Take Carolina over the Texans.
• Jaguars 24, Falcons 20 – Take Gerard over Harrington and the Jags over the Falcons.
• Saints 17, Bucs 10 – Despite the promise on both offense and defense, take the Saints over the Bucs.
• Bengals 27, Browns 16 – Even after losing one of their receivers to a ten game suspension, the Bengals are still looking strong with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
• Colts 23, Titans 16 – Vince Young and the Titans are looking to give the Colts the same trouble they did last season; however without Travis Henry, it might be difficult to pull off. Take the Colts over the Titans.
• Cowboys 23, Dolphins 17 – The Cowboys looked good in preseason, and even though there are some questions with Terry Glenn’s health, Terrell Owens and Jason Witten will pick up the load along with the solid dual running back set of Marion Barber and Julius Jones.
• Jets 13, Baltimore 10 – The Jets are one of my sleeper teams this season, and I believe the Ravens will not be able to live up to last season’s success. It may be gutsy, but take the Jets over the aging Ravens.
• Broncos 28, Raiders 6 – With their #1 pick JaMarcus Russell sitting and awaiting a better deal, expect the loss column to pile up quick. Even with Russell, there are no real offensive weapons. The Broncos are solid with the Mike Shanahan genius not fading at all. Take the Broncos to run it up over the Raiders.
• Bears 23, Chiefs 13 – After a disappointing Super Bowl performance, expect the Bears to come out fiery against the Chiefs. Their defense is effectively the real reason behind their success last season, and will be this season. Take the Bears over the Chiefs.
• Eagles 24, Redskins 14 – The Redskins are another one of my sleeper teams this season. Take the Eagles in Philly.
• Steelers 17, Bills 10 – The Steelers are not what they were in the 2005 season, yet they still will be a force in the AFC North. Even with a new coach, the Steelers will stay strong. Take the Steelers over the Bills.
• Patriots 28, Chargers 20 (PICK OF THE WEEK!) – Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomilinson, and Antonio Gates are the weapons that Norv Turner will attempt to utilize against the Patriots. LT coming off a season nothing short of sensational, looks to repeat the same; however, LT will have trouble against the defense of the Patriots. The Patriots have made enough moves in the offseason to get them to the AFC Championship. Tom Brady will throw to targets like Randy Moss and Ben Watson. Also, defensively, Asante Samuel, Adalius Thomas will effectively help points off the board. Take the Patriots in Foxboro to avenge LT’s comments from last year in a tight game down to the end.