So seeing as Severed's sitting this week out I thought I'd give this a stab as I need something to occupy my hungover mind. Let's see what's on offer.
Sky Sports 3 (17:30)
Detroit Lions (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2)
Not sure why Sky Sports picked this one to televise, but oh well. There's been a certain same-old, same-old element to this season's Lions, as they've relied on their star players to make up for the sheer amount of mediocrity on their roster. The good news is that Stafford, Fairley, Megatron and now Reggie Bush look up to that task when they're playing at Ford Field. The bad news is they have to play away from Ford Field 8 times a year. They face a Redskins team who took an absolute pasting at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last week. While RG3 showed hints of the mercurial player he can be last week, he didn't do so until the 3rd quarter by which time the game was way out of hand courtesy of some catastrophic play from a defence that's emerging as one of the league's worst units. The Lions haven't beaten the Redskins since 1935, racking up an almost unbelievable 0-21 record in the process, but they'll take full advantage of the opportunity to wipe that slate clean today. DET by 4-5.
Sky Sports 3 (21:00)
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Two teams hurting from two very different defeats. While Andrew Luck was failing to Andrew Luck his way past Miami, San Francisco were taking an absolute shoeing in Seattle. That said you'd still expect San Francisco to bounce back, and bounce hard. Players like Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin were non-factors in Seattle but the Colts are a team that succeeds in spite of their defence, not because of it. If Andrew Luck stays protected he could at least keep this one interesting, but with the Smiths both fit and angry after last week's debacle the Niners should roll over the Colts (SF by 7).
Channel 4 (1:00 Monday)
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Marc Trestman's first trip away from Soldier Field suddenly looks a lot easier than it did two weeks ago, as his Bears face a very vulnerable looking Steelers team. Concerns about the aging Steelers D are starting to look very real after losses to two of the league's less vaunted offences but however bad the D looks the offence looks worse. The non-existent running game and balsa wood O-line never used to be a problem when Big Ben brought the ruckus, but even he's struggled this season. The Bears and their turnover forcing D are the last thing the Steelers need at Heinz Field right now (CHI by 7).
Eurosport (1:00 Tuesday)
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
It's hard not to feel for the Raiders as GM Reggie McKenzie continues to put out any team he can whilst trying to undo the previous regime's...well, trying to undo their existence altogether. The Raiders have performed admirably in their first two games, with Terrelle Pryor proving a revelation in a previously Darren McFadden reliant offence and the defence forcing a monster 9 sacks in 2 games. That statistic could make things a little more interesting against a Broncos O-Line that's missing pro-bowl left tackle Ryan Clady for the season, but the key word there is a little. The sheer amount of weapons in Peyton's arsenal was enough to beat two much, much better defenses than Oakland's and to put over 40 points past both of them in the process. Denver's march to top AFC seed continues (DEN by 7).
Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
There's been a lot to like about Arizona so far. Carson Palmer's arrival has given a new lease of life to Larry Fitzgerald and new additions have shored up a previously porous defence. Neither of these things are going to matter against a New Orleans team who are still riding the Sean Payton honeymoon wave. It's worth noting that their offence hasn't really clicked just yet, putting up a most un-Saints like 23 and 16 points against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, but Rob Ryan's new look defence has meant the Saints no longer need their offence to score 50 points a match to stand a chance of winning (NO by 7).
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
It's safe to say that the Vikings are much better than their record suggests after two shoot-outs with divisional rivals ending in narrow defeats. The problems are still numerous; the secondary looks terrible beyond Harrison Smith, Christian Ponder still cannot be relied upon at this level and Adrian Peterson is yet to grab a game by the scruff of the neck in the way we're used to. For Cleveland, Trent Richardson's trade to the Colts has presented one, very clear problem: how on earth is the offence going to score any points? Even with the emergence of Jordon Cameron and Josh Gordon the offence has struggled, and that was when Richardson was available. Admittedly the Browns defence has looked much stronger than in previous years, but if the offence can't keep them off the field it's not going to matter an awful lot. AD to live up to his name and run riot in the 4th quarter (MIN by 7).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
On the subject of misleading records, let's have a look at Tampa and New England. Tampa Bay sit at 0-2 thanks to a Lavonte David brainfart and some particulary beige play-calling from Greg Schiano against New Orleans, whereas the Patriots are 2-0 after making very, very, VERY hard work of beating Jets and Bills teams they'd have swatted aside without a second thought in previous years. Both teams are struggling to get their offences going, with Doug Martin yet to find the battering ram form that made him a legit rookie of the year contender last year and Tom Brady trying to make things happen with a receiving corps with a fraction of the talent he's used to. The loss of suspended Dashon Goldson from Tampa's expensively assembled secondary will make his job a little easier, as will a partisan Foxboro crowd, but this will still be a hard day's work for the Pats (NE by 3).
Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Ed Reed's return to Baltimore has been somewhat overshadowed this week by Ray Rice's injury, and at the time of writing it looks like the Ravens will be without their main offensive weapon. This is particularly bad news for an offence that's down to bare bones after injuries and personnel changes, and even worse news for a team that's about to face the robust JJ Watt-led Texans defence. After two bizarrely close matches against the Chargers and the Titans the Texans have clawed their way to 2-0. Arian Foster's return to full fitness and the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins as a legitimate WR2 mean the Texans offence is starting to tick, and should be enough to carry them past the Ravens in what's likely to be a slugfest (HOU by 4-5).
Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Interesting one, this. After a career day against the Redskins Aaron Rodgers faces a much stronger defence in Cincinnati, a defence that's crucially built around a brutal pass-rushing front 4. Even with the addition of David Bakhtiari at right tackle the Packers O-Line still resembles Swiss cheese at times, with three sacks being surrendered against the awful Redskins defence. So while it's conceivable that Rodgers productivity could be at least limited can Andy Dalton and the Bengals offence take advantage? Quite legitimate questions still surround Dalton's ability to beat winning teams, and with the quality that surrounds him he's starting to run out of excuses. It'll be tough, but ultimately Rodgers will find enough to carry the Pack through this one (GB by 3).
St Louis Rams (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
As usual after a couple of games no-one's really sure if the Cowboys are any good or not. The offensive talent's clearly there (Romo, Bryant, Witten and a still fit DeMarco Murray) , but it's important to note that they'd be sitting at 0-2 were it not for the turnover happy Giants offence. Questions remain about the Rams too, with a previously legit looking secondary surrendering nearly 300 yards a game against Atlanta and Arizona and Sam Bradford struggling to get the most out of his rebuilt offence. Should be close, but the familiar surroundings of the Electric Jerryland should be enough for the Cowboys.
New York Giants (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
If Eli continues to throw interceptions at his current rate he'll have thrown 56 by the end of the regular season. While the Giants struggles shouldn't all be blamed on Eli (David Wilson and a defence that's surrendered 70+ points already should take their fair share of the blame), he used to be able to carry the team out of ruts like this. In Nicks, Cruz and Myers he has to weapons to do so against a very understaffed looking Panthers secondary. And what of the Panthers? While they were a tad unlucky against Seattle and Buffalo, Cam still doesn't look fully up to speed and it's starting to hurt them in winnable games. As they showed last year they have the ability to come good and stay good, but I'd expect the Giants to prevail here (NYG by 4-5).
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Tennesee Titans (1-1)
Two teams who have surprised a few people in the first weeks of the season. The rebuilt Chargers O-line has given Phil Rivers the space to make things happen with Eddie Royal proving a more than adequate target in Danario Alexander's absence, and were it not for a Randy Bullock (!) field goal in the dying seconds of week 1 they'd be 2-0 right now with impressive wins against the Texans and the Eagles to their name. Likewise the addition of Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre to the Titans O-Line has made Chris Johnson a factor again and has given Jake Locker the space to...suck slightly less than he used to. Could be a high-scorer, but the Chargers will be riding the wave of an impressive road win in Philly that will carry them over the line here (SD by 3-4).
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
After an impressive win against the Colts the Dolphins are starting look like a real threat in the suddenly wide-open AFC East. Ryan Tannehill is proving he can find and use his new weapons, and the defence is showing it can make big, big plays when the chips are down. The Falcons are the toughest test they've faced so far however, and even with S-Jax and Roddy White walking wounded there's plenty of talent in this offence. It's important to note that Atlanta have squandered big leads in their last 4 games (Seattle, SF, New Orleans and St Louis) and have ended each game with 7 point or fewer margin between the teams. If Miami can keep this interesting until Q4 then anything can happen, but I'd imagine Atlanta to be out of sight by then (ATL by 7).
Buffalo Bills (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
The NFL's newest QBs face each other in this AFC East matchup. The Jets have put their ridiculous summer behind them admirably with a hard-fought clutch victory against the Bucs and a spirited performace against the Patriots leaving them at 1-1. Likewise the Bills have impressed and are reaping the benefits of an excellent draft, with Robert Woods, Kiko Alonso and of course EJ Manuel proving to be big contributors early in the season. If Geno can keep his head the Jets can do this at home, but the Bills should prove just too tough a challenge in what's likely to be a real bruiser (BUF by 3)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
There's simply no way this ends well for the Jags. An offence that's scored 9 points against a defence that's conceded 11. The league's form running back against a defence that's surrendered 173 rushing yards a game. No MJD. I could go on, but barring an almighty attack of complacency in Seattle this one will be a walkover. Could be very ugly indeed (SEA by 7).
Cool? Cool. Let's talk football.