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Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 2 Featured

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I got off to a good start, putting together a solid Week 1 – I went 10-5-1 (ties remain a bit of a wild card here at K&P, so the Lions/Cardinals tilt skews the numbers a touch). Still, double-digit wins is a strong showing.

Of course, Stella went ahead and put up a 12-3-1. Because OF COURSE she did.

That puts me in the hole to start things off. It’s a not-unfamiliar position – almost every season sees her come out of the gate hot, leaving me to spend the rest of the year struggling to catch up. It’s no surprise that she’s beating me, but her hitting at 75% on winners in the first week does not bode well for me going forward.

That said, there’s room for a whole lot of change this week. Stella and I are rarely at odds on as much as half the slate in a given week, but Week 2 sees us differ on 10 games. That means I’ve been given a huge opportunity to erase her early lead. It also means that she’s been given the chance to completely bury me before we even get to the bye weeks, so who knows?

We’ll start with the San Francisco/Cincinnati matchup. I like the 49ers to go into Cincinnati and take out the Bengals. I don’t think that the Cincy offense is that good and that some regression is coming, while the Niners should figure some things out. Stella shares my belief that the Bengals offense isn’t great, but she thinks they’ll have a much easier time against the 49ers D than they did against Seattle.

In another road pick, I’m going with the Chargers to go into Detroit and take down the Lions. Detroit struggled to handle the flailing Cardinals last week; what the heck are they going to do against Philip Rivers and company? I particularly like Austin Ekeler to have a big game out of the backfield. Stella is actually bullish on the Lions in general; she thinks that Matthew Stafford will be able to throw the ball at will against the LA secondary. She’s a fan of rookie tight end TJ Hockenson in particular. Ultimately, she likes the home team to handle their business.

I’ve got the Packers winning at home against division rival Minnesota. While Green Bay looked sluggish in their opening game, they were facing one of the league’s best defenses. Expect Davante Adams to play much better and good games out of the two Aarons (QB Rodgers and RB Jones); the defense should be able to handle the run-first Vikings. Stella begs to differ. She’s pretty sure that the Packers will struggle to contain the explosive Dalvin Cook, which will in turn open things up for Kirk Cousins to find Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs in the passing game. We both think this has a shot at being the game of the week.

In a less-appealing AFC South faceoff, I’m picking the Colts to go into Tennessee and take down the Titans. While I don’t love Indy’s offensive outlook, they should be able to control the ball with Marlon Mack; that way, Jacoby Brissett can simply manage the game. Stella likes the Titans here for many of the same reasons I like the Colts – she’s expecting a run-heavy game plan featuring Derrick Henry and a more game-management outing from Marcus Mariota. She also thinks the Titans D is sneaky good and might surprise folks this year.

Every week has a game that few outside a small area will care about. This week, we have the Bills taking on the Giants. I’m picking the Bills to win, for reasons that have less to do with how good they are and more to do with how bad the Giants look. Stella doesn’t think much of the Giants, but she does have faith in the talent of Saquon Barkley – she’s erring on the side of picking the team with the best player on the field.

The Seahawks are heading into Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. Seattle’s performance was inconsistent in the first week, but it’s tough to imagine they won’t pull it together going forward. Russell Wilson looked good and Chris Carson looked great; if the defense handles their business, it should be a win. Stella doesn’t think that the Seahawks have what it takes to shut down the Steelers offensive attack; she’s expecting a strong game out of Ben Roethlisberger and a hard-hitting defensive effort. One thing we do agree on – this one could be tight.

I liked what I saw from the Cowboys a lot last week, so I’m picking them to win on the road in Washington. Ezekiel Elliott looked none the worse for wear after his preseason-long holdout, while Dak Prescott was nicely effective throwing to a receiving corps that looks exceptional. Stella’s playing a hunch on this one – she’s not super confident in what Washington is bringing to the table, but she liked how they went after the Eagles last week. She acknowledges that this is her biggest dice-roll pick of the week.

For my seventh (and final) road winner of the week, I’m picking the Bears to go into Denver and handle the Broncos. Chicago’s defense looked ferocious in holding the Packers to just 10 points … and Denver’s offense is a few notches below Green Bay’s. The Bears just need to score a couple of TDs and they’ve got a shot. Stella doesn’t believe they’ll score those TDs, however – while the Denver offense might not measure up to Green Bay, their defense is vastly superior to that of the Packers. She likes the Broncos to do just enough at home. Don’t be shocked if this one winds up 13-10 or something similar.

The Rams might be quite the dominant squad they were last year, but they’ve got more than enough in the tank to beat the Saints. There’s a tentativeness to the Rams offense, particularly when it comes to star RB Todd Gurley, but Sean McVay’s scheme is solid enough to pick up the slack – especially since Gurley’s backups look pretty talented. Plus, they’re at home. Stella recognizes that Drew Brees and the Saints don’t always travel all that well, but she likes their chances on a warm-weather field in LA. If Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara get going, the Rams might struggle to answer.

Finally, I’m picking the Falcons to win at home against the Eagles. This is one of my shakier picks – this Philly team looks pretty strong – but Matt Ryan and company tend to put up points in bunches on their home field. I’m banking on big games from Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to help Atlanta carry the day. Stella’s going with the Eagles and is feeling pretty good about it; she just doesn’t see the Falcons defense being able to hang with the multi-faceted Philly offensive attack. Plus, she thinks that Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman is cooked, so the Eagles can sell out for pass coverage.

And there you have it, 10 games on which we differ. Do I feel great about the fact that seven of my picks here are road teams? I do not. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of writing this feature, it’s that for me to have any shot, I need to take some chances. So I have.

As you might imagine, Stella is unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 12

Tampa Bay at CAROLINA

Sunday, Sept. 15

SAN FRANCISCO at Cincinnati

LA CHARGERS at Detroit

Minnesota at GREEN BAY

INDIANAPOLIS at Tennessee

NEW ENGLAND at Miami

BUFFALO at NY Giants

SEATTLE at Pittsburgh

DALLAS at Washington

Arizona at BALTIMORE

Jacksonville at HOUSTON

KANSAS CITY at Oakland

CHICAGO at Denver

New Orleans at LA RAMS

Philadelphia at ATLANTA

Monday, Sept. 16

CLEVELAND at NY Jets

Week 1 record: 10-5-1

Season record: 10-5-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 12

Tampa Bay at CAROLINA

Sunday, Sept. 15

San Francisco at CINCINNATI

LA Chargers at DETROIT

MINNESOTA at Green Bay

Indianapolis at TENNESSEE

NEW ENGLAND at Miami

Buffalo at NY GIANTS

Seattle at PITTSBURGH

Dallas at WASHINGTON

Arizona at BALTIMORE

Jacksonville at HOUSTON

KANSAS CITY at Oakland

Chicago at DENVER

NEW ORLEANS at LA Rams

PHILADELPHIA at Atlanta

Monday, Sept. 16

CLEVELAND at NY Jets

Week 1 record: 12-3-1

Season record: 12-3-1

Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2019 09:30

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