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Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 2

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And we’re off to an underwhelming start.

It’ll probably come as no surprise to anyone who followed Week 1’s upset-riddled slate that neither Stella nor myself had a particularly good week. In fact, we had pretty much the same not particularly good week – we both managed to go 8-8.

So we’re back at it with a clean slate this week, both of us essentially starting from zero. Not that we’re likely to see a ton of separation after this coming week, because Stella and I are at odds on just five of this week’s contests.

First up, we’ll look at the Cincinnati/Chicago matchup. I’m going with the Bengals on the road here; this Bengals team looks ready to move the ball, with Joe Mixon getting things going on the ground and receivers like Tee Higgins and rookie breakout candidate Ja’Marr Chase on the upswing. It’ll come down to what the Cincy defense can manage. Stella likes this as a revenge game for Chicago QB Andy Dalton, who spent most of his career with the Bengals. While there might not be as much firepower on offense for the Bears, Dalton can manage a game. It’s the Bears D that can define the game – Stella expects young Bengals passer Joe Burrow to be running scared for much of the game. She also expects one or two big plays from packages designed for rookie QB Justin Fields.

Next, we’re on to Miami, where I’m picking the visiting Bills to take down the Dolphins. I know the Bills had their struggles in Week 1, but this team is just too talented to dismiss – particularly in a division game. Expect QB Josh Allen to bounce back, even against a pretty solid Miami secondary. The Bills defense has a lot of talent, so I figure Miami’s inconsistent QB Tua Tagovailoa might be in a little trouble. Stella’s with me in that she thinks the Bills are the more talented squad, but she thinks I might be selling that Miami defense a little short. She’s guessing that Allen will get harassed into a couple of big mistakes – mistakes that could prove to be the difference, so long as Tua can hold onto the ball and avoid turnovers.

I’ve got the Eagles winning at home against the 49ers. Of all my picks this week, this one feels the shakiest. Not sure if it’s a hunch or if my judgment is clouded by my fantasy football crush on QB Jalen Hurts, but I think Philly might have something here – particularly if the connection we saw between Hurts and rookie wideout DeVonta Smith last week is for real. It’ll come down to whether the Eagles can handle San Francisco’s offensive attack. Stella is here to say that she for one does not believe that will happen. She’s not sold on Jimmy Garoppolo remaining the starter under center all year – she likes rookie QB Trey Lance a lot – but she also thinks that the Niners have the firepower to push Philly around a bit. She’s cautiously optimistic about what running back Elijah Mitchell can do replacing the injured Raheem Mostert and happily reminds me that Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are still here catching passes.

For the Raiders/Steelers tilt, I’m going with Pittsburgh to win at home. I don’t love the Steelers this year – I think Ben Roethlisberger is on his last legs – but I do think rookie RB Najee Harris is much better than he showed against the Bills. He’ll certainly have an easier time running against a meh Raiders defense. Pittsburgh leaned on their defense last week; I expect they’ll do so again, though not to the same extent. Stella’s not sold on the Raiders, though she did appreciate how Las Vegas hung in there and beat the Ravens in OT. It’s going to come down to what the Steelers can do against tight end Darren Waller; after 19 targets in Week 1, I’m guessing the Pittsburgh coaching staff might have made plans on how to deal with him. Still, RB Josh Jacobs is no slouch. Both of us agree that this is probably going to be a bit of a throwback game – one won or lost on the ground.

Lastly, I’ve got the Cowboys going into L.A. and taking down the Chargers. While I think there’s a ton of potential on the Chargers, the Cowboys are coming off 10 days rest and a frankly remarkable offensive showing against a very good Tampa defense. Tough to imagine that they’ll have more trouble against the Chargers. As long as Dak Prescott is on the field, he’s a top-tier QB. Plus he’s throwing to guys like Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, who both look awesome, and handing off to Zeke Elliott. The loss of right tackle La’El Collins to suspension hurts, but Dallas should handle it OK. Stella thinks that line loss might be the key to the whole thing; she’s guessing that pass rusher Joey Bosa will have a field day on that side of the line against whoever replaces Collins. She also really likes Justin Herbert to make some things happen; she’s particularly optimistic that running back Austin Ekeler will have a big game in both rushing and receiving. Basically, she’s betting that the Chargers defense will obstruct the Cowboys attack just enough to allow Herbert and company to outscore Dallas. One thing we’re both pretty sure of – this could be a high-scoring game.

And that’s that. Five games. After one week, it’s all even. Frankly, I’m hoping it stays that way – too often, Stella gets out to a big lead and I spend all year trying to dig out of a hole. Of course, now that I’ve said it, she’ll probably hit on all five of these and I’ll be playing catchup. Wish me luck, folks. God knows I need it.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 16

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

Sunday, Sept. 19

CINCINNATI at Chicago

Houston at CLEVELAND

LA RAMS at Indianapolis

BUFFALO at Miami

NEW ENGLAND at NY Jets

San Francisco at PHILADELPHIA

Las Vegas at PITTSBURGH

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

DENVER at Jacksonville

Minnesota at ARIZONA

Atlanta at TAMPA BAY

DALLAS at LA Chargers

Tennessee at SEATTLE

KANSAS CITY at Baltimore

Monday, Sept. 20

Detroit at GREEN BAY

Week 1 record: 8-8

Season record: 8-8

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 16

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

Sunday, Sept. 19

Cincinnati at CHICAGO

Houston at CLEVELAND

LA RAMS at Indianapolis

Buffalo at MIAMI

NEW ENGLAND at NY Jets

SAN FRANCISCO at Philadelphia

LAS VEGAS at Pittsburgh

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

DENVER at Jacksonville

Minnesota at ARIZONA

Atlanta at TAMPA BAY

Dallas at LA CHARGERS

Tennessee at SEATTLE

KANSAS CITY at Baltimore

Monday, Sept. 20

Detroit at GREEN BAY

Week 1 record: 8-8

Season record: 8-8

Last modified on Thursday, 16 September 2021 05:55

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