By Justin Boylan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Before we fly through my week 2 picks like a 53-play first half, let’s step back and learn some lessons from week 1 that could help us survive moving forward.
1. Picking against the Raiders is wise, but picking against the Jaguars is downright genius. (And what do you know, the two play each other this weekend. I’m not recommending this game because picking it means having to actually watch it. No thanks.)
2. I love Chip Kelly.
3. The Patriots offense, which was built to utilize their two mismatch-machine tight ends, might be in trouble in the first few weeks without those aforementioned tight ends (and now without Shane Vereen). Until Gronk comes back, I would avoid the potential trap.
4. The color red is doing Andy Reid no favors.
5. The 49ers forgive Anquan Boldin for Super Bowl XLVII. Also, Colin Kaepernick will not be missing Michael Crabtree this year, and it’s terrifying.
6. When it doubt, Peyton Manning. Anytime, anywhere: Peyton Manning.
7. I love Chip Kelly.
Eagles fans are so high on life right now I could make the Birds all three of my picks and go home early. But the 94WIP Suicide Pool is too important to mail in picks. My vital signs are strong and steady after a 3-0-survival rate to kick things off, so let’s get to it
My Selection – Falcons vs. Rams
Atlanta is coming off a predictable road loss to the Saints in the return of Sean Payton to New Orleans. The Rams are coming off a nice comeback win against the Cardinals, which is a team that looks to be much improved from a year ago simply by being able to avoid the Kevin Kolb-John Skelton-Ryan Lindley roulette of bad quarterbacks. The Falcons are 21-6 at home over the last three seasons, and haven’t lost their home opener since 2007, when Joey Harrington was the starting quarterback. With or without Roddy White, the Dirty Birds get the win.
Best Bet for Survival – Ravens vs. Browns
Yes, the Baltimore defense that was torched for 49 points in Denver looks nothing like the unit that won it all last year, and I’d be hovering around the panic button if I was a Ravens fan. But I’m closer to being Peyton Manning than Brandon Weeden. The long week to prepare, plus coming home, plus the Browns week 1 approach to throw it 53 times and feed Trent Richardson less than 15 carries makes it my lock of the week. I read that under our old friend John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 4-0 following losses of 20 points or more. Bounce back city in B’more this Sunday.
Cheating Death – 49ers at Seahawks
It’s not a great week for underdogs, so I am rising to the cream of the crop for this pick. The Seahawks are favored by a field goal at home on Sunday Night Football. I’m a huge Russell Wilson fan and I could be underestimating their home field advantage, but scoring just 12 points in Carolina last week makes me question their offensive ceiling with a gimpy Sidney Rice and no Percy Harvin, their big offseason acquisition. The Niners looked great, albeit against a weaker defense in Green Bay than they’ll see this week. Kaepernick, who we know can beat you with his legs, converted 69 percent of his passes from the pocket into 350 yards and two touchdowns. It’ll be a great game, but if my life’s on the line, I’m picking San Fran.
Now, how long until the Eagles play again? I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think I love Chip Kelly.
Justin Boylan is a producer at 94WIP and graduate of Temple University. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justintboylan.