| Mark Maske's Week 2 NFL Picks |
By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Web Posted: Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004; 1:44 p.m. EDT
Redskins at New York Giants
In his first coaching go-around with the Redskins, Joe Gibbs was 6-7 against the Giants in the Meadowlands, including a 17-0 loss in the NFC Championship game that ended the team's 1986 season. Gibbs went 4-0 at Giants Stadium against Giants teams coached by Ray Perkins and Ray Handley before and after the tenure of Bill Parcells, but was 2-7 there against Parcells-coached Giants teams.
But these are the Giants of Tom Coughlin, not the Giants of Bill Parcells. These Giants are in disarray and, although they do have some offensive weapons to give the Redskins problems, their shortcomings on the offensive line and the defensive backfield are glaring. It's difficult to say that any team coming off a 5-11 season should win a game on the road, but the Redskins should win this game. Any NFC East team that loses to the Giants this season will feel like it lost ground to the other teams in the division, and the Redskins could win this game and still not know if they're any good.
Pittsburgh at Ravens
The Ravens certainly don't want to fall two games behind the Steelers in the AFC North. Baltimore's lack of depth at wide receiver gets severely tested now with Travis Taylor hurt, and the Steelers certainly must feel that they can take advantage of young Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller and win by stacking defenders at the line of scrimmage to stop tailback Jamal Lewis. But the Ravens will find a way to run and find a way to win behind the Ray Lewis-led defense.
Games of the Week Carolina at Kansas City
Indianapolis at Tennessee
At least one of these teams has been in first place in the AFC South every week since the division was created by realignment before the 2002 season. The Titans are tough and they're at home. But tailback Chris Brown has a bad ankle and the Colts will be desperate to avoid going 0-2.
One projected NFL heavyweight will emerge 0-2. The Panthers should lean on tailback Stephen Davis against Kansas City's weak rush defense, especially with wide receiver Steve Smith sidelined by a broken leg. But the Chiefs are a different team at Arrowhead, where they've won 13 straight regular-season games by an average margin of 19 points.
Minnesota at Philadelphia (Monday night)
The Vikings are good. But the Eagles are better, and they're at home.
Lock of the Week
Chicago at Green Bay
The Packers are good and got better with the end of cornerback Mike McKenzie's holdout, and the Bears aren't ready to go on the road and beat a good team.
Upset of the Week
Denver at Jacksonville
It's a letdown week for the Broncos after their big season-opening victory at home over the division rival Chiefs last Sunday night. The Jaguars are a dangerous team and they're at home.
Houston at Detroit
Lions were 5-3 at home last season and they're better now, even after losing wide receiver Charles Rogers again.
St. Louis at Atlanta
Rams didn't look particularly sharp in beating the Cardinals at home last week, but they can take advantage of an Atlanta secondary that's missing prized rookie cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
San Francisco at New Orleans
The 49ers are a bad team and must go with Ken Dorsey at quarterback.
Seattle at Tampa Bay
The Seahawks are the better team but tailback Shaun Alexander will be limited or sidelined by a bad knee and the Buccaneers should play far better than they did in Washington.
Cleveland at Dallas
Browns aren't for real.
New York Jets at San Diego
Buffalo at Oakland
Raiders have talented group of young receivers, but Coach Norv Turner must handle the phasing out of Jerry Rice delicately.
New England at Arizona
Patriots must adjust to near 100-degree temperatures, but the Cardinals aren't the team that will end the winning streak.
Miami at Cincinnati (Sunday night)
Dolphins don't have the offense to take advantage of the Bengals' defensive problems.
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