Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
The best thing about the second week of any NFL season is answering the question, "What do you believe? What you thought heading into the season or your lying eyes?" Let's jump to ridiculous conclusions off just one game!
Is defense as we know it dead?
The first week of NFL games had so much passing somewhere Vince Lombardi mumbled, "What the hell's going on out there?" The NFL set a record for most 300-yard games for opening week with 14. Drew Brees threw for 419 yards and it wasn't even the most by an NFC South quarterback.
Cam Newton dropped 422 yards on the Cardinals and if you don't believe the Panthers will be a feisty 6-10 type team you are in denial. The Saints won a Super Bowl with a defense that depended on creating turnovers at the exact time they needed them to win the game. Not exactly the 1985 Chicago Bears.
I'm fine with the NFL tilting all the rules towards the offense because I love points. If I want to watch something that finishes 3-0 I'll watch soccer. The NFL in 2011 is all about elite quarterbacks and the Saints have one so if the NFL wants more scoring Drew Brees will gladly deliver.
The Saints will drop a 50 burger on some team this year. I'm looking at you Indianapolis.
The Colts won't win 3 games this year.
The media says they won't be the worst team in the league because they’re the Colts and the Colts could NEVER BE THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE! Yes they can and yes they will. They are done. They are the '99 Saints under Mike Ditka bad. They'll be 0-8 heading to Jacksonville on November 13th. They are scheduled for five prime time games. Will NBC have the decency to flex their December 4th game against New England? Hey NBC, America doesn't broadcast public executions.
The Saints caught a break getting the AFC South this year.
The Saints get to play Jacksonville in week four right around the time they'll be starting their shiny new rookie quarterback for the first time. Or they get to face Luke McCown. I looked up win-win situation in the dictionary and it had that scenario as the definition. The Saints get to face the room temperature Colts and they get to face Tennessee in December when they'll be starting rookie Jake Locker under center. The Texans look like a tough out but the only division you'd rather face is the NFC West.
Buffalo and Washington will be your fun surprise teams.
I had identified the Bills as a sleeper team for fantasy football. I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson would put up really good numbers because Buffalo would be trailing in games. I didn't think their stats would lead to the Bills actually winning games. Their schedule isn't the easiest but they look like a fun 8-8 team.
Washington has upgraded their defense from "The Redskins have a defense?" to a wall made of ice. Sure, the wall will eventually melt into a pool of water but it will take a while. Rex Grossman can be not awful half the time and that's still better than Donovan McNabb
2006 Michael Vick is back.
The Vick that barely completes half his throws, runs at the drop of a hat, and reads the blitz like I read a menu at a French restaurant. This so hard frenchie can't you JUST HAVE THE MENU IN AMERICAN? 2006 Michael Vick is spectacular to watch but he's not winning a Super Bowl or playing 16 games ever.
Ok let's get to the games
Last Week: 2-3
New Orleans (-7) vs. Chicago: I was really nervous about this game until I re-watched the Bears-Falcons game. The score said Chicago destroyed Atlanta but it was 16-6 early third quarter when Devin Hester broke off a big play to set up a score then Matt Ryan fumbled, Brian Urlacher scoops it up and scores, and ball game over.
Matt Ryan started the game 7-7 and the Falcons moved the ball almost at will. They had turnovers, penalties, and couldn't punch it in for touchdowns. I think Drew Brees will have his way with the Bears if the offensive line can hold up which it hasn't done consistently in the last three match-ups with the Bears. The Bears lived off the big play on offense and their offensive line held up better than I expected considering they gave up five sacks. Three of those were because Jay Cutler held the ball too long. If the Saints can avoid not getting crushed by Hester on special teams and avoid turnovers they win comfortably.
The Bears receivers are nothing special and Gregg Williams has been pretty good about shutting down a team's running game that don't have an explosive passing offenses. The Bears fit that category. Matt Forte has a rough day and Cutler makes a couple mistakes.
Philadelphia (-3) at Atlanta: After saying all those mean things about Michael Vick why would I pick the Eagles here? If Atlanta is capable of giving up big plays to the Bears what will the track team fast Eagles do to them? Hey everybody let's all enjoy a tall cold glass of panic served by Atlanta coach Mike Smith. It will be so delicious.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota: If you don't agree that Donovan McNabb is washed up after throwing for 39 yards against the Chargers then I'll ask you what constitutes washed up? Five interceptions, Social Security, throwing the ball backwards, not knowing the overtime rules? Can we get McNabb on a studio show before Vikings fans start jumping off bridges?
Detroit (-9) vs. Kansas City: I was all set to say the Lions should only be favored by 9 over a middle school team and then I re-watched the Chiefs-Bills game on Direct TV short cuts and thought, "The Chiefs are a middle school team right down to their raving lunatic coach Todd Haley playing the role of the crazy parent." When the Lions pile on a late touchdown watch as Haley screams down the Lions head coach during the post game handshake. The Lions bandwagon is officially full.
Cleveland (-3) at Indianapolis: I won't believe the Colts can win a game without Peyton Manning until they actually do it. Browns, if you lose to the Colts and Bengals back-to-back we may have to demote you to the CFL.
Bonus LSU Pick!
LSU (-3.5) at Mississippi State:
Everyone says this is a tough spot for LSU but any Tiger fan knows the crazy happens when you don’t expect it. Les Miles will grind a bad Bulldog defense into the ground and Jarrett Lee will look really good. There won’t be too many cowbells ringing in the fourth quarter.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.