The Kansas City Chiefs are 0-2 and injured, but their are still breathing. The AFC is weak and certainly up for grabs as evidenced by last week. The Denver Broncos are the defending conference champs and yet had all kinds of issues putting away the Chiefs, a heavy favorite who were without De'Anthony Thomas, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson.
A record of 9-7 is likely to secure a playoff spot in the AFC, so the Chiefs are still in the hunt but absolutely need to win this Sunday. So, can they get the victory? Let's go to the contributors and the Blogfather.
Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins (-4)
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 20, Dolphins 16
I won't lie, I have no idea what to expect in this game. It would be no surprise if either team blew out the other, or if this game comes down to the final play. With that in mind, I believe Kansas City is going to come out desperate and put together a good performance. I also believe De'Anthony Thomas makes a critical difference.
Clay Wendler: Dolphins 21, Chiefs 6
Miami has PFF's #1 ranked defense and the #1 ranked run defense. With no Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs are doomed.
Seth Keysor: Chiefs 27, Dolphins 17
The Chiefs offense took a gigantic step forward last Sunday, and Andy Reid HAS to have figured out that the offense runs best with TE-heavy formations. He just has to, because my mental health depends on it. On defense, I see one long TD by Mike Wallace with Berry out, but beyond that there just isn't much in Miami that scares me. Chiefs get back on track and fans inch away from the ledge.
Matt Conner: Dolphins 24, Chiefs 20
I think there's a strong effort, once again, to make things close and even conceivably win the game. However the Fins are at home, the Chiefs have taken significant hits, and I think Miami is dynamic enough on offense to potentially carve up the Chiefs secondary.
Joel Thorman: Chiefs 21, Dolphins 20
They're not this bad ... right? This game will determine whether I can be a homer for another week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
I still don't believe in the Falcons, mostly because I'm waiting for Mike Smith to make a backbreaking decision. Matt Ryan is an excellent quarterback, and Josh McCown isn't, so I'm rolling with Atlanta despite my belief that it is a paper tiger.
Pick: Falcons 31, Buccaneers 20
San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills (-1)
This is the typical game that the Chargers lose right? They are the more talented team, coming off a huge win. Yet, they are coming across the country and now everybody believes they are a Super Bowl contender. This screams trap game, not to mention Bills' fans are going to be going nuts. This could be a fun time.
Pick: Bills 23, Chargers 21
Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
The Titans are awful, as evidenced by their Week 2 performance (kill me, kill me now). Cincinnati really impressed me last week, dominating a high-riding Falcons team even though A.J. Green had to exit early. The defense is legit and at home, the Bengals should take care of business.
Pick: Bengals 20, Titans 16
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (EVEN)
I'm shocked this line is even. I understand the Browns are getting the customary three points for being at home, but the Ravens are a better team. Cleveland is on the upswing and had a nice win over the Saints, but Brian Hoyer is mediocre at best. I see Baltimore pulling this out late.
Pick: Ravens 21, Browns 17
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-1.5)
The Lions are the NFC version of the Chargers; even time you think they're ready to take off, they lose. Carolina hammered Detroit last week, and I believe the Packers will torch the Lions secondary all night. It should be a high-scoring affair, with Aaron Rodgers coming away on top.
Pick: Packers 34, Lions 31
Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Both teams are 0-2, but the Colts are clearly the superior outfit. Jacksonville has been a disgrace to football early on, while Indianapolis is a play or two away from being 2-0. The Colts have to win this game, and I expect them to come out and dominate an overwhelmed Jaguars team.
Pick: Colts 38, Jaguars 20
Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots (-15.5)
If Vegas could have made this line 25 points, I still would have picked the Patriots to cover. The Raiders are the worst team in football and are going into a brutal place to play. Tom Brady will enjoy a field day against the Oakland secondary while Bil Belichick is dialing up all sorts of schemes for rookie Derek Carr to deal with.
Pick: Patriots 34, Raiders 7
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-11.5)
The Saints are in the same boat as the Colts and Chiefs. At 0-2, all need a win to keep playoff hopes alive. Luckily for New Orleans, the hapless Vikings are coming into visit for the Saints home opener. Minnesota has to be shot mentally with the whole Adrian Peterson disaster, so this could be a pounding.
Pick: Saints 33, Vikings 17
Houston Texans (-1) at New York Giants
This is a tough one. Are the Texans for real, or is Ryan Fitzpatrick baiting us? Are the Giants truly this bad, or will they bounce back with their backs to the wall? Maybe not a bright move, but I'm rolling with Big Blue. I think Tom Coughlin comes up with a good plan, and a solid secondary forced a few Fitz-picks.
Pick: Giants 23, Texans 20
Washington at Philadelphia Eagles (-7)
Kirk Cousins makes Washington better than Robert Griffin does, but it is still not a great team. Philadelphia on the other hand looks legit, rolling to a 2-0 start despite some rocky first-half moments in both contests. The Eagles simply have too much firepower for Washington to deal with.
Pick: Eagles 27, Washington 21
Dallas Cowboys at St. Louis Rams (EVEN)
The Rams gutted out a win against the Buccaneers, but the Cowboys pose a much better offense. Dallas is a mediocre team, but I can't feel good about Austin Davis and Shaun Hill. Tony Romo might cost the Cowboys with a few horrendous picks, but I'll take my chances.
Pick: Cowboys 24, Rams 20
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Why are the 49ers favored in this game? San Francisco has looked terrible in both games and the wheels came off big-time against the Bears last weekend. Meanwhile, the Cardinals look legit even with Drew Stanton at the controls. I'm smelling the upset here.
Pick: Cardinals 23, 49ers 21 *PICK OF THE WEEK*
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)
Also, just because:
Pick: Seahawks 24, Broncos 20
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers (-3)
Carolina has an excellent defense, even without Greg Hardy. I also believe Cam Newton is going to be a nightmare for Pittsburgh, which does not deal well with athletic, mobile quarterbacks. The Steelers are decent, but not of the Panthers' quality.
Pick: Panthers 27, Steelers 20
Chicago Bears at New York Jets (-2.5)
This is all about matchups. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery against Dee Milliner and some-other-guy-who-blows. However, it is also the Bears' run defense (see: worst ever) against Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory. I'm rolling with New York here, but only with one-eye open.
Pick: Jets 23, Bears 21
Last Week: 11-5