Here’s the decision of how to rank Week 2. We start with the Week 1 outcomes. For #1, we have a 16-way tie. We take the team that was highest-ranked last week (the end of last season). Then for #2, we have a 16-way tie (the fifteen winners plus Kansas City). And we take the team that was highest-ranked last week. We were 8-8 last week (I was 9-7 thanks to my one overruled pick).
Chicago at CAROLINA: Here’s an example of beginning-of-season complexity. At the end of last season, Carolina was ranked ahead of Chicago. This week, Carolina and Chicago both won, against teams that were in the top four. San Diego was ranked ahead of Indianapolis. And yet, if we were to add in all last season’s games, Chicago would have been favored, because they would have been able to create a beatwin to Indianpolis, while Carolina’s win would have been beatlooped away. But since we’re going off of this week’s Beatpath Rankings, the official pick is Carolina. I’ll overrule and pick Chicago, but the official pick is Carolina.
TENNESSEE at Cincinnati: Tennessee is ranked far ahead of Cincinnati – I think Tennessee is still underrated in the press.
GREEN BAY at Detroit: Detroit is all over the place in the rankings, depending on how you look at it – they did have some quality wins last season that have been pretty easily discounted. And I believe the loss to Atlanta is more due to Atlanta’s surprising quality than Detroit’s suckitude. But Green Bay is still solidly favored over Detroit.
Buffalo at JACKSONVILLE: Buffalo would have been favored over Jacksonville if we had ranked all of Week 1’s winners, and then all of Week 2’s losers. But the real rankings favor the quality 0-1 Jacksonville team over the moderately good 1-0 Buffalo team.
Oakland at KANSAS CITY: Counting last season’s games and beatloops, Oakland would actually be slightly favored. But our rankings favor Kansas City. Good thing, because – trying to leave Broncos homerism aside – that loss just didn’t seem like the kind of loss a team would shake immediately. At least, not a team with Oakland’s family dynamics.
INDIANAPOLIS at Minnesota: All methods agree, Indianapolis is favored. Manning has some cobwebs to shake off.
NY GIANTS at St. Louis: This would be a glorious upset.
NEW ORLEANS at Washington: All methods agree, although they’re closely ranked in a couple of them.
San Francisco at SEATTLE: Seattle really sank in the rankings, but all methods agree that Seattle is favored. Is the NFC West a clear bet for the worst division in the NFL this season? With Atlanta and Denver being possibly improved… looks like it to me.
Atlanta at TAMPA BAY: Another 0-1 team favored above a 1-0 team. Tampa Bay is the official pick. I’m going to overrule this one just off of a theory that Atlanta really feels they’ve got something to prove this season. The official pick is Tampa Bay though.
Miami at ARIZONA: Arizona has seemed to be better than their results for a long time – maybe this is an opportunity for Arizona to catch up on itself a bit.
San Diego at DENVER: This should probably be flip-flopped, but there’s early season rankings for you. Denver was ranked ahead of Carolina last season, so they’re favored over San Diego. I think I’ll have to find a sportsbar for this one here in Portland.
NEW ENGLAND at NY Jets: You think this game will get some good ratings? Boy.
PITTSBURGH at Cleveland: All methods agree, Cleveland looks in for a poor start this season.
Philadelphia at DALLAS: Looks like the biggest game of the week in terms of rankings. All methods agree Dallas is favored.
Baltimore at HOUSTON: Another 0-1 team favored over a 1-0 team. Houston ended last season looking better than their result last week, not sure what happened. Anyone know if they got worse in the offseason? Or is it possible they were overperforming last season? Kubiak might be one of those guys that is good with duct tape.