Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM
The Jeopardy answer is ... Arizona and Houston.
The question: Who were the only two road teams to win in Sunday's NFL Week 2 action?
Betcha not many folks 'round the nation would have guessed that combo if only two road teams were gonna win on this mid-September weekend but on a Sunday that saw the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants score 25 fourth-quarter points, the Miami Dolphins win a game by 22 points, the New Orleans Saints go to 0-2 for the first time since the 2007 season and the high-powered Detroit Lions not score a touchdown until there was just 1:29 left in their 27-19 field-goal fest loss on Sunday Night in San Francisco, there were the Cardinals and Texans winning in someone else's backyard and nobody else could do that!
But before you go all road warrior on us here in today's edition of Jim Sez, just wanted to point out that Sunday's NFL Week 2 Home Betting Favorites only registered a 4-3-1 ATS (against the spread) mark with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, San Diego and aforementioned San Francisco snagging spread wins as home chalk while home dogs Indianapolis, Carolina, Miami, Seattle and St. Louis all bagged outright upset wins on their home field.
The fact that Arizona won outright as a 13 ½-point road dog not only kayoed most (if not all) wise-guy three-team teaser bettors out there - and when will they ever learn! - but it highlighted a 4-0 SU (straight-up) and 4-0 ATS day/night for the oft-maligned NFC West and so take that you NFL "experts" that are always looking down your noses at this better-than-you-think division!
The best team in that division - which many folks now believe is the single-best team in football (yes, even NBC game analyst Chris Collinsworth has now hopped on board to declare them his "best team in the league") - are those SF 49ers who shadowed great Lions WR Calvin Johnson from here to Alcatraz and never did let Motown QB Matthew Stafford heat up although the classy slinger didn't exactly have one of his great on-the-mark nights (see 19-of-32 passing for 230 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT and lots of poorly-thrown balls).
In case you're thinking that this Niners team might not lose for a while, consider the schedule: Jim Harbaugh's crew plays at Minnesota and at the New York Jets these next two weekends before coming back to the Bay Area for a three-game home stand and note there's a Week 6 tilt on tap with those NY Giants but count us among the folks who won't at all be surprised if/when the 49ers enter their Week 9 bye with a perfect 8-and-oh SU record. You heard it here first!
A couple of other key items from NFL Week 2 action before we get you the Monday Night Football preview between the Denver Broncos at the Atlanta Falcons ...Hey, let the TV talking heads continue to verbally assault the NFL's replacement officials but the fact of the matter is they've been better than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could have ever hoped for and they sure got it right in St. Loo's wild 31-28 win against Washington when silly/stupid Redskins WR Josh Morgan was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he threw the ball at Rams CB Cortland Finnegan and thereby pushed the 'Skins out of field-goal range (PK Billy Cundiff subsequently missed his 62-yard attempt wide right).
Sure, 'Skins head coach Mike Shanahan made some post-game remark that knocked the officials but how about reading the riot act to Morgan who cost his NFC East team a critical early-season affair and - while we're at it - how about Washington covering Rams WR Danny Amendola who nabbed 15 receptions for 160 yards on the day!
Finally, everyone loves to get caught up in their "Fantasy Football" leagues but here's a couple of guys that really cost their teams even if one of 'em did produce a touchdown:
Loud-mouth New York Jets WR Santonio Holmes snared a 14-yard scoring strike from QB Mark Sanchez in the first quarter of Sunday's 27-10 win by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the 4 ½-point underdog J-E-T-S but we lost count of how many passes he dropped en route to a 3-catch, 28-yard afternoon.
Holmes short-armed a couple of balls when he "heard footsteps" and simply didn't bring a couple of passes into his body that would have moved the chains.
Think he'll come out this week and take any blame for his shoddy showing ... not a chance!
And what about Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten?
Okay, so the perennial all-pro is playing with some nagging injuries but his haul for the day in that 27-7 loss at 3-point pup Seattle - that's four receptions worth 58 yards and 0 TDs - could have/should have been far superior except for the fact he dropped a slew of QB Tony Romo passes.
Good for former Cowboys star and current Fox analyst "Moose" Johnston to point out the fact that Witten was horrible in this game in the great northwest and any "fantasy league" owners that "own" Witten should be more than a little miffed today.
Tonight, it's ...DENVER (1-0) at ATLANTA (1-0) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
Click Here To Get Tonight's MNF Winner
Okay, so will the home field hold up one mo' time this NFL Week 2 (and remember it all started with last Thursday's `23-10 win/cover by the host Green Bay Packers over 5-point dog Chicago)?
Well, it surely will should the Falcons click on offense as they did in last week's season-opening 40-24 win at Kansas City.
Not only did QB Matt Ryan throw for 299 yards and three TDs, but he established the fact that WR Julio Jones (6 catches for 108 yards and two scores against the Chiefs) will be "the man" this year and so the Broncos best jam Jones at the line of scrimmage here or they'll be paying for some long-ball completions all night long.
Naturally, Ryan is not the "headline" quarterback here as everyone's still buzzing about the return of QB Peyton Manning whose numbers in last Sunday night's 31-19 win against Pittsburgh really didn't do him justice: The 19-of-26, 253-yard, two-TD showing was even more special considering the Steelers owned the ball for 10 more minutes in this game and Manning looked so comfortable in the team's newfangled no-huddle offense - and note Manning didn't always appear so comfy in the no-huddle back in his glory days with the Indianapolis Colts.
One key to watch for here is what Manning does after getting sacked:
Last week he responded by bouncing up from the turf after getting sacked twice but will he be so nimble when/if he gets tossed to the phony turf here by the likes of DE John Abraham - don't be surprised if the Broncos go primarily shot-gun if Manning gets sacked once or twice early on here.
Spread Notes - Denver is playing its 2012 road opener and did you know the Broncos banged out a 6-3 spread mark on the NFL road last year and that included four outright upset wins (at Oakland, Kansas City, San Diego and Minnesota)? On a down note, Denver is just 1-5-1 versus the vig against NFC foes dating back to early in the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Atlanta is fresh off a win/cover against AFC competition and the Falcons now are 7-1 against the odds when playing teams from the other conference since early '10. Also, Atlanta's 21-11-1 spreadwise as hosts since the start of the Mike Smith Era back in 2008.
NOTE: Go ahead and catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week Update coming next as it will include the NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Preview (that's the New York Giants at Carolina) and the NCAA Football prime-time Thursday bash (that's BYU at Boise State).