It was upset Sunday in Week 1 as there were a ton of surprise results. However, can you really call any games from Week 1 an upset? We still don’t know who’s good and who’s not. Okay, well we know the Seahawks and Broncos are good. They proved that this past weekend. Now each team looks to take down AFC West opponents this weekend in the late window. Elsewhere the Lions and Panthers clash in Charlotte, the Pats look to notch their first “W” of the year in Minnesota against a much improved Viking team, the electric Falcons offense squares off against the stingy Bengals defense, the 49ers open up their new stadium and host the Bears, and on Monday night two of the best offenses in the league rumble in Indy as the Eagles and Colts throw down. Good football is on the way and I’m here to give you some predictions. I went 9-7 last week, so here’s hoping for a nice rebound.
Thursday, September 11th, 8:25 e.t.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Pittsburgh almost relinquished a 24 point lead against the Browns at home last Sunday, and the Ravens rarely lose two in a row let alone at home. However, with the whole Ray Rice thing looming large behind the birds, I like Pittsburgh to come in and take it to them on Thursday. The Steelers are a better team anyways and since it is only Week 2, going with the better team seems like the right choice. As per usual between these two, this should be a close game.
Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 17
Sunday, September 14th, 1:00 e.t.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-0)
Who would’a thunk that this would be a battle of two undefeated teams just one week ago? I know I didn’t, but here we have it! Each team will look to run the ball at one another in this game and I don’t see Knowshon Moreno galloping for 134 yards against what looks to be a solid Buffalo defense. The popular choice here seems like it would be Miami, but I like the Bills to use a raucous crowd to their advantage and really shake things up in the AFC East with a win. I can see Ryan Tannehill turning the ball over late, thus sealing Miami’s fate.
Buffalo 21, Miami 18
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)
The Jags gave Philly a run for their money in the first half of last week’s game. Then Jedd Fisch got a bit too conservative with his play-calling. When Jacksonville dialed it back, they were unable to put together a solid drive. This week, though, I think they will learn from those mistakes an run the ball up and down the field in Landover. The thing that scares me about the ‘Skins is their run defense. They could not stop Arian Foster late in the fourth quarter down in Houston last week. I don’t have a lot of confidence that they are going to fare much better this time around. Yeah, I’m going Jaguars here.
Jacksonville 16, Washington 14
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
This is probably one of the best match-ups of the week. The Falcons threw up 37 points, 568 yards of offense, and Matt Ryan dumped 448 yards on a decent New Orleans defense last week (all were league highs). This high octane offense will collide with a Bengal team that went 8-0 at home in the regular season last year, and one that boasts a damn good defense. Ryan will not be throwing for any 400 yards in this contest. In fact, give him 260 with a pair of picks. The Cincy “D” will carry this team to a win by getting a lot of pressure on Matty Ice. Also, the Falcons defense didn’t look all that great against the Saints. I like Andy Dalton to stand in the pocket and pick these guys apart. I’m going home team here.
Cincinnati 34, Atlanta 24
Detroit Lions (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Coming off of an impressive Monday night rout of the Giants, the Lions look to take their new look offense into Charlotte and pick up a “W”. However, they are running into a buzz saw of a defense with the Panthers. I doubt Stafford will be able to shred them up like he did with the G-Men. Couple that with the fact that they have to travel on the road on a short week… things don’t add up. I like the Panthers here in a game that should feature some Scram Newton.
Carolina 24, Detroit 18
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1)
Eli Manning is still trying to get used to Ben MacAdoo’s offense here in 2014. Until he masters it, the Giants can expect to sputter throughout the season. Going up against one of the league’s premier defenses certainly will not help the cause. Arizona shut down San Diego’s running game on Monday night and they can and will do the same to New York on the road. In short, I don’t like the Giants’ offense against the Cardinals’ defense. That alone makes me lean towards the visitors here.
Arizona 22, New York 12
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Each team enters this game having watched their seasons kick off on the wrong foot by surrendering two late field goals to their opponents last week. With that being said, I really don’t see the Saints dropping to 0-2 on the year, even though the last time these two teams hooked up, it was the Browns taking the cake down in the Big Easy. If Cleveland’s defense gave up 503 yards to the Steelers last week, I’d hate to see what New Orleans is going to do to them here if they don’t straighten up and fly right.
New Orleans 30, Cleveland 20
New England Patriots (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
I said I cannot see the Saints dropping to 0-2. I also cannot see the Pats losing both of their first two games. However, it is going to happen. I’m calling it now, the Vikings offense tears Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia’s defense a new one in this game. Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson could easily combine to rush for over 200 yards in this game. And Matt Cassel could be playing with and edge in this game, against his former team and all. Minnesota looked dominant on both sides of the ball last week in St. Louis and I look for them to pull off a shocker here this week. I feel like the Patriots will get one-dimensional in this game (throwing the ball) and that will really play into the Vikings’ hands. They will force a pick late on Tom Brady to end this one. It’s gonna be a thriller though. Look for a high scoring contest between these two.
Minnesota 34, New England 30
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-0)
The Dallas defense was not all that bad (outside of the first quarter) against the 49ers last week. It was actually their offense that let the team down. The ‘Boys turned the ball over four times in their first five drives. Tony Romo threw three picks in that game as well. Speaking of throwing three picks, the Titans got Alex Smith to turn the ball over three times (something he rarely does). Tennessee has a knack for playing hard early on in the year and with a new head coach in place (Ken Whisenhunt), I look for them to bring it to Dallas at home this weekend. Jake Locker looked sharp against a decent defense, he could look like a god against the Cowboys if he’s on. Give me the Titans.
Tennessee 39, Dallas 27
Sunday, September 14th, 4:05 e.t.
St. Louis Rams (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
The St. Louis Rams got spanked last Sunday by the Vikings and now they will be down in Tampa Bay taking on an equally tough and physical Buccaneer defense. At this point, it looks like Austin Davis is the Rams’ QB for the game. Even though Derek Anderson did it last week, I don’t see this backup quarterback going into a hot and humid environment and taking the cheese. This Bucs’ defense should feast on the inexperienced youngster. Plus, I see Tampa getting their running game going against a defense that is a notch below Carolina’s.
Tampa Bay 20, St. Louis 6
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1)
This contest screams trap game to me, but I am not leaning that way. Seattle looked to good last Thursday night for me to pick against them here. Plus they have had a full nine days to prepare for this game, while San Diego only had six. Even though the Bolts looked pretty good for a while against the Cardinals on the road, I don’t see their squad holding up against the Seahawks. I feel like Russell Wilson will struggle to get it going in this game, but in the end it won’t matter as their defense and running game will hold their water and drag the team along for their second win of the year.
Seattle 23, San Diego 14
Sunday, September 14th, 4:25 e.t.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)
The Broncos looked solid last week for the first three quarters of their game. They did let the Colts climb back in it, but in the end their defense stood up to the ferocious Andrew Luck comeback and sealed the deal. Now they will host the Chiefs, who could not have looked much worse than they did at home last week vs. the Titans. Jamaal Charles had 11 touches for 34 yards in that game. That is unacceptable. Kansas City needs to get him the ball with great frequency in this game for the Chiefs to have a chance. Unfortunately they are going up against Peyton Manning, who looks to be off to another great season this year. I really don’t like KC’s chances on the road here. The team is now battling injuries that will really incapacitate them. The Broncos should roll here.
Denver 37, Kansas City 17
New York Jets (1-0) @ Green Bay Packers (0-1)
After getting slapped around by Seattle’s defense and running game last week, you would think that the Packers get a reprieve at home here, but they really don’t. The Jets have the best running game and best overall defense (across the board) from Week 1. Sure, they did this against the Raiders, but a lot of what went on in that game was because of the suffocating “D”. However, on the road in Green Bay I don’t see Gang Green rallying as well as they did last week. The Packers need to post their first win of the year and this seems like a good time to do it. Having nine days to rest for this game should help.
Green Bay 28, New York 16
Houston Texans (1-0) @ Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Derek Carr looked strong in his NFL debut last week against the Jets. Unfortunately for him he had no help in the way of a running game and the protection was not great for the most part either. This week, I think the Raiders fix that. At home, in the black hole, Oakland will win this game. Besides, the Raiders have a thing for beating the Texans. They have won each of the last two games against Houston and did so with the help of some big plays on offense. Carr will be looking long in this game for the likes of James Jones and Denarius Moore. Meanwhile I say that MJD has a big game running against a team he used to face twice every year. Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick rarely puts together two straight turnover-free efforts. Mistakes may bite Houston hard in this game and I look for the Raiders to capitalize.
Oakland 23, Houston 19
Sunday, September 14th, 8:30 e.t.
Chicago Bears (0-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
The 49ers cut the ribbon on their brand new stadium this week and they will be looking for a win in their first ever regular season game. The defense performed admirably on the road against a talented offensive squad, despite a bevvy of injuries. This week they will have the support of a “real” home crowd cheering them on (even though there were a ton of Niner fans in Big D last week). The 49ers, who run the football well, should shred the Bears defense who struggle to stop the run. Kaepernick could really do a number on Chicago’s defense with his legs as well. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler hasn’t exactly had the greatest of times playing the 49ers on the road. The last time he did, he threw five picks. Yikes! I like the Niners to drop the Bears to 0-2 and open up their stay at Levi’s Stadium the right way with an emphatic win.
San Francisco 35, Chicago 23
Monday, September 15th, 8:30 e.t.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Both of these teams are fresh off of second half scoring sprees. Indianapolis outscored Denver 24-7 down the stretch last week while Philly put up 34 unanswered points in the second half against Jacksonville. In this game, points will definitely not be at a premium. The Eagles’ offensive line is in shambles with the loss of Evan Mathis and Allen Barbre. Normally this would kill them, but in this game against a Colts’ defense (sans Robert Mathis) it may not be so crucial. It will be, however, if Nick Foles decides to hold onto the ball for five seconds. At home on a Monday night, I like the Colts. Since Chuck Pagano has taken over as head coach, Indy has not lost back-to-back games in the regular season. This doesn’t seem like a good time to buck the trend. Look for them to rebound in a big way with a tight win in a shootout.
Indianapolis 35, Philadelphia 31
Week 2 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week: Minnesota over New England
Sure Bet of the Week: Denver over Kansas City
Rookie of the Week: Brandin Cooks (again)
Offensive Player of the Week: Drew Brees
Defensive Player of the Week: Calais Campbell (how does three sacks and a forced fumble sound?)
Best Overall Offense: New Orleans Saints
Best Overall Defense: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Week 1 was any indication, we are in for a wild season of NFL action. Week 2 should not disappoint either. There will probably be many more upsets, throwing my predictions for a spin. Let me know what you think of my picks below!