Week 1 was full of surprises and now that we have a slightly more clear idea of how the teams are beginning to look, the predictions should become a bit easier. With ten 1:00 e.t. kickoff games, there will be plenty of action crammed on a Sunday afternoon with a few dandy primetime games to boot. Here is how I see the Week 2 games playing out.
Last week: 8-8
Thursday, September 17th, 8:25 e.t.
Denver Broncos (1-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Alex Smith looked great in the Chiefs win over Houston last week while Peyton Manning left a lot to be desired against Baltimore. Both teams won last Sunday though and that makes this game even all the more intriguing. That said, Peyton has had a history of good games at Arrowhead, and I see that continuing on Thursday night. He throws for three scores while the Denver defense, which looked so good a week ago, contains Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City offense.
Denver 27, Kansas City 13
Sunday, September 20th, 1:00 e.t.
New England Patriots (1-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-0)
This is arguably the best match-up of the weekend as Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick renew their rivalry at Orchard Park. The Bills defense looked really good at home last week versus Indy while the New England “D” was not so great against Pittsburgh. On the road against an emotional Buffalo team, I see the Pats dropping a tough one on a last second field goal kick by Dan Carpenter.
Buffalo 23, New England 21
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1)
The Bears were able to hang with the Packers for a majority of the game last week, however Green Bay does not have much of a defense to speak of. Arizona does. The Cardinals are very stingy when it comes to letting up points. I see that happening again on Sunday. Oh yeah, and Chris Johnson racks up 120 yards and a touchdown in this contest. Watch it happen.
Arizona 17, Chicago 6
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1)
Both of these teams are reeling from thrilling prime-time games last week. They should each be 1-0, but New York (due to some horrific clock management) will enter the game winless. That will change on Sunday. Atlanta may very well be the team to beat in the NFC South, but travelling on the road to East Rutherford after a Monday nighter will prove to be too much for them to handle. Not to mention, the home team tends to win in most Giants-Falcons contests.
New York 24, Atlanta 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-1)
The Buccaneers got throttled at home by Marcus Mariota and the Titans last week. The defense looked awful and the offense was not sharp. That does not bode well on the road for them as they face a Saints squad that didn’t look terrible on the road in Arizona. Watch as Drew Brees carves up the Tampa “D” to the tune of 365 yards and a couple of scores. Jameis Winston struggles for the second week in a row.
New Orleans 36, Tampa Bay 17
San Diego Chargers (1-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Philip Rivers really carried the Chargers in a come-from-behind win at home against the Lions last Sunday. Keenan Allen made a whopping 15 catches as well. Meanwhile, the Bengals dominated the Raiders on the road and look to continue that pace at home against the Bolts. As long as Andy Dalton can avoid making the dumb mistakes that Matt Stafford did last week, Cincy should be fine at home. Look for another big game from Tyler Eifert as well. San Diego did struggle a bit last week in covering tight ends.
Cincinnati 29, San Diego 20
Tennessee Titans (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)
After becoming the first ever rookie quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in the first half of his first game, Marcus Mariota looks to continue his early success on the road against a Cleveland team that looked awful last week against the Jets (especially in the second half). The Browns turned it over five times in that game and just looked so out of whack. I like the Titans to roll through their second straight opponent, assuming their offense operates with the same amount of efficiency as last week.
Tennessee 21, Cleveland 12
Detroit Lions (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
This is a hard game to pick, only because both teams did not look the way I expected them to last week. The Lions really miss their linebacker DeAndre Levy in the middle and that can significantly hurt their chances in this game as the Vikes should feed Peterson early and often after neglecting to do so in an ugly loss late Monday night. However, the Lions have far to many weapons on offense to choke for a second straight week. Even though I really wanted to pick the Vikings here, I am going to go with the road team. Expect Detroit to play a little better defensively than they did last week.
Detroit 21, Minnesota 18
St. Louis Rams (1-0) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)
The Rams looked solid in a win over the NFC champions at home last week and now they take their show on the road to a mediocre Washington team that is without their best receiver. Unless Nick Foles really flubs up, the Rams should have no trouble taking apart the Redskins on the road. Todd Gurley should be good to make his regular season debut as well; that should be interesting.
St. Louis 25, Washington 6
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
The Steelers offense looked pretty darn good last week against the Patriots, but their defense looked horrible. The Niners were good on both accounts in a whipping of the Vikings at home late on Monday night. Now the two teams collide in the steel city. The way I see it, Ben Roethlisberger is much better than Teddy Bridgewater right now, and Antonio Brown will present a huge match-up problem for San Fran. Look for Pittsburgh to get off the schnide with a nice home victory.
Pittsburgh 31, San Francisco 22
Houston Texans (0-1) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Out of all the games taking place this weekend, this one, to me, is the toughest to pick. This is mainly because I really can’t tell if the Panthers are any good and I can’t tell if the Texans are that bad. Week 1 didn’t reveal a lot to me for either side. Even though Carolina has the edge on defense and at quarterback, the Texans do have a major edge at wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins is probably the best kept secret in the league. I see him having a big game going up against the corners of Carolina. Greg Olsen should shine as well against a team that really struggled to contain Travis Kelce, another good tight end a week ago. When all is said and done, I am going to pick this game based on the decision that would create the most parody for the league. That team is Houston. It would be too easy for the Panthers to start off 2-0, now wouldn’t it be?
Houston 17, Carolina 16
Sunday, September 20th, 4:05 e.t.
Baltimore Ravens (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (0-1)
The Baltimore defense was the bright spot a week ago on the road against Denver. While that game was going on, the Raiders were being taken apart by the Bengals at home. Derek Carr left the game early due to a hand injury, but quite frankly his exit didn’t have much of a bearing on the game. The Raiders looked bad. I think they’ll look a little bit better this week, but there is no way that the Ravens lose on the road again. Joe Flacco should have a much better game this week as well.
Baltimore 30, Oakland 15
Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
The Dolphins just barely escaped the ‘Skins a week ago and have a lot to prove down in their home state. Although this will be a road game for them, they should have plenty of support in the stands. Also, Miami has a (perhaps) even better defense than Carolina does, and their offense is definitely better. They should bounce back nicely after an ugly win with a more picturesque one.
Miami 28, Jacksonville 14
Sunday, September 20th, 4:25 e.t
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
This very well could be a game between two 0-1 teams, but the Cowboys were able to come up with a thrilling last second win at home versus the Giants. It did come at a lofty price, though, since they will be without Dez Bryant for a good part of the year. The Eagles looked very good in the second half against Atlanta, and that alone almost got them the win, but a missed field goal, two interceptions, and a boatload of penalties sunk the birds on the road. At home now against a Dallas team deprived of a lot of their weapons from a year ago, I see the Eagles picking up their first win. Tony Romo can’t do it all himself, and the nation should see that on Sunday. Oh yeah, and DeMarco Murray will play a much larger role in this game than he did on Monday night.
Philadelphia 33, Dallas 22
Sunday, September 20th, 8:30 e.t.
Seattle Seahawks (0-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-0)
The Packers will open up their home schedule with the Seattle Seahawks, a team that was shocked on the road in St. Louis last week. I think the ‘Hawks will feed Marshawn Lynch the football quite a bit to set up the play-action pass. This should work against a team in Green Bay that was absolutely bullied up front a week ago by the bears. That said, the continuing hold-out of Kam Chancellor will really hurt the Seahawks here as they will need all the help they can get in the secondary at Lambeau versus Aaron Rodgers. I say the Packers win only because they catch Seattle at a good time here. This one should be really close though.
Green Bay 30, Seattle 28
Monday, September 21st, 8:30 e.t.
New York Jets (1-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
After an embarrassing performance on the road against a good defensive team from the AFC East, the Colts have a chance to redeem themselves at home against another good defensive team from the AFC East. The Jets looked solid at home, but I don’t think they will be able to carry that performance with them to Indy. Even though he did last year, I don’t see Andrew Luck starting off 0-2 in 2015. The Colts are simply too talented to let that happen. Luck carries the team to a win in a surprising shootout.
Indianapolis 38, New York 30
Week 2 Bonus Predictions
Upset of the Week (0-1): Detroit over Minnesota
Sure Bet of the Week (1-0): St. Louis Rams over Washington Redskins
Rookie of the Week: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Colts
Offensive Player of the Week: DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles
Defensive Player of the Week: J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
Best Overall Offense: New Orleans Saints
Best Overall Defense: St. Louis Rams
Feel free to leave a comment stating what you think will happen in this weekend’s games!