Week 1 was filled with edge-of-your-seat action and now that all of our nails are chewed to stubs after the collection of thrillers, we ready ourselves for Week 2. There’s hardly any time to prepare, and nobody is complaining. NFL action is coming in hot so here are my predictions for the upcoming games.
Last Week: 9-7
Thursday, September 15th, 8:25 e.t.
New York Jets (0-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-1)
These two teams lost to AFC North teams last week and look to rebound on the initial Thursday Night Football game of the year. Buffalo opens up at home where they are sure to have a raucous crowd in their corner, donning their favorite red garb due to the NFL’s color rush gimmick. By the way, can we just take a minute to thank the Jets for changing their jerseys from last year. We had to watch these all red Bills play those all green Jets. Color-blinded people weren’t happy. New York will go with all white attire this time around. But you came for a prediction, not commentary on uniforms. The Bills did a good job getting to Joe Flacco last week and were only beat deep one time by Mike Wallace. However, their offense was pitiful, and they are going up against a unit that has a lot to prove after being absolutely torched by A.J. Green and friends a week ago. The Jets have the better team on paper and I’m looking to rebound from an awful first week of picks myself. Time to go with the better team here.
New York 27, Buffalo 20
Sunday, September 18th, 1:00 e.t.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Houston Texans (1-0)
The Chiefs reached through their butt to scratch their elbow in their win on Sunday over the Chargers. It was a long and winding roller-coaster, but they got it done. Meanwhile the Texans handled their business over Chicago at home en route to a nine point victory. Brock Osweiler forced a ball to DeAndre Hopkins in last week’s game and Tracy Porter gladly accepted the charitable donation. Look for Kansas City’s secondary to sit all over opportunities such as this on the road this Sunday. Brock O’s Texans (which, admittedly, has nowhere near the ring as Brock O’s Broncos, but we digress) have a running game and should try to use it to exploit a rush defense that looked fairly average against Melvin Getoutofhisway Gordon. The guy plowed through them for two touchdowns after not scoring any in his rookie year. Yikes, remember when Kansas City was impossible to run the ball against in the red zone? Look for them to play a much more sound defensive game on the road though as I trust Alex Smith to play much more safely with the ball than I do Brock-O.
Kansas City 22, Houston 19
Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-0)
After a wild win in a shootout over the Colts, Detroit heads home to host the Titans who were absolutely smothered in the second half of last week’s game against Minnesota. Expect the Lions to play well again here since they actually have a shot to run with Green Bay in the North this season. A let-down at home here would seem very Lion-like… too Lion-like. We don’t need to see Matthew Stafford doing exotic things with the football. If he and his team can just play safely and stuff the run, which they are fully capable of doing, there shouldn’t be any trouble with them being able to run away with a win.
Detroit 26. Tennessee 14
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (0-1)
The 49ers picked up a win in an instant classic over Los Angeles last week, 28-0. Actually, the only thing memorable about that contest is Kevin Harlan’s epic call of a fan running on the field. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. A fun time for all.
Anywho, we know that the Niners are having to fly across the country after a short week to play a team that has been waiting since last Thursday night to redeem a very tough loss. Cam Newton better bring an entire case of floss for this one because it is likely that he will have a lot to be smiling about after the game. Carolina should plow right through a team that, despite winning big at home, doesn’t look to be anything special this season.
Carolina 37, San Francisco 17
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)
I guess for the Browns it was the same old same old, losing yet another season opener. Of course, they got picked apart by a rookie in his first ever start. Joe Flacco is a proven vet who almost never loses when he sees these guys lining up opposite of him. Baltimore has the makings of a decent team this year if they can develop a running game. Cleveland is a good team to run the ball on. Although Philly didn’t have tons of success, this was the leagues 30th ranked run defense a year ago and did not seem to make many huge improvements in that area over the offseason. Justin Forsett and Terrence West need to hit that hole with conviction and the Ravens should be able to pound the RGIII-less Browns into a pulp.
Baltimore 30, Cleveland 13
Miami Dolphins (0-1) @ New England Patriots (1-0)
The Pats went on the road without Rob Gronkowski or Tom Brady and won in Arizona. Winning at home against Miami should be a cakewalk, right? Wrong. In fact, the ‘Phins are going to pull off the upset here. These guys went into Seattle last week and almost pulled out a win. A strong defensive showing there gives me hope for this squad in 2016. It is doubtful that this unit will be able to live up to the standards it set for itself last week letting up only 12 points, but it seems reasonable for them to be able to hold New England to 23 or so. I’ve got Miami scoring 27, so their offense is going to find a way to get back on track. Arian Foster should be the bell-cow. New England will be doing everything in their power to shut down Jarvis Landry. Open the door for eight-million dump passes to Foster. I’m thinking Miami should do a lot better than 211 total yards of offense here. And for Jimmy Garappolo and the Patriots, it would almost be too perfect for him to turn in yet another solid performance. Looking for a slight letdown at home.
Miami 27, New England 23
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ New York Giants (1-0)
I’m so tempted to pick the Saints here, but there is no way I can do so in good conscience knowing that their defense is still atrocious. Last year, these two teams engaged in a 52-49 shootout where the bulk of a the game looked like a seven-on-seven drill. There won’t be that many points scored this time around, but we can always count on the Saints to provide the weekly shootout. Delvin Breaux, the only defender that may scare you on New Orleans, is gone due to a broken tibia. Who is going to cover Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard? My phone just buzzed, I’m thinking it’s a the Saints calling me for a tryout. I’m gonna have to pass. I don’t wanna cover these three just as much as anyone else. Drew Brees’ arm will fall off before he can produce enough points for the Saints to keep up with the Giants. I’m taking the G-Men.
New York 38, New Orleans 27
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
The best rivalry in football today is back at Heinz Field and the Bengals, fresh off of their one point win over the Jets look to win in Pittsburgh for the second straight season. The good news for the Steelers is that Le’Veon Bell won’t be playing in this game, so that means Cincy can’t hurt him. But you know who is playing in this one? Antonio Brown. It isn’t often (as in hardly ever) where AJ Green is not the best wide receiver on the field, but it is happening on Sunday as Brown is this league’s very best. Call me crazy but I think this game will, much like it did last year, come down to defense. Although Cincinnati has the better “D” and I can see this game going either way, I don’t like their odds on the road to thwart a Ben Roethlisberger lead drive in the waning seconds. As long as Sammy Coates doesn’t drop 63 thousand passes on that final drive, the Steelers should slide in to victory.
Pittsburgh 19, Cincinnati 17
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)
Brashaud Breeland probably finds himself in a burn unit after his performance last week against Antonio Brown. Of course, the Redskins have Josh Norman as well who is a fantastic cover corner, but he only takes responsibility for one half of the field. It is easy to scheme around this and take someone like Dez Bryant and line him up on Breeland’s side. That said, this Washington defense was up against the league’s best offense in Pittsburgh and Dallas is a tick down from that. Kirk Cousins typically plays well at home and has a stellar record against losing teams. 0-1 is a losing record. Look for Washington to rebound and take the win. Dak Prescott was solid early on, but all of his throws came underneath on short routes. Anything down the field was a struggle, and the Redskins should exploit this by throwing bodies closer to the line of scrimmage playing hook zones.
Washington 24, Dallas 17
Sunday, September 18th, 4:05 e.t.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Ahh, Tampa Bay versus Arizona. One of my favorite games of all-time took place between these two teams on Halloween 2010. The Cards donned their black unis and got stampeded by LeGarrette Blount and the Bucs. The 38-35 final was an indication of the excitement that took place. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they won’t have Blount force trauma in their backfield to do crazy things like this on this go-round:
They do have Doug Martin though, who is a solid back in his own right. This to go along with a young Jameis Winston who is quickly turning into one of the leagues better young quarterbacks makes this offense a formidable one. With that being said, the Cardinals are too good of a team to fall twice in a row at home to start the year. Look for them to come out and put together a nice offensive performance and get into the win column.
Arizona 33, Tampa Bay 20
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
If the Rams were on a mission to make St. Louis not miss them, it is safe to say they accomplished that by laying an egg in San Fran last week. Meanwhile, you’ve got the Seahawks who are coming off of a narrow win at home over the Dolphins. Russell Wilson’s status for this game is still up in the air as of me writing this Wednesday night, but whether or not he plays shouldn’t have any bearing on the outcome. The Seahawks will still win. No, I don’t think the Rams are as bad as they seemed last week, but their quarterback situation is certainly not one envied by any team in the league. The Seattle defense made Miami look pretty feeble at times and this offense that they will be squaring off with last week looked as ugly your dorky cousin who’s mom makes you hang out with them. I’m taking the ‘Hawks “D” thinking that they can get it done in the home opener for the Rams.
Seattle 20, St. Louis 12
Sunday, September 18th, 4:25 e.t.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1)
This is probably the hardest game for me to pick this weekend. It is tough to chose which offense is going to have the edge. The Jaguars’ defense is the sexier of the two, but San Diego’s “D” typically ranks in the top half of the league each year. However, after seeing the major collapse of the Chargers’ defense last week, they give me little to no reason to have any confidence in them. They allowed Alex Freaking Smith to throw for 363 yards last week. That’s almost as bad as letting Trent Richardson rumble for 100+, amirite? Blake Bortles should push the envelope, and he has Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to go to down the field. Philip Rivers, on the other hand, has lost Keenan Allen for the year yet again. I’ve seen this movie before. The Chargers fans aren’t so excited for its sequel. Look for Jacksonville to take the W here, although it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Rivers put the team on his back for a nice win.
Jacksonville 32, San Diego 25
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)
Jack Del Rio showed balls bigger than his head last week going for two and the win instead of tying the game at 34 against the Saints. It paid off in a big way, but let’s not forget that this Oakland team let up over 500 yards to New Orleans and over 400 pass yards to Drew Brees. Julio Jones could prove to be uncoverable in this game if last week’s stats are to be used as a guideline. I do believe that the Raiders’ defense is a bit better than that however it is hard to see them going 2-0 to start the year. Why? Because they are the Raiders. I like this team a lot and I think they are a capable playoff team, but something tells me that Devonta Freeman is going to go off in this game making life tough on the silver and black. This could be the weekend’s best game.
Atlanta 24, Oakland 23
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)
Andrew Luck looked terrific in his return to action last week against Detroit, but unfortunately the defense couldn’t slow down Matthew Stafford and the Lions. This week, the Colts hit the road and take on the defending Super Bowl Champions who enjoy taking down the league’s darling Carolina Panthers at home last Thursday. Trevor Seimien didn’t look awful, but he didn’t show me anything that would lead me to believe that he could keep up with Luck should this game turn into a tack meet. Now before you Broncos fans start giving me a hard time, just remember that Luck is 2-1 in games against these guys. And all three of those times he played them, Denver did not have a loss. For the third time four years, the Colts hand the Broncos their first L of the season.
Indianapolis 24, Denver 17
Sunday, September 18th, 8:30 e.t.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Why do I get the feeling that this game is going to be like watching a highly anticipated movie and feeling disappointed that it didn’t live up to its expectations? Probably because the Vikings are sending Shaun Hill out at quarterback. Or is it going to be Sam Bradford? In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if it is Fran Tarkenton himself because the Packers are on a mission. They are going to try their hardest to do what the Titans did last week; bottle up Adrian Peterson. A.P. rushed 19 times for 31 yards. It isn’t often that his average run is measured an blades of grass per run rather than yards per carry, Tennessee managed to hold him down. I don’t think the Packers will have the same success as All Day normally runs well against these guys, but I just can’t see the Minnesota offense keeping up with the Pack’s. Even though Aaron Rodgers passed for only 199 yards last week against the Jaguars, Green Bay’s offense looked as crisp as it did last September. If they can repeat this pattern, it could be a long day for the Vikes in their first game in a beautiful new stadium.
Green Bay 38, Minnesota 21
Monday, September 19th, 8:30 e.t.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1)
Carson Wentz looked great against the Browns last week, but let’s be real for just a second here; it was the Browns. Chicago has the benefit of an entire week’s worth of tape on the rook. They also have big receivers that could potentially out-leap the Philly corners if Jay Cutler throws it up to them like Robert Griffin III did last week. There was a lot on tape that the Eagles needed to correct in coverage, and I see them doing it this time around. Don’t expect Wentz to carve the defense up like he did a week ago. Instead, look for Philadelphia’s defense to carry the team like we all thought it would at the season’s onset. I was originally going to take the Bears for this one, but it is still hard to believe that their defense has actually turned the corner after Marc Trestman dragged that unit down to the depths of Hell a couple of years ago. Jay Cutler may turn the ball over late against a defense that lives off of forcing turnovers. This could be the difference in what looks to be a tight game.
Philadelphia 20, Chicago 17
Week 2 Bonus Predictions
Sure Bet of the Week: Carolina over San Francisco
Upset of the Week: Miami over New England
Offensive Player of the Week: David Johnson, RB Cardinals
Defensive Player of the Week: Rodney McLeod, DB Eagles
Rookie of the Week: Sterling Sheperd, WR Giants
Best Quarterback: Eli Manning, QB Giants
Best Running Back: David Johnson