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2017 Season: Week 2 Preview

Week 1 has come and gone, and mercifully so for some (I’m looking at you Giants, Colts, Bengals, and Texans).  We saw a lot of good defense, and also some poor offensive displays which is quite odd in this day and age of football.  I think that this week will provide a lot of excitement and, hopefully, some good football games.  Here are my picks for Week 2’s action.

Last Week: 10-5

Season: 10-5

Locks: 0-1

Upsets: 0-1

Thursday, September 14th, 8:25 e.t.

Houston Texans (0-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

Boy, after last week this game here is not very appetizing as both offenses looked horrific against good defenses.  I really don’t like the Texans’ attack this year and the Bengals do have some potential on that side of the ball.  Playing at home I feel very confident that they will bounce back against a potentially bad team.

Cincinnati 27, Houston 10 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***

Sunday, September 17th, 1:00 e.t.

Buffalo Bills (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)

How about the Bills sitting alone atop the AFC East?  They better enjoy that while it lasts because I have a feeling that will not be the case after this week.  The Carolina defense got the job done on the road last week, so their offense has to catch up.  In their home opener I think that will end up happening.

Carolina 30, Buffalo 23

Arizona Cardinals (0-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

The Colts looked awful against the Rams, so much so that they’ve got me wondering if they’ll even win a game without Andrew Luck.  I don’t think they can and even though Carson Palmer looked like age was catching up to him a week ago, and the Cards are going to be without David Johnson for a while I don’t think anybody is losing to Indy anytime soon.  Give me Arizona on the road.

Arizona 22, Indianapolis 7

Minnesota Vikings (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

The Steelers did play down to the Browns last Sunday, but still won in the end.  Meanwhile the Vikings were looking like a dominant team at home versus the Saints and Sam Bradford looked like a possible franchise player.  I like the Vikes this year, but Pittsburgh is home and I think that is going to make a world of difference in this match-up.

Pittsburgh 29, Minnesota 20

Cleveland Browns (0-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

The Baltimore defense looked dominant on the road against the Bengals and now they will host the Cleveland Browns and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.  Kizer wasn’t bad at all against the Steelers but I think that he’s going to find life on the road tough against Dean Pees’ unit.

Baltimore 16, Cleveland 6

New England Patriots (0-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-1)

This game could turn out to be the shootout of the week as I’m sure that Tom Brady is going to want to go off on the New Orleans defense that is still not quite there.  Drew Brees is going to guide the Saints to some points here, but in the end I think that the Patriots are going to do everything they can to avoid losing two straight games to start.  Look for that to happen.

New England 38, New Orleans 31

Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)

The Jags set a franchise record with 10 sacks last week against the Texans and their defense looked flat out dominant.  For the Titans, they lost at home against a good team and they should bounce back on the road here.  The keyword there is should but I think the Jaguars shock the football world again and steal a win at home with a late defensive stand against their rivals from the northwest.

Jacksonville 20, Tennessee 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***

Chicago Bears (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)

The Bucs finally open their season at home against a Bears team that played the Falcons very tough at home.  I like the Chicago running game to do some nice things this season, but I have a feeling they are hitting a buzzsaw here traveling to an emotional Tampa Bay.  Jameis Winston will throw the ball all over the yard en route to a nice win for the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay 37, Chicago 13

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

No other team looked as good in Week 1 as the Chiefs did on the road in New England.  Now they come home to play an Eagle team that is coming off of an impressive road win in their own right.  This is a potential trap game for Kansas City, but I think that their home crowd is going to be a huge factor.  Philly is also going to have to do better than 58 yards on the ground here.  Oh yeah, can I say this is the Andy Reid/Doug Peterson bowl.  A lot of ties here.

Kansas City 27, Philadelphia 19

Sunday, September 17th, 4:05 e.t.

New York Jets (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)

This one is not hard to pick; the Raiders looked good on the road against the Titans while the Jets looked like… well the Jets in Buffalo.  While I don’t think Gang Green’s defense is awful by any means, it certainly isn’t good enough to carry them to a win over Oakland.  Also, if you have Marshawn Lynch on your fantasy team, make sure you start him this week.  He’s gonna go off.

Oakland 33, New York 13

Miami Dolphins (0-0) @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)

It is the Chargers’ first home game in Los Angeles since the 1960’s and it is the the Dolphins first game this season period.  Like the Buccaneers I think the late start to the season will benefit Miami.  Jay Ajayi may be able to get some work done on the ground against an LA defense that looked porous versus the run last week in Denver.  Also, who can’t get enough of Jay Cutler versus Philip Rivers?  I love that rivalry!

Miami 34, Los Angeles 27

Sunday, September 17th, 4:25 e.t.

San Francisco 49ers (0-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (0-1)

Seattle’s offensive line looked terrible against the Packers on the road last week and they could get pushed around this season.  I loved how DeForrest Buckner looked last week against Carolina and I think he can do some big things in Seattle, but it won’t be enough.  Not only will the ‘Hawks win this game, but they will also pitch a shutout.  The Niners’ offense is horrible.

Seattle 17, San Francisco 0

Washington Redskins (0-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

I know it was against the Colts, but the Rams looked good last week.  They have a good defense and a lot of offensive potential this season and could be a sneaky team.  For the Redskins, they struggled against the blitz last week and I think Wade Phillips is going to come after Kirk Cousins this time around as well helping the Rams get to 2-0.

Los Angeles 26, Washington 15

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)

Here’s an interesting game: it is the Dallas offense versus the Denver D.  On the road I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick the Cowboys here, but I think they can tough out a win.  I’m not sold on the Bronco offense and if the ‘Boys put points on the board early I’m not sure they will be able to keep up.  It should be a good one, though, I’m just going with the road team here.

Dallas 20, Denver 17

Sunday, September 17th, 8:30 e.t.

Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

These two teams played a classic in Atlanta last regular season before meeting again.  The second time the Packers got blown out.  I’m liking this game to be more like the first one from a season ago in a brand new stadium.  This should be good.  Lots of offense will be seen and in the end I give the slight edge to the Packers only because I think Aaron Rodgers will get the job done with all of his weapons healthy.

Green Bay 33, Atlanta 31

Monday, September 18th, 8:30 e.t.

Detroit Lions (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1)

Obviously the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. had a bad effect on the Giants but I think there are a lot more issues than just that.  The offensive line was bad on the road in Dallas and Big Blue had no running game to help their cause.  I think they will come back to life at home against a Lion team that was pretty much dormant on offense for two and a half quarters last Sunday.  Matthew Stafford will make it interesting, as usual.

New York 24, Detroit 20

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Week 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals Recap

Final: Arizona 40, Tampa Bay 7

It was a rough afternoon for Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston and company as they got crushed in the desert by a superior Cardinals team.  The Winston turned the ball over five times with four interceptions and one fumble.  Meanwhile Carson Palmer looked like himself with 308 yards and three touchdowns.  Let’s take a look at the top performers in this game.

917-winston
Jameis Winston had a rough afternoon, turning the ball over five times in a 33 point road loss to Arizona.

Offensively, there were many standouts on offense for Arizona, but the top performer had to be Larry Fitzgerald.  He showcased strong hands with his six grabs for 81 yards and a touchdown that saw him haul in a laser with defender Brent Grimes in his pocket.  David Johnson did struggle to find room to run the ball against what has looked like a very stout Tampa Bay run defense in the early goings of this year, but his speed out of the backfield as a receiver killed the Buccaneers this afternoon.  He actually lead the Cardinals in receiving yards with 98.  He did, however, almost cause Carson Palmer to throw an interception in the third quarter when being covered by the aforementioned Grimes.  Had he run the proper route, he likely would have beaten the veteran corner as he had lots of space to the inside of the field with no safety help.  Jaron Brown had a 51 yard score, but that was more the result of bad defense than anything else.

Arizona was swarming on defense.  The first match-up that went noticed in this contest was that of Mike Evans versus Patrick Peterson.  This was a fun, competitive battle that saw each star making impressive plays against the other.  If the lone bright spot from Tampa’s offense was taken away in this game, the beautiful back-shoulder fade to Evans for a third quarter score, it would be easy to say that Peterson won the contest between the two.  However, watching these two closely showed that Evans may have actually been slightly better than the all-pro, if it may only be for his sheer size.  He ran crisp routes and Peterson was beaten on a couple of plays.  That said, he had his fair share of victories as well with a couple of pass breakups in what was probably the best corner versus wide receiver battle so far this season.  Football junkies should go back and check out the tape on NFL Game Pass; it was entertaining to watch.

tampa-bay-buccaneers-rb-doug-martin-injures-hamstring-vs-cardinals
With Doug Martin leaving the game very early with a hamstring injury, Charles Sims got a bit more playing time.

The big standouts for the Cardinals on defense were Deone Bucannon and, believe it or not, Brandon Williams.  Williams looked strong in coverage after getting picked on a week ago, and forced Jameis Winston to go elsewhere with the ball.  Winston instead targeted Marcus Cooper who had a mixed afternoon.  His stats looked pretty with two picks, however he was beaten quite a few times by the Tampa Bay wideouts.  Bucannon was easily the best defender on the field this afternoon.  He was knifing in and making plays at the line of scrimmage and breaking on the ball any time it was thrown in his direction.  This former cornerback converted to a near full-time linebacker is one of the more exciting players to watch on defense.

Tampa Bay had a dreadful day on offense and it started up front.  The offensive line, while looking good blocking for Jameis Winston on pass plays, created almost no push in the running game.  Arizona’s defense was able to stuff the run on nearly every play.  Doug Martin was lost for the game early on in the first quarter and things did not get any better with Charles Sims in there.  This made Tampa’s offense one dimensional, and that is a recipe for disaster on the road.  Mike Evans, as stated before, looked very good in this game.  Outside of him, there weren’t many performers for the Buccaneer offense.  Vincent Jackson looked lost at times and was slow in and out of his breaks while Austin Sefarian-Jenkins was completely blanketed for the most part.  Adam Humphries did a nice Julian Edelman impression for a lot of the game, but did run some bad routes in the process.  Jameis Winston was very erratic with his throws.  He rushed many of them and sailed a lot of them high.  Despite throwing four interceptions and missing many throws, he did look good at certain times under pressure connecting with Mike Evans for a couple of nice plays.  Unfortunately these moments were too few and far in between for the Buccaneers to show any success.

Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer threw three touchdowns against Tampa Bay this week in a rout.

On defense, the linebackers and safeties were absolutely torched.  The front-four was actually very good, mauling in the run game and creating pressure for Carson Palmer.  Gerald McCoy shined with a couple of pressures and tackles for losses in this contest.  The secondary for the Buccaneers was a mixed back.  Brent Grimes had a tough afternoon, being picked on by Carson Palmer multiple times and losing many of his match-ups.  Alterraun Verner and Vernon Hargraves looked very good actually.  Verner had multiple PBUs and was excellent in coverage.  Hargraves was awesome in man-coverage as well and showed that he is a solid tackler, making a couple of those on bigger players in the open field.  He struggles a bit in zone coverage, and that is something that will improve with experience.  Speaking of zone coverage, the Bucs were awful in zone not just in this game, but the one last week against Atlanta as well.  Chris Conte was beaten badly deep by Jaron Brown in a busted coverage where he just did not get deep enough on the zone.  Hargraves passed Brown off and Conte allowed him to run by without any issues and Carson Palmer did not miss him on a deep bomb.  The linebackers were not good in either man or zone coverage.  Lavonte David did not have a tackle in this game at all, which snapped his league-high streak of 56 straight games with five or more takedowns.  Kwon Alexander missed a couple of open field tackles and was not able to run with David Johnson.  The unit was not fast enough to defend the speed of the Arizona Cardinals receivers.

Simply put, the Buccaneers got it handed to them in Glendale.  There is no doubt who the better team is out of these two.  The Cardinals looked like the juggernaut they were last season on offense in this game after looking a bit sluggish last week against New England.  On the flip side, Tampa Bay showed us all why they are not quite ready to take that next step and become a top-tier team like Arizona.  There were too many mental mistakes on their part and it was a very sloppy game from Jameis Winston overall.  They hope to rebound nicely at home against a Ram team that is fresh off of a 9-3 win over Seattle in Los Angeles next week.  Arizona will be taking on a desperate Bills team in Buffalo.  Each squad should be favored in these games.

Jameis Winston and Markus Golden
Jameis Winston and Markus Golden in action from Sunday 9/18/16

The Skinny:

  • After throwing four touchdowns and one interception a week ago, Jameis Winston reverses those stats this week with four picks and one score.  He looked uncomfortable and was off target with many of his throws in this game while turning the ball over five times.
  • Doug Martin left the game early with a quad injury.  He did not return to the field after the second series.  His health status is unknown at the time this article is being written.
  • Tampa Bay struggled in zone coverage yet again and were beat deep because of it.  The safety play has been bad, but the cornerbacks have looked good so far this season.
  • The Arizona offensive line was pushed backward a bit, but they held their water nicely against a solid Tampa Bay four-man rush.
  • Brandon Williams looked very good after being harassed a week ago by Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots.
  • Patrick Peterson was beat by Mike Evans but still contributed to a very good defensive effort.  Tyrann Mathieu is still working his way back from the ACL tear, so until then, Peterson is going to be at the forefront with this unit.

2016 Season: Week 2 Preview

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

Season: 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

Week 2: San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Recap

Markus Wheaton in action from 9/20/15
Markus Wheaton in action from 9/20/15

Final: Pittsburgh 43, San Francisco 18

The big plays continued to come in bunches for the Steelers on Sunday afternoon as they completed a whipping of the previously 1-0 49ers in the Steel City.

The Niners dominated on defense in their Monday night 20-3 win over Minnesota in Week 1, but this time around it was a different story.  Ben Roethlisberger had his way with Eric Mangini’s defense, throwing for 369 yards and three scores.  DeAngelo Williams had another solid game on the ground, contributing with three scores of his own while rushing for 77 yards.  Pittsburgh racked up 453 yards of total offense while possessing the ball for only 23:01.  Explosive plays were the name of the game here, and Big Ben made plenty of them.  The Steelers averaged a whopping 8.7 yards per play and 13.7

Ryan Shazier dragging down Colin Kapernick from Sunday's game 9/20/15
Ryan Shazier dragging down Colin Kapernick from Sunday’s game 9/20/15

yards per pass play.  In comparison, the Niners gained an average of 5.0 yards per play and 5.8 yards per pass play.  Antonio Brown had a monster game with 195 yards receiving and a touchdown (on nine grabs).  He now leads the NFL in receiving yards by a mile, two games into the season with 328 yards (Julio Jones is next on the list with 276).  Defensively, the Steelers looked much better than they did against New England.  Ryan Shazier shined yet again, showing amazing speed to chase down the athletic San Francisco quarterback on numerous different occasions.

San Francisco, as bad as they were on defense, does have a reason to be slightly optimistic.  Colin Kaepernick played well, throwing for 335 yards and two scores.  He set a career high in attempts (with 46) and completions (with 33) and was able to find the end-zone twice, one of those coming on the back-end of a monster 75 yard touchdown strike to Torrey Smith on a skinny post.  That said, the 49ers really wasted a lot of opportunities.  They had two 17-play drives in this game that netted them a grand total of three points.  Carlos Hyde showed some toughness in this game as well coming back after suffering a knee injury in the first half and a head injury in the second.  He was a non-factor due to the fact that the game got out of hand pretty quickly.

Colin Kaepernick throwing the ball from 9/20/15
Colin Kaepernick throwing the ball from 9/20/15

The Niners look to bounce back on the road at 2-0 Arizona next week while the Steelers take on the Rams in St. Louis.  Looking back on this game, it is safe to say that each team had a completely different experience from the one they had during the first week of action.  Pittsburgh looks like they might have the best offense in all of football while the 49ers have some questions to answer on both sides of the ball.  However, if San Fran can combine the offensive effort they put forth this week with the defensive one they put up last, they would be a formidable team.  The season is still young, but it is safe to say that the Niners have a long way to go while the Steelers are right where they should be.

The Skinny

  • Both teams put up over 395 yards of total offense in this game, joining the Atlanta Falcons as the only teams to do that in both games this year (Pittsburgh is the only team with over 400 yards in both games)
  • DeAngelo Williams becomes the first Steeler since Willie Parker to score three rushing touchdowns in one game, and
    Antonio Brown outrunning the San Francisco defense during Week 2
    Antonio Brown outrunning the San Francisco defense during Week 2

    he saw the end zone three times for the first time since 2008

  • The 75 yard touchdown reception that Torrey Smith hauled in during the 4th quarter was the longest of his career
  • San Francisco wasted over a quarter’s worth of time on two 17-play drives where they were only able to score three points
  • Pittsburgh went for a two point conversion twice in this game and succeeded both times.  It would appear as though Mike Tomlin will be quite aggressive when it comes to going for two seeing as how Josh Scobee missed an extra point in this game as well
  • Antonio Brown makes 7+ catches for the 13th consecutive game, an NFL record

2015 Season: Week 2 Predictions

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

Season: 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!

2014 NFL Season: Week 2 Predictions

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!

Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 10- Post Game Thoughts

When this game began it was apparent that one of these two teams was going to drop to 0-2 to start the season.  As it turns out, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who came up on the short end of the stick; a franchise that is not used to losing as of late.  For Cincinnati, they rode the success of their two offensive rookies Giovanni Bernard and Tyler Eifert.  Bernard proved to be a dynamic player as he found the end zone twice (one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown).  The young tight end Eifert chipped in as well with three catches for 66 yards (including a mammoth 61 yard reception).  Another tight end Jermaine Gresham contributed to the winning effort with six catches for 66 yards as well.  A.J. Green was held in check (6-41), but despite that the Bengals found a way to win, which has to be very encouraging for Cincinnati fans.  Another thing that has to make them happy is the fact that the offensive line did not allow Andy Dalton to be sacked in the game, and the third year quarterback did not turn the ball over.  Except for a handful of penalties, Cincinnati played a pretty clean game and because of that they were able to win.  Now, for Pittsburgh, there will be better days.  Their inability to run the ball obviously hurts, but when Le’Veon Bell finally heals up and makes his NFL debut (next week?), you have to believe that the Steelers are going to be able to pound the ball a little bit better than they have been through the first two weeks.  They still have a great defense and a good quarterback to work with so Pittsburgh is not necessarily in a state of panic.