Week 1 has come and gone, and as Week 2 approaches, we’re very much getting back into the swing of things in the NFL. In the first round of action, we saw a lot of blowouts, a lot of bad offensive line play, and several other things that indicate that teams are still figuring it out as they go in the first month of the season.
In my first picks column last week I went 9-6 thanks to a big upset from Kansas City as well as a few upset specials that I whiffed on. With that, here’s to hoping for a better effort from yours truly in Week 2:
This is something of a tough one to pick as these two squads were both thought of as playoff caliber, and both looked nothing like it in Week 1. The Bengals offense got smoked by the Ravens giving up five turnovers, while the Texans offensive line surrendered ten sacks between quarterbacks Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson. It’s still undecided who will be the starter under center for Houston, and I expect that uncertainty to effect whoever gets the call, leading to Cincinnati’s first win of the season.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Texans 10
Both of these teams put in solid but pretty boring victories over inferior squads in Week 1. The Bills took care of the lowly Jets at home while the Panthers crossed the country and handled the 49ers despite a shaky outing from Cam Newton. The difference there is that the Panthers had to go coast to coast while the Bills played a close game against the team expected to pick first overall. I expect Newton to look a little bit better this week and for that to be the difference in a home victory for Carolina.
Prediction: Panthers 20, Bills 14
The Bears unexpectedly put up a serious fight versus the defending NFC champion Falcons, as a few plays down near the goal line could’ve had us wondering just what happened to Atlanta. Tampa Bay will be fresh after they had their matchup with the Dolphins postponed, and while I think the Bears will again be competitive, I see the buzzy Bucs getting it done at home in their first game of 2017.
Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Bears 19
Here we have a rare cross-conference matchup taking place early in the season, with both teams looking to protect their 1-0 start following Week 1 victories. The Vikings looked like the team they showed they could be at times last season with an effective Sam Bradford being bolstered by a strong defense, while the Steelers played down to the competition versus the upstart Browns. I’ll chalk up the Steelers slow start to having to go on the road plus some chemistry issues that will look at least somewhat resolved in their home opener.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Vikings 20
The Cardinals (specifically quarterback Carson Palmer) gave an abysmal effort against the Lions in Week 1, as Matt Stafford threw all over them and Palmer tossed three interceptions. The Colts were even more depressing in Week 1, as they were deep sixed by Jared Goff and the Rams thanks to a stinker of a game from Scott Tolzien. It’s unclear if he or Jacoby Brissett will start this game, but I don’t expect it to matter; even without star David Johnson, there’s no way the Colts are going to figure it out against Arizona’s defense.
Prediction: Cardinals 23, Colts 7
Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing Week 1 primetime losses. That’s where the similarities end and the differences begin, as the Patriots will have more than enough bulletin board material to get up for this game and put their title defense back on track. The Saints defense, which was supposed to be an improved unit, was carved up at times by Sam Bradford on Monday night. They can only pray they won’t be by a pissed off Tom Brady who’s had a lot more time than them to prepare for Sunday.
Prediction: Patriots 37, Saints 20
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m.
The Ravens will look to keep things rolling after a massive road victory in Cincinnati, while the Browns can’t be feeling terrible after having the defending division champs on the ropes until the end. Baltimore typically plays pretty well against rookie quarterbacks, and that compared with a great home field advantage is what I expect to prove as the difference in this matchup. DeShone Kizer looked pretty promising, and so I’d expect for him to keep that going while also making a few mistakes that allow the Ravens to shut the door.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Browns 14
Andy Reid will play host to his longtime former club here, and after a huge effort up in Foxboro last Thursday, the Eagles can’t be too confident in this spot. If they are though, they’d have a few reasons to be. The first is that Carson Wentz looked great in Week 1, as did their defense especially on the front end. Either way, I feel like the Chiefs will take care of business at home to keep things rolling towards a 2-0 start to the season.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Eagles 17
I was wrong about both of these teams in Week 1 as I expected the Titans to get it done against Oakland, and thought that the Jags wouldn’t be able to handle Houston. Jacksonville’s defense was really impressive, but to be fair it was against a subpar offensive line, which the Titans don’t have. I still believe in Tennessee this season, and think that they’ll get things on track starting this week on the road.
Prediction: Titans 17, Jaguars 13
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m.
Honestly, I don’t really have a ton to say here. The Raiders looked dynamite in a Week 1 road game I predicted them to lose, and the Jets looked every bit the depressing outfit they constructed themselves to be against Buffalo. That doesn’t bode well for them in a west coast trip to what looks like a top AFC contender in the Raiders.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Jets 13
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
The Dolphins are in a really tough spot here, as Hurricane Irma has thrown their season off track significantly. They were supposed to get things rolling against Tampa Bay in Week 1, but after being displaced by the storms, they now have to cross the country to take on a Chargers squad who are eager to turn things around after a loss to Denver. That’s about what I would expect to happen here as the Chargers showed they can hang in there with a strong team, while we haven’t seen anything from Miami just yet.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Dolphins 14
The Cowboys had the offseason from hell, but it didn’t slow them down at all in Week 1. They pretty much embarrassed a consensus Super Bowl contender in the Giants thanks to a big outing from their dynamic duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, and with Elliott officially back into the fold for the season, I think the Cowboys can get it done on the road against a great defense.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Broncos 17
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.
A few years ago, this was probably the NFL’s best rivalry. Oh, how things change over the course of a few seasons. I expected that the Niners would be a bit more competitive this season under Kyle Shanahan, but if they’re going to be, they definitely did not show it against Carolina. I see Seattle as a serious Super Bowl contender this year, and as such I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this game was a three score difference.
Prediction: Seahawks 34, 49ers 14
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
The Sean McVay bowl will kick off in LA after a huge opening win over Indianapolis for the Rams, while the Redskins disappointed their home fans in the opener against Philly. The Skins put up a fight but also showed some concerning signs, while the Rams defense punched the Colts in the mouth and Jared Goff took to the air in a promising 2017 debut. It wouldn’t shock me if Washington turns things around here, but I’m not confident that they will since they have to go across the country to play a coach who knows them very well.
Prediction: Rams 27, Redskins 24
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, 8:30 p.m. (Sunday Night Football)
This NFC championship rematch doesn’t seem to have the juice that it maybe looked like it would have a few weeks ago. That’s probably because both teams played close Week 1 games, except there are some key differences in how they played out. The main one is that Atlanta played down to their competition against one of last year’s bottom feeding teams while Green Bay got it done in what could be a conference title preview against Seattle. As a result, I have them getting revenge on Atlanta in a close one here.
Prediction: Green Bay 28, Atlanta 27
Detroit Lions at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. (Monday Night Football)
The Lions looked impressive in Week 1 while the Giants looked the opposite of it against Dallas last Sunday night. While New York didn’t look the part of a Super Bowl contender, their defense is still certainly that caliber, and they were shorthanded without wide receiver Odell Beckham. If Beckham is back, I’d think he would prove to be the difference against the Lions on Monday Night.
Prediction: Giants 24, Lions 20
What are your Week 2 NFL picks?