NFL Week 2 Predictions

After a crazy week one, it’s time to predict the outcome of each game in week 2.

Ravens (1-0) at Bengals (1-0) TNF

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Photo Cred: gridironexperts.com

Thursday Night Football gives us a great matchup between two AFC North teams currently in first place. The Ravens and Bengals are so evenly matched, that it’s extremely difficult to predict a winner for this game. Joe Flacco has struggled in Cincinnati throughout his career, as he has a 3-6 record when on the road vs the Bengals. Cincinnati also has more playmakers than the Ravens with receiver AJ Green and running back Joe Mixon. Also, the Ravens defense lacks speed and youth, so expect speed threat John Ross to make a big play or two in this game. Baltimore’s upgrades at receivers look good in their opener vs the Bills, but that was the Bills. The Bengals have a very underrated secondary and should be able to contain a receiving corps that lacks a game changer. Baltimore also struggled to establish the run with Alex Collins in their opener and that likely won’t change against a Bengals run defense that looks much improved with the addition of linebacker Preston Brown. It should be relatively close, but Cincinnati should be able to be victorious in what is a very important matchup, despite it being just Week 2. Prediction: Ravens 20 Bengals 24

Panthers (1-0) at Falcons (0-1)

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Photo Cred: bloggingdirty.com

It’s just Week 2, but similar to Ravens at Bengals, this is a very important divisional matchup. A win for the Panthers would send them to 2-0 while a loss for the Falcons would send them to 0-2 and diminish their Super Bowl aspirations. We’ve only had one week of regular season football, but both teams are dealing with major injuries. Atlanta is without arguably their best two defensive players in S Keanu Neal (Torn ACL) and LB Deion Jones (foot) and is also without running back Devonta Freeman (knee). As for the Panthers, they’ll be without tight end Greg Olsen, who is easily Cam Newton’s most reliable target. It won’t be your typical Panthers-Falcons matchup without these guys, but one thing should stay the same: the Falcons should win this game. Atlanta has won three straight games at home against the Panthers and has won by at least a touchdown in each of those games. Carolina’s secondary is also too thin to be able to guard Atlanta’s stellar receiving corps. Even though Freeman is hurt, running back Tevin Coleman would be the starting running back for most NFL teams, so he is more than capable of filling in as the starter. Carolina also looks awful offensively at home against the Cowboys in Week 1 and once again looked like they didn’t know how to get running back Christian McCaffrey involved. Atlanta’s injuries should make this relatively close, but Atlanta is still the better team and will come out on top in this important NFC South matchup. Prediction: Panthers 17 Falcons 24

Vikings (1-0) at Packers (1-0)

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Photo Cred: dailynorseman.com

Speaking of excellent divisional matchups, this matchup between the Vikings and Packers is a very interesting one. Aaron Rodgers just led a 20 point comeback on one leg against the Bears, but is he healthy enough to take on arguably the best defense in the NFL? In this case, the answer doesn’t matter. The Vikings are the better team and have a real shot to dominate this game. Their solid running game should destroy a Packers defense that gave up 5.1 yards per carry against the Bears. Minnesota’s pass rush should also dominate Green Bay’s offensive line that looked awful, which means Rodgers will be taking hit after hit. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense were expected by many to struggle at first when adjusting to new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, but they looked solid against the 49ers in Week 1, as Cousins threw for 244 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Packers secondary struggled at times vs Mitchell Trubisky, so Cousins should have no problem in this game, despite being on the road.         Prediction: Vikings 27 Packers 20

Browns (0-0-1) at Saints (0-1)

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Photo Cred: cheers.ws

Many were surprised by the Saints’ performance on Sunday in their 48-40 loss at home against the Buccaneers, but they shouldn’t be. Without running back Mark Ingram (PED suspension), they weren’t able to control the time of possession like they did last year. They also committed two fumbles, including one by new running back Mike Gillislee that led to a scoop and score that changed the momentum of the game. Those two things are a direct result of not having Ingram, and his suspension isn’t up until Week 5, which means they’re in trouble, considering Cleveland’s defense forced six turnovers last week against the Steelers. On defense, New Orleans should have been expected to go through some growing pains with corner Marshon Lattimore and safety Marcus Williams having to make the big leap from their rookie season to their sophomore season. They let Ryan Fitzpatrick leave the pocket and run twelve times, and now they have the face arguably the most mobile quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. Cleveland’s defense is good enough to hold the Saints offense just enough to let the offense take care of business against this lackluster defense. Prediction: Browns 30 Saints 23

Colts (0-1) at Redskins (1-0)

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Photo Cred: idsca.com

The Redskins looked a lot better than people expected last week, as they demolished the Cardinals in Arizona 24-6. Alex Smith had a very typical Alex Smith day, completing 70% of his passes while completing most of his passes to running backs and tight ends. That will work against a Colts defense that has a very weak linebacking core that got absolutely exposed by running back Joe Mixon of the Bengals last week. Indianapolis has an awful rushing attack that averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, and if they become too one dimensional, Andrew Luck may get absolutely destroyed by Washington’s solid pass rush. Washington is the better team and is at home, so they should win this game comfortably. Prediction: Colts 13 Redskins 30

Texans (0-1) at Titans (0-1)

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Photo Cred: texanswire.usatoday.com

Both the Texans and Titans underwhelmed last weekend, as both lost 27-20 in games I picked them to win. The Titans were absolutely crushed with injuries in Week 1, as tight end, Delanie Walker will be out for the season, tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin are ruled out for this game, while quarterback Marcus Mariota may be limited with a hand injury as well. With Mariota dinged up and without Walker, Tennesse will not be able to establish any sort of rhythm on offense. Without Lewan and Conklin, Houston’s pass rush led by JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should wreck havoc regardless of who is at quarterback for the Titans. Houston’s offense struggled last week, but as quarterback, Deshaun Watson continues to shake off the rust after tearing his ACL last season, Houston’s offense should progress into a very explosive unit.                                                     Prediction: Texans 23 Titans 10

Eagles (1-0) at Buccaneers (1-0)

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Photo Cred: nj.com

In a matchup of overachieving backup quarterbacks, Nick Foles and the Eagles will travel to Tampa to take on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers who are coming off of a 48-40 win over the Saints in New Orleans.  Fitzpatrick may have thrown for 417 yards and 5 touchdowns in Week 1, but there is a reason he’s been a career backup. Facing a much tougher defense with an elite pass rush in the Eagles, Fitzpatrick should regress heavily in this game. Tampa Bay is also without their top two corners in this game, so Foles is in a great position to succeed in this game. The Eagles are coming off of a 10-day break after playing Thursday Night Football and should absolutely destroy the Bucs, who may be just a bit too comfortable after that impressive Week 1 win.                                         Prediction: Eagles 31 Bucs 7

Chiefs (1-0) at Steelers (0-0-1)

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Photo Cred: steelerswire.usatoday.com

The Chiefs and Steelers had very different games last week. Kansas City went into Los Angeles as underdogs and defeated the AFC West favorite Chargers as Patrick Mahomes threw for four touchdowns. On the other hand, the Steelers blew a fourteen point lead in the fourth quarter against Cleveland, committed six turnovers, and missed a game-winning field goal in overtime; resulting in a tie. So many people have jumped to conclusions that A) Kansas City is now a top ten team and B) The Steelers are doomed and this is the end of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. What they are forgetting is that Kansas City gave up 541 yards of offense, and the Steelers were greatly affected due to poor weather conditions in Cleveland. Back at home, where Roethlisberger is notoriously better, the Steelers offense should dominate Kansas City’s atrocious secondary. This will also be Mahomes’ first true road test (the Chargers don’t count- more than half the fans there were Chiefs fans) and it is exceptionally hard to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. This game will serve as a reminder to not overreact after Week 1, as the Steelers will prove to be the superior team. Prediction: Chiefs 20 Steelers 34

Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

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Photo Cred: lockedondolphins.com

This is a very hard game to pick. Both Dolphins and Jets had impressive showings last week as underdogs. Miami defeated the Titans 27-20 and impressed on offense and defense. The Jets absolutely destroyed the Lions on Monday Night Football, winning 48-17. Yet, there are some doubts for both teams. There were two lightning delays in the Dolphins-Titans game, while Tennesee suffered a lot of injuries, including one to Marcus Mariota. It looked more like the Lions were doing everything wrong rather than the Jets doing everything right, while they practically admitted their defense was outstanding primarily because they could tell what play was coming. When in doubt, pick the home team and the better team. The Jets are much more talented than Miami and will have a home crowd behind them eager to see the Sam Darnold era start with a 2-0 start. While Ryan Tannehill threw for two touchdowns, he also threw for two interceptions, which will be a problem against a Jets defense that had five interceptions. All signs point to Gang Green in this matchup. Prediction: Dolphins 14 Jets 24

Chargers (0-1) at Bills (0-1)

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Photo Cred: timesofsandiego.com

The Chargers are expected to be a Super Bowl contender this season, but they definitely didn’t get off to a great start in a 38-28 loss to the Chiefs at home. Los Angeles is a notoriously slow starting team, but there is no chance that they’ll find a way to lose this game. The Bills look like easily the worst team in football after losing 47-3 to Ravens. Their passing attack is extremely weak with an awful receiving corps and with 7th overall pick Josh Allen making his debut under center for them. Allen is a project and is clearly not NFL ready and should get absolutely pummeled by the Chargers pass rush, as the Bills have the worst offensive line in football. On the other side of the ball, Buffalo’s secondary allowed to have a 121.7 quarterbacking rating, so Phillip Rivers and the high flying Chargers offense should have no problem scoring points. This looks like the most likely game to be a blowout. Prediction: Chargers 38 Bills 6

Lions (0-1) at 49ers (0-1)

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Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Week 1 was a very tough week for both the Lions and the 49ers. Detroit lost 48-17 on Monday Night Football, looked awful in all aspects, and first-year head coach Matt Patricia already has fans wanting him to be fired. It came as no surprise that the 49ers lost at Minnesota, but what was concerning was how quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played in his first game after signing a $137 million contract extension. He had a quarterback rating of 45.1, threw three interceptions, and the offensive line allowed him to be pressured on every single play. If I had to pick one team to bounce back, I would definitely pick the 49ers. San Francisco was still getting over the loss of running back Jerrick McKinnon, but they should finally be able to move on after another week to plan without him. Detroit is also coming off of a short week and does not deserve anyone’s confidence after that atrocious showing on Monday Night Football. Expect this game to be somewhat close, but with the 49ers in control throughout the whole game.                        Prediction: Lions 21 49ers 27

Cardinals (0-1) at Rams (1-0)

 

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Photo Cred: azcentral.com

The Rams are favored by 13 points, a godly amount for the NFL. However, there is no reason to think they can’t cover that massive spread.  After starting off slow at Oakland, the Rams outscored the Raiders 23-0 in the second half to win 33-13 on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost 24-6 at home to the Redskins. The Rams have the better quarterback, rushing attack, receiving corps, offensive line, defensive line, and secondary. Heck, they have a significantly better special teams unit and have a much better head coach. The Rams should have complete control of this game, which will likely be over by halftime. Sorry, no upset alert; these teams are way too unevenly matched to even think about the Cardinals win this game. Prediction: Cardinals 3 Rams 27

Patriots (1-0) at Jaguars (1-0)

 

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Photo Cred: buffalonews.com

In this week’s game of the week, the Pats and Jags will face off in an AFC Championship matchup. New England may have won that game, but the Jags will get their revenge in this game. It’s important to remember that Jacksonville was on the verge of winning that game. They had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, and then Tom Brady happened. A lot has changed since that game, however, as New England lost several pieces on offense, while Jacksonville has only upgraded their team. Unlike the AFC Championship Game, this game will also be in Jacksonville; another factor in the Jags favor. Jacksonville’s elite pass rush should pressure Brady all day with New England’s weak offensive line. It’s also unclear what type of running game the Pats will be able to have, with three of their running backs dealing with injury. The Jaguar’s elite secondary should shut down New England ‘s weak receiving corps while corner Jalen Ramsey should shut down tight end Rob Gronkowski just enough to make him a nonfactor. As long as Blake Bortles and the Jags offense doesn’t turn the ball over and scores 1-2 touchdowns against New England’s weak defense, they should have no problem winning this game. It won’t be a pretty win, but just like last week’s 20-15 victory, it counts just the same as any other victory.                 Prediction: Patriots 14 Jaguars 20

Raiders (0-1) at Broncos (1-0)

 

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Photo Cred: raiderswire.usatoday.com

Jon Gruden and the Raiders are an absolute mess right now. Quarterback Derek Carr continues to regress from his MVP caliber 2016 season, they have no pass rush, and their team is way too old. Expect the Broncos to take advantage of all of those things. The pass rushing duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and their solid secondary should exploit Carr. With all time to throw, quarterback Case Keenum should have a very efficient game after a shaky debut. Denver’s young running back duo of Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay should also be able to wear the old Raiders defense down. This one shouldn’t be a blowout, but it also won’t be that close. Prediction: Raiders 13 Broncos 23

Giants (0-1) at Cowboys (0-1) SNF

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Photo Cred: elitesportsny.com

On Sunday Night Football, the Giants and Cowboys will face in an NFC East matchup that should be a doozy. Both teams are incredibly different, which makes this an intriguing matchup. On one hand, the Giants are a team with a lot of playmakers on offense with a lack of a pass rush. On the other hand, Dallas is a team that wins in the trenches and has a solid pass rush. However, the Cowboys offense is too bland for them to compete with a high powered Giants offense. If this game turns into a shootout, which it could, quarterback Dak Prescott has no chance of keeping up. The Giants are a team that could get exposed against teams with good passing attacks while the Cowboys are a team that will get exposed against high powered offenses. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the Giants match up extremely well with Dallas and should come out of At&T stadium with a big win. Prediction: Giants 27 Cowboys 13

Seahawks (0-1) at Bears (0-1) MNF

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Don’t believe what critics may be trying to say, the Bears are for real. Chicago had a 20 point lead in Green Bay, that’s pretty impressive. Yes, Aaron Rodgers came back and beat them, but that can be expected from a young team that will go through growing pains. In Soldier Field on Monday Night Football, the Bears should play at a whole new intensity that the mellow Seahawks can’t match. Chicago’s dominant rushing attack should be effective against Seattle, while Mitch Trubisky should continue to show progression with a solid outing against Seattle’s weak secondary. On the other side of the ball, Chicago’s elite pass rush led by Khalil Mack will simply be too much for Seattle’s awful offensive line to handle, and Russell Wilson will be forced to go into survival mode. This one could get ugly quick. Prediction: Seahawks 9 Bears 34

 

 

 

 

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