Week 1 record: 12-4
Overall record: 12-4
Correct: Bengals, Steelers, Texans, Eagles, Packers, Buccaneers, Vikings, Chiefs, Raiders, Seahawks, Lions, 49ers
Incorrect: Panthers, Cardinals, Bills, Cowboys
After a 12-win prediction in week one, here are my picks for week two of the NFL season.
Jets 20, Bills 13
The Jets tallied seven sacks on Andy Dalton and out rushed the Bengals by over 100 yards, but still lost 23-22 in their season-opener last Sunday. Meanwhile, the promising Buffalo Bills offense led by Tyrod Taylor could only manage a LeSean McCoy rushing touchdown in a 13-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. On top of the six-point loss to Baltimore, Buffalo star wide out Sammy Watkins seems to have foot injury that will linger with him all season if he stays on the field. Expect a heavy dose of Matt Forte from the Jets’ offense in a big road win over a division rival that has too many questions on offense to be competitive.
49ers 13, Panthers 30
Just like in 2015 when they beat the Vikings, the 49ers got their feel-good win on Monday night in week one, but a hard season will sure follow. Against the Rams, the Niners defense dominated, posting a 28-0 shutout. But their road match up with reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton is a lot different than a home affair against Case Keenum. Panthers roll easily, probably by more than what I predict.
Saints 34, Giants 38
The two worst statistical defenses meet up at MetLife Stadium and there is sure to be an offensive explosion. Last season, Eli Manning torched the Saints’ secondary for six touchdowns and 350 yards in a 52-49 loss. Drew Brees and Manning both had great week ones, but Brees struggles a bit more on the road than when he’s in the dome in Louisiana. Manning lost his last four home games, but that ends when New Orleans comes to town on Sunday.
Cowboys 20, Redskins 21
Both teams are 0-1 and desperate for a victory. Dallas can’t afford to drop consecutive division games to begin the season, but I don’t see a young Dak Prescott going to Washington and getting a win, although every NFC East game seems to be close. Plus, the Redskins are desperate to shake off the drubbing they received from Pittsburgh on Monday night, and will recover against Dallas in a bid to defend their NFC East title.
Dolphins 13, Patriots 28
The Patriots shocked the NFL world when they went to Arizona and defeated the Cardinals in week one. Now, they return to Foxboro for the first of three straight division games before Tom Brady returns from his four-game suspension. Their opponent? The Dolphins, who nearly squeaked out a big road win in Seattle had it not been for a last-minute touchdown drive by Russell Wilson.
Now the Dolphins head to New England, where they haven’t won since Ronnie Brown ran for four touchdowns out of “The Wildcat” back in 2008– this was an easy one.
Buccaneers 24, Cardinals 27
The Cardinals were embarrassed with their loss to New England. Tampa Bay went on the road and beat Atlanta. If the Buccaneers want to be taken seriously, a win over Arizona would be a great place to start. However, the Cardinals took the Patriots lightly, and their desperation will lead them to a win over Jameis Winston and the Bucs.
Falcons 23, Raiders 30
Derek Carr brought Oakland back from the dead to defeat the Saints last week, now he returns home to face another weak NFC secondary in the Falcons. What’s the deal with Matt Ryan? One minute he’s elite, the next he’s not. Returning to the Black Hole, Oakland’s offense once again flies high.
Colts 16, Broncos 23
Denver loves being the underdog. On opening night, they pulled off a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter to defeat the reigning NFC-champion Panthers with a quarterback making his first start. Andrew Luck and the Colts come to town after a last-minute lost to Detroit, but Luck has been a turnover machine in the past despite winning his last two games against the Broncos. With CJ Anderson running hard in the opener, he, along with their elite defense, leads the Broncos to a 2-0 start.
Titans 20, Lions 27
The Titans were in a great spot for a season-opening victory over the Vikings, a division-winner from a year ago. Shaun Hill was under center, Adrian Peterson was a non-factor, but two defensive scores later Minnesota pulled off a 25-16 win. Tennessee’s offense has a better chance against Detroit’s defense, but Marcus Mariota won’t have enough to keep up with Matthew Stafford, whose 340-yard, three-touchdown performance led the Lions to a 39-35 win over Indianapolis last week.
Chiefs 23, Texans 20
The Texans defeated the Bears in week one, but will run into a tougher opponent when they host the Chiefs in week two. Kansas City had to overcome a large deficit in week one to top the Chargers in overtime, and now will go on the road in a playoff rematch from a year ago. The sturdy Chiefs’ defense can force a young Brock Osweiler into a few turnovers and win a close game.
Ravens 17, Browns 13
The Browns lost their NFL-worst 12th straight season-opener last week, falling in Philadelphia, 29-10. Their rebuilding hopes took a turn for the worst when RGIII suffered a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for close to 10 weeks. Insert veteran Josh McCown, who will take over under center.
Last season, McCown threw for 457 yards and two touchdowns as Cleveland beat the Ravens on the road, 33-30. Don’t expect a repeat performance by the 37 year old, working with limited options as Terrelle Pryor was the team’s leading receiver in week one. Baltimore’s defense was outstanding in their opening victory over Buffalo, holding Tyrod Taylor and the Bills to just 160 total yards of offense. Expect Joe Flacco and company to pull off a close win in a low-scoring contest.
Bengals 21, Steelers 24
As much as I hate to pick against my Bengals, they face an uphill battle traveling to Heinz Field this week. In a one-point win over the Jets last week, Cincinnati’s run defense allowed 157 yards on the ground to Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, while their offensive line allowed Andy Dalton to be sacked a career-high seven times. On the other hand, Pittsburgh proved why they are a Super Bowl favorite in their respective opener, defeating Washington on Monday night, 38-16. Ben Roethlisberger tossed for 300 yards and three touchdowns, Antonio Brown being on the receiving end of two of them, and running back DeAngelo Williams filled in nicely for Le’Veon Bell, running for 143 yards on 26 carries and two scores.
Seahawks 20, Rams 7
I’m giving the Rams a touchdown, which is seven more points they scored in their shutout loss last Monday to the 49ers. Seattle’s defense should have a fun afternoon in California against Case Keenum and the Rams’ offense, keying in on running back Todd Gurley the entire time. Although Russell Wilson’s ankle is raising some questions, Seattle should have an easy time starting 2-0.
Jaguars 28, Chargers 25
Is this Gus Bradley rebuild in Jacksonville ever going to pay dividends? Last week it looked like a promising start, nearly pulling off a huge win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers before falling by a touchdown. San Diego had a similar chance, blowing a huge second-half lead and squandering their chance of a big win in Arrowhead to begin their season. Losing Keenan Allen will hurt Phillip Rivers and the Chargers, so expect Danny Woodhead and Travis Benjamin to be more involved in the passing game. I see Blake Bortles having another big game passing, edging San Diego by a field goal.
Packers 28, Vikings 14
By hook or by crook, the Vikings survived a week one scare in Nashville, beating Tennessee by nine points on the heels of their defense. That same defense will have to face Aaron Rodgers this week with all of his weapons healthy. I love the Vikings, I love Mike Zimmer, but their Shaun Hill-led offense doesn’t stand much of a chance to keep up with Green Bay.
Eagles 24, Bears 23
Two teams that probably won’t make the playoffs meet on Monday night this week, similar to the Rams-49ers prime time game in week one. Carson Wentz was great in his debut, tossing for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sure it was the Browns, but the Bears defense isn’t much better. This game can go either way, but I see Wentz and the Eagles making a few more plays down the stretch and pulling off a one-point victory to start 2-0 for the second time in three years.