Last week resulted in an 11-5 prediction record for me. I hope to improve upon that record now with a better idea of where teams are in my Week 2 NFL Predictions.
I missed on Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Minnesota. Pittsburgh looked absolutely awful in their loss to Tennessee and looked like a team in for a long season potentially. It is embarrassing for Tampa Bay to lose to the Jets. Don’t expect the wins to keep coming in for Geno Smith. The Bengals still look supremely talented, yet shot themselves in the foot countless times against a good Bears team. Cleveland and Minnesota were misses on my part as I thought their offenses would put together more complete performances.
This week, look for the second showings of teams like Denver, Kansas City, Buffalo, Oakland, New Orleans, Dallas and Philadelphia, who either won impressively last week or looked surprisingly good in losses. This is the week to see if those Week 1 introductions were signs of things to come this season or if we shouldn’t buy into the hype.
There are no byes this week, let me know of questions or concerns.
Thursday, 9/12 – 8:25 pm ET
New York Jets 1-0 @ New England Patriots 1-0
Prediction: New England Patriots
I honestly didn’t think the Jets would pull of the win against the Buccaneers in Week 1. I continue to feel that New York is overmatched in terms of team talent and I don’t really believe in Geno Smith at this point. However, the Jets somehow stuck around and won against the Buccaneers last week, even though you could argue that Tampa was more responsible for the Jets winning. Not many thought New England would struggle against Buffalo. I thought they would because Buffalo, in my opinion, will be a surprisingly solid team as the season progresses. In the meantime though, New England is in trouble offensively with injuries to Shane Vareen, Danny Amendola and the continuing recovery of Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots are angry though and the Jets are still bad, so I like New England to play angry and win handily.
Sunday, 9/15 – 1:00 pm ET
St. Louis Rams 1-0 @ Atlanta Falcons 0-1
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons
St. Louis is a good team with an emerging, young and talented defense. The offense is improving and they will win some games against good teams this season, however, Atlanta is playing at home after they lost last week in New Orleans. The Falcons offense is nearly unstoppable at home, so I’m going with them and quarterback Matt Ryan who is 34-7 at home during his career. Watch for Steven Jackson’s performance against his former team.
San Diego Chargers 0-1 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1-0
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are for real… at least their offense is. The defense is still a work in progress, but they played well against Washington. The Eagles offense is going to catch most teams off guard, but they are only effective with Michael Vick at quarterback. He took a lot of hits Monday. San Diego on the other hand, started strong like Philly, but eventually gave up a big comeback to the Texans. I’m still not sold on San Diego being much of a factor this season, so I’m taking Philly at home. The Eagles offense will, again, be the difference.
Dallas Cowboys 1-0 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1-0
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs
Last week wasn’t a good gauge for the Chiefs ability against Jacksonville, so this should be interesting to watch. Dallas is a talented team who look solid defensively with new coordinator Monte Kiffin and their offense was still effective against the Giants defense last week. The problem for Dallas is that Tony Romo is recovering from the monster hit he took last week – he will play – and Dez Bryant isn’t supposed to play. Bryant’s presence is key. This could go either way, but I expect a defensive struggle. Home-field advantage for a team whose fan base believes they are back in the hunt breaks is the tie-breaker for me.
Miami Dolphins 1-0 @ Indianapolis Colts 1-0
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
Everyone likes the Colts this season, but their defense isn’t very good, as demonstrated by Indy’s inability to stop the Oakland Raiders offense last week. I think Andrew Luck will play very well, but Miami’s defense isn’t bad and should keep the Dolphins very much in the game. The Dolphins offense, led by Ryan Tannehill, will play well and take advantage of the Colts defense. Maybe we actually see good games from Dolphin playmakers Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace?
Tennessee Titans 1-0 @ Houston Texans 1-0
Prediction: Houston Texans
Both teams are coming off wins, but I think this is pretty clear cut. Tennessee’s win last week was more reflective of Pittsburgh’s problems rather than Tennessee’s ability and Houston’s win against San Diego was a gutsy comeback on the road. I expect another rough road for the Titans running backs and the rest of the offense. I also think Houston will be just fine moving the ball this week and control the game.
Washington Redskins 0-1 @ Green Bay Packers 0-1
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
This could turn into a shootout as neither defense played well last week in losses. Robert Griffin III was rusty for Washington, but will continue to perform better and better as he gets more comfortable playing again. This is one of those weeks where he will play well. The Packers on the other hand, have to be motivated to show they are competitors in the NFC after losing in San Francisco last week. I like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high-flying offense to win this shootout.
Cleveland Browns 0-1 @ Baltimore Ravens 0-1
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens
Let’s get something straight first… Just because Baltimore were beaten pretty badly by Denver doesn’t mean they are suddenly out of the playoff picture or done. They aren’t the same team they were last season, which at this point appear to be a bad thing, but they will get back on track. Cleveland, although improved, will have trouble in Baltimore. The Browns defense should play well, but in the end I think the performance of Cleveland’s offense and specifically Brandon Weeden will doom them again.
Carolina Panthers 0-1 @ Buffalo Bills 0-1
Prediction: Buffalo Bills
Carolina is a solid team with a good defense, particularly a good defensive line. The offense still seems to be a little off though. Sure, last week they were playing Seattle, but I just always have the sense that Carolina’s offense just isn’t fluid whether due to play-calling or lack of more playmakers than just Newton and Steve Smith. I think Buffalo gets their first win of the season behind the arm of E.J. Manuel. Manuel and the Bills were right there with New England last week and that has to be a huge confidence builder for this young team. Playing at home helps.
Minnesota Vikings 0-1 @ Chicago Bears 1-0
Prediction: Chicago Bears
The Vikings offense is too one-dimensional to pick against a very good Bears team coming off a big win over Cincinnati. Adrian Peterson is a beast, but when he is relatively contained like last week in Detroit, Minnesota can’t do much of anything. Chicago should be able to limit Peterson and force turnovers in the passing game. The Bears offense is very good and nobody stops the Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall combo.
Sunday, 9/15 – 4:05 pm ET
New Orleans Saints 1-0 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-1
Prediction: New Orleans Saints
The Buccaneers had an opportunity to impress me against the Jets and instead they lost to a team they shouldn’t have. There is talent in Tampa Bay, but I need to see it perform before picking them against a Saints team that is capable of putting points on the board. This should be close because most divisional clashes are closer than expected, but I think Saints’ Drew Brees makes a bigger impact than Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman.
Detroit Lions 1-0 @ Arizona Cardinals 0-1
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals
Who else is hoping this turns into a shootout to put two of the very best receivers on display in Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald? I imagine we will see great performances from both, but I like Arizona and Fitzgerald to pull it out at home. Carson Palmer isn’t elite anymore, but Bruce Arians will get the most out of him and the Cardinals defense should slow down the Lions offense.
Sunday, 9/15 – 4:25 pm ET
Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 @ Oakland Raiders 0-1
Prediction: Oakland Raiders
Watching the Raiders game last week, Terrelle Pryor made so many plays that you wouldn’t expect a NFL quarterback to make that I began calling him “Superstar”. This isn’t because he is one or will ascend to one, but there is something about watching him that keeps things interesting. While most of the Raiders season will be about Pryor “keeping things interesting” before they lose, this week they take on one of the teams that looks as bad as them on paper. The Jaguars are a mess and with them heading out west to Oakland, I expect “Superstar” to continue to do whatever it is he does to make plays.
Denver Broncos 1-0 @ New York Giants 0-1
Prediction: Denver Broncos
The big storyline here is always the Manning brothers matchup, but now it is a bit more. Peyton is coming off a record-tying seven touchdown passes game against the defending Super Bowl Champion. Eli is coming off a game where his team turned the ball over six times, including two fumbles by starting running back David Wilson. Now there are questions in New York over who will be trusted with the ball and, more importantly, how will they stop Denver. I don’t think it matters. Denver has too many weapons with Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas now.
Sunday, 9/15 – 8:30 pm ET
San Francisco 49ers 1-0 @ Seattle Seahawks 1-0
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
Let’s not over think this… Seattle is playing at home… where they didn’t lose all of last season… I like Seattle.
Monday, 9/16 – 8:40 pm ET
Pittsburgh Steelers 0-1 @ Cincinnati Bengals 0-1
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
Both had horrendous season openers where Pittsburgh lost at home to Tennessee and Cincinnati allowed a Bears comeback to doom them in Chicago. For this week, I think Cincinnati wins because even thought they lost, they lost because of self-inflicted errors – turnovers, penalties, mental mistakes – that you would imagine the coaching staff would work out. Pittsburgh on the other hand just didn’t seem to have anything going for them in Week 1. The Bengals defense is better than Tennessee’s and that alone should make a huge difference. This won’t be a blow out, especially since Pittsburgh always plays Cincinnati well, but I like the Bengals’ chances.