Last week, I finished with a 9-7 record in my predictions, missing on Cincinnati, Buffalo, Miami, New York [Jets], Tennessee, Atlanta and Carolina.
– Cincinnati finally demonstrated they may have the ability to win big games on the road.
– Buffalo surprisingly took Chicago to the wire and won it.
– Miami and New York won behind powerful run games. Yes, those finishes mean the Patriots are last in the AFC East. Enjoy it while it lasts.
– Tennessee’s offense was better than I thought it would be on the road for Week 1. Tennessee could be trouble for teams this season if Jake Locker continues to play well at quarterback.
– Atlanta played that “close one” I thought we would see and won it. Divisional games are, more often than not, harder to pick with each team having so much information on each other. That shouldn’t take away from Atlanta’s offensive showcase though. They will be hard to beat this season.
– Carolina won with their backup quarterback. Wasn’t expecting that.
There are no byes. Here’s my gif of the week, which is fittingly of current Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns. Of course, this was from his college days (last season), but after his huge game last week, we can give him some love.
Thursday, 9/11 – 8:30 pm ET
Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0 @ Baltimore Ravens 0-1
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh is coming off a surprisingly close call against Cleveland and Baltimore was thoroughly outplayed last week, at home, against Cincinnati. Pittsburgh’s run game will hard for Baltimore to stop in what figures to be a very close matchup.
Sunday, 9/14 – 1:00 pm ET
Miami Dolphins 1-0 @ Buffalo Bills 1-0
Prediction: Buffalo Bills
Buffalo’s defense is underrated and has the ability to contain Miami’s run game after the Dolphins pushed New England around last week. The question continues to center around Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel. If he plays well, Buffalo wins. If he reverts back to his preseason form, Miami has enough talent defensively and offensively to move to 2-0 on the year.
Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 @ Washington Redskins 0-1
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville played tough and looked good against Philadelphia. The Eagles are a better team than Washington, who seems to still be searching for an identity with quarterback Robert Griffin III continuing to struggle. Jacksonville, with Toby Gerhart back at running back, will have enough balance to win this one.
Dallas Cowboys 0-1 @ Tennessee Titans 1-0
Prediction: Tennessee Titans
I really like where the Titans offense is going this season. They have a litany of weapons and quarterback Jake Locker was impressive in the opener against Kansas City on the road. The Dallas defense wasn’t really the issue for them, as many expected, last week with the offense struggling to protect the ball. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys can slow down the Titans though. I don’t think they will do enough.
Arizona Cardinals 1-0 @ New York Giants 0-1
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals
The Giants offense is awful. Just awful. Arizona is on the rise. I picked them to make a playoff run and I’m sticking with it. The Arizona offense is hard to stop when clicking. Look for wide receiver Michael Floyd to continue his Week 1 success against a New York defense that practically ignored their scouting report on Calvin Johnson last week.
New England Patriots 0-1 @ Minnesota Vikings 1-0
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings
Call this my upset pick. Minnesota is coming off a strong win over a reeling Rams team, but now Minnesota is home against the 0-1 Patriots. New England is going to get on track this season, but they also let the Dolphins run all over them last week with the Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson on this week’s docket. New Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer is also one of the few defensive minds who has stumped Tom Brady through the years. At the very least, this will be close. I think Minnesota will pull off the upset.
New Orleans Saints 0-1 @ Cleveland Browns 0-1
Prediction: New Orleans Saints
Both teams had surprising outcomes last week with the Saints falling unexpectedly and the Browns making their game against Pittsburgh… a game in the second half. The Browns have a great defense, but the Saints operate on a different level offensively. I think New Orleans gets back on track.
Atlanta Falcons 1-0 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1-0
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
Boy, Atlanta looked good offensively against New Orleans last week. With their weapons back from a year ago, the Falcons are back as one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. However, Cincinnati’s win at Baltimore was huge for that team and with their defense, they can matchup with the Falcons. Cincinnati was also undefeated at home a year ago with quarterback Andy Dalton playing lights out in those games (playoffs excluded). I like Cincinnati to do enough to win this one.
Detroit Lions 1-0 @ Carolina Panthers 1-0
Prediction: Detroit Lions
Detroit’s performance against the Giants have me believing that their offense may be even better than year’s past, particularly with Golden Tate on the opposite side of Calvin Johnson. Now, I’m almost positive Carolina will actually try to guard Johnson this week, but I’m not sure if it will be enough. I like Detroit to use their high-powered offense to outlast Carolina.
Sunday, 9/14 – 4:05 pm ET
St. Louis Rams 0-1 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-1
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is too much going on with St. Louis right now to take them. There is chance backup quarterback Shaun Hill doesn’t play leaving the starting job to Austin Davis. Even defensive end Chris Long is out for around two months. I’m taking Tampa Bay until St. Louis can find a way to stop the bleeding.
Seattle Seahawks 1-0 @ San Diego Chargers 0-1
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
The most likely scenario where Seattle will lose is an early game, on the road, on the east coast. This is not one of those road games and Seattle is, frankly, just too good for San Diego. There is a chance San Diego scares them a bit, but I don’t see the Chargers pulling off the upset. Seattle is built on defense and a power run game. Those are two things that can make a team “upset-proof” when on the road.
Sunday, 9/14 – 4:25 pm ET
Houston Texans 1-0 @ Oakland Raiders 0-1
Prediction: Houston Texans
I chose Oakland last week to beat the Jets, but they let me down. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr will be solid with more playing time, but Houston has enough offensively and a defense – spearheaded by J.J. Watt – that earns them a win Sunday.
New York Jets 1-0 @ Green Bay Packers 0-1
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is a better team than what we saw in Seattle. We should see quarterback Aaron Rodgers take advantage of New York’s ailing secondary.
Kansas City Chiefs 0-1 @ Denver Broncos 1-0
Prediction: Denver Broncos
It’s so easy to settle back into old habits like picking Denver in Weekly Predictions. Denver’s defense showed very well last week and the offense is always good enough to win. Kansas City looked unable to move the ball offensively and their defense won’t be enough to stop Peyton Manning.
Sunday, 9/14 – 8:30 pm ET
Chicago Bears 0-1 @ San Francisco 49ers 1-0
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
This is San Francisco’s first official welcoming to the new Levi’s Stadium. That sort of excitement on primetime is powerful, but couple that with San Francisco’s talent and Chicago could be in for a long night. The 49ers will play a punishing, physical style of play, earning them the win.
Monday, 9/15 – 8:30 pm ET
Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 @ Indianapolis Colts 0-1
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
Look for this to turn into a shootout and in those cases, I like Philly. Indianapolis struggled with Denver’s offense a week ago, in part, because they couldn’t pressure the passer. With Robert Mathis out for the year, that could be an ongoing struggle in Indy. Philadelphia, on the other hand, will learn from their slow start in Jacksonville and be explosive in Week 2.