Last week’s slate of matchups featured some of the most highly contested games we’ve seen in a collective week. As we head into Week 2, all the questions are on the table. We’ll try and make sense of it all this week and prepare for our first set of power rankings next week. I’ll be breaking down this week’s games into different categories: Must Watch, Worth Watching, Watch if close, Watch the Highlights. For those that know me, you know that I’ll watch a Browns/Dolphins matchup if it’s on, so take my views with a grain of salt.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – 4:05pm
A lot of people were pegging the Buccaneers to be a surprise playoff team this season. They put a show on in Atlanta last week and while that may be more of a statement of how poor Atlanta’s defense is, it does set us up for a very interesting late afternoon game tomorrow. The Cardinals are coming off a disappointing loss at home to a Brady and Gronk-less Patriots team that took away their deep threat. While Tampa can’t quite do the same thing they can put on an offensive clinic themselves. This will all depend on whether or not the Arizona pass rush can get to Winston early and often. I do think that they will, as I just don’t see this Cardinals team getting caught in a trap twice.
Prediction: Cardinals 34 – Buccaneers 24
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0), 4:25pm
The Colts got behind early vs. Detroit, only to come back, take the lead and blow it again in the final seconds. The Colts secondary gave up huge yardage on underneath routes and got gashed on the ground on draw and stretch plays. Denver executed a pretty solid gameplan last week for Siemian’s first start against one of the league’s premiere defenses. Kubiak called short, quick routes for Siemian to build his confidence early and kept the offense’s looks very simplistic as to keep his reads versus the defense very simplistic with little to read post-snap. Expect the same here for the Broncos offense and for Trevor to settle into his role a little more this week. Kubiak will keep throwing combo routes at a Colts secondary that can be exploited with a few deep routes to Thomas. Luck and company will fight hard offensively, but won’t be able to achieve too much against Von Miller and company. Colts keep it close but Denver runs with it late.
Prediction: Colts 16 – Broncos 30
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0), 1pm
The Steelers are coming off a steamrolling of Washington on Monday Night and Cincinnati outlasted the Jets last week. Last time these two rivals met we saw one of the craziest meltdowns in playoff history. A few personal fouls gave Pittsburgh field goal range to nail the kick to knock the Bengals out the postseason. Pittsburgh offense is one of the deadliest in the league and Cincinnati had trouble with Decker and Marshall early. If Roethlisberger and Brown connect early and often, it could get ugly.
Prediction: Bengals 26 – Steelers 27
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Houston Texans (1-0), 1:00pm
Osweiler was solid in his debut for the Texans. 23-35 for 231 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT and kept the offense steady throughout. While it’s up in the air whether or not the Bears will be any good this season, the Texans in the meantime have a lot of expectations to live up to and will get their first measuring stick here. The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC West’s main threat until Trevor Siemian settles into the starting role as QB. Which means that in order to prove yourself as a legitimate playoff threat, you have to beat Kansas City. The Chiefs showed that they’re no slouch offensively, erasing a massive deficit to come back and beat San Diego.
Prediction: Chiefs 17 – Texans 21
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ New York Giants (1-0), 1:00pm
Last time these two met they put up 101 points. The Saints had a back and forth battle with the Raiders and lost on a 2 point conversion that Del Rio took late in the contest. The Giants are coming off a tough win against the Cowboys that they could’ve easily blown had Terrance Williams stepped out of bounds. Regardless, both teams are looking for respect as many experts have penned them to miss the postseason. Anything is possible for both of these teams because of QB play alone, but if the Saints want any shot at the post season they HAVE to win this game.
Prediction: Saints 41 – Giants 38
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1), 4:25pm
Fun fact: Jaguars have never won a game in the Blake Bortles era where he has thrown for over 300 yards. That changes tomorrow.
Prediction: Jaguars 35 – Chargers 17
Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-0), 1:00pm
Detroit surprised no one when they blew the lead to the Colts, but almost everyone when they stole it right back. Matt Stafford with a heroic game winning drive?
Prediction: Titans 16 – Lions 28
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Washington (0-1), 1:00pm
Dak Prescott looked impressive, even if the Cowboys are slowly easing him into their offense. If he keeps this up he’ll have a starting job next season and Tony might be on the Free Agent list.
Prediction: Cowboys 21 – Washington 10
Miami Dolphins (0-1) @ New England Patriots (1-0), 1:00pm
Miami’s defense was impressive last week, but ultimately lost out in the final quarter. They deserve plenty of credit for holding Seattle to 12 points. Too bad Jimmy G is coming off a big win in Arizona. Brady might come back to a 4-0 team.
Prediction: Dolphins 13 – Patriots 19
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Ravens are ready to correct the mistakes of yesteryear/protect Flacco’s knees. McCown (who does not get enough respect) will make the Browns more competitive than a timid RG3. Close, but still 0-2 for Cleveland. You got your ring, shut up.
Prediction: Ravens 23 – Browns 10, Lebron James 3-0 after 1-3 start
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Cam might still be woozy after all those shots he took 10 days ago. He’ll play like late-career Jake Delhomme for the first half, suffer a brain freeze at halftime from the slushie that Joe Webb saved for later use and revert back to normal by the 3rd quarter.
Prediction: Fighting Yo Gabba Gabberts 17 – Panthers – 23
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ St. Louis Rams (0-1)
Would somebody, anybody, please explain to me what compromising photos of the Rams ownership does Jeff Fisher have to keep getting extensions with 7-9 records? Somebody? Please? ANSWER ME! First game back in LA for the NFL, too bad they don’t have a QB to go with it.
Prediction: Seahawks 18 – Jeff Fisher’s Mustache 7
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)
It has been 16 years since Oakland last beat Atlanta. Just want my family members who are Raiders fans to remember this….it had to happen eventually doggone it.
Prediction: Falcons 27 – Raiders 38
Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Shaun Hill finishes his last start in a blaze of unrivaled grit and glory. Throwing for 166 yards and 1 TD
Predictions: Packers 33 – Vikings 21
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1)
Really isn’t fair that the Eagles get 6 preseason games.
Predictions: Eagles 27 – Bears 14
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