Photo credit: Erik Drost
Author: Joey Carr
Week 1 of the NFL Regular Season gave us a great glimpse into what we should expect this year. Many of the teams that were supposed to impress didn’t necessarily live up to expectations (Minnesota, Indianapolis, Houston). But a couple teams surprised the league with their Week 1 performances, and look to continue that upward trend in Week 2. Let’s take a look at which teams will impress and which teams won’t in the second Sunday of the football year:
Patriots vs. Bills
In what many people are calling the Game of the Week after the trash talking and trolling by Buffalo, we’ll get to see if the Bills can back up the talk of their head coach and if the Patriots can handle the atmosphere at Ralph Wilson Stadium. After great showings by the Patriots offense and Bills defense in Week 1, something will have to give in Week 2. Could the pre-game antics by Rex Ryan and the Bills motivate the Pats enough to overcome the hostility of Buffalo? Or will the Tyrod Taylor led team capture that elusive victory against New England in their “Regular Season Super Bowl”?
Prediction: Brady and the Pats show the rest of the AFC East that they’re still the leader of the pack and that trash talking still doesn’t work.
Patriots 27 Bills 22
Texans vs. Panthers
Newly named starter Ryan Mallett will try to rejuvenate the Texans offense against an average Carolina defense while Cam Newton will do his best to find a way past J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney but it will be a difficult task to accomplish. And without a serviceable receiving corps, the task becomes that much more challenging.
Prediction: Houston’s defense is too much for Newton to handle and Ryan Mallett shows why he should’ve been named the starter from the get go.
Texans 24 Panthers 13
Chargers vs. Bengals
This matchup should be one of the better games of the afternoon, featuring two quarterbacks that desperately need to get off to good starts. Phillip Rivers faces a tough assignment against the Bengals defense that shutout the Raiders for most of the game last Sunday while Andy Dalton and Jeremy Hill look to keep their offense on the right track.
Prediction: The Bengal’s offense has another great showing against an average San Diego defense but Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen keep the game close with another successful afternoon through the air.
Bengals 31 Chargers 27
Buccaneers vs. Saints
With his first game behind him, Jameis Winston will improve but not by a lot. He showed promise at the end of last week’s blowout loss against Marcus Mariota and his Titans. Early on in the game however, he looked uncomfortable and hesitant, qualities in a quarterback that aren’t attractive to a GM. Look for Doug Martin to get more carries as a result of last week’s game.
Prediction: Drew Brees will avenge the loss New Orleans suffered at the hands of Carson Palmer and the Cardinals, having a great day through the air.
Saints 30 Buccaneers 16
49ers vs. Steelers
The Steelers felt the wrath of an angry Tom Brady last week, and there was nothing they could do to stop him. The offense however showed signs of talent, even without Le’Veon Bell. The Niners, however, impressed the league last Monday with a remarkable 20-3 win over Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. Carlos Hyde showed that he is a capable back in the NFL, and should continue to run wild against defenses.
Prediction: The 49ers will come into Pittsburgh and show the league that losing their head coach and key players won’t affect them, with Carlos Hyde running all over the Steelers defense.
49ers 28 Steelers 23
Titans vs. Browns
Marcus Mariota vs. Johnny Manziel is the headline of this game and nothing will change that. Mariota shined in his first game as starting QB, tossing 4 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. Manziel looks to prove his doubters wrong but has a lack of weapons on offense, which will hurt him as long as he is starter.
Prediction: Mariota has another great game but not as great of a game as he did against Tampa Bay. Joe Haden picks off a pass and Manziel throws a touchdown but it’s not enough to overcome the Titans offense.
Titans 23 Browns 17
Cardinals vs. Bears
Last week Carson Palmer showed why he’s one of the most valuable quarterbacks in the league. Arizona is a completely different team when he’s heading the huddle, and against a weak Bears defense, he should continue to prove that the Cardinals are a real threat in the NFC West.
Prediction: Arizona’s offense, even without Andre Ellington, will run all over Chicago’s defense but Matt Forte along with Jay Cutler will keep pace with the Cardinal’s just like they did Week 1 with the Packers.
Cardinals 25 Bears 20
Lions vs. Vikings
The Lions suffered a brutal loss out west last week against the Chargers and will try to overcome a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson this week. The Vikings did not look impressive at all last Monday in Santa Clara but should look to run the ball more this week while the Lions will attempt to replicate their first half performance against San Diego last week.
Prediction: Matthew Stafford didn’t target Megatron last week all that much but that will change this week against a weak Vikings secondary. The Vikes will get AP more involved but it won’t be enough as the rest of the offense lags behind.
Lions 30 Vikings 20
Falcons vs. Giants
The Giants experienced a heartbreaking loss in the finals seconds last Sunday night against Dallas and look to rebound at home this week. The Falcons on the other hand upset the Eagles on Monday night, showing vast improvement on defense and a healthy Julio Jones made all the difference in the world for Atlanta and Matt Ryan, who should continue to surprise the league week after week.
Prediction: The Giants suffer another last minute loss as Matt Ryan and the Falcons drive down the field and let Julio Jones walk all over their secondary, giving the Falcons their first 2-0 record since 2012.
Falcons 24 Giants 21
Rams vs. Redskins
The Rams surprised everyone last week when they upset the defending NFC champion Seahawks in overtime and look to go 2-0 when they face a mess of a team in the Redskins. Washington held it’s own when they played the Dolphins last week but it’s clear that this year is a development year for the Redskins, which bodes well for St. Louis this week.
Prediction: Nick Foles will have his running backs back this week and a decent run attack will definitely help the Rams offense. The defense will continue to dominate with Aaron Donald and company mowing down the opposition.
Rams 24 Redskins 12
Ravens vs. Raiders
Both these teams lost key players last week, with the Raiders losing Derek Carr and the Ravens losing Terrell Suggs. These losses will affect both teams greatly, but the Ravens have enough depth at linebacker to make the loss manageable. The Raiders are in for another rough year however, as their defense got shown up by Andy Dalton and Cincy last week, and the offense isn’t near what it was projected to be.
Prediction: The Ravens will cruise to a victory in Oakland as Justin Forsett bounces back from a bad Week 1 performance.
Ravens 31 Raiders 11
Dolphins vs. Jaguars
The Dolphins were almost upset by Washington last week as Ryan Tannehill struggled but against the Jags defense, he should bounce back nicely with his defense creating problems for Blake Bortles and the offense.
Prediction: Miami will not let Jacksonville make this a close game like they did with Washington. The Fins defense will overwhelm Bortles and earn them the first shutout game of the year.
Dolphins 21 Jaguars 0
Cowboys vs. Eagles
An age-old rivalry is renewed, and even more fuel is added to the fire between these teams, as DeMarco Murray left Dallas for Philly in the offseason. Murray now gets the chance to prove to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys that he doesn’t need their offensive line to do well in this league as his Eagles look to rebound from a Monday night loss at the hands of the Falcons.
Prediction: Dallas will come into Philly and show them that they are the real kings of the NFC East. Tony Romo will forget the loss of Dez Bryant as Terrance Williams has a big game and Dallas’ plethora of running backs show Murray that he isn’t needed in the backfield.
Cowboys 27 Eagles 18
Seahawks vs. Packers
A rematch of the NFC Championship game on Sunday Night Football should make for an amazing game. The Packers are surely bitter after Brandon Bostick dropped the onside kick that would’ve sent Green Bay to the Super Bowl. Seattle should be heated as well, as they lost an overtime thriller to St. Louis a week ago. This will be a battle to the end, and if we’re lucky, another final second thriller will take place at Lambeau.
Prediction: Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown a pick at Lambeau Field since 2013, and interceptions are what the Seahawks feed off of. It’s doubtful that Rodgers will break his streak of interception-less games at home and will avenge last year’s title game loss in Seattle, giving Russell Wilson and the Hawks an 0-2 record.
Packers 26 Seahawks 21
Jets vs. Colts
New York and Indy battle it out on Monday Night Football, but the team with the 0-1 record isn’t the one you’d expect. The Colts struggled mightily against the Bills last Sunday, with their defense and offense not showing up at all the first half. The Jets beat the Browns in Week 1, which isn’t exactly a big deal but Chris Ivory did show that he can be a capable back in the NFL. The Colts will be in front of their home crowd however, who will try and give the team a spark to avoid an 0-2 start.
Prediction: The Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick will give all the Colts they can handle on Monday, forcing Andrew Luck and the offense to score often. The game will be tight up until the fourth quarter, when the Jets pull away with a heavy does of Chris Ivory. Andrew Luck throws a couple more picks as he takes a trip to Revis Island, and the run game will still be nonexistent for Indy.
Jets 22 Colts 20