Week 1 record: 11-5
Overall record: 11-5
New York Jets (0-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Game Pick: Jets – A couple of AFC East foes will do battle in Western New York when the Jets visit the Bills in Buffalo on Thursday night. Both teams are coming off opening week losses. The Jets found a way to lose by one last week at home against the Bengals, with K Nick Folk’s missed PAT and field goal ending up being the difference despite the Jets dominating statistically. The Bills meanwhile struggled against the Ravens, mustering only 160 total yards of offense. Buffalo will be missing starting LT Cordy Glenn and WR Sammy Watkins may suit up, but will be at far less than 100% if he does. Rex Ryan will have the Bills ready for this one, but the Jets are healthier and could present a lot of problems for the Buffalo’s offensive line. It should be tight, but the Jets will prevail.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Game Pick: Panthers – Following a similar script to the opening week last season, the 49ers looked fantastic on Monday night, shutting out the Rams 28-0 at home. The Panthers had a chance to win in the dying seconds, but thanks to a Graham Gano missed field goal, they lost their opening week Super Bowl rematch game against the Broncos last Thursday by one. Unfortunately for the 49ers, this is a very poor spot for them this week against an angry Carolina team that had an extra few days of rest. Not only to they have to travel east after playing late on Monday night, but the Panthers are a much more formidable foe. QB Cam Newton and company should have a relatively easy time dispatching San Francisco. Take the Panthers by double digits.
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Game Pick: Ravens – It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but thanks to a 66 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace, the Ravens were able to eke out a 13-7 win over the Bills. The Browns kept things close against the Eagles through three quarters, but unravelled in the fourth, ultimately losing 29-10. QB Robert Griffin III suffered a shoulder injury in that game as well, meaning QB Josh McCown will be under center this week, which actually might not be a bad thing. The Browns have a lot of deficiencies on defense that the Ravens should be able to take advantage of. Still, McCown lit up the Ravens last year and might be able to keep the Browns in this one. Baltimore wins, in a close, surprisingly high scoring game.
Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ Detroit Lions (1-0)
Game Pick: Lions – Things were looking good for the Titans last week, leading the Vikings 10-0 at half time. Things unfortunately changed in the second half, and though Minnesota failed to score a touchdown on offense, two Tennessee turnovers resulted in two Vikings defensive touchdowns and a 25-16 loss. The Lions went back and forth with the Colts in a shootout, but as is often the case in high scoring games, the team with the ball last wins the game, and that’s what Detroit did on the road. QB Matthew Stafford didn’t have much difficulty slicing and dicing his way through the Colts defense last week, and shouldn’t face a whole lot of resistance against the Titans this week either. The Titans might be able to put a few more points on the board this week against an average Lions defense, but look for Detroit to come out on top in this one and move to 2-0.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Houston Texans (1-0)
Game Pick: Texans – It was a tale of two halves for the Chiefs. Down 24-3 to the Chargers late in the third quarter, Kansas City mounted an epic comeback, tying the game in the waning seconds and then winning in overtime on QB Alex Smith’s option run for a touchdown. The Texans were a little slow out of the gate against the Bears, but ultimately found their groove and ended up beating Chicago comfortably. Remember what happened last year in the playoffs? You can bet that the Texans have had this game circled on their calendar since the schedule game out. Their new offensive weapons, led by RB Lamar Miller and a stout defense will be too much for a banged up Chiefs squad coming off an emotionally draining win at home last week. It will be tight, but Houston gets revenge this week.
Miami Dolphins (0-1) @ New England Patriots (1-0)
Game Pick: Patriots – A blocked field goal and a wide open WR Kenny Stills dropping a potential 71 yard touchdown pass is all that stopped the Dolphins from a monumental upset of the Seahawks in Seattle last week. Not many people gave Miami a chance to win, so regardless, the fact this game was as close as it was was impressive. Meanwhile, in a game that everyone expected the Patriots to lose, sans QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski and many more, they of course found a way to beat Arizona on the road on Sunday night. Mastermind Bill Belichick can never be doubted, and now at home to start a three game homestand, the Patriots might be hard to stop yet again. That’s not to say the Dolphins won’t put up a good fight, but New England should emerge victorious in this one.
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ New York Giants (1-0)
Game Pick: Giants – The Saints game against the Raiders last week went according to script. There were a plethora of big plays and a lot of points, and a gutsy call by the Raiders to go for two points to win the game late in the fourth quarter was the difference in a one point loss for New Orleans. Much maligned last season, the Giants defense stood tall and gave QB Eli Manning and the offense time to find their footing as they knocked off Dallas 20-19. In what will be a common theme, expect any game involving the Saints this season to be high scoring thanks to their swiss cheese defense. These two teams also combined for a whopping 101 points in a game against each other last season. To make matters worse for the Saints, they lost top CB Delvin Breaux to a broken leg last week too. This should be a monster game for WR Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants win big, thanks to an improved defense that keeps the Saints high octane offense at bay.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Game Pick: Steelers – It wasn’t the most impressive performance by the Bengals, but they did enough to win in a tough road opener against the Jets. QB Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards and WR A.J. Green went off on CB Darrelle Revis for 12 catches, 180 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers were a little sluggish out of the gate against the Redskins, but thanks to the trio of QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Antonio Brown, were able to eventually overwhelm the Redskins 38-16. Much like the Texans/Chiefs games, the revenge narrative has to be considered here. The Bengals choked away what looked like a sure win in the playoffs last year against the Steelers. These teams flat out hate each other and in this game, it should be another emotional, hard fought affair. You could really make an argument for either side here, but take the Steelers at home this week in a tight, three point game.
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)
Game Pick: Cowboys – The Cowboys lost a heartbreaker at home last week against the Giants. Had WR Terrance Williams gone out of bounds late in the game after making a catch, K Dan Bailey might have had a chance to attempt a long game winning kick. The reigning NFC East Champion Redskins got throttled at home against the Steelers on Monday night. Pittsburgh turned Washington into a one dimensional team, as Kirk Cousins threw 43 passes and two interceptions, while the team only attempted 12 rushes on the night. Neither of these teams want to start the year 0-2, so there will be a sense of urgency from both sides to get a win this week. After getting gashed on the ground by DeAngelo Williams, the Redskins could be in trouble against rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys menacing offensive line. Expect another competitive NFC East battle, but the Cowboys will find a way to come out on top.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Game Pick: Cardinals – Once QB Jameis Winston found his groove, the Buccaneers game against Atlanta was all but over despite the Falcons trying to make things interesting late. Winston was dropping dimes all over the field, passing for 281 yards and four touchdowns. The Cardinals looked a little out of sorts on Sunday night against the Patriots, though they were only a missed K Chandler Catanzaro field goal away from winning the game. It’s never easy to win back-to-back games on the road, and that is the challenge facing a burgeoning Tampa Bay team this week. Coach Bruce Arians should have the Cardinals more focused after getting off on the wrong foot last week. This game does have some upset potential, but Arizona should get back on track and edge the Buccaneers.
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (0-1)
Game Pick: Seahawks – It took a touchdown pass from QB Russell Wilson to WR Doug Baldwin with under a minute to go in the game to give the Seahawks a fortunate 12-10 win over the Dolphins. If not for a few Miami miscues, Seattle more than likely would have been on the losing side of the ledger. The Rams meanwhile started the Los Angeles era out in ugly fashion, getting embarrassed 28-0 in against the 49ers. It was just as bad as the score indicates. This game is interesting on a few levels. The Rams always seem to give the Seahawks fits, especially when they’re at home. The Rams defensive line should theoretically dominate a Seattle offensive line that had Wilson running for his life much of last Sunday afternoon. And the Rams should be fired up to play their first home game in Los Angeles and bounce back from their woeful season opener. Despite all of those factors, the Seahawks defense is much better than the 49ers defense the Rams faced last week, so they aren’t likely going to score much in this one either. Seattle wins an ugly, low scoring game.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1)
Game Pick: Chargers – With the expectations high in Jacksonville, of course the Jaguars have to be dejected that they lost their opening week game to the Packers. However the Jaguars defense looked much improved and the team an opportunity to score late before turning the ball over on downs. They showed well against on the best teams in the league, which should be a bit of a confidence boost. The Chargers meanwhile took the biggest gut punch of the week, not only blowing a 24-3 lead against the Chiefs, but also losing star WR Keenan Allen to a season ending torn ACL. This is a tough game to get a read on. The right side seems to be the Jaguars, but how will they respond having to travel to the west coast after a hard fought game against a tough Green Bay squad? The Chargers have to readjust after losing their top offense weapon in Allen, but may be fired up to prove they can win without him. Going with the home team in San Diego seems like the right thing to do in this game, but it really could go either way.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)
Game Pick: Broncos – It wasn’t surprising to see the Colts lose the way they did against the Lions to open the season. While QB Andrew Luck and the offense played well, the defense couldn’t stop anything, a theme that should be prevalent throughout the season. There weren’t too many people who expected rookie QB Trevor Siemian and the Broncos to take out the Panthers to open the season, but they found a way to do it, thanks to a pulverizing ground game and strong defense. It’s hard to see the Broncos losing this one to be frank. Expect them to establish the run early with RB C.J. Anderson, wear the Colts suspect defense down and force Luck to try and beat them. That will be a tall task as the Broncos elite trio of cornerbacks should be able to lock down the Colts receivers all day long and also don’t be surprised if Luck is sacked at least half a dozen times before this game is done. Denver wins this one going away.
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) @ Oakland Raiders (1-0)
Game Pick: Raiders – The Falcons defense held the Buccaneers in check for a quarter, but when the damn broke, it got ugly in a hurry. QB Matt Ryan showed some signs of life getting Atlanta back into the game, but it was too little, too late. The Raiders were involved in arguably the wildest game of the week, beating the Saints on a two point conversion late in the fourth quarter. It was a risky call by coach Jack Del Rio, but it paid off in a big way. This has the makings of a high scoring game, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Raiders defense show a little better at home this week. They might still give up a few points through the air, but the Falcons still haven’t shown a pass rush and CB Desmond Trufant can’t shut down the Raiders by himself. Expect these teams to go back and forth for a while, before the Raiders pull away late.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Game Pick: Packers – The Packers offense looked a little sluggish at out of sorts at times against the Jaguars, but QB Aaron Rodgers made clutch throws when he needed to, guiding Green Bay to a four point victory. Not surprisingly, the Vikings struggled offensively with QB Shaun Hill most of the day, but their defense turned two turnovers into 14 points and a victory over the Titans. This game gets the spotlight it deserves on Sunday night, pitting the two best teams in the NFC North against one another. Minnesota will turn to QB Sam Bradford in this one after he spent a couple weeks getting familiar with the playbook so the Vikings offense should have a little more juice to it this week. However he still might not be completely ready, and that is enough to give a slight edge to the Packers in what should be a very competitive game between two different styled, but evenly matched teams.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1)
Game Pick: Bears – QB Carson Wentz didn’t show many jitters in his first career NFL start, leading the Eagles to a 29-10 opening week win on the road against the Browns. He made some impressive throws and looked calm and cool in the pocket. The Bears gave the Texans all they could handle early, but they couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half against Houston, ultimately losing 23-14. The Eagles might be slightly overrated going into this game. Wentz did look legit against the Cleveland, but the Browns defense is by far one of the worst units in the NFL. Wentz is going to be on the big stage Monday night, on the road in a tough spot against the Bears, who looked competent against a tough foe in Houston last week. Take the Bears to give Wentz and the Eagles a reality check and win.