The days following NFL Week 1 are also known as panic week. Up until Sunday, the cities of last week’s losers will retract their preseason predictions about their team and raise the alert level.
In New York, the Giants radio stations are questioning Tom Coughlin’s job. In New Orleans, they are trying to get Sean Payton to send an email to Drew Brees. In Indianapolis, they want Peyton Manning back.
Meanwhile, those losing teams are back to their practice facilities, working to rebound from their disappointing openers. Some will be able turn their fortunes around and turn off that panic button.
New Orleans Saints (at Carolina Panthers)
Don’t think Drew Brees and the Saints will go away quietly.
After a disappointing Week 1 showing against the Redskins at home, the Saints quarterback will make sure his team is focused heading into a divisional clash with Carolina.
The Carolina Panthers did not exactly look like a team on the rise in their Week 1 matchup against Tampa Bay.
The Panthers' supposedly vaunted rushing attack was nowhere to be found, rushing for only 10 yards on seven carries. The best way to beat the Saints is to keep the football away from Brees; the Panthers can’t do that unless they don’t show up to the stadium.
Cam Newton will keep going through his growing pains in 2012 by throwing from behind most of this matchup. The final score won’t be indicative of his play, though. The Saints will run up the score until the clock strikes zero.
Prediction: New Orleans 42, Carolina 24
Seattle Seahawks (vs Dallas Cowboys)
The Seattle Seahawks were a trendy pick for a playoff berth a week ago. They’ll show off their potential in a Week 2 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Sure, Russell Wilson came back to Earth after several fantastic performances in the preseason, but all is not lost for the rookie quarterback. He’ll shake off the cobwebs with a better game at home in one of the toughest venues for opposing teams, CenturyLink Field.
The Cowboys defense looked fluky when everything went right for them against the Giants in the season opener. The Seahawks are a tough-nosed team that should knock Dallas off the blocks with their running game.
Marshawn Lynch better have his Skittles ready.
Add in Dallas having to travel out west to Seattle for this contest, and this looks like a classic letdown game for America’s Team.
Prediction: Seattle 24, Dallas 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs New York Jets)
As good as the New York Jets looked in Week 1, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look like the Steelers of old back in Heinz Field.
One of the best home teams year in and year out, it will be tough enough to beat Pittsburgh in their own building. After losing Sunday night against Denver, only some Tebow magic could save the Jets.
The Jets, though, will have their hands full more so than last week’s matchup. Mark Sanchez is not Peyton Manning; we know this much. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be much more comfortable dialing up blitzes in this one.
The Jets offense everybody saw in the preseason, or lack thereof, will return. Stay tuned.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, New York 16