NFL Week 2 Picks: Breaking Down Sunday's Most Intriguing Day Games
After an exciting opening week to the 2012-2013 NFL season, there are some delightful Week 2 games on Sunday that are sure to get the blood pumping.
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Super Bowl-contending Baltimore Ravens, the improved St. Louis Rams host Robert Griffin III's Washington Redskins and the New York Jets visit the not-so-welcoming Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
Here's a breakdown of each game on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
The Ravens looked like a legit Super Bowl contender on Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Quarterback Joe Flacco was fantastic against what was supposed to be an improved Bengals defense, going 21-of-29 for 299 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens' 44-13 rout.
Running back Ray Rice was also effective in limited touches, adding 68 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta all contributed catching the ball.
Beyond that, the defense made life miserable for Bengals second-year signal-caller Andy Dalton, as he went 22-of-37 for 221 yards and an interception while coughing up a fumble.
The Eagles, on the other hand, had an ugly game against the Cleveland Browns, barely escaping with a 17-16 victory as Michael Vick averaged 5.7 yards per attempt and threw four interceptions.
But the fact remains: This is still one of the most talented teams in the league. We saw that when the Eagles won their last four games last season.
The Eagles defense was dynamic against Cleveland, notching two sacks, four QB hits, four interceptions and 10 pass deflections.
Philadelphia has the potential to spin Baltimore's offense on its head. I just don't think it will happen.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Eagles 17
Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III truly is a game-changer for the Redskins.
We all knew Washington had an evolving defense, but Griffin gives the team something it didn't have last season: A capable quarterback.
In fact, Griffin was more than capable against the New Orleans Saints, going 19-of-26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns at the Superdome. He also rushed for 42 yards.
On the other hand, the Rams have a much better pass defense than New Orleans, as evidenced against the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions in that game.
The performances of the cornerbacks were particularly impressive for St. Louis. Cortland Finnegan, rookie Janoris Jenkins and No. 3 corner Bradley Fletcher all covered excellently.
One thing's for sure: The Rams have a better team than last season, and it could make for a competitive atmosphere at Edward Jones Dome.
Still, I think Griffin will continue his assault on defenses and Washington actually played decent defense on Brees and Co. if you look at Week 1's game closely. Brees passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns in that game, but he also completed just 46 percent of his passes for 6.5 yards per attempt and tossed two interceptions. The Redskins racked up 13 pass deflections.
Prediction: Redskins 27, Rams 17
New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Wow, what happened to Mark Sanchez?
The Jets' fourth-year quarterback went 19-of-27 for 266 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in Week 1 against a Bills defense that was supposed to be better with Mario Williams on board.
The result was a 48-28 blowout and thousands of fanatical Jets fans.
Which game are you most excited to watch?
On the other hand, I don't see this happening against the Steelers in Week 2. The Steelers are aging, but they simply ran into a better opponent in the Denver Broncos complete with younger receivers and a future Hall of Famer under center.
The Steelers defense will still be a prime challenge for Sanchez and the Jets, primarily because Mike Tomlin never sleeps.
As always when it comes to the Jets, Sanchez is the key here and Week 2 will dictate whether he turned a corner in the offseason. I think he needs to utilize rookie wideout Stephen Hill proactively again and take advantage of Hill's speed against the Steelers' aging defense.
But, in the end, forgive me if I'm still a bit skeptical of Sanchez after last season's debacle. I like where he's headed, but I ultimately think Ben Roethlisberger will do more against the Jets defense than Sanchez does against Pittsburgh.
Prediction: Steelers 20, Jets 17
What do you think? Tweet me.
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