A weekend full of surprises, including a Redskins win over the Saints at the Superdome, a 49ers victory at Lambeau and an explosion from the Jets; offense, showed how hard it is to predict Week 1 NFL action. But still, each of the five most popular selections in eliminator and survivor challenges pulled out victories.
The Detroit Lions were my pick for Week 1 and they narrowly escaped an upset from the St. Louis Rams as a Matthew Stafford TD pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left gave the Lions a 27-23 victory. My entire Week 1 eliminator preview and selections can be found here.
This week three teams who started the season with victories (New England, Washington and Houston) and two who are expected to rebound from losses (New York Giants and Cincinnati) are the most popular selections.
New England is getting the most love in Week 2 as it is the pick on about 40 percent of entries. The Patriots are hosting the Cardinals (who also won their season opener), but New England is a 14-point favorite. The Cardinals are still shuffling their QBs (Kolb will start this week) and their victory over the Seahawks in Week 1 wasn’t pretty—192 penalty yards were assessed in the game. The Patriots are the safest pick of the week, but they are also a nice team to have available when the selections get tougher later in the season.
Houston is on the road in a divisional matchup against Jacksonville as a 7.5-point favorite. The Texans are one of the strongest teams in the league this season and they looked the part in a 30-10 victory over the Dolphins in Week 1. This week the Texans D will face another inexperienced signal-caller as second-year QB Blaine Gabbert looks to get Jacksonville their first win of the season. The Jags lost to the Minnesota Vikings in overtime Week 1. Houston should be 2-0 after this weekend.
Washington is getting some action as well as the favorites on the road in St. Louis. Robert Griffin III impressed in his NFL debut in the Redskins' 40-32 victory over the Saints. St. Louis put a scare in the Lions before eventually falling 27-23. While the Redskins certainly looked like a team capable of picking up multiple road wins, I’d feel better about taking them at home later on in the season and once there is more evidence that shows them as contenders or pretenders.
Cincinnati suffered a nasty defeat courtesy of the Ravens on Monday night but are still the pick on more than 10 percent of entries in Week 2, mainly because it faces the Browns. Cleveland had plenty of struggles of its own in a turnover-filled 17-16 loss to the Eagles. If Andy Dalton and A.J. Green can get back on the same page (Green had only five receptions on 11 targets against Baltimore), then the Bengals should roll in this one.
The New York Giants are hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will be my selection for Week 2. The Giants have had a few extra days after opening the NFL season last Wednesday night to brood over their loss to the Cowboys. They should be in a great position to rebound with their second-straight home game. It took awhile for Eli Manning and Co. to get the offense going, but two of their final three drives in the opener ended in TDs.
The Kansas City Chiefs were on the wrong end of Matt Ryan-led beatdown in Week 1 as they lost 40-24 at home to the Falcons. Kansas City had more total yards than Atlanta (393-363) but three turnovers cost them the contest. The Chiefs were also 11-for-16 converting on third down.
The Chiefs are three-point underdogs as they visit Buffalo (who lost their Week 1 matchup to the Jets). The Bills will be without star RB Fred Jackson (knee) and WR David Nelson. The Chiefs are definitely a threat to nab a road victory here in Week 2.
The Oakland Raiders are three-point road favorites as they visit Miami and they are also getting the nod on about three percent of eliminator/survivor entries. Neither team looked capable of much offense in their opener; I’d avoid this one altogether.
There are a few fairly safe matchups this week. Depending on which teams you’d like to have in saved for later on in the season the Patriots, Texans and Giants would all be solid picks.
Week 2 Selection: New York Giants