Week 2 NFL Picks: Predicting Winners of Every Game This Weekend
As we saw with Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers, sometimes, we don't think the same about a respective team after Week 2 as we did in Week 1.
The ebb and flow of an NFL season will never fade away, as teams must prove themselves every week against opponents of every perceived caliber.
So, with Week 2 upon us, it's time to make some picks—straight up.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Both the Chiefs and Bills want to eliminate games in which they allowed at least 40-plus points and fell exceedingly short of preseason expectations.
The matchup is interesting because both teams have dynamic running backs, one truly established wide receiver, what many believe are good defensive lines, a stout offensive line and relatively inconsistent quarterbacks.
Due to injuries to Fred Jackson and David Nelson and to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo will be forced to shift its game plan to prominently feature C.J. Spiller, a guy who's averaged nearly seven yards per carry in his last six games.
For the Chiefs, Jamaal Charles will be the offensive focal point, but don't be surprised if Matt Cassel throws it more frequently than normal after seeing how badly the Bills' secondary played against Mark Sanchez.
This game should go back and forth and should be dominated by the running games.
In the end, the Bills defense bounces back and a big day from Spiller leads Buffalo to a narrow victory.
Bills 24 Chiefs 23
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
The annual battle of Ohio takes place after both teams were embarrassed in different fashions in Week 1.
The Bengals were thrashed by the Baltimore Ravens, and the Browns' defense intercepted Mike Vick four times, but four picks from Brandon Weeden led to a crushing one-point loss.
Andy Dalton may be more of a game-manager than anything. But he has the weapons outside and BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the running game to establish a balanced offensive attack.
Cleveland is without Joe Haden, so expect A.J. Green to be targeted often and have a huge afternoon.
On defense, Mike Zimmer's group should confuse Weeden and apply continuous pressure on the rookie, although Trent Richardson should perform better than the 39-yard output he had against Philadelphia.
From top to bottom, the Bengals are the better team, and they win by 10.
Bengals 31 Browns 21
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
Christian Ponder was efficient in the Vikings' Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and although their defense ultimately held in overtime to seal the victory, they made Blaine Gabbert look good.
The Colts' loss to the Chicago Bears looks worse after Cutler and Co. were spanked by the Packers, but Andrew Luck flashed what he's capable of on more than one occasion.
Adrian Peterson certainly isn't 100 percent, but he was far from hobbled against Jacksonville. He should seriously test the Colts front seven.
Today's NFL is all about quarterback play, and right now, Luck gets it done over Ponder in a closely contested battle.
Colts 27 Vikings 24
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins
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Both the Dolphins and Raiders were humiliated in their season openers, losing the turnover battle a combined 5-0.
Miami looks to be in rebuilding mode, and while Oakland's offense may not be as powerful on the ground as many expected it would be with a healthy Darren McFadden, the defense looks a step quicker than it's been in recent memory.
Ryan Tannehill won't be as disappointing as he was in Houston, but the Dolphins will struggle to move the ball against Rolando McClain's unit.
Raiders 24 Dolphins 13
Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots
Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
The Patriots are 14-point favorites at home in this one, and rightfully so.
They got off to a tremendous start last week, utterly dominating the Tennessee Titans in all phases of the game en route to a 34-13 win.
The Cardinals held off the Seattle Seahawks, but it was hardly in impressive fashion, although Kevin Kolb was effective in a relief effort against a stout secondary.
Brady, at home, to start the season.
Patriots 37 Cardinals 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants
Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Could the Giants start 0-2 at home?
We all heard the stat before the Packers took the field against the Bears. "In the Super Bowl era, only two teams have started the season 0-2 at home and still made the playoffs."
While the game against the Buccaneers initially looked like an easy win for Big Blue, with Tampa Bay fresh off a solid victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, it may be prove to be a bit more difficult.
Doug Martin looks like the versatile back the Buccaneers hoped they were getting when they drafted him in the first round.
Josh Freeman was comfortable against Carolina, and the defense held Newton to a mere 10 points.
As usual, though, we must not count out the Giants. Eli Manning is an elite quarterback and he has elite weapons on the outside.
In this one, the Giants front four wreaks havoc and is the deciding factor in a Giants win.
Giants 30 Buccaneers 21
Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Flacco silenced his doubters with a masterful performance against the Bengals on Monday Night Football last week.
He'll have to do it again in Week 2 against an Eagles defense that imposed its will on the Cleveland Browns last week.
Both teams are extremely sound defensively, with loads of talent, so this one will come down to the quarterback play.
Mike Vick can't have the highest confidence after his four-interception effort against Cleveland, as he'll face another stingy secondary this week.
This game will stay surprisingly close throughout, but Baltimore's no-huddle attack and a ball hawking defensive backfield will lead to the win.
Ravens 20 Eagles 17
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
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The Saints lost? At home? To a rookie quarterback?
Yes, yes, and yes...Robert Griffin III.
Historically, New Orleans hasn't been as dynamic on the road, and they square off against the sophomore Cam Newton who's looking to get back on the winning track after a discouraging loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1.
Both quarterbacks will light up the stat book, but right now, the Saints are more balanced offensively and won't be as porous in the secondary.
Saints 35 Panthers 31
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
The Jaguars won't be an easy victory for anyone in 2012. Blaine Gabbert hasn't fully turned the corner, but at least he didn't appear totally lost against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
The Texans' defense stole the show against the Miami Dolphins last week, and Mr. Reliable Arian Foster scored two touchdowns in the 30-10 romp.
Houston will jump out to a lead, but Jacksonville will put its resiliency on display with a little comeback charge.
However, the Texans zone-blocking scheme and sound defensive front seven will be too much for the rebuilding but promising Jaguars.
Texans 23 Jaguars 17
Washington Redskins at St. Louis Rams
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
My upset of the week.
Robert Griffin III elevated his expectations to new heights after a 320-yard masterpiece in a victory over the Saints in Week 1.
While he certainly won't crash and burn in St. Louis, the cornerback tandem of Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins will make it extremely difficult for the Redskins' receivers to create separation.
The Rams offense isn't up to par with Washington's, but Sam Bradford will do enough to get one of the biggest wins in his young career.
Rams 30 Redskins 24
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
If the Seahawks couldn't beat John Skelton, then Kevin Kolb, how will they slow down Tony Romo and the Cowboys?
Well, it's a completely different story when playing in Seattle.
The Seahawks do have a strong defensive unit, led by a talented secondary, and Russell Wilson should be more comfortable in his second start.
Expect Pete Carroll's crew to run it often, due to Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne locking up Seattle's outside receivers for much of this game.
Romo won't be as spectacular as he was against the New York Giants, but with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and the emerging Kevin Ogletree, he'll piece together another respectable outing.
Seattle should control the clock with their ground game, and it'll lead to an upset win at home.
Seahawks 24 Cowboys 20
New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
The Jets were outstanding in Week 1, thrashing the Bills 48-28.
Meanwhile, the Steelers were the first to experience the Peyton Manning experiment in Denver and couldn't stop the legendary quarterback.
Most importantly, Pittsburgh will get Ryan Clark back, the quarterback of their vaunted defensive unit that should be able to pressure Mark Sanchez—something Buffalo wasn't able to do last week.
Unfortunately, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu won't be able to go.
The Jets could be without Dustin Keller and Darrelle Revis.
A host of talent inactive for this one.
At home, coming off a loss, with key starters returning, the Steelers squeak out a win.
Steelers 27 Jets 21
Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
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Jake Locker hurt his shoulder against the Patriots, but he'll play against the Chargers. Kenny Britt makes his 2012 debut, but is he truly 100 percent?
Will Chris Johnson ever break out again?
The Chargers were held to less than 260 total yards against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1, but capitalized on Oakland's special team woes en route to victory.
Philip Rivers had troubles stretching the field, and the running game was pedestrian.
This game should be close, with both team still working out the kinks on offense and defense.
Titans 31 Chargers 30
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The Lions were physically dominated by the 49ers last year in Detroit and a fourth-down touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Delanie Walker sealed the deal.
San Francisco was similarly physical in their Week 1 win over the mighty Green Bay Packers, and Smith was stellar, completing 20-of-26 passes for 211 yards and two scores.
The Lions, well, they barely got past the Rams.
All that's thrown out the window for this one, and although Detroit's big-play ability will keep them in the game, their defense is not up to par, and Jim Harbaugh will enact a ground-and-point game plan that keeps Smith out of precarious situations—leading to victory.
49ers 31 Lions 24
Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons
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The battle of the quarterbacks.
Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning against the Steelers last week, and Matt Ryan put the NFL on notice with his 299-yard, four total touchdown effort against the Chiefs in the hostile confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
The Falcons lost star cornerback Brent Grimes for the year to a torn Achilles tendon, something that bodes well for the Broncos' passing attack.
However, at home, with a legion of talented offensive weapons, Atlanta triumphantly trumps Denver in a modern age shootout.
Falcons 35 Broncos 31