NFL Predictions Week 2: Underdogs That Will Shock Postseason Contenders
The 2013 NFL campaign is just four days old, and as is usually the case, the first weekend of the season produced a handful of clashes that turned out to be surprising upsets.
In Week 1, the Steelers fell to the Titans, Rex Ryan's Jets took down Tampa Bay and Detroit dismantled the Vikings at home, and all three were considered (in the eyes of many) to be relatively surprising outcomes, even if it was only the first Sunday on the NFL calendar.
With a full slate of games on tap in Week 2, here's a look at which showdowns are most likely to end with underdogs heading home victorious.
Tennessee at Houston
During their season opener at Heinz Field, the Titans shocked Mike Tomlin's Steelers on the road, marching off with an unexpected 16-9 Week 1 triumph.
Now, with the Titans set to take on the Texans as the visitors once again, Mike Munchak's squad is primed to topple yet another perennial playoff team.
The Titans got a sufficient, if unremarkable performance out of Chris Johnson against Pittsburgh, as the Pro Bowl back dashed for 70 yards on 25 carries, and given his recent track record in Houston, there's reason to believe he'll be more of a factor in Week 2.
That's because Johnson racked up 141 yards during the Titans' trip to Houston a year ago, and with Shonn Greene at least temporarily on the shelf due to a knee injury, the 27-year-old star figures to get even more carries against the Texans.
And, there's the fact that the Titans defense looked ridiculously good against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, holding Pittsburgh's offense scoreless until less than two minutes remained in the fourth quarter.
Will Chris Johnson reach 100 yards rushing in Week 2?
The Texans, who enter their Monday night Week 1 contest against San Diego as a two-time AFC South champion, will have to penetrate what appears to be one of the league's stingiest defense in order to take their first home affair of the year.
Prediction: Tennessee 20, Houston 17
The Titans offense will be more productive than it was against Pittsburgh, and Munchak's defense will be even more effective against the Texans' usually explosive offense. Tennessee will roll to 2-0.
Washington at Green Bay
To be fair, the Redskins' status as an underdog is somewhat tenuous, given that Robert Griffin III lead Washington to an unexpected NFC East title as a rookie in 2012.
But with Griffin coming off his second major knee operation in four years, the Redskins are far from a front-runner to contend for a Super Bowl berth, which isn't something that can be said about their Week 2 opponents from Green Bay.
In what should be a very exciting meeting between two teams with top-flight quarterbacks, the Redskins will secure a surprising victory against Aaron Rodgers' Packers, who are coming off four consecutive trips to the postseason.
Kyle Shanahan's offense showed a huge amount of improvement following the arrivals of not only Griffin, but also All-Pro back Alfred Morris and former Colts standout Pierre Garcon, and with another summer to acclimatize to the system, the results should be even better in 2013.
It won't be easy, but RG3 and company will emerge victorious at Lambeau Field in Week 2.
Prediction: Washington 33, Green Bay 27
The Redskins' offense will be visibly different than it was a year ago, as RG3 will obviously not be given as many opportunities to carry the mail on the ground, but there are more than enough weapons to compensate for that reduction. With Garcon, Josh Morgan and Santana Moss all ready to go, Griffin has more than enough options through the air to get the job done, and his defense will keep Rodgers at bay long enough to grab an all-important road victory in Wisconsin.
New York Jets at New England
Well, the Geno Smith era in New York got off to a surprisingly impressive start, as the former West Virginia star lead Rex Ryan's bunch to a come-from-behind win late in their home debut against the Bucs in Week 1, as reported by ESPN:
Trailing 17-15 with time running out, Smith scrambled for 10 yards and was shoved while he was out of bounds by David. The 15-yard penalty put the ball at the Buccaneers 30 and Folk won it.
No, it wasn't pretty, but Smith got the job done, and for a rookie who didn't secure the starting job until Mark Sanchez's ill-timed shoulder injury, it was probably a better performance than most expected beforehand.
Now, with the Jets set to take on a bitter rival on the road in New England, Smith will be facing a much more difficult challenge in Week 2.
But the Patriots looked rather beatable against Buffalo in their opening game of 2013, and though they managed to pull out a victory, Smith will take the Jets to 2-0 in a shocker at Gillette Stadium.
Prediction: New York 23, New England 20
Especially with Danny Amendola's status up in the air, the Patriots' usually dominant offense will run into trouble against the Jets, and Smith's performance will be better in Week 2.
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