NFL Picks Week 2: Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Predictions
Everything you thought you learned during the preseason, just throw it out the proverbial window.
For much of the NFL, the status quo seemed to be in play, as the Detroit Lions still made boneheaded mistakes, quarterbacks Tony Romo and Eli Manning both seemed determined to underachieve and the Jacksonville Jaguars looked as offensively inept as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos looked automatic.
Where the NFL surprised was where things deviated from the norm. The Oakland Raiders looked like they had some life in Week 1. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots looked listless. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was bottled up for much of his afternoon.
In Week 2, all eyes will be on the NFC West as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers face off. The Seahawks will look to overcome a slow start on offense, while the 49ers will try to avoid cooling off against their divisional foe.
Other fantastic matchups include the Washington Redskins at the Green Bay Packers, the "Manning Bowl" as Peyton and Eli face off and an AFC North slobberknocker as Pittsburgh faces Cincinnati.
All those picks and more are just a few clicks ahead. Disagree with our picks? Make yours in the comments below.
All betting lines are from Bovada (via ESPN) and are intended for informational purposes only. All picks are straight-up.
To see how Bleacher Report's experts are faring against the best at other media outlets, check out Pick Watch.
New York Jets at New England Patriots—Thursday Night Football
B/R Consensus Pick: Patriots (12-0)
Vegas: Patriots (-13.5)
Schottey: Patriots 34-13
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was embarrassed against the Buffalo Bills. This will be his catharsis.
Bowen: Patriots 24-13
Rex Ryan will have a solid defensive game plan to limit Brady and the Patriots, but turnovers (and a lack of experience from Geno Smith) allow New England to win this one.
Schalter: Patriots 38-17
There are a few rare times when you can tell Bill Belichick wants it a little more. A chance to establish dominance over the Jets is always one of those times. One of those Jets touchdowns is in garbage time.
Freeman: Patriots 22-17
The Jets don't always win, but they do often play the Patriots tough. That won't change. I like Geno Smith to continue playing solid football.
Miller: Patriots 27-13
The Jets played well in Week 1, but give Bill Belichick a week to break down your game film, and he's going to find a way to win. Stopping the Jets' pass rush will be the key.
Frenz: Patriots 27-24
The Jets defense poses many of the same problems that the Bills defense posed on Sunday. If the Patriots can eliminate some of the self-inflicted mistakes, they should still come out with a win
Hangst: Patriots 30-13
The New York Jets had a more positive showing than expected in Week 1, but that doesn't mean they can go to Foxboro and outduel the Patriots this Thursday. The Jets don't have enough on offense to outscore New England.
Hansen: Patriots 27-17
Bill Belichick isn't going to be very happy with what he saw from his team last weekend, and you can bet he will light a fire under his team. New York's defense will keep them in the game, but the Patriots should overwhelm the Jets in the fourth quarter.
Bardeen: Patriots 27-13
There are a number of reasons why the Jets can't go into Foxboro and steal a game from New England. The two biggest are an inexperienced quarterback who will likely be confused by a Bill Belichick game plan and overconfidence from a Week 1 victory that shouldn't have been a win.
Gagnon: Patriots 31-10
I really expected the Patriots to make a statement against Buffalo, but now the Jets are truly in trouble. No way New England cuts it close in its home opener against another rookie quarterback. This is a blowout.
Langland: Patriots 24-16
The Jets pulled off a stunner against the Buccaneers Week 1, yet one shouldn't expect the same thing to happen Week 2. The Patriots are a much better team than the Bucs.
Kruse: Patriots 20-13
There's no way the Jets can start 2-0, right? New York will at least keep it close with a defense that has given Tom Brady problems in the past.
St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Falcons (11-1)
Vegas: Falcons (-7)
Schottey: Falcons 24-16
Both teams are going to apply a ton of pressure and see which quarterback cracks first. I love the Rams defense, but I gotta go with quarterback Matt Ryan finding his mojo here after a disappointing Week 1 loss.
Bowen: Falcons 23-17
Can Matt Ryan and the Falcons lose two straight to start the season? This one won't be easy against the Rams, but a late Julio Jones touchdown wins it for the Falcons.
Schalter: Falcons 33-21
The Falcons are home after a stinging loss, and the Rams are on the road after a hard-fought win; the Falcons will come out blazing. The Rams secondary was exposed vs. Arizona, and the Falcons have too much aerial firepower.
Freeman: Falcons 30-14
The Falcons are pissed at losing to the Saints, and they take it out on the Rams.
Miller: Falcons 21-18
The Falcons will be looking to rebound after a Week 1 loss. While the Rams play tough defense, Steven Jackson will be a big contributor in this one.
Frenz: Falcons 29-20
The Rams had an impressive debut, but the Falcons just don't lose at home. Steven Jackson will make the Rams remember who he is and why he was so effective for them for years.
Hangst: Falcons 24-20
No NFC West team will be a treat to play this year, but the Falcons getting the Rams at home should be a contest Atlanta can win. The experience of its offense and defense will best the still-developing Rams.
Hansen: Rams 27-24
It's concerning that the Falcons only managed 17 points against the Saints last week. The Rams have a much better defense and will be able to slow down the Falcons with their pass rush. The Rams offense also looks improved and should be able to score enough points for the narrow win.
Bardeen: Falcons 26-10
After a Falcons loss, Mike Smith's record is 18-3. That doesn't bode well for the Rams as they face an upset Falcons team with something to prove in the Georgia Dome.
Gagnon: Falcons 30-16
It's the roller-coaster nature of the NFL. St. Louis isn't a 2-0-type team and Atlanta definitely isn't an 0-2-type team. At home, the Falcons should roll against a shaky Rams secondary.
Langland: Falcons 31-21
There's no way the Falcons lose two games in a row to start the season. Quarterback Matt Ryan will be on his game after a mediocre Week 1 performance.
Kruse: Falcons 27-21
The Falcons haven't lost back-to-back games (in the same season) since late in the 2009 season. It won't happen to start 2013, especially in Atlanta's home opener.
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Panthers (8-4)
Vegas: Panthers (-3)
Schottey: Panthers 20-17
Tough pick and I'm going against my gut here, as I initially picked the Bills. The Panthers' front is just too tough for me to bet against them facing a rookie passer—even on the road.
Bowen: Panthers 17-16
The Panthers' defensive front seven was excellent in Week 1, and I expect that production to continue against quarterback EJ Manuel and the Bills.
Schalter: Bills 28-24
The poor Panthers are going to play well and (narrowly) lose, again. The Bills had the Patriots dead to rights in Week 1 and will close this home game out.
Freeman: Panthers 20-17
If the Panthers open up on offense, the score could become lopsided.
Miller: Bills 17-14
Nearly beating the New England Patriots brings some respect for the Bills. The Panthers defensive line looked solid, but if Buffalo can protect Manuel, they will win this game.
Frenz: Bills 20-14
The Bills took it to the Patriots in Week 1, and they will show real signs of progress against the Panthers. Mike Pettine's defensive scheme should give Cam Newton a tough time, as long as Buffalo can contain him in the pocket.
Hangst: Panthers 14-13
The Carolina Panthers have a brutal defensive front that will rattle the rookie Manuel, while Newton will help his team produce just enough offense to win.
Hansen: Panthers 21-20
The Bills were better than expected against the Patriots, but Carolina's fierce defense is going to slow them down in Week 2. Carolina played a tough defense last week and managed only one score, but they should find it much easier to find the end zone against the Bills.
Bardeen: Panthers 19-14
The Panthers' front seven looked fantastic against the Seahawks and should get tons of pressure on Manuel, who likely won't fare as well as Russell Wilson did in evasion. Ron Rivera needs to focus his offense on fixing problems like multiple dropped passes, fumbles and penalties. When those are handled, this Carolina team can be a tough test for almost anyone.
Gagnon: Panthers 20-17
Carolina went on the road and beat San Diego and New Orleans last December. I can see the Bills coming back to earth after a great effort against New England.
Langland: Bills 17-13
Manuel looked solid in his first pro start. Expect that solid performance to carry over and help the Bills get their first win of the year.
Kruse: Panthers 28-24
Both teams are coming off what can only be considered moral victories in Week 1. Cam Newton will be better than the 125 passing yards he produced against a good Seattle defense.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
B/R Consensus Pick: Bears (11-1)
Vegas: Bears (-6)
Schottey: Bears 23-21
This game is in Chicago; otherwise it would probably go the other way. Here, the Marc Trestman era continues to roll with plenty of turnovers forced, as the Vikings are sent back to the drawing board.
Bowen: Bears 23-16
The Bears defense is already forcing turnovers. That's trouble for Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder on the road in Chicago.
Schalter: Bears 30-17
The Vikings surrendered a lot of points in Week 1. Jay Cutler proved he can still score on good defenses, leading the Bears past a stout Bengals front seven. Look out for Matt Forte to have a big game.
Freeman: Bears 20-10
Cutler wasn't sacked once against a good Bengals D-line. He'll be clean in this game, too.
Miller: Bears 24-13
The Vikings secondary will struggle to stop the many weapons the Bears have on offense. This Chicago team looks like the real deal.
Frenz: Bears 27-12
Nobody gave the Bears much of a shot last week against the Bengals. The way the Vikings played on Sunday, nobody will give them much of a chance this year, period.
Hangst: Bears 27-20
The Bears offensive line did a sharp job of protecting quarterback Jay Cutler against the Bengals' pass rush last week, and it should fare just as well against the Vikings' front in Week 2. Chicago also possesses weaponry that Minnesota lacks, Adrian Peterson notwithstanding.
Hansen: Bears 28-23
Adrian Peterson will get his yards, but the Bears defense won't get beat by Ponder. I expect the Bears to force at least a couple turnovers that are the difference in this game.
Bardeen: Bears 29-20
Jay Cutler stayed clean and did damage against a stout Bengals defense. He should be able to do even more against the Vikings.
Gagnon: Vikings 28-24
Tossup divisional game, but the Bears couldn't stop Adrian Peterson in their last meeting, and not a lot has changed since.
Langland: Bears 27-24
I loved the Bears' passing attack against the Bengals, so I'm rolling with them again as they take on the Vikings' leaky secondary.
Kruse: Bears 24-13
The trust level in Ponder is nearing zero, and the Bears are coming off one of the more impressive Week 1 wins. I'd expect the opportunistic Chicago defense to have a field day against Ponder at home.
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Packers (12-0)
Vegas: Packers (-8)
Schottey: Packers 35-27
The Packers are going to do everything in their power to keep from going 0-2. The Washington defense can't hope to contain them for long.
Bowen: Packers 30-21
The Packers defense will be tested by RG3 and the read-option, but Rodgers, Nelson, Cobb and Finley are just too much for the Redskins secondary.
Schalter: Packers 38-35
The Packers and Redskins are going to get caught up in a lot of shootouts, especially when they face each other. Defenses with great pass-rushers and banged-up secondaries will make this a wild one.
Freeman: Packers 28-21
Don't see the Packers going 0-2.
Miller: Packers 31-24
There is no shame in losing to the San Francisco 49ers, but the Green Bay defense must be able to adjust this week. Stopping RG3 the passer will be easier than stopping Colin Kaepernick the passer.
Frenz: Packers 26-20
The Redskins looked so bad on Monday night, our editors extended the deadline to get our picks in. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense could score 100 on these guys.
Hangst: Packers 35-23
The Packers showed their weakness against the pass in the loss to the 49ers. This makes them vulnerable to Washington this week, but with fewer weapons to work with, Robert Griffin III won't have as good a day as Kaepernick did.
Hansen: Packers 34-24
Green Bay's defense had a hard time adjusting to Kaepernick last week, but it should be able to make some adjustments this week to stop Robert Griffin III. We know the Packers will be able to score.
Bardeen: Packers 28-27
Watch out for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after a Week 1 loss. Rodgers will have something to prove, and that spells bad news for the 'Skins. Robert Griffin III did not look good on Monday night. Neither did Washington. Was the second-year quarterback really ready to return from injury?
Gagnon: Packers 35-21
The Packers aren't falling to 0-2. Look for Aaron Rodgers to torch that still-shaky secondary.
Langland: Packers 34-27
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be out for vengeance after a heartbreaking loss on the road.
Kruse: Packers 30-20
The Packers will feel better about their ability to contain the read-option, but Green Bay won't win many games with a minus-two turnover margin. A cleaner performance on offense and one or two forced turnovers on defense allows the Packers to escape an 0-2 start.
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Pick'em (6-6)
Vegas: Colts (-3)
Schottey: Colts 23-16
Quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts just seem to do whatever it takes to win games. This is a big test against the Dolphins defense, but I can't see Ryan Tannehill winning this duel.
Bowen: Dolphins 27-16
How about throwing the deep one to Mike Wallace? The Dolphins focus on getting the wide receiver involved early, and explosive plays are the difference in the Miami win.
Schalter: Dolphins 17-10
The Dolphins' pass rush is intense, and their secondary is underrated. Luck will be swimming upstream all day. The quality of the Colts secondary may surprise Tannehill.
Freeman: Dolphins 24-10
Ryan Tannehill outshines Andrew Luck.
Miller: Colts 21-18
Andrew Luck has eight fourth-quarter game-winning drives. He's only played 17 regular-season games. Do you want to bet against him?
Frenz: Colts 35-34
Tannehill's Dolphins offense piles on the points, but Andrew Luck does Andrew Luck things and leads a late comeback.
Hangst: Dolphins 17-16
Expect to see a better run game from the Dolphins this week. That will be what propels them to a win over the Colts.
Hansen: Dolphins 28-26
Luck did well against the Raiders but will find the Dolphins to be much tougher defensively. Luck has been great in close games, but his "luck" has to run out eventually. Statistically speaking, the Colts can't keep winning nearly every close game.
Bardeen: Dolphins 23-20
Luck completed 78 percent of his passes and still the Colts didn't beat the Raiders convincingly. Tannehill will figure out how to involve Wallace and get the win.
Gagnon: Colts 27-20
Miami wasn't a good road team last year, and I'm not reading too deeply into a win in Cleveland. The much-improved Colts should start 2-0 at home.
Langland: Colts 21-20
This game will be an absolute dogfight all the way until the end. For me, it comes down to quarterback play. Luck takes the cake over Tannehill.
Kruse: Colts 31-24
An ugly win is still a win in the NFL, as both the Colts and Dolphins can attest to after Week 1. I like the unflappable Luck to outduel Tannehill at home.
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Pick'em (6-6)
Vegas: Chiefs (-3)
Schottey: Chiefs 24-20
Quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs aren't going to turn the ball over nearly as much as the Giants did. Tony Romo will keep this close, but let's not forget that Chiefs defense is legit as well.
Bowen: Cowboys 30-17
The new-look Cowboys defense forces two second-half turnovers to give Romo easy scoring opportunities as Dallas moves to 2-0.
Schalter: Chiefs 21-17
Few expected the Jaguars to put up much fight, so people aren't noticing how well the new-look Chiefs showed in Week 1. The KC pass rush will rattle Romo, and the Cowboys aren't running well enough to keep the Chiefs honest.
Freeman: Cowbows 28-10
Dallas overwhelms and goes 2-0.
Miller: Chiefs 24-14
Playing in Kansas City won't be easy, especially if Romo is still struggling with that rib injury. This one could go either way, but the home-field advantage is huge.
Frenz: Cowboys 34-20
Andy Reid's bunch looked impressive in his debut, but unfortunately, they don't play the Jaguars every week. The Cowboys keep their momentum off a huge Week 1 win over the Giants.
Hangst: Cowboys 23-17
Reid is very familiar with these Dallas Cowboys, having faced them twice a year with the Eagles. While that could give Kansas City a level of competitive advantage, the offensive and defensive matchups favor the Cowboys.
Hansen: Chiefs 27-20
The Chiefs might lack depth, but it's Week 2, and they are relatively healthy. Romo got hit a lot in the game last week, and the Chiefs' pass-rushers aren't going to give him a reprieve. The fact the Giants still scored 31 points despite six turnovers should be a red flag. No one is giving any credit to the Chiefs for beating the Jaguars, but they will once they beat the Cowboys.
Bardeen: Cowboys 30-20
When the Cowboys force turnovers on defense, they're hard to stop. Monte Kiffin's new Tampa 2 should continue working its magic.
Gagnon: Chiefs 23-21
This is just the kind of game Dallas loses. Maybe the Cowboys have finally put it together, but I need more proof. Kansas City is a lot more talented than its 2012 record indicates, so I'm giving the Chiefs the edge at home.
Langland: Cowboys 26-19
Kiffin's defense attacked the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Expect similar results, as the Cowboys will force quarterback Alex Smith into making one too many mistakes.
Kruse: Chiefs 24-20
I don't envision Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense gift-wrapping the Cowboys six turnovers. Andy Reid gets revenge after Dallas swept his Eagles in 2012.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Rob Carr/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Ravens (10-2)
Vegas: Ravens (-7)
Schottey: Ravens 38-10
After playing second fiddle to Peyton Manning's seven touchdowns on opening night, look for the Ravens defense to have a field day against Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Bowen: Ravens 17-9
The Ravens get back to running the football and grind this one out with Ray Rice in the fourth quarter.
Schalter: Browns 23-20
Flacco and the Ravens will burn the Browns secondary deep at least once, but the Ravens D will have to prove it can stop somebody.
Freeman: Ravens 40-10
Angry birds destroy Browns.
Miller: Ravens 21-9
A long week to prepare for the Cleveland Browns will mean multiple Brandon Weeden interceptions. Or, as they say, a regular game for the second-year quarterback.
Frenz: Ravens 44-7
The Ravens were on the receiving end of a beatdown in their opener, but they get the Browns in their home opener. They'll prove to Baltimore fans that there's a reason to watch this year.
Hangst: Browns 13-10
The Baltimore Ravens are defending Super Bowl champions, and they rarely lose at home. However, their abysmal performance in Week 1 shows just how much work they need to do to return to that level. The Ravens were bad in Week 1, while the Browns made many mistakes. Cleveland can fix its problems more easily than Baltimore, and it gets a rare and important road win.
Hansen: Ravens 17-14
The Ravens have had a long week to think about their mistakes against the Broncos and prepare for the Browns. The Ravens aren't as bad as they looked and will rebound against a Cleveland team that may be playing without pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo. Part of me wants to pick the Browns, but they can't be trusted after only scoring 10 points last week.
Bardeen: Ravens 33-21
It's still tough to go into Baltimore and steal a win. It'll be even more so since the Ravens were embarrassed in Week 1 and desperately need to redeem themselves. Both Flacco through the air and the Baltimore running game will get going in Week 2.
Gagnon: Ravens 23-16
I think the Browns are better, and the Ravens are worse, but the gap hasn't closed enough for Cleveland to win in Baltimore to push the Ravens to 0-2.
Langland: Ravens 16-10
The Ravens need a bounce-back game in the worst way after the Broncos annihilated them to open the season. Just like the Dolphins did, the Ravens will harass quarterback Brandon Weeden. It will be tight, but Baltimore will show enough to squeak out the win.
Kruse: Ravens 24-14
The Ravens will use a long week of preparation to fix the many holes that appeared in Week 1. And, of course, facing Brandon Weeden instead of Peyton Manning helps, too.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Texans (12-0)
Vegas: Texans (-10)
Schottey: Texans 41-14
The late start against a surprisingly tough (at least at first) San Diego Chargers team kept the Texans at bay in Week 1, but don't expect quarterback Jake Locker and the Titans to put up as much of a fight.
Bowen: Texans 23-13
This Texans defense could be trouble for Jake Locker and the Titans. Look for J.J. watt to clean up on Sunday.
Schalter: Texans 24-20
I actually like the Titans' run game against the Texans' reshuffled front seven, but Schaub and his weapons outscore Locker and his.
Freeman: Texans 30-14
J.J. Watt gets three sacks.
Miller: Texans 27-14
The Titans defense looked exceptional against Pittsburgh, but who knows how good that offense is? The Texans will be a different story.
Frenz: Texans 34-10
The Titans pulled off an upset over the Steelers last week, but the Texans are still big brother in the AFC South. Jake Locker could be under fire from the Texans' vicious front.
Hangst: Texans 24-10
The Steelers were terrible in Week 1, which made the Titans look competent, especially on defense. They'll come back to reality against the actually tough Texans.
Hansen: Texans 34-10
The Titans are going to be a frustrating team because they will look good one week and terrible the next week. Tennessee has the capability to upset superior teams, but I wouldn't expect it against a disciplined squad like the Texans.
Bardeen: Texans 27-21
Both teams could put up points in Week 2. The question will be whether the Titans defense continues to shine. I don't think so, as Houston is a much tougher foe than Pittsburgh.
Gagnon: Texans 30-20
The Titans are a lot better, but Houston still dominated Tennessee in both meetings last year. At home, the Texans should roll.
Langland: Texans 24-17
The Texans will pound the rock and control the clock. They don't want to fall victim to the Titans the same way the Steelers did.
Kruse: Texans 27-13
The Titans gave Pittsburgh a Steelers-style punch in the opener. However, replicating that performance against a balanced Houston offense will be a more difficult task.
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
Rob Carr/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Eagles (12-0)
Vegas: Eagles (-9)
Schottey: Eagles 31-23
The Eagles' fast-paced offense continues to roll here, and the defense continues to take advantage of offenses that can't keep up.
Bowen: Eagles 31-22
I don't think Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense have the talent to keep up with Chip Kelly and the 90 plays the Eagles will run on Sunday.
Schalter: Eagles 28-17
Philip Rivers should be able to go deep on the Eagles secondary, but he won't have time. Don't see the Chargers defense slowing the Eagles down for long.
Freeman: Eagles 24-6
Eagles defense might be better than we think this season.
Miller: Eagles 27-18
The Eagles' high-tempo offense will be a nightmare for San Diego's defense. And their pass rush will definitely keep Philip Rivers up at night.
Frenz: Eagles 28-20
Chip Kelly's offense will wear opponents down from an early stage. Unless Mike McCoy has a beauty drawn up for his Chargers offense, they could struggle to keep up.
Hangst: Eagles 27-14
The Chargers are a shell of their former great selves, while the Eagles are the next big thing in the NFL. San Diego will be overwhelmed by the speed of Philadelphia's offense and by its new 3-4 defensive front.
Hansen: Eagles 31-26
It's going to take the NFL a little while to adjust to Chip Kelly's offense, and the Chargers have too many holes on defense. The Chargers will be able to score, but the Eagles should get just enough stops to get the win.
Bardeen: Eagles 24-14
The Eagles should wear down the Chargers on offense and outplay Philip Rivers and the Bolts on defense. Heck, the Eagles look like they're going to wear every NFL team down. But it'll look really rough for the Chargers.
Gagnon: Eagles 24-21
Short week for both teams, but at least Philly is at home against a Chargers team that has to travel across the country.
Langland: Eagles 27-21
Neither defense will be a factor in this one; it will be all about the quarterbacks. Right now, Michael Vick is playing better football than Philip Rivers.
Kruse: Eagles 27-17
The Eagles have more players on offense that can change a game in a second, and the Chip Kelly system looks legit through the first week. One or two big plays from LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson is the difference.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Leon Halip/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Pick'em (6-6)
Vegas: Lions (-2)
Schottey: Lions 31-17
The Cardinals offensive line is not going to win many battles in the trenches. That will hurt quarterback Carson Palmer's ability to strike deep, and the running game should be all but nonexistent.
Bowen: Cardinals 24-20
Larry Fitzgerald has a quarterback now that can get him the football. Palmer throws two second-half touchdowns and the Cardinals hang on to beat the Lions.
Schalter: Lions 30-21
The Cardinals should be able to move the ball, but the Lions D feasts on turnovers and Palmer still gives them up. The Lions offense may be slow to start but will eventually overcome the Cardinals D.
Freeman: Cardinals 21-20
Arizona finally has a real quarterback.
Miller: Lions 21-17
Stopping Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush will be tough with rookies in the secondary and no Daryl Washington. Have to take the Lions to get this one.
Frenz: Cardinals 34-31
Reggie Bush adds a "new dynamic" to this offense (said every analyst ever), but the Lions are still throwing the ball 40-plus times a game. Call me crazy, but I like Bruce Arians' high-flying offense in a shootout.
Hangst: Cardinals 23-21
The Lions will find a way to shoot themselves in the foot in a road game against the tougher-than-you-think Cardinals.
Hansen: Lions 31-28
The Cardinals finally have a decent quarterback, and what a difference that made last week against the Rams. Detroit's interior pass rush will be harder on Palmer, and Calvin Johnson could have a huge day against a suspect Arizona secondary. A late Palmer mistake seals the win for the Lions.
Bardeen: Lions 27-21
Carson Palmer sure did look good against St. Louis, but I think he'll face a tougher Detroit defense and not fare as well. Matthew Stafford should feast on Arizona's secondary.
Gagnon: Cardinals 31-28
Still don't trust the Lions, but I think both offenses are much improved. Expect a lot of points and a slim Arizona victory in its home opener.
Langland: Cardinals 35-28
Arizona looks to have found a breath of fresh air with veteran signal-caller Carson Palmer. Palmer and All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will have a field day against the Lions' dismal defensive backfield.
Kruse: Lions 27-20
Reggie Bush changes everything for the Lions offense, which now has a hint of balance. If Detroit avoids beating itself, a 2-0 start is within reach.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bob Levey/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Saints (11-1)
Vegas: Saints (-3.5)
Schottey: Saints 27-10
It's the Saints defense that grabs the headlines in this one as it continues to apply pressure to NFC South rivals.
Bowen: Saints 31-16
Even with the Saints outside of the dome and playing on grass, I'm taking Brees over Freeman every time.
Schalter: Saints 28-10
Josh Freeman will struggle to unlock Rob Ryan's schemes, and Drew Brees will eventually overcome the Bucs' pass rush.
Freeman: Saints 30-9
The Bucs are awful.
Miller: Saints 27-13
The Saints won a huge rivalry game at home, so they may be primed for a letdown. The good news is that Josh Freeman's quarterbacking won't give them many fits at all this week.
Frenz: Saints 28-12
The Saints have the upper hand in the quarterback duel, but they blow the Bucs out of the water in the head coach duel. The Buccaneers showed how undisciplined they are in their loss to the Jets. Welcome back, Sean Payton.
Hangst: Saints 30-14
The Buccaneers have lots of promise this year, but promise doesn't score points. Drew Brees and the Saints, however, do score points—and they will be too much for Tampa to handle.
Hansen: Saints 31-30
No one trusts the Buccaneers after they lost to the Jets. The Saints will give up points, but they will also score a lot of them.
Bardeen: Saints 28-17
Both these teams should be 1-0, but penalties happen. Right, Lavonte David? The Saints' new-look defense will be way too much for Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Drew Brees is still an elite passer, and he'll find ways to dissect the Bucs' improved secondary. My advice: Throw away from Darrelle Revis.
Gagnon: Buccaneers 26-24
I still don't trust the New Orleans defense and Tampa Bay is better than we saw in Week 1. Back at home, the Bucs edge the Saints.
Langland: Saints 31-14
Even though I didn't trust Rob Ryan's defense in Week 1, I'm trusting his defense in Week 2. Look for safety Kenny Vaccaro and linebacker Junior Galette to come up big when the Saints need them to.
Kruse: Saints 31-20
The Saints have beat the Bucs three straight times, including a 35-28 win in Tampa last season. With Sean Payton back and Rob Ryan leading a defensive redemption, New Orleans makes it four in a row.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
B/R Consensus Pick: Raiders (12-0)
Vegas: Raiders (-6)
Schottey: Raiders 13-7
In a game that could set offensive football back a couple of decades, the Raiders squeak out a win against the Chad Henne-led Jaguars. (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth typing that.)
Bowen: Raiders 16-10
The Jaguars were pitiful on offense in Week 1, and I expect that to continue as Terrelle Pryor takes another step forward in his development.
Schalter: Raiders 24-17
The Jaguars can and will play better than they did against the Chiefs, but Terrelle Pryor's limitless potential is slowly becoming a reality. The Black Hole makes the difference.
Freeman: Raiders 21-0
Blaine Gabbert is the worst QB in football. Chad Henne isn't much better.
Miller: Raiders 24-12
The Raiders were impressive in their season debut but let a win slip through their hands. They'll get in the win column at home against the struggling Jaguars, though.
Frenz: Raiders 20-3
How can anyone pick the Jaguars after the way they played last week? The Raiders at least kept it close with Andrew Luck's squad.
Hangst: Raiders 13-3
It's hard to believe, but the quarterback situation in Oakland is actually better than in Jacksonville. The defense is actually better than anticipated as well. The Jaguars aren't a good team and the Raiders will pull off a win.
Hansen: Raiders 27-17
Terrelle Pryor gives the Raiders a chance to win games and will make his first start at home, which should give the Raiders a boost. The Jaguars either have to let Chad Henne try to beat Oakland's secondary or give the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew against Oakland's tough run defense, but neither is a winning formula.
Bardeen: Raiders 20-7
Both teams should be dismal, but Jacksonville will make Oakland look like a powerhouse. The Raiders actually did fine against Andrew Luck and the Colts, and Jacksonville's offense is nowhere near as potent as Indy's.
Gagnon: Raiders 23-10
Just can't pick the Jaguars right now, especially traveling across the country for a game against the red-hot and unpredictable Terrelle Pryor.
Langland: Raiders 14-10
Whether it's Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne taking snaps under center, it doesn't really matter at this point. The Jaguars offense will let down their defense for the second time in as many weeks.
Kruse: Raiders 21-10
The Jaguars scored all of two points in their home opener. Is this offense really capable of flying to the West Coast and suddenly coming alive? Terrelle Pryor should make more plays than Chad Henne.
Denver Broncos at New York Giants
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
B/R Consensus Pick: Broncos (9-3)
Vegas: Broncos (-4.5)
Schottey: Broncos 27-17
"Manning Bowl" goes to the elder, and the Giants get to start fielding the dreaded question: "What's wrong?"
Bowen: Broncos 27-19
If the Giants sit in Cover 2, Manning will light this secondary up. Too many weapons for Denver.
Schalter: Broncos 33-28
It's a shootout between the Manning brothers, in both billing and reality. I like Peyton's weapons against Eli's defense slightly more than Eli's weapons against Peyton's defense.
Freeman: Giants 28-27
Giants rebound because their running back doesn't fumble 412 times.
Miller: Broncos 31-21
Peyton Manning may throw seven more touchdowns against these safeties. The Giants are in serious trouble.
Frenz: Giants 30-28
The Giants looked like the worst team in football on Sunday night against the Cowboys (six penalties, six turnovers). Tom Coughlin's guys get it cleaned up at home, and Denver still has no pass rush.
Hangst: Broncos 30-27
It's Manning versus Manning, as older brother Peyton travels to take on the younger Eli. Of course, quarterbacks don't play each other—they play defenses—and neither of these teams have particularly good ones. Peyton wins in this shootout.
Hansen: Giants 31-27
The Broncos looked great last week, but Peyton Manning isn't going to face such a terrible secondary every week. The Giants also have enough weapons to cause Denver's defense problems.
Bardeen: Broncos 30-24
The Giants should be able to fix a lot of the mental mistakes and turnovers from Week 1, but the Denver offense will still be too tough to stop. Peyton wins in Week 2, but Eli still has one more Super Bowl ring. But who's counting?
Gagnon: Broncos 35-17
The Giants usually excel when everybody is piling on against them, but the rested Broncos are in another league right now. That defense will have a lot of trouble in a high-scoring game.
Langland: Broncos 34-17
The "Manning Bowl" proves to always be a spectacle. As much as I like the Giants at home, I simply can't trust quarterback Eli Manning and the turnover-prone Giants.
Kruse: Broncos 38-31
The Giants had six turnovers Sunday night and still managed to score 31 points on the road. A red-hot Peyton Manning will make every New York mistake hurt in the "Manning Bowl."
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
B/R Consensus Pick: Pick'em (6-6)
Vegas: Seahawks (-2.5)
Schottey: 49ers 20-19
Whatever the 49ers did the week before, expect them to do something different to beat the next team. Kaepernick and Co. will keep it on the ground more, and the defense will do just enough to keep the Seahawks kicking field goals in the red zone.
Bowen: Seahawks 23-16
This could be a nasty game. And I love that. Russell Wilson's fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Golden Tate puts this one away for the Seahawks.
Schalter: Seahawks 28-20
Though the 49ers looked stronger in Week 1, let's not forget that nine months ago, these Seahawks hosted these 49ers and beat them 42-13.
Freeman: 49ers 28-14
I think Kaepernick has another monster game.
Miller: 49ers 24-21
The Seattle offensive line was terrible against Carolina. If it's that bad against San Francisco, this will be a one-sided beat down.
Frenz: 49ers 17-16
A defensive slugfest? Between these two teams? You don't say.
Hangst: 49ers 24-21
The NFC West's biggest rivalry should produce one of the best contests of Week 2. The offensive juggernaut that is the 49ers will narrowly get the better of a Seattle team that should look more settled on its home turf.
Hansen: Seahawks 27-21
If the Seahawks want to be considered the favorites in the NFC West, they have to beat the 49ers. Seattle only allowed seven points to Cam Newton, which means they are starting to figure out how to limit running quarterbacks. The 49ers might not realize it, but Frank Gore might have hit the wall. Advantage: Seahawks.
Bardeen: 49ers 24-23
Carolina gave a blueprint in Week 1 on how to disrupt Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense: Get mad pressure on the quarterback. San Francisco can do that and can win this rivalry game.
Gagnon: Seahawks 27-24
Seattle put up 42 points on the Niners last December, and I think the Seahawks are better now than they were then. This isn't another blowout, but Seattle has an obvious edge in its home opener.
Langland: Seahawks 30-24
The 'Hawks won't put up 42 points like they did last year, but they will come away victorious for one simple reason. They are playing at home, and they are the toughest team to beat in front of their home crowd.
Kruse: Seahawks 31-27
The game of the week features two of the NFC heavyweights. San Francisco looked like the better team in Week 1, but there's something about a big game in a loud Seattle atmosphere that pushes me toward the Seahawks.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
B/R Consensus Pick: Bengals (11-1)
Vegas: Bengals (-7)
Schottey: Bengals 17-10
The Bengals front could have their hands tied behind their backs and still apply pressure in this one. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins might as well just line up inside Ben Roethlisberger's facemask.
Bowen: Bengals 19-13
The Bengals defensive line was silenced by the Bears, but that will change this week. Look for the Steelers' protection issues to continue.
Schalter: Bengals 17-10
Every AFC North game is going to be a street fight this year, even more so than usual. Both teams' front sevens will fly to the ball, but the Bengals ultimately have too much firepower.
Freeman: Steelers 20-17
Steelers don't suck as bad as many think.
Miller: Bengals 28-13
The Steelers are beat up and beat down. The Bengals were a penalty away from winning on Sunday. Advantage, Cincy.
Frenz: Bengals 30-10
If the Steelers couldn't handle the Titans at home, they're not beating many teams this year. Andy Dalton beats the Steelers defense like a...well, you know.
Hangst: Bengals 28-10
The Steelers don't have a run game, their passing game is in jeopardy without Maurkice Pouncey under center and the Bengals are deep and talented at every position. Cincinnati proves the guard is changing in the AFC North.
Hansen: Bengals 20-17
The Steelers will rebound from a terrible Week 1 performance, but the Bengals are a good team with an excellent defense. The Steelers make it interesting, but the Bengals get the win.
Bardeen: Bengals 34-14
Remember all that "Cincinnati's going to the Super Bowl" talk? I'd still buy into that and watch for the Bengals to show it at home against a fierce rival. A.J. Green is starting to prove elite and this Bengals defense will step up.
Gagnon: Bengals 30-20
The Bengals are my AFC Super Bowl team, so I can't pick them to start 0-2. The Steelers are just an average team now. Cincy rolls at home.
Langland: Bengals 28-20
Pittsburgh's days of being the class of the AFC North are long gone. Injuries and putrid play from the Steelers offense make them hard to pick at this point. Moreover, wide receiver A.J. Green will give Dick LeBeau's defense a fit all game long.
Kruse: Bengals 21-13
Few teams were as brutal on offense as the Steelers in Week 1. The changing of the guard atop the AFC North continues on Monday night.
Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.