NFL

NFL Week 2 Picks: Predictions for Every Game

Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) to runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2013

Week 1 won't be officially in the books until the Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers wrap up their Monday Night Football game, the second of two prime-time matchups, but the majority of the NFL already has its eyes firmly fixed on Week 2. 

Opening weekend was quite the fix after a six-month layoff.  

The Denver Broncos kicked the 2013 season off with a win over the Baltimore Ravens, while several other early Super Bowl contenders (San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots) started the year on a high note with a victory. 

On any given Sunday, as they say, things can change quickly in the NFL.   

Winning coaches can't allow their teams to celebrate in practice this week, while teams currently 0-1 will have to turn it up a notch to avoid starting the year with a losing streak. Keeping that in mind, here's a complete look at the Week 2 NFL schedule and a prediction for every game. 

*For a complete look at the Week 2 schedule, visit NFL.com. To revisit Ethan Grant's predictions for Week 1, click here

 

NFL Week 2 Predictions

 

New England Patriots 27, New York Jets 17

One of the NFL's best inner-division rivalries over the past few years, the Patriots and Jets will be in prime time on Thursday night to officially get Week 2 underway. 

New England will be playing its second straight AFC East game; the Buffalo Bills had a lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday but quarterback Tom Brady engineered a game-winning drive that ended with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. 

The Jets were also big winners in Week 1, beneficiaries of a late penalty enforced on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. Rookie QB Geno Smith had a game-winning drive of his own that ended in a field goal, and as reported by NFL.com's Marc Sessler, Rex Ryan is sticking with Smith for Week 2. 

Brady spread the ball around to a number of different receivers against the Bills, but one of his biggest playmakers won't be available against the Jets. According to this ESPN report, via Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, Shane Vereen broke a bone in his wrist and will require surgery. He will miss the game against the Jets. 

Stevan Ridley, who was benched after two fumbles in favor of Vereen, will likely see the biggest uptick in playing time from the injury. 

Another option to see more work is Julian Edelman, who had two touchdown receptions against the Bills. According to the team's Twitter account, he's also the new NFL career leader in punt return average:

The Patriots have won the last four games in the series and have home-field advantage in this matchup. New York's defense looked stout against Tampa Bay and there are holes to be exploited in the New England defense, but for the second week in a row, a rookie QB will fall to the Pats. 

 

Chicago Bears 22, Minnesota Vikings 19

Adrian Peterson rushed for over 150 yards and two touchdowns in a Minnesota victory the last time these two NFC North rivals met, but Chicago is the only team between the two who will enter Week 2 with a 1-0 record. 

Minnesota got off to a hot start in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions but gave up 34 points to Matthew Stafford and Co. as Christian Ponder struggled in his 2013 debut. 

The Bears fell behind Cincinnati by double digits in the third quarter in their season opener, but new head coach Marc Trestman guided his club to a come-from-behind victory as Jay Cutler threw a go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. 

Expect a gritty, defensive-minded effort from both teams. 

Chicago will key on Peterson throughout the game, especially after watching Ponder struggle against Detroit's coverage schemes and pressure. Minnesota will need to find a way to stop Chicago's quick-passing attack, but it has plenty of motivation to play better on defense after allowing 34 points in Week 1. 

Just as they did in Week 1, the Bears will keep this game close in the second half. Ponder will struggle to put pressure on the secondary again, and the Bears will use a balanced attack to keep the Vikings off balance. 

 

San Francisco 49ers 24, Seattle Seahawks 16 

San Francisco has a target on its back, and NFC West rival Seattle will pull no punches in trying to hit the bull's eye on that target. 

Both teams scraped out Week 1 victories in the fourth quarter. The 49ers leaned on big days from Colin Kaepernick (412 yards passing) and Anquan Boldin (208 yards receiving) to pull out a narrow victory over the Green Bay Packers. 

The Seahawks also eeked out a win over the Carolina Panthers late; Russell Wilson struggled to move the ball against Ron Rivera's defense but had just enough to avoid an upset when Jermaine Kearse plucked a 43-yard touchdown catch out of the air. 

When the Hawks and Niners meet, sparks fly. 

Seattle will have its hands full with Kaepernick. The third-year man had the first 400-yard passing game of his career against the Packers and didn't need to use his legs—arguably his biggest asset—to secure the victory. 

Conversely, San Francisco will have to contend with a stingy Seahawks defense. Seattle is still working out the obvious kinks on offense, but if you let Pete Carroll's team hang around long enough, it finds a way to win football games. 

The Carolina score was indicative of that. 

Don't expect San Francisco to have its way with Seattle; the Seahawks blew out the 49ers by 29 points in the last game between the two at CenturyLink Field. But that was then, and this is now. 

Kaepernick will battle through some early struggles on the road, and the 49ers will pull out a close victory to start the season 2-0. 

 

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

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