NFL Week 2 Picks: Teams Most Likely to Pull out Road Victories

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 11, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 16:   Lance Moore #16 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after making a first down against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 16, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Week 1 of the 2013 NFL regular season is officially in the books, and 32 teams have split wins and losses. Rather than harping on what has already transpired, however, it's important to look forward to the games on the horizon.

There's no shortage of desperation across the NFL. Some teams are searching for answers after losing their season openers, while the 16 teams to start 1-0 are hoping to find sustainability and move into Week 3 with 2-0 records.

Playing on the road is the easiest way to lose momentum, which has every away team on notice. But not every home team will be able to defend its home turf. Some teams will lose the games they're supposed to win.

So, which teams will go on the road and pick up key victories in Week 2?

 

Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills

Date: Sunday, Sept. 15

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Betting Line: Panthers (-3) via Bovada 

The Carolina Panthers will meet the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in a clash between two 0-1 teams that should feel confident. Both took on Super Bowl Contenders and walked away with one-possession losses in Week 1.

In the end, it will be Carolina who builds upon that success in Week 2.

The Panthers lost 12-7 to the Seattle Seahawks, establishing the elite-when-healthy defense they possess. Few teams can touch the linebacker corps of Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, and even fewer can combat the added threats of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson.

For a Bills team with a rookie quarterback and a heavy dependence upon the run, the Panthers are perfectly suited to shut them down. In order to win, however, Cam Newton needs to make his statistics meaningful.

Unfortunately, Newton hasn't been able to string together victories to go with those numbers. Carolina went 9-3 during the final six weeks of the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons under Newton's leadership but 4-16 during the first 10 games of those regular seasons.

With DeAngelo Williams rediscovering the ability to run and Steve Smith still Mr. Dependable, expect Carolina to break through.

Buffalo has a very bright future. Its young players appear to be coming into their own, and EJ Manuel has been encouraging at quarterback. It took a last-second field goal for the New England Patriots to beat the Bills 23-21, By that logic, Buffalo will be in the running for this one too.

When it comes down to it, however, Carolina needs a win, and Newton will help them get one here.

 

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Date: Sunday, Sept. 15

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Betting Line: Saints (-3.5) via Bovada

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were downright ugly in the opening week of the 2013 NFL regular season, losing 18-17 to the New York Jets. They committed 13 penalties for 102 yards and gave New York two free points with a safety.

The New Orleans Saints, meanwhile, just defeated the Atlanta Falcons and have the look of a Super Bowl contender.

New Orleans won 23-17, with Drew Brees throwing for 357 yards and Roman Harper coming up with both a fumble recovery and an interception. Darren Sproles contributed 110 yards of total offense, the defense picked up three sacks, and both Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham caught touchdown passes.

With Sean Payton back on the sidelines as head coach, all is right in New Orleans.

If the Saints can beat the Falcons, why bet on the Bucs?

New Orleans topped Tampa Bay 35-28 the last time they met at Raymond James Stadium, leading by double digits until the closing minutes. In their second meeting in 2012, the Saints won 41-0 and exposed Tampa Bay's immaturity and lack of discipline.

Fresh off of a loss to the Jets that proved those flaws still exist, the Bucs are in trouble against the Saints.

 

Denver Broncos at New York Giants

Date: Sunday, Sept. 15

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Betting Line: Broncos (-4.5) via Bovada

The Denver Broncos opened up the season with an absolutely magnificent 49-27 domination of the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The New York Giants started their season with a 35-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that was more lopsided than the score indicates.

The Giants don't have a running game, Peyton Manning can do no wrong, and Eli Manning is on pace for yet another season with obscene turnover totals. All in all, the Broncos head into this game with as much momentum as the Giants lack.

Good luck, little brother.

Eli ended up turning things around for a monster stat line, but anyone who watched the game knows he wasn't very good until the lead was insurmountable and New York's only option was to throw.

The Broncos, meanwhile, have one of the most lethal passing attacks in the NFLpairing Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker with Manning. To make matters worse for opponents, tight end Julius Thomas made his season debut with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Anyone who thinks Thomas' production will disappear needs to remember how much Peyton loves throwing to his tight ends.

The only hope for New York is to shut down Denver's run game and exploit defensive absences. With Von Miller still suspended and cornerback Champ Bailey hobbled, Eli and the Giants could run up the score.

Good luck outscoring a team led by the guy who threw for seven touchdowns in Week 1.