NFL Predictions Week 2: Breaking Down Battles Between Undefeated Squads

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park on September 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Packers 34-28.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

At least five NFL teams will exit Week 2 with an unblemished record.

Out of the 16 teams who won their opening bouts, 10 of them face off against a fellow Week 1 victim. Which teams will build a winning streak, and which organizations will drop to .500?

This early in the season, not every battle among undefeated teams is created equal. Two matchups are uneven affairs between division competitors, and two feature fringe playoff contenders.

The other clash set for Sunday night is the money bout that could hold major implications in the NFC. Whoever emerges victorious this showdown becomes the early Super Bowl favorite.

New York Jets at New England Patriots (Thursday at 8:25 p.m. ET)

Could this perceived blowout in waiting turn into a trap game?

As of Wednesday, the New England Patriots are favored by 12 points, according to Vegas Insider. That's a lot, considering the question marks floating around New England's running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and defense.

Shane Vereen broke out with 159 all-purpose yards only to cruelly break his wrist shortly after. Stevan Ridley fumbled away Bill Belichick's trust, while Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld ruined all the hype brewing around them in August.

Tom Brady quickly developed a rapport with Danny Amendola, but's Ian Rapoport reported that the injury-riddled wideout is already in danger of missing action.

Much like New England's opening bout with the Buffalo Bills, this game could stay surprisingly tight.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 13

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET)

While the Dallas Cowboys picked up a major win against the New York Giants, the Kansas City Chiefs crushed the Jacksonville Jaguars to scoop up an easy victory.

Both teams have playoff aspirations, as the Cowboys hope to steal a wide-open NFC East, while the Chiefs can clutch a spot in a middling AFC. Starting 2-0 would certainly create a popular following for either club.

Dallas' Week 1 win means more in the grand scheme of things, but barely scraping out a victory despite forcing six turnovers is not a great sign. After starting the night on snooze, Eli Manning finished with 450 passing yards, with Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle each capitalizing on single coverage with ease.

Kansas sports a more talented offense than New York, who limited Tony Romo to 5.4 yards per attempt. The Chiefs' fan club may not be accepting any more applications after this weekend.

Prediction: Chiefs 23, Cowboys 16

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET)

As the Tennessee Titans embarrassed a team with high hopes, the Houston Texans were nearly bested by one with little chance to break .500.

The award for Week 1's biggest disappointment goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who scored nine points on 195 total yards from scrimmage in a 16-9 loss to the Titans. Ben Roethlisberger suffered five sacks, the rushing offense managed 32 yards on 15 carries and the passing game direly missed Mike Wallace's deep-play capability.

Props to Tennessee's defense for making that all happen, but it wasn't pretty on their side. Jake Locker collected 125 passing yards while getting sacked eight times, and Chris Johnson averaged 2.8 yards per carry.

Houston fell behind by 21 points to the San Diego Chargers Monday night, but Matt Schaub proved he can sling the ball around Brett Favre-style when the situation calls for it. Usually asked to hand the ball to Arian Foster, the veteran quarterback registered 346 yards and three touchdowns to rally the Texans to victory.

Although Houston's defense is expected to allow fewer than 28 points to teams like San Diego, the unit only yielded 263 yards, so fortuitous field position played a pivotal role. Don't expect Locker to experience such luck.

Prediction: Texans 27, Titans 10 

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET)

That's what happens when you play the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders.

The Dolphins hardly looked special while beating an erratic Brandon Weeden, but they're one Brady injury away from becoming a major player in the AFC East. Then again, so many teams look shaky in that conference that it's feasible for Miami to catch a few breaks and abscond with a playoff berth.

They need to give Lamar Miller a chance to make something of their rushing game, but it was nice to see Ryan Tannehill complete 24 of 38 passes for 272 yards in his sophomore season opener.

Although the Colts' minus-30 point differential from 2012 points to a major regression from their improbable 11-5 journey, they can wait for their schedule to toughen. The San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals await them, along with their two yearly clashes with the Texans.

If the Colts want to buck the signs pointing to a letdown, they need to handle their manageable opponents, and Andrew Luck needs to defy the numbers by transforming into a superstar.

Prediction: Colts 24, Dolphins 13 

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET)

Both teams are amazing. Entering the season as the league's perceived top two squads, this intense rivalry is the clear game of the week.

Last season, a red-hot Seattle squad stomped San Francisco in Week 16, instilling fear in anyone who had to face this awakened team in the postseason. Russell Wilson nearly set up a rematch with the NFC on the line before Matt Ryan generated a last-minute comeback.

The Seahawks gritted out a 12-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers, while the 49ers handed the Green Bay Packers a taste of their own medicine, winning a 34-28 shootout. What happens when the league's most complete rosters face off Sunday night?

Both teams boast unforgiving defenses with tough, veteran rushers and young, blossoming passers. As for now, the 49ers get the slight edge.

After annihilating Green Bay on the ground in their playoff bout, Colin Kaepernick stayed in the pocket and obliterated the secondary with new buddy Anquan Boldin. That ability to derail a top team through whichever method it felt like utilizing that day makes San Francisco the league's scariest team.

Prediction: 49ers 20, Seahawks 17


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