Here's hoping for a bit better result for yours truly in Week 2.
Predicted winner is in italics
Last Week's Record: 10-6
Geno Smith surprised just about everyone by completing 63 percent of his passes in Week 1 and generally looking like a competent starting NFL quarterback. The Patriots surprised anyone who didn't read my Week 1 picks by being sloppy with the football. Rex and the Jets defense will give Brady and company all sorts of problems, but Geno will get a rude awakening going up against Belichick. The Pats get a less-than-convincing win against their division rival.
With Roddy White at less than a hundred percent, the Falcons hardly looked like the offensive powerhouse some had portrayed them as heading into the season. The defense wasn't much better. Now the Rams come to town looking for a statement win, and while this game will be a mighty scare for the Falcons, Atlanta gets the win on the arm of Matt Ryan.
Chip Kelly proved that all the preseason talk about his scheme and offense were well justified as the Eagles came out of the gate at light speed, flying all over the field on offense. The Eagles defense looked improved as well. The Chargers, meanwhile, did their best to introduce new head coach Mike McCoy to their choking ways. The Eagles are the more talented ballclub and they get the win this week.
The Chiefs beating down the lowly Jaguars didn't get much pub from the NFL punditry class. Expect that to change when they beat the Cowboys. Tony Romo will be at less than a hundred percent and that's hardly what you want heading into Arrowhead against the Chiefs' underrated defense. Alex Smith and company need to be careful with the football against Monte Kiffin's crew. They will be. They get the win.
The Dolphins defense is legit. It has one of, if not the best safety tandems in the game to go along with a stout front seven and one of the pass-rushers in the game in Cameron Wake, not to mention first-round pick Dion Jordan. Andrew Luck will be under pressure all game. If Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is smart, he won't blitz at all. The Colts showed some real weak spots on defense and Ryan Tannehill and company do just enough to take advantage and get their second road victory of the 2013 season.
The Titans showed a young, versatile defense to the world against the Steelers, surprising not only myself but, apparently, Todd Haley. The Texans survived a scare in San Diego after doing what everyone says they can't do—come from behind after falling behind big. The Texans defense exhibited the same problems in the secondary that it had last year, but Jake Locker is not able to take advantage. The Texans get the win in their home opener.
Both teams will probably come out trying to "establish the run." This is smart for the Redskins and somewhat a waste of time for the Packers. Washington needs to slow the game down, get Alfred Morris going so they can open up play action for RGIII and, most importantly, limit Aaron Rodgers' possessions...because Rodgers will absolutely shred the Washington secondary. Look for RGIII to look much better in this game than he did Monday night against the Eagles. However, Rodgers and the Packers get the win.
It's too early too say "Same old Browns," but it had to be discouraging for Browns fans to watch an offense stuck in neutral for most of the opening game. The Ravens, meanwhile, were downright embarrassed in the league's season opener in front of a national audience. Look for the champs to come back with a vengeance here and make a statement while getting the win.
The Panthers may have lost the game against the Seahawks, but their defense was, to me, the most non-talked about story of the week. That front seven will absolutely dominate some games, including this one. It needs to, of course, because of a shaky secondary, and Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel will have his moments against it. But Cam Newton and the Panthers offense will find the first downs that eluded them against the Seahawks and put up three more points than the Bills to get their first win of the 2013 season.
Marc Trestman's crew got a big come-from-behind win against a preseason darling. Jay Cutler was impressive, save for the one bonehead pick that he seems obligated to throw. For the Vikings, it all comes down to quarterback Christian Ponder finding ways to exploit what is sure to be a heavy dose of loaded boxes from a Bears front looking to stop Adrian Peterson. He won't. Bears start 2-0.
Drew Brees looked to be in control of the offense, and Rob Ryan's defense looked much better than it had any right to against one the better offensive teams in the league in the Falcons. The Buccaneers have had a players-only meeting and their starting quarterback overslept for the team picture. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, but it's more interesting than what's going on on the field with this team, which looks downright bad. Saints get a big divisional win.
The Lions look reborn with Reggie Bush in the backfield. Calvin Johnson will do his usual damage, but Stafford and Bush will be the real stars on offense while teams continue to play a safety over the top of Megatron. For the Cardinals, Palmer showed good chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald. (Though, really, is it that hard for a competent QB?) The Lions defense was able to stymie the Vikings passing game for much of the day. This won't be the case in Arizona as the Cardinals get their first win of the season.
The Jaguars are going to be hard to watch. Not that they haven't been, but with the current regime having taken the "Tear-it-all-down-and-start-over" approach on offense, well, you saw the results against the Chiefs. The Raiders are no great offensive juggernaut themselves. But they looked surprisingly competent with Terrelle Pryor under center. Against the Jags, it's enough.
The third incarnation of "The Manning Bowl." Who cares? The Giants are desperate for a win after playing some extremely bad football down in Dallas. Facing Peyton Manning when you're trying to get yourself right is never a recipe for success, and the Giants secondary is in for an extremely long afternoon. Eli Manning will be able to generate enough points on the offensive side of the ball to keep this close, but ultimately older brother Peyton is just too much for New York.