NFL Week 2 Picks: Last-Minute Expert Predictions from Around the Web
Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season is underway, with the New England Patriots having gotten things rolling by outlasting the New York Jets 13-10.
This week's slate features a number of exciting matchups, including showdowns between playoff teams from last year in Green Bay and Seattle and the latest installment of the "Manning Bowl."
As you sit down to breakfast and prepare for another thrilling week of NFL action, here's a look at how experts from around cyberspace think Week 2 will unfold.
Experts Roll Call
Before we move on to this week's games, let's take a look at our panel of experts.
ESPN: ESPN's picks are a combination of the selections of 13 experts. Those experts include writers like Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, as well as former players such as Merrill Hoge and Mike Golic.
CBS Sports: The CBS Sports picks feature eight writers, including senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco and NFL insider Jason La Canfora.
USA Today: As with the other sites on our panel, USA Today uses a committee approach, with seven writers offering their takes on this week's games.
Bleacher Report: I would be remiss not to include the prognostications of my esteemed colleagues here at Bleacher Report. This year's starting lineup for the Bleacher Report picks team features each of the national lead writers, as well as the lead writers covering the NFL's divisions.
There you have it. Over 40 NFL experts (plus one computer), all with their eyes cast toward this week's action.
The experts fared pretty well last week, getting two-thirds of their picks correct.
Last Week: 10-5
St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Final Verdict: Atlanta running back Steven Jackson didn't get much of a chance to stick it to his old team, leaving the game after a first quarter touchdown.
ESPN: Falcons (11-2)
CBS Sports: Falcons (8-0)
Fox Sports: Falcons (5-0)
USA Today: Falcons (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Falcons (11-1)
Overall: Falcons (42-3)
The St. Louis Rams were able to erase an 11-point second-half deficit to down the Arizona Cardinals last week, while a late comeback by the Atlanta Falcons fell just short in New Orleans.
The vast majority of the experts believe that the Falcons will win their home opener, with only three pundits picking the visitors.
Bleacher Report AFC West Lead Writer Chris Hansen is among the experts calling for a St. Louis upset, so we'll let him speak as the voice of the opposition:
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.
Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Final Verdict: Sunday's matchup between the Bills and Panthers was a back-and-forth game that featured plenty of big plays from both teams.
It was rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel who had the last laugh. Manuel found wide receiver Steve Johnson for a touchdown from two yards out with less than two minutes left in the game, giving Buffalo their first win of the season (24-23) and our experts their first loss of the week.
ESPN: Bills (8-5)
CBS Sports: Panthers (6-2)
Fox Sports: Panthers (5-0)
USA Today: Panthers (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Panthers (8-4)
Overall: Panthers (30-15)
Sunday's matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Buffalo Bills features a pair of teams that came this close to taking out Super Bowl contenders in Week 1.
The New England Patriots needed a last-second field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to down the Bills in Buffalo, while, for the second straight season, the Panthers gave the Seattle Seahawks all they could handle before coming up just short.
The folks at ESPN took the home team in this matchup, but more experts in Bristol picked Buffalo than the other four sites combined.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman thinks this is a game that could get out of hand: "If the Panthers open up on offense," Freeman wrote, "the score could become lopsided."
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) at Chicago Bears (1-0)
Final Verdict: The general consensus was that the Chicago Bears would have little trouble winning this game, but Cordarrelle Patterson's 105-yard kickoff return for a score sent an early message that the Vikings weren't going down without a fight.
Minnesota added a fumble return for a touchdown by defensive end Brian Robison, but in the end three Jay Cutler touchdown passes were enough to salvage a 31-30 victory for Da Bears and a win for the experts.
ESPN: Bears (13-0)
CBS Sports: Bears (8-0)
Fox Sports: Bears (5-0)
USA Today: Bears (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Bears (11-1)
Overall: Bears (43-2)
Despite the fact that the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears finished the 2012 season with identical 10-6 records, it was the Vikings who moved on the playoffs, while the Bears were left out in the cold.
If the expert predictions for this game are any indication, then that script is going to be flipped in 2013.
Over 90 percent of the experts polled picked the Bears, who are fresh off a come-from-behind victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Given that it's an NFC North showdown, it only seems fair that we look to Bleacher Report NFC North Lead Writer Zach Kruse for his take on this game:
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 (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Final Verdict: If the first two weeks of the 2013 season are any indication, there's going to be a new champion in the NFC East.
For the second straight week the Washington Redskins dug themselves into an early hole, and for the second straight week the Redskins were beaten in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicates.
Green Bay wins 38-20 to drop the 'Skins to 0-2.
ESPN: Packers (12-1)
CBS Sports: Packers (8-0)
Fox Sports: Packers (5-0)
USA Today: Packers (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Packers (12-0)
Overall: Packers (44-1)
Lambeau Field will play host to a battle of 2012 division winners Sunday afternoon, as the Washington Redskins come calling to face the Packers in one of Week 2's biggest games.
The game took on added significance after both the Packers and Redskins lost in Week 1. History hasn't been kind to teams that start the season 0-2.
The overwhelming majority of the experts look for the Packers to pull this one out at home. In fact, Green Bay swept the polling at four of the five sites.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Bowen, who predicts a nine-point win for the Packers, had this to say: "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."
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (1-0)
Final Verdict: Don't look now, Patriots fans, but the AFC East may not be a cakewalk this year.
One week after dominating the Cleveland Browns, the Miami Dolphins picked up their second road win of the season, downing the Indianapolis Colts 24-20 behind 319 passing yards from Ryan Tannehill.
It might be time for the experts to start giving the Dolphins some more love.
ESPN: Colts (8-5)
CBS Sports: Colts (6-2)
Fox Sports: Colts (3-2)
USA Today: Colts (5-2)
Bleacher Report: Tied (6-6)
Overall: Colts (28-17)
The Indianapolis Colts were a surprise playoff team in 2012, and the near-unanimous belief was that the Colts would have no problem dispatching the Oakland Raiders in Week 1.
Well, someone forgot to tell the Raiders. The Colts did escape with the victory, but the closeness of that win appears to have shaken the confidence of our experts.
Nearly 40 percent of the experts polled predict that the Miami Dolphins will win a second straight road game, including Bleacher Report AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst.
"Expect to see a better run game from the Dolphins this week," Hangst said. "That will be what propels them to a win over the Colts."
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Final Verdict: Well, given that the Kansas City Chiefs have already matched their 2012 win total, it's probably safe to say that the Andy Reid era has gotten off to a solid start.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith accounted for 280 total yards, running back Jamaal Charles pitched in over 100 total yards and a score, and the Chiefs held off the Dallas Cowboys 17-16 for their first 2-0 start since 2005.
ESPN: Chiefs (10-3)
CBS Sports: Cowboys (5-3)
Fox Sports: Chiefs (3-2)
USA Today: Chiefs (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Tied (6-6)
Overall: Chiefs (26-19)
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were a 2-14 football team. They had the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
However, as last week's 28-2 dismemberment of the Jacksonville Jaguars showed, the arrival of head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith may portend a quick turnaround for the Chiefs.
It's a testament to that quick turnaround that the majority of the experts believe the Chiefs will defeat a Dallas team in Week 2 coming off a Sunday night win over the New York Giants.
The Bleacher Report team split right down the middle on this game, so we'll look at both sides of the argument.
NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller likes the Chiefs, writing, "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."
However, fellow National Lead Writer Mike Freeman disagrees, predicting that "Dallas overwhelms and goes 2-0" in an easy 28-10 win for the Cowboys.
San Diego Chargers (0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Final Verdict: It would appear that something may have gotten lost in everyone going ga-ga over the Eagles new fast-paced offense.
Their defense is horrible.
There was very little defense played by either team on Sunday, but a Nick Novak field goal with three seconds left in regulation gave the San Diego Chargers a 33-30 win that made the experts unanimously wrong.
ESPN: Eagles (13-0)
CBS Sports: Eagles (8-0)
Fox Sports: Eagles (5-0)
USA Today: Eagles (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Eagles (12-0)
Overall: Eagles (45-0)
The Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers were the talk of the first Monday night of the 2013 season, albeit for very different reasons.
The Eagles offense was an absolute buzz saw in the first half of the team's win over the Washington Redskins, running 53 plays en route to a 26-7 lead at intermission.
Meanwhile, the Chargers had an even bigger advantage early in the second half of their matchup with the Houston Texans. However, for the second time in as many seasons, San Diego blew a big lead on Monday night, surrendering 24 unanswered points before falling 31-28.
The Eagles are our first unanimous pick this week, with Bleacher Report NFC West Lead Writer Tyson Langland predicting a shootout.
"Neither defense will be a factor in this one; it will be all about the quarterbacks," Langland wrote. "Right now, Michael Vick is playing better football than Philip Rivers."
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Final Verdict: There was plenty of hand-wringing in Baltimore after a listless first half that saw the Ravens head to intermission trailing the Cleveland Browns 6-0.
Luckily for the Ravens, it was the Browns who they trailed. Cleveland didn't score another point, the Ravens won 14-6, and now the hand-wringing can turn to star running back Ray Rice's injured hip.
ESPN: Ravens (13-0)
CBS Sports: Ravens (8-0)
Fox Sports: Ravens (5-0)
USA Today: Ravens (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Ravens (10-2)
Overall: Ravens (43-2)
Perhaps it's because the Cleveland Browns burned the experts last week, looking sloppy and flat in a 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Or, it could just be that the defending Super Bowl champions are just a much better football team.
Whatever the reason, only two of the experts polled believe the Browns can pull off the upset Sunday in Baltimore.
Bleacher Report AFC North Lead Writer Andrea Hangst was one of them, so we'll look to her for the reasoning behind the long-shot pick:
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.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Houston Texans (1-0)
Final Verdict: The Houston Texans have apparently decided doing things the easy way just isn't going to be their style in 2013.
For the second straight game the Texans were forced into comeback mode in the second half, this time by a scrappy Tennessee Titans squad.
However, a late Arian Foster touchdown run and two-point conversion tied the game, and a scoring pass to rookie wideout DeAndre Hopkins gave the Texans a 30-24 overtime win.
ESPN: Texans (13-0)
CBS Sports: Texans (8-0)
Fox Sports: Texans (5-0)
USA Today: Texans (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Texans (12-0)
Overall: Texans (45-0)
The Tennessee Titans were one of the biggest surprises of Week 1. Not only did the Titans defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, but it's a game that wasn't as close as its 16-9 score indicates.
That win hasn't translated to respect from our experts. Not a soul picked the Titans to win their AFC South opener against the reigning division champs in Houston.
In fact, Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Michael Schottey expects a blowout: "The late start against a surprisingly tough (at least at first) San Diego Chargers team kept the Texans at bay in Week 1," Schottey said, "but don't expect quarterback Jake Locker and the Titans to put up as much of a fight."
Detroit Lions (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Final Verdict: Had you said before this game that Larry Fitzgerald would barely play in this game due to an injury while Calvin Johnson would catch two touchdown passes for the Lions, then about 102 percent of people polled would predict a Detroit victory.
However, it was the Arizona Cardinals who emerged from Week 2 with the win, as a late Rashard Mendenhall touchdown run vaulted the Redbirds to a 25-21 win.
ESPN: Lions (9-4)
CBS Sports: Cardinals (5-3)
Fox Sports: Lions (3-2)
USA Today: Lions (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Tied (6-6)
Overall: Lions (25-20)
After winning their first four games last year, the Arizona Cardinals won only more contest the rest of the season. That game was against the Detroit Lions, who will have a chance at revenge in Week 2.
The majority of the experts feel the Lions will capitalize on that opportunity, but the vote was hardly a landslide.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter likes the visitors in this game:
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.
However, fellow National Lead Writer Mike Freeman threw his weight behind the hometown Redbirds, stating simply, "Arizona finally has a real quarterback."
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Final Verdict: After last week's nightmare against the Kansas City Chiefs, it seemed impossible that things could get worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Oh, but they can.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew sprained his ankle in the second quarter of their matchup with the Oakland Raiders. That turned an already pathetic Jaguars offense into an absolute joke, and the Raiders coasted to a 19-9 victory.
Jacksonville, you are on the clock.
ESPN: Raiders (11-2)
CBS Sports: Raiders (8-0)
Fox Sports: Raiders (3-2)
USA Today: Raiders (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Raiders (12-0)
Overall: Raiders (41-4)
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders are widely considered two of the leading candidates to land the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft, and both teams came up short in Week 1.
However, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders gave the Colts everything they could handle, while the Jaguars were embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs at home.
The Jaguars will be starting quarterback Chad Henne this week, but Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman doesn't think that's going to make a bit of difference.
According to Freeman, "Blaine Gabbert is the worst QB in football. Chad Henne isn't much better."
Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Final Verdict: Following the Giants' loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, this author suggested that New York could be in real trouble if they didn't find some balance on offense.
The idea was dismissed by many fans of Big Blue.
Well, let's see. The Giants ran for 23 yards, Eli Manning attempted 49 passes and threw four interceptions and New York got smoked 41-23 by the Denver Broncos to fall to 0-2.
Yep, everything's fine.
ESPN: Broncos (11-2)
CBS Sports: Broncos (6-2)
Fox Sports: Broncos (4-1)
USA Today: Broncos (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Broncos (9-3)
Overall: Broncos (36-9)
There are any number of subplots for the New York Giants this week as they prepare to host to the Denver Broncos in the latest installment of the "Manning Bowl."
Can running back David Wilson redeem himself after two costly fumbles in last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys?
Will Eli Manning finally get the better of older brother Peyton in a head-to-head matchup?
Can the Giants avoid an 0-2 hole that historically makes a return to the postseason unlikely?
The majority of the experts apparently believe the answer is "no." 80 percent of the pundits polled picked the visitors, with Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller stating, "Peyton Manning may throw seven more touchdowns against these safeties. The Giants are in serious trouble."
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Final Verdict: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are becoming virtuosos at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
In Week 1, a late personal foul by linebacker Lavonte David led to game-winning field goal by Nick Folk of the New York Jets.
In Week 2, Tampa kicker Rian Lindell missed the game-clinching kick, leaving enough time on the clock for Drew Brees to get the Saints into field goal range.
The result was a 16-14 Saints win that put us one step closer to Bucs head coach Greg Schiano spontaneously combusting on the sideline.
ESPN: Saints (12-1)
CBS Sports: Saints (7-1)
Fox Sports: Saints (5-0)
USA Today: Saints (6-1)
Bleacher Report: Saints (11-1)
Overall: Saints (41-4)
The return of head coach Sean Payton brought a big boost in Week 1 for the New Orleans Saints, who sent a message to the defending division champions by defeating the Atlanta Falcons.
Things didn't go nearly as well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the Buccaneers had a players-only meeting before their game against the New York Jets, where topics of discussion included the removal of quarterback Josh Freeman as a team captain.
The Buccaneers then proceeded to lose to Gang Green.
If Freeman continues to struggle, he may find himself removed from the starting lineup as well, and only a few experts believe Tampa Bay will turn things around in Week 2.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Final Verdict: Sunday night's big NFC West showdown was delayed for about an hour as storms swept through the Seattle area.
The San Francisco 49ers probably wish it would have kept raining.
For the second straight season the Seattle Seahawks completely dominated their meeting with the 49ers in the Emerald City, cruising to a 29-3 win and taking early control of the division behind three Marshawn Lynch touchdowns.
ESPN: 49ers (8-5)
CBS Sports: Seahawks (8-0)
Fox Sports: Seahawks (3-2)
USA Today: 49ers (4-3)
Bleacher Report: Tied (6-6)
Overall: Seahawks (29-16)
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have developed one of the more heated rivalries in the NFL in recent years. They're mirror images of one another and are two teams with a genuine dislike for each other.
The experts are torn on how this game will shake out. Two sites each picked the 49ers and Seahawks, while the experts here at Bleacher Report split right down the middle.
NFC South Lead Writer Knox Bardeen likes the visiting 49ers:
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.
However, AFC West Lead Writer Chris Hansen favors the home team:
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.
This game has the makings of a slugfest, and it's the perfect capper for Sunday's action.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
ESPN: Bengals (13-0)
CBS Sports: Bengals (8-0)
Fox Sports: Bengals (5-0)
USA Today: Bengals (7-0)
Bleacher Report: Bengals (11-1)
Overall: Bengals (44-1)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a perennial contender in the AFC for years.
If Week 1 was any indication, those days are over.
Not only were the Steelers badly outclassed by the Tennessee Titans in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated, but a Steelers offensive line that was already shaky lost center Maurkice Pouncey for the season.
That doesn't bode well for Pittsburgh's chances against the formidable front four of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Mike Freeman is the lone expert in this poll that picked Pittsburgh.
His ringing endorsement? "Steelers don't suck as bad as many think."