Week 2 of the NFL season got underway Thursday night, with the New England Patriots beating the New York Jets. There are a number of other great games on the slate for the rest of the weekend.
Some of the NFL's most noted experts have already made their predictions, and they provide a good jumping-off point for smart discussion on the week's games.
Here are three of the best experts picks of this week's games.
Mortensen goes mostly chalk, although the pick of St. Louis over Atlanta is interesting. Obviously, the Falcons struggled against the Saints' offense, as Drew Brees threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns. Sam Bradford is not Drew Brees, but he did have a nice performance last week, and Jared Cook is establishing himself as a top tight end. Cook had 141 yards and two touchdowns last week.
It would be surprising to see the Falcons fall to 0-2, especially after they were so close to reaching the Super Bowl last year. I would be inclined to disagree with Mortensen's choice there.
In addition, the pick of Jacksonville over Oakland is a bit head scratching. It's not an ideal matchup, since both teams are pretty bad. But at least Oakland has a viable option at quarterback. Terrelle Pryor really opened up some eyes last week, and is a true dual-threat player.
The Jags are without Blaine Gabbert, Justin Blackmon or Dwayne Gratz. It's going to be a rough day for the Jacksonville.
Banks also goes mostly chalk, although he takes the Seahawks over the 49ers. That's certainly possible, but the 'Hawks had an oddly tough time against the lowly Carolina Panthers, while Colin Kaepernick was in midseason form last week. Are the Seahawks going to disappoint the whole season? Probably not, but the 49ers looked awesome last week.
This is not the week that the Seahawks find their form.
I do think that the matchup between the Seahawks and 49ers will be a good one, and Seattle certainly has the home-field advantage. But Kaepernick was superhuman last week, as he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, and he didn't really have to run. Seattle gave up 134 yards on the ground last week to Carolina. If Kaepernick needs to run the win the game, he certainly can.
Prisco definitely goes against the grain here, with two pretty big upsets.
The Bucs were a mess last week against the Jets, and while they did almost win, they will not get so lucky against the Saints. Josh Freeman still has not proven that he's a consistent NFL quarterback, and if Geno Smith was able to have a decent game against the Tampa Bay D, then look for Drew Brees to absolutely shred them.
Prisco also goes with the Giants over the Broncos. The Giants were incredibly sloppy last week, with a whopping six turnovers. They almost won it at the end, but did you see how good the Broncos looked in their opener? Even if the Giants reduce their turnovers by half, they still don't have enough to beat Denver. The Giants secondary is suspect, at best, and Terrell Thomas, who has played in just one game since 2011, will be tasked with covering Wes Welker.
That's not a desirable matchup.
It could be a shootout, but it seems highly unlikely that the Giants will be able to get enough key stops. The Broncos are going to score a lot of points on Sunday.