NFL

Week 2 NFL Predictions: Road Teams That Will Keep Rolling on Sunday

Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) during player introductions prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2013

Home is where the heart it, but the road is where victories will come for these NFL teams.

Last week, road teams went 7-9, discrediting the notion that home-field advantage routinely makes or breaks success. While playing in front of friendly fans helps,  it's not enough in itself to overcome a superior squad.

These teams will travel out of state to improve their records to 2-0. By the end of the day, it will become apparent that they all stayed at a Holiday Inn on Saturday night.

Count on these teams to overcome hostile territory and escape with a win.

 

Detroit Lions (at Arizona Cardinals)

The Lions only won two road matches last year, but to be fair, they were equally inept at home.

Detroit was outscored by a mere 14 points in seven of those games, but it was blown out of the water during the team's final away meet against...the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona scored 38 points in the University of Phoenix Stadium, which is saying quite a bit considering Ryan Lindley started at quarterback. Beanie Wells pounded the ball into the end zone three times while Arizona's defense picked off Matthew Stafford for two touchdowns.

But that's in the past, and Detroit is looking to make up for a season in which everything went wrong.

The offense looked spectacular against the Minnesota Vikings last week, gaining 469 yards and getting its money's worth from new running back Reggie Bush.

Bush's presence offers a new dimension to the Lions offense, as he represents an upgrade at the position as a runner and pass-catcher. That new asset will help Stafford avoid another three-interception disaster as the Lions roar past the Cardinals.

Prediction: Lions 35, Cardinals 23

 

New Orleans Saints (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Speaking of teams with revenge on their minds, the Saints are on a mission to forget 2012.

So far, so good. New Orleans started the season by keeping Matt Ryan out of the end zone in a last-ditch effort to orchestrate another late win. Following a disappointing 7-9 season, the Saints now boast a win over a Falcons squad that went 13-3 in 2012.

But now they must leave The Superdome's friendly confines that work so well for Drew Brees' passing attack.

Though the Buccaneers may seem like a light task, they still have plenty of talent in Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and Darrelle Revis.

Unfortunately for Tampa Bay's defense, Brees won't care if Revis successfully blankets Marques Colston or Jimmy Graham. He'll just throw to the other guy as well as Lance Moore and Darren Sproles.

Martin will challenge a porous Saints run defense, but Brees will shred an impotent secondary that revitalized Kellen Winslow and made Geno Smith look solid last week.

Prediction: Saints 34, Buccaneers 20

 

Carolina Panthers (at Buffalo Bills)

One of these squads has to start the season 0-2. Sorry, Buffalo.

Fighting the New England Patriots would usually provide a source of inspiration for the Bills, but can they feel good about falling short against New England at its weakest?

Carolina also battled a top contender to the brink last week, losing 12-7 to the Seattle Seahawks. Locked down by Seattle's secondary, Cam Newton managed just 125 passing yards, but the defense kept an offense that ended last season firing on all cylinders out of the end zone.

When a middling NFC team faces a subpar AFC squad this season, lean toward the NFC club.

The Panthers may very likely finish out of the playoff hunt at 8-8, but they'd probably push for 10-6 with a cushier list of AFC opponents.

The passing game will be open for business again, DeAngelo Williams will be afforded more open space and the defense will stifle rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel.

Prediction: Panthers 24, Bills 16

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