The 2013 NFL regular season is two weeks in and the standings are already limited to eight undefeated teams.
Championship contenders have suffered early slip-ups, some of the league's elite have been on the wrong side of blowouts and, at this point, the trajectory of the season is unclear.
With another week of NFL action upon us, certain games will be decided late and potentially in overtime.
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans
Date: Sunday, Sept. 29
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Prediction: 24-17, Chargers
If only one game will go to overtime, you can put your money on the meeting between the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans. Through two games, Tennessee has posted a point differential of plus-one and San Diego rests at even.
Those numbers aren't misleading.
The Chargers currently own a 31-28 loss to the Houston Texans and a 33-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Titans defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9 and then lost 30-24 to the Texans in overtime.
Both teams have kept it close and each were seconds away from 2-0. Why break the rhythm now?
The Chargers have reached 1-1 with an explosive offense led by still-a-star quarterback Philip Rivers and a struggling defense. The Titans, meanwhile, have played in a lackluster fashion offensively, but have put on very strong defensive outings through two weeks.
The styles may contrast, but these are two teams who have experienced similar results and are relatively evenly matched.
While Chris Johnson should have a monster game, this is a pure example of quarterback play deciding the outcome. Philip Rivers (614 yards and 7 TDs in 2013-14) owns a dramatic advantage over Jake Locker (273 yards and 2 TDs), and that's the basis for this pick.
It'll be close, but San Diego will continue to build its resume as a postseason contender.
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins
Date: Sunday, Sept. 22
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Prediction: 34-30, Redskins
After starting 0-2, the Washington Redskins are desperate for a win over the Detroit Lions. While the Redskins may be able to impose their will offensively against the Lions, Detroit's offense is just as potent—if not more so.
Expect this to be a high-scoring game that comes down to the final minute, and potentially overtime.
The Redskins have been dominant during the second half of games, but that's been all but irrelevant.
In each of its first two games, Washington trailed by double digits entering the half and saw the offense come to life as the opposing defense became complacent.
Detroit doesn't have the best defense, but its offense is strong enough to put 30 to 40 points on any opponent—a concerning truth for a Redskins team allowing 35.5 points per game.
Fortunately for Washington, the likelihood of Robert Griffin III posting three consecutive first-half duds is beyond unlikely. With Alfred Morris running the football and RG3 starting off fast, the Redskins will match the Lions' explosive offense.
It's then that we'll see a team emerge with a late victory.
In most other scenarios, I'd favor the Lions, who have made a critical upgrade by signing Reggie Bush. With Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reporting that the Lions are being cautious with Bush as he nurses a knee injury and the Redskins in desperation mode, that logic goes out of the window.
Washington needs a win, and it'll get a close one at home.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Date: Sunday, Sept. 22
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Prediction: 19-16 OT, Bills
The Buffalo Bills will travel to play the New York Jets in Week 3, rekindling one of the AFC East's most storied rivalries. The in-state foes are both 1-1 with rookies at quarterback and each have dreams of rising up in the division.
It's hard to imagine this game being anything but close.
If that doesn't convince you, the Bills have lost 23-21 to the New England Patriots and defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-23. The Jets, meanwhile, own an 18-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
All signs point toward overtime in this one.
The Bills and Jets possess defenses that can get after the quarterback and force turnovers in a pinch. For that reason, it's more than likely that one of these two New York state teams will grind out a late-game victory.
Expect Buffalo to be that team.
The advantage that the Bills possess is EJ Manuel, as he's a mistake-free player who takes what the defense gives him. Geno Smith has upside as well, but he's more of an aggressive player who could run into trouble by taking risks against Mario Williams and Buffalo's pass rush.
Tack on the fact that Buffalo has a superior running game and you have yourself a gritty win for the Bills.
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