Week Two Predictions: Close Calls

Joe KleiberCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball as Marcus Stroud #99 of the Buffalo Bills defends on September 14, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Bills 25-24.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Week One of the NFL season was a wild one. We saw a last-second catch (Stokley), seven turnovers in one game (Panthers), season-ending injuries (Urlacher) and so many other things.

Week One rarely tells us anything about a team for the season, but we usually know the top teams and the bottom teams. Week Two has a lot of close matchups on paper, so we will see if they stay close.

I can see a lot of upsets happening this week, so if you're in a survivor pool you might not be able to sit down. Now, on to the predictions.



The Panthers will struggle as long as Jake Delhomme is their starting QB. He simply looks lost out there, and the meltdown started last January against the Cardinals. The Falcons are a much more balanced team and should control the clock with their powerful running attack of Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood. I'm seeing a blowout.

Prediction: CAR 10, ATL 24

Studs: All Falcons, Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams

Duds: Jake Delhomme, Jonathan Stewart, John Kasey, Mushin Muhammad



Think the Lions are gonna get stomped on by the Vikes? Not so fast. Last year, the Lions kept it close all game but couldn't shut the door, and the Vikes escaped with a victory. I don't see the Lions pulling it off this year, either, but they will stand toe-to-toe with them. Start all your regulars in this one.

Prediction: MIN 27, DET 24

Studs: All Vikings, Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith

Duds: Matt Stafford (but you probably weren't starting him anyway)



The Pack won on a huge 80-yard touchdown by Jennings last week to squeak by the Bears, but they won't need any late magic against the Bengals. I'd hesitate starting any Bengal this week outside of Chad Ochocinco, because the Packers defense looks much improved and ferocious. Use all your regular Packers and watch them roll.

Prediction: CIN 10, GB 21

Studs: All Packers, Chad Ochocinco

Duds: Carson Palmer, Laveranues Coles, Cedric Benson



The Cardinals are coming off a tough loss to the 49ers, but they should win here. The Jaguars don't have the firepower to beat the Cardinals or the defense to stop them. I'd start all your regular Cardinals and Maurice Jones-Drew, but I'd stay away from any other Jaguar until they show more.

Prediction: AZ 27, JAX 21

Studs: All Cardinals, Maurice Jones-Drew

Duds: David Garrard, Torry Holt



This one should be a high-scoring affair, and the Raiders looked like a better team last week. The Chiefs got lucky on a few turnovers by the Ravens, but the Raiders stood toe-to-toe with the Chargers until the final seconds. If Larry Johnson can't get going this week, I'd give up on him. I'm going with the Raiders here.

Prediction: OAK 31, KC 27

Studs: Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Louis Murphy, Zach Miller, Larry Johnson, Dwayne Bowe

Duds: Jermarcus Russell, Both defenses



The Patriots are hurting on defense and it doesn't get any easier this week against an improved Jets team. I can see Rex Ryan throwing a lot of trickery against them, and Mark Sanchez looks like a legit starting quarterback.

Tom Brady looked rusty and rattled at times until the final touchdown drives. Wes Welker is also out for the game, which does not bode well for the Pats. If the Jets want to make a statement, they will win this game.

I can see Darrelle Revis shadowing Randy Moss and shutting him down like he did last week against Andre Johnson. You can't bench him, but don't expect a spectacular game out of Moss. I'm smelling an upset.

Prediction: NE 17, NYJ 20

Studs: Tom Brady, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Jets defense, Chansi Stuckey

Duds: Randy Moss (see above), Jerricho Cotchery (Shawn Springs is a solid cover corner), Patriots defense, Ben Watson, Fred Taylor, and Lawrence Maroney



The Eagles are without Donovan McNabb and I can't see them keeping up with the Saints. The Saints have too much offense and an improved defense, so I'd expect them to win. I'd still start all your usual starters in this one, because the defenses aren't elite.

Prediction: NO 27, PHI 21

Start: Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, DeSean Jackson, Brian Westbrook

Duds: Both defenses, Mike Bell, Reggie Bush



The Texans looked awful against the Jets, and things don't get any easier here. I can see improvement across the board this week from the Texans, but don't expect great numbers from the starters. If you can find a better matchup QB this week—like Brett Favre—I would sit Schaub. I'd start all your regular Titans.

Prediction: HOU 14, TEN 21

Studs: Chris Johnson, Justin Gage, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels

Duds: Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton



The Rams are going to be brutal as long as Marc Bulger is their starting QB. They also have a struggling offensive line, no defense and no elite wide receivers, so I'd expect the Redskins to coast here. Start all your Redskins and only start Steven Jackson for the Rams.

Prediction: STL 7, WAS 21

Studs: All Redskins, Steven Jackson

Duds: All other Rams



This should be a close game between two improved teams and defenses. I'd start most of your starters here, but I'd shy away from Julius Jones on the road. I'm expecting the Niners to continue their improvement with Mike Singletary.

Prediction: SEA 14, SF 17

Studs: Matt Hasselbeck, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, Frank Gore, John Carlson

Duds: Julius Jones



The Bills are angry after letting the Pats escape with a victory last week, so I expect them to take it out on the hapless Bucs defense. I'd still start all your regulars here. Antonio Bryant is out for this one, so expect Michael Clayton to pick up the slack.

Prediction: TB 20, BUF 27

Studs: Trent Edwards, Fred Jackson, Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Derrick Ward, Carnell Williams, Michael Clayton

Duds: Both defenses



The Steelers are still a great defensive team without Troy Polamalu, so I expect the Bears offense to struggle again. I'd sit all my Bears and even think about sitting Matt Forte, because he won't have great game against this defense. I'd start all my  regular Steelers.

Prediction: PIT 27, CHI 17

Studs: Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Steelers defense

Duds: All Bears



Even though they got lucky last week, that was still a big win for the Broncos in the post-Cutler era. Expect the Broncos to score at will against the awful Browns defense. I'd start all my regular Broncos and only Braylon Edwards for the Browns.

Prediction: CLE 17, DEN 24

Studs: All Broncos, Braylon Edwards

Duds: All other Browns



The Ravens suddenly look like an explosive offensive team with Joe Flacco and their three-headed monster of a running game. The Chargers are missing some offensive linemen and LT, so I think the Ravens will come away with a victory. I'd start all your regular Ravens and the stud Chargers.

Prediction: BAL 24 SD 21

Studs: Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap, Ravens defense, Ray Rice, Philip Rivers, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson., Antonio Gates

Duds: Chargers defense, Chris Chambers



The Giants don't have that standout wide receiver, but they still have the best defense in the NFL besides the Steelers right now. Dallas does not have an elite defense and their team has been inconsistent against the Giants.

I'd expect the Cowboys to throw, so expect solid numbers from Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Roy Williams. I'd start Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, but anybody else is a wild card. I expect the Giants to ruin the Cowboys opener in their new stadium.

Prediction: NYG 24, DAL 21

Studs: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Roy Williams, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants defense

Duds: Patrick Crayton, Cowboys defense



Miami will run the wildcat offense at the Colts frequently, but it won't be enough to stop the elite offense of the Colts. The Colts will still be powerful even without Anthony Gonzalez, so I'd start all your regular Colts and only Ronnie Brown and Davone Bess for the Dolphins. Don't get cute and start a Chad Pennington or Ricky Williams here.

Prediction: IND 27, MIA 21

Studs: All Colts, Ronnie Brown, Davone Bess

Duds: Ted Ginn Jr., Chad Pennington, Ricky Williams


Watch these games and watch out for upsets! Until next week, this is the "Chibeman" signing off.


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