NFL Picks Week 2: Ten Week 1 Losers Most Likely To Get First Win
NFL Week 2 will provide several marquee teams with the chance for a mulligan after disappointing performances that ended with losses in the season-openers.
Among the more soul-crushing defeats, no team suffered more than the New York Jets.
Mark Sanchez was horrible, Shonn Greene was a non-factor, and a multitude of mistakes contributed to an ugly loss.
Elsewhere, Michael Vick makes his first NFL start since December 31, 2006 and looks to help the Eagles record a road win against the Lions.
Here's a look at 10 losers in Week 1 poised to flip the script in Week 2.
No. 10: Carolina Vs. Tampa Bay
What Went Wrong: The Panthers had plenty of chances against the Giants in Week 1, but ill-timed turnovers proved to be the undoing. Matt Moore's interceptions in the red zone cost Carolina a chance to steal a road win to start the season.
What Will Go Right: Tampa surprised some by holding court at home and defeating the Browns in Week 1, but the Bucs' are still along way from being a team capable of winning on the road. Regardless, if the concussed Moore or rookie Jimmy Clausen is under center, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart should shoulder the load Sunday in a Panthers' victory.
Prediction: Carolina 20, Tampa Bay 10
No. 9: Oakland Vs. St. Louis
What Went Wrong: Playing without Michael Bush last week in Nashville didn't help the Raiders, who were overwhelmed by halftime. The final statistics weren't as one sided as a 38-13 loss might suggest, but Oakland was vastly outplayed and had a number of rare miscues on defense.
What Will Go Right: What better way to bounce back than by hosting the Rams at home? Throw in a rookie quarterback with almost no receivers making his first road start, and the Raiders have a recipe for success in Week 2. Darren McFadden has rushed for 95 yards and caught six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown in the opener, showing that he might finally be ready to live up to expectations. McFadden and Jason Campbell lead a rare offensive explosion to spark a win Sunday.
Prediction: Oakland 31, St. Louis 10
No. 8: New York Jets Vs. New England
What Went Wrong: It's not easy to win a game when the quarterback throws for 74 yards and the marquee running back rushes for 18 yards and fumbles twice. Yet somehow, the Jets nearly managed to beat the Ravens in one of the ugliest games of Week 1. Had it not been for a number of inopportune penalties, 14 to be exact, Rex Ryan's team could have managed to win the season-opener.
What Will Go Right: No matter what happens, the Jets simply cannot play as poorly as they did in Week 1. Mark Sanchez needs to show improvement and the offense must convert third downs to have a chance. Going against a young Patriots defense should be enough to do the trick, especially if Shonn Greene can get going on the ground.
Prediction: New York Jets 20, New England 17
No. 7: Atlanta Vs. Arizona
What Went Wrong: If the Falcons want to be a playoff team this year, the running game needs to produce. That will come in the form of a slimmed-down Michael Turner, who gained just 42 yards on 19 carries Sunday in the overtime loss to the Steelers. Matt Ryan had a solid game, but Atlanta's lack of play-makers to compliment Roddy White was apparent in the loss.
What Will Go Right: The Falcons defense was solid in Week 1, and should have plenty of chances to impress against Derek Anderson and the Cardinals at home. The Falcons should be able to run the ball against the Cards' front seven, opening things up for Ryan, White, and Tony Gonzalez in the play-action game.
Prediction: Atlanta 27, Arizona 17
No. 6: Philadelphia at Detroit
What Went Wrong: The Eagles fell behind the Packers and waited a little too long to figure things out. As good as Michael Vick was statistically and with his legs, he didn't look very accurate on his passes. That should change with more reps.
What Will Go Right: Andy Reid seems to be delighted to watch Vick run all over the field, but he can't forget about his team's actual running back. LeSean McCoy had just seven carries in Week 1, and utilizing his talents would take a great deal of pressure off Vick's shoulders. The Eagles defense should be able to harness a Lions' offense that looked awful last week against the Bears, with Shaun Hill subbing for the injured Matthew Stafford.
Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Detroit 13
No. 5: Cincinnati Vs. Baltimore
What Went Wrong: Cincinnati fell behind early and rallied a bit late to make the final score appear closer than the game actually was. Cedric Benson never got going, and the Bengals' promising defense looked over-matched against Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense.
What Will Go Right: As bad as the Jets played Monday night, the Ravens didn't play much better. The Bengals will present a much bigger challenge in Week 2, especially if Benson can find a way to move the chains against Baltimore's staunch front seven. Carson Palmer should be able to pick apart the Ravens' wounded secondary leading to a nice win in the home opener.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Baltimore 20
No. 4: Indianapolis at New York Giants
What Went Wrong: That pesky run defense always seems to hurt the Colts. With Bob Sanders out for the season, the biggest flaw in Indy's armor isn't likely to be repaired anytime soon. Despite a huge outing from Peyton Manning, the upstart Texans literally ran over the Colts to the tune of 257 yards.
What Will Go Right: Nobody knew the Texans' running game would be that dynamic, but the Giants shouldn't be able to replicate the performance this week. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have yet to show any signs of consistency, and New York is quickly becoming a pass-first team. The Colts still have as much firepower as any team in the NFL and will outscore the Giants in an exciting game.
Prediction: Indianapolis 34, New York Giants 28
No. 3: San Diego Vs. Jacksonville
What Went Wrong: The numbers didn't totally reflect it, but the Chargers' offensive looked like a work in progress Monday night in rainy Kansas City. Until Philip Rivers adjusts to life after Vincent Jackson, San Diego will need to tone down the passing game and lean on rookie Ryan Mathews.
What Will Go Right: The Jaguars offense has shown some signs of no longer being completely one-dimensional, but if the Chargers can shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, things should go smoothly on Sunday. Mathews should be able to find room to run, taking pressure off Rivers and helping San Diego avoid starting 0-2 in the traditional September swoon.
Prediction: San Diego 26, Jacksonville 17
No. 2: Dallas Vs. Chicago
What Went Wrong: Help wanted on the offensive line in Dallas. The Cowboys were missing two starters in the loss to Washington and endured an epically awful performance by right tackle Alex Barron. Tashard Choice's fumble at the end of the first half proved to be the difference in the loss and one of the most bizarre coaching gaffes in recent memory.
What Will Go Right: The Bears offensive line might actually be worse than the Cowboys. That means Dallas should be able to get to Jay Cutler early and often, producing sacks and turnovers that will give the offense a boost. Chicago's defense is vulnerable, especially against the pass. Jerry Jones will be smiling from ear-to-ear on Sunday as the Cowboys cruise.
Prediction: Dallas 28, Chicago 13
No. 1: Minnesota Vs. Miami
What Went Wrong: Brett Favre looked his age in the loss to the Saints, nervously moving around the pocket and failing to find comfort with his receivers. Adrian Peterson played well, but only carried it 19 times due to the Vikings' struggles to move the ball.
What Will Go Right: For now at least, the Vikings need to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson and let him do his thing. Percy Harvin's health is a concern, this time due to a hip injury that has his status for Sunday up in the air. Without his usual assortment of weapons, old man Favre will need to rely on old reliable A.P. Look for a huge game from Peterson and expect the Vikings to squeak out a win.
Prediction: Minnesota 20, Miami 16