NFL Week 2: Forecasting Winners, Losers and Upsets

John SzurlejAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2011

NFL Week 2: Forecasting Winners, Losers and Upsets

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    Week two will arrive in the blink of an eye and teams will wonder if they are ready to rebound or continue to roll.

    We know the favorites, we know the contenders, but there have been some teams that have surprised us in week one and could make this season memorable if they continue their success.

    Will there be another week of surprises or will things start to calm down and come back to normal? Here's a rundown of week two, the winners, losers and upsets.

Seattle vs. Pittsburgh

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    Someone should have told the Steelers that the regular season started last week, as they played this game as if it was another preseason scrimmage.

    The Steelers looked horribly out of sync against a Baltimore Ravens team that stomped them all day long. Week two brings the Seattle Seahawks to Pittsburgh after enduring a loss at the hands of the 49ers.

    Look for Pittsburgh to wake up against a horrible Seahawks offense and capitalize against the lowly 'Hawks.

    Rashard Mendenhall should see the ball more than 20 times and have over 100 yards as the Steelers will look like their former selves against them.

    Pittsburgh 29, Seattle 17

Oakland vs. Buffalo

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    The Buffalo Bills opened up a can on the Kansas City Chiefs and announced to the NFL that they were not going to be a doormat this season.

    The Bills looked like the former AFC East monsters of the 90s against a problematic Chiefs team. Ryan Fitzpatrick had an impressive game throwing four touchdowns to an average receiving corps.

    Week two, the Bills host the Raiders and should continue to see success in their game as the Raiders defense is going to have a hard time against the Bills' passing attack.

    If Buffalo loses, it will be because they defeated themselves.

    The Raiders should be able to keep this one close, though, as they have a capable running attack that can cause problems against a majority of the teams they play.

    Buffalo  27, Oakland  24

Arizona vs. Washington

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    In week one, the Redskins had a surprising showing with quarterback Rex Grossman as he, at least for a week, silenced his critics by passing for over 300 yards against the Giants.

    Although the Giants came into this game with a depleted defense, they were able to contain Tim Hightower.

    Hightower rushed for 72 yards on 25 carries against this same defense which should show concern mostly on the offensive line than on Hightower.

    In the homecoming against an Arizona team that was embarrassed by rookie quarterback Cam Newton passing for over 400 yards, the Cardinals need to tighten up the secondary before Grossman has another easy day.

    Hightower and his offensive line should be ready by this game and should be more of a factor.

    Kolb looks like a fit in Arizona and should play well as Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet will create matchup issues for the Redskins.

    This game will also be a close one, but look for Washington to steal it away.


    Washington 24, Arizona 17

Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota

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    The Minnesota Vikings are in trouble early as Donovan McNabb could only muster 39 yards passing against the San Diego Chargers, highlighting the ineffectiveness of the Vikings receivers.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had issues all day against Detroit's defense and never seemed to be on the same page.

    Buc's running back LeGarrette Blount was a non-factor in this game. It will be interesting to watch him this week as he is still considered the primary back.

    Outside of those issues, this game should be winnable for both teams. However, the Bucs will not be able to contain Adrian Peterson and will lose their second game in a row.

    Look for the Vikings to continue to have issues with the passing game here but anticipate 25 carries for Peterson and two touchdowns.

    Minnesota 21, Tampa Bay 14

Jacksonville vs. New York (A)

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    The Jets offense was mediocre against the Dallas Cowboys in week one and if it were not for the arm of Mark Sanchez and the talents of the defense and special teams, the Jets may have lost this game.

    In week two, the Jets will have the opportunity to make the Jacksonville Jaguars suffer as the Jags enter this game with a team that seemingly has all of its chances of winning on the defense.

    The matchup here is very lopsided and favors the Jets on both sides of the ball. If the Jets stay focused and stop trying to be "cute" they will have no issue with the Jaguars.

    New York 28, Jacksonville 10

Chicago vs. New Orleans

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    The Saints' loss to the Packers was a heart breaker for "Who Dat" nation and the contest between them and the Bears should be another game of the week candidate.

    The Bears manhandled the Atlanta Falcons in week one and and have another offensive-driven team on their hands.  The Bears' D could be problematic for the Saints' offense.

    Suffering from injuries to Marques Colston and Lance Moore, the Saints will need Denvery Henderson and Robert Meachum to step up and help this team stay in sync.

    Drew Brees should not have much of a problem staying in his zone, but I doubt another 400 yard game is in his near future.

    The Bears will have issues with this Saints' defense, especially the linebacking corps, and should see Jay Cutler do another Favre impersonation.

    Cutler could have a three-pick day, but this game is one that could go either way despite that.

    New Orleans 26, Chicago 18

Cleveland vs. Indianapolis

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    The Colts are in serious trouble everywhere you look. Against a team without Arian Foster, the Colts gave up 116 yards on 24 carries to backup Ben Tate.

    This week a disappointed Cleveland Browns team looks to rebound by offering the Colts a heavy dose of Peyton Hillis.

    Hillis should have no issue running against this horrid run defense and could see 100 yards by his 15th carry.

    The Browns receivers should be coming around and Colt McCoy is making smarter decisions this year.

    The Colts must protect Kerry Collins as he does not have the capability of making the same quick throws and decisions that Peyton Manning can make.

    The Colts are in for a long season if this trend continues.

    Cleveland 23, Indianapolis 14

Kansas City vs. Detroit

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    Kansas City has one of their most difficult games of the 2011 season against a Detroit defense that is best described as a hungry unit.

    The Chiefs will try to establish the run against the Lions, but the defensive front seven of Detroit is too powerful for the Chiefs to penetrate for big gains.

    Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are totally in sync and Nate Burleson has the ability to pick up where he leaves off.

    The Lions are too much team for a Chiefs unit that struggled against the Bills.

    Detroit 35, Kansas City 17

Baltimore vs. Tennessee

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    The Titans' egomaniac, Chris Johnson wasn't much of a factor against the Jaguars, showing the holdout hurt his ability to make a big impact early in the season.

    Johnson should be markedly improved after a game and a week of practice but don't expect him to make a huge splash this week against the Ravens' defense.

    The Titans had a tough time against a Jaguars offense that was all Maurice Jones-Drew. Despite that, they still managed to lose the game.

    Baltimore has too many weapons, especially Ray Rice, who can make the big play against a struggling Titans' team.

    The highlight of the Titans' performance was capped by Kenny Britt. Outside of that there wasn't much chemistry.

    Baltimore 28, Tennessee 17

Green Bay vs. Carolina

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    The Green Bay Packers started the 2011 season with an exciting, but concerning win over New Orleans.

    The Packers look to continue their momentum against a Carolina team that had a splendid season opener against the Cardinals.

    The Packers will ultimately have total control over this game, as Carolina does not have the talent to account for all of their weapons. However the game could be more interesting than once thought.

    The Packers defense looked very vulnerable against the Saints and is now minus Tremon Williams after he suffered a shoulder injury in week one.

    I don't think Cam Newton throws for 400 yards, but he will get some plays off that will force Green Bay to respect his ability. In the end the Packers will roll this team easily.

    Green Bay 42, Carolina 14

Dallas vs. San Francisco

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    The Tony Romo we all know and love is back as his return from season ending injury showed he picked up right where he left off.

    When pressured, Romo threw a game ending interception to Darrelle Revis and cost his team another win.

    The 49ers do not have the same caliber defense as the Jets but can still make things difficult for the Cowboys as they have an offense that basically boils down to just Miles Austin.

    Look for the 49ers run Frank Gore all day against the Dallas defense, yielding big results.

    Gore is far superior to Jets' back, Shonn Green, and should be able to open up the passing game for Alex Smith.

    The Cowboys defense is capable of making plays but they are also a unit that needs to gel. If tested early and often, they may be very beatable. Here is week two's upset.

    San Francisco 24, Dallas 18

Cincinnati vs. Denver

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    Even if Andy Dalton is able to play, the Cincinnati Bengals do not match up well against the Denver Broncos.

    The Broncos will use an effective one-two punch of Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee as the M&M tandem should dictate the flow of this game.

    The Bengals will have problems containing Brandon Lloyd and will give up the big play against play-action calls.

    Orton will have an easy time picking this secondary apart if he is given the time to set and throw, so the offensive line needs to be consistent.

    Denver 23, Cincinnati 17

Houston vs. Miami

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    Coming off of a convincing win, the Texans look to continue their success against the Miami Dolphins.

    The Texans arguably have the best wide receiver in football today in Andre Johnson who should have an easy time against a young Dolphins secondary.

    The injury to Kevin Walter leaves the No. 2 receiving duties to Jacoby Jones who is very capable of making plays.

    The Texans should have Arian Foster back in action which will be a big challenge for the Dolphins defensive front. Outside of linebackers, they shouldn't be much of a factor against him.

    The Dolphins are improved and able to win games, but in week two look for the Texans to continue to roll.

    Houston 27, Miami 17

San Diego vs. New England

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    The Chargers avoided opening the season in typical San Diego style by winning against the Vikings.

    In this game, the Chargers will face a team that is complete compared to the Vikings when they play the Patriots.

    The Chargers will have a problem covering Wes Welker and Chad Ochocinco even if there are some issues where they sputter during periods of the game.

    The Patriots running game will be another challenge for the Chargers, which gave up a big run against Adrian Peterson.

    The Chargers' receivers and tight ends will be Rivers' main targets and Mike Tolbert, the "x factor," should make things interesting against a young secondary.

    There is a concern for the Chargers kicking situation as the injured Nate Kaeding leaves a gaping hole in this area for the Chargers.

    This game should prove to be a close matchup and could see multiple lead changes. In the end, Tom Brady will be the deciding factor as the Patriots squeak a win out.

    New England 28, San Diego 23

Philadelphia vs. Atlanta

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    The loss to the Bears is reason to be concerned if you're a Falcons fan.

    Despite Matt Ryan throwing for over 300 yards against the Bears, the Falcons offense looked very interrupted as they struggled against a Bears defense that is not the same level as the Eagles'.

    In week two, the Falcons look to rebound against an Eagles team that is extremely dangerous.

    The Falcons must have a big game from Michael Turner and must find ways to get the ball to White and Jones in plays that are designed to confuse the Eagles' secondary.

    If the Falcons do not get out to an early lead, they may not be able to catch up to an Eagles' offense that can put up numbers.

    Look for the Eagles to pull this one out.

    Philadelphia 26, Atlanta 17

St. Louis vs. New York (N)

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    The Giants' loss to the Redskins showed how difficult things can be in New York this season. The Giants look to rebound against the banged up Rams in week two.

    While the Giants defense works out the kinks in their game, the Rams are wondering just how affected Sam Bradford's hand injury will be to his ability to throw, if Steven Jackson will be near 100 percent and how they will work receivers into the game to make up for Danny Amendola.

    This game should be sponsored by Excedrin as there are many concerns for both teams.

    If the Giants expect to win, Eli Manning must carry this team on his shoulders and step his game up against a beatable Rams' secondary.

    This game could be interesting outside of the injury issues as it could be a measuring stick for both teams to see what direction their season will be heading.

    Overall, I expect the Giants to pull this one out, but mostly due to the condition of the Rams.

    New York 21, St. Louis 17

Conclusion

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    Week two brings a lot of drama for many teams across the league to the forefront and should provide us with another exciting week of NFL action.

    It will be interesting to see how special teams perform after the initial excitement it provided during week one despite all the hype of the kickoff being moved up.

    Last week, I went 8-8 as I fell victim to some early hype and was surprised by some typical week one surprises.

    This week should return to normalcy in most of the games and I expect to see some stability in the picking category.

    Week two can't come soon enough.