NFLDownload App

NFL Predictions Week 2: A Preview of This Week's Games

Ben SullivanCorrespondent IMay 24, 2016

NFL Predictions Week 2: A Preview of This Week's Games

1 of 17

    What an amazing opening weekend for the NFL.

    After an offseason full of lockout talks, a shortened player movement period, a frantic fantasy draft season (I successfully started an eight-team, 30-roster-spot, contract-system-keeper league in about three weeks. Am I proud of this? You bet I am. Do I have a life? Debatable) and serious discussions about how this was all going to affect the product on the field, we were treated to some of the most impressive and entertaining football we’ve ever seen. 

    Week 1 of the season is always one of the best, and most difficult, to digest. We saw a ton of things transpire on the field that we didn’t expect to see.

    We saw the Miami Dolphins run a modern, vertical passing game. We saw a rookie, Cam Newton, put up a performance for the ages (I’m serious—more on that later). And most notably, we saw a coming-out party for the prolific passing games that has evolved in the modern NFL.

    With Week 1 in the books, let's take a look at what Week 2 has in store for us.

Kansas City (0-1) at Detroit (1-0)

2 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A big-play type of game. Both of these teams are young with talent, and that means that you’re likely to see some examples of great football and some of really bad football. Those types of combinations should add up to more than a few busted coverages and missed assignments that lead to big plays. 

     

    Key Matchup

    The Kansas City offensive line against the Detroit defensive pass rush. The Chiefs only gave up two sacks in Week 1, but Matt Cassel was pressured a lot and their passing game only notched 105 yards against a Buffalo defense that doesn’t have the same type of disruptive pass-rushing ability that Detroit will show up with.

    If Kansas City is going to put up a fight in this one they’re going to have to find a way to keep the Detroit front four away from Matt Cassel. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Jamaal Charles puts up huge numbers in the passing game. The best way to neutralize an aggressive defense is to run screens and quick throws, both things that Charles and the K.C. offense as a whole do well. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Detroit will take this one. The Kansas City secondary was woeful against the Bills, so Stafford and Company should have a field day at home in the dome.

Oakland (1-0) at Buffalo (0-1)

3 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A battle between two different styles of play. The Raiders run the ball well and play good defense and will try to keep the game low-scoring and close until the end. Based on what we saw last week, the Bills are going to come out throwing the ball and will try to speed up the tempo on the Raiders. 

     

    Key Matchup

    The Bills defensive line against the Oakland running game. Buffalo runs a 3-4 defense, which means that if the three defensive linemen can’t hold their ground and eat up blocks in the running game, then a good running team like the Raiders will have a field day on them like they did against Denver.

     

    Risky Prediction

    Ryan Fitzpatrick proves that Week 1 wasn’t a fluke. The modern NFL game is so complex it actually makes sense that a guy with a below-average arm and below-average athleticism but the above-average brains it takes to go to Harvard would be good. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    It’s tough to go against a team like Buffalo that looked so good in Week 1, but I just don’t see them being able to stop the Oakland ground game. The Raiders will do just enough on defense to keep the game close and will get a couple big runs to break the game open in the second half.

Tampa Bay (0-1) at Minnesota (0-1)

4 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A close one between two teams that came into the season with sleeper buzz but failed to impress in Week 1. 

     

    Key Matchup

    The Minnesota secondary against the Tampa Bay receivers. The Buccaneers offensive attack stalls if their receivers don’t get open for the medium-yard-type of gains that keep the chains moving. The Vikings run an old-school Cover 2-type of scheme, which leaves holes all over the field for a spread offense to take advantage of.

    If Minnesota doesn’t adjust and focus more on the intermediate zones, Tampa Bay will take advantage and make a living on those six- to 12-yard routes all day. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Josh Freeman plays a great game. Freeman has plenty of doubters out there, especially after failing to get his team a win last week. I still think the jury is out on whether he has what it takes to be a top-15 quarterback in the NFL, but I do think he’s a mentally strong, gamer-type of player who has spent all week looking forward to getting the chance to get back on the field and prove some critics wrong. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Cue up the sky-is-falling talk in Tampa Bay because the Vikings are going to win this one behind a safe performance by McNabb and a big day from Adrian Peterson.

Chicago (1-0) at New Orleans (0-1)

5 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    Aggressive. Both of these teams like to bring pressure on defense. While they do it in two very different ways, you’re going to see a game decided by which quarterback handles the pressure the best. 

     

    Key Matchup

    The Chicago pass rush against the New Orleans offensive line. The best way to stop an offense like the one that the Saints run is to get pressure from your front four, something that Chicago does better than almost any team in the league. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Jay Cutler throws more than one interception. I know, saying Cutler will throw picks isn’t exactly very risky, but after his performance last week it will be a big step backwards for him to revert back to his old ways. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    New Orleans will come out with an aggressive game plan on both sides of the ball. While they will miss a few times, they always do, the offense will get some big plays and the defense will force a few turnovers to get them a win.

Baltimore (1-0) at Tennessee (0-1)

6 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    An old-fashioned style butt-kicking. Tennessee isn’t very good at all; they lost to a Jacksonville team last week that is going to struggle against good teams, and we all saw what Baltimore did in Week 1. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Ray Lewis against Chris Johnson. The only way that Tennessee even keeps this one close is if Johnson has a huge day, and it’s going to be up to Lewis to keep him from breaking into the second level of the defense where his speed and agility make him so tough to handle. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Tennessee scores in the double digits. If Pittsburgh couldn’t do it, then it will be amazing if the Titans can. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Baltimore is going to run away with this, old-school beatdown style.

Cleveland (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1)

7 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    Sloppy. Cleveland didn’t inspire any confidence with their play and, well, we saw what happened to Indy without Peyton Manning

     

    Key Matchup

    Colt McCoy against the Indianapolis passing defense. McCoy’s play left plenty to be desired last week and he will look to prove that he deserved the buzz he was getting this summer. The Colts defense was atrocious against Houston and unless they get their pass rush going, McCoy should have some open receivers to throw to. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    That aforementioned Colts pass rush will get going. The Indy defense has been built to play with a lead and tee off on opposing teams that were forced to throw the ball to keep up the scoring pace with Manning and the Indy offense. Houston negated that advantage by taking such a huge early lead, but Cleveland won’t be able to do that. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Cleveland takes this one because in the end, this Indianapolis team is going to struggle all year long. I’m in the camp that buys into the idea that Manning’s injury is a serious, long-term thing. This Colts team is demoralized after losing their leader and being embarrassed by a division foe. 

Jacksonville (1-0) at NY Jets (1-0)

8 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A dominant defensive performance by the Jets. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Shonn Green against the defensive line of the Jaguars. The only way for Jacksonville to stay in this one will be for them to shut down the New York running game on first and second down and force Mark Sanchez to make throws on 3rd-and-long. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    The Jets force four or more turnovers. Luke McCown against the Jets defense? Ouch. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    The Jets, because Jacksonville is going to be really bad. They got lucky to face another bad opponent in their first game, but now they’re going to get a taste of what a good football team, especially one with a good defense, can do to them. Start the Blaine Gabbert talk.

Seattle (0-1) at Pittsburgh (0-1)

9 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A hard-hitting contest, but only from the Pittsburgh side of the ball. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Nothing really here; it’s not going to matter. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t leave the game on a stretcher. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Pittsburgh because they are going to come out with a mountain-sized chip on their shoulder after being spanked by their arch-rival Baltimore last week. Oh yeah, and because Seattle is really bad.

Arizona (1-0) at Washington (1-0)

10 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    Dare I say exciting for a game between the Cardinals and the Redskins? Yes, I sure do. This is my sleeper pick for the “game between two bad teams that will be wicked-fun to watch."

     

    Key Matchup

    Rex Grossman against himself. We saw the good side of Grossman this past Sunday; he stayed away from bad turnovers and didn’t lose the game for his team. It will be a great story for Washington if he can keep that up, but there’s always the threat of Bad Rex showing up. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Kevin Kolb struggles against the Washington pass defense. The Redskins have a sneaky-good defense, and should be able to force Arizona into some obvious passing downs that will let them tee off against Kolb. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Could it be two straight wins out of the gate for the Redskins? You bet it can! Tim Hightower will have a career game against his former team and the Redskins will emerge from Week 2 as the “can these guys be for real?” team of 2011.

Green Bay (1-0) at Carolina (0-1)

11 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    All the offense you could want. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Charles Woodson against Cam Newton. Newton tore up an Arizona secondary in Week 1 that gave him some really wide open targets. He’s going to come into this game with a huge confidence boost, enough of a boost to embolden him to try to get more aggressive in this one. Aggressiveness that a veteran defensive back like Woodson will take advantage of for at least one pick. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Aaron Rodgers one-ups Tom Brady with a 550-plus-yard passing game. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    The Packers, because without Jon Beason this Carolina defense is going to get scored on by even bad offenses; who knows what kind of silly totals Green Bay can put up?

Dallas (0-1) at San Francisco (1-0)

12 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    San Fran will keep it close in the first half, but if the Dallas defense gets the kind of pressure they’re capable of, the 49ers could find themselves out of the game quickly. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Tony Romo against the fourth quarter. Oh wait, I almost forgot this isn’t a big game; he’ll be just fine. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    The 49ers take the ball out of Alex Smith’s hands and feed it to Frank Gore, who runs for enough yards to keep the game close and give San Francisco a chance in this one. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    The Cowboys, because the 49ers aren’t good enough on defense to take advantage of the Dallas mistakes like the Jets were on Sunday night.

San Diego (1-0) at New England (1-0)

13 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    A good, new-fashioned shootout. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Devin McCourty against Vincent Jackson. If the Patriots' top cover guy can neutralize Jackson the Chargers will become one-dimensional (focusing on getting the ball to Antonio Gates) and Bill Belichick is always great at taking away what the other team does best. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    The Patriots come out running the ball. Adrian Peterson and the Vikings had success on the ground before the Chargers took the lead and forced them to abandon the running game. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    The Pats own Philip Rivers, who is only 1-4 against them. It won’t come easy but New England will win a game that will showcase plenty of scoring.

Houston (1-0) at Miami (0-1)

14 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    Offense, offense and more offense. Both of these teams moved the ball well in Week 1. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Jake Long against Mario Williams. Williams settled into his role as an outside pass-rushing linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 system with two sacks in Week 1. His blend of size and speed is a problem for most left tackles, but Long is one of the best in the business. This will be a great matchup to watch this weekend. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Daniel Thomas has his coming-out party. After sitting out the season opener, the rookie running back will show the NFL what he has to offer this week. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Houston, because I’m still not a Miami believer. As a Pats fan I’ve seen plenty of teams move the ball on them the way that Miami did on Monday night. Houston will have better success putting pressure on Chad Henne, and we’ll see more of the Chad Henne we thought we would see against New England.

Cincinnati (1-0) at Denver (0-1)

15 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    The Bengals prove you can still beat bad teams with a good running game and a bad quarterback. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Kyle Orton against his own fans. Remember when he said he didn’t care what the fans thought about him this preseason? Well they let him know how they felt on Monday night, and when the Broncos go down by double digits sometime in the second quarter of this one, they’ll be even louder than they were in Week 1. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Cedric Benson gets over 150 yards rushing. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Cincinnati wins to keep pace with Washington in the “are they for real?” race.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1)

16 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    It’s going to be emotionally charged with Vick returning to Atlanta for the first time as a starter. He can say all he wants that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure this week, but we all know he does. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Michael Vick against the Philly game plan. His competitive nature will try to get him to abandon plays early and make plays with his feet to quiet the Atlanta crowd; he needs to remember he’ll be more successful doing that with his arm. 

     

    Risky Prediction

    Matt Ryan continues to struggle and throws multiple interceptions. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    Philly takes this one because their defense will blanket cover the Atlanta wideouts, leading ESPN to already break out the “panic meter” for the Falcons.

St. Louis (0-1) at NY Giants (0-1)

17 of 17

    What Type of Game To Expect To See

    Disappointing. This game was put on the Monday night schedule because St. Louis was supposed to be one of the up-and-coming teams in the league, especially early on. But after the loss of Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola, and a young quarterback with a bad finger that could lead to some really off-target throws leaves viewers with a game that could get sloppy real quick. 

     

    Key Matchup

    Chris Long against Giants left tackle Will Beatty. Long had a strong start to his 2011 season with two tackles and a sack against the Eagles in Week 1. Beatty and the Giants will have a tough time keeping him away from Eli Manning

     

    Risky Prediction

    The Giants do a good enough job protecting Manning for him to have a 300-yard passing game. 

     

    Who Wins and Why

    The Rams because the Giants are bad, especially on defense. Despite the injuries to key St. Louis offensive playmakers, the Rams will still have their way against the even-more-depleted New York defense.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices