NFL Picks Week 2: Bleacher Report's Week 2 Picks
The NFL is the only professional sports league in the nation where a team's season can be over in the second week. Between 1990 and 2008, only 13.75 percent of teams that started 0-2 on the season have made the playoffs.
It is also a historical week in football, as this is the first week since Week 13 in 1968 that there haven't been any divisional games.
With that in mind, let's go through each of today's matchups and see who I think is going to pull out the win in every contest.
Winners, for your convenience, are in all caps.
Oakland Raiders at BUFFALO BILLS
The Bills are coming off of a blowout Week 1 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, but this week won't be so easy.
This should be a far closer game, with the Raiders running attack, led by Darren McFadden, giving Buffalo a rough time. However, the Raiders historically do not travel well, and the Bills passing game, and momentum, will make all the difference.
GREEN BAY PACKERS at Carolina Panthers
I see Panthers quarterback Cam Newton having half the amount of yardage and touchdowns he had against the Arizona Cardinals last week against the far superior Packers this week.
The Packers are an overall better team than the Panthers, and this game is likely not going to be close.
Kansas City Chiefs at DETROIT LIONS
The Chiefs are going to continue the slide they started on in the preseason and will have yet another difficult time against a Detroit Lions team with lots to prove.
I see Kansas City struggling both in the air and on the ground against the Lions defense, while being unable to effectively stop Detroit's offense. The Chiefs look bad, and I see it only getting worse.
Indianapolis Colts vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS
While the Browns aren't a good team, the Colts are much worse. Without quarterback Peyton Manning, they have become one-dimensional, and the Browns will have an easy time both stopping their running game and putting pressure on Kerry Collins.
At the same time, running back Peyton Hillis will be the only Peyton who matters on offense today, and he will run over a Colts defense lacking both Gary Brackett and Ernie Sims.
Minnesota Vikings vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Minnesota quarterback Donovan McNabb needs to get more yards than his 39 in Week 1, and he will. Running back Adrian Peterson should have a good game. But neither of these things will allow them to overcome the Buccaneers this afternoon.
As a Week 2 team, Tampa is both more complete and more cohesive, and these two factors alone should propel it to a win—albeit a close one—against the Vikings.
Chicago Bears at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Bears pulled off an impressive upset last week against the Atlanta Falcons, while the Saints lost in a shootout at the last second against the Green Bay Packers.
This week, the Saints will prevail. While they have issues in the secondary, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler is going to see more of the pressure he faced throughout 2010.
Further, I don't see the Saints exiting Week 2 with zero wins on the season.
NEW YORK JETS vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This game is going to be a massacre, even without wide receiver Santonio Holmes on the field for New York.
The Jets are better in all facets of the game than the Jaguars, and unless Jacksonville can get the most pressure of all time on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, I don't see them hanging around threatening to win this game for very long.
Seattle Seahawks at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers were thoroughly embarrassed in their Week 1 loss to division rivals Baltimore, and they will be out for redemption in their 2011 home opener against Seattle.
The woeful Seahawks have myriad issues on both sides of the ball, and Pittsburgh is going to exploit them to the fullest. This game shouldn't be close.
BALTIMORE RAVENS at Tennessee Titans
The Ravens aren't going to backslide from their impressive Week 1 performance, especially not against a team still struggling to come together as a unit like the Titans.
Titans running back Chris Johnson is going to have a tough time gaining yards on the ground, and I don't see their offensive line either creating gaps for the back or providing enough protection for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, either.
Arizona Cardinals at WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Cardinals have three offensive weapons: Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells, and not in that order. On defense, Darnell Dockett and company couldn't stop the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, and they will struggle similarly against the Redskins this week.
Look for Washington to emerge from this game a surprising 2-0 to start the season.
DALLAS COWBOYS at San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers dismantled a terrible Seattle Seahawks team last week based on excellent defensive play. However, that defense will have a harder time against the Dallas Cowboys this week.
I see this game as being low-scoring and close throughout, but the Cowboys will pull out the win, with a bit of redemptive play from quarterback Tony Romo—even without receiver Dez Bryant's assistance.
CINCINNATI BENGALS at Denver Broncos
The Broncos are imploding before our eyes, and this week the Bengals, who aren't the most impressive team in the NFL, will benefit from it.
It's not so much that the Bengals will win this game, it's more like the Broncos are going to lose it.
MIAMI DOLPHINS vs. Houston Texans
This is a difficult game for me to pick; either team has a good case to pull out this victory. If the Dolphins can stuff the Texans running game, forcing them to the air, they have a better chance of winning.
However, this could put them in a shootout situation against Houston, and from last week's game against the New England Patriots, it's clear the Dolphins defense has issues stopping the pass.
At the same time, so do the Texans. And if that happens, Miami has a major advantage— Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne is better than Houston's Matt Schaub. There, I said it.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS at New England Patriots
Everyone is calling for a shootout for this game, and it's hard to dispute it. Regardless of how either team approaches their offensive strategy, the win will come down to defense.
The Chargers field a superior one, and thus I see them winning.
Atlanta Falcons vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Falcons have to exploit the Eagles' struggling run defense to put up points, and they will. It's just that they won't have as much success stopping the Philadelphia's impressive offense attack.
This game will start out close, but Michael Vick and company will run away with it in the second half.
NEW YORK GIANTS vs. St. Louis Rams
The key for the Rams on Monday night will be to stop the Giants' two-headed running attack of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, who struggled in Week 1 against the Washington Redskins.
However, the St. Louis defense allowed 236 rushing yards in the Rams' loss last week to the Philadelphia Eagles. While 97 of those yards came from quarterback Michael Vick, the Rams run defense is clearly weak.
Add to that a doubtful Steven Jackson, and though this game should be close, the Rams will leave New York 0-2.
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