The Washington Redskins were one of the huge surprises of the 2015 season, as head coach Jay Gruden banished Robert Griffin III to the bench, gave the starting job to Kirk Cousins and watched the move pay off on a week-to-week basis.
The Redskins improved as the season progressed and made it to the postseason, winning the NFC East. While the division is a long way from its glory days, it was a bold move for the Redskins.
However, the 2015 season is in the history books, and the Redskins have to prove themselves again. They have not gotten off to a brilliant start, as they dropped Monday's home opener to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
The last thing the Redskins want to do is start the season with two consecutive home losses. That is a legitimate possibility when the Dallas Cowboys come to FedEx Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys dropped their home opener to the Giants, but rookie quarterback Dak Prescott looked like he belonged, completing 25 of 45 passes for 227 yards. While he did not throw a touchdown pass, he also kept it clean on the interception side of the ledger.
Prescott is not the only rookie in the Dallas backfield. The Cowboys drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State in the first round to give their ground game an upgrade. Elliott rushed for 51 yards in the opener, but after watching DeAngelo Williams torch the Washington run defense for 143 yards and two touchdowns, he has a chance to come through with a signature game.
The Redskins don't have a lot of speed on defense, and Elliott should be able to take advantage.
The Redskins are 2.5-point favorites in Week 2 according to Odds Shark. However, we think Gruden's team is feeling the pressure already and that the Redskins will be prone to mistakes. Washington is not going to be able to stop Elliott, and the Cowboys will come up with their first win of the season.
|Week 2 Odds and Predictions|
|Odds Shark; Silverman selections|
Raiders have the triplets to make a big move
Gutsy Jack Del Rio was one of the big stories in Week 1, as the Raiders head coach eschewed a game-tying extra point in the final seconds and had his Raiders go for two on the road against the New Orleans Saints.
It was a move that told the NFL world that the aggressive coach had confidence in his offense. The move paid off in a big way, as quarterback Derek Carr hit wideout Michael Crabtree with a perfect pass and the Raiders left New Orleans with a season-opening win.
That move will likely play plenty of dividends for the Raiders. They know they have a coach who is not afraid to go for it and believes in his players. That should translate throughout the locker room and give the players reciprocal confidence in their coach.
The Raiders come home in Week 2 and should be ready to handle the Atlanta Falcons in the relic of an NFL stadium that is the O.co Coliseum. That stadium is the last of its kind, as the Raiders still share their building with the Oakland A's. That was a common practice 40 years ago or more, but it hasn't been in decades.
In addition to Carr, the Raiders have an effective running back in Latavius Murray and a game-breaking receiver in Amari Cooper. The Raiders' trio of triplets is young and talented and should have a field day against a Falcons' defense that gave up 31 points to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The Raiders defense features pass-rusher Khalil Mack, who is one of the top defensive players in the league. His job will be to make Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan miserable, and he has the talent and skill to do just that.
Look for the Raiders to assert themselves here. They are 4.5-point favorites and should win it by a touchdown or more.
Colts should get cover at Mile High
There was heartbreak in Indianapolis last week when the Colts scored in the final minute to take a late lead but couldn't hold it, as Matt Prater hit a game-winning field goal for the Detroit Lions at the end.
While the loss hurt, the Colts pulled off a major comeback after falling far behind, and quarterback Andrew Luck appeared to return to form after a poor and injury-plagued 2015 season. Luck completed 31 of 47 passes for 385 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.
That's the kind of performance that head coach Chuck Pagano and Colts fans are expecting from Luck this year. It will likely get much harder this week when the Colts go to Denver to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos, but don't expect Luck to back down.
Even though the Broncos won their Week 1 meeting at home with the Carolina Panthers, this does not appear to be a Super Bowl team or AFC West contender.
They are going with unheralded quarterback Trevor Siemian at quarterback, and he appears to be a caretaker until head coach Gary Kubiak determines that rookie Paxton Lynch is ready to take over the job.
The Broncos still have Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware on defense, but the pressure on that unit is likely to be tremendous since the offense will have a hard time making big plays.
The Broncos are six-point favorites in this game, but we see the Colts keeping this game close all the way and possibly winning it with a late score. Look for the Colts to get the cover.