NFL Week 2 Picks: Predicting the Winner of All Matchups

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton shouts as he warms up before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Don't fall for Week 1 overreactions. Are the San Francisco 49ers hungover from a Super Bowl loss? Did we underestimate the Jacksonville Jaguars? These questions have come up following the season opener. One game doesn't necessarily set the tone for an entire campaign.

Perhaps you're tempted to take the New York Jets in an upset over the 49ers who lost to the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II may have changed your mind about the Jaguars' 2020 outlook after he threw three touchdowns against a solid Indianapolis Colts defense. 

To help you avoid the pitfalls in picking winners, we'll go through each Week 2 game with projected scores.

How will playoff teams from the previous term such as the 49ers and Eagles respond to losses? Do the Houston Texans avoid an 0-2 start with an upcoming matchup against the Baltimore Ravens? Can Cam Newton run through the Seattle Seahawks defense en route to another victory?

                

Week 2 Matchups

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Thursday, Sept. 17

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Browns 28-16

Sunday, Sept. 20

New York Giants at Chicago Bears: Bears 27-20

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets: 49ers 24-14

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys 28-24

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: Packers 30-22

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans: Titans 28-13

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts: Vikings 27-23

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins: Bills 26-16

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles 23-21

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers 21-17

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Buccaneers 35-24

Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals 20-16

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers: Chiefs 31-20

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans: Ravens 31-21

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks 26-23

Monday, Sept. 21

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders: Saints 30-24

                     

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

In the loss to Jacksonville, Indianapolis lost a key component to its ground attack Sunday. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, running back Marlon Mack tore his Achilles, which puts an abrupt end to his 2020 campaign.

The Colts hosted a visit with running back Lamar Miller Monday, per Pelissero. Head coach Frank Reich said rookie second-rounder Jonathan Taylor will start with Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines expected to handle bigger roles moving forward.

Regardless of the rotation in the Colts backfield, the coaches will find it difficult to replace Mack, who ran for 1,091 yards last season. Taylor averaged 2.4 yards per carry against the Jaguars in the season opener.

The Minnesota Vikings struggled against the run, allowing 158 yards on the ground to the Green Bay Packers. However, the Colts don't have a player comparable to Aaron Jones, who led the Packers' rushing offense with 66 yards.

More concerning for the Colts, quarterback Philip Rivers' continued to turn the ball over after he threw 20 interceptions during the previous term. The Jaguars picked him off twice in Week 1.

The Vikings defense gave up 43 points to the Packers, but the unit will bounce back against the Colts who won't have their lead ball-carrier. Minnesota's defense logs two interceptions in a victory.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Colts 23

           

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Susan Walsh/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Rams won their first of four games in five weeks against the NFC East, outlasting the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.

In Week 2, the Rams won't have the same success on the ground against the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Sean McVay established the run, and his ground attack racked up 153 yards in Week 1.

In its season opener, Philadelphia only allowed the Washington Football Team 2.2 yards per carry. The Eagles' stout front line has become a defensive staple. They've fielded a top-10 run defense in each of the last three terms. Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers won't see open running lanes in the upcoming matchup.

Washington's pass rush disrupted the Eagles' aerial attack Sunday. Seven different players shared or logged a full sack on quarterback Carson Wentz. The Rams don't have a group of consistent edge-rushers to pressure the pocket. Leonard Floyd logged a sack against the Cowboys, but most of the push comes from defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the middle.

The Eagles stop the run, Wentz avoids All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the secondary and the team wins a close contest at home.

Prediction: Eagles 23, Rams 21

                

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

We saw the healthy version of Newton in the Patriots' win over the Miami Dolphins. He didn't throw for a lot of yards (155), but he used his legs, rushing for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

With the mileage on Newton's body, he's not going to sustain a heavy workload on the ground. The Seahawks will likely attempt to keep him in the pocket. They can use safety Jamal Adams to track the dual-threat signal-caller on the move.

Other than wideout Julian Edelman in the slot and James White as a receiver out of the backfield, the Patriots don't have enough offensive playmakers to consistently threaten Seattle's pass defense.

Although New England's secondary remains solid with 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore on the boundary, the defense lost four linebackers this offseason, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts.

The Seahawks "let Russ cook" against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. He'll do it again and target tight ends Greg Olsen, Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister in the middle of the field.

Prediction: Seahawks 26, Patriots 20