NFL Week 2 Matchups & Predictions

(1-1) Green Bay Packers 23, (1-1) Chicago Bears 10

Charles Woodson & Clay Matthews did what they do best. They led a Packers defense that surprisingly shut down a talented Chicago offense. Although they beat a rebuilding Colts team in week 1, the Bears put up 41 points with the offense rolling on all cylinders. Instead, it was the Green Bay offense that bounced back from a disappointing loss against the 49ers a week ago. Aaron Rodgers moved the ball enough while getting Cedric Benson 24 touches in the process. The Cheese Heads scored on a fake field goal that changed the momentum of the game. Jay Cutler was sacked 7 times and coughed up 4 interceptions, resulting in a loss and a high ankle sprain for Matt Forte.

Next week the Bears host the Rams while Green Bay travels to Seattle.

(0-1) Oakland Raiders @ (0-1) Miami Dolphins

Last week Darren McFadden tallied 28 touches (15 carries, 13 catches). Oakland lost long-snapper Jon Condo to injury, hence a couple bad snaps and a blocked punt that gave San Diego the game. They hope Denarius Moore lines up on Sunday to give the receiving core a boost. Miami got handled by the Texans in the opener, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. With that said, Ryan Tannehill is facing another active defensive line coming off a 3-point outing for the Dolphins offense.

I think the Raiders have a tougher defense with fast skill players on the other side of the ball, Oakland 23-13.

(1-0) Houston Texans @ (0-1) Jacksonville Jaguars

Houston took care of business in Miami last week, rocking and rolling from the opening kickoff. They probably have the best rushing attack in football, setting up the play-action from Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. I am higher in the Jaguars than most people, since they ranked 6th in defense with last year’s leading rusher Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jacksonville struggled against Minnesota’s defense, and this week I’m rolling with Texans defense 27-10.

(0-1) Cleveland Browns @ (0-1) Cincinnati Bengals

Hats off to the Browns defense, frustrating Michael Vick and the Eagles that edged them out by one point last week. If Brandon Weeden match the 4 picks Vick threw…if Trent Richardson found more daylight than 39 yards…Well that didn’t happen, and they play at the rival Bengals looking to avenge embarrassment. Cincinnati got bullied by the Ravens on Monday Night Football, but they still plan on making it back to the postseason.

The Browns rookie tandem has much to learn, so let’s go with Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and last season’s 7th ranked defense. Bengals 27-9.

(0-1) Kansas City Chiefs @ (0-1) Buffalo Bills

The game got away from both teams last week. I picked both teams to make the playoffs, but right now the Chiefs look more promising. They lost to an impressive Falcons team trying to take the next step. Kansas City played without a couple key defenders and inserted several injured players back into the lineup. Buffalo was punked by the Jets on both sides of the ball. C.J. Spiller filled in nicely for the hobbled Fred Jackson, but Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps passing to the wrong team.

The Chiefs get everyone back on the field and start to find their identity 20-16.

(1-0) Baltimore Ravens @ (1-0) Philadelphia Eagles

The performances of these two teams in week 1 was at polar opposites. The Ravens manhandled the division rival Bengals, while the Eagles edged out Cleveland in the final minutes. It was Baltimore’s offense that paved the way before the defense followed their lead in the 2nd half. Philadelphia played well defensively against a young Browns offense, but the offense was all over the place in a bad way. Reluctant to hand the keys of the offense to LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick will continue to get hit and turn the ball over.

Both teams believe they are on a mission, except the Eagles are talking with the Ravens walking away in this one 24-16.

(1-0) Minnesota Vikings @ (0-1) Indianapolis Colts

The Vikings protected home field in the opener, where Christian Ponder managed the game well enough to complete 70% of his passes for a rating of 105.5 (did not throw a touchdown or an interception). Adrian Peterson was productive with nearly 5 yards per carry and a pair of touchdowns. Andrew Luck had some positive moments in his debut against the Bears,  but he did have a rough outing with 4 turnovers and 3 sacks. Indianapolis surrendered 41 points to Chicago while Minnesota edged out Jacksonville in overtime. Both defensive lines should find some success, with A.P. being the best offensive player on the field.

All the signs point to the Vikings, but I like Luck in his home debut to move the chains and score just enough 24-20.

(1-0) Arizona Cardinals @ (1-0) New England Patriots

Last weekend the Patriots went about their business as usual, without incorporating Wes Welker into the gameplan. New England got a hundred yard game from Stevan Ridley, and if they find consistent success on the ground then this team might be unstoppable. Arizona has been shuffling John Skelton and Kevin Kolb in and out of the lineup, because of both injuries and performance.

The Cardinals held off the rival Seahawks in week 1, but the Patriots should light up the scoreboard at home 38-10.

(0-1) New Orleans Saints @ (0-1) Carolina Panthers

The Saints were upset by the Redskins a week ago. I don’t have them in the playoff picture, but upset because they rarely lose at home. The defense didn’t earn any respect, allowing 40 points to an offense led by a rookie quarterback and running back. Drew Brees was pressured quite a bit, with a pair of sacks and picks. He did throw for 300 yards, but he only completed 46% of his passes. Cam Newton tossed a couple of interceptions while getting sacked 3 times. He did go 23-33 for 300 yards, finding rhythm with Steve Smith and spreading the football around.

Carolina’s rushing attack was nonexistent last week, but that should change in their home opener 27-21.

(1-0) Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ (0-1) New York Giants

Tampa Bay got themselves a good win against the rival Panthers to start the season. Defensively they blanked Cam Newton and Deangelo Williams on the ground. The cover-2 will bend and sacrifice yardage, but the gameplan is not to break and to force turnovers and they succeeded. The Giants only lost by a touchdown, but they didn’t bring it and Dallas stole a win on the road. New York didn’t get the pressure they expected, and the offense dropped passes which hampered their ball control offense.

Tough to see the Giants lose back-to-back home games, but they do play mediocre in the regular season. The Buccaneers offense is a work in progress but I like the way they played last week. TB 24-20.

(1-0) Washington Redskins @ (0-1) St. Louis Rams

At first glance, it’s easy to blow up Robert Griffin III as the next big thing and deservedly so. RGIII led the Redskins to 40 points and a win in the Superdome of Drew Brees. The defense frustrated the Saints offense, and the offense looked balance. Don’t overlook how well the Rams defense played against the Lions. If 2 offensive linemen didn’t get hurt they might have won. Sam Bradford had a solid game without a turnover, but the defense focused on stopping Steven Jackson and they only got half the first downs Detroit tallied.

The St. Louis defense is better than what Washington faced last weekend. I’ll side with Jeff Fisher and the Rams in an upset, 20-17.

(1-0) Dallas Cowboys @ (0-1) Seattle Seahawks

Last week Dallas pulled out a road win against the rival Giants, while the Seahawks fell short against their rivals in Arizona. The Cowboys continued to get production from the slot receiver. So far Kevin Ogletree has taken advantage in a big way and DeMarco Murray broke a few runs. Defensively DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee were all over the field. Seattle might have won had Braylon Edwards held on to the football. Russell Wilson

Should be close one with aggressive defenses. Seattle pulls one out with some assistance from the 12th man, 21-20.

(0-1) Tennessee Titans @ (1-0) San Diego Chargers

Tennessee is looking to rebound after losing to a sound Patriots squad, especially Chris Johnson (4 yards). San Diego held Darren McFadden to 32 yards rushing, but he was heavily involved through the air. Jake Locker played a decent game and will start, enduring a shoulder injury. The Chargers will be without Ryan Mathews again, hoping that Antonio Gates is healthy enough to perform at a high level. Defensively they did well against the run, but on passing downs they allowed Oakland to move the chains.

San Diego benefited from a fluke injury to a long-snapper in week 1, but they settled for field goals with great field position. The Titans are tougher and I see them grinding this one out on the road 17-16.

(1-0) New York Jets @ (0-1) Pittsburgh Steelers

No Troy Polomalu, no Darrelle Revis. Pittsburgh is missing starters on both sides of the ball. The Jets surprised a lot of people by putting up 48 points in week 1. I don’t think Mark Sanchez will taste the same success against the best defense from last year. New York will lean on the running game to control the clock, but both ground games could improve. The Steelers will find out if Jonathan Dwyer can keep the offense balanced.

Ben Roethlisberger will be the best quarterback on the field, and with those targets I’m giving them the edge 23-17.

(1-0) Detroit Lions @ (1-0) San Francisco 49ers

Last year you could say this is a battle between an explosive offense and elite defense. This time around, the 49ers are arguably the most complete and balanced team in the NFL. San Francisco knocked off Green Bay in a battle of powerhouses. Frank Gore did his damage in limited carries while Alex Smith was efficient. Detroit did what they were supposed to do, injuries or not, and they got the job done against the Rams. Calvin Johnson is going to get his, but Matthew Stafford wasn’t on his A-game and the rest of the Lions are containable.

Jim Harbaugh has the 49ers playing out of their minds on both sides of the football. They believe, as do I. 49ers 34-23.

(1-0) Denver Broncos @ (1-0) Atlanta Falcons

Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, something Matt Ryan aspires to be. The Falcons certainly have the weapons and they got off to a hot start. Once Denver let Manning do his thing and turn to the no-huddle offense, it didn’t matter that Pittsburgh controlled the clock to keep him off the field. Atlanta lost cornerback Brent Grimes, while the Broncos bring speed off the edge.

Monday Night Football could turn into a shootout, and Denver has the elite quarterback. Broncos 38-31.