NFL Game Picks: Week 2
Host Ethan Cook and analysts Jonathan Draeger, Trevor Grady and Sam Kirk discuss Week 2 of the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
The Browns and Bengals are both looking for their first win heading into their Thursday night matchup. Last week, the Bengals fell short to the Chargers 16-13 after Randy Bullock missed a potential game-tying 31-yard field goal. There were still good signs for the Bengals, as their defense looked much-improved and rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had a solid debut.
As for the Browns, they are coming off a 38-6 blowout loss to the Ravens. Everything fell apart after the first play, when Baker Mayfield threw a pass that was deflected and intercepted. The offense struggled to score, the defense could not stop Baltimore’s offense, and to top it off, the special teams were a disaster.
The quick turnaround does not help this discombobulated Browns team. The Bengals pick up their first win, but it will be sloppy.
Prediction: Bengals 17, Browns 10
New York Giants (0-1) vs. Chicago Bears (1-0)
This will be the third-straight year that the Bears and Giants will play each other, with the Bears winning last year’s matchup 19-14. Chicago is coming off a 27-23 comeback win over the Lions. Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes, but he didn’t find his stride until late. He and the offense have to get going early or we could see Nick Foles for the first time this season.
The Giants lost their opener 26-16 to the Steelers, as the Pittsburgh defense shut down the Giants in the second half. Daniel Jones wasn’t great, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions, but the main problem was the running game. Saquon Barkley had a tough night, rushing for just 6 yards on 15 touches.
Both teams have problems to fix, but the Bears have the momentum going into the game.
Prediction: Bears 24, Giants 10
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Here’s another matchup in which both teams are eyeing their first win of the season. The Cowboys last week lost 20-17 to the Rams in Mike McCarthy’s first game as head coach. There was an opportunity to tie the game late, but McCarthy opted to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the easy field goal. There was hope that McCarthy would make the Cowboys offense exciting, but it performed just like a Jason Garrett offense.
The Falcons are coming off a 38-25 loss to the Seahawks despite having 500 yards of total offense. This is not a good start for head coach Dan Quinn, who is on the hot seat after back-to-back losing seasons. Still, the exciting receiving trio of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage provide reason to believe.
Considering how Dallas played last week and how the Atlanta offense usually plays, the Falcons should be able to come away with the win.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Cowboys 21
Detroit Lions (0-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Last week, the Packers offense caught fire against the Vikings, dropping 43 points. Aaron Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns, while Davante Adams had 14 receptions, 156 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay’s defense shut down the Vikings until the fourth quarter, and even when Minnesota scored late, the Packers came right back guns-a-blazing.
In true Detroit fashion, the Lions held a 23-6 lead over the Bears in the fourth quarter in last week’s game, then proceeded to throw it away as the Bears won 27-23. A reason that the Bears were able to come back was because of injuries to cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman. Now, Detroit will be without Coleman, who was placed on IR, while Trufant’s availability is still up in the air.
Whether Trufant plays or not, Rodgers will take advantage of the Lions’ weak defense and lead Green Bay to 2-0.
Prediction: Packers 38, Lions 21
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Indianapolis is coming off a disappointing 27-20 loss to the Jaguars. The Colts can only blame themselves, as they made too many mistakes. A missed field goal and a failed fourth-down attempt from the 3-yard line are partially to blame. The Colts will be without Marlon Mack for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles, meaning they will rely on rookie Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines at the running back position.
The Vikings are coming off a game in which their young corners were torched by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. The Minnesota offense didn’t find success until the fourth quarter, and every time it scored, so did the Packers. The road does not get easier for these young cornerbacks, as they face Philip Rivers, another veteran QB who likes to throw the ball around.
Rivers and the Colts will take advantage of the young cornerbacks, but the Vikings’ potent offense will be too much for the Colts defense to handle.
Prediction: Vikings 31, Colts 27
Buffalo Bills (1-0) vs. Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Last week, the Dolphins lost to the Patriots 21-11. Miami did not have much of an offense in this game, and Cam Newton’s legs caused problems for the defense, as he ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Turnovers were an issue as well, as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions.
The Bills, meanwhile, took care of the Jets, winning 27-17. Josh Allen led the way with three total touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. Even though his team won, Allen was not happy, as he knew his team left points on the board. He took responsibility for losing two fumbles in the first half, both of which occurred in Jets territory. At least the Bills defense was on its game, forcing a couple of turnovers.
The Bills will win thanks to their stellar defense, and Josh Allen will have another strong day running and throwing the ball.
Prediction: Bills 30, Dolphins 13
Los Angeles Rams (1-0) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Last week, the Eagles had a 17-0 lead over Washington before giving up 27 unanswered points and losing 27-17. A pair of Carson Wentz touchdown throws got the Eagles their lead, but the Washington defense was all over Wentz, sacking him eight times and recording 15 quarterback hits. The duties of the offensive line will only become tougher as it faces Aaron Donald and the fearsome Rams’ defense.
The Rams are coming off a 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys in their home opener at SoFi Stadium. Malcolm Brown led the way with 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Donald was all over Dak Prescott with one sack and four quarterback hits. The Rams defense held Dallas to three points the entire second half.
Donald and the Rams defense will be all over Wentz and the Eagles. Brown and Jared Goff will continue to play well as the Rams win this one handily.
Prediction: Rams 23, Eagles 10
San Francisco 49ers (0-1) vs. New York Jets (0-1)
San Francisco is coming off of a 24-20 loss to the new and improved Cardinals team. This game was filled with missed opportunities and miscues by the 49ers, such a blocked punt and a stop on a fourth-and-1 in the red zone. They had a chance to win at the end on the Cardinals 16-yard line but turned it over on downs. Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 259 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-33 passing.
The Jets fell to the Bills last week by a score of 27-17. What hurt the Jets was their slow offensive start to the game, as they found themselves down 21-3 at halftime. Sam Darnold went 21 of 35 with 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The offensive struggles will continue as they face the tough 49ers defense.
Expect the 49ers to bounce back and get to 1-1, while the Jets fall to 0-2.
Prediction: 49ers 34, Jets 10
Denver Broncos (0-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Ben Roethlisberger, who was playing in his first game after missing the last 14 with an elbow injury, threw for three touchdowns in a 26-16 win over the Giants. Benny Snell Jr. also had a big day, rushing for 113 yards on 19 carries in place of James Conner, who left with an injury. The defense was also phenomenal, holding Saquon Barkley to just 6 rushing yards.
The Broncos, meanwhile, are coming off a 16-14 loss to the Titans in which Stephen Gostkowski kicked a game-winning 25-yard field goal, despite struggling elsewhere. The Broncos left points on the board, as they were stopped three times on the Titans’ 1-yard line. Running back Melvin Gordon, who signed this offseason, had a good debut in the blue and orange, rushing for 78 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Drew Lock threw for 216 yards and a touchdown to tight end Noah Fant.
This will be a good game, but the Steelers will come out with a close win.
Prediction: Steelers 23, Broncos 22
Carolina Panthers (0-1) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Tom Brady had his debut with the Buccaneers, and it did not go as planned. Brady threw 239 yards and two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions in a 34-23 loss to the Saints. This was the third-straight game in which Brady has thrown a pick-six.
Last week, the Panthers lost 34-30 in Matt Rhule’s first game as an NFL coach. In Teddy Bridgewater’s Carolina debut, the 27-year-old quarterback went 22 of 34 with 270 yards and a touchdown. Christian McCaffrey ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers were winning 30-27 before Josh Jacobs punched in the game-winning score.
Brady and the Bucs should respond from their Week 1 loss and take advantage of the weak Panthers defense.
Prediction: Buccaneers 37, Panthers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) vs. Tennessee Titans
Minshew Mania is back and better than ever, as the Jaguars defeated the Colts 27-20 in Week 1. Gardner Minshew was 19-for-20 passing with 173 yards and three touchdowns. DJ Chark, Keelan Cole and rookie receiver Laviska Shenault were on the receiving end of Minshew’s touchdown throws. Other rookies came up big in this game too, as corner CJ Henderson had a pick and key pass deflection, while undrafted rookie running back James Robinson led the way on the ground.
Tennessee beat Denver 16-14 last week thanks to a 25-yard game-winning Stephen Gostkowski field goal, despite having an awful night, going 1 for 4 on field goals and 1 for 2 on extra points. On offense, Ryan Tannehill threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, while Derrick Henry logged 116 yards on 31 carries.
The Titans came out sloppy on Monday despite the win, and this young Jacksonville team looks poised for another upset.
Prediction: Jaguars 24, Titans 18
Washington (1-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Kyler Murray shined in Arizona’s 24-20 upset win over the reigning NFC champion 49ers. The second-year quarterback threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and added 91 yards and another score on the ground. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught 14 passes for 151 yards. Budda Baker led the defense with 15 tackles. Expect more of the same from these players as the season moves along.
The Washington Football Team surprised people when they scored 27 unanswered points to beat the Eagles 27-17. The defense led the way for Washington, sacking Carson Wentz eight times, two coming from team leader Ryan Kerrigan. Dwayne Haskins had 178 yards and a touchdown through the air, while Peyton Barber added two touchdowns on the ground.
This will be a tight game between two defenses, but the Cardinals offense has too many weapons to slow down and will secure the win for Arizona.
Prediction: Cardinals 23, Washington 16
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) vs. Houston Texans (0-1)
The Texans kicked off the season with a 34-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The defense had no answer for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but at least the offense had some bright spots. Running back David Johnson ran for 77 yards and a touchdown in his Houston debut, while Will Fuller hauled in eight catches for 112 yards. But it doesn’t get any easier to start the season, as the Texans face the Ravens next.
The Ravens blew out the Browns in a 38-6 Week 1 victory. Lamar Jackson picked up from where he left off in his MVP season, as he went 20 for 25 with 275 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for two touchdowns in his debut, and on the defensive side, rookie Patrick Queen had eight tackles and one sack.
This is the second-straight week that the Texans will take on a top offense, and based on last week’s results, the Ravens should have the advantage.
Prediction: Ravens 42, Texans 24
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Ten points in the fourth quarter led to a 16-13 Chargers win in the first game of the post-Philip Rivers era. Joshua Kelley got the Chargers lone touchdown, while kicker Mike Badgley went 3 for 4, making the go-ahead 22-yard field goal. Cornerback Casey Hayward was the best player on the defense, getting 12 tackles and one interception.
The Chiefs might be too much to handle, though. Kansas City scored 31 straight points to beat the Texans 34-20 in the first game of the NFL season. Patrick Mahomes threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns. The big performer was rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU, who ran for 138 yards and a touchdown. Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were the recipients of Mahomes’ touchdown throws.
In this divisional matchup, the Chiefs offense will be overwhelming for the Chargers.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Chargers 17
New England Patriots (1-0) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Russell Wilson showed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, as he threw four touchdowns in a 38-25 Seahawks win. Nine different receivers caught passes, as Wilson was 31-of-35 for 322 yards passing. Running back Chris Carson was more effective in the passing game, catching two touchdowns. Summer acquisition Jamal Adams highlighted the defensive performance with a team-high eight tackles and one sack.
The first game in the Cam Newton era resulted in a win for the Patriots, as they beat the Dolphins 21-11. Newton ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns, adding 155 yards through the air. Sony Michel had the other touchdown on a 1-yard run. New England gained 217 of its 357 yards on the ground.
This should be the best game of the week, as Wilson leads the Seahawks to a 2-0 start.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Patriots 21
New Orleans Saints (1-0) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
The first official game as the Las Vegas Raiders ended in a 34-30 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Josh Jacobs was the star of this game, as he ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns. Head coach Jon Gruden even said Jacobs played like Walter Payton.
The Saints spoiled Tom Brady’s debut with the Buccaneers in a 34-23 home victory. Alvin Kamara scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown, while Janoris Jenkins intercepted Brady in the third quarter for a 36-yard touchdown return. The Saints, however, will be without All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, as he deals with an ankle injury.
Even without Thomas, Drew Brees will exploit the young Oakland secondary, as the Saints spoil the home opener for the Raiders.
Prediction: Saints 45, Raiders 27
Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.