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NFL picks and predictions for Week 2

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Can I crawl into a corner and hide? 8-8 is not the way I wanted to start the season, and I really felt I had a good pulse on all the games in Week 1. I need to rebound for Week 2 before I dig myself in a hole I can't get out of. Feel free to weigh in on some of the games in the comments section.

Week 2 Games Explanation Pick
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Thursday Night Football: The Jets and the Bills come in to this game having lost in Week 1. Although both teams finished within one score of winning their respective games, the Jets played pretty well against a good team, while the Bills were embarrassing on offense against a not-so-good team. I still can’t believe Buffalo was held to 160 yards of offense by Baltimore.

Despite being banged up, WR Sammy Watkins should play tonight for Buffalo. It’s only natural to expect the Bills’ offense to awaken a little bit, but now is when some of their defensive woes, as they don’t have all their personnel from a year ago, will come to surface. The Jets should prevail on the road to avoid going 0-2. Jets 24, Bills 20

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Starting Strong at Home? The questions of whether the Browns will go 0-16 are still pretty silly to me. Even as a bad overall football team, they're not going to see a quarterback every week who is as on fire as Carson Wentz was in Week 1. This week, Cleveland has Josh McCown under center, who torched the Ravens' pass defense in 2015. My full preview for this game will be up on Friday.

TBA
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Early Season Stranglehold: The Bengals and Steelers are the two contenders for the AFC North title this year, and whoever wins this game will have an early stranglehold on the division. I didn't think the Bengals' offense would be as sharp as they were in Week 1 without several of last year's weapons, but A.J. Green dominated and reminded people why he could be one of the best two receivers in the NFL right now. The other best receiver? Antonio Brown.

As much as we had to see our rivals succeed, these two teams always have exciting contests against each other. I'll go with the home Steelers pulling off the victory because of how impressive they were to start the year against Washington. Steelers 27, Bengals 21

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Romoless and Losing: Without Tony Romo last year, the Cowboys couldn't believe they had such a great team overall, but couldn't overcome the lack of a backup quarterback. Despite Dak Prescott having a lot of buzz surrounding him, the fact remains that he started the year at 0-1, and now they're up against the defending division champions. The Redskins are coming off of a forgetful week, but make no mistake about it: Kirk Cousins will get his act back together. I'll go with the Cowboys losing another tough game, much to the dismay of Jerry Jones. Redskins 23, Cowboys 20

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Revenge Seeking, Sans Hoyer: These two teams met twice last season, with the Chiefs emerging victorious on both instances. The playoff bout is the one that really stings for Houston, though, as they were decimated 30-0 behind quarterback Brian Hoyer. Fortunately for Houston, Brock Osweiler is the new man under center and he already has a solid victory under his belt after taking out the Bears last week. The Chiefs fought their way back for their largest home comeback in franchise history. They'll try to ride that momentum on the road now, but this should really be a coin flip type of game. I'll take the Texans because I'm intrigued by how Osweiler is leading them right now. Texans 20, Chiefs 14

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Let's Try This Again: Last week, I expected the Dolphins vs. Seahawks game to be the blowout of the week, in favor of Seattle. Somehow, Miami had the lead in a very low-scoring game late, but ultimately lost. I think their offense will continue to be rather abysmal this season, and their defensive prowess in Week 1 was an exception to the norm. I believe Bill Belichick is secretly craving not having Tom Brady for a few weeks because it gives him a chance to innovate a little and take on a new challenge. They beat a very good Arizona team on the road last week, and now they'll steamroll a very bad Miami team at home. Patriots 35, Dolphins 10

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Shootout of the Week: How great was it to see Victor Cruz catch a touchdown again last week, along with the Giants' front seven being reinvigorated? It definitely had a bit of a throwback feel. The Saints were stunned as they blew a lead at home, and then lost when Jack Del Rio of the Raiders had the stones to go for two points and the win against them. What shouldn't change this week is that Drew Brees is back on track after a shaky 2015. What shouldn't change from a year ago is that the Saints' defense is still bad. Giants 31, Saints 28

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Reality Restored: The Panthers have lost as many games as they did all of last regular season. (I'm sure that's already been cliched to death for Panthers fans). 49ers fans have to be on cloud nine after their shutout win in Week 1, but I hope they don't have any delusions after it. That was a case of a bad football team beating another bad football team. The Panthers are much faster, talented, and more ferocious and well take out the frustration of back-to-back Denver losses on the 49ers. Panthers 45, 49ers 13

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Stuck in Mud: I know it's still early, but when I look at the Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers, and Titans, I see a cohort of four teams who tried to rebuild around the same time, and the only one still kind of stuck in mud is the Titans. The Lions have some defensive concerns still, but when they are at their best, they are an offensive juggernaut. That juggernaut ran out of steam in 2015, but thanks to their receiving backs, things could be looking up for them in 2016. Lions 31, Titans 16

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Hot and Cold? Will the Rams continue to be the same hot-and-cold team they often are under Jeff Fisher? I'll go ahead and say "no." It's going to be difficult for them to build any momentum against Seattle's suffocating defense, and we might just see another shutout game, or darn near close to one, as Seattle relies on their ground game with a limping Russell Wilson. Seahawks 28, Rams 6

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Game of the Week: You wouldn't think of the Buccaneers vs. Cardinals being a marquee type of match-up, but this is my game of the week. I made it clear last week that I absolutely love what Jameis Winston is doing for Tampa Bay's offense -- that guy is the real deal. I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull off an upset this week, but I'm not flipping on my view of Arizona being the NFC's best team after one prime time loss to a coaching genius. Cardinals 27, Buccaneers 24

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Another Young Up-and-Comer: If the Buccaneers are the up-and-coming NFC team I love to watch, then the Raiders are the AFC equivalent. The core group of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack is one that I cringe to think about, knowing how attainable that trio was for Cleveland if we had a different group in charge. Jack Del Rio also had an edge to him that I didn't see as much during his first head coaching stint in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, I think the cracks are already showing very early for Atlanta. Raiders 34, Falcons 20

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Sucking the Air Out: What? The Colts are playing, the Broncos are playing, and yet there is no involvement of Peyton Manning?

When I look at the Broncos, I'm pessimistic overall about their chances of winning against high-powered offensive teams with Trevor Siemian under center. However, the Colts' offensive line still leaves much to be desired when it comes to protecting Andrew Luck, and I saw the licking this Broncos defense gave to Cam Newton last week. Denver's defense will shine brightly again this week, with C.J. Anderson carving the Colts' poor defense up on the ground. Has there ever been a surer fantasy bet than Anderson is in Week 2? Broncos 24, Colts 17

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Left in Obscurity: I'd hate to have been a Chargers fan after last Sunday's game. They are up 24-3 mid-way through the third quarter, and then ultimately lose in overtime and find out their star receiver, Keenan Allen, is done for the season. I don't think they can recover, and Mike McCoy could be the first coach out of work. The Jaguars will be traveling across the country for this one, but I like their defense to step up and for Blake Bortles to have a big game. Jaguars 25, Chargers 15

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Sunday Night Football: Although not confirmed yet, I expect to see Sam Bradford make his debut for the Minnesota Vikings in what should be a great prime time affair. Aaron Rodgers started getting comfortable with his receivers all back last week, but the Vikings' defense is a championship-level one. Rodgers won't be shut down, but in a back-and-forth battle to the end, I'll take the Vikings to come out on top. Vikings 26, Packers 23

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Monday Night Football: Browns fans have a heavy interest in every Eagles game this year, as their win/loss record will dictate one of Cleveland's first round picks in 2017. Unfortunately, I don't think Carson Wentz' Week 1 success was a fluke. Sure, he's not going to light the league up in 2016 when he starts facing better defenses, but Chicago is not one of those better units. Eagles 24, Bears 17


Survivor: Last week, I correctly picked the Seahawks to bear the Dolphins. This week, I'll roll with the Patriots over the Dolphins.

Week 1 Picks Record: 8-8
2016 NFL Picks Record: 8-8
Browns Picks Record: 0-1