15 September 2015

2015 NFL Predictions: Week 2

(Post-Dispatch)
The 2015 NFL season is officially under way with a rousing Week 1 seeing a number of close contests and unexpected conclusions. Will Week 2 be any different? Here are my picks.

Last Week: 11-5
2015: 11-5
Locks: 1-0

Thursday, September 17th
Broncos (1-0) vs. Chiefs (1-0) - CBS/NFLN, 8:25
While the Broncos won ugly in a defensive affair, the Chiefs are coming off a nice offensive showing against the Texans thanks to a strong performance from quarterback Alex Smith. However, Kansas City also took advantage of a number of Texan turnovers, the likes of which they won't see from Denver on Thursday night.
Broncos 27 Chiefs 21

Sunday, September 20th
Buccaneers (0-1) vs. Saints (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
It was only one game for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston but his NFL debut was a little concerning. Winston never looked comfortable throwing the ball nor did he take care of it, most notably on a pick six on his first NFL pass. One shouldn't be labeling Winston a bust right away but he does have some work to do to become a franchise quarterback. Going into New Orleans, a famously tough environment, won't help matters.
Saints 31 Buccaneers 19

Titans (1-0) vs. Browns (0-1) - CBS, 1:00
While Marcus Mariota was spectacular in his debut against the Buccaneers, the Browns still have plenty of questions under center. Josh McCown may not be available on Sunday after suffering a concussion against the Jets and Johnny Manziel, who would start in his place, was dreadful in relief. Mariota will not look as good as he did in Week 1 every week but if the Browns continue to get nothing from their offense, it may not matter.
Titans 17 Browns 9

Lions (0-1) vs. Vikings (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
The Lions blew an 18 point lead in a road loss in San Diego but that's certainly better than how the Vikings looked in a road loss to San Francisco. Adrian Peterson couldn't do much and Teddy Bridgewater was largely ineffective. Here's a fun fact, they were the only team last week to fail to score a touchdown. They should look better but not enough to win.
Lions 18 Vikings 14

Texans (0-1) vs. Panthers (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
 
The Panthers needed their defense to power them to win against the Jaguars thanks to a stagnant offense and that they did. Meanwhile, the issues under center are clear for Houston as Brian Hoyer was a fiasco last week. Ryan Mallett was a little better but can he or Hoyer get the job done against the solid Carolina defense? I'm not sold.
Panthers 13 Texans 10

Cardinals (1-0) vs. Bears (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
I do have to admit that the Bears were better on both sides of the ball than I thought they would be in the opener. Granted, they still lost but the Packers are a Super Bowl contender. Can their improvement be enough to take out the Cardinals, who looked pretty good in their opener against New Orleans? I'm not sold yet.
Cardinals 27 Bears 17

Chargers (1-0) vs. Bengals (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
John Breech at CBS dug up a great stat about the Bengals: in the last 20 1 pm games the Bengals have played, they are 16-3-1, as well as 9-1-1 at home. To quote the great Joe Benigno, how bout dat? The Bengals did look very good in smacking the Raiders in Oakland. San Diego did a good job in rallying from a deep deficit against the Lions but they'll have to get off to a better start against Cincinnati. However, they have the early local time start to deal with too.
Bengals 24 Chargers 23

Falcons (1-0) vs. Giants (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
We could all just continue to kill the Giants for their pathetic clock management, or you could just read Bill Barnwell's analysis on the matter and we can move on. Even as they should have won the game, the Giants didn't really look all that great in Arlington. Atlanta's offense did what they needed to do despite sloppy play from Matt Ryan to get the home win over the Eagles and I think you will see a performance like that in the Meadowlands for the road win.
Falcons 28 Giants 27

Patriots (1-0) vs. Bills (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
This may just be the game of the week and we know that there is no love lost between Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan. While the Patriots looked good in dispatching Pittsburgh on Thursday, the Bills were even more impressive in silencing the Colts' offense en route to a commanding victory. Tyrod Taylor didn't make mistakes against the Colts nor is there a ton of tape on him but Bill Belichick is still a master as exploiting weaknesses of opposing quarterbacks. It will be fun to watch but I like the Pats.
Patriots 23 Bills 21

Rams (1-0) vs. Washington (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
It wasn't a perfect performance for the Rams but taking out the defending NFC champs in overtime for them as they are considered to be a playoff contender this season. Washington, on the other hand, wasn't expected to contend and while their defense did look better than expected in their opening loss to Miami, their offense couldn't get anything going as Kirk Cousins was ineffective...again. The ballyhooed St. Louis defensive line will get to him early and often.
Rams 28 Washington 14

49ers (1-0) vs. Steelers (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
Frisco looked a lot better than many thought they would on Monday night as Carlos Hyde was terrific running the ball and the defense shut down the Minnesota offense completely. While I like Hyde a lot, I'm not sure the offense can do a whole lot beyond him and if their defense will be deep enough to slow down a deep Pittsburgh offense. I think the Steelers will rebound from a disappointing loss in Foxborough and even their record.
Steelers 30 49ers 20

Dolphins (1-0) vs. Jaguars (0-1) - CBS, 4:05
While some thought that the Jags would be improved this season, they weren't able to do anything offensively against the Panthers and their defense wasn't quite good enough either. I don't see that much changing against a Miami team that was able to do just enough to eke out a late win in Landover. This go-around, they won't have to live so close to the edge.
Dolphins 26 Jaguars 13

Ravens (0-1) vs. Raiders (0-1) - CBS, 4:05
I said last week that Oakland would keep it close with Cincinnati, but they lost by 20. They were a mess on both sides of the ball and that was disconcerting to those who thought that they would be improved this season. Baltimore did fall in a defensive showdown in Denver but they are certainly the superior team in this contest, hence why they are my Lock of the Week.
Ravens 31 Raiders 14

Cowboys (1-0) vs. Eagles (0-1) - Fox, 4:25
As we all know, the Cowboys cranked out a last second win over the Giants on Sunday night while the Eagles failed to do so in the Georgia Dome on Monday. That said, the Eagles did click on something in the second half against the Falcons and I think we will see that team in their home opener against a hated rival. The offense will be plentiful but I think that you will get a big performance from former Cowboy DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford will look solid.
Eagles 35 Cowboys 31

Seahawks (0-1) vs. Packers (1-0) NBC, 8:30
We can talk a lot about the last three matchups between these two teams over the past few years, but all of those matchups have come in Seattle. As we saw on Sunday, the Seahawks are simply not the same team on the road as they are at home (boy have I said that a lot), while the Packers are a great home team. Not to mention that after the NFC Championship fiasco, the Packers have something to prove here.
Packers 31 Seahawks 29

Monday, September 21st
Jets (1-0) vs. Colts (0-1) ESPN, 8:30
The Colts really laid an egg in their opener up in Orchard Park against the Bills as their offense was wholly unable to get anything going against a strong defense. The Jets aren't as good defensively as Buffalo are but they still are good on that side. However, I have to think that at home, Andrew Luck and his cohorts will not be as ineffectual as they were this past Sunday.
Colts 28 Jets 20

5 comments:

  1. Hi Ben
    Last week I disagreed with your LOTW pick, preferring Miami over Washington and we were both right. This week I totally concur with your choice that the Ravens will peck the Raiders to death. By the way, and taking into account it WAS Week 1, was it just my imagination or were most of the games "sloppy"?

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    1. I think you're right, a lot of the opening games did not seem all that smooth as you would expect from Week 1 contests.

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    2. Which just shows why betting is a dangerous thing to do. The Ravens pecked themselves to death and I won't even get into what Miami has just done.

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  2. Cowboys will upset the Eagles on Sunday. Super Bowl Bound. NFC East Champs

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  3. You were dead wrong on the ravens Raiders game

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