14 September 2016

2016 NFL Predictions: Week 2

(AP Photo)
The 2016 NFL season got underway in a big way this past weekend as we saw our fair share of quality games. Now as we enter the second week, will we find out which teams are for real and which teams are in trouble.

It is time for my NFL Week 2 picks.

Last Week: 10-6
Locks: 1-0

Thursday, September 15th
Jets (0-1) vs. Bills (0-1) - CBS/NFL Network, 8:25
New York Jets (1978 - 1997)Buffalo Bills (1970 - 1973)
In all honesty, I believe that all Bills coach Rex Ryan really cares about is beating the Jets, more so than returning the Bills to the playoffs. That just seems to me to be just the kind of coach he is, fair or foul. The Jets are the better team in my opinion, and certainly had a lot more going offensively against the Bengals than the Bills did in their loss to the Ravens, but I think under the lights on national television (and Twitter!), Ryan and his club will crank out the win here.
Bills 17 Jets 14

Sunday, September 18th
Ravens (1-0) vs. Browns (0-1) - CBS, 1:00
Baltimore Ravens (1996 - 1998)Cleveland Browns (2006 - 2014)
The Browns did not look any good to begin with with Robert Griffin III under center but now that he is out for a good chunk of the season thanks to a shoulder injury suffered in the opener, the Browns are now forced to turn to journeyman Josh McCown. McCown is far from an ideal option and who knows how long until he gets hurt. This team is a mess and while you never fully know what to expect in divisional contests, Baltimore should get the win here. In fact, they are my Lock of the Week.
Ravens 20 Browns 10

49ers (1-0) vs. Panthers (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
San Francisco 49ers (1996 - 2008)Carolina Panthers (1995 - 2011)
Are the 49ers for real? They didn't look THAT good, particularly on offense, and it certainly did not hurt that the Rams were truly comical offensively. Now they get to go on the road and play an early contest against the defending NFC champions. Carolina didn't look great in Denver this past Thursday but I think as they return home to Charlotte, they'll be cranked up to even up their record.
Panthers 21 49ers 12

Titans (0-1) vs. Lions (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)Detroit Lions (1970 - 2002)
Even by botching timeout strategery, Jim Caldwell was still able to outcoach Chuck Pagano last week in Detroit's last-second win over the Titans and now he gets an even worse coach to duel in Mike Mularkey. Granted, Caldwell is still an awful coach but hey, just win baby. Detroit's defense is not better than the Minnesota defense that the Titans went against last week but they are the superior club.
Lions 31 Titans 28

Cowboys (0-1) vs. Washington (0-1) - Fox, 1:00
Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)Washington Redskins (1965 - 1969)
I didn't think that Washington was going to win on Monday night against the Steelers but wow, they looked bad and particularly so defensively. That's not a particularly great sign especially if Kirk Cousins does not take care of the football. Dallas was not great offensively against the Giants but Dak Prescott was not bad. I think he and Ezekiel Elliott can make enough plays against the Washington defense to get the road win.
Cowboys 21 Washington 20

Chiefs (1-0) vs. Texans (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
Houston Texans (2002 - Pres)
Given that the Texans got utterly embarrassed against the Chiefs at home in the playoffs, I think it is safe to say that they are gunning for revenge here. I do think that this Houston club is better than the one last year since they actually have some semblance of a quarterback and Kansas City did not look great for much their contest at home against the Chargers. It should be a good one nonetheless.
Texans 27 Chiefs 26

Saints (0-1) vs. Giants (1-0) - Fox, 1:00
New Orleans Saints (2000 - Pres)New York Giants (2000 - Pres)
Let's not confuse this year's defense with that of the 1986 team but the New York defense did look much better this past week than it did all of last season. Granted, they were going against a rookie backup quarterback of the Cowboys but the defense did have some success in applying pressure against a really good offensive line. The Saints still looked bad defensively in allowing the Raiders to rally late and even in what should be a fun offensive shootout, I like the home team here.
Giants 38 Saints 33

Dolphins (0-1) vs. Patriots (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
Miami Dolphins (2013 - Pres)New England Patriots (2000 - Pres)
Considering all the Patriots were missing on Sunday night, and considering that Jimmy Garoppolo didn't even play all that great, that they were able to go to Glendale and take out the Cardinals on Sunday night was pretty wild. Could they return to Foxborough and have a setback against the Dolphins? Sure, it is certainly possible and has happened before and Miami showed some spunk in Seattle this past Sunday. That said, give me the Pats.
Patriots 24 Dolphins 17

Bengals (1-0) vs. Steelers (1-0) - CBS, 1:00
Cincinnati Bengals (1997 - 2003)Pittsburgh Steelers (2002 - Pres)
This has evolved into one of the more chippy rivalries in the league in recent years which should make this a fun game to watch. Pittsburgh took care of business against Washington on Monday night, most importantly on the defensive side of the ball, while the Bengals pulled off a late win against the Jets. Both are good clubs but I think that Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will execute a few big plays down the field to get the win.
Steelers 30 Bengals 28

Buccaneers (1-0) vs. Cardinals (0-1) - Fox, 4:05
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976 - 1996)Phoenix Cardinals (1988 - 1993)
As I mentioned two picks ago, it was pretty surprising to see such a hobbled New England club to go into Arizona and take out the favored the Cardinals but hey, you can't figure football. Jameis Winston looked really good against the Falcons but the Cardinals offer a much tougher test defensively. Look for the Cardinals to get back on track here.
Cardinals 31 Buccaneers 24

Seahawks (1-0) vs. Rams (0-1) - Fox, 4:05
Seattle Seahawks (2002 - 2011)Los Angeles Rams (1984 - 1994)
Considering how the Seahawks were not able to pull out a home win against the Dolphins until the bitter end on Sunday afternoon, maybe they may be more vulnerable that folks previously thought. I'm not necessarily sold just yet on that and considering how pathetic the Rams were offensively on Monday night in Santa Clara, I don't see how they can get any sort of offense going against one of the top defenses in the league. And that is even if Russell Wilson's sprained ankle hobbles him.
Seahawks 20 Rams 3

Jaguars (0-1) vs. Chargers (0-1) - CBS, 4:25
Jacksonville Jaguars (2013 - Pres)San Diego Chargers (2007 - Pres)
Chris Simms has a good breakdown here as to why this is not a great matchup for the Jaguars here but I do like the road team here regardless. Jacksonville looked pretty good against a very good team in their own right in the Packers, even as they fell short down the stretch, and I think the key here will be their defense which showed more game than they have done in recent years. And I think being without Keenan Allen will hurt.
Jaguars 19 Chargers 16

Falcons (0-1) vs. Raiders (1-0) - CBS, 4:25
Atlanta Falcons (2003 - Pres)Oakland Raiders (1995 - Pres)
Oakland had to rally late in New Orleans to pull out the road victory and to convert a two-point conversion but convert they did and they're 1-0. The offense came alive down the stretch, granted against a horrible New Orleans defense, and I think that you can see a similar result against another mediocre defense, this one belonging to the Atlanta Falcons.
Raiders 33 Falcons 27

Colts (0-1) vs. Broncos (1-0) - CBS, 4:25
Indianapolis Colts (2002 - Pres)Denver Broncos (1997 - Pres)
I mentioned the poor coaching of Chuck Pagano in their opening week loss to the Lions, a game they definitely could have won. Andrew Luck was tremendous through the air but I just don't see that repeating itself against a much tougher defense in the Broncos and one that has one of the best pass rushes in the league. The offensive line of Indianapolis didn't look that much better on Sunday.
Broncos 17 Colts 13

Packers (1-0) vs. Vikings (1-0) - NBC, 8:30
Green Bay Packers (1980 - Pres)Minnesota Vikings (1966 - 2012)
Aaron Rodgers has owned the Vikings in Minnesota of late and while the Packers did not secure the win in Jacksonville until late in the game, their quarterback looked a lot better than we saw for much of this past season. Meanwhile, the Vikings did pull out the win against the Titans but their offense wasn't very good and the Titans are not very good anyways. Even in the ballyhooed new stadium in Minneapolis, I think Green Bay will win it here.
Packers 27 Vikings 20

Monday, September 19th
Eagles (1-0) vs. Bears (0-1) - ESPN, 8:30
Philadelphia Eagles (1987 - 1995)Chicago Bears (1963 - 1998)
Carson Wentz made some nice plays in his NFL debut, albeit against a less-than-stellar Cleveland defense, as he led the Eagles to a win. The Bears still are not completely there defensively, and that showed in their opener against the Texans but I do think you will see them make some plays and force Wentz into some errors in his first road start.
Bears 19 Eagles 15


  1. Hi Ben
    The Dolphins weren't as dreadful as I was anticipating; that said the defense was much of the reason for this. I don't rate Tannehill when the game is on the line as his decision-making is slow and he is not a clutch QB by any stretch of the imagination. There are not so many easy picks this week but I respectfully choose my LOTW as Carolina stuffing the 49ers.

  2. I agree with your lock of the week. Not just because I'm a Steelers fan, but I personally think the Browns have the worst roster in the league. I think your prediction for this game is too soft, THE BROWNS ARE GARBAGE!
    If a rookie QB (Carson Wentz)can score 29 on this defense, Joe Flacco will drop at least 35.