Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and with it comes our typical overreactions of who looked great, who looked terrible, who looks like they’re in trouble, etc. If you’re one of those people stressing because you were eliminated in week 1 of your survivor pool, don’t worry, you have a lot of company. If you’re panicked about your team who has playoff aspirations, don’t…
In the words of Aaron Rodgers a few years back, “Five letters here…R-E-L-A-X…relax.”
I have to remind myself of this at times as I’ve already bought into the fact that the Giants are all the way back after one win. The truth is that it will take us a few weeks before we have a real pulse on where the season is headed but that won’t stop us from making our own assumptions along the way. If you were to ask me what the biggest takeaway was from Week 1, I’d say it’s that as unpopular as it is with fans and the players, the preseason matters. Quarterbacks who did not take a snap in the preseason went 3-8 in Week 1 games. Tack onto that the notable injuries (TJ Watt, Dak Prescott, Jamal Adams) and poor offensive line play and I think it’s abundantly clear that players need at least some physical, competitive reps before the season starts. Based on the end of the Monday night game it appears that some of the coaches need some reps too.
With that said, let’s get to our Week 2 Predictions!
Chargers at Chiefs – The Chiefs looked dominant last week in their win over Arizona, and they didn’t appear to miss a beat without Tyreek Hill. The Chargers are without Keenan Allen this week and are flying to KC on a short week. Justin Herbert is great but I’m going with the Chiefs.
Panthers at Giants – The Panthers and Baker Mayfield came up just short last week in a revenge game against the Cleveland Browns and are facing a New York Giants team who rode the back of Saquon Barkley to defeat last year’s top seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans. Giants head coach Brian Daboll looks like a big improvement over former head coach Joe Judge, but they were fortunate that a couple of plays broke their way last week. I still didn’t love what I saw from Daniel Jones and while I think this game will be close, I think the Panthers pull it out in the end.
Jets at Browns – The Jets looked lost in Week 1 against a far superior Baltimore Ravens team, but it wasn’t a huge surprise as they are missing their starting quarterback and left tackle. The Browns have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball and if Joe Flacco is throwing the ball 59 times again for the Jets it’s going to be a long week. I’m going with the Browns.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville – The AFC South played 4 games last week and won none of them due to the Colts tying with the lowly Texans last week. Matt Ryan settled in as the game went on but as I mentioned in my season preview, I think this is probably the worst division in all of football. The Jags lost a hard-fought game against the Commanders but Trevor Lawrence is slowly growing into his role. Upset alert – I think the Jags pull off the improbable victory.
Miami at Baltimore – The Dolphins put a beat down on a Patriots team that looked lost from the jump on offense and new head coach Mike McDaniel looked extremely comfortable in his new role. Lamar Jackson threw for 3 touchdowns and the Ravens may get JK Dobbins back this week. Baltimore’s experience wins out in their home opener, I’m going with the Ravens.
New England at Pittsburgh – The Steelers won last week in one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see against the Bengals but lost Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt for 6 weeks in the process. The Patriots looked clueless on offense, and I don’t see how this Joe Judge/Matt Patricia combo of calling the plays is going to work. Pittsburgh isn’t an easy place to play, and while both teams have pronounced weaknesses, I’ll take the Steelers at home.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans – Tom Brady has never lost against Dallas in his career and even though he wasn’t at his best on Sunday night, he was more than good enough to beat the Cowboys. They did lose WR Chris Godwin in the process and Mike Evans looks to be banged up as well going into a place where Brady has struggled in his career, New Orleans. The Saints won an ugly game against the Falcons last week and their defense is going to have to play much better. I think the Bucs defense is the difference maker in this game, I’m going with Tampa Bay.
Washington at Detroit – The Lions put up a good fight against the Eagles in Week 1 but came up just short as Jalen Hurts scrambling ability was too much to overcome. Running back D’Andre Swift is dealing with an ankle injury heading into a matchup against the Commanders who beat a pesky Jaguars team at home. At one time Carson Wentz vs. Jared Goff sounded like a matchup between 2 of the best up and comers in the NFL but now both players are fighting to keep their careers on track. Love the Lions fight but I’m going with the Commanders on the road.
Atlanta at LA Rams – The Rams looked lost last Thursday against the Bills and quarterback Matthew Stafford is going to have to get receivers other than Cooper Kupp involved if they’re going to make noise in the playoffs again this year. The good news this week is that they take on a Falcons teams who travels cross country and is coming off a close loss. Go with the Rams.
Seattle at San Francisco – Who would have thought that going into this matchup the Seahawks would be 1-0 and the 49ers would be 0-1. Certainly not me. Geno Smith was great in the first half against the Broncos but did little in the second half and will struggle against a San Francisco defense who is eager to prove that last week’s loss against the Bears was a fluke. Something to watch – San Francisco quarterback Trey Lance. The weather played a role in an ugly game last week, but he’ll have to be better for San Francisco to contend in the division. I’m taking the Niners.
Arizona at Las Vegas – The Raiders were doomed by a slow start last week and came up just short against their division rival Chargers. The offense looked good in the second half however and Davante Adams is already paying dividends for Derek Carr. The Cardinals looked completely lost on both sides of the ball and I wonder if the contract they provided to Kyler Murray may lead to some long seasons ahead. Just Win Baby – go with the Raiders.
Cincinnati at Dallas – The Bengals looked terrible in Week 1. Botched snaps, terrible offensive line play, and Joe Burrow was a turnover machine. The fact that they multiple chances to win and couldn’t convert was concerning. The Cowboys looked equally as bad on Sunday night and to add salt in the wound have lost quarterback Dak Prescott to a broken thumb for a couple of weeks. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush played very well last year and call my crazy, but I just have a hunch the Cowboys pull off a shocker here. If they don’t, season may be over before it starts. Cowboys in a shocker.
Houston at Denver – The Texans were happy to play for a tie last week and are sitting in first place in the AFC South with an 0-0-1 record. The Broncos could not have found more ways to lose on Monday night. The play clock was routinely down to the wire, head coach Nathaniel Hackett looked consistently overmatched as evident by his decision to kick a 64-yard field goal on 4th and 5 in the 4th quarter, and they turned the ball over in the red zone twice. I think the Broncos will be out to make a statement here, go with the Broncos.
Bears at Packers – Hey credit the Bears who pulled off an improbable win in ugly conditions last week. I’m a huge Justin Fields fan but I still think he lacks the weapons for the Bears to do much this year. The Packers lost in ugly fashion to the Vikings last week and the offensive line and Aaron Rodgers looked out of sync. I know a lot of the focus will be on the new receivers, but I think they right the ship this week. Packers win big.
Tennessee at Buffalo – This matchup is a tale of two extremes from last week. The Titans looked very lost against the Giants and couldn’t hold onto a second half lead. The Bills dominated the Rams from start to finish and Josh Allen looks all the bit an MVP candidate this year. I’m taking Buffalo however one caveat – I’m not a betting man but they’re favored by 10 points, and I just think the Titans and Mike Vrabel have way too much pride to lose by 10. If I were a betting man, I’d bet taking the Titans and the points.
Minnesota at Philadelphia – What a great matchup on Monday. The Vikings look like they are going to be a thorn in the Packers side for the division all year long and the Eagles offense put up 38 points against Detroit. If you’re an Eagles fan I’d be concerned about 2 areas – Jalen Hurts was bailed out by AJ Brown and company on some bad throws and the defense gave up 35 points to the Detroit Lions. That said, Kirk Cousins hasn’t traditionally been Mr. Primetime and I think the Eagles and their home crowd will be up to the challenge. Take the Eagles.
Thanks as always for reading!
Photo: Chris Hanewinckel - USA TODAY