Russell Wilson faces Aaron Rodgers for the fourth time in his career on Sunday night, but the first time at Lambeau Field!
Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and after some surprises, and historic performances, the NFL season is in full swing like it never left us in the first place. I had a strong week 1 in picks, going 12-4, with my losses being the Seahawks, Lions, and both Monday night games, as the Eagles and Vikings came up short. I’ll take the good start, and hope to build on that in week 2! Remember, tickets for all NFL games this week can be found right at SelectATicket.com – NFL Tickets.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Despite both teams winning, you’d think the Broncos got destroyed and that the Chiefs put up 50 points in week 1. Peyton Manning looked poor, as did the entire Broncos offense. However, the Broncos defense was impressive, and they will be bolstered by the return of TJ Ward. The Chiefs offense looked like a well oiled machine, and now they come home to Arrowhead Stadium, one of the toughest in all of the NFL. This game is going to be physical, and violent, and the Chiefs pass rush will force Peyton into some mistakes. Alex Smith will connect with a wide receiver for a touchdown for the first time since week 15 of the 2013 season.
Chiefs 24 Broncos 20
Broncos at Chiefs Tickets
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
A historic NFL debut for quarterback Marcus Mariota against Tampa Bay, as he threw 4 touchdowns, all in the first half, including a touchdown pass on his first ever pass attempt. The Titans look to build on, and continue to mask Mariota’s weaknesses, which goes a long way when you’re playing inferior teams. The Browns fought hard early against the Jets, but ultimately did not have the offensive ability to do anything special. The Titans won impressively in week 1 last year, and laid an egg for pretty much the rest of the season. I expect the Browns to come out aggressive and angry for the home crowd and expose Mariota a bit. This Browns defense is better than Tampa Bay’s, and it will make a difference.
Browns 18 Titans 13
Titans at Browns Tickets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Divisional match ups are always harder to predict a winner for, but when it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it makes it a little easier. A rough debut for first overall pick Jameis Winston, as his first NFL pass was a pick 6. Lovie Smith usually has stout and prideful defenses, but he may be sporting the worst defense in the league. The Saints lost a tough game to one of the best teams in the NFC, but I liked some of the things I saw from their offense. Even if the Saints aren’t a playoff team, they’re leaps and bounds better than the Bucs.
Saints 34 Buccaneers 26
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New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Think Rex Ryan has his team fired up for this one? His approach toward the Bills and their fans in his first season as head coach in Buffalo is very similar to his first with the Jets. The fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium didn’t sit down for the entire game against the Colts, and it clearly threw Andrew Luck off his game, as did their impressive defense. On top of that, you had quality quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor. But this is Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After their big NFL opening win over the Steelers, you can be sure Tom Brady and Bill Belichick want to stick to their loudest divisional rival. This game will be close, but Tom Brady historically puts up big numbers at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and that will continue here.
Patriots 24 Bills 17
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Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
A successful return to the field for Carson Palmer coming off an ACL tear. The Cardinals offense and defense both played well in a victory over the New Orleans Saints. They head to Soldier Field in Chicago to face a Bears team who played better than expected against the Packers. John Fox seems to be the first person to realize that Matt Forte is a weapon and you should use him as much as possible. Regardless, this is not a good Bears team, and as expected Jay Cutler was their undoing. That will continue to be the case here. I expect the Cardinals to jump out to a lead early and force Cutler to throw the ball a bit more, and that will prove to be the difference.
Cardinals 29 Bears 20
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San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
An upset victory for the 49ers on Monday night against the Vikings was something not many expected. On the legs of second year running back Carlos Hyde, the 49ers took advantage of sloppy play by the Vikings on their way to a week one victory. The Steelers offense moved the ball well against the Patriots, but the defense couldn’t stop the Patriots from moving the ball. As an AFC favorite, I have a hard time seeing the Steelers getting out to an 0-2 start, and a harder time seeing them lose their home opener. The Steelers will score and score often, and that’s when Colin Kaepernick’s flaws stand out.
Steelers 33 49ers 23
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St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins
The Rams may have had the most impressive victory in week one, lighting up the Seahawks vaunted secondary. Even more impressive was the Rams defense as they sacked Russell Wilson 6 times and hit him plenty more. The Rams head to Washington to take on the Redskins who came up short in their opener against the Dolphins. After an impressive first half, the Redskins faltered in every phase. They couldn’t move the ball offensively, couldn’t stop the Dolphins defensively on big downs, and gave up a big punt return that ended up being the deciding factor. When a team fails in all three phases in close games, it generally shows who they are, and the Redskins aren’t a good team. However, the Rams may end up being a very, very good team.
Rams 36 Redskins 19
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San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Two potential AFC playoff teams who both had impressive victories in week one for different reasons. The Chargers came out flat in the first half, getting lit up by the Lions before Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen turned it on in the second half cruising to a victory. The Bengals looked head and shoulders better than the Raiders, which really isn’t saying all that much. Andy Dalton has to avoid mistakes here, as I do believe the Bengals are the better team everywhere but the quarterback position. The Bengals have one of the best home records in the league with Dalton as the starter, and I expect him to deliver a victory for the fans at Paul Brown Stadium here as well.
Bengals 23 Chargers 21
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Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers
Bill O’Brien has made a spectacle of himself early on. After waiting all of camp to name Brian Hoyer the starter, he flipped on himself in the second half, benching Hoyer for backup Ryan Mallet, and now naming Mallet the Texans starter. Not a good look this early. Another thing that did not look good early were the Texans and their hyped up defense, as they were lit up by Alex Smith and the Chiefs. The Panthers grinded out a victory over the hapless Jaguars, forcing Blake Bortles into mistakes. Cam Newton made enough plays to win the game, although his receivers did him no favors as their were way too many drops. Mallet has the better upside than Hoyer and can more with his throws, but the Panthers are better at winning tight games.
Panthers 22 Texans 18
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Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
No team had a more demoralizing loss in week one than the New York Giants, as they snatched defeated from the jaws of victory with poor coaching and execution on both offense and defense. The Falcons got Dan Quinn an impressive victory in his head coaching debut, as Julio Jones lit up the Eagles secondary, and Matt Ryan made enough throws to not lose the game. The Giants need to forget about the loss to the Cowboys and look at the good things they did in the game. People are high on the Falcons, but I think Tom Coughlin will have his guys ready to rebound. After his worst game since he started his career, Odell Beckham Jr. will light up the Falcons defense.
Giants 27 Falcons 24
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Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Very disappointing openers for both of these teams for very different reasons. The Vikings were never in control and never seemed to have a chance. Terrible execution and playcalling, and misuse of Adrian Peterson plagued them. The Lions got out to a hot start but unraveled, as Matthew Stafford’s road woes continued. We saw some great things from rookie back Ameer Abdullah, and I think the Lions will realize just how good of a player they have as the season goes on. I expect a big game from Abdullah and Golden Tate here, as the Vikings go back to the drawing board.
Lions 26 Vikings 22
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Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders fans had hope coming into this season, only to see it blow up in their faces pretty quickly. Poor defense, poor offense, poor everything. Losing quarterback Derek Carr after 12 passes didn’t help, but this game looked decided on early. The Ravens played great defense but poor offense against the Broncos. The lack of a vertical threat hurt them against the talented coverage team of the Broncos. Thankfully, the Raiders do not have a particularly talented secondary. John Harbaugh teams do no perform poorly in back to back weeks generally. I expect the Raiders to cruise here, big game from Justin Forsett.
Ravens 33 Raiders 17
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Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Dolphins did not play well in the first half, but from the 2 minute warning into the second half, they executed well in important spots, converted key third downs, and had a huge punt return for a touchdown by Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins will hope to get out to a hot start and put pressure on second year quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles does not play well under pressure, and plays even worse with his team from behind. The Dolphins secondary is too much and their defensive line should be able to contain the running game of Jacksonville. The Jaguars will turn the ball over too many times and Miami will take over as the game goes on.
Dolphins 28 Jaguars 13
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Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Tony Romo stuck a dagger in the heart of his detractors and Giants fans everywhere, with a beautiful, perfect game winning drive that ended with a Jason Witten touchdown pass. The Cowboys played as sloppy a game as you can play and still came out victorious. They will now be faced with playing games without star wide receiver Dez Bryant for the next 4-8 weeks. The offensive line in Dallas is good enough to make up for this, but they need their defense to step up as well. They are tasked with facing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles came out flat against the Falcons, and the offensive style of Chip Kelly backfired as he couldn’t get his newly high paid running back DeMarco Murray in a rhythm. The Eagles disappointed me more than any team in week one, and I think they’ll let everyone down again. Dallas wins this one, and people will start to wonder just how good Dallas can be.
Cowboys 24 Eagles 23
Cowboys at Eagles Tickets
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
The last three times these teams met, the games were in Seattle. Two of the last three times these teams met, the games ended in shocking, controversial fashion. The “Fail Mary” game of 2012, and the NFC Championship game of last year. Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers will square off for the first time in Green Bay, and you can bet the Packers have revenge on their minds. The Seahawks played as poorly as they could in week one, poor defense, and poor offensive play calling and special teams being their undoing. The Packers played a clean, quality game against the Bears, and Aaron Rodgers continued his home field dominance, where he hasn’t thrown an interception since week 12 of the 2013 season. The absence of Kam Chancellor will continue to haunt the Seahawks, as the Packers get a victory of a team that has been haunting them for three years.
Packers 34 Seahawks 30
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New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
The Jets got off to a nice start with a dominating win over the Browns. Despite mistakes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets made big plays when it mattered on both sides, and pounded the ball with Chris Ivory. Defensively, the Jets did what you expect from them, containing the run and giving the wide receivers no room to breath. However, that was Josh McCown/Johnny Manziel the Jets were facing. Now they will be facing Andrew Luck in front of his home crowd. Andrew Luck laid an egg on Sunday. The entire Colts team did. But Andrew Luck doesn’t lay eggs in back to back games. In fact, he is yet to lose back to back regular season games in his NFL career. The Jets will make this tough and physical early, but Andrew Luck is too good, and too aggressive to not put his team ahead in this game. Once the Colts are ahead, the Fitzpatrick mistakes will come, and that’s when the Jets will unravel. In his career, when his team gives up 20 points or more, Ryan Fitzpatrick is 5-43. The Colts will score more than 20.
Colts 29 Jets 17
Jets at Colts Tickets
That’s it for my week two NFL picks. I’d love to hear your take, and if you agree or disagree. Be sure to post in the comments. As always, you can get tickets for each and every NFL game this season right here at selectaticket.com!