Week 2 Predictions

Posted Sep 15, 2017

Who are you picking to win the week 2 games?

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Houston (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1): These teams combined for seven points in week one, with Houston getting all of them. Tom Savage and DeShaun Watson together were 19/36 164 1TD 1INT 10 sacks and 3 fumbles. Andy Dalton almost matched that all by himself: 16/31 170 0TD 4INT 5 sacks. The big problem is neither team's offensive line could cope with the defenses in front of them (highly touted rookie RB Joe Mixon carried 8 times for 9 yards for the Bengals, not helped by the giveaway that when he was in he was getting the ball). The Texans had two tight ends knocked out by concussion, but JJ Watt's injured finger may not be enough to stop his playing. Against the Bengals makeshift O line, the Texans shouldn't need Watt to feast, but they made the Jags' line look like Dallas' last week. If the over/under on this game reaches double figures, I'd go under. Pick (made Thursday): Bengals


Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0): The Ravens' D looked great against the Bengals: the difference was a solid secondary as well as continued good play from the front seven; the Ravens turn players over up front on D but keep developing guys like undrafted Michael Pierce and 4th rounder Willie Henry. Joe Flacco didn't look great, but didn't need to, while rookie DeShone Kizer played about how you'd expect for the Browns against the Steelers' D. He's got poise in the pocket and a strong arm, but his throws are often off. Hue Jackson has the Browns playing hard but pick: Ravens

Buffalo (1-0) at Carolina (1-0): Mike Tolbert/Swean McDermott Bowl! Buffalo is like Carolina's mini-me, with McDermott coaching, but with the GM turnover in Carolina the Panthers may be their own B team. The addition of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Joseph is supposed to open up their offense, but too much of it still seemed to be Cam trying to hit large lumbering targets downfield. There is an opportunity for the Bills here, but first Tyrod Taylor has to solve a defense which Dave Gettleman rebuilt nicely, but what had he done for them lately? Still, pick: Panthers

Tennessee (0-1) at Jacksonville (1-0): Catch Gnat Coombs and me on Talksport 2 bringing you the Jags, and looking round the league, Sunday from 5-11. The Jags' D feasted on a weak Houston O line, and quarterbacking, and the Titans ought not to be such an easy proposition. The real question will be whether Blake Bortles has to pick up more of the slack this week, because he didn't seem to be anything different last week. Marcus Mariota had flashes, but they need to get DeMarco Murray going, and involve all three wideouts. This is a test of how seriously we should take the Jags' D performance against Houston, and ingnore Bortles being Blake. The key to this game is the Jags O line, and whether their pass game can overcome the loss of Allen Robinson. When was the last time Arrelious Benn was a key to a result? Pick: Jags

Philadelphia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0): Andy Reid Bowl! This seems to be a match-up week for ex-coaches and their old teams. The difference between Andy Reid heavy in KC and Doug Pederson lite in Philly may not be the QBs, even though Prince Harry lookalike Carson Wentz has more of a downfield arm than Alex Smith. It may be the way the defenses attack: Jim Schwartz was dialling up all-in blitzes which he got away with against Kirk Cousins, and he knows if he can force Smith to hurry in the pocket the downfield game disappears. Bob Sutton played frustrate Brady in the first half and attack him in the second, and that could well work with Smith. How much the Chiefs will miss Eric Berry at the back of their D is something that can't be understated. How many Jedi mind games can Andy Reid play on his old assistant? Pick: Chiefs

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ACTION - New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1): Say, didn't you used to be Adrian Peterson? Brandin Cooks/Austin Carr Bowl! Carr is an interesting story: the sneaky-slow guy from Northwestern starred in pre-season, but not enough to ever play with Brady, so he never seemed to be the Pats' plans, especially after they traded for Philip Dorsett. But he'd dhown enough not to survive waivers. With Edleman and Amendola both out, I just wonder if they would've like to have had a natural slot receiver on their practice squad. Cooks' replacement in New Orleans is Ted Ginn, Jr., but he's not a guy defenses need to account for. Stat weirdness last week: Peterson 6/18 rushing, Ingram 6/17, Kamara 7/18. Fleener 5/54 receiving. Ingram 5/54, Ginn 4/53, Lewis 2/52, Thomas 5/45. Talk about spreading the ball around evenly! The Saints are missing both starting tackles, which could help the lacklustre Pats front 4; I expect both teams to test the other with tight ends and backs working the linebackers. Even on the road, pick: Pats

Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0): Mike Zimmer knows the Steelers from his days in Cincy, and he has the horses up front to make Big Ben's life fraught, especially if LeVeon Bell still isn't in game-shape to punish them with screens and draws. Antonio Brown doesn't have the size of Julio or AJ, but if you want to argue he's the best receiver in the league, I won't put up a fight. Adam Thielen is sneaky-fast sneaking up on the outside. Rookie TJ Watt made a strong debut for the Steelers; even with Bud Dupree out, James Harrison got only four snaps, and with Stephon Truitt hurt, don't be surprised to see Harrison in the front three on passing downs. Javon Hargrave had a strong game for the Steelers on the nose, by the way. To me the ley match up will be Brown against Xavier Rhodes, who is excellent, and Trae Waynes, who is when he doesn't make mistakes. But at home, I've got to pick: Steelers

Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0): Mike Glennon Bowl! Chris Conte Bowl! The prodigal returns to Tampa, but the eyes will be on Tarik Cohen, who may have a harder time against the Tampa D than he did against the Falcons. Frankly, if I were the Bears I'd be targeting their alumnus at safety, Conte, and this might be the week to introduce rookie TE Adam Shaheen to the seams. They'd love to control the game with Howard and Cohen, but the Bucs have the ability to be explosive, especially if DeSean Jackson blends into the Mike Evans-oriented offense. And if you want mismatches OJ Howard is one waiting to happen. The Bears surprised some people with their D last week, but I think the Bucs, rested and ready, make a few more big plays and win. Pick: Bucs

Miami (0-0) at L.A. Chargers (0-1): Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the 'icing the kicking' fiasco? Allowing the time out to be blown after the ball is snapped is ridiculous, and the sooner the league sorts it out the better. Having said that, avoiding overtime on a blocked FG on the second try was the Chargerist loss possible, and in only the first week of the season. No one knows how their new mini-field will work as a home field advantage, but the reality is they weren't as close to the Broncos as the score made it look. But nobody knows what we have in the Dolphins: Jay Cutler will make his debut behind a line that's moved Laremy Tunsil to tackle. He has weapons, if they can protect him. Defensively, the Dolphins can rush, Xavien Howard is potentially a top corner, and they need a vet to step up on the other side. Rivers has weapons too. Rookie Mike Williams had an impressive debut, and Keenan Allen made it through week one without injury. This is one of the harder games to pick this week, but pick: Chargers

New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0): Let's see. Josh McCown played captain checkdown and still threw two picks. His leading receiver was Jeremy Kerley, cut by the Niners. Bilal Powell and Matt Forte combined to rush 13/38. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jest coaching staff spent Saturday checking out quarterbacks in the Pac-12 for next season. Pick: Raiders

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ACTION - Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0): Ronald Leary Bowl! Denver is a lot like the Giants, only better. The Cowboys got Zeke 100 yards against New Jersey, and though Dez was once again stifled by Janoris Jenkins, they managed to find other receivers. They'll have a similar task in Denver, but the Broncos showed their patchwork O line could be more efficient againstthe Chargers at got CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles some yards. The Passing Primate, Trevor Siemian, did enough to keep Denver in front, and you might think Dallas' D would pose fewer problems passing, though DeMarcus Lawrence led a surprisingly effective pass rush. Still, at home (for the second straight week), pick: Broncos

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ACTION - Washington (0-1) at LA Rams (1-0): Sean McVay Bowl! I'll bet Wade Phillips watched Jim Schwartz's game plan and will come up with ways to challenge Kirk Cousins with pressure. He better, because the Skins will understand McVay's game planning, and Greg Manusky's 3-4 did a pretty decent job of stopping the run and pressuring Carson Wentz. Pressure was what Jared Goff didn't feel against the Colts (though he was sacked three times) but the way the Rams dominated that game with D will be harder to accomplish at home. Interesting that they get to start their season with two home games, isn't it? Pick: Rams

San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1): How many ways does Brian Hoyer have to pick apart the Seattle D? Pick: Seahawks

Arizona (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1): Bruce Arians Bowl! With David Johnson out for the season, every game is a question mark for the Cards, who resigned CJ2017UFA and DJ Foster, the former Arizona State star off the Pats practice squad. Foster's running/receiving ability ought to fit the Cards system, but it's a question of how he can bring his skills to bear. Another guy off the Pats' bench, Jacoby Brissett, make the start at QB for the Colts; he certainly gives them a better chance of winning than Scott Tolzien; he is similar in some ways to DeShone Kizer in Cleveland. We think Arizona's defense is better than it probably is right now; they've let an awful lot of talent depart in the past couple of years, and certainly Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald appeared to be showing their age last week. I worry about the Cards, but Indy is truly horrible. Pick: Cards

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ACTION - SUNDAY NIGHT: Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0): This is a juicy shootout waiting to happen, but Atlanta wants to play like Seattle, who held the Pack to 17 in Green Bay last week, and Atlanta has more and better offensive weapons than Seattle. They didn't use them as well as they did last season, which may simply be getting it together at game speed or may be the switch in coordinators. Green Bay's D is probably better at the back end than Chicago's but the real matchup may be their O line against the speed of the Falcons' defense. Rodgers may find a way to put sugar in the gas tank of the new Mercedes Benz stadium. Pick: Pack

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ACTION - MONDAY NIGHT: Detroit (1-0) at New Jersey Giants (0-1): Matt Stafford tore up Arizona's secondary with big plays to Golden Tate and rookie Kenny Golladay, but that will be tougher against the Giants. The Lions spotted the Cards a pick-six but roared back to win, and they were able to get good pressure on Carson Palmer, whose inaccuracy looked positively Eli at times. Just as you don't want to jump on bandwagons after one week, you don't want to be over-hyping week two, but this is a game where the Giants need to show they can be the team they want to be, or say they want to be. Pick: Giants


Mike Carlson will be bringing you coverage of Jags games and around the league every Sunday on Talksport 2 from 5pm, and live BBCTV coverage from London and the Super Bowl

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