Ed: Let’s hear it for good starts — and maybe lucky starts, too. Thanks to a 6-1 record in Week 1, I get the honor (or the duty, depending on point of view) of authoring the Week 2 post and choosing the games. Ah, the price of success … Last week, I got a chance to try out NFL’s Game Pass and their Red Zone channel, which also turned out to be a good start to the season. Unfortunately, the NFL itself didn’t get off to a very good start, with ratings lower than they have been since 2009. They blame the hurricanes, so we’ll see if Week 2 reverses their fortunes, along with those of 14 teams. (Tampa Bay and Miami didn’t play last week because of Hurricane Irma.)
Jazz: I won’t say I had a terrible first week, going 4-3 to at least be over the .500 mark. But if Ed’s going to go back to his 2015 habits and get at least six right every week I’ll have to do much better. As for matters of the heart, I went into week 1 wondering if the no-name bunch of rookies and castoffs that the Jets assembled might just shock the world. The shocking part turned out to be how bad they looked against a Bills lineup that was mediocre at best. Will we go 0-16? I’m not ruling it out and they’ve got even more trouble coming today.
Ed: The Steelers got away with a mediocre performance in Cleveland last week, but they’ll need to get a lot more disciplined against an impressive Viking squad today (1 pm ET, Fox). Minnesota’s offense had a good night against the Saint’s usually woeful defense, but their own defense strangled Drew Brees for most of the night. In order to win, Pittsburgh has to stop the sloppy, penalty-laden play on defense and get La’Veon Bell running effectively. Steelers should prevail in a low-scoring game, 20-14. The Jets go into Oakland as two-touchdown underdogs (4:05 pm, CBS), which might be overestimating the Raiders a bit but getting the outcome correct. Oakland 26-17 over the Jets.
Jazz: The Vikings looked really good last week, particularly given the nearly 350 yards that Sam Bradford put up. The Steelers, by comparison, seemed lukewarm at best. Don’t expect them to stay that way, however. Pittsburgh is a roughly one touchdown favorite for a reason so I’ll prop up Ed’s team and take the Steelers in a close one, 27-24. As for my Jets… what can I say? The Bills looked pretty bad last week to be honest and they still managed to thrash the Jets once they got their feet underneath them in the second half. This week New York travels to the west coast to face the Raiders. Even back when the Jets won some games they always did poorly on west coast trips. And Derek Carr has been on fire with a ton of available targets while we have two rookie safeties trying to cover them all. Sad to say, I’ll take the Raiders in an embarrassing blowout, 34-12.
Ed: Here are a few more games to make the week interesting:
- Patriots at Saints (1 pm, CBS) – Both teams got off to a bad start in Week 1, and the Saints are playing this one on friendly turf. New England got kicked in the head at home. Can Tom Brady make a comeback on the road, or will Drew Brees shred the Pats defense? The Pats are favored by a TD with an over/under of 56.5. After watching the Saints last week, though, I’ll agree, and pick the Pats by that spread, 31-24.
- Cowboys at Broncos (4:25 pm, Fox) – The Broncos barely squeaked past the Chargers at home last week, and Dallas ain’t Los Angeles Jr. Expect a defensive battle, but the Cowboys should prevail, 28-17.
- Redskins at Rams (4:25 pm, Fox) – No team looked more surprising than Los Angeles Sr last week, utterly destroying the Colts in a 46-9 laugher. Washington got stomped at home by rival Philadelphia, but the Rams will have to face a real starting QB this week. They come into the game as favorites by a field goal, but expect a wider margin for a Los Angeles win, 30-20.
- Green Bay at Falcons (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Pack played a good second half on offense against a tough Seattle defense, but it took a while for them to wake up. The Falcons came back on the road last week, but Green Bay’s a tougher team than Chicago Atlanta’s favored by three, but I’ll go with the Packers in a close 27-24 fight.
- Lions at Giants (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Dallas spanked the Giants last week, while the Lions won big at home over the Cardinals. New York comes into the game favored by a field goal, but it’s tough to see why. They gave up 392 yards last week and only gained 233, while Detroit gave up 308 and gained 367, mostly through the air (285). Their pass defense looks suspect, and they still probably won’t have Odell Beckham back on their offense. I’ll pick Detroit for a mild upset in a 26-17 win on the road.
- Patriots at Saints (1 pm, CBS) – These two teams put on among the worst defensive performances in the league last week, giving up in the range of 500 yards. So which one is least likely to go 0-2? Has to be the Patriots I’m sad to say. Also, the Saints lost a couple of key offensive players to injury. I’ll take New England 28-21.
- Cowboys at Broncos (4:25 pm, Fox) – This one is really a question of whether the Cowboys’ offense can continue the dominating, grinding and clock-eating display they put on last week. But the Broncos’ defense looks up to the challenge. If they can contain the Dallas ground game they should be able to pull out a win here. Dallas is a slight favorite, but I’ll go with the Broncos in a nail biter, 27-24 for a mild upset.
- Redskins at Rams (4:25 pm, Fox) – The Rams are the pick in the Vegas line by three, but I’m not convinced yet. They looked really good last week but that was against the Colts who were already missing key players. The Redskins are known for bouncing back from losing the opener and they’ll do it again here. In another upset, I’ll take the Redskins 24-17.
- Green Bay at Falcons (8:30 pm, NBC) – Atlanta didn’t look all that hot in Week 1, but that seemed to come more from coaching errors than poor play. (Why was Julio Jones on the bench so much?) Green Bay’s defense is dominating, but I think Matt Ryan can solve that puzzle. I’m going with the line on this one and taking the Falcons in a close match, 30-27.
- Lions at Giants (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – There are question marks hanging over the heads of both these teams after week 1. The Giant’s O-line didn’t play up to expectations and the Lion’s are already putting key players on IR. In the end this one may just come down to a combination of home field advantage and who has a better history playing Monday night games. The Giants get the edge in both categories so I’ll take New York with a surprisingly strong performance, 27-14.