By Brien O’Donal
Well, that was a fun week, wasn’t it?
I think we’ve heard enough about how bad the Texans were so I will spare you any more. I think my biggest shock was how the Chargers managed to lose another close game with a simple mistake. And the Patriots losing at home like that in the opener? Stunned is about all I can say. But despite all that I finished the week with a 10-5 record in my picks. Let’s see if I can improve this week.
Texans (0-1) at Bengals (0-1)- Thursday 7:25 p.m. CT; NFL Network
Ha! I laugh at just the thought of this game. These two teams looked horrible in their season openers and a short week doesn’t help to fix things. But someone has to win and I am going to go with the team that has a quarterback. The Texans’ offensive line is so bad I don’t see any way they can put up enough points. I’m taking the Bengals to get back on track with a win.
Browns (0-1) at Ravens (1-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that I don’t think the Browns will be quite the laughing stock this year as in years past. Their near comeback against the Steelers in week one gave a small glimpse of that. Sadly, they face another division foe in week 2 and this time one with a defense that looks much better than what Pittsburgh had. I don’t think Kizer will throw 4 interceptions but I also don’t see him throwing multiple touchdowns either. I think the Ravens will get another nice win.
Bears (0-1) at Buccaneers (0-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
The Bears made a nice showing against the Falcons but I attribute that to Atlanta’s mistakes. I wouldn’t count on the Buccaneers being willing to let up defensively. Tampa Bay had a rough week like the Texans before, but they actually have a quarterback and multiple weapons capable of putting up points. I have them winning this one and starting their 16 game stretch with their heads held high.
Vikings (1-0) at Steelers (1-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Sometimes I hate it when the games are difficult to pick. This was one of those and I am still a little torn. But I guess that since this is being published I can’t turn back now. I am going with the Vikings to win this one. We already knew going into the season that Minnesota had a good defense and after one week there’s no reason to doubt them. But The addition of Dalvin Cook could be the piece that really turns their offense around. Sam Bradford makes his money on short accurate throws and with Cook being able to be dynamic on both carries and receptions out of the backfield their offense becomes a lot more dangerous. The Steelers on the other hand looked like they were not yet ready for the season when they faced the Browns. Sure, Antonio Brown looked great but where was everyone else? The defense was enough, but if Cleveland could make a late push, I don’t see any reason to believe the Vikings won’t make a constant push. I think defense and a steady dose of Dalvin Cook gives Minnesota the edge. Sunday Update: Sam Bradford’s injury has forced Case Keenum into the starting quarterback position. I have no faith in him so I have changed my pick to the Steelers. They will be able to take advantage in the pass rush and force Keenum into bad throws and sacks. Steelers offense will be able to put up more points due to more time of possession.
Patriots (0-1) at Saints (0-1)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
This one was pretty easy for me. Getting burned by the Patriots last week was a fluke. They lost to a good Chiefs team that is very much a contender. The Saints? Not so much. They have a lot of work to do on defense and there seems to be a little dysfunction on their offense. They had a week to get things together so this might be a fun duel between Brady and Brees, but I think the Patriots won’t let me down two weeks in a row.
Eagles (1-0) at Chiefs (1-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
The Eagles had a really good comeback game against the Redskins last week but that probably won’t be in the cards this week. The Chiefs on the other hand, they put together a complete game against the Patriots. I like Carson Wentz, I like that they gave him some help on offense. But I like the Chiefs’ defense more. I also like how Andy Reid opened up the offense and did what was necessary to make sure they put plenty of distance between themselves and their opponent on the scoreboard. I don’t even have an interest in watching this one because the Chiefs should win without too much effort.
Titans (0-1) at Jaguars (1-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
If you like tough, in the trenches, gladiator matches then this should be the game for you. The Jags surprised a lot of people with the defensive performance the put on in Houston last week, but those of us in the know realize they were pretty much just playing a game of “Red Rover” against a weak Texans offensive line. I still like what they have on that side of the ball though. The Titans found themselves on the wrong side of a tough defense last week in Oakland and weren’t able to come out with a win. Lucky for them they have a good defense themselves and won’t be facing an offense nearly as good as the Raiders. They should be able to put up enough points to remind Jacksonville that they still have Blake Bortles playing quarterback and walk out with a win.
Cardinals (0-1) at Colts (0-1)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
The Colts won’t win a game until Andrew Luck takes the field. I have the Cardinals winning this one. Nothing more needs to be said.
Bills (1-0) at Panthers (1-0)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
2 teams, 2 week 1 wins against teams that should have top 5 draft picks. I don’t really know what to make of this one because each of them have their problems. I like LeSean McCoy and what he does but I’m not sure there’s too much else on the Bills offense. I like what the Panthers have as weapons, but Cam Newton still seems to be recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. I feel like I’m making this pick based on pedigree, but I have the Panthers doing what it takes to get the “W”.
Jets (0-1) at Raiders (1-0)- Sunday 3:05 p.m. CT; CBS
Raiders at home against the Jets. No-brainer here. Until the Jets show me something I won’t pick them to win a single game. Raiders win easily.
Dolphins (0-0) at Chargers (0-1)- Sunday 3:05 p.m. CT; CBS
The Dolphins, like the Buccaneers are coming off a rough week at home with the onslaught of Hurricane Irma. They are also rested and ready to start the season. However, they face a Chargers team that lost a nail-biter on the road last week against a vaunted Denver defense. I imagine they will shore up their special teams mistakes and win a tough game at home.
49ers (0-1) at Seahawks (0-1)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Watching the Seahawks battle the Packers last week was a fun game to watch. Hard fought on both sides. The 49ers got blown out like I figured they would. This will be a good game for the Seahawks to take out their frustrations and win convincingly at home.
Redskins (0-1) at Rams (1-0)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
The Rams were quite the surprise last week. I picked them to win against the hapless Colts but I didn’t see that sort of a blow out coming. I doubt this week will be more of the same. The Redskins need to get their offense clicking again and I think they will do so against the Rams. I like Aaron Donald to make an auspicious debut but not be enough to seal a win. Redskins get a close one on the road.
Cowboys (1-0) at Broncos (1-0)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
The Broncos defense is still good but the Chargers showed them to be vulnerable to a good offense. The Cowboys still have the best offensive line and Ezekiel Elliot running the ball so, that sounds like a good offense to me. I mean, it’s not the best offense; but they’re good nonetheless. I also still don’t fully trust Trevor Siemian to put up enough points so I’m picking the Cowboys to win on the road.
Packers (1-0) at Falcons (1-0)- Sunday 7:30 p.m. CT; NBC
Gotta keep the ratings up and there’s probably not a better game to draw a crowd. The Falcons will be opening their new stadium and that will make it a tough atmosphere for the Packers. But like several other teams last week, the Falcons had weaknesses exposed by lesser teams in week 1. Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy are some of the best in the league at game planning to attack weaknesses. Their defense was also pretty good against Seattle last week and if they can get the same sort of push up front against Atlanta, Matt Ryan won’t be able to make the same throws he made during the playoffs last year. I like this one as a shootout but Aaron Rodgers and company get the final points to win.
Lions (1-0) at Giants (0-1)- Monday 7:30 p.m. CT; ESPN
By this point I may be too tired to care about this game. The Lions made a great comeback last week and the Giants looked a little lost. I hope they get their offense together and maybe Beckham Jr. plays this time around for a bit of a spark. I like the potential for this to be a high scoring game and with that in mind I think the Giants have a better defense. That could be the difference, I’ll take the Giants to win.
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