I don’t know what it is with me and Week 2 predictions, but much like last year’s Week 2, I struggled and finished with just a .500 record. This week’s slate of games figures to be just as challenging.
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Last Week: 8-8
This Week: 12-4
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
I don’t see how this one will be very competitive. The Ravens have added a solid offense to their already imposing defense while the Browns are one of the worst ball clubs in the league.
Prediction: Baltimore 31, Cleveland 17
Actual Score: Baltimore 34, Cleveland 3
Washington Redskins (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
If ever the Lions are going to break their losing streak, and let’s hope it’s not next week against the Bears, this has to be the game. The Redskins looked awful against a bad Rams team last week while the Lions have played competitively in their two losses to start the season. If the Lions can overcome the defensive front of the ‘Skins, then they have a shot.
Prediction: Detroit 24, Washington 17
Actual Score: Detroit 19, Washington 14
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Houston Texans (1-1)
After a terrible Week 1 loss to the visiting New York Jets, the Texans stole one on the road against the Titans last week. Now they return home to face a Jaguars team in disarray. Jacksonville’s defense is not equipped to handle the high powered offense of Matt Schaub and the Texans.
Prediction: Houston 27, Jacksonville 20
Actual Score: Jacksonville 31, Houston 24
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at New England Patriots (1-1)
The Patriots are not the team many thought they’d be with a healthy Tom Brady. They needed some late-game heroics to survive the Bills in Week 1 and were handled by the Jets last week. The Falcons, meanwhile, have been out to prove that last year was no fluke. If this game were played in Atlanta, I’d have more confidence picking the Falcons. As of now, I don’t have any. I think the Patriots narrowly edge the Falcons here.
Prediction: New England 21, Atlanta 17
Actual Score: New England 26, Atlanta 10
Green Bay Packers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (0-2)
The Packers have some major problems on the offensive line as Aaron Rodgers has been sacked a league-high 10 times through two games. Nevertheless, despite home field advantage, I don’t see the Rams stacking up with the Packers in this one.
Prediction: Green Bay 24, St. Louis 10
Actual Score: Green Bay 36, St. Louis 17
New York Giants (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)
Despite the 0-2 record, the Buccaneers are the fourth-best in the league in total yards. That hasn’t translated to points and wins, though, and the Giants are one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Prediction: New York Giants 30, Tampa Bay 23
Actual Score: New York Giants 24, Tampa Bay 0
Tennessee Titans (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0)
It’s hard to imagine last year’s top regular season team falling to 0-3 to start the 2009 campaign, but that could be an inevitable path for the Titans as they run into a team playing about as well as any in the league so far on their home field.
Prediction: New York Jets 23, Tennessee 14
Actual Score: New York Jets 24, Tennessee 17
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
The Chiefs have the ability to put up big points with some young, explosive playmakers on offense, but they’re not going to waltz into Philadelphia and push the Eagles around, even without Donovan McNabb.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Kansas City 20
Actual Score: Philadelphia 34, Kansas City 14
San Francisco 49ers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
I’m very intrigued to see this game because not only is it a matchup between two unbeatens, but it’s also two teams that playing unlike what they were expected to do prior to the season. The Vikings are not wowing anybody and Brett Favre, although not yet hurting the team, isn’t making them as explosive as some thought he would. And the 49ers are playing much better than anybody could have expected from them. I say the Vikings benefit from home field advantage, though.
Prediction: Minnesota 21, San Francisco 17
Actual Score: Minnesota 27, San Francisco 24
New Orleans Saints (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
This should be a solid game between the league’s best offense and an underrated defense. I don’t think the Bills can contain the Saints’ explosive offense and the Bills’ no-huddle offense isn’t quite up to speed yet.
Prediction: New Orleans 34, Buffalo 26
Actual Score: New Orleans 27, Buffalo 7
Chicago Bears (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Seattle is a tough place to play because of the crowd noise. But the “12th man” alone can’t win ball games, and I don’t think without Matt Hasselbeck that the Seahawks will have much going for them offensively. Not to mention, their run defense is horrid.
Prediction: Chicago 27, Seattle 14
Actual Score: Chicago 25, Seattle 19
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
The Bengals have not beaten the Steelers at home in quite some time. Despite their impressive road upset over the Packers last week, I don’t think they break that losing streak to the Steelers this week. The Steelers have too good a defense and a strong offense for the Bengals to overcome.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 20
Actual Score: Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 20
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Oakland Raiders (1-1)
It’s hard to believe an average Broncos team could be 3-0, but they’ve benefited from a lucky break in Week 1 to a soft schedule to open the season. The Raiders played well in a loss to the Chargers in the first week and squeaked past the Chiefs last week. I think the defense will give Kyle Orton fits and pull off the win.
Prediction: Oakland 23, Denver 20
Actual Score: Denver 23, Oakland 3
Miami Dolphins (0-2) at San Diego Chargers (1-1)
Last week, the Chargers had difficulty scoring points in the red zone against the Ravens. That has to change in order to be successful this week. I think this game will come down to execution of the Wildcat offense for the Dolphins. If they can confuse and trip up the Chargers defense, Miami has a shot at the victory. I don’t think they get it done on the road.
Prediction: San Diego 24, Miami 20
Actual Score: San Diego 23, Miami 13
Indianapolis Colts (2-0) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
This isn’t the Indianapolis Colts of the mid-2000s, but they’re still an explosive offense, as are the Cardinals, so we should be in for a nice Sunday night treat. I have to give the Cardinals the benefit of the doubt in this one due to their home field advantage.
Prediction: Arizona 31, Indianapolis 28
Actual Score: Indianapolis 31, Arizona 10
Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
After a solid performance from the Cowboys’ offense in Week 1, they looked less than spectacular against a tough Giants defense, particularly Tony Romo. But the Panthers can’t seem to get anything right and will have trouble moving the ball against Dallas’ defense.
Prediction: Dallas 33, Carolina 21
Actual Score: Dallas 21, Carolina 7