Week 1 sure didn’t disappoint. We had a ton of close games, a few massive comebacks and plenty of big performances.
The Broncos showed why they are the defending champs, the Patriots showed they are all about the next man up and the Raiders offense made us all pay attention. Over in the NFC, we learned that Jordy Nelson doesn’t take long to get back into the flow after an injury, Victor Cruz can still get past defenders and into the end-zone, and that Jameis Winston can score with the best of them.
I went 8-8 for my week 1 picks. Here’s to hoping week 2 goes better.
Thursday Night Football
- Jets @ Bills: In both teams first division game, it’s a battle to avoid an 0-2 start. Both teams had impressive defensive showings in week 1. The Jets were able to get to Andy Dalton for a record 7 sacks thanks to a big day from their defensive line. Darrelle Revis was exploited by A.J. Green like few others have been able to in the corner’s 10-year career. Buffalo held Baltimore to one touchdown, and not much on the ground. New York was hurt by missed PAT and FG from the usually on-point Nick Folk and a late Ryan Fitzpatrick interception. So which team should feel better about their chances in week 2? I like the Jets to fix their little mistakes on offense this week. NEW YORK WINS
Sunday 1pm Games
- Saints @ Giants: If there’s one thing we learned in week 1, it’s that the Saints defense isn’t much better than last season, while the Giants defense finally learned to limit damage. New York shouldn’t be happy about allowing the Cowboys to dominate time of possession, but Big Blue should be very excited about how their wide receiving core looked. Victor Cruz scored his first touchdown since 2014, rookie wideout Sterling Shepard got his first and Odell Beckham Jr. took pressure off both. The game-winning drive for New York featured solid offensive line play they’ve desperately lacked the past couple of seasons. New Orleans had no issues on offense in week 1, with Drew Brees throwing 4 touchdowns. Oakland took that game with a late drive and two-point conversion on the road, leaving a hungry Saints team looking to avoid an 0-2 start. Last year’s match-up between these two meant 101 combined points. While I don’t think it will get that bad this time around, it could still be a shootout. Obviously, I liked what the Giants did a lot more in week 1 than the Saints, but I can’t see an 0-2 start for this Saints team. NEW ORLEANS WINS
- Titans @ Lions: Detroit’s offense looked very good in week 1. The defense struggled in the second half, blowing a 21 point lead only to hold on in the end for a 1-0 start. Tennessean saw signs of life from DeMarco Murray on offense, but allowed Minnesota to score not one, but two defensive touchdowns. The Lions definitely hold the edge in offense heading into week 2, but I don’t think Detroit can replicate that again. Look for Marcus Mariota to have a big day. TENNESSEE WINS
- Cowboys @ Redskins: One team lost by a point at home in week 1, the other got beat down. Dallas had a shot to get rookie QB Dak Prescott a win in his debut, but time management cost them a shot at a game-winning field goal. Washington looked pretty good defensively early against Pittsburgh on Monday night, then Antonio Brown showed up. The Cowboys were able to eat up a lot of clock Sunday, and the way the Skins played the run against Pittsburgh, Dallas can absolutely do that again. Washington’s run game gained less than 60 yards. That’ll be the difference. DALLAS WINS
- Chiefs @ Texans: Both teams come into this match-up at 1-0, but with work to do. Slow starts could’ve doomed both in their first games, but things got going late. Brock Osweiler led the Texans on a 23-0 run after spotting the Bears 14 early. KC had to come back from down 21-0 and get the win in overtime. At least both teams know they can comeback from an early deficit? If Houston wants to win this game, they need another big day from Lamar Miller. While I absolutely think they can get that big day, I think the Chiefs are simply the better team. Alex Smith had one of his best games, without needing to run the ball like he is known to do. KANSAS CITY WINS
- Dolphins @ Patriots: No Tom Brady? No Rob Gronkowski? No problem. Jimmy Garoppolo showed his game management skills in their week 1 win over the Cards. The Pats won the battle of special teams, as Stephen Gostkowski went 3-f0r-3 on field goals, including a 53-yard footer, while the Cards missed a potential game winner with 41 seconds to go. Miami was able to stand pat against the Seahawks in week 1, putting together a masterful 86-yard touchdown drive to take a lead in the fourth quarter. But they fell anyway. NEW ENGLAND WINS
- Ravens @ Browns: Baltimore’s defense was at a peak level it hasn’t been at in years in week 1. That being said, the Ravens offense wasn’t very impressive, though give credit to Tennessee there. Joe Flacco was sharp throwing the ball, and got his team into the red zone four times. Cleveland is already on quarterback number 2 after Robert Griffin went down in his Browns debut. As if that wasn’t bad enough in week 1, the Browns couldn’t stop Carson Wentz, who they passed on in the draft. Whoever said the curse was broken in Cleveland after the Cavs win wasn’t looking broadly enough. Cleveland needs to establish the run in week 2 if they have any shot of winning, and even then I don’t think it’ll be enough. BALTIMORE WINS
- Niners @ Panthers: The team entering this match-up 1-0 isn’t the team I thought would be doing so. San Francisco laid the goose egg on the Rams in week 1, while the Panthers lost a heart-breaker to the defending champs. As good as the Niners looked Sunday night, they still aren’t in the same league as this Carolina team, and there is no way the team I tabbed for a Superbowl this season starts 0-2, especially with this game taking place at home. Blaine Gabbert won’t have it so easy in week 2. CAROLINA WINS
- Bengals @ Steelers: Cincinnati escaped week 1 with a road win in New York in a back-and-forth affair. Then, the Steelers rebounded from a slow start to take an easy one from the Skins. Both teams got huge performances from their number 1 wide receivers, meaning the game comes down to the ground and pound. DeAngelo Williams made up for the lack of Le’Veon Bell and then some. So who gets this first AFC North win? Give me the black and yellow in week 2. PITTSBRUGH WINS
Sunday 4/425pm Games
- Buccaneers @ Cardinals: Jameis Winston had his best game as a pro. And Tampa’s defense did a great job stopping the run against Atlanta, but need to figure out how to stop the big plays. As for the Cardinals, they fell late to the Patriots on a field-goal. What gives in week 2? I love this Arizona squad. Larry Fitzgerald looks amazing. It took them some time to get going in week 1, but I think they can get going earlier at home against this Bucs defense and get their 1st win of the season. ARIZONA WINS
- Seahawks @ Rams: Seattle escaped week 1 with a win on the strength of their defense. L.A. on the other hand, looked like the worst team in the league by far. They couldn’t stop a Niners offense that wasn’t expected to do much this season, while their own offense looked lost. Last year, the Rams seemed to play up to their competition or down to them, so they could look a bit better this week. But I also don’t expect the Seahawks to look so bad on offense again this week. SEATTLE WINS
- Falcons @ Raiders: Atlanta has missed the playoffs the last two seasons, and their defense did little to reassure their fans that this wouldn’t be a third straight. Scoring has never been the Falcons’ problem, but if they can’t get the run game going this week, they’re in trouble. The Raiders showed why a lot of people (myself included) have tabbed them to make the postseason this year. They can score with anyone, and no one believes that more than head coach Jack del Rio who went for two late to give the team a 1-point win on the road. The Falcons have to control the clock or the Raiders will put them in an 0-2 hole. OAKLAND WINS
- Jaguars @ Chargers: I was impressed with both of these teams in week 1. Both teams lost, but they held their own against two of the league’s best teams (Green Bay and Kansas City). The big play ability of the Jags defense will keep them in most games offensively. San Diego got a big game on the ground, but the defense let up big time in the 2nd half. This could be a high scoring game, but I like Jags on the road. JACKSONVILLE WINS
- Colts @ Broncos: Andrew Luck woke up big time in the 2nd half last season, but the defense left a lot to be desired. Denver looked strong coming off their Superbowl win, doing big things on the ground with C.J. Anderson. Indianapolis isn’t facing quite the QB that Matthew Stafford is, and while I liked this Colts team coming into the season, give me another win for the Broncos this week. DENVER WINS
Sunday Night Football
- Packers @ Vikings: The Packers looked good last week, getting Jordy Nelson back into the flow of the offense right away. Minneosta pulled out a week 1 win thanks to their defense scoring two touchdowns against the Titans. Adrian Peterson was stuffed by a lesser front than the Packers. Sure it’s a division game, which is always tougher no matter if there is a talent gap. But with Green Bay getting Nelson going so quickly is bad news for the Vikings. I like the Pack to get to 2-0. GREEN BAY WINS
Monday Night Football
- Eagles @ Bears: Carson Wentz didn’t look like a rookie in week one, while veteran Jay Cutler got shut out in the 2nd half to drop his first of the season. I don’t particularly like either one of these teams, and while Jay Cutler can put up big numbers, I feel like the Bears don’t have many big play makers right now. It won’t be as easy for the Eagles this week as it was last week, but I still think they’ll pull this one out. PHILADELPHIA WINS