By the end of Week 2 there are some events becoming more set in stone; this occurs because teams maintain a week 1 performance level or they have a drop off because they may be on the road or suffering from home debut nerves. Other people maintain performance and still we are surprised - those that we are surprised by are Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes; Mahomes has started his career with three road games and three road wins.
On Sunday in Pittsburgh, he showed no nerves as he threw for 6 touchdowns and no turnovers as the Chiefs gained their second win of the season; they are tied with the Broncos who defeated the Raiders at home. The Chiefs are in better shape and more impressive as they opened on the road while Denver have had the comfort of Mile High.
Cleveland still cannot catch a break; they lose by three points in New Orleans with new field goal kicker missing two extra points and two field goals. A team that cannot win, will always find a new way to lose.
Jacksonville are not going away and neither is Blake Bortles - he shouldered responsibility with Leonard Fournette hamstrung - throwing for four touchdowns as the Patriots questionable defence cost them again. Early days in the season but the Pats are behind the Dolphins for East supremacy but no shame in losing to a genuine contender in the AFC but may count come playoffs and home field advantage.
Week 3 Preview
New York Jets (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-1-1)
A team that conspires its own downfall play a team that came back down to earth. Tyrod Taylor again played badly but he will probably get the start due to quick turnaround, while Sam Darnold threw for over 300 yards but two interceptions proved costly as the early scores came from costly turnovers. Miami did not have do much to gain the victory. The Jets may have a few more weapons but can the Browns get it together, we hope.
Prediction: Browns by 2
New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
The NFC South is going to be the toughest division this year, three good teams anyway but one team exceeding expectation. The Saints got over the line versus Cleveland though they the reliance on Kamara is proving them to be one-dimensional. The Falcons bounced back at home to Carolina, and they are a different beast in the Mercedes-Benz stadium seemingly. The Falcons have a greater balance on both sides while the Saints look for an answer before Ingram returns.
Prediction: Falcons by 7
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
The Chiefs finally get home to Arrowhead and the atmosphere will be electric, the 49ers will be buoyant after their first victory of the season however they are going up against a rampant KC offense led by the lights out Patrick Mahomes who had six touchdowns and no turnovers on the day in Pittsburgh. The defence is giving up numbers though so it will again be a 60 point game probably, but does JimmyG have the firepower to contend with Tyreek Hill and company.
Prediction: Chiefs by 10
Oakland Raiders (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
The Dolphins have quietly gone under the radar gaining two wins to lead the division, and they face the woeful Raiders at home who have to travel from coast to coast. Although they showed improvement and lost only by one point, you feel the chance was gone and this will be a tough trip for them. Miami though have an efficiency and force turnovers that result in points; facing a mistake prone Oakland side that could be a match made in heaven.
Prediction: Dolphins by 3
Buffalo Bills (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1)
The Vikings have a lot going for them, but for a questionable roughing the passer call they may have lost to Green Bay; while the Bills were again abysmal versus the Chargers. Josh Allen is starting for Buffalo and he showed promise but he has no talent outside and if LeSean McCoy cannot get running room there is little chance for productivity. The Vikings defence will be too strong for the Bills
Prediction: Vikings by 9
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Andrew Luck is an inspiring figure gaining his first win since his return usurping Alex Smith and the Washington franchise who stutter despite the good efforts of Chris Thompson. The Eagles meanwhile, got thrashed by the Bucs and Fitzpatrick who showed up their questionable secondary. The Colts have one great receiver and the Eagles did well against one great WR such as Julio Jones, the problem was against a squadron of WR. The Eagles may have Carson Wentz back which would be interesting to see, and they may have enough.
Prediction: Eagles by 6
Green Bay Packers (1-1-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers who is nursing himself through a knee injury, this may be the toughest game to pick as the Packers have a questionable secondary which Washington may exploit. Alex Smith has the skills to manage this game, while the Packers still need to find their offensive identity despite having a great quarterback.
Prediction: Washington by 3
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)
This should be a great contest, the Bengals came out firing against the Ravens and shot out to a huge lead that they never gave up. The Panthers will be licking their wounds after losing in Atlanta, but McCaffrey got a huge amount of yardage and can Carolina get to Dalton enough to force mistakes.
Prediction: Panthers by 4
Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)
The Jaguars are for real, despite the injury to Leonard Fournette, Blake Bortles had the keys to the cars and drove through New England with reckless abandon, Keenan Cole had a huge day with great runs supplemented by Ryan Grant. Bortles was able to find receivers open anywhere on the field. The Titans got a good game out of Blaine Gabbert but can imagine Sacksonville having a field day here.
Prediction: Jaguars by 7
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Another good even contest, the Ravens will be in need of a reaction following the woeful submission to the Bengals on Thursday night. The Broncos rode their luck at home to Oakland but they have a perfect record. Again though the big travel across country may count against them, the Ravens though face a formidable defensive line while Keenum has shown great poise under duress. A field goal to split them here.
Prediction: Ravens by 3
New York Giants (0-2) at Houston Texans (0-2)
One team will get a win, unless we have our third consecutive tie, and for all the promise and talent on display in the Big Apple there is a real worry that the Giants may be looking at a terrible September; is Eli Manning just past it now? The Texans have a home game opener and they showed promise but need to find better protection for Deshaun Watson who nevertheless threw to both DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller for over 100 yards each. The Texans may have enough, while the Giants are merely treading water.
Prediction: Texans by 6
The Battle for LA - but the Rams are appearing to be the most complete team in the NFL, they brushed aside the Arizona Cardianls 34-0, Todd Gurley ripped them up and the defence swallowed up Sam Bradford. Goff is executing McVay's game plan with little fuss and you cannot see anything but a Rams victory here. The prediction may seem harsh but this due partly to Rivers prone to errors be it fumbles or interceptions.
Prediction: Rams by 10
Chicago Bears (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-2)
This Bears defence is frightening, they looked good admittedly against a poor O-line of Seattle which necessitated to Russell Wilson having kittens; yet it is Trubizky doing enough when required either with passes or on his feet. There is a nice balance in Chicago which may come to greater fruition, and this defence against a weak Cardinals side may eat up more sacks again on the road.
Prediction: Bears by 6
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)
A few seasons ago this would have been a prime time fixture, now it is two franchises in a state of flux and flabbergast. A one-dimensional Dallas side reliant upon a running back due to the lack of receivers against a Seahawks side who still have defenders to make plays. Can Seattle get to Dak enough, does Dallas have enough pressure to force Russell to get out of his comfort zone with Doug Baldwin still sidelined. Feel the Seahawks will sneak this one in an ugly contest.
Prediction: Seahawks by 3
New England Patriots (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
The Patriots have a questionable defence, they leave receivers wide open and cannot get pressure up front on third downs to force mistakes from the relevant quarterback; they face a good quarterback with receivers but their old defensive co-ordinator Matt Patricia who has not had a good start to his head coaching career. The Patriots should have enough to overcome this defence and the importance of having match ups and fooling the Lions is key, would like to see more of James White. The Patriots got outplayed and even Brady cannot overcome that defence and scoreline.
Prediction: Patriots by 7
Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
It is strange how schedulers are sometimes laughed at, and yet happen stance or good fortune results in hot properties getting their due attention. The Buccaneers have turned some heads with a road win in the opener in the Superdome followed by a defeat at home of the Superbowl champions, Philadelphia Eagles. Thanks in no small part to the resurgent Ryan Fitzpatrick, with 8 touchdowns in two games, but a defence that is swallowing up offensive lines. This is the last game of Jameis Winston's suspension, meaning the Bucs will have a huge decision to make. Fitzpatrick has made great start to seasons before and tailed off, but he gives a level of dependency you will not ordinarily get from Winston with fewer turnovers. Plus the explosive nature of three wide receivers gives them a match up nightmare for any defence, and facing a Steelers secondary that gives up big plays after big plays - can you see anything but the continuing Fitzmagic spell?
Prediction: Bucs by 8
- Austin Ekeler (LAC, RB) - has to share workload with Melvin Gordon for carries but outrushed Gordon who was used more in screens, had 98 total yards on Sunday in Buffalo. Will aim to get a TD this week albeit against the stellar Rams defence.
- Philip Lindsay (DEN, RB) does all the hard work - 107 yards off 14 carries but Royce Freeman got the TD. On the road at Baltimore that may alter this week.
- Philip Richardson (WAS, WR) - 63 yards off of four targets, they are at home to Green Bay and their questionable secondary. Ample opportunity there for big numbers.