Who will take the win? NFL week 2 predictions

Patriots likely to take down Cardinals; close game expected between Jets and Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ NY Giants

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

The Giants suffered a tough loss last week against the Dallas Cowboys due to their porous defense while Tampa Bay beat division rival Carolina, despite a huge game by Cam Newton. Rookie Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin had a promising debut rushing for 95 yards, and Tampa Bay’s run defense was stifling against Carolina, allowing only 10 yards on the ground. This game has upset written all over it.

Prediction: 24-20 Buccaneers

Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

Even with their loss to San Diego, this Oakland team is a force to be reckoned with this season. Darren McFadden had trouble finding room to run last time, but this won’t be a common theme in Raiders games this year. Once they can get the ground game working, the field will open up more for Carson Palmer. Even still, Palmer had a great game taking care of the ball and throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins looked like a mess behind Ryan Tannehill, but this season is really just for his development. The Dolphins aren’t expected to go anywhere this season, and if they play like they did against Houston, they definitely won’t.

Prediction: 27-13 Raiders

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

Although they were playing the lowly Dolphins, Houston won convincingly last week, even without much production from Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Instead, their defense was the key to victory, forcing three interceptions and forcing clutch fumbles. They get another easy test again this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars put up a fight against Minnesota, but lost in overtime. Blaine Gabbert looked good last Sunday, but he’ll get a chance to prove himself against a great defense this week.

Prediction: 31-10 Texans

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

Cleveland turned a lot of heads last week against the heavily-favored Philadelphia Eagles, losing on a last minute touchdown drive orchestrated by Michael Vick. While their defense played outstanding, holding an incredibly explosive Philadelphia offense to hardly any scoring, their offense looked atrocious with their rookie QB showing his lack of experience by throwing four interceptions. Cincinnati also surprised on Sunday, but for all the wrong reasons. They hardly put up any fight against Baltimore, a team not known for their offense, allowing over 425 yards of total offense. They should be back on track this week.

Prediction: 24-14 Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

Fred Jackson only had three carries in the new season before getting injured. Last season, his injury halted Buffalo’s offense. This year, it appears that backup C. J. Spiller may be able to take control of the running game and produce an effective offense. The defense was terrible, however, allowing 48 points to the Jets. Kansas City also had defensive problems against Atlanta, but Matt Cassel looks promising, showing some of the skills he displayed in New England. This game could be a barn burner.

Prediction: 31-24 Bills

Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

The Ravens just scared everyone in the NFL. Joe Flacco infamously commented that he was the best QB in the NFL, and subsequently took a lot of criticism around the league. After Monday night’s trashing of the Bengals, he isn’t looking so silly anymore. The Eagles were disappointing to say the least, not able to move the ball for the majority of the game against the Browns. If Philadelphia wants to accomplish their Super Bowl aspirations, Michael Vick needs to make better decisions and stop turning the ball over. This game should be a great defensive struggle.

Prediction: 17-13 Ravens

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

The Saints’ defense is still recovering from last season’s bounty scandal, and it showed against the Redskins last week. They lost a shootout at home against Washington and seemed confused as to how to stop Robert Griffin. Carolina also had one of the least impressive debuts in their loss to Tampa Bay. Their usual prolific ground game was non-existent, and they had to rely on Cam Newton’s passing to keep the game close.

Prediction: 38-24 Saints

Arizona Cardinals @ New England Patriots

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

It seems like Arizona’s QB controversy may work itself out. With John Skelton’s injury, Kevin Kolb will get another chance to prove himself. He looked sharp in his previous eight attempts, but that is obviously too small of a sample size to pass any judgment. He will be tested this week against a New England team that looked unbeatable at times in their game against Tennessee. Tom Brady was brilliant as always, throwing touchdowns to both tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Stevan Ridley was also surprising in one of his first real opportunities to receive the bulk of the carries. The Pats should take this one easily.

Prediction: 35-10 Patriots

Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, Sept. 16 1:00 p.m.

Adrian Peterson looked like his old self last week in his first game back after suffering a gruesome knee injury last season, scoring two touchdowns in the Vikings’ win. They barely beat Jacksonville, and his performance was one of the few bright spots of the game. Indianapolis’ defense couldn’t back up a decent debut from Andrew Luck, allowing 41 points to Chicago, and we can expect them to fall again this week.

Prediction: 17-10 Vikings

Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams

Sunday, Sept. 16 4:05 p.m.

Robert Griffin III had one of the best rookie debuts in recent memory. He showed that he deserved to be picked second overall as he led the Redskins to a victory over a supremely talented Saints team without displaying many weaknesses. The Rams came close to upsetting Detroit by intercepting Matt Stafford three times, but in the end, Detroit’s offensive firepower proved to be supreme. This should be a good matchup between two young teams.

Prediction: 34-13 Redskins

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, Sept. 16 4:05 p.m.

Dallas was impressive in their Thursday night win against the Super Bowl champion Giants. Tony Romo was particularly sharp, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. DeMarco Murray was simply dominant, racking up 131 yards on the ground. Seattle got basically all anyone could expect of Russell Wilson in his debut. He was decent, but just didn’t receive enough help to beat Arizona.

Prediction: 34-10 Cowboys

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, Sept. 16 4:25 p.m.

The Jets really did look amazing against Buffalo last week. They scored the most points in an opening weekend game since 2003, which is really saying something, considering defense is definitely their biggest strength. Mark Sanchez looked the best he has in a while. The Jets could be a scary team in the AFC. Pittsburgh just seemed flat last week against Denver. Ben Roethlisberger had trouble completing passes and his offensive line (as usual) struggled to keep him off his back.

Prediction: 24-21 Jets

Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers

Sunday, Sept. 16 4:25 p.m.

To add insult to injury, during the Titans’ loss to New England, QB Jake Locker also suffered a separated shoulder. Although the Titans organization claims he will be ready to play, there is no telling what his effectiveness will be. Chris Johnson had another awful game, unable to break any big runs through the Patriots defense and only averaged .4 yards per carry in 11 touches. The Chargers looked fine, not great Monday night, and their running game was totally non-existent. As long as Philip Rivers is wearing Chargers blue however, they will always be able to win games.

Prediction: 24-10 Chargers

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, Sept. 16 8:20 p.m.

This is the must-see game of the week. San Francisco thoroughly dominated the Packers last week, and showed that last season’s success was not a fluke. They are one of the most well coached teams in the league and they have an incredibly tough defense. It will be interesting to see if Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson can put up the kind of gaudy numbers that they’re used to in this one.

Prediction: 31-27 49ers

Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons

Monday, Sept. 17 8:30 p.m.

Well, he’s back. Peyton Manning looked outstanding on the biggest of stages in Sunday night’s game against Pittsburgh. He was reminiscent of his old self, leading Denver to a 17 point 4th quarter, eventually sealing the win. The defense also held strong, holding a potentially dangerous Pittsburgh offense to just 19 points. Atlanta scored on seven straight possessions to open the game in Kansas City. Matt Ryan had an outstanding throwing game and the Falcons showed just how explosive their offense can be.

Prediction: 31-21 Falcons