Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 2:
Thursday, September 13
Chicago (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1) 8:20 p.m. [Line: Packers by 7]
Last week: Packers lost at home to the 49ers 30-22; Bears won at home against the Colts 41-21.
Chicago’s offense looked unstoppable in Week 1, both on the ground and through the air. But let’s remember that they were playing the Colts. The Packers could not run the ball last week, but keep in mind that they were playing the 49ers.
RJ’s Pick: Green Bay by 3
Sunday, September 16
Kansas City (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Bills by 3.5]
Last week: Chiefs lost at home to Atlanta 40-24; Bills lost to the Jets 48-28.
Kansas City can run the ball, but Matt Cassel threw two INTs and lost a fumble last week. Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three picks last week, while RB Fred Jackson injured his knee and is likely going to be out for about a month. That may not be too critical of a loss, however, as Buffalo’s other running back C.J. Spiller rushed for 169 yards on just 14 carries in Week One.
RJ’s Pick: Buffalo by 8
Cleveland (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Bengals by 6.5]
Last week: Browns lost at home to the Eagles 17-16; Bengals lost to the Ravens 44-13.
Cincinnati RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis looked good last week, but the Bengals defense looked awful. Cleveland’s rookie QB Brandon Weeden definitely looked like a rookie in his NFL regular season debut, completing just 34% of his passes and throwing four INTs. Cleveland’s rookie RB Trent Richardson was held to just 39 yards on 19 carries.
RJ’s Pick: Cincinnati by 13
Minnesota (1-0) at Indianapolis (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Vikings by 2]
Last week: Vikings beat Jaguars 26-23 in overtime; Colts lost to Bears 41-21.
Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson ran for two scores in Week 1. Colts QB Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, threw three INTs in his NFL regular season debut.
RJ’s Pick: Minnesota by 7
New Orleans (0-1) at Carolina (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Saints by 2.5]
Last week: Saints lost at home to Washington 40-32; Panthers lost to Tampa Bay 16-10.
New Orleans QB Drew Brees looked pretty bad last week, completing fewer than 50% of his passes and throwing two picks. And the Saints defense was just plain awful. The Panthers rushed for a total of 10 yards last week on 13 attempts.
RJ’s Pick: New Orleans by 15
Houston (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Texans by 7]
Last week: Houston clobbered Miami 30-10; Jaguars lost in overtime to Vikings 26-23.
The Texans committed no turnovers and dominated the time of possession in Week One. Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert was surprisingly effective last week, throwing for two TDs and no interceptions, although he did lose a fumble.
RJ’s Pick: Houston by 2
Oakland (0-1) at Miami (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Raiders by 2.5]
Last week: Dolphins lost to Houston 30-10; Raiders lost to San Diego 22-14.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill threw three INTs in his NFL regular season debut. Miami RB Reggie Bush put in a strong performance in a losing effort. Oakland’s special teams were terrible last week, with two botched punt snaps and one blocked punt. The Raiders’ running game managed just 45 yards on 20 attempts.
RJ’s Pick: Oakland by 9
Arizona (1-0) at New England (1-0) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Patriots by 13.5]
Last week: Cardinals beat Seahawks 20-16; Patriots shredded Titans on the road 34-13.
New England RB Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a touchdown last week. Arizona QB Kevin Kolb took over for an injured John Skelton and led the Cardinals to a game-winning fourth quarter touchdown. I figured Kolb would replace Skelton as starter at some point this season, but I didn’t think it would happen so early.
RJ’s Pick: New England by 10
Tampa Bay (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Giants by 7]
Last week: Tampa Bay beat Carolina 16-10; Giants lost at home to Cowboys 24-17.
The Buccaneers ran the ball 36 times last week, dominated time of possession, and did not turn the ball over. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s defense recorded three sacks, grabbed two interceptions, and forced a fumble. Greg Schiano deserves a lot of credit in his regular season debut as an NFL head coach. The defense of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants did not impress in Week One, allowing 433 yards and three passing touchdowns.
RJ’s Pick: Giants by 4
RJ’s Upset of the Week: Baltimore (1-0) at Philadelphia (1-0) 1:00 p.m. [Line: Eagles by 2.5]
Last week: Ravens crushed Bengals 44-13; Eagles edged Browns 17-16.
Ravens LB Ray Lewis was dominant last week with 14 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. RB Ray Rice rushed for two TDs and Joe Flacco threw for two more. Philadelphia QB Michael Vick threw four INTs and fumbled the ball twice in Week One. In a contest between a man who kills people and a man who kills dogs, always bet on the man who kills people.
RJ’s Pick: Baltimore by 11
Washington (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1) 4:05 p.m. [Line: Redskins by 3]
Last week: Redskins beat Saints 40-32; Rams lost to Lions 27-23.
How about that RG3? The hype surrounding Washington’s rookie quarterback is only going to get bigger and louder after his extremely impressive performance last week in his NFL regular season debut. He threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also ran for 42 yards. It’s all the more impressive considering the tough outings that fellow rookie QBs Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Russell Wilson all had in Week One. RG3 is also the only one of the five to get a win in his first start. Rams RB Steven Jackson was held to just 53 yards on 21 carries last week. Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein was 3-for-3 in field goal attempts for St. Louis, including a 46-yarder that gave the Rams the lead with just two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
RJ’s Pick: Washington by 9
Dallas (1-0) at Seattle (0-1) 4:05 p.m. [Line: Cowboys by 3]
Last week: Cowboys beat Giants 24-17; Seahawks lose to Cardinals 20-16.
RB DeMarco Murray rushed for 131 yards and WR Kevin Ogletree caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns for Dallas last week. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch was a workhorse in Week One, running the ball 21 times for 85 yards.
RJ’s Pick: Dallas by 8
New York Jets (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1) 4:25 p.m. [Line: Steelers by 6]
Last week: Jets beat Bills 48-28; Steelers lose to Denver 31-19.
The New York Jets managed just a single touchdown in four preseason games, but exploded for four offensive touchdowns, one special teams touchdown, and one defensive touchdown in Week 1. Tim Tebow played but was not a factor, with just 11 rushing yards and no passing attempts. The Steelers did not look particularly impressive in their SNF loss to Denver last week. Ben Roethlisberger completed just over 50% of his passes and threw a pick-six late in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh’s offensive line allowed five sacks. The Steelers managed just 75 rushing yards on 26 attempts.
RJ’s Pick: Jets by 1
Tennessee (0-1) at San Diego (1-0) 4:25 p.m. [Line: Chargers by 6]
Last week: Titans lose to Patriots 34-13; Chargers beat Raiders 22-14.
Tennessee QB Jake Locker left last week’s game with a separated shoulder in his non-throwing arm, but expects to start this week. The Titans managed a pathetic 20 rushing yards on 16 carries in Week One. Speaking of awful running games, the Chargers gained only 32 yards on the ground last week on 20 attempts. San Diego LB Shaun Phillips recorded two sacks in Week 1.
RJ’s Pick: San Diego by 2
Detroit (1-0) at San Francisco (1-0) 8:20 p.m. [Line: 49ers by 7]
Last week: Lions beat Rams 27-23; San Francisco beats Green Bay on the road 30-22.
The last time these two teams met, the post-game handshake between Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh nearly led to a brawl. These two teams are not fond of each other, and this should be a good, close game with a lot of big plays by the defenses. Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw three first half interceptions last week, but managed to throw the game winning touchdown pass with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Detroit WR Calvin Johnson, whose image graces the cover of Madden NFL 13, caught six passes for 111 yards in a relatively quiet performance. San Francisco RB Frank Gore was excellent last week, carrying the ball 16 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. QB Alex Smith threw two TD passes, one to WR Randy Moss and the other to TE Vernon Davis.
RJ’s Pick: Detroit by 1
Monday, September 17
Denver (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0) 8:30 p.m. [Line: Falcons by 3]
Last week: Denver beat Pittsburgh 31-19; Falcons beat Chiefs on the road 40-24.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning was brilliant in his first start since January of 2011, throwing for 253 yards, two TDs, and no INTs. Falcons QB Matt Ryan was equally impressive last week, throwing three touchdown passes and no interceptions while also running for 25 yards and a score.
RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 7
If you’re interested, you can check out the full list of Danny Sheridan’s Odds here.