Of all the teams that won in Week 1, the Jets were by far the most fortunate as there was no way they deserved to win the game, as they received new life from a bonehead penalty by Lavonte David. The Patriots meanwhile, shook off several missteps and beat the Bills. This is the Patriots home opener; I can’t picture them losing this game at all. I expect the Patriots to come out smoking, with a big game from Tom Brady as they make life miserable for QB Geno Smith, who will be playing his first road game on Thursday Night.
The Falcons put forth a solid effort in their opening game, but came up a few yards short as the Superdome continued to be their house of horrors. The Rams, meanwhile used a 4th Quarter rally to beat the Cardinals at home. The Falcons coming home should get a boost from the crowd, while the Rams still have to prove themselves on the road. Former Rams Running Back Stephen Jackson was held mostly in check last week, but looking to impress his new team and burn his old one I expect to see him have a big day with a pair of Touchdowns as the Falcons get back on track.
Thanks to the Orioles stubborn refusal to change the start time of their game last Thursday the Ravens lost out on hosting the annual Thursday Night Game, and got pummeled on the road. Now they can finally raise their Super Bowl banner and thrill the fans in Baltimore again. This time there is no Peyton Manning to shred their secondary and Browns Brandon Weeden is prone to the turnover. Look for the Ravens to make a big statement and take control of the game early as the win easily, silencing some of the anxiety that has followed them since their opening night loss.
Both the Panthers and Bills played well in Week 1, but came away with nothing to show for it, as they lost to two of the premiere teams in the NFL. Now they face each other with each needing a win to avoid fans from jumping off the band wagon. The Bills have the home field edge, but the Panthers have the better team. The Panthers were able to hold the Seahawks to 13 points. I think they can do the same to the Bills and the unproven E.J. Manuel. Meanwhile, Cam Newton who needs a big game, makes the big play for a road win.
The Bears got the Marc Trestman era off to a solid start by beating the Bengals at home. The Vikings meanwhile already have a tough division loss as they play their second straight road game. Adrian Peterson broke a 78 yard Touchdown run the first time he touched the ball and scored twice more, but only collected another 15 yards. Getting him on track won’t be the problem, as the struggles of QB Christian Ponder continue to act like a led weight on the Vikings ship. Look for Charles Tillman to get a pick six as the Bears start 2-0.
In the season opener, the Packers again were frustrated by QB Colin Kaepernick as they lost to the 49ers for the third time in 365 days. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III when he is at his best can provide some of the same problems. However, as we saw on Monday Night RG III is not yet at his best. It was clear, that Griffin was rusty as he got off to a slow start and though he got better as the game went on, he is not at the level of winning games in Lamebau Field. The Packers meanwhile get a strong game from QB Aaron Rodgers and Rookie RB Eddie Lacy to win their first of the year.
The Texans could have gone home after trailing 28-7 in their Monday Night opener and just looked to get on track in Week 2. However, they had one of the character building comeback wins and now enter their first game at home with some momentum. The Titans playing their second straight road game already have assured themselves of a split after stunning the Steelers last week. It is hard to imagine they can shut down the Texans the same way. I see the Texans balanced attack led on offense and the ball hawking defense to be too much for the Titans as the Texans win easily.
Both these teams with second year quarterbacks started the season with wins last week, but both had their issues as the Colts defense looked lost against Terrelle Pryor, while the Dolphins running game and offensive line did not even show up in Cleveland. The Dolphins defense did show up and if they can provide the same pressure on Andrew Luck they may be able to get a second straight road win. Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill should have more time to throw against the Colts which will be the difference as the Dolphins get a win on a later Caleb Sturgis Field Goal.
Both teams looking to prove themselves got off to strong starts with wins in Week 1. The Chiefs defense pitched a shutout as the Jaguars only points came via a safety. The Cowboys defense also played well with two defensive scores off six turnovers against the Giants. The Chiefs new Coach Andy Reid is quite familiar with the Cowboys, having faced them twice a year while in Philadelphia for 14 years. Arrowhead has always been a tough place to play on the road, and with their fans fired up off a strong Week 1 I see the Chiefs defense having another strong game, as the Cowboys always prone to a letdown have one with Tony Romo struggling with turnovers again.
It is always tough for a team playing in the Pacific Time Zone to travel across the country and play a 1:00 game. It is always tough playing a week after you blow a big lead at home. It’s always tough playing on the road, when the fans are excited by what the home team did the previous week. With all these factors working against the Chargers it is impossible to imagine them getting a win in Philadelphia. Both teams played on Monday, with the Chargers having a deflating loss while the Eagles dynamic offense clicked early. With the home crowd I see another big game for Chip Kelly’s team in their home debut.
The Cardinals suffered a heartbreaking loss on the road last week, while the Lions earned a solid home win. Last year when the Cardinals ended the season in a massive tailspin with 11 loses in their last 12 games the lone win came against the Lions. The Lions need to prove they can win one the road, before I can take them on the road even against a team the caliber of the Cardinals. The Cardinals strength also works against the Lions strength as their secondary led by Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Matheiu will make life hard for Calvin Johnson. Add Reggie Bush playing with pain and the Lions have the elements for a loss.
The Buccaneers suffered an agonizing week 1 loss as Lavonte David snatched defeat from the clutches of victory with his ill-timed hit of QB Geno Smith late in their game against the Jets. The Buccaneers may be in the second season with Greg Schiano but they have a mess that is lingering from the Raheem Morris years as Quarterback Josh Freeman is regressing and losing the confidence of his team. Expect a QB change in Tampa sooner than later. The Saints meanwhile have both their quarterback and coach on steady ground. Look for them to get a second straight division win to start the season.
Eli Manning has the lead in Super Bowl championships 2-1, he has owned the Patriots and tom Brady, but when he faces his older brother Peyton he is still the kid who just can’t reach the bar set by his sibling. Peyton Manning is 2-0 in two previous match ups with the Colts and while both are Hall of Fame Quarterbacks; Peyton Manning is one of the best ever. At the age of 37, Peyton may be poised for his best year ever after starting the year with seven touchdowns. Looks for another big day for Peyton as the Broncos win gallop their way to a win in a dress rehearsal of Super Bowl XLVIII.
It is hard to tell what was uglier in Week 1, the play of Quarterback Blaine Gabbert or the Jaguars new uniforms, featuring a helmet that is gold from the back and black in the front. Might as well be black and blue as the Jaguars will be beaten on a regular occasion in the foreseeable future. The Raiders meanwhile got a strong game from QB Terrelle Pryor as they earned a moral victory in Indianapolis. The Raiders now in the home opener get an actual win, as Terrell Pryor has another solid game, while Chad Henne playing in place of Blaine Gabbert is only a very slight improvement.
The two best teams in the NFC according to many people both reside in the NFC West. The Seahawks and 49ers are the first team that comes of the lips when asked who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. With both teams winning in their first week, they both seek to get the early edge as they meet on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers offense looked unstoppable with the addition of Alquan Boldin, while the Seahawks defense looked like one of the best in the league. With the game in Seattle home of the 12th Man look for this defense to have a big day as the Seahawks win a close game, in what is likely the first of three meetings.
The entire AFC North lost their first game last week, while a road loss in Chicago is never anything to worry about; things have got to be at least at Orange alert level in Pittsburgh as the Steelers offense looked awful at home. Making matter worse the Steelers lost two key players to season ending injuries, the biggest lost maybe Center Maurice Pouncey who was a key part of an already weak line. The Bengals defense should be able to take advantage of the Steelers line and have a big game as they get their season on track with a Monday Night win at home.