The Los Angeles Rams have already had a season’s worth of highs and lows. Starting the season with a blowout win over the Colts, they came back to earth with a lackluster loss against the Redskins, now they play on Thursday Night against the winless 49ers. On paper, the Rams should win this game, but when the Niners were at their lowest last year at 2-14 both wins came at the expense of the Rams, including a shutout the last time they played in San Francisco.
The Baltimore Ravens defense has forced five turnovers in each of their first two games against the Bengals and Browns. Now they go across the Atlantic to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first of the NFL’s London games this season. The Jaguars after a Week 1 win stumbled at home last week, as Blake Bortles struggled against the Titans. Given Bortles propensity for turning the ball over, it could be another high five for the Raves as they improve to 3-0.
After two big home wins, the Denver Broncos could be in for a letdown playing a road game for the first time this season against the Buffalo Bills. The Broncos no-fly defense made life miserable for Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott, while Ezekiel Elliott was held to eight yards rushing. The only problem for the Bills is Tyrod Taylor is just not good enough to put up enough offense against a defense the caliber of Denver.
Despite Cam Newton struggling at times in the first two games, the Carolina Panthers have won their first two games. This is due largely to a strong defense that has taken care of two of the weaker teams in the NFL. The Saints can still put points on the board with Drew Brees leading the way, but the New Orleans defense is as bad as it gets. Newton could miss his safety blanket in Tight End Greg Olsen, but without a pass rush in his face will be free to throw the ball deep to Kelvin Benjamin as the Panthers win again.
After showing positive signs in their season-opening loss to the Falcons, the Chicago Bears looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL as they were smashed by the Buccaneers. The Bears return home for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers who in their first two games did just enough to win. Look for that trend to continue as the Steelers win, with the Bears at least giving a fight for three-quarters, before Le’Veon Bell breaks the game open with a late score.
A pair of 2-0 teams meets at Ford Field, with each looking to show just how genuine these contenders are. In their two wins, the Atlanta Falcons have started strong but faded in the fourth quarter. If not for a dropped pass they may have lost to the Bears in Week 1, while they actually had a big enough lead to avoid disaster against the Packers last week. The Lions are a team that has become expert at winning games, late as the Matthew Stafford brings his best with the game on the line. It won’t hurt as much as the Super Bowl, but the Falcons will let another one get away as the Lions get a late score to win the game.
After an ugly loss in Los Angeles to open the season, the Indianapolis Colts showed a pulse in losing their home opener to the Arizona Cardinals. This was with Jacoby Brissett starting at quarterback just a week after being acquired. He should improve as he learns the playbook. The Cleveland Browns meanwhile have many growing pains ahead of them, which may create more headaches for rookie Deshone Kizer. Both teams are not very good, but the Colts win at home, as Cleveland find a Brownsy way to lose.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came out smoking in their season opener against the Bears last week as they got great play on both sides on the ball. The Minnesota Vikings meanwhile have concerns at quarterback just three weeks into the season. After a strong performance in the Vikings opener, Sam Bradford was unable to go when his knee flared up against the Steelers. The Vikings defense is solid, but they need a healthy Bradford to move the offense. With his health in question, the safe bet here is Tampa to get a nice road win, with Jameis Winston making the key plays at the end of the game.
Last week Tom Brady bounced back from a mediocre performance in the season opener to filet the Saints as the New England Patriots silenced the critics who were swarming after the started 0-1. Back home in Foxboro, they get a Divisional Round rematch with Houston Texans who are now banking on Rookie Deshaun Watson. Rookie quarterbacks have never fared well against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and with Bill O’Brien’s vanilla schemes don’t expect that to change as the New England defense makes a statement with a shutout.
After losing their first two games on the road, the New York Jets come home for the first time and face the Miami Dolphins, who got a solid win against the Chargers in their season opener. The Dolphins have some issues with Lawrence Timmons going AWOL in Los Angeles last week, but Jay Cutler may be able to keep the offense moving. Meanwhile, the Jets are struggling at stopping the run, which could be a big day for Jay Ajayi. Look for the crowd at the Meadowlands to turn quickly against Gang Green, as the Dolphins continue their round the world three-week trip with a second straight win.
Things are looking bleak for the New York Giants as they have scored just 13 total points in their first two games. In fact, in they have not scored more than 20 points in any of their last eight games. At the heart of the problem is a terrible offensive line that is unable to keep Eli Manning on his feet. Nobody has been worse than Ereck Flowers who looks overmatched at Left Tackle. The Giants have never played well in Philadelphia even when they are at their best. Look for another bad day from the Giants line as the Eagles get a win in their home opener.
The Tennessee Titans bounced back with a strong road win against the Seahawks after losing at home against the Raiders in Week 1. The Seattle Seahawks meanwhile, won last week at home but were hardly impressive. The Seahawks offense has looked terrible so far as Russell Wilson has not had much time to throw the ball. The Titans may not have the greatest defense, but until Seattle gets its offensive line in order they don’t have to be. Like their opening week loss to the Packers, the Titans taking advantage of a tired defense in the second half gets a big second half from Marcus Mariota to win the game at home.
Last week the Green Bay Packers were beaten down in Atlanta for the third time in 11 months. The good news is that most of their injured players will miss little to no time. As they come home they are facing a team that has an injured psyche. After scoring just nine points in their first two games at home the Cincinnati Bengals were facing a near team mutiny as they fired Offensive Coordinator Ken Zampese. Word in the locker is the team would like to sign Colin Kaepernick as Andy Dalton continues to struggle. With the Bengals, a big mess this should be easy pickings for the Packers.
Koo koo cacchoo thanks to Younghoe Koo the Los Angeles Chargers are 0-2. Surprisingly the Chargers have not held kicking tryouts to replace Koo, who has missed two clutch field goal attempts at the end of their first two games. The Chargers were informed by their new city, that Los Angeles would rather they have stayed in San Diego, as they have had trouble filling a 27,000-seat soccer stadium. The Chargers always play the Kansas City Chiefs well, and with their pride hurting in more ways than one, find a way to get some fans behind them earning their first win of the season against the unbeaten Chiefs.
The Oakland Raiders have been quite impressive in their first two games, as they have played well in all aspects of the game. The Washington Redskins meanwhile, erased the bad taste of starting the season with a loss at home by beating the Rams in LA. Back home against a high-quality team will bring more problems for the Redskins, who seem prone to making the big mistake in front of their home fans as they feel extras pressure trying to impress a skeptical fan base. With the Raiders again cracking on all cylinders expect the Redskins home struggles to continue.
When they played twice a year in the days before realignment, the Dallas Cowboys felt like they got a ninth home game as they had a huge fan base in Arizona. The Cardinals who are lucky to be 1-1 are playing their first home game of the season, with many of last year’s problems still unresolved as Carson Palmer has played poorly at quarterback. With David Johnson sidelined for most of the season, Palmer must find the fountain of youth fast, and the last I looked there is not much water in the desert, look for a big win by Dallas on Monday Night.