The Cincinnati Bengals played well last week despite suffering a late heart-breaking loss to the Chargers, as Joe Burrow played well in his debut. The Cleveland Browns meanwhile had a burn the tape game, as the Ravens crushed them. Last season the Browns were all over the primetime schedule. This year they have just two games under the lights. This week will be their time to shine. They have won three of the last four meetings with Cincinnati and will take this one, as Baker Mayfield wins the first meeting of the Ohio Heisman winners.
Life was rough for the New York Giants on Monday Night as Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley had little time to get any traction under the pressure of the Steelers front seven. This week will not be any easier as they go to Soldier Field, where they will face the Chicago Bears defense led by Khalil Mack. The Bears got a big boost in Week 1, rallying to beat the Lions with 21-unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Giants’ defense is suspect, and their secondary is soft, so Trubisky should have open lanes if he is close to the target.
The Dallas Cowboys suffered a hard-luck loss on Sunday night, as they were undone by a questionable pass interference call. The Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile, were run over by the Seahawks at home. The Falcons defense looks to be a weak spot all season. Expect the Cowboys in their home opener to have a field day, as Ezekiel Elliott is fed all-day and makes the Falcons foot the bill.
Aaron Rodgers had a big week in the opener, passing for 364 yards with four touchdowns against the Vikings. Facing another NFC North foe, the Green Bay Packers could get a significant first step in taking control of the division. The Detroit Lions suffered a fourth-quarter collapse against the Bears, so losing will be extra painful to their playoff chances. I expect a hangover for the Lions to last as they are tormented the Packers again, as Aaron Rodgers lights it up again.
Two teams who had disappointing losses in Week 1, faceoff with the hopes of getting their season back on track. The Minnesota Vikings were tormented by Aaron Rodgers, while the Indianapolis Colts were chewed up by Gardner Minshew. The Colts are notorious for slow starts, having lost Week 1 in 10 of 11 seasons, they have not done much better in Week 2. Look for Phillip Rivers to struggle again, as the Vikings get a game-changing interception in the fourth quarter to win the game in Indianapolis.
The Buffalo Bills can take a stride in the AFC East with a win in Week 2. The Bills dominated the Jets in Week 1 and should beat the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, but I do not believe it will be easy for Buffalo. The Dolphins lost in Foxboro in Week 1, with Ryan Fitzpatrick having a miserable game. Expect Fitzpatrick to have a better showing at home. The Dolphins though, have a ways to go before they can win these games.
The San Francisco 49ers begin a two-week engagement in the Meadowlands, escaping the California wildfires. Last week smoke got in their eyes as they were stunned by the Cardinals, now facing the New York Jets to show there is no Super Bowl hangover. The Jets were embarrassed in Buffalo in Week 1, losing Le’Veon Bell to an ankle injury along the way. The Jets are in for a long season. This game will only serve to add to their frustrations. The only saving grace is an empty Met Life Stadium that will spare the team in green from being booed off the field.
The Philadelphia Eagles had an embarrassing loss in Week 1 as the team with no name had Philly fans screaming WTF. The Los Angeles Rams, meanwhile, christened SoFi Stadium with a win, benefiting from a friend pass interference call. The Eagles had a 17-0 lead in Washington before it went south last week. The Rams with Aaron Donald can create the same havoc that WTF did last week, but the Eagles knowing the importance, will do a better job. The Rams, meanwhile off a high, will hit a bump in the road as the long travel will be a detriment.
This may be the first time two teams that played on Monday Night Football play against each other the following Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers saw a triumphant return from Ben Roethlisberger while the Denver Broncos had a gut-wrenching loss against the Titans. The Broncos defense did a decent job of slowing Derrick Henry despite the loss. Expect the Broncos defense to keep them in the game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will get the win, but the spread seems a tad high.
Last week Tom Brady struggled in his debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coming home against a porous Carolina Panthers defense, he will silence the doubting Thomases. The Panthers’ defense was scorched by the Raiders for 34 points last week against the Raiders. If Derek Carr can carve up the Panthers for 34, so can Tom Brady. Expect smooth sailing for the Buccaneers as they get a win in their home opener.
The Tennessee Titans dodged a bullet on Monday night as Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals and one PAT, before hitting the game-winner in the final minute in Denver. The Jacksonville Jaguars meanwhile, stunned the Colts last week and hoped to prove the critics wrong again as they are nine-point underdogs in Nashville. History shows the Jaguars are due for a loss as they have won just one of their last six against Tennessee. They also have not won in Nashville since 2013. Look for the Titans to win this one relatively easily as Derrick Henry has a big day on the ground.
Kyler Murray showed tremendous growth in leading the Arizona Cardinals to a win over the 49ers last week. Dwayne Haskins also showed outstanding leadership as his half time speech helped inspire Washington after they trailed the Eagles 17-0. Washington’s defense made life miserable for Carson Wentz, and could be on the verge of big things. Haskins has more room for improvement. The Cardinals will get the win as Murray’s mobility will come in handy, but the spread may be a tad high for a cover.
This could be the best game of the weekend, as the Baltimore Ravens, off an impressive win, face the Houston Texans looking to rebound off a loss in the Thursday Night opener. The Texans’ defense is too strong to allow Lamar Jackson to put up 30 points, and Deshaun Watson is too good to let the Ravens win by a touchdown in Houston. The Texans are better than the one that lost to the Chiefs last week, and the Ravens are not as good as they looked against the Browns. This one has upset written all over it.
The Los Angeles Chargers are the team that is happiest with the pandemic leaving the stands empty. The Chargers do not have any fans, to begin with, and the banning of fans prevents SoFi Stadium from turning into a sea of red for the Chargers’ first game. The Charger will keep this one interesting for most of the afternoon, but when the money time comes in the fourth quarter, it will be Patrick Mahomes, who makes the big plays to win the game.
The New England Patriots began life without Tom Brady with a win, as Cam Newton played in Foxboro against the Dolphins. The Seattle Seahawks meanwhile mauled the Falcons in Atlanta. The 12th man will be watching from home on Sunday night, but the Seahawks will still reign supreme. Newton was able to get big plays with his legs but did not impress with his arm. Against teams like the Seahawks, he will be forced to do more passing, exposing a weakness for New England. Look for Russell Wilson to make a strong push for MVP this season and shine in every game in primetime.
There will no crowd, but the Las Vegas Raiders will be fired up for their first game in Sin City. The New Orleans Saints come into the game somewhat hobbled as reigning Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas will miss a month with an ankle sprain. The Raiders traditionally play well on Monday Night, while Jon Gruden enjoys Monday night more than anyone. Look for the Raiders to bring forth an inspired effort as the Saints who often have an early-season hiccup get bitten by the upset bug.