Thursday Night Football turns up the heat as the Packers and Bears meet for the first time this season. The game is nearly a must win for the Packers coming off a home loss against the 49ers, while the Bears are 1-0 after a win over the Colts. It is had to imagine the Packers season will start with two straight losses at Lambeau Field. I see the Packers offense getting on track with Aaron Rodgers being able to spread the ball around and keep the Bears off balance.
Perhaps no team looked worse in Week 1, than the Buffalo Bills who stumbled, bumbled and fumbled their way around the Meadowlands. The Chiefs playing at home did not look much better. This is a vital game for both teams as a 0-2 start for these teams; each who looked to be one for the five new teams in could be deadly. The Chiefs defense is better than they played against the Falcons, and with some extra pressure against Ryan Fitzpatrick they should be able to take advantage of the blundering Bills, who will likely be without RB Fred Jackson.
The Saints defense looked dazed and confused last week as they were taken apart by Robert Griffin III. This week they face a similar quarterback in Cam Newton on the road. The Panthers, who are also coming off a disappointing loss in Week 1, will certainly need to get back on track in their home opener. After a strong rookie season I expect a big game from Cam Newton as he survives a shootout with Drew Brees and the Saints who are starting to look like a team playing without a real coach.
The battle of Ohio sees two teams coming off losses in Week 1. The Browns playing at home last week nearly beat the Eagles, but rookie QB Brandon Weeden had four interceptions, spoiling a great effort by the Browns defense. The Bengals meanwhile are coming off a short week losing on Monday Night to the Ravens. Coming home I expect a better effort from the Bengals who should be able to contain the Browns offense, and if Weeden struggles again it won’t even be close.
Last week Andrew Luck the top pick in the NFL draft had a rough debut as he was picked off three times by the Bears. Facing another NFC North team in his home debut Luck may need a few charms to earn his first win. The Vikings who come in after a win, had luck on their side in beating the Jaguars as they needed a 59 yard field goal by Blair Walsh to force overtime. I see Andrew Luck having a strong game here as the Colts win by a nose.
Coming off a gut wrenching loss to the Vikings, the Jaguars host the Texans in their home opener. The Jaguars and Vikings are on the same level, young teams with questionable second year quarterbacks. The Texans are a mile ahead, with a solid player at just about every position. Even though it is a road game the Texans should win easily as they have a strong defense that will give QB Blaine Gabbert fits, as the Jaguars still don’t know they will get from RB Maurice Jones-Drew who is likely still running behind after his holdout.
The Dolphins had a miserable preseason and lost their season opener to the Texans. Coming home and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the team that went 17-0, the Dolphins are in a perfect position for a win as the Raiders are coming off a sloppy Monday Night loss, and traveling across the country for a day game. Right now RB Darren McFadden does not look like he is at full speed and Carson Palmer still looks lost at Quarterback, all the Dolphins need is rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to avoid the big mistake and they should get the win.
Both teams are coming off wins, but in completely different positions, as the Patriots hope to return to the Super Bowl, and look like they can, while the Cardinals hope to just contend, and that is a wait and see proposition. The home opener in Foxboro is tough for any team and the Cardinals don’t stand much a chance to win this one even if they had a healthy John Skelton. The Pats have too many weapons and should be able to waltz their way to a victory.
In their Wednesday Night Opener last week, the Giants looked like they were still in preseason mode, while the Bucs with new Coach Greg Schiano were a home dog with some bite, stunning the Panthers. After the loss, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said he would work his team hard. It’s hard to imagine the defending champs would lose two in a row at home, and they should come out fired up and take out some frustration on the Buccaneers with an easy win led by a top notch defensive effort.
Last week against the Cleveland Browns the Eagles were lucky to get the win as QB Michael Vick had a miserable game with four interceptions. In their home opener against the Ravens the Boo Birds will be out early as Vick continues to struggle playing a much tougher defense. In fact with his injury history and modified flack jacket it could be a short day for Michael Vick, whose continued injury problems are starting to bother inpatient Eagles fans who come to game for a reason to become angry birds.
Over the past few seasons, the Rams have given the Redskins fits. Though they had a solid win with Robert Griffin III last week, the Redskins are not ready to spring into playoff contention. The Rams played quite well last week in their heartbreaking loss in Detroit, as they picked off QB Matt Stafford three times. Look for the Rams in their home opener to pick off RGIII a few times as they are this week’s home dog with extra bite, as they get the upset win at home.
The Cowboys could not be any higher than they are now, after their upset win over the Giants got fans thinking Super Bowl again in Dallas. However, an extra long week off is the best way to stall momentum, especially with a second straight game on the road. The Seahawks have a strong secondary and a great home field advantage; two things that will conspire to force Tony Romo into the bad interception that will allow the Seahawks to get a first career win for Rookie QB Russell Wilson.
The Steelers had another Mile High Nightmare last week, as their defense was picked apart by Peyton Manning. Tim Tebow who broke their hearts last year is now on the Jets and looking to help his team start 2-0. However, let’s face facts the Steelers were without Ryan Clark last week and coming home its hard to imagine another poor defensive effort. In addition the Jets only beat the Steelers once every 20 years and it’s hard to imagine that will change here as the Steel curtain comes down hard on the Jets at Heinz Field.
After winning in Oakland the Chargers hope to avoid a letdown at home as they seek to get off to a good start for a change. Facing the Titans they should be able to reach 2-0, as they already have injury issues at quarterback as Jake Locker suffered an arm injury against the Patriots last week. The Titans have a good back up in Matt Hasslebeck, but it won’t be enough as the Chargers playing with extra confidence win again.
Coming off an impressive win against the Packers on the road the 49ers make their home debut in primetime with Super dreams by the bay. The Lions also come in with a win, but it was a lucky win as QB Matthew Stafford struggled against the Rams. The 49ers defense is much better than the Rams, and will make like hard for Stafford as the 49ers look to make a statement again and win easily, with QB Alex Smith showing once again he is good enough.
Two teams coming off impressive wins in Week 1, meet in Monday Night Football to put a cap on Week 2. The Falcons who are making their home debut were sharp in Kansas City, with QB Matt Ryan being able to withstand the pressure of the Chief defense. The Broncos also beat a good defense in the Steelers, but did so at home and did so with the Steelers control the clock for much of the game. If the Broncos can not hold the ball more on the road they will lose. The Falcons are also 4-0 in home openers since Matt Ryan was drafted; I see that trend continuing as the Falcons win a close one.