Thursday, September 22, 7:25 p.m.
Houston Texans (2-0) @ New England Patriots (2-0)
Peter’s Pick: Texans
Peter’s Analysis: The Texans have played very solid ball on their way to 2-0. I would usually still give the benefit of the doubt to Bill Belichick who is a master at preparing his players for almost any situation. However, now that he is down to his third-string quarterback and being faced with a short week, I believe the balance swings in favor of the Texans defense.
Will’s Pick: Texans
Will’s Analysis: Sure, the Pats looked good as ever with Garropolo, but I don’t expect them to succeed quite as well with some random guy named Jacoby Brissett they clearly had no intention of playing. That, plus the fact that the Texans’ defense has been playing pretty solid so far, keeping the Chiefs completely out of the end zone on Sunday. The Texans should take an even more commanding lead in the AFC South now.
Sunday, September 25, 12:00 p.m.
Arizona Cardinals (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (0-2)
Peter’s Pick: Cardinals
Peter’s Analysis: Arizona’s offense is alive and well and their defense looks pretty solid as well. Unless something happens soon there may be more changes in the Bills coaching staff in the next week or two. Expect the Cards to run away with this one as the Bills focus to right what appears to be a sinking ship.
Will’s Pick: Cardinals
Will’s Analysis: The sky is already falling in Buffalo, and they fired the wrong coordinator. How much the change at o-coordinator will actually affect the offense is up for grabs, but the defense gave up 37 points to the Jets last week, and the Cardinals scored 40 in their most recent contest. That plus the fact that Sammy Watkins is basically useless right now with his injury and the Bills are suddenly not looking good.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: Titans
Peter’s Analysis: Tough call here but this Titans team looks solid and determined right now. I have a feeling the Raiders, who still seem to be trying to find their identity, may struggle against Tennessee’s grinding style of play.
Will’s Pick: Raiders
Will’s Analysis: It’s difficult to know what to expect from Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense. Although they pulled out a good comeback win on Sunday and they’re facing a suspect Raiders defense, their offense is still trying to work some kinks out while the Raiders can still score at least 24 a week, whereas the Titans haven’t even scored 20 yet. They’ll need more actual scoring in order to keep up with Oakland.
Washington Redskins (0-2) @ New York Giants (2-0)
Peter’s Pick: Redskins
Peter’s Analysis: The Giants have clearly been the better team so far this year. However, division games are always tough and I have a very strong feeling that the Redskins are about to get back on track and pull out a close one. I expect Kirk Cousins to find just enough inside himself to keep this one close and then pull it out in the end.
Will’s Pick: Giants
Will’s Analysis: Wow. So apparently the locker room is already turning on Kirk Cousins, which is a bad sign for the Skins. Meanwhile, the Giants are off to an excellent start right now with their current WR trio, and a much improved defense which shut down Drew Brees and the Saints. Shutting down a Redskins team that may already be in shambles due to trust issues between players will probably end up being little issue for them.
Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Peter’s Pick: Dolphins
Peter’s Analysis: The Browns offense showed some life last week and it appears as if they could flourish under the leadership of Josh McKown when he returns from injury. The Dolphins have lost to what was considered to be two of the better teams coming into the season. I see Ryan Tannehill having a breakout game against a Cleveland defense which has already given up an average 27 points a game this season.
Will’s Pick: Dolphins
Will’s Analysis: Miami’s looking rather mediocre right now, but the Browns may have it worse than any team right now. They’ve already lost two quarterbacks, and the new one (Cody Kessler) is reportedly not even ready for action yet. That’s a recipe for disaster that the Dolphins should be able to take advantage of no problem. By the way, this will make five straight games going back to last season where the Browns have started a different quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens (2-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Peter’s Pick: Ravens
Peter’s Analysis: These teams seem to have reversed the roles that people had expected out of them when the season began. So far, both have reverted back to the teams they were a couple of years ago. If Baltimore’s defense can keep the Jags offense in check, this should be an easy win for the Ravens.
Will’s Pick: Ravens
Will’s Analysis: This Ravens defense still looks rather inconsistent; they gave up 20 points to the Browns in one quarter before finally busting loose. But they’re also facing probably the worst defense in football right now and Joe Flacco has an unexpected plethora of weapons with Mike Wallace and Dennis Pitta having strong resurgences thus far. Bortles will need to avoid turnovers if he wants to have a chance at this one.
Detroit Lions (1-1) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: Lions
Peter’s Analysis: Both teams struggled to get anything going on offense last week. Even though the game is at Lambeau, I believe the Lions will bounce back stronger in this one and win what has the potential to be a shootout if Aaron Rodgers can find his groove again. Otherwise the Lions may just run away with it from the onset.
Will’s Pick: Packers
Will’s Analysis: Aaron Rodgers looked pretty scared out there Monday night, but that was mostly due to the fact that he was playing against a Vikings defense that was getting a lot of pressure. The Lions don’t give as much pressure on defense and thus Rodgers should be able to do what he normally does, though it could be pretty closely contested.
Denver Broncos (2-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: Broncos
Peter’s Analysis: The Broncos depth chart may look different this year but the results look very much the same. Their combination of a strong defense and relentless offense seems to be too much for anyone to overcome. The Bengals are still very solid and should definitely be able to put up a fight but in the end I see Denver pulling out yet another victory.
Will’s Pick: Broncos
Will’s Analysis: So far, the Broncos have shut down two of the more high-flying offenses in football. The Bengals have been nothing but that so far, and the fact that Tyler Eifert may still not be available means the Broncos can condense the pass coverage onto AJ Green, which could cause problems. If the Bengals want to have a chance, they’ll need to find a way to get the running game going – difficult against a very stout Denver defense.
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers
Peter’s Pick: Vikings
Peter’s Analysis: The Vikings still have the dominant defense they had last season and now they have a quarterback that is willing to trust his talented stable of receivers instead of putting all of the pressure on the running game. Expect Sam Bradford to shine once again against a very strong Panthers team who will be caught by surprise like the rest of the world seemed to be.
Will’s Pick: Panthers
Will’s Analysis: Unlike Aaron Rodgers lately, Cam Newton doesn’t really panic once he starts getting pressured and has to run around. The Panthers still have a very complete offense and the Vikings, even with one of the better defenses in football, will have a hard time stopping it. The complete lack of a running game thus far may also prove to be Minnesota’s undoing, as I don’t have much faith in either of Adrian Peterson’s backups.
Sunday, September 25th, 3:05 p.m.
Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Peter’s Pick: Buccaneers
Peter’s Analysis: Its hard to tell if the Rams improved last week or if the Seahawks are just as bad as their performance has shown so far this season. Either way, Jameis Winston should bounce back in a big way this week and light up the scoreboard as the Bucs cruise to victory.
Will’s Pick: Buccaneers
Will’s Analysis: The Rams have not scored a touchdown so far in two games. Only three field goals. If they can’t do it this week against a suspect Buccaneers defense, then we’ll be definitely talking historical levels of bad. That said, even if they finally do start getting in the end zone, the Bucs still have an offense that can definitely score, and the Rams usually only seem to play defense against the other NFC West teams (and they still couldn’t defend the Niners). The Buccaneers should pull away here either way.
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: 49ers
Peter’s Analysis: The Seahawks are starting out slow again, just like last season. I don’t expect it to last but it would seem they are meeting a 49ers team, who has outscored them 56-15, at the wrong time. It seems crazy to say, especially since the game is in Seattle, but unless Russell Wilson can wake up this team in a big way, then San Fran just might slip ahead of them in the division.
Will’s Pick: Seahawks
Will’s Analysis: Remember just a few years ago when a Seahawks-49ers game was something to look forward to? Yeah. Right now, both of these teams are struggling in different ways, and so far, the 49ers offense has actually outperformed the Seahawks’ offense with Blaine Gabbert as their quarterback. That said, I can’t see the Hawks letting one slip away against a feisty but still below-average 49ers squad. This is one of those games were they get things going as usual after a seemingly slow start.
Sunday, September 25, 3:25 p.m.
New York Jets (1-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: Jets
Peter’s Analysis: Besides a strong showing in the 4th quarter in week 1, the Chiefs have struggled mightily this season. The Jets on the other hand appear to be right back where they left off last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks focused and ready to wreak some havoc.
Will’s Pick: Jets
Will’s Analysis: The Jets look to have one of the better offenses right now in the league, with Marshall, Decker and the surprise that is Enunwa at WR, and Matt Forte running the ball. The Chiefs have just been okay on defense thus far, and they definitely don’t have the ability to keep up on offense, as most of their offense is run through the ground. Getting Jamaal Charles back could raise their chances slightly, though.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
Peter’s Pick: Chargers
Peter’s Analysis: I’m guessing I’m not the only one surprised by the start this Chargers offense has had. It seems like every season they have the talent but just never manage to live up to their potential. Indianapolis should be able to keep up for awhile but just like in the last two games there defense will most likely struggle to seal the deal.
Will’s Pick: Chargers
Will’s Analysis: This is one of those match ups where we kind of go off history; and the Chargers just seem to beat the Colts almost every time in the last several years. Not just with Manning either; they’ve already defeated Luck once, and that was when the Colts were actually a playoff team. Now, they’re trying to avoid going 0-3, but that suspect defense may end up being their undoing.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)@ Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Peter’s Pick: Steelers
Peter’s Analysis: If you just look at the stats, the Eagles look like one of the better teams in the league. However, they have done it against the Bears and the Browns. This week they face a very good Steelers team at home with a chance to prove they are for real. The Steelers look tough and even though it should be a close one, I have to give them the edge in this one.
Will’s Pick: Steelers
Will’s Analysis: Carson Wentz has looked really good so far, but now he’s finally getting ready to face a good NFL defense and it may be a big learning step for him. The Steelers, meanwhile, will be getting back Markus Wheaton, which will help bolster their WR corps, which has already been playing well despite missing several key players. The Steelers can now look to make a statement as one of the better teams in the AFC right now.
Sunday, September 25, 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Bears (0-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Peter’s Pick: Cowboys
Peter’s Analysis: The Cowboys are starting to come together and are looking a bit more like the team we thought they could be. The Bears are still struggling and looking for that first win after putting up 14 points in each of their first two games so far. I don’t think that will be enough to stop Dallas in this one.
Will’s Pick: Cowboys
Will’s Analysis: We don’t even know who will be starting at QB for the Bears this week. Although having Cutler as opposed to Brian Hoyer would probably help their chances, the Cowboys still have a pretty decent offense right now, as Dak Prescott is being quite serviceable thus far. The Bears just don’t seem to have much direction in general right now.
Monday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Peter’s Pick: Saints
Peter’s Analysis: This should the perfect ending for the week and I can’t foresee anything but an absolute barn burner in this one as the Saints have already allowed 51 points and the Falcons have given up 59. I have to give the edge to Drew Brees and the home team as the Saints attempt to tally their first win of the season.
Will’s Pick: Falcons
Will’s Analysis: Is this finally the year the Falcons bust back? Well, one win against a suspect Oakland defense isn’t really enough to convince me of that. The Saints have the home advantage and are looking to avoid another 0-3 start, and they have enough firepower on offense to make that happen, and Atlanta still doesn’t have the defense to stop it.