NFL Week 2 Predictions
Week 1 was full of surprises - the Jets aren't abysmal, RGIII is as good as advertised, and Tom Brady still looks good, even with a bloody, busted nose. Are there any more in store for Week 2? Our NT football experts tell you what to expect.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Jeremy Bergman: Bears 26, Packers 23 (OT)
The Pack will try to avoid losing three in a row at Lambeau Thursday, a feat not realized since the Taft administration – unlikely, but you see the point. To be fair to the Pack’s losing streak, they have played the two other best teams in the conference at the time; now they’re about to play the third. Sunday’s offensive assault in the Windy City was no fluke and Cutler and Marshall are determined to unleash on the hapless Pack secondary.
Evan Budrovich: Bears 24, Packers 21
Aaron Rodgers and company will be looking to redeem themselves for their poor performance against San Fran. That being said, Chicago looked very strong against Andrew Luck and the Colts and will make life miserable for Rodgers. Jay Cutler will continue to throw the ball well and will use his plethora of options to dissect the suspect Packers defense.
Aaron Fischman: Packers 27, Bears 21
Even with Greg Jennings listed as doubtful and unlikely to play, the Packers possess too many offensive weapons to fall to 0-2. Now, if only we could get that “Discount Double-Check” commercial off the air.
Jacob Freedman: Packers 38, Bears 27
Playing the best defense in the NFL on the road is never the recipe for a strong start, as the Packers learned last week. Packers star wideout Greg Jennings is out, but the Packers still have too much talent in the passing game to be held to seven points through three quarters like last week. Jay Cutler might go off, but Aaron Rodgers won't let his Packers start 0-2.
Max Meyer: Bears 31, Packers 27
The Packers are too reliant on Aaron Rodgers, and the fact that they are so one-dimensional is the reason why they've lost their past two games against very good teams. The Bears, whose defense is fantastic along with having the top special teams in the NFL and a very good offense, are too balanced for the Packers to handle.
Matthew Tufts: Packers 27, Bears 24
The Bears will need Jay Cutler to play the way he did against Indianapolis when Chicago marches into Green Bay on Thursday. The Bears defense may not be as porous as Green Bay's, but Aaron Rodgers is still going to put up big numbers at home. Expect this one to be close, and one turnover could change the game.
Bergman: Ravens 30, Eagles 17
While the Eagles we saw against the Browns on Sunday are not a true representation of what they are, they certainly won’t realize their potential against the fearsome Ravens D and the skinnier Ray Lewis. If Vick threw four picks against Cleveland, how many is he sure to throw against the AFC North champs. Over/under at six. Begin your bets.
Budrovich: Ravens 31, Eagles 13
Joe Flacco will eat up the league's top-ranked defense, through Week 1, by implementing his no-huddle offense to perfection. The Ravens offensive line will trounce Philly all afternoon giving Ray Rice an easy 100-yard performance. Michael Vick’s struggles will continue, as the vaunted Ravens defense will pick him off and apply tremendous pressure on numerous occasions.
Fischman: Ravens 31, Eagles 14
Judging from Michael Vick’s four-interception, 52-percent performance against the Browns in Week 1, I have a feeling the Ravens will enjoy every bit of their “Vick experience.”
Freedman: Eagles 27, Ravens 21
Joe Flacco stepped up big-time in throwing for two touchdowns and nearly 300 yards, while Eagles QB Michael Vick threw four interceptions. However, the Ravens struggle on the road while the Eagles have nowhere to go but up after a narrow 17-16 escape over a putrid Browns squad in Week 1. Vick won't throw four interceptions two games in a row, and the Ravens' pass rush wasn't exactly in midseason form last Sunday. Look for a bounce-back performance by the Eagles.
Meyer: Ravens 28, Eagles 13
Did you see how bad Michael Vick was against the Browns last week? Obviously, the Eagles need to run with LeSean McCoy much more, but it doesn't help that they are facing a dominant Ravens' defense. Another good week by Joe Flacco would only show how much he's grown as a quarterback.
In a matchup between two good defenses and two quarterbacks, each with something to prove, the winner will be the one who runs and protects the ball. Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy are two of the best in the game; however, Joe Flacco was flawless while Vick threw four interceptions. Edge: Baltimore Ravens.
Bergman: Steelers 24, Jets 20
This game is full of redemption storylines on both sides of the ball. The Steel Curtain wants to get back at Tim Tebow for embarrassing them in the playoffs last year. The Jets are still ticked off about the 2011 AFC Championship when they were thwarted by the mighty legs of Mendenhall. Well, Mendenhall is off the IR, as is James Harrison. Tebow? Just a gimmick. The Jets’ offense isn’t a joke, but unfortunately for them, neither is the Steelers’ D.
Budrovich: Steelers 17, Jets 10
In the official rematch between the Steelers and Tim Tebow, the boys from the steel city will exact their revenge. Big Ben will bounce back from an inconsistent start and salvage the opportunity of playing at home. The Jets' offensive success against Buffalo will not continue as the Steelers defense will be vamped and ready to disturb the timing and make life tough for Mark Sanchez.
Fischman: Steelers 27, Jets 20
After playing extremely well against the Bills in Week 1, Mark Sanchez should be in for a tougher game against last year’s best secondary. Safety Ryan Clark returns to the Steelers’ secondary and talented linebacker James Harrison has not yet been ruled out for the game.
Freedman: Steelers 23, Jets 13
After a superb Week 1 performance, Mark Sanchez and the Jets are looking a lot better than I expected after a 48-28 shellacking of the Bills. Unfortunately, they now play an angry Steelers team at home. In the minds of the Steelers, they cannot afford to lose this game, so look for a Steelers performance we're used to seeing.
Meyer: Steelers 31, Jets 17
The Jets offense exploded last week, but it isn't facing a defense that made a lot of changes over the offseason. I will believe that the offense is legit if Mark Sanchez can somehow have a great game against the Steelers, but I just don't see it. I'm very excited to see the Steelers' wide receivers face off against the Jets' defensive backs.
Tufts: Steelers 21, Jets 17
The Jets offense looked absolutely explosive as New York disregarded the hype surrounding the Bills in a 20-point victory. Pittsburgh's defense may be stronger than Buffalo's, but they were exposed by the Broncos in Week 1. This game will be a lot closer than expected, but Roethlisberger will find a way to squeak out a victory.
Bergman: 49ers 31, Lions 24
I’m convinced that Detroit’s – mainly Stafford’s – dismal display against the Rams was a fluke, a slow start and nothing more. They’ll come back strong against San Francisco, fueled by “Handshakegate”, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. A few early strikes to Megatron will put Detroit up big, but its consistent lack of a run game will stall the air show, leaving enough time and opportunities for Alex Smith to lead the Niners to their second win of the season.
Budrovich: 49ers 28, Lions 13
The 49ers defense goes from the task of stopping Aaron Rodgers to another challenging foe in Matthew Stafford. When these teams met last season, the Niners shut down Calvin Johnson and forced Stafford to throw more than 40 passes. The only difference, this time around, is that the Niners offense will use a solid combination of run and pass to put points on the board, securing the victory.
Fischman: 49ers 23, Lions 17
Like last year’s “Handshake” game, Calvin Johnson will amass more than a hundred yards, but his team will lose. The 49ers boast the best defense in the league. True, Stafford can get hot, but San Francisco’s defensive pressure is ferocious.
Freedman: 49ers 35, Lions 28
After shutting down the Packers for 45 minutes last week, I find it hard to bet against the 49ers defense. Niners running back Frank Gore looked good last week, while QB Alex Smith is inching closer towards elite every week. I love me some Calvin Johnson as much as the next guy, but the Lions are going to need to a superstar performance from the running game to get the offense going. I'm not counting on it.
Meyer: 49ers 27, Lions 14
After watching the 49ers' defense dismantle the Packers' offense last week, it's easy to see the same thing happen against an offense built the same way as the Packers. I don't know if I'm ready to call them the best team in the NFL yet, but if they can beat another potential playoff team they are certainly in the running in my book.
Tufts: 49ers 28, Lions 20
San Francisco proved in Week 1 that they could handle an explosive, pass-heavy offense in its 30-22 win over Green Bay. Detroit brings much of the same with perhaps the best wide receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson. "Megatron" and Stafford may continue to light up fantasy charts, but the balanced 49ers will walk away with the win.
Bergman: Falcons 30, Broncos 22
Alright, I was wrong about Peyton. He’s actually pretty decent of a quarterback. But I was certainly not wrong about the Falcons. My pick to win the NFC this year looked explosive against the Chiefs, boasting the best QB-WR combo in the league. And in the Dome where Matty Ice seems to never lose in the regular season, even Peyton and his robotic neck don’t stand a chance.
Budrovich: Broncos 30, Falcons 24
In the quarterback duel of the week, Peyton Manning will outshine Matt Ryan. Both teams looked great in week 1, but expect the Broncos to continue to their success in the short passing game to pick apart the Falcons defense. The Falcons will move the ball well on offense, but Matt Ryan will not be Matty Ice in the fourth, throwing a pick to Champ Bailey that will cost the Falcons the game.
Fischman: Falcons 27, Broncos 21
In his career, Matt Ryan has won 26 of 30 home regular-season starts. I rest my case.
Freedman: Falcons 21, Broncos 17
The scheduling gods sure don't make it easy for Peyton Manning. After handling the Steelers, the Broncos now travel east to take on the Falcons, who are riding high after a 40-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Look for the Falcons to defend home turf and continue their strong start if they can prevent Manning from putting up video game-like numbers.
Meyer: Broncos 30, Falcons 24
Never bet against Peyton Manning in a primetime game overrides never bet against Matt Ryan in a home game. I like the Falcons more as a team, but Peyton Manning looked like vintage Peyton Manning last week, and he's the only reason why I'm picking the Broncos to win this Sunday Night thriller.
Tufts: Falcons 34, Broncos 28
Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan were each impressive in their 2012 debuts. In a shoot-out that will come down to the last possession, Matty Ice will deliver at home on primetime.
Matthew Tufts 4-2
Jeremy Bergman 3-3
Evan Budrovich 2-4
Aaron Fischman 2-4
Jacob Freedman 2-4
Max Meyer 1-5