After week 1, we have 15 teams 1-0 and 15 who are 0-1. (And of course, two who are 0-0-1.) All hope is certainly not lost for the 15 who lost their season opener. Equally, the sky is not as blue as it may appear for many who came away with a week 1 win. Week 2 won’t necessarily balance anything out, but it will give us slightly greater insight into who might be trending in a positive (or negative) way in this first month of the season.
Here’s all 16 match-ups, broken up into “watchable” tiers:
New England (-2) at Jacksonville
This rematch of last January’s conference title game should be just as hotly contested. New England’s roster of playmakers has changed quite a bit since their victory that propelled them into the Super Bowl. But Tom Brady still has Rob Gronkowski. Can the Jags vaunted defense shut down Gronk? If so, they’ll make Brady rely on some unproven wide receivers. But in the end, can Blake Bortles make enough plays to win the game with a hampered Leonard Fournette? Patriots, 23 – 20
Minnesota (+1.5) at Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers won’t be at 100%, and that could spell doom with a nasty, fast Vikings defense invading Lambeau on Sunday. The Pack is 9-0 at home in September, dating back to 2013. But this Minnesota team presents some unique challenges. It’s time for the Green Bay wide receivers to take a major leap forward, if they want to have a shot. On the other side of the ball, it’s a big stage for Mike Pettine’s defense to go after a weak Minnesota offensive line. Vikings, 26 – 17
Kansas City (+5) at Pittsburgh
Ok, Kansas City, Pat Mahomes, Tyreek Hill. After a spectacular week 1 performance on offense against the Chargers, let’s see how you do on the road. Don’t look for the Pittsburgh defense to stand in the way of Andy Reid’s offense doing whatever they want. But can Pittsburgh’s offense get on track after a 5 turnover display in Cleveland in week 1? Chiefs, 34 – 31.
Carolina (+5) at Atlanta
Atlanta’s offense needs to figure out it’s red zone problems. An 0-2 start is not a hole the Falcons want to dig for themselves in a deep NFC. For Carolina, road wins in-division are not easy to come by. This is one the Panthers might be able to steal, if they can clean up some sloppy execution they had in week 1. Falcons, 20 – 17
Miami at New York Jets (+1.5)
Miami can thank Mother Nature and their 7-hour season opener for their 1-0 start. The Jets, however, looked legit in Detroit, and Sam Darnold has the league fixated on him and the possibility that he is the savior in New York. Jets, 20 – 10.
Baltimore (PK) at Cincinnati
In a weird way, I feel like I know less about these two teams than any other two in the league — mostly because they beat up on bad teams in week 1. Is Baltimore’s offense really that good? Is Cincy’s defense going to keep forcing turnovers? For me, if Vegas doesn’t give the away team points, then they know something. Ravens, 17 – 16
Leave the TV On But Don’t Pay Much Attention
Seattle (+3) at Chicago
Khalil Mack is worth tuning into, but offensively I’m not expecting much output in this one. Matt Nagy better get creative or all those who had the Bears as this season’s sleeper are going to break their ankles jumping off the bandwagon. For Seattle Russell Wilson has the ability to win games like this on his own. Seahawks, 19 – 13
Philadelphia (-3) at Tampa Bay
Philly won ugly last Thursday, and Tampa won in dominating fashion. Can Ryan Fitz”magic” replicate that performance against a defensive front 7 that will come after him? Eagles, 23 – 16
Cleveland (+8) at New Orleans
The Saints need this game. It’s what I call a “get right” game. The problem is that Cleveland has some playmakers on defense. This could be closer than people expect. Saints, 27 – 24
Houston at Tennessee (No Line)
Deshaun Watson needs to knock off the rust and inject his explosive playmaking ability back into what was a very stagnant offense in week 1. Tennessee’s loss in Miami can be chalked up to Mother Nature. The problem is they encountered some major injuries on offense. Houston, 24 – 20
Indianapolis (+5.5) at Washington
Andrew Luck’s shoulder certainly seemed healthy in week 1, as he threw it 50-plus times in a game that the Colts easily could have won. A little surprised that Washington is giving 5.5 points. Redskins, 24 – 19
Watch at Your Own Peril
Los Angeles Chargers (-7) at Buffalo
It looks like it’s the Josh Allen Show already in Buffalo. A rookie making his first career start against the Chargers? Hmmmm, ask Nathan Peterman how that worked out for him. Chargers, 34 – 13
Oakland at Denver (-4.5)
Derek Carr looked confused week 1 and things seemed to get worse as the game went along. Von Miller and Company are licking their chops. And Case Keenum has to like this match-up. Don’t look for him to make the same mistakes he made in the opener, but he should rack up a lot of yards against a bad Raider defense. If only they had a game-changing pass rusher…… Broncos, 31 – 17
New York Giants at Dallas (-3)
One of these two will be 0-2 heading into week 3. By no means is that a death sentence, but the thing is that neither team looks all that good so rebounding from a slow start will be a steep mountain to climb. I’m not a Dak guy, but this is a match-up that I actually favor him in. On a side note to NBC, is it too soon to use the flex schedule? Dallas, 27 – 20
Detroit at San Francisco (-3)
Look for Jimmy G to have a huge game against a Detroit defense that made Sam Darnold look like a HOFer last Monday night. An already tumultuous road will not get any easier for Matt Patricia to hoe, if the Lions start out 0-2. 49ers, 35 – 24
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (-10)
Nice schedule to start the year for the Rams. Do we really know if they’re any good if they’ve only played the Raiders and the Cardinals? Rams, 41 – 16
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