Week 2 begins with a Thursday night AFC North showdown. Ravens-Bengals games are known for their physicality. Expect more of the same Thursday. Both teams enter 1-0. The Ravens rolled over Buffalo 47-3 getting two interceptions and six sacks. The Bengals returned a fumble 83 yards for a touchdown in a win over Indianapolis. Which defense prevails? Ravens beat the Bengals in Cincy early last year. Call it a repeat… Baltimore 27, Cincinnati 20.
The Panthers have struggled recently against the Falcons losing four of the last five games against Atlanta. The Falcons won last year’s game at home, 22-10. Atlanta is coming off a tough loss to Philadelphia last week. The Falcons struggled to run the football. Dallas had a hard time running against Carolina. Good thing the Falcons have QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones… Atlanta 21, Carolina 20.
The Chargers gave up 38 points in a loss to the Chiefs last week. DE Joey Bosa didn’t play but is expected back this week. QB Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Chargers. They will face a Bills defense that gave up 47 points to Baltimore last week. The two teams met last year and the Chargers put up 54. L.A. has won the last three against Buffalo. Make it four… Los Angeles 38, Buffalo 24.
It will be a crucial NFC North matchup at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Both the Vikings and Packers were Week 1 winners. Green Bay won in thrilling fashion. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers got hurt early but returned to lead the Packers to a 24-23 win over Chicago. Minnesota’s defense is strong again. The Packers lost both games to the Vikings last year, but Rodgers was hurt in the first and didn’t play in the second. The status of his Week 1 injury will determine this one… Green Bay 23, Minnesota 20.
The Texans have won six of the last eight games against Tennessee, but the two losses have come in the past three meetings. Tennessee won 24-13 at home last season. Houston lost its opener to New England 27-20. Deshaun Watson was a little rusty in his return, but the Texans rushed for 167 yards. The Titans lost to the Dolphins and starting QB Marcus Mariota left the game with an elbow injury. If Mariota is out, the Titans are in trouble… Houston 24, Tennessee 17.
Both the Browns and Saints started 2018 with a surprise. Neither team won, but the Browns didn’t lose either. Cleveland rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Saints got blindsided by Tampa Bay backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Won’t happen again… New Orleans 35, Cleveland 17.
The Dolphins got off to a good start with a 27-20 win over Tennessee. Miami has won three of the last four with the Jets, including a 20-6 victory at New York last year. It will be game two for Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold. The Jets come off a short week too after facing Detroit on Monday night. Still, give the home team the edge… NY Jets 17, Miami 16.
Is there anything worse than starting the season with a loss? Yes, how about a tie? Pittsburgh allowed Cleveland to rally and tie their game in the fourth quarter and when neither team could score in overtime the game ended in a 21-21 tie. Kansas City put up 362 yards of offense and 38 points last week. The Steelers have got the better of the Chiefs over the last few seasons beating Kansas City in three straight. Pittsburgh hasn’t lost to Kansas City at home since 1986… Pittsburgh 31, Kansas City 30.
Tampa Bay pulled the upset of Week 1 in stunning fashion – a 48-40 win over New Orleans. Now, it’s on to face the defending Super Bowl champs who won their opener 12-10 over Atlanta. The Bucs Ryan Fitzpatrick subbed for the suspended Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Can he do it again? Probably not… Philadelphia 28, Tampa Bay 24.
QB Andrew Luck returned to the Colts, but Indianapolis couldn’t overcome two turnovers – one a fumble return for a touchdown – in a loss to Cincinnati in Week 1. The Redskins got off to a good start with a win over Arizona. Adrian Peterson ran for 96 yards for Washington. The Colts have beaten the Redskins the last three times they have played – 2006, 2010, and 2014. This is 2018… Washington 28, Indianapolis 24.
Arizona got off to a poor start with a 24-6 loss to Washington in Week 1. The Cardinals offense was awful. New QB Sam Bradford threw for just 153 yards, tossed one interception, and was sacked twice. The Cards ran for a whopping 68 yards. Now, they have to face a much better defense in Week 2. The Rams beat Arizona in both meetings last season… Los Angeles 34, Arizona 14.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo lost his first game as an NFL starting quarterback last week. Garoppolo had trouble with a very good Minnesota defense. Detroit’s defense is not nearly as good. Plus, the Lions have to travel to the West Coast after a Monday night game in Week 1. Not a good mix… San Francisco 19, Detroit 16.
The AFC West rivalry lives on. The Broncos, coming off a win over Seattle in Week 1, have won 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Raiders. Oakland did win the last game in November of last season, but that game was in Oakland. The last time the Raiders won in Denver was in 2015, a game win which Khalil Mack had five sacks. Mack is gone to Chicago. Broncos thrive at home… Denver 24, Oakland 16.
AFC Championship game rematch in Week 2. It doesn’t get much better than this. Both teams recorded Week 1 wins. Patriots QB Tom Brady threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns. Blaine Gabbert? Well, he just did what needed to be done in the Jags 20-15 win over the Giants. Take Brady even though it’s on the road… New England 34, Jacksonville 27.
The NFC East heats up already when the Giants head to Dallas. The Giants lost to Jacksonville thanks, in part, to an Eli Manning interception that was returned for a touchdown. Dallas couldn’t get the offense going in a 16-8 loss to Carolina. Neither team wants to start 0-2, but one will. The Cowboys won both games against the Giants last year. They just might this year too… Dallas 27, New York 20.
The Seahawks need to figure out their running game and how to protect QB Russell Wilson. In last week’s loss to Denver, Wilson was sacked six times and Seattle managed just 64 yards on the ground. The Bears have former Oakland DE Khalil Mack who started his season with a sack and an interception return for a touchdown in the Bears loss to Green Bay last week. The Bears have lost three straight to Seattle. The Bears’ fortunes change at home on Monday night… Chicago 17, Seattle 13.
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2018 NFL Football Season