Jacksonville’s defense put their stamp in Week 1 last week.
By: Elias McMillan
Last Week: 7-8
Big Five Games of the Week
Philadelphia @ Kansas City – The Chiefs really impressed last Thursday. I wasn’t surprised to see how their defense played. But the big surprise was the explosiveness on offense. They will receive a good test in their home opener this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s front seven was in full display last week as it was their defense, which allowed them to pull away for Washington. I think QB Carson Wentz will have a tougher time this week. Kansas City has one of the better home field advantages in the league. I also think Andy Reid familiarity with Doug Peterson and the Eagles will play a factor. Prediction: Chiefs 25 – Eagles 17
Minnesota @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers couldn’t pull anyway from Cleveland last week. They better have all the cobwebs shaken out by Sunday because Minnesota should serve as a tougher challenge for them. Minnesota’s strength is their defense but much like the Chiefs, their offense surprised people last week. Rookie RB Dalvin Cook had a strong first performance and QB Sam Bradford looked great going down the field. I think Pittsburgh has to find a way to get Le’Veon Bell going in this one to help solve this tough Vikings defense. I think Pittsburgh’s overall talent and being at home should be able to carry them in this one but last week’s performance worries me a bit. Prediction: Steelers 27 – Vikings 21
Tennessee @ Jacksonville – Jacksonville’s defense really impressed in Week 1. All that young talent that they’ve been drafting on that side on the ball was in full display in a game that many people didn’t pick them in. They even made Blake Bortles seem to be serviceable. Tennessee didn’t play bad in their home opener last week against Oakland but they just seemed really bland. I think Jacksonville’s defense will be the most dynamic unit in this matchup. They’ll be tested well by Tennessee’s offense but I’m going with the home underdog. Prediction: Jaguars 23 – Titans 20
Dallas @ Denver – The Cowboys had a strong performance in Week 1 especially on the defensive side of the ball. But as always the case with Dallas, I’m just waiting on that wet blanket to arrive. And that could come in the form of the Denver Broncos this week. Denver didn’t overly impress in their first regular season game but I think they will prove to be a tough out at home. The battle at the line of scrimmage between the Dallas offensive line and the Denver defensive line should be a good one. Though, Denver isn’t very strong at defending the run. The Cowboys did a great job limiting Eli Manning last week. Surely, they shouldn’t have an issue with Trevor Siemian, right? Even so, I think Denver’s defense will make this a close contest. Prediction: Broncos 28 –Cowboys 24
Green Bay @ Atlanta – Seattle’s lack of an offensive line made Green Bay’s defense look like the ’85 Bears last week. I think it is fair to say that Atlanta’s offensive line will not make it so easy for that group this week in the home opener for the Falcons. Atlanta gutted out a close one on the road last week but I expected them to play much more loose against an opponent they should be able to handle. I think Atlanta can “out-physical” Green Bay at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Green Bay will have the better QB in Aaron Rodgers but Falcons QB Matt Ryan has the better weapon in Julio Jones. Prediction: Falcons 29 – Packers 23
The Rest of Week 2
Bengals over Texans – Cincinnati was held scoreless last week. They will be hungry for some points at home against a Houston team that is going through a tough week and is rushing a rookie QB out there on the road.
Cardinals over Colts – I know Arizona lost David Johnson but did you see how bad Indy was last week?
Patriots over Saints – New Year, same defensive problems for New Orleans. New England isn’t happy about how their season started and they had extra time to prepare for this one.
Buccaneers over Bears – Tampa had an extra week to prepare. Chicago competed hard last week. Expect a let down this week on the road.
Panthers over Bills – If Carolina can limit LeSean McCoy, they should win this one easily.
Ravens over Browns – Am I crazy for thinking that Cleveland looked more impressive in their loss to Pittsburgh than Baltimore did in their win over Cincinnati?
Raiders over Jets – Oakland got a good road win last week in Tennessee. They cant have a let down against a tanking Jets team.
Dolphins over Chargers – The Chargers are addicted to losing close games. Miami is traveling a long ways but they are fresh.
Rams over Washington – Washington had a hard time protecting Kirk Cousins. The Rams don’t do many things well but they do have a dangerous defensive front seven which will be in full strength this week with the return of Aaron Donald.
Seahawks over 49ers – I don’t see how San Francisco is suppose to score points. Not just in this game or last week but for the entire season.
Giants over Lions – New York struggled mightily last week. But Odell Beckham Jr is back and that’s all they need, right? All jokes aside, if New York’s success this season is tied to one player, they are in for a long season.
Fantasy Football Picks of the Week
QB: Tom Brady (Patriots) – New Orleans’ secondary is still pretty bad and they’ll be facing a QB in Brady who isnt coming off his best performance. We’ll see some vintage Tom in this one.
RB: Jay Ajayi (Dolphins) – Is Jay Cutler ready to stand in the pocket against a good Chargers pass rush? If not, Ajayi will be ready to carry Miami’s offense.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants) – OBJ will be ready to put on a show on Monday night.
TE: Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) – Gronk only had tow catches last week. He’ll get a steady serving of passes this week against New Orleans.
DEF: Seattle – San Francisco literally has no offense.