Believe it or not, I went a perfect 8-8 last week. And by that I don’t mean that I got all eight correct, I mean that I was wrong just as much as I was right. But come on, who could’ve expected the Detroit Lions to become a turnover factory? Who saw Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming? And can anyone actually say they expected the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers to tie, even with Joey Bosa having the game of his life?
Picking the winners in week one is a wild, wild game.
NFL Picks. Week Two, 2018
The Baltimore Ravens vs. The Cincinnati Bengals
This is a tougher game than it looks on the surface. Just based on week one alone, the Baltimore Ravens should be huge favorites, but there are a couple of variables to consider. The Bengals beat Baltimore in week 17 last year to keep them out of the playoffs, A.J. Green has a knack for going off against the Purple and Black, hey’re at home, and it’s a short week. I’d be curious to see how much better the home record is than the away record on Thursday Night Football.
Having said that, I think the Ravens are a more talented team that looked much better in the unreliable week one.
Winner- The Baltimore Ravens
The Indianapolis Colts vs. Washington Redskins
I still don’t buy the Washington Redskins, but I buy the Indianapolis Colts even less. Adrian Peterson is still fresh, Alex Smith looked good last week, and I don’t think the defense is terrible either. This is a gut decision, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Andrew Luck balled out and led the Colts to a win.
Winner- The Washington Redskins
The Houston Texans vs. The Tennessee Titans
Maybe I should give Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans a break. They did just play in the longest game in NFL history. after all. However, they also lost the longest game in NFL history. They lost, to Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. I’m gonna go ahead and give Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, and the Houston Texans the benefit of the doubt with a week two bounceback.
Winner- The Houston Texans
The Philadelphia Eagles vs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do to the Philadelphia Eagles what they did to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, then I’ve gotta say, I don’t think I understand football anymore. Mike Evans and Desean Watson both exploded and they couldn’t stop scoring if they wanted to.
However, that may have just been a week one fluke, and I’m far more willing to trust the loaded Philadelphia defense than I am Ryan Fitzpatrick. Though, now that I’ve picked the Eagles, watch them lose.
Winner- The Philadelphia Eagles
The Kansas City Chiefs vs. The Pittsburgh Steelers
Why in the world should I pick the team who tied the Cleveland Browns over a team that exploded in week one? Probability, honestly. The Steelers aren’t going to turn the ball over as much as they did against Cleveland, and it’s hard to imagine Tyreek Hill exploding like he did against Los Angeles every week. Eventually, Pat Mahomes needs to come back to earth, and I’d love to see James Conner ball out again.
Winner- The Pittsburgh Steelers
The Miami Dolphins vs. The New York Jets
Gross. I don’t think that Sam Darnold and the New York Jets are quite as good as Matthew Stafford and the Detriot Lions made them look good on Monday night, but I still trust them more than I trust the Dolphins. If the Dolphins start off 2-0, I’ll be astonished.
Winner- The New York Jets
The Carolina Panthers vs. The Atlanta Falcons
I’m actually pretty unsure about this one. It could really go either way. I’m really only picking the Falcons because they’re well rested and at home.
Winner- The Atlanta Falcons
The Los Angeles Chargers vs. The Buffalo Bills
You’re kidding? Right? Nobody in their right mind could possibly pick the Buffalo Bills after that game against Baltimore. Josh Allen can’t possibly be worse than Nathan Peterman, but unless Lesean McCoy has the game of his life, Philip Rivers and the Chargers are gonna win, and they’re gonna win big. Maybe this is the game where Mike Williams finally steps it up.
Winner- The Los Angeles Chargers
The Minnesota Vikings vs. The Green Bay Packers
At the time of this writing, Aaron Rodgers is questionable for next Sunday against Harrison Smith and the Minnesota Vikings. Honestly, even if he does play, it’s hard to be optimistic. The Vikings defense is more mature than Chicago’s, and their offense is a lot more potent. I don’t even buy Kirk Cousins, but I wouldn’t bet on Aaron Rodgers at 50% against this defense.
Winner- The Minnesota Vikings
The Cleveland Browns vs. The New Orleans Saints
If the Saints can’t win this game, then maybe I need to revisit my stance about Drew Brees and the Super Bowl. A fluke loss to Tampa Bay was one thing, but if they give Cleveland their first win since Christmas Eve, 2016, there’s no coming back.
Winner- The New Orleans Saints
The Detroit Lions vs. The San Francisco 49ers
Matthew Stafford and the Detriot Lions looked absolutely horrible on all phases of the ball last week. Matt Patricia carries a pencil over his ear but his playsheet is laminated, and that’s really all you need to know about him and the Lions.
I’m still not a fan of Jimmy Garoppolo, but Kyle Shanahan is a universally better coach than Patricia, not to mention, the game is in Santa Clara. It’ll be hard to pick the Lions until they prove they can present some kind of feasible gameplan.
Winner- The San Francisco 49ers
The Arizona Cardinals vs. The Los Angeles Rams
The Arizona Cardinals couldn’t stop Alex Smith last week. They got dominated by Smith and Peterson and the rest of the AARP squad. How are they supposed to stop Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods? And what about containing the likes of Aaron Donald? Not happening. Sean McVay’s boys dominate the Cardinals and advance to 2-0.
Winner- The Los Angeles Rams
The New England Patriots vs. The Jacksonville Jaguars
In what is easily the game of the week, Tom Brady and company travel to Florida to take on Jalen Ramsey and the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is going to be a great game, and I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome. Does Jacksonville’s secondary shut down New England’s limited secondary? Does Blake Bortles cost Jacksonville the game? Only time will tell.
However, the rule of thumb says you should never pick against New England. So I guess I’m banking on Brady finding Rob Gronkowski or getting the run game going.
Winner- The New England Patriots
The Oakland Raiders vs. The Denver Broncos
I know, I know, if anything, I should’ve jumped off the bandwagon. Derek Carr turned into captain checkdown, throwing to Jalen Richard more than Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Seth Roberts combined, and the absence of Khalil Mack was obvious on the defense. They didn’t come out of the locker room, turning a three point lead into a twenty point loss as everyone not-named Jared Cook looked like garbage.
But do you know why that is? It’s because Sean McVay made some brilliant half-time adjustments and Jon Gruden just failed to keep up. The Rams took away Oakland’s strengths, and they fell on their weaknesses. Against Vance Joseph? Gruden won’t have as much trouble in a coaching battle.
Winner- The Oakland Raiders
The New York Giants vs. The Dallas Cowboys
I like this Giants team. I don’t think they’re going to be playoff contenders, but they’ve got a ton of fun pieces. Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are exciting enough, without including underrated players like Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram. I think this team is talented enough that they can compensate for issues along the offensive line.
Meanwhile, outside of Ezekiel Elliott, there’s not a whole lot to love about Dallas’ offense. Prescott looked horrible in week one, and it’ll be interesting to see if that changes against the Giants.
Winner- The New York Giants
The Seattle Seahawks vs. The Chicago Bears
This one is pretty simple. Von Miller and the Broncos were able to get to Russell Wilson repeatedly, and that’s how they were able to win. Enter Khalil Mack. Enter Roquan Smith. Enter Leonard Floyd. Get the idea? As long as the Bears don’t try to get too cute with Mitch Trubisky, they’ll come away with a win.
Winner- The Chicago Bears