Week one is always a tough week to predict, but boy, did I whiff on a few of those. I had too much faith in Minnesota and not enough faith in Jacksonville, and I got by with a winning record by the skin of my teeth.
Ryan’s NFL Picks (2020): Week Two
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: Cleveland Browns
I am once again asking the Cleveland Browns to redeem my faith in them. For the second straight year, I was high on the Browns, and for the second straight year, they came out of the gate with hands up like Ricky Bobby.
I’m hoping that we can chalk it up to a new coach without a real off-season against a supremely talented Ravens team… but if not, I don’t know what to tell you, Dawg Pound.
The Bengals looked much, much better in their opener, albeit against a far less intimidating opponent. On a short week, at home, I’m giving the Browns the benefit of the doubt.
New York Giants @ Chicago Bears: Chicago Bears
I do not feel comfortable with this pick at all. The New York Giants almost benefited from Pittsburgh’s offensive inadequacy last week but they couldn’t quite pull it off, meanwhile the Bears benefited from a Detroit collapse so bad the government couldn’t even bail them out.
I guess the real deciding factor was Khalil Mack vs. either of those tackles versus a Daniel Jones that I still don’t trust. If Mack wants a breakout game, here it is.
Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys
This could be a really fun shoot-out between two offenses with a lot of potential or it could be a sloppy penalty-ridden mess. There’s no in-between. I’m picking Dallas because they just have to get it right eventually, don’t they? If they can’t even beat Dan Quinn, what are we doing here?
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers: Green Bay Packers
Man, I slept on the Green Bay Packers and they made me pay for it. Meanwhile I gave the Lions the slightest bit of faith and it slipped through D’Andre Swift’s hands in the endzone. Packers roll, don’t speak to me or my son ever again.
Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts: Minnesota Vikings
I made a bet before the season started that the Colts wouldn’t win nine games this year, because as we’ve discussed, I (here’s a link) am (here’s another) not (okay, one more) a fan of Philip Rivers. I didn’t think they’d lose to JACKSONVILLE, but I certainly thought they’d be bad. Minnesota has a shot at redemption here.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins: Buffalo Bills
Miami, I had faith in you. I don’t know why, but I thought you guys were going to make a stink last week and cement yourselves as a name in the AFC East. Instead, you let Cam Newton literally run all over you. And now you get the Bills, who just destroyed the Jets? Forget about it. Bills roll.
San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets: San Francisco 49ers
Shaky, shaky performance from the 49ers last week. Once again, Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t make big plays when it mattered (a troubling theme developing in the winless bay area), and the defense was helpless against Kyler Murray.
If they weren’t about to face off against the NFL’s worst team? I’d take a closer look at their chances this year. If they can’t steamroll Sam Darnold and Adam Gase, they might be the worst team in the NFC West.
Los Angeles Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles: Los Angeles Rams
I want to say this will be a good game, but the Philadelphia offensive line looked hopeless last week against Washington, and now they’re hosting Aaron Donald. Carson Wentz came into the season banged up, and now… maybe let Jalen Hurts catch this L.
Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh Steelers
A lot of people were really impressed by Drew Lock and the Broncos on Monday night, and honestly… I wasn’t. They took advantage of several missed field goals and still lost. It was the run game that really put them in a position to win, and they still blew it. Meanwhile, the Steelers shut down Saquon Barkley.
I don’t know if that was an indictment of the Giants offensive line or praise for the Steelers defense, but if the Black and Yellow can stuff Melvin Gordon and force Drew Lock to beat them? They’ll come out 2-0.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Panthers defense is banged up and not very good. Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs laughed all afternoon, not struggling with Carolina’s secondary at all. Tom Brady got off to a slow start, but a home game versus a bad secondary might be just what the doctor ordered.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans: Tennessee Titans
I like that I came up with this silly rule about not picking the Jaguars until they won as if that would be some kind of challenge. They literally won the first game they played! Well played, Gardner Minshew, well played.
However, I think it might’ve been a week one miracle. If the Jaguars start the season 2-0, they’ll have far surpassed the number of wins I projected them for this season.
Washington Football Team @ Arizona Cardinals: Arizona Cardinals
I was very impressed by Dwayne Haskins’ leadership last week, rallying the Football Team to a comeback victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, with more than a little help from his devastating defensive line, but I was even more impressed by his draftmate, Kyler Murray, upsetting the reigning NFC Champs in the opener.
I think Kyler’s strengths match up well against Washington’s, especially at home, and the Cardinals are able to pull out a surprising 2-0 start.
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans: Baltimore Ravens
Poor Deshaun Watson is desperate for a break. Last week, he had to play Mahomes and the Chiefs. This week, he gets Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Maybe next week, Watson won’t have to compete with a former league MVP (it’s Kirk Cousins, he’s safe).
The Texans looked kinda hopeless last week, and I don’t think that changes here. Even well rested, the challenge is just too big. I mean, the Ravens barely broke a sweat steam-rolling the Browns in week one.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers: Kansas City Chiefs
A Chiefs team with more than a week’s rest coming to put a blemish on the Charger’s new digs? Forget about it. LAC was able to limp to a win versus an equally inexperienced Bengals team, but they’re going to get run over by Patrick Mahomes and company.
New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks: Seattle Seahawks
I’ll admit, I underestimated Bill Belichick’s Patriots last week. I thought it would be all doom and gloom in a post-Brady New England, but they brought the pain. If they were playing another AFC East team, they’d probably get the nod this week… but they’re not. They’re traveling cross-country to take on a white hot Russell Wilson and a Seahawks team out to prove they’re the class of the whole NFC.
New Orleans Saints @ Las Vegas Raiders: New Orleans Saints
I want to pick the Raiders so bad. I’ve justified it by saying Michael Thomas is out, they’re on the road, the Raiders are going to be fired up opening the death star in Primetime, but honestly, Teddy Bridgewater didn’t struggle against the Raiders defense last week, and what is Drew Brees but Super-Teddy Bridgewater. They did a decent job containing Christian McCaffrey, but if they’re focused on stopping Alvin Kamara, who will shut down an old friend, Jared Cook? Saints win on primetime and my Las Vegas Raiders are no longer undefeated as a franchise.