The hyper defensive league continues into the second week, as offenses across the US, from Cincinnati to Houston, from Buffalo to Carolina, all have trouble scoring more points than Tom Brady can score in one quarter!
Impressive outings by Patriots, by the way, bouncing back from their Week 1 “shocker’ loss, as well as impressive starters by everyone in the AFC West… except the Chargers kicker. Sorry, buddy. It’s not fair, but that’s how the NFL rolls.
Jay Cutler got his belated debut with the Dolphins, doing well enough to secure them a win with all of the chances the Chargers gave them. And Zay Jones just missed the game winning touchdown in the Carolina-Buffalo game. Marshawn danced on the sideline and Stafford took a JPP hand to the eyes!
But that’s all just another week in the NFL.
Last week I went 12-4, a much better outcome than my middling first week of 8-7. That makes me 20-11 on the year.
In terms of statistical predictions:
- I predicted The Tennessee Titans & Jacksonville Jaguars would combine for more than 250 rushing yards; they combined for 278 rushing yards.
- Corey Coleman only had one catch, so it wasn’t hard for Baltimore’s defense to have more sacks (3) than Coleman catches.
- Despite my thinking it would be bold, Jamaal Charles did end up outpacing Ezekiel Elliott; Charles had 52 scrimmage yards to Elliott’s 22. Yikes.
- I was 2/3 correct on my Packers-Falcons prediction; the Packers did outgain the Falcons in passing yards and total yards, mostly because they trailed at kickoff seemingly. Ah well.
Now, on to this week’s picks!
Thursday Night Football, Sept. 21
LA Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Two teams that have been laughing stocks of the NFL for the last two to three years (well, longer for the Rams) facing on with their anemic-ish offenses and stout defenses on the bright lights of TNF! Get excited!
Seriously though, after the crushing defeat at home last week at the hands of the Redskins, I expect the Rams to handle the 49ers easily. Hoyer and co. haven’t proven to be a cohesive unit in any semblance, although they have just played the two best defenses in the NFC to start the season, so that may something to do with it.
Statistical Prediction: Carlos Hyde and Todd Gurley combine for more scrimmage yards than Brian Hoyer and Jared Goff combine for passing yards.
Score Prediction: LA wins, 23-13
Sunday Sept. 24, 9:30 am (London) slot:
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Well, that nickname of ‘Sacksonville’ didn’t last very long, did it? After demolishing the Texans in week one, the Jaguars did what they promised they wouldn’t do this year: put the ball in Blake Bortles’ hands. It was something they were forced to do after Tennessee got to a wide lead after halftime when Tennessee’s offense really started going. Baltimore has an intense defense that can not only shut down a good run game, but give even good quarterbacks fits (although so far they’ve only played Andy Dalton and Deshone Kizer, so maybe they’re a mirage?) Nevertheless, I see Baltimore easily cruising through this game in front of the British crowd.
Statistical Prediction: Blake Bortles throws three interceptions and Leonard Fournette is held under 40 rushing yards.
Score Prediction: Baltimore wins, 23-9
Sunday Sept. 24, 1 pm slot:
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
This is the most exciting game of the this time slot for a few reasons: two high powered offenses means a potential shootout, which is fun and not something we’ve seen this season; they’re two division leaders, which means someone’s dropping and someone is taking a step closer to a… hushhushperfectseasonhushhush. But it’s way to early to be thinking about that. It’ll just (hopefully) be a fun game to watch.
Statistical Prediction: Both quarterbacks will pass over 300 yards and have 3+ passing touchdowns.
Score Prediction: Atlanta wins, 35-31
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills
Statistical Prediction: Denver’s defense will have more sacks and turnovers than Trevor Siemian will have incomplete passes.
Score Prediction: Denver wins, 30-10
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Statistical Prediction: Alshon Jeffery will have more catches, yards, and touchdowns than Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall combined.
Score Prediction: Eagles win, 35-14
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Statistical Prediction: Rob Gronkowski will have more receiving yards than Deshaun Watson will have passing yards.
Score Prediction: New England wins, 42-10
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Statistical Prediction: Jay Cutler and Josh McCown combine for 5+ touchdown passes.
Score Prediction: Miami wins, 31-20
New Orleans at Carolina Panthers
Statistical Prediction: Coby Fleener and Christian McCaffrey will lead their respective teams in receiving yards.
Score Prediction: Carolina wins, 27-23
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
Statistical Prediction: Deshone Kizer and Jacoby Brissett will lead their respective teams in rushing yards.
Score Prediction: Cleveland wins, 24-17
Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
Statistical Prediction: Antonio Brown will have more receiving yards than all of Chicago’s wide receivers combined.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 30-7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota VIkings
Statistical Prediction: Both teams will have a 100+ yard rusher and at least one 100+ yard receiver.
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay wins, 24-20
Sunday Sept. 24, 4 pm slot:
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans
This is an interesting matchup; two teams traditionally built on their run game and defense, with agile and mobile quarterbacks with high completion rates. I think the Titans, being at home, actually have an edge on a Seahawks team that has not looked great on offense this season yet, only scoring 12 points against a hapless 49ers team. If the Titans can establish the run, and wear out the Seahawks, they took this game in a landslide. But I predict a Russell Wilson epic comeback attempt… note, I say “attempt.”
Statistical Prediction: The Titans will have more yards rushing than the Seahawks will have total yards.
Score Prediction: Tennessee wins, 24-20
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers
Statistical Prediction: Packers will have two 100+ yard receivers and Andy Dalton won’t crack 200 yards passing.
Score Prediction: Green Bay wins, 38-10
Kansas City Chiefs at LA Chargers
Statistical Prediction: Philip Rivers throws more interceptions than Alex Smith throws touchdowns.
Score Prediction: Kansas City wins, 27-20
Sunday Night Football, Sept. 24:
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins
Oh boy. This has blowout written all over it. The Redskins were lucky to scrape by with a win in LA, with them being able to establish the run game effectively. I see the being more difficult against a tough Oakland team that has thwarted the Titans and Jets in back to back weeks.
Statistical Prediction: Derek Carr points from touchdowns (six each, for reference) will be enough to beat double all points that the Redskins score.
Score Prediction: Oakland wins, 35-14
Monday Night Football, Sept 25:
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
A few years ago, this would’ve been an NFC marquee matchup; back when the Cardinals were contenders. The air has been quickly let out of the tires on that notion, as David Johnson has been sidelined and Carson Palmer’s ails of every year except 2015 have persisted. Dallas will be looking to bounce back from the largest margin of defeat during the Dak-Zeke era.
Statistical Prediction: Carson Palmer throws for fewer yards than Ezekiel Elliott rushes.
Score Prediction: Dallas wins, 28-13