Sunday sets the season's standards
Sunday, Sept. 19
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Just barely beating the Rams by a mere four points last Sunday, the Cardinals will need to step their game up this week if they want to be competitive with Atlanta. Despite a frustrating loss to Pittsburgh in overtime last Sunday, the Falcons should find the effective offensive rhythm they have been searching for.
After scoring just nine points against the Steelers in week one, Atlanta will bounce back with a win over the Cards.
Atlanta surprised a lot of people last week by losing to the Steelers who were without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Falcons struggled against the Steelers' defense, but that shouldn't be a problem against the Cards. Arizona's Derek Anderson isn't a very strong quarterback and Atlanta should be able to compensate for their poor start and pull out the win.
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Baltimore runs a rough defense that Cincinnati's offensive line won't be able to handle come Sunday—the Ravens held Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to only 74 passing yards in last Sunday's game. The Raven's should slide past last year's AFC North division champions to be 2-0.
The Bengals offense looked out of sync against the Patriots, but they began to pick it up offensively in the second half. Ochocinco will have another big game after catching 12 balls for 159 yards and a touchdown last week.
Baltimore's defense is formidable and arguably one of the best in the league. They will take care of Cincinnati's offense and win on Sunday.
Kansas Chiefs (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
This game is a close call. Nobody really expected the Chiefs to pull off a win against the Chargers last Sunday and who knows if they'll have the same luck this week in Cleveland. On the other hand, coming off an exciting win could be the motivation Kansas City needs to push past the Browns, this week's home team, who fell just short to the Buccaneers last week.
The Chiefs are flying high with confidence after a 21-14 win over San Diego last Sunday. Running back Jamaal Charles will have another solid day rushing against a bad Browns defense, and quarterback Matt Cassel should be able to lead Kansas City to another victory.
What an exciting game…not. However, the Chiefs did surprise a lot of people, including myself, when they beat the Chargers this past Monday. I'll take Kansas City to win again.
Chicago Bears (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Sunday will serve as Dallas's first win of the season, as well as their third straight win over Chicago. The Cowboys' lineup will be almost completely back in action, including the return of linebacker DeMarcus Ware who was out for last Sunday's game with a neck injury.
As much as I hate to pick the Cowboys, I can't lie and say they'll lose this game. The Bears are bottom feeders in an NFC North dominated by Green Bay and Minnesota, and Miles Austin will have his way against Chicago's defense.
Chicago just barely beat Detroit in last week's game and only scored one touchdown the entire game—they had to depend on field goals just to squeak by. On the other side of the field, the Cowboys have yet to prove that they are a Super Bowl caliber team this year and lost to the 'Skins last week after a holding penalty by Alex Barron. Dallas desperately needs to win this one if they want to show fans that they're a championship team—and they'll pull it off.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) at Detroit Lions (0-1)
This will be an interesting matchup since both teams are without their starting quarterbacks—both Kevin Kolb (Philadelphia) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit) were injured in last Sunday's games. But, as he did last Sunday, Michael Vick will step up for the Eagles and secure a sixth straight win for Philadelphia against Detroit.
Michael Vick's still got it. He racked up 278 yards of total offense and threw a touchdown against Green Bay after taking over for a concussed Kevin Kolb in the second half. Expect more of the same from the rejuvenated Vick come Sunday.
Last week, the Lions were completely robbed of a win against the Bears by the referees in the game. Being from Michigan, I'm still a little sore about the loss and am looking for the Lions to win this week. Yet Detroit still has to contend with losing quarterback Matthew Stafford for the week. Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion in Philly's game against Green Bay last week and has sat out at practice for the last few days. Even though Philly's backup quarterback Michael Vick is a lot stronger than Lions' backup Shaun Hill, I'll still take the Lions to win on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Although they will be lacking running back Ryan Grant's speed come Sunday, the Packers are a sure shot to go 2-0 against the Bills. The Bills, who gained a mere 166 yards last game, will need to regroup and put together a stronger offense to hang with the Packer's defense.
The Pack lost running back Ryan Grant for the season in week one due to an ankle injury, but that won't stop Aaron Rodgers and his crew from dominating the Bills this week. Running back Brandon Jackson claims the starting role, and he should have a huge day against Buffalo.
This is an easy one. Green Bay showed that they are a solid team able to perform at a high level with their win against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Packers will easily win again.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) at Tennessee Titans (1-0)
I was impressed that the Steelers could pull it together without the leadership of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger; however, Pittsburgh won't be so lucky this week against Tennessee and the might of Chris Johnson. Once again, Pittsburgh will try to keep the pressure off of temporary quarterback Dennis Dixon by running the ball as much as possible, but the Titans' defense will look to attack his blindside since Pittsburgh's left tackle Max Starks is out with an ankle injury.
Chris Johnson isn't bad.
In the words of my friend and fellow football expert, Eli, "Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson." The Steelers defense may be good, but their offensive production is minimal. Johnson definitely established himself as an offensive presence last week and will help the Titans win once again.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Coming off of a tough loss and returning to their home stadium for this Sunday's matchup, the Vikings will be hungry for the Dolphins. In this Sunday's game, a re-enactment of last year's NFC championship game, Minnesota's quarterback Brett Favre will be up to speed after long practices this week and ready to bring the team its first win of the season.
The Vikings lost a close one to the defending Super Bowl champs in week one. Brett Favre looked rusty and, um... old, but this comes as no surprise as he hasn't played well in past season openers either. He should turn it around this week against Miami, and Adrian "All-day” Peterson will have a big day running the pigskin.
Minnesota should learn from their mistakes in last week's dismal game against the Saints and take this week's game as an opportunity to prove that they are a strong team. Favre also needs to show that he is still a great quarterback, and the Vikings will redeem themselves against the Dolphins.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-1)
The Panthers beat the Buccaneers twice last season, and the results for this Sunday's game will be no different. Both team's quarterbacks are currently dealing with injuries and the defensive lines for both teams will need to step up their game, but look for Carolina's plan to play a strong running game to prove effective.
Carolina gets the "W” thanks to a solid game from running back DeAngelo Williams. Don't plan on setting your DVR for this one, though—neither of these teams have much going for them, so expect a low-scoring affair.
Yet another weak game. Josh Freeman did prove last week that he can battle through injury and guide his team to a win, so I'll pick the Bucs to win on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Denver Broncos (0-1)
Going 0-2 after the second week of the season would be a huge shock for Denver, but fortunately for them it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Although Seattle's defense, comprised of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and the return of linebacker Leroy Hill, appears promising, the Broncos' defense will be able to dismantle it.
Kyle Orton threw for 295 yards in Denver's week one loss to Jacksonville. The Seahawks routed the 49ers 31-6 last week, but don't expect their winning ways to continue against the Broncos.
The Broncos didn't fare very well last week against Jacksonville, and they won't do any better against the Seahawks. Seattle is coming off an impressing, and surprising, win against the 49ers and they will win again on Sunday.
St. Louis Rams (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)
This should be a good game for the Rams' rookie quarterback Sam Bradford since the Raiders are on about the same playing field as the Rams, which, to be honest, isn't a very high one. The Rams should just edge past the Raiders by just a few points in an overall low-scoring game.
This isn't a matchup of two Super Bowl contenders, to say the least. In an ugly, turnover-ridden game, Oakland comes out on top with the more experienced quarterback in Campbell.
Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford did have a solid showing last week, while Oakland's quarterback Jason Campbell was sacked four times and wasn't able to get the Raiders' offense going. As much as I want to pick Oakland, I'm going to go with the Rams because they're the better team right now.
New England Patriots (1-0) at New York Jets (0-1)
This will be a good rivalry match up and will result in a close scoring game. While the Patriots have a strong offense with the leadership of quarterback Tom Brady while the Jets' defense, as well as promising rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Patriots will win but just by a few points.
New England looked like their old selves in week one, putting up 38 points on the Bengals defense and getting a convincing win. Wes Welker looked healthy and scored two touchdowns in the Patriots' opener. The Jets, on the other hand, looked sloppy on offense in their 10-9 loss to Baltimore and quarterback Mark Sanchez couldn't get anything going. It'll be New England's high-scoring offense vs. New York's stellar defense on Sunday, and Brady will lead his team to victory.
This is one of the better games of the week in my opinion. The Patriots' offense is explosive being led by quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Wes Welker. But the Jets have the potential to be a great team with quarterback Mark Sanchez at the helm and a defense that usually plays rather well. The Pats and the Jets are AFC East rivals, and the winner of this game will be battling with Miami for first place in the division. Look for Brady and Welker to lead the Patriots' offense once again as New England wins their second game in a row.
Houston Texans (1-0) at Washington Redskins (1-0)
This week our beloved ‘Skins take on an even tougher team from Texas. In their home opener this Sunday, although I hate to admit it, Houston will show Washington no mercy. Both teams have improved a lot since last season, but Washington's skills aren't quite up at Houston's level.
As much as it pains me to pick against my beloved ‘Skins, the Texans are an offensive machine and they'll be too much for Washington. Houston running back Arian Foster had a monster game against the Colts, rushing for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Coming off a big win against the Colts, the Texans should take care of the Redskins at Fedex Field. For this game I kind of hope my prediction is I'm wrong.
I know that Redskins fans all over the DMV are probably going to hate me for this – especially since this game is here in Maryland, but overall, Houston is much better than Washington. Houston's running back Arian Foster broke team records last week against Indianapolis, scoring three touchdowns and running for 231 yards. Foster will run past the Skins defense and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub will continue to be successful.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-1)
Based on his performance in last Sunday's game against Kansas City, Chargers' running back Darren Sproles fell under Jacksonville's radar. With Sproles back on his game this week, the Chargers are looking for redemption and to be 1 – 1 going into week three.
The Chargers suffered an embarrassing loss to Kansas City in week one but will recover with a win over the Jags. San Diego battled wet field conditions on Monday Night Football and were unable to click offensively. Phillip Rivers has established himself as one of the league's best quarterbacks and won't allow his team to fall two weeks in a row.
Both Jags' quarterback David Garrard and Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers had notable performances last week, but in the end Rivers wasn't able to lead his team to victory. Garrard was able to win, on the other hand, and with running back Maurice Jones-Drew at his side; he will be able lead his team to victory against the Chargers.
New York Giants (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Following a surprising week one loss, this Sunday, the Colts will try to turn their
season around and not follow in the losing footsteps of several other Superbowl runner-ups that precede them. Quarterback Peyton Manning and his Colts will move past little brother Eli in this Manning brother match up.
Big bro will beat little bro when they face each other this Sunday. Although the Giants are 1-0 while the Colts sit at 0-1, Peyton will bounce back with a victory over brother Eli. Indianapolis struggled to defend the Texans running game in week one, so the G-Men have a chance if they fully utilize their talented running back duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. The more likely scenario, however, is that Peyton has a big game and his Colts to improve to 1-1 on the season.
Both of the Manning brothers' teams have struggled a bit in the last week. Even though little brother Eli was able to lead the Giants' to victory, he did manage to throw three interceptions. Then there's older brother Peyton, who played extremely well against the Houston Texans. Even with his sensational performance, in which he threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, the Colts were not able to win because of their defense. The Colts' defense allowed the Texans to run all over them and will encounter the same problem with Giants' running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. I'll take the Giants to beat the Colts on Sunday, with Eli winning this battle of the Manning brothers.
Monday, Sept. 20
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Unable to score even one touchdown in last Sunday's game, the 49ers will be unable
to handle New Orleans' strong defense. The only weapons the 49ers have are
mediocre quarterback Alex Smith, steadfast running back Frank Gore and ego-
driven wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Brees & co. didn't do much damage offensively against the Vikings in week one, scoring just 14 points for the win. Expect that to change in week two when the Saints play the 49ers. San Francisco is coming off a brutal loss to Seattle and they face a much tougher team in New Orleans this week.
Plain and simple, the Saints are still among the top 5 teams in the league after their Super Bowl win last year. They will easily beat the 49ers on Monday night and will continue to build their case as one of the potential teams to go to this season's championship game.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside … More »