Week two of the NFL begins tomorrow with an AFC South divisional matchup as the Pittsburgh Steelers take to the road to face the Baltimore Ravens. With this in mind lets pick the winners of Thursday Night Football and Sunday's early kick offs.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – Steelers Win
The Steelers started great in week one and then almost threw it away by taking their foot of the gas and almost allowing the Browns a sensational comeback.
One thing the Steelers v the Browns did show was Pittsburgh's potential weakness
against the run. The Ravens run game however is currently in disarray as Ray Rice's replacements look woefully out of their depth.
The Steelers will win this one comfortably.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills – Dolphins Win
The Bills may have won on the road at Chicago but that win had more to do with how bad the Bears were rather than how good Buffalo was.
The Dolphins win over Tom Brady and the Patriots though was altogether more impressive. Knowshon Moreno looks dominant as a running back and an unimpressive Buffalo pass rush should give Ryan Tannehill an ideal opportunity to get his arm hot.
Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers – Panthers Win
The Lions were dominant against the New York Giants, ranking up the biggest opening
week triumph since the franchise moved to Detroit. The Panthers meanwhile edged a tight game against the Buccaneers despite not having Cam Newton.
With Newton back the offense will improve and the front seven will stop the Lions offense from getting anything going.
Dallas Cowboys @ Tennessee Titans – Cowboys Win
In last weeks edition of Pick'em I successfully backed the Titans to win on the road against the Chiefs. In a much easier pick I also had the Cowboy's losing at home to the 49ers.
This week though I'm backing the Cowboys. The key reason why I backed the Titans to
win over the Cheifs was the poverty of Kansas City's offensive line and the Chiefs lack of receiving options. This allowed the Titans to dominate at the line of scrimmage shutting Jaamal Charles and from there the Titans offense had just enough to carry them over the line.
The Cowboys are a different proposition entirely. They have a great offensive line. They have great offensive weapons and whilst their defense is awful the Titans attack lacks enough difference to truly make the Cowboys pay.
It will be a high scoring game where Romo returns to some kind of form and Dallas wins
by at least two clear touchdowns.
New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings – Vikings Win
I'm not a Patriots fan but I still feel like a bit of a heathen predicting that the Patriots with go 0-2 but New England have real issues to answer in far too many areas of the field for me to back them. Offensively, the rushing game looks weak, the offensive line looks far from sturdy and with Gronkowski not 100% fit Brady's weapons look distinctly below
By contrast Norv Turner's Viking offense looked great against the Rams in week one. St
Louis' defense is better than the Patriots currently, especially in stopping the run. If the likes of Long, Langford, Brockers and Quinn can't stop Cordarelle Patterson and Adrian Peterson then the likes of Nickovich, Wilfork and Jones aren't going to.
New Orleans Saints @ Cleveland Browns – Saints Win
The Saints may have lost to the Falcons on the road in week one but they should overcome the Browns this week. With tight end Jordan Cameron likely out Cleveland are relying on two rookie running backs to carry the offense.
The Saints will find some way to shut down the Browns run game and pass their way to
a victory on the road.
Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals – Bengals Win
If you could swap Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton over then the Bengals would be up there with the Seahawks and Broncos as Superbowl favourites. Alas for Bengals and football fans this isn't the case.
Fortunately, for Bengals fans though the supporting case around Dalton is exceptional. They will score points and the defense will stop points. The should prove too much for a Falcons side who only managed to beat the Saints thanks to silly turnovers and a record breaking Matt Ryan performance. He isn't going to throw 448 yards every week though. Bengals to go 2-0.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington – Jaguars Win
In week one against the Texans RGIII completed 78.4% of his passes - his second highest percentage ever. The reason for this high completion was that most of RGIII throws were check downs as he desperately looked to get rid of the ball before J.J. Watt hit him.
The Jaguars defense may not have Watt but as a unit it is at the same level as the Texans. I expect them to do a number on the Washington offensive line and come away with the win.
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants – Cardinals Win
Victor Cruz may be saying that the key to the Giants offensive getting going is to get the ball into his hands but the Giants problems go much deeper than this.
To make matters worse for Eli & co the Cardinals defense looks good despite the injuries they have suffered and the offensive weapons of Palmer, Ellington, Floyd and Fitzgerald could be one of the leagues most dynamic.
The Cardinals will ease to victory here.