The NFL begins its second week in just a few minutes as several teams hope to even out their schedule from early losses or to gain a lead by moving to 2-0. There storylines are many this week, from the Colts saving their season without Peyton Manning to the Chiefs hoping to stop their expectations from crumbling completely.
Here are our choices for week 2 of the NFL schedule:
Oakland @ Buffalo
Perhaps the Bills are that good. Perhaps the Chiefs are that bad. Either way, the Raiders are looking at this date a bit differently than they would have a week ago. The Raiders didn't deserve the win at Mile High last week, so the Bills have a great shot at 2-0. Then again, the key is the Bills offensive line against the vaunted Raiders d-line. If they can win that battle, they will win the game. My guess is that they'll show their true colors and come back to earth a bit. Richard Seymour is still a beast in this league.
Raiders 13, Bills 10
Seattle @ Pittsburgh
Both teams lost last week. Only one will experience redemption. Sorry Seahawks, but I'm sticking with my assertion that the signing of Tarvaris Jackson was the dumbest move of the offseason. Mike Tomlin is going to have the Steelers ready to make a statement that defies last week's humiliating loss to the Ravens and Jackson will throw 3 interceptions.
Steelers 31, Seahawks 10
Arizona @ Washington
Kevin Kolb looked solid last week, albeit against the Panthers. The Redskins also looked good against the Giants. The key to remember is that one played the Panthers (Cam or not), while the other played a defeated Giants defense that's lost 312 players to injury. The crazy thing is that one of these teams will be 2-0. For the sake of integrity in the NFL, I'm hoping this ends in a tie. We can hope...
Cardinals 21, Redskins 20
Tampa Bay @ Minnesota
You could analyze everything all day about these clubs, but something keeps pointing me toward the fact that Adrian Peterson is the best player on either club. The Bucs need to prove last year's 10 win season was no fluke due to the schedule and a road win at Minny is quite possible. But until the Bucs defensive line proves it's not all potential on paper, I'll take Peterson in a match-up like this.
Vikings 14, Buccaneers 10
Jacksonville @ New York Jets
Luke McCown won an actual NFL game. It won't happen again.
Jets 35, Jaguars 0
Chicago @ New Orleans
The Bears are better than most gave them credit for, and it's clear that defense is really something to behold after putting the Falcons in their place. The Saints play a brutal front end to their schedule, so it's easy to see how they could be 0-2. But if anyone can beat the Bears defense over the top, it's Drew Brees and company (even without Colston). The stats won't be pretty but Brees + Fourth Quarter Magic get my vote.
Saints 24, Bears 17
Green Bay @ Carolina
Cam Newton is a good story. Wait, Green Bay Packers? Cam Newton was a good story.
Packers 28, Panthers 7
Baltimore @ Tennessee
Perhaps I'm being stubborn, but I still believe the Titans will be formidable by season's end. Chris Johnson needs to wake up. The Ravens need to make sure they're not asleep at the wheel. After last week's high, the Titans present an easy match-up and John Harbaugh needs to make sure the Ravens aren't looking beyond week two. This will be closer than most will believe, but the Ravens look too good.
Ravens 17, Titans 14
Kansas City @ Detroit
The Chiefs cannot be this bad. They can, however, be worse than what most people thought. A softie schedule misleads us all from time to time. The Lions, meanwhile, have been waiting for the rumored moment that Stafford would be healthy. This is that time. It's easy to love Stafford to Calvin Johnson against a struggling Chiefs secondary. It's also easy to love Jamaal Charles and a running attack that everyone's forgotten was the league's best in 2010. Time to go against the grain.
Chiefs 14, Lions 10
Cleveland @ Indianapolis
I'm going down with the U.S.S. Kerry Collins. He's still got a great arm. The receivers are still world-class. The Colts won't compete at the level they did before, but you can't count them out. It's still a mediocre division by any realistic measure, which means the Browns go to 0-2 playing before a Colts team with a good chip on its shoulder.
Colts 24, Browns 14
Dallas @ San Francisco
Tony Romo v. Alex Smith. That's all that you need to know. The Cowboys' quarterback is the goat in the media's eyes for some of his late game blunders, but I still think he's going to turn into an elite quarterback in this league. Expect them to run up the score and the 49ers to search for any sense of rhythm against Rob Ryan's defensive schemes.
Cowboys 41, 49ers 13
Cincinnati @ Denver
If Denver starts 0-2 at home, then this season is not only lost but they could win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. That tide would be so overwhelming that it would likely wash any remnant of Tim Tebow out to sea with it. I don't see that happening under John Fox's watch. Andy Dalton will get lost in the noise and altitude at Mile High and the Broncos will eke out an ugly win.
Broncos 16, Bengals 13
San Diego @ New England
The best match-up of the week features the best quarterbacks head-to-head. Tom Brady looked invincible at Miami on Monday night and playing at home only makes them more formidable. The Chargers can go toe to toe with any team in the NFL on most weeks, so nothing would surprise me, but when you make it Norv vs. Bill, it's hard to go with the Chargers. And if it sounds as if I'm grasping for straws here, you would be correct.
Patriots 30, Chargers 27
Houston @ Miami
The Texans manhandled the Colts and now they face arguably the worst team in the NFL. Maybe Miami can find some life after flashes in the New England game, but Houston seems to have a real aggression about them under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the eternal hot seat under Gary Kubiak. It's now or never and the Texans should move to 2-0 easily.
Texans 27, Dolphins 7
Philadelphia @ Atlanta
How about the Falcons having to avoid 0-2 against the Eagles? It's almost unfair when looking at the early schedules of other teams, but Matt Ryan is too good to let the season start to slip away already. The good news is the Saints face the same level of difficulty at the same time. Philly has plenty of playmakers and this is a homecoming for Vick, so expect some inspired play when the game is on the line. That's enough to put the Eagles over the top.
Eagles 21, Falcons 17
St. Louis @ New York
This Monday night match-up features some banged up teams that could use a bye week more than anything. Sam Bradford needed more offensive weapons and that was before Danny Amendola was lost for the year. So while the Giants defense is a shell of what was expected, it should still be enough to handle the Rams at home.
Giants 20, Rams 10