Rams @ 49ers
Peter’s Pick: Rams
The 49ers have a ton of work to do before they can start being considered competitive in this league again. The Rams look like a team who is on the rise and has a chance to a least be competitive in the NFC West as early as this season.
Will’s Pick: Rams
The 49ers don’t have much but Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garcon for weapons. The Rams look like an entirely different team this year; Jared Goff looks better now and he has more weapons of his own now. They still have some kinks to work out, but I feel like a battle with the 49ers ultimately shouldn’t be much of an issue for them.
Ravens @ Jags
Peter’s Pick: Jags
The Ravens are 2-0 but they haven’t really been tested yet. Yeah their defense looks good against teams that are currently 0-4 combined but what will they do when they actually get challenged. I’m not so sure that the Jags offense is the one to give them that challenge quite yet but I have to go with the home team in this one.
Will’s Pick: Ravens
This is a matchup between two defenses that aren’t half-bad at forcing turnovers. So who wins? The team that’s less turnover-prone. While Leonard Fournette has helped give the Jaguars offense a bit more balance, Blake Bortles is still prone to interceptions and the defense needs to avoid another second half collapse like what happened with the Titans. I don’t know how much of a believer I am in the Ravens, but in games like this where they can easily win the turnover battle, the choice is clear.
Broncos @ Bills
Peter’s Pick: Broncos
Denver looks good so far this season. It seemed that they were possibly aging in all the wrong places and hadn’t really been able to regroup after losing some key pieces but that definitely doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Their offense, which seemed to be an area of concern in the offseason, now looks just fine and their defense isn’t so bad either. The Bears appear to need major help on either side of the ball.
Will’s Pick: Broncos
The Broncos made the Cowboys look like nothing this past Sunday and their offense seems to have found its potency again—or at least enough of it, anyway. The Bills surprisingly have a little life on defense, but they couldn’t get a single touchdown against the Panthers. The Broncos should have this one in the bag no problem.
Steelers @ Bears
Peter’s Pick: Steelers
The most intriguing storyline so far in this game, is whether or Trubisky gets the start. If he does, it would definitely be worth tuning into. If not, you might as well put another “W” next to the Steelers name in the standings.
Will’s Pick: Steelers
Who are the Bears? Are they the ones who almost defeated the defending NFC Champions? Or are they the ones who got crushed by the Buccaneers (in other words, exactly who we thought they were)? Difficult to say, but the Steelers just have too much firepower to lose this game. It’s possible the Bears could run an upset bid again at home, but the Steelers’ deadly trio should take care of business in the end.
Saints @ Panthers
Peter’s Pick: Panthers
Drew Brees and the usually prolific Saints offense don’t appear to be their normal selves in 2017. The Panthers still seem to be struggling to get back to top form but they have won both of their first two games and have homefield advantage, so I think they will pull this one out in a close one.
Will’s Pick: Saints
Well, you know the Saints are going to get a handful of wins each year thanks to Drew Brees, even with their hapless defenses. This looks to be as good an opportunity as any versus a Carolina team that only scored 9 points in a win over Buffalo and that just lost Greg Olsen for a couple months. The Panthers might be 2-0 right now, but that’s not very reflective of how good they’ve actually been thus far.
Buccaneers @ Vikings
Peter’s Pick: Bucs
This Buccaneers team is stacked this season and even though we’ve only had one quick glance at them, they look very explosive. The Vikings still aren’t sure which quarterback will be under center in this one but either way it doesn’t appear it will be enough to get a win, even at home.
Will’s Pick: Bucs
This one is tough, due to Sam Bradford’s status being up in the air. If he were a certainty to go for Week 3, I’d go ahead and give the Vikings the W. But with just enough uncertainty and the Buccaneers being a pretty decent team themselves, I’ll give this one to the Bucs. If they win, it’ll be their first 2-0 start since 2010.
Browns @ Colts
Peter’s Pick: Colts
This is an extremely tough call. Last week I would have given it to Cleveland but the Colts offense seems to be finally finding some momentum even without Andrew Luck. The Browns defense might be a little bit better than Indianapolis but in the end o have to give it to the home team.
Will’s Pick: Colts
Ugh. This is probably the game to avoid of the week. While the Browns might have some pieces to work with for the future, they’ve also just lost Corey Coleman for a while and have struggled to get the running game going. The Colts looked better under Jacoby Brissett last week, who avoided turnovers until overtime. Given that and the fact that they’re at home, the Colts might just squeak this one out.
Dolphins @ Jets
Peter’s Pick: Dolphins
Unless something drastic happens, the Jets will probably be the underdog in every game this season and the Dolphins appear to have picked right where they left off last season, even witha new quarterback. With a win, Miami would put themselves in a good position to maintain first place in an AFC East that could actually be up for grabs this season.
Will’s Pick: Dolphins
Could the Dolphins start 2-0 with Jay Cutler? Well, they defeated the Chargers last week… and they’re facing the Jets this week, so that’s pretty much an automatic yes. Jermaine Kearse helped give a little life to the offense against the Raiders, but they still have no defense. And the Dolphins are actually pretty loaded with weapons right now. So yeah, Jay Cutler will be 2-0.
Texans @ Patriots
Peter’s Pick: Patriots
The Texans really have looked good on either side of the ball this year. If their defense was on point, I’d have to give them a chance this week after watching the Patriots struggle against the Chiefs D. However, New England seemed to get their groove back and should roll in this one.
Will’s Pick: Patriots
Well, the Patriots bounced back per the usual against the Saints. So unless the Saints defense is just that awful, Tom Brady hasn’t quite met Father Time just yet (though it could still happen later in the season). Meanwhile, the Texans just have problems right now. While their defense still seems alright, the lack of consistency at quarterback over the years seems to be taking a toll on the offense in general. This will probably end up being another Patriots blowout.
Falcons @ Lions
Peter’s Pick: Lions
Detroit is finally starting to consistently win the games they are supposed to but even after winning 17 of their last twenty-six games, even their own fans don’t seem to believe in them. Atlanta looked good against Green Bay last week but they always do and this will be an excellent chance for Matthew Stafford and the Lions to finally prove that they are for real.
Will’s Pick: Lions
This should be a fun one. These are two offenses that are completely firing on all cylinders thus far. If the Lions can continue to get Ameer Abdullah going, it could take the pressure off Stafford. Still, there’s a fair chance the Falcons could end up taking the lead by the fourth quarter. Which is of course exactly where the Lions would want them. In a shootout of this caliber, I’m taking the home team.
Giants @ Eagles
Peter’s Pick: Giants
Expectations were very high this year in New York before the season started but so far it’s been a rough ride. The good news is the losses game against two very tough teams and the Giants still have plenty of time to right the ship. It’s hard to tell what the Eagles have this season but I see the G-Men getting their first win of the season in this one.
Will’s Pick: Eagles
The Giants are surprisingly in shambles. They have no offensive line, no run game, Odell Beckham is still a bit gimpy, and Brandon Marshall just doesn’t look himself at this point. And the defense doesn’t look the same right now either. The Giants will probably just keep losing until Odell is at full strength. Good timing for the Eagles.
Seahawks @ Titans
Peter’s Pick: Titans
Tennessee looked awful in the preseason but is definitely starting to look like the team that surprised us at the end of 2016. Seattle’s defense is still solid but there offense looks almost harmless without an offensive line and the power running game that made them so dangerous in the past.
Will’s Pick: Titans
The Seahawks have got problems on offense right now. They couldn’t score a touchdown against the Packers, and they barely squeaked out a win over the terrible 49ers even in Seattle. And now they’re going on the road against an offensively loaded Titans team. The Seahawks will probably keep it close due to their still strong defense, but I expect the Titans to pull away in the end.
Chiefs @ Chargers
Peter’s Pick: Chiefs
The Chiefs finally look like a very solid contender this season and they have a fairly easy schedule to do it with. At the beginning of the season, this looked like it would be one of their tougher games but now it appears the Chargers have chosen to continue a tradition of choking and underachieving.
Will’s Pick: Chargers
Here’s the deal: the Chargers are 1-10 in their last 11 games decided by 7 points or less. At some point, something’s gotta give. And they were just a kick away from either winning or going to overtime with their last two opponents. The play calling and running game has got to improve for them, but it’s just incredibly difficult to imagine a roster this sound led by Philip Rivers falling to 0-3, even if they are facing a formidable opponent.
Bengals @ Packers
Peter’s Pick: Packers
After watching Cincinnati struggle already in the early part of this season, you would think that this would be an easy bounce back game for Green Bay. However, last week the Packers took a massive beating, both emotionally and physically and their injury list is quite long. They should still be able to steal this one but my best guess is that they are going to really have to work for it.
Will’s Pick: Packers
Will the change in offensive coordinator make a difference for the Bengals? Well, I imagine they’ll finally score a touchdown or two this week, but versus the Packers at Lambeau, it won’t help them in the win column. Even if Jordy Nelson ends up missing out, the Packers still have a good enough offense to beat a Bengals team that’s falling apart at the seams.
Raiders @ Redskins
Peter’s Pick: Raiders
If it’s possible, the Raiders actually look even better than expected and Derek Carr is already doing a great job of earning every penny of his massive contract. His connection with Michael Crabtree has been a major part of this team’s success and could help them at least fight for homefield advantage when the time comes. The Redskins are once again simply searching for some kind of identity.
Will’s Pick: Raiders
Here’s a game with potential to be a barn-burner. Neither of these defenses are all that great, and they both have very capable quarterbacks with capable weapons. I expect the Redskins to keep things close with the Raiders, but Derek Carr and company will probably pull out the win in the end. So yes, it’s quite possible there could be three 3-0 teams in the AFC West…
Cowboys @ Cardinals
Peter’s Pick: Cowboys
This game couldn have a major effect on the end result of the NFC standings. Both teams play in a division they have a decent chance of winning but one minor misstep could change that in a hurry. The Cowboys took a beating last week but they are still a good team and have a chance to get back on their feet if they can pull this one out.
Will’s Pick: Cowboys
The Cowboys looked like the Browns against the Broncos, and the Cardinals struggled to beat a Luck-less Colts team. So who wins that battle? I think it’ll come down to the running game. Even though I expected a sophomore slump from Prescott and Elliott, they still won’t be getting completely shut down that often. The Cardinals don’t have much of a running game right now without David Johnson and are thus relying completely on Carson Palmer at this point. There are worse situations to be in, but I still think the Cowboys will take this one from the Cards.