Overall, I was pretty happy with my first week picking games in the NFL. The only teams that disappointed me were the New England Patriots (11) and the Arizona Cardinals (10). Otherwise, I was able to tally a respectable score, thanks to going (4-0) in my high number picks and finishing with 10 wins.
The first week of the season is very hard to pick, because last year’s record is not a great way to pick the games this year, the teams rarely play their players in the preseason and the first week can be a very sloppy product. The play tends to improve in the first month of the season and I find it easier to predict games based on matchups as the season progresses. Still, the NFL is full of surprises, so even once we have seen the teams play; there are no guarantees in the NFL. Usually there are only three or four dominant teams and three or four horrific teams, which make the other games toss-ups between the majority of NFL teams.
Without further delay, here are my picks for Week 2. Each game I assign a number 1-16. The game I assign a 16 is the game that I most confident in the winner. The game I assign a one is the game that I am least confident in that week. At the end of the article, I will give you my recommendations for an eliminator pick and select a team to use this week. The next week I will give you the score that I compiled in the confidence picks. I will also keep a running tally of my record in both the eliminator pick and all of the games combined. I also will not pick the same team twice for the eliminator pick.
My record last week year was (10-5) and I was (1-0) with my eliminator picks. I scored 82 points in the confidence numbers. So far this season, I have picked the Pittsburgh Steelers as my eliminator pick. I do not pick games against the spread or project over and under totals. Our site is not a gambling site and we do not pretend to be a gambling site. I have had people who need to pick scores of games for their confidence picks, which I am happy to do. If the confidence numbers or picks do not help you enough, leave your questions in the comment section and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Top 5 Games
1) Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the most impressive openers of Week 1. They went to New England, where the Patriots were (101-17) with Brady as the starter and they outscored them 28-10 in the second half. QB Alex Smith, who tallied 368 yard passing and four passing touchdowns helped lead the charge in the second half. They also were led by rookie RB Kareem Hunt, who tallied 246 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Those 246 yards from scrimmage were a record for a rookie making his debut in the NFL.
They have a tough opponent in the home opener, a Philadelphia team that won 30-17 in Week 1 on the road and QB Carson Wentz tallied 307 yards and two touchdowns. I am going to go with the Chiefs in this game, because I do not think that the Eagles run the ball well enough to win in Kansas City and I think the Eagles D will have a tough time containing all of the Chiefs weapons on offense. Winner: Kansas City (5)
2) New England Patriots (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1) – Patriots QB Tom Brady did not have his best game in the opener. We are used to him dominating in New England, instead he had only 267 yards passing, failed to complete 50 percent of his passes and failed to throw a touchdown. He goes against a future Hall of Famer that also struggled in the opener, as the Saints settled for four field goals in a 29-19 loss at Minnesota. Neither QB Drew Brees nor Brady want to start the season (0-2), so it is going to be a dogfight between two of the best competitors in the NFL on offense.
I like the Patriots in this game. I think they just played a bad game at home against one of the better teams in the NFL. I watched the Saints give up 346 yards passing and three touchdowns to Vikings QB Sam Bradford, which tells me this defense is garbage for the fourth straight years and their defense is going to have a hard time stopping Brady, who is going to come out very motivated to put Week 1 in the rear view mirror. The last time the Patriots started the season (0-2) was 2001 and the Patriots have had only eight two-game losing streaks in Brady’s career. They should win a game that figures to be a shootout. Winner: New England (9)
3) Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – I know that the Steelers had trouble running the ball against Cleveland, but RB Le’Veon Bell missed the entire preseason with a holdout and looked like a player easing his way back into action. I think he will play much better this week and the Steelers usually play better at home. QB Ben Roethlisberger usually avoids mistakes at home and WR Antonio Brown is unstoppable, even for the best defenses in the NFL.
The Vikings on the other hand are usually much better at home than on the road and I do not know if that strong Monday night offensive performance against the New Orleans Saints will translate on the road into a strong performance against a very good defense. I think QB Sam Bradford will revert to an average quarterback on the road against a good defense and I like the Steelers to win an entertaining game. Winner: Pittsburgh (7)
4) Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0) – The Cowboys were able to take advantage of their good fortune in having RB Ezekiel Elliott for the New York Giants game. He had previously been suspended, but a court issued a preliminary injunction allowing him to play while his appeal is heard. Conversely, the Giants were without their best offensive player. WR Odell Beckham Jr. was not available to make miracle catches and the result was a 19-3 win at home for the Cowboys.
They have a tough matchup in Denver, but the Broncos D does not look as intimidating as years past based on the fourth quarter of their home opener and the Cowboys can run the ball, which will make it harder for the Broncos to pressure QB Dak Prescott. I like the Cowboys to go to Denver and use their running game to control this game and come out of Denver with another win. Winner: Dallas (6)
5) Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0) – This is a rematch of the NFC Championship Game, a game won by the Atlanta Falcons 44-21. The game was not even that close, as the Falcons led that game 31-0 before the Packers even put up a fight. That was the last game in the Georgia Dome and the Falcons now open Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They will be looking to open that stadium with a win in a game that figures to be a shootout between Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
I think this game is a toss up. Even though the Falcons dominated the playoff game, they also played in the regular season last year and the Falcons won by only one-point, mainly because they had the ball on the final drive of the game. The Falcons offense was not very impressive against the Chicago Bears, the Packers D looks improved and the Packers may be able to pull the upset while the Falcons adjust to having a new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian. I do not have a ton of confidence in the pick though; the Falcons could easily expose a young Packers D. Winner: Green Bay (1)
6) Houston Texans (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – The Texans will start rookie QB Deshaun Watson after starting QB Tom Savage was a disaster with six sacks in the first half of a game dominated by the Jaguars D. I do not think Watson will play great, but I think the Texans win an ugly game this week. If I have learned one thing over the years, it is to pick against Bengals QB Andy Dalton in primetime games. He will not play worse than he did against the Ravens, but he is going to have a hard time finding time to throw the ball against the Texans D playing behind his own terrible offensive line. I could see this being a 10-7 type game with both offenses struggling to move the ball. I would definitely take the under, the line is currently set at 38.5. Winner: Houston (2)
7) Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – Ravens QB Joe Flacco is (15-2) against Cleveland and the Ravens D is going to give the Browns offense fits. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer was impressive in his debut, but I think he will struggle to move the ball on the road against an elite defense. Winner: Baltimore (13)
8) Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0) – Buffalo was victorious in Week 1, but they should have won by three touchdowns against a very bad Jets offense that generated only 12 points and only 214 yards. I will take the Panthers to win at home, but I would not use this as an eliminator pick until QB Cam Newton shows that he is all the way back from his shoulder surgery. Winner: Carolina (12)
9) Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – If QB Carson Palmer fails to win this road game, he should not be owned in fantasy again. Even without RB David Johnson, there is no reason the Cardinals should lose a game to Indy without QB Andrew Luck. Winner: Arizona (14)
10) Tennessee Titans (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) – I thought Tennessee would win the division at the start of the season and I am going to chalk a poor performance in Week 1 up to playing the Oakland Raiders, one of the best teams in the NFL. Jacksonville had a very easy game against Texans QB Tom Savage, they will not have 10 sacks against the Titans offensive line and I think the Titans rebound with a win. Winner: Tennessee (10)
11) Chicago Bears (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) – The Bears are going to really struggle to score points with a substandard wide receiver and tight end group and QB Jameis Winston is going to be too much for the Bears D to handle in their home opener. I look for both the Tampa defense and offense to show up and to win big against Chicago. Winner: Tampa Bay (11)
12) Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) – I thought the Chargers had a really bad game plan in Denver with too much focus on running the ball and not enough on using their talented tight ends in the passing game. I thought the only reason that game was close was because QB Philip Rivers was able to overcome a bad game plan and bad play calling in the final two minutes of the game. This defense will be a little easier to move the ball, but the Dolphins won 31-24 in San Diego last year and I think they can win again there this year. Winner: Miami (8)
13) New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-0) – The Raiders will probably be able to score at least 24 points in this game without breaking a sweat; I do not think the Jets will score 20 points this season. I am taking QB Derek Carr to have a big game and for the Jets to win big. Winner: Oakland (16)
14) Washington (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0) – The Rams were very impressive against a Colts team without QB Andrew Luck, but I am not buying into the Rams and I think Washington goes out there and earns a win behind a better performance by QB Kirk Cousins. I would not put a ton of points on the game though, because Washington is a very inconsistent team. Winner: Washington (3)
15) San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at Seattle Seahawks (0-1) – The Seahawks D is one of the best units in the NFL and the 49ers offense is one of the weakest in the NFL. I like the Seahawks defense to dominate the game and for the Seahawks to win at home. Winner: Seattle (15)
16) New York Giants (0-1) at Detroit Lions (1-0) – The Giants may not have OBJ again for a second straight week and if that is the case, they will not be able to move the ball against the Lions and QB Matthew Stafford will be too much for the Giants, who are led by a declining QB Eli Manning. I do not think this will be a high scoring game, I could see a similar score to what we had on Sunday Night Football. Winner: Detroit (4)
Eliminator Pick: This is a bizarre week, because I think there is an abundance of eliminator picks, which makes it a challenge for people in eliminator pools to not only pick a victorious team, but pick the one they will not want to use again later in the season.
The first option is Seattle against San Francisco. The 49ers only scored three points at home last week against the Carolina Panthers and they are going to be 13-point underdogs on the road in Seattle. However, Seattle plays the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4 at home and QB Andrew Luck seems unlikely to play in that game. The Jets play Jacksonville that week and the Browns play the Bengals that week, so Seattle may be a good team to save for Week 4.
The Ravens against the Browns is also a good option. QB Joe Flacco is (15-2) against the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens are at home, where Flacco is (53-16) in his career. The Ravens have a nice game in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears and the Browns played very well last week. The Browns do not appear to be a slam-dunk win.
The Arizona Cardinals are a good option against the Indianapolis Colts, but Cardinals QB Carson Palmer is so erratic on the road and without RB David Johnson, that is a very risky pick. I would not want to put my eliminator future in the hands of a team that plays that poorly on the road, even if the Colts do not have Luck. If the Cardinals survive the injury to Johnson, I can always pick them at home against San Francisco later in the season.
That leaves the Raiders hosting the New York Jets. The Raiders are at home, I cannot see the Jets traveling across country and winning a game and the Raiders play in a tough division and they play both the AFC East and NFC East and their other home game in the AFC East is against the Patriots. This is probably the best game of the season to pick them; I will use the Raiders as my eliminator pick and use the other teams later in the season. Eliminator Pick: Oakland Raiders