NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 2

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Denver @ Kansas City (-3)

The Broncos overcame the Ravens 19-13 last week, led by a defense that limited the Ravens to 173 yards of total offense. That made up for a lackluster day from Peyton Manning, who threw for only 175 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 interception.

"Have you seen my new DirectTV commercial," Manning said. "It's the one in which I look in the mirror and tell myself, 'Don't be like this me.'

"But contrary to what you saw last Sunday, this offense is not a work in regress, but a work in progress. Keep in mind, this is Gary Kubiak's offense, and I'm no Joe Flacco, although I seem to be heading in that direction."

The Chiefs manhandled the Texans last week, powered by three touchdown passes by Alex Smith, two to tight end Travis Kelce.

"Kelce is the poor man's Rob Gronkowski," Smith said. "I guess that makes me the very poor man's Tom Brady. Like Gronk, Travis wears No. 87. I don't wear No. 12, but I surely would if it would allow me to be compared to Tom Brady in any way. As for Manning, I know there's at least one trait we share: neither one of us can throw the ball downfield."

Broncos win, 22-16.

Houston @ Carolina (-3½)

The Texans dug themselves a 27-6 second quarter hole before falling 27-20 to the visiting Chiefs last week. J.J. Watt and his teammates look to rebound against the Panthers.

"I had two sacks," Watt said, "6 tackles for losses, and three quarterback hits. Heck, like Robert Griffin III, I'm listed third on the depth chart at quarterback. I can't do it all, but I do believe I could cover a Panthers wide receiver. Who or what is 'Philly Brown? Is it the result of a bad cheesesteak sandwich? And who is Ted Ginn? Did he have a rock band? Or, was he one-half of the country duo 'Ginn and Tonic?'

"Anyway, we've got the Carolina receiving corps very well-scouted. You could even say we've got the 'drop' on them."

The Panthers took a 20-9 road victory over the Jaguars last week, but the win was costly — linebacker Luke Kuechly left late in the first half with a concussion.

"You don't have to remind me that Luke is a participant in the NFL's concussion protocol," Ron Rivera said. "But you do have to remind him.

"Watt is our major concern. He can single-handedly disrupt an offense. By that same token, Jason Pierre-Paul can single-fingered-ly disrupt a defense. We have to keep Watt from getting to Cam Newton. I think Cam has an idea, a sneaky twist on an old scheme — we're going to pay his father, Cecil Newton, to make sure Watt shows up in Starksville, Mississippi on Sunday."

There's already a quarterback controversy brewing for the Texans. Jim O'Brien has a tough choice to make between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallette. It looks like a coin toss. Unfortunately for O'Brien, the three-sided coin hasn't been invented yet.

Carolina wins, 18-10.

San Francisco @ Pittsburgh (-5)

The Steelers dropped their opener, 28-21, to the Patriots last Thursday in Foxboro, due in part to their inability to stop Rob Gronkowski, who had 3 touchdown catches.

"Gronkowski is a handful," Mike Tomlin said. "Or is he? Because we didn't put a hand on him. What do you expect, though? If there's anyone on this team than can get 'handsy,' it's Ben Roethlisberger.

"I've got a new phone app that anyone playing New England has to have. It's called 'I Don't Heart Patriots Radio.' But we're not playing the Patriots. We're playing the 49ers. I don't think we have to worry about hearing the 49ers radio broadcast in our headsets. And the 49ers don't have to worry about the listening to the police scanner in their headsets, now that Aldon Smith is gone."

The 49ers opened the season with a strong 20-3 win over the visiting Vikings last Monday night. Carlos Hyde rushed for 168 yards and 2 scores, while the 49ers defense held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on the ground.

"Peterson said he was 'embarrassed' by his performance," Navorro Bowman said. "He left with his tail tucked firmly between his legs, which I hear can leave marks on your scrotum.

"On Sunday, our focus will be on Antonio Brown. I can't speak on his opinion of corporal punishment, but I do know he has no qualms about beating the crap out of a cornerback."

Ben Roethlisberger passes for 2 scores, and Josh Scobee nails a 45-yard field goal with under a minute left to give the Steelers the win.

Pittsburgh wins, 24-21.

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-10)

Jameis Winston's NFL debut was a shaky one, as the Tampa Bay rookie tossed two interception and was sacked 4 times in a 42-14 loss to Marcus Mariotta and the visiting Titans.

"Mariotta went and threw four touchdowns in my home stadium," Winston said. "Who's the thief now? It's Marcus. He stole all the glory.

"My first official pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. And I guess I'm to blame. That's what happens when you don't watch enough film of your opponent. In this case, shabby investigative work didn't work in my favor."

Despite 355 yards passing from Drew Brees, the Saints lost 31-19 at Arizona, doomed by an inability to score TDs in the red zone.

"I'm looking forward to playing the Buccaneers," Brees said. "Winston is the new face of the franchise, and I like the way he's put his checkered past behind him. I'll welcome him to New Orleans with open arms. Maybe after the game, I'll say to him, 'Hey, can I 'Bayou' some crab legs?'"

Brees passes for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Saints win, 31-26.

Detroit @ Minnesota (-3)

The Vikings were held scoreless for three quarters before finally going down 20-3 to the 49ers last Monday night. Minnesota's offense was ineffective, managing only 248 yards of total offense, including a mere 31 yards on the ground from Adrian Peterson.

"That's not the way I envisioned starting the season," Mike Zimmer said. "The 49ers definitely beat us, but I wouldn't say they dominated us. I would call it a case of 'mild abuse.'"

The Lions are 0-1 after last week's 33-28 loss at San Diego. The Lions defense surrendered 483 yards of total offense and had no answer for Philip Rivers, who passed for 404 yards.

"We really miss Ndamukong Suh," Matthew Stafford said. "Despite his evil temperament on the field, he was otherwise a fun guy to hang out with. I really enjoyed 'kicking it' with Nadamukong as much as he did."

Vikings win, 26-19.

Arizona @ Chicago (+2)

The Cardinals head to Chicago with a 31-19 win over the Saints win under their belt. The Bears hung tough with the Packers before losing 31-23.

"We are playing the Bears, right?" Bruce Arians said. "Just to confirm that, I contacted Dennis Green on the phone and asked him if the Bears were, in fact, our opponents. He said, 'The Bears are who you thought they were!' Then I let him off the 'hook.'

"We plan on shutting down the Bears running game and forcing Jay Cutler to beat us. That's easier done than said."

The Bears showed promise in a 31-23 loss to the Packers last week, and even held a 13-10 lead at halftime. Marr Forte rushed 24 times for 141 yards and a score, signifying a greater commitment to the run compared to last year.

"When going to utilize our strengths," John Fox, "and one of Cutler's greatest strengths is his ability to hand the ball to Matt Forte. We're going to take that philosophy and run with it."

Carson Palmer throws for 2 TDs and the Cardinals force two Cutler turnovers.

Arizona wins, 23-17.

New England @ Buffalo (even)

Tom Brady threw 4 touchdown passes, three to Rob Gronkowski, as the Patriots beat the Steelers, 28-21, last Thursday night.

"That's right," Brady said. "Three scores to Rob Gronkowski. That's an 'RG3' that gives the other team a headache.

"I'm sure I'll have to answer questions about Deflategate and our latest controversy involving headsets. How often do I have to address a cheating scandal? 'Every single day.' That answer brought to you by Under Armour.

"Now, I hear the Bills are talking a lot a trash. Let 'em. I welcome talk about 'sanitation.' If Judge Richard Berman says I'm 'clean,' that's good enough for me."

The Bills stymied the Colts, 27-14, holding Andrew Luck and the vaunted Indy offense to only 2 touchdowns.

"We made Andrew Luck look ordinary," Rex Ryan said. "He couldn't find his rhythm, much less his cat, Mr. Jaffer.

"I'm really looking forward to playing the Patriots. We will be ready. We've spared nothing in our preparation. We've studied film of the Patriots, and we've studied film of the Patriots studying film of us studying film. How did I get that film? Bootleg, of course. That's called bringing your foot fetish to work."

Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman will certainly have their hands full devising a plan to stop Gronkowski. On the other sideline, the Pats and DC Matt Patricia will force Tyrod Taylor to make tough decisions, which will likely lead to turnovers. In the end, the quarterback known as "T-Mobile" can't handle the pressure, and the Patriots destroy the "cell phone."

New England wins, 24-16.

San Diego @ Cincinnati (-3½)

The Bengals beat up the Raiders in Oakland last week, knocking Derek Carr out of the game early on their way to a 33-14 win. Andy Dalton was error-free and tossed 2 TD passes, both to tight end Tyler Eifert.

"Every quarterback needs a good tight end," Dalton said. "I usually have mine in the first-round of the playoffs, when my sphincter contracts to such an extent that a black hole forms, sucking everything, especially me. And what do you know? We just played in the 'Black Hole.' See how things come full circle? A zero is a full circle. And zero is the number of playoff wins I have."

Phillip Rivers torched the Lions for 404 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, including 15 completions to Keenan Allen.

"We know the Bengals defense is always tough at home," Rivers said. "They'll rip your head off if they think they can get away with it. Did you see what Jones did to Amari Cooper? No, Amari Cooper is not a stripper. Anyway, Pacman is getting away with it without a suspension. Of all times, this seems to be the one in which Roger Goodell could justifiably wield his power and come down hard with a serious discipline. Alas, Goodell chose not to make it 'reign.'"

Andy Dalton's pre-game pep talk again goes viral, as Dalton pumps up his teammates with a rally cry of "2, 4, 6, 8, Who dey appreciate!?" Dalton's subdued teammates then put their quarterback on their shoulders and carry him back into the locker room.

Cincy jumps to an early 14-0, then staves off a furious Charger rally late.

Bengals win, 28-23.

Tennessee @ Cleveland (+1)

Marcus Mariotta sparkling debut included a four-touchdown first half in an eventual 42-14 win over the Buccaneers at Tampa. The win gave Tennessee the early lead in the AFC South, as Houston, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis all lost.

"I haven't been a part of a lopsided game like that since my last college game," Mariotta said. "Obviously, the Buckeyes are a lot better than the Bucs."

The Browns were crushed 31-10 by the Jets last week. Josh McCown was knocked out of the game early with a concussion, and Johnny Manziel took over, throwing a TD pass before faltering with 3 turnovers.

"Johnny hasn't seen 4 TDs since College Station," Mike Pettine said. "I wish he was still stationed in college."

Joe Haden picks Mariotta for a score, and the Browns, old hands at bringing a rookie QB back down to earth, do the same to Mariotta.

Cleveland wins, 21-17.

Atlanta @ NY Giants (-2)

The Giants blew a 23-13 fourth quarter lead at Dallas before collapsing in a 27-26 loss. In a failure of epic proportions, Eli Manning told Rashad Jennings not to score on two occasions in the hopes of running time off the clock.

"We not only gave Dallas the win," Eli Manning said, "we gift-wrapped it for them. The last time a Giant was told not to 'score,' I believe Lawrence Taylor was involved. If some guy told you it wasn't my fault that we lost, 'E-lied.'

"So, if a Giant isn't blowing fingers off with fireworks, or discharging a firearm into his crotch, then he must be shooting himself in the foot. They tell me Jason Pierre-Paul lost not only his index finger, but a portion of his thumb, as well. Apparently, I'm missing a portion of my brain."

The Falcons jumped to an early lead over the Eagles and held on to take a 26-24. It was the first win as a head coach for Dan Quinn, who was formerly the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks.

"I would never tell a running back not to score," Matt Ryan said. "I left that to Mike Smith."

Manning and the Giants get their act together, at least offensively, and outgun the Ryan-to-Julio Jones connection.

Giants win, 31-28.

St. Louis @ Washington (+3½)

The Rams upset the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime, stuffing Marshawn Lynch on fourth down to preserve the victory.

"I won't let the Seahawks push me around," Jeff Fisher said. "That's a statement from Kam Chancellor I was asked to read.

"And speaking of 'hold out,' Robert Griffin III has been cleared to play. And against our defense, he may get to, even as the third-string QB."

The Redskins dropped a tight 17-10 decision to the visiting Dolphins last week as Kirk Cousins struggled at quarterback.

"Unlike my brother, Jon," Jay Gruden said, "I have no idea how to evaluate a quarterback. I do know how to emasculate a quarterback. RG3 is now our third string quarterback; Colt McCoy is second string. That's one heck of a QB squad. Here in Washington, we call that the 'Department of the Inferior.'

Rams win, 20-9.

Miami @ Jacksonville (+6)

The Dolphins won a hard-fought 17-10 battle over the Redskins at Washington, getting the winning score on Jarvis Landry's punt return in the fourth quarter. Defensively, Miami held the Redskins scoreless in the second half.

"Ndamukong Suh made an immediate impact," Joe Philbin said. "One game in Miami and the league is already reviewing him."

Blake Bortles struggled in a 20-9 loss to the Panthers, completing only 22 of 40 passes for 1 TD and 2 interceptions.

"Blake is a second-year quarterback," Gus Bradley said, "and he's still making rookie mistakes. I made a similar mistake, drafting him in my second year as head coach."

Miami wins, 27-11.

Baltimore @ Oakland (pick)

The Ravens' 19-13 loss in Denver was particularly costly, as defensive leader Terrell Suggs was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

"Terrell is the heart of our defense," John Harbaugh said. "To our opponents, he was always known as the bad guy. In other words, he was the 'heel.'"

The Raiders were pummeled 33-14 by the Bengals, losing quarterback Derek Carr early to a hand injury.

"Despite getting knocked out early," Jack Del Rio said, "Derek should be applauded for his efforts. To Derek I say the same thing Tom Coughlin said to Jason Pierre-Paul: 'Give that man a hand.'"

Raiders fans are treated to a shocking surprise before kickoff, as Al Davis, appearing as a "Black Hole-ograph," sings the national anthem.

Baltimore wins, 27-14.

Dallas @ Philadelphia (-5)

Tony Romo's 7-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left gave the Cowboys a come-from-behind 27-26 over the Giants last Sunday night. Dallas erased a 23-13 fourth quarter deficit thanks to their own resilience and some questionable decisions by the Giants.

"Was Eli Manning trying to lose that game?" Tony Romo said. "Most of the time, when Eli tells a player 'not to score,' it's to a defensive back who's just intercepted him.

"To beat the Eagles, we'll have to do so without Dez Bryant. Dez broke his foot and had surgery. So you can 'X' him out of the lineup for the next several weeks.

"History tells us that Philly fans hate the Cowboys. What do you call it when Michael Irvin suffers a head injury on the turf in Philadelphia? A 'crownie.'

Philadelphia wins, 35-24.

Seattle @ Green Bay (-3½)

The Seahawks and Packers meet in a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game, won by the Seahawks in overtime, 26-20. The Packers tuned up for the battle with a 31-23 win over the Bears last week.

"With last year's playoff loss," Aaron Rodgers said, "and the 'Fail Mary' of 2012 we certainly feel like we owe the Seahawks. So we'll be ready to play. I always say, 'Never underestimate the power of revenge.' Brett Favre always says, 'Never underestimate to power of copper, or Vicodin."

The Seahawks lost to division rival St. Louis in overtime, after a bewildering decision to onside kick at the overtime kickoff.

"You can't fault me for 'going for the jugular," Pete Carroll said. "By that I mean, wrapping my hands around my own neck and squeezing.

"But leave it to Russell Wilson to put a positive spin on a devastating loss. He's good at it. If you listen to Russell for just a few minutes, he'll have you drinking the Kool-Aid, or that wacky water that's supposed to prevent concussions."

Wilson takes a pre-game trip up to the summit of Mount Sinai, where God tells him not to throw any interceptions against the Packers. Wilson obliges, and the Seahawks defense stuffs Eddie Lacy on fourth and one to preserve a 26-23 Seattle win.

NY Jets @ Indianapolis (-7)

The Indy offense sputtered against the Bills defense in a 27-14 loss at Buffalo.

"The Bills took us out of our game," Luck said. "And we can't afford to go 0-2. Actually, we can, because we play in the AFC South, where you're never out of the hunt unless you're Jacksonville after Week 7."

The Jets steamrolled the Browns, 31-10, knocking Josh McCown out of the game early, then spotting Johnny Manziel a touchdown before forcing three turnovers.

"I'm extremely pleased with the outcome," Todd Bowles said. "Forcing turnovers is always a good thing. Even Brandon Marshall got in on the act. Brandon certainly knows the importance of giveaways and takeaways. He's played with so many teams, he's been given away and taken away a lot."

Luck throws for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Indy defense uses an inspired effort to limit the Jets offense.

Colts win, 29-24.

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