NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 2

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-1)

The Ravens crushed the Bills, 47-3, holding Buffalo to a mere 153 yards of total offense. Offensively, Joe Flacco passed for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"The Bills were simply overmatched," John Harbaugh said. "Frankly, it wasn't fair. But let me tell you what's really not fair. The fact that the Patriots get to play Buffalo twice.

"Flacco was awesome. Drafting Lamar Jackson really lit a fire under Joe. But you'd never know by his expression. Joe Flacco on fire and Joe Flacco not on fire, well, that's pretty much the same look."

The Bengals beat the Colts and the returning Andrew Luck, 34-23, using a 17-point fourth quarter to propel them to victory. Andy Dalton and the Cincy offense look to stay hot when the Ravens pay a visit to the Jungle on Thursday.

"I know it's early in the season," Marvin Lewis said, "but this game has huge implications. First place in the AFC North is on the line. I know it's important, but for Christ's sake, let's not say we're treating it like a playoff game."

In an evenly matched game, it's likely to come down to the kicking game. And who would you trust more — Randy Bullock or Justin Tucker?

Tucker kicks the late game-winner, and the Ravens win, 22-20.

Carolina @ Atlanta (-5½)

Despite a big night from Julio Jones, the Falcons lost 18-12 at Philadelphia, done in by an offense that sputtered near the goal line.

"We certainly had our red zone issues," Dan Quinn said. "How can you tell, you may ask? Well, because of all the red flags. But we're going to correct that, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is drawing up some plays especially for Julio Jones. These plays are designed to get the ball to Julio not just in the end zone, but inbounds, as well.

"Matt completed only 21-of-43 passes. That's only 48%. I call that 'unacceptable.' Cam Newton calls that 'accurate.' A lot of people are blaming Matt Ryan for the loss. That's a ridiculous assertion. On the other hand, Ryan may have just injected himself into the 'Goat' conversation."

The Panthers beat the visiting Cowboys, 16-8, using a strong defensive effort and the rushing of Cam Newton to win their opener.

"Norv Turner called a great game," Ron Rivera said. "He's getting a game ball. And, he would be getting a pat on the ass, but thanks to Jerry Richardson, they don't allow those here anymore.

"I liked what I saw from our defense. Not only did they shut down Ezekiel Elliott, they shut up Jerry Jones. Jerry left town with his tail between his legs. That tail is old and shriveled. And you know what else between Jerry's legs is old and shriveled? The horse he rode in on. So 'F' him, and that."

Atlanta wins, 24-21.

Indianapolis @ Washington (-5½)

The Colts lost to the Bengals, 34-23, despite a solid game from Andrew Luck in his return from injury. Luck passed for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"I would say Andrew passed with flying colors," Frank Reich said. "And 'passed with flying colors' is how Jim Irsay once described the time he played quarterback in high school while doing acid.

"And speaking of 'trips,' we're taking one to our nation's capitol. That team is coached by Jon Gruden, and his team is called the Redskins. Not to be confused with the team coached by his brother, Jon, who also has red skin."

With Alex Smith now under center, the Redskins beat the Cardinals 24-6, in Arizona. Smith passed for two scores, and Adrian Peterson rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown.

"That was Adrian's 100th career touchdown," Jay Gruden said. "We knew he still had a lot in the tank. And I don't think Adrian will get a visit from social services for 'beating' Father Time."

Washington wins, 30-22.

Houston @ Tennessee (-1)

The Titans lost to the Dolphins, 27-17, in Miami, as a series of injuries befell the visitors. Taylor Lewan, Marcus Mariota, and Delanie Walker all left the game with injuries. Walker is out for the year.

"Marcus injured his elbow," Mike Vrabel said, "and said he couldn't feel his fingers. Needless to say, his play was anything but 'sensation-al.'"

Texans win, 23-18.

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay (+3)

The Eagles posted a sloppy 18-12 win over the Falcons, led by a stingy defense and the power running of Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 2 touchdowns.

"It wasn't a very exciting game," Doug Pederson said, "but I can't criticize the effort of either team. I guess that's what's called going 'full bore.'

"Carson Wentz isn't quite ready to return, so Nick Foles will start. We're not asking Nick to win games; we just want him to be a game manager. Heck, depending on how many times we intercept Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick could do even less than play the role of game manager. He could just be assistant game manager."

The Bucs shocked the Saints, 48-40, at New Orleans. Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the Saints secondary for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"Ryan played great," Dirk Koetter said. "But he knows he's just the starter until Jameis Winston returns in Week 4. So, once Ryan gives up his seat at the table, Jameis is going to stand on that table, and do his thing."

Foles limits mistakes, and the Philly defense unleashes their pass rush, pounding Fitzpatrick with four sacks and eight quarterback hits, the last of which forces a post-game surgery to remove his chin strap from his beard.

Philadelphia wins, 26-17.

Kansas City @ Pittsburgh (-5)

With Le'Veon Bell holding out, the Pittsburgh offense relied on James Conner to carry the load, and he delivered. Conner rushed for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Steelers had to settle for a 21-21 tie with the Browns.

"We like what James did," Ben Roethlisberger said. "Obviously, he's no Le'Veon Bell, because he signed his contract.

"It's unfortunate that things turned out this way. I wish Le'Veon would have come and talked to me. I think I could have helped. I'm always available to my teammates. Those who know me know I have an open-door policy, unless it's the bathroom."

Patrick Mahomes passed for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Chiefs' 38-28 win over the Chargers in Los Angeles.

"Patrick was unbelievable," Andy Reid said. "But don't forget, he's got lots of playmakers at his disposal. We haven't seen an NFL player surrounded by this many weapons since Greg Hardy."

Pittsburgh wins, 28-26.

Miami @ N.Y. Jets (-3)

After tossing a pick-6 on his first NFL pass, Sam Darnold steadied and led the Jets to a resounding 48-17 win over the Lions at Ford Field. Darnold passed for 2 touchdowns, and the Jets defense forced 6 turnovers.

"Sam didn't let that interception bother him at all," Todd Bowles said. "His teammate Terrelle Pryor noted that Sam didn't even flinch, and Terrelle's an expert on the subject.

"We still like Sam's confidence. Don't forget, Sam became the youngest quarterback ever to start an opening game in NFL history. If you don't believe it, do an internet search with the key words 'Jets quarterback' and 'underage.' Just ignore the results about Mark Sanchez."

The Dolphins beat the Titans, 27-17, at Sun Life Stadium. Ryan Tannehill passed for 2 scores, and the Miami defense snagged 3 interceptions.

"Weather delays made that the longest game in NFL history," Adam Gase said. "It lasted seven hours and eight minutes, which is almost as long as Nick Saban stayed in Miami. If it hits the eight-hour mark, then it would have turned into a hockey game, because I was getting ready to call in the second shift.

"We're pleased to be 1-0. We're in a three-way tie for first place with the Patriots and Jets in the AFC East. I expect there'll be another three-way tie at the end of the season between us, the Bills, and Jets. It will be a three-way tie for not-first."

Jets win, 19-14.

L.A. Chargers @ Buffalo (+7½)

The Chargers opened the season with a 38-28 loss at home to the visiting Chiefs. Philip Rivers passed for 424 yards and 3 scores, but was outdone by Patrick Mahomes, who passed for 4 TDs.

"I really didn't appreciate Mahomes coming into my house," Rivers said, "and forcibly assuming what has traditionally been my role, as the 'best quarterback in the AFC West never to have won a Super Bowl.' But that just motivates me, to not let Derek Carr or Case Keenum get past me for second on that list."

The Bills were hammered 47-3 by the Ravens as Nathan Peterman suffered through a miserable outing before being benched for rookie Josh Allen. Peterman finished 5-for-18 for 24 yards and 2 interceptions.

"Nathan was just terrible," Doug McDermott said. "But I can't say he won't start again. If he does start, he'll certainly be on a short leash, which is at the end of my rope.

"On the bright side, LeSean McCoy can rest easy. The NFL has found no incriminating evidence in an incident that happened at his house in July. Investigators have said, and I quote, 'Nothing 'Shady' to see here."

Chargers win, 30-11.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-1½)

The Vikings beat the 49ers, 24-16, led by a defense that forced 4 turnovers and made life miserable for Jimmy Garoppolo. On offense, Kirk Cousins passed for 2 touchdowns and had no turnovers.

"Kirk did exactly what we asked of him," Mike Zimmer said. "Nothing spectacular, and everything steady. To say I 'loved' what he did may be an overstatement. Let's just say where Kirk is concerned, 'I liked that.'

"Sure, the Packers have a great offense. But don't forget, we may have the NFL's best defense. And just to make sure people don't forget, we're presenting every fan in attendance a snapshot of our defense. With apologies to the great Brett Favre, it's called a 'D-pic.'"

The Packers erased a 20-0 deficit to the Bears, as Aaron Rodgers returned from an apparent serious knee injury to throw 3 touchdowns, giving Green Bay a 24-23 win.

"A-Rod just became 'A God,'" Mike McCarthy said. "How many athletes can say they went from being carried off the field on a cart to being carried off the field on shoulders?"

Can a clearly less-than-100% Rodgers lead the Pack to another win? Not against the Vikings and their stingy defense. Everyone knows, especially in Minnesota, that defense wins championships. But only division championships.

Minnesota wins, 27-22.

Cleveland @ New Orleans (-8)

The Saints were stunned 48-40 by the Buccaneers, as the New Orleans defense couldn't stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa passing game.

"I spent a lot of the offseason talking up our defensive secondary," Sean Payton said. "I guess I got burned, too.

"Offensively, we looked fine. Alvin Kamara was dynamic, and with Mark Ingram out, Alvin looks to be our only real threat at running back. So, we're probably going to use Alvin more than we had expected. At this point, it's important not to be 'Kamara-shy.'"

The Browns scored 14 fourth-quarter points to force overtime with the visiting Steelers, but settled for a tie after both teams missed game-winning field goal attempts.

"It's amazing that we ended our winless streak with a tie," Hue Jackson said. "I guess it's a small victory. But we're still looking for an outright win. Until that happens, I can foresee the headlines reading, 'Browns, When?'

"But there were plenty of positives, just none in the win column."

Saints win, 31-24.

Detroit @ San Francisco (-5)

The Jets whipped the Lions, 48-17, on Monday night in Matt Patricia's first game as Detroit head coach. Matt Stafford threw 4 interceptions, and the Lions rushing attack accounted for only 39 yards.

"We failed as a team," Stafford said. "We let Coach Patricia down. But he's the defensive wizard; he'll get that straight. And he'll meet with our offensive coordinator to iron out our issues on offense, and the coordinator will take it from there. I guess what I'm saying is Patricia's Cooter will open up and take some deep shots, and this should eventually bear fruit."

The Vikings harassed Jimmy Garoppolo into a 3-interception day as the 49ers fell, 24-16, at Minnesota.

"Jimmy struggled," Kyle Shanahan said. "Heck, his quarterback rating was 10.6. Jimmy's porn star date would say Jimmy's play was pretty much 'X-rated.'"

San Francisco wins, 27-24.

Arizona @ L.A. Rams (-12½)

The Rams whipped the Raiders, 33-13, on Monday night as the L.A. defense picked off Derek Carr 3 times.

"I hate that we ruined Jon Gruden's return to Oakland," Marcus Peters said. "But on the bright side, Gruden's one step closer to another return, to Monday Night Football as an announcer.

"We were happy to sign Aaron to a $135 million contract extension before the season started. We're pleased with our investment. Best-case scenario: we get our money's worth. Worst-case scenario: we get our 'Haynes-worth.'

The Cardinals suffered an opening day 24-6 loss to the Redskins. The Cards managed just over 200 yards of offense as new head coach Steve Wilks debuted.

"This is not how I wanted my first game to go," Wilks said. "Not as a loss, necessarily, but having Sam Bradford as my starting quarterback."

Rams win, 27-20.

New England @ Jacksonville (+2)

It's a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game, won 24-20 by the Patriots. New England tuned up for the showdown with a 27-20 win over the Texans. Tom Brady passed for 3 touchdowns, and Houston had no defense for Rob Gronkowski.

"Jalen Ramsey said Gronkowski was just 'good,'" Brady said. "Who'd have thought Ramsey was capable of an understatement?

"I know the Jaguars have arguably the best defense in the league. But I can't let that change my thinking. I have to follow my instincts. Or, in the words of former Patriot Vince Wilfork, I have to 'go with my gut.'"

The Jags picked up a road win with a 20-15 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Jacksonville's defense carried the load, keeping Odell Beckham, Jr. in check, and Myles Jack had a late interception return for a score to solidify a late lead.

"A good defense beats a good offense any day," Ramsey said. "And a good defense beats a bad offense any day. That's why with the game on the line, we'd rather have our defense on the field. Heck, even if we're losing.

"We feel like we have some unfinished business to take care of against the Patriots. So our goal is to go in and 'do our business' right on the Patriots. And Gronkowski can later use his Tide Pods for the laundry that will clean their uniforms."

Jacksonville wins, 23-21.

Oakland @ Denver (-6)

The Raiders lost 33-13 at home to the Rams in Jon Gruden's debut as head coach. After an early touchdown, the Raiders failed to reach the end zone again.

"And how about that first touchdown?" Gruden said. "Marshawn Lynch went 'Beast Mode' and dragged down half the Rams defense into the end zone. And speaking about 'dragging down a defense,' how about our trade of Khalil Mack to the Bears?

"Now, you can't have a Raiders/Broncos game, or an 'I Spit On Your Grave' movie discussion, for that matter, without mentioning Bill Romanowski. And I'm sure Bill's anxiously awaiting this contest, and I'm fairly certain he's salivating at the thought."

The Broncos defeated the Seahawks, 27-24, led by the dominant play of Von Miller, who had 3 sacks, forced 2 fumbles, and 1 recovered fumble.

"Von is like an older, more experienced version of Khalil Mack," Case Keenum said. "So, Jon Gruden will have another chance to see what he's missing. Von's so fast, the offensive lineman he beats can't see what he's missing.

"It's a great feeling winning my first game as a Bronco in Denver," Case Keenum said. "Mile High Stadium is an iconic locale in NFL lore. I've heard that 'Mile High' can refer to the altitude, or the size of Peyton Manning's forehead."

Denver wins, 30-20.

N.Y. Giants @ Dallas (-3)

The Giants fought valiantly, but eventually succumbed to the Jaguars, 20-15. There were positives, however, as Odell Beckham, Jr. looked completely revitalized, and rookie running back Saquan Barkley showed big-play ability.

"OBJ looked like his old self," Pat Shurmur said. "Sure, he had his issues, but it doesn't compare in any way to what Dallas players have done over the years. Compared to what's gone in Dallas over the years, Lawrence Taylor is a choir boy. That would be a choir boy whose favorite hymn is 'Crazed Dogs on a Sunday.'"

The Panthers defense kept Ezekiel Elliott in check in the Cowboys 16-8 loss at Carolina. Elliott was held to just 69 yards on the ground.

"I'm not happy," Jerry Jones said. "We lost, plus Dez Bryant was tweeting throughout the game making fun of us. Young people call that a 'troll.' By 'young people,' I mean the women that refuse my advances."

Giants win, 23-20.

Seattle @ Chicago (-3½)

The Bears blew a 20-0 first half lead and succumbed to an Aaron Rodgers-led miracle comeback, losing 24-23.

"That's why Rodgers is great," Matt Nagy said. "I'm hoping Mitch Trubisky follows that example and becomes a great quarterback. Mitch attended the University of North Carolina, which isn't a traditional quarterback factory. However, that UNC education does qualify him to be an Air Jordan salesman."

The Seahawks lost, 27-24, at Denver, as Von Miller wreaked havoc on the Seattle offense.

"Once again," Pete Carroll said, "we're underdogs. But I guess that's something we should get used to. I already have. Those who know me will tell you I don't 'play favorites.'

"First, Von Miller, now Khalil Mack. Russell Wilson is probably terrified. Heck, he might even be crapping his pants. Once again, it's my job to clean up this mess."

Bears win, 23-20.

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