NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 2

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-6½)

The Bucs lost 31-17 to the visiting 49ers in Bruce Arians' debut as head coach. Jameis Winston threw 3 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

"I know it's cliche," Arians said, "but we don't need Jameis to win games for us. We just need him not to lose games for us. The name of the game is 'loss prevention,' something that also applies when Jameis goes shopping.

"We didn't play well as a team, but I'm very optimistic we can turn things around and accomplish great things this season. Warren Sapp isn't the only Buc that believes in happy endings."

The Panthers lost a 30-27 shootout to the visiting Rams in Cam Newton's first game back since shoulder surgery.

"Considering the Rams are defending NFC champions," Ron Rivera said, "I thought we weren't sufficiently pumped up for the game. We lacked motivation. I think I have a solution that will encourage my guys to play with a 'win at all costs' attitude against the Bucs. Here it is: if we lose, everybody has to dress in Cam's ensemble from last week. You know, the one that looked like he was Mary Poppin's escort for a surfer's funeral."

The Panthers defense convenes for a players only meeting before the game and comes to a consensus that Winston doesn't "eat W's," doesn't "eat L's," but most certainly, does "eat D's."

Panthers win, 31-23.

San Francisco @ Cincinnati (-1½)

The 49ers used a strong defensive effort, scoring 2 interception return touchdowns, to beat the Buccaneers 31-17 in Tampa.

"Richard Sherman's still got it," Kyle Shanahan said. "By 'it,' I mean the ability to picture Michael Crabtree's face or any opposing receiver he's facing. Go ahead, I dare you to try and convince Richard he's not the best cornerback in the game. Trust me, that's as futile an endeavor as performing a left-handed pinky swear with Ronnie Lott.

"As for the Bengals, we're not worried about their so-called home-field advantage. Paul Brown Stadium used to be a tough place to play for visiting teams. But 'The Jungle' isn't much of a jungle anymore. Word is Cincy may change its mascot from a tiger to a toy dog, because 'The Jungle' is now a 'Shih Tzu.'"

San Francisco wins, 26-23.

L.A. Chargers @ Detroit (+2½)

The Chargers beat the visiting Colts 30-24 in overtime, as Austin Ekeler exploded for 154 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns.

"Many have asked about the status of Melvin Gordon," Phillip Rivers said. "Well, let me tell you. He's on the injury list, after suffering a strained throat trying to swallow his pride. In addition, he's got a nagging back injury from putting his tail between his legs.

"I'm looking forward to being the favorite against Matt Patricia and the Lions. It may very well be the closest I ever get to beating the Patriots."

The Lions and Cardinals played to a 27-27 tie. Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards and 3 touchdowns in a losing cause.

"We appeared to have the game won," Stafford said. "But Matt Patricia called a timeout that nullified what would have been the game-clinching play. Maybe our coach is our Achilles' Heel. It was a 'crutching' defeat. Patricia pulled a 'reverse Chris Webber' and cost us the game by calling a timeout we did have. Sometimes, I wish he would just go back to New England. And so does he."

Lions win, 24-22.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-2½)

The Packers defense shut down the Bears, while Aaron Rodgers and company mustered just enough offense to give Green Bay a 10-3 win.

"Mike Pettine has given me something I'm not used to having," Rodgers said. "And that's a very strong defense. So now, if you ask me what defense I'd most like to have on my side, I can say 'I've got a 'D' pick for you.' And just like with Brett Favre, it's my own."

The Vikings held Julio Jones in check and forced 3 turnovers in a 28-12 win over the Falcons. Dalvin Cook rushed for 111 yards and 2 scores.

"You may have heard," Mike Zimmer said, "we ran the ball 38 times while throwing only 10 passes. That's nearly a 4:1 run to pass ratio. That gets my laminated play sheet stiff as a board.

"We know the Packers at home are always tough, and Aaron Rodgers is still great. But we don't fear Rodgers. Sure, he's got all the talent you could ask for in a quarterback, but can he pass a 'random chug test?'"

Packers win, 27-24.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (-3)

The Colts began the post-Andrew Luck era with a 30-24 overtime loss to the Chargers.

"It's a sad time for this franchise," Frank Reich said. "Not because Luck is no longer on the team, but because we're relegated to playing at a place called 'Dignity Health Sports Park.' It holds only 27,000 people, and it wasn't even full. That's not good for my dignity. That being said, I appreciate the 22,000 Colts fans who were in attendance."

The Titans walloped the Browns 43-13 in the Dawg Pound. The Tennessee defense roughed up Baker Mayfield, sacking him 5 times and grabbing 3 interceptions.

"Mayfield woke up on Monday morning," Mike Vrabel said, "feeling dangerously close to being compared to Johnny Manziel.

"For our first home game of the season, I'd like to give a shout out to the grounds crew at Nissan Stadium. They do a great job of maintaining and painting the field. This week, I'd like to challenge them to do a better job of 'marking our territory' than we did in Cleveland last week."

Colts win, 23-21.

New England @ Miami (+18½)

The Patriots demolished the Steelers 33-3 in Foxboro with Antonio Brown soon to become a Patriot. Tom Brady passed for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"I'm certain Antonio enjoyed what he saw," Bill Belichick said. "The game lasted three hours, but let's face it, Antonio's had his eyes on us for the last six months.

"Tom has offered to let Antonio live at his home until he can get settled. Plus, Tom's offered to outfit Antonio's room with a brand new helmet, a cryotherapy chamber, a Mike Mayock dart board, the Magic Mirror from Snow White, and a social media engineering team. In addition, Tom's agreed to go out of his way to bend over backwards and walk on eggshells. Or maybe that's an exercise regimen that his virtual fluffer Alex Guerrero has designed.

"We won't hold Antonio back. Like the Raiders, we're going to 'release' him. With Josh Gordon and Antonio on our team, we're certain to lead the NFL in 'second-chance points.'"

The Ravens destroyed the Dolphins, 59-10, holding Miami to 21 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Lamar Jackson passed for 5 touchdowns.

"We are not 'tanking,'" Brian Flores said. "I'd prefer that you call it 'conscious unwinning.'

"I'm sure the Patriots are salivating at the thought of coming to Florida. None more than Robert Kraft. I hear rumors that Brown and the Patriots planned this all from the start, and apparently, no one outside of Foxboro knew it was going on. If that's so, then Kraft just pulled the greatest 'sleight-of-hand-job' of all-time."

Patriots win, 40-8.

Buffalo @ N.Y. Giants (-2½)

The Bills erased a 16-0 deficit to the Jets at MetLife Stadium before erupting for 14 points in the 4th quarter to take a 17-16 win. Josh Allen's 38-yard touchdown pass to John Brown with three minutes left in the fourth quarter was the game winner.

"We feel like we can challenge the Patriots in the AFC East," Allen said. "But only if Antonio Brown does what he does best, and that's put the 'AB' in 'sabotage.'"

The New York defense surrendered nearly 500 yards of offense in a 35-17 loss at Dallas. The Giants gave up five scoring drives of over 75 yards.

"It's not all on our defense," Eli Manning said. "I can certainly play better. Am I going to lose my starting position to Daniel Jones? I talked to my big brother Peyton about the situation, and he advised me to get neck fusion surgery. That way, I can't look over my shoulder."

Giants win, 23-19.

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-4)

The Steelers were blown out 33-3 in Foxboro on Sunday night. The Patriots shut down the Pittsburgh running game, limiting them to just 32 yards.

"The Pats unveiled their sixth Super Bowl banner in a pre-game ceremony," Mike Tomlin said. "Then, they unceremoniously dispatched us.

"I think it's clear to everyone now why we traded Antonio Brown. He's very selfish and self-centered. It seems he just has to have his way. Who knew it was the 'Patriot Way?' What exactly is the 'Patriot Way?' It's this: it's reaching into a dumpster fire, pulling out some hot garbage, and calling it your own."

The Seahawks nipped the Bengals, 21-20, led by 2 touchdowns from Chris Carson.

"Our front office looked into acquiring Antonio Brown," Russell Wilson said. "But, as you would expect, Pete Carroll chose to 'pass.'"

Steelers win, 30-27.

Dallas @ Washington (+4½)

Dak Prescott passed for a career-high 405 yards and 4 touchdowns in Dallas' 35-17 win over the Giants.

"'Give that man a raise,'" Jerry Jones said, "is what I instruct my doctor to write on my prescription for Viagra. To me, a 'lasting erection' is the three years it took to build AT&T Stadium.

"But we're going to make Dak a very rich man. We've handled our share of contract extensions in the last month, so the core of our team will be secure for years to come. Heck, I can remember the days when 'lock him up for a long time' meant a player of mine had been arrested.

"Ezekiel Elliott is now the highest-paid running back in the league. He's clearly the best RB in the NFL. Zeke's alone at the top. Adrian Peterson was once in that very same position as the NFL's best RB. Alone at the top. Now, he just needs 'a loan.'

Dallas wins, 29-20.

Arizona @ Baltimore (-13½)

The Ravens pummeled the Dolphins, 59-10, led by Lamar Jackson, who passed for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns.

"The Dolphins suck," John Harbaugh said. "I heard Brian Flores likes to play Jay-Z music. Judging by the looks of his team, maybe he should be playing 'Jay-V' music."

The Cardinals tied the Lions 27-27 in the debuts of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray.

"We both made our share of rookie mistakes," Kingsbury said. "But that's to be expected, because we're both young. In fact, this whole team is young. We're so young, former sheriff Joe Arpaio has labeled us one of his 'teams to watch.'"

Ravens win, 33-23.

Jacksonville @ Houston (-8½)

The Jaguars lost 40-26 to the visiting Chiefs, and, to compound the pain of defeat, lost Nick Foles to a broken collarbone.

"We'll miss Nick's veteran leadership," Doug Marrone said. "I guess now we'll have to lean on the leadership of our defense. There's only one way to handle adversity, and that's to punch it in the face."

The Texans lost 30-28 in New Orleans as Will Lutz nailed a 58-yard field goal as time expired to give the Saints the win.

"We had only one sack of Drew Brees," Bill O'Brien said, "while we allowed 6 sacks of DeShaun Watson. I guess moving Jadeveon Clowney and acquiring Laremy Tunsil are not looking like astute moves right now. I guess that's what happens when you don't have a general manager. We either need a GM, or need to attend trade school."

Texans win, 24-17.

Kansas City @ Oakland (+8)

The Raiders beat the Broncos 24-16 on Monday night in the Black Hole. Derek Carr, Tyrell Williams, and rookie Josh Jacobs starred for the Raiders.

"We proved we can win without Antonio Brown," Jon Gruden said. "Your move, Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Antonio's actions drove us crazy. The things he did and said makes you want to rip your hair out. That's good for only one person, and that's Mark Davis. Have you seen that guy's hairdo?

"In any case, Antonio had a Week 1 'bye.'"

Patrick Mahomes passed for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns, two to Sammy Watkins, as the Chiefs walloped the Jaguars, 40-26, in Jacksonville. Tyreek Hill injured his collarbone and is out for several weeks.

"The bad news?" Mahomes said. "Tyreek will miss some time. Other bad news? Tyreek will be spending more time with his family.

"I'm sure Sammy can perform just fine in Tyreek's absence. I'm sure he's going to do his best. I'm sure Sammy will put his best foot forward, assuming he has one."

Chiefs win, 31-28.

Chicago @ Denver (even)

The Bears offense sputtered in last Thursday's 10-3 loss to the visiting Packers. Mitch Tribisky was sacked 5 times and completed only 26-of-45 passes.

"If our offense can only put 3 points on the board," Matt Nagy said, "then we'll need our defense to be even more dominant than they were last year. The funny thing is, the 'Monsters of the Midway' have nightmares about our offense."

The Broncos lost 24-16 on the road to the Raiders in Joe Flacco's debut as Denver quarterback.

"I thought Joe played okay," Vic Fangio said. "I guess what we need to remember that you get what you paid for. Sometimes, you get less than what you paid for.

"As the Bears' former defensive coordinator, I know exactly what to expect from the Bears. I know what they're going to throw at Flacco. As new Broncos head coach, I know exactly what Joe's going to throw at them. Probably the ball."

Bears win, 21-17.

New Orleans @ L.A. Rams (-2½)

It's a rematch of last season's controversial NFC championship game, won by the Rams, 26-23. In that game, a blatant no-call on an obvious Rams defensive pass interference situation essentially cost the Saints the win.

"That official made a huge mistake," Sean Payton said. "But we can't dwell on it. That's something we have to put behind us. If we put it behind us, it makes it easier for that official to kiss our asses.

"Michael Thomas appeared in ESPN's 'Body' issue butt-naked. His Twitter handle is '@Cantguardmike.' Maybe it should be '@Cantcovermike.'"

Saints win, 27-26.

Philadelphia @ Atlanta (-1)

The Eagles dug themselves a 17-0 hole against the visiting Redskins before Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson took matters into their own hands. Wentz connected with Jackson on two long scoring bombs to power the comeback, and the Eagles escaped with a 32-27 win.

"Nothing beats seeing DeSean crossing the goal line," Wentz said, "especially when he's holding the football.

"You may have seen our offensive line in the ESPN 'Body' issue. Let's just be glad this wasn't a thing back in the Joe Gibbs era, because nobody would have wanted to see those 'Hogs.'"

The Falcons offense sputtered in a 28-12 loss to the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"Twelve points won't win you much," Matt Ryan said, "except maybe last year's Super Bowl.

"I have to continue to feed the ball to Julio Jones, especially now that he's the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Julio's loaded. If he were Josh Gordon, he could expect a random drug test."

Falcons win, 28-25.

Cleveland @ N.Y. Jets (+2½)

The Titans pummeled the much-hyped Browns 43-13 in Cleveland, sending the home team wondering what went wrong.

"We're the first team to suffer the 'Super Bowl hangover,'" Baker Mayfield said, "without even winning the Super Bowl. I'm sure somewhere, Hue Jackson is laughing hysterically. I bet he was laughing so hard, he 'lost' it.

"We can't dwell on this defeat. It's like Hue used to say: 'You win some, you lose some.' We never believed that coming from him.

The Jets blew a 16-0 third quarter lead and lost 17-16 to the visiting Bills. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 60 yards and caught 6 passes for 32 yards and a TD in his Jets debut.

"I thought Le'Veon looked great," Adam Gase said. "He looked like the same player he was in 2017, and Jets fans who were worried about that can let out a big sigh of relief. So, to all Jets fans, I say, 'You handle the exhales, Le'Veon will deal with the inhales.

Cleveland wins, 23-20.

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