Thursday, September 16, 2021

NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 2

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

NY Giants @ Washington (-4½)

The Broncos manhandled the Giants 27-13 in MetLife Stadium. Denver shut down New York's rush attack, forcing Daniel Jones into obvious passing situations.

"We really need to have balance on offense," Joe Judge said. "We don't want Daniel to have to do too much. That's me being polite. Replace 'too much' with 'anything' in that previous statement, and you have me true feelings.

"So I understand it wasn't raw sewage falling from the stands at FedEx Field last Sunday. Washington fans tell me the last time something crappy and brown fell from the sky in that stadium, it was probably a Dwayne Haskin's pass."

Washington lost Ryan Fitzpatrick early to a hip injury in a 20-16 loss to the visiting Chargers. Fitzpatrick, who was diagnosed with a hip subluxation, was placed on injured reserve on Monday.

"Ryan's facing a difficult recovery," Ron Rivera said. "But it could be worse, but only if Clinton Portis is handling Ryan's health insurance claims.

"In Ryan's absence, Taylor Heinicke will take over at quarterback. Taylor is a cool dude; he's all the rage; he's modern and chic. In other words, he's a 'hip' replacement."

Jones plays well, recovering three of his own fumbles, and the Giants hang tough. But Graham Gano misses an extra point after a late Kenny Golladay touchdown, allowing Washington to hold on for a 24-23 win.

New England @ NY Jets (+3½)

The Patriots lost 17-16 at home to the Dolphins. Rookie Mac Jones was impressive, passing for 289 yards and a TD, but a Damien Harris fumble deep in Dolphins territory late in the fourth quarter cost the Patriots dearly.

"We always preach about ball security," Bill Belichick said. "To be clear, 'ball security' is not when Robert Kraft's genitals appear on video surveillance footage.

"We're quite pleased with Mac's performance. I think it's clear why we released Cam Newton. Mac has what we look for in a quarterback, which is an arm. I can certainly appreciate what Cam has done for this franchise. I didn't like it, but I can appreciate it. Cam will always be No. 1 in my book, and 'No. 2' as a quarterback."

The Jets lost 19-14 in Charlotte to the Panthers, unable to overcome a 16-0 halftime deficit. Zach Wilson passed for 2 touchdowns, but was roughed up by 6 sacks.

"Sure," Robert Saleh said, "Zach had a tough game. But it's important for him to remain positive. So feeding him words of encouragement is important. I told him he's still the second-best quarterback named 'Wilson' in the NFL."

Patriots win, 26-14.

Denver @ Jacksonville (+5½)

The Broncos overwhelmed the Giants 27-13 last week. Teddy Bridgewater passed for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the Denver defense held the Giants to just 60 yards rushing.

"I'm looking forward to coaching against Urban Meyer," Vic Fangio said. "He's got no NFL coaching experience, so does he even belong here? Luckily, my team and I are gonna take him back to school. And once he loses, he'll be right at home, because Urban likes to play the victim."

Broncos win, 30-21.

Buffalo @ Miami (+2½)

The Dolphins won a defensive battle against the visiting Patriots, 17-16, as the Miami defense forced a crucial late fumble to seal the win. At 1-0, the Patriots lead the AFC East.

"We want to establish a distinct home-field advantage here at Hard Rock Stadium," Brian Flores said. "We want opponents to know that when they come into our house, chances are you're not only gonna leave with an L, but also a souvenir poster of a cat falling into an American flag.

"We're banking on our defense carrying us this season, much like 1972's 'No-Name Defense' did when the Dolphins went 17-0. Does our defense have a catchy nickname? No. But if someone's willing to pay big bucks for the naming rights, we'll call them the 'Yo-Name Offense' if the price is right."

The Bills squandered a 10-0 lead and lost 23-16 to the visiting Steelers. Josh Allen struggled against the Pittsburgh defense, and the Bills found the end zone only once.

"We've got to hand it to the Steelers," Allen said. "They came to our place with a definitive and coordinated game plan and violated us. Bills Mafia would call it a textbook case of 'organized crime.'

"But let's not overreact to just one loss. One loss in no way defines a team or city, just as no four losses defines a team or city. Well, maybe it does."

Bills win, 27-20.

San Francisco @ Philadelphia (+3)

The 49ers walloped the Lions 41-33 at Ford Field. San Fran piled up 442 yards of total offense and survived a late Detroit rally.

"It's always impressive when you can score 41 points," Kyle Shanahan said. "Conversely, it's not so impressive when you have to score 41 points."

Jalen Hurts passed for 264 yards and 3 TDs and rushed for 62 yards to lead the visiting Eagles to an easy 32-6 win over the Falcons in Atlanta. The 1-0 Eagles sit alone atop the NFC East.

"Jalen is truly a dual threat quarterback," Nick Sirriani said. "That's two more threats than Carson Wentz presented.

"Let's be real. One win is certainly not enough to win the NFC East, but it probably is enough to keep us ahead of the Giants."

Eagles win, 27-24.

LA Rams @ Indianapolis (+4½)

The Colts offense sputtered in a 28-13 home loss to the Seahawks, while Indy's defense gave up 4 Russell Wilson touchdown passes. The Colts look to avoid an 0-2 hole with the Rams heading to Lucas Oil Stadium.

"First of all," Frank Reich said, "let's address the elephant in the room: Sean McVay's Chunky Soup commercial. It may be the nerdiest Chunky Soup commercial of all-time. Also, I didn't know Chunky had a soup named 'Vanilla.'"

The Rams handled the Bears 34-14 on Sunday night. Matthew Stafford passed for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns in his debut for the Rams.

"Matthew was everything we expected," McVay said, "and then some. Jared Goff was everything we expected, and then less. This all has to feel like a vacation for Matthew. To me, it all feels like a 'stay-cation,' because I'm in a better place and didn't have to go anywhere."

The Colts defense stakes Indy to a halftime lead, and Frank Reich dials up some trick plays to slow the Rams defense. Indy holds on for a 26-23 win.

Las Vegas @ Pittsburgh (-6)

The Raiders beat the visiting Ravens 33-27 in overtime on Monday Night Football. Derek Carr passed for 435 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Vegas defense forced two crucial Lamar Jackson fumbles.

"It was great to have a full house for our season opener," Carr said. "And we gave the fans exactly what they wanted. And they should enjoy it, because September is pretty much the only month when that happens."

The Steelers overcame an early 10-0 deficit before taking charge with stifling defense and patient offense, knocking off the Bills 23-16 at New Era Field.

"That's called 'imposing your will,'" Mike Tomlin said. "That's not to be confused with 'exposing your willie,' which is apparently just one of the many F'd up things that happens in the state of Texas."

Steelers win, 28-17.

Cincinnati @ Chicago (-2½)

The Bengals upset the visiting Vikings 27-24 in overtime, as Joe Burrow, returning from a serious 2020 knee injury, passed for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Joe is fearless," Zach Taylor said. "You have to be when you agree to play quarterback in Cincinnati, no matter the circumstances.

The Rams whipped the Bears 34-14 on Sunday Night Football, as L.A.'s big-play offense exposed the Bears defense.

"Our defense is better than what you saw on Sunday night," Matt Nagy said. "I'm a worse coach than what you saw on Sunday night.

"But really, we need our defense to keep us in games, because our offense lacks firepower. You know who doesn't lack 'fire power?' My bosses. Yet, here I am.

"I think the time is right to start Justin Fields. He's learned enough playing behind Andy Dalton; if he learns any more, Justin could be ruined forever."

Chicago's defense addresses their mistakes from the previous week, and that address is Paul Brown Stadium.

Bears win, 27-17.

Houston @ Cleveland (-12)

The Texans walloped the visiting Jaguars and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, 37-21. Houston rolled for 449 yards of total offense.

"And we did it with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback," David Culley said. "Deshaun Watson was on the bench, which is way better than him being on a table."

Cleveland raced to a 22-10 lead at the half, but surrendered 23 second half points to the Chiefs and lost 33-29 at Arrowhead Stadium.

"I threw the interception that sealed the Chiefs win," Baker Mayfield said. "So that loss is totally on me. It's my fault. Those who know me know that responsibility is something that I refuse to run from, unlike Fayetteville, Arkansas cops.

"I hear the Texans wanted six players in exchange for Deshaun Watson when they tried to trade him this summer. That's 'asking too much,' which is what got Watson in this mess in the first place. Just for context, six is 16 fewer than the number of women than have accused Watson of sexual assault and sexual harassment."

Cleveland wins, 31-14.

New Orleans @ Carolina (+3½)

In his debut for the Panthers, Sam Darnold was solid against his former team, passing for 279 yards and 1 touchdown as the Panthers beat the Jets 19-14.

"Luckily," Matt Rhule said, "Sam didn't see any ghosts. But here down South, he does see a fair share of white sheets."

Jameis Winston passed for 5 touchdowns, and the Saints defense stymied Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a surprisingly easy 38-3 win.

"Jameis is on pace to throw for 85 touchdowns this season," Sean Payton said. "He's also on pace to throw zero interceptions this season. If, after the season ends, the NFL decides to investigate my statements made after Jameis' first game, I can look back and say, 'Those things did not happen,' and I'll actually be telling the truth."

Speaking of two other unlikely scenarios, both Darnold and Winston have the chance to emerge from this game with unblemished 2-0 records. There can be only one 1-1.

Saints win, 27-20.

Minnesota @ Arizona (-4)

The Vikings dropped a 27-24 overtime loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati. Minnesota's rush attack was fairly ineffective, and Dalvin Cook's fumble in overtime set up Cincy's winning score.

"If we can't run the ball effectively," Mike Zimmer said, "we're in trouble. Kirk Cousins is not the type of quarterback to win games for you single-handedly. That's 100% true. In other words, it's 'like that.' Now, he can lose games single-handedly, and that hand is usually his right."

The Cardinals crushed the Titans 38-13 in Nashville. Kyler Murray torched the Titans with 5 total touchdowns, and the Cards held Derrick Henry to just 58 yards rushing.

"Kyler is out to prove that he's more than just a running quarterback," Kliff Kingsbury said. "As you saw, he's a complete quarterback. Honestly, he's got all the tools, including one as his head coach."

Arizona wins, 31-22.

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-13)

The Bucs edged the Cowboys 31-29 last Thursday night, as Tom Brady passed for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Ryan Succup's 36-yard field goals with two seconds left won it.

"I feel great," Brady said. "Honestly, I feel like a little kid, which, as an added bonus, makes it much easier to talk to Rob Gronkowski.

"We're 11-point favorites. Let's just say, for the purpose of my argument, that it equates to us being approximately 9.33-1 favorites to beat the Falcons. That's practically the same as 28-3 odds. There's probably some idiotic Patriots fan somewhere with a '28-3' tattoo near his anus, commemorating the '28-3 hole' we faced in Super Bowl LI."

The Eagles smoked the Falcons 32-6 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta failed to eclipse 300 yards of offense, while the Eagles racked up 434 yards.

"It's gonna be a long year," Arthur Smith said. "For many, many more reasons than it's a 17-game season."

Buccaneers win, 33-20.

Tennessee @ Seattle (-5½)

The Titans suffered a 38-13 home beating at the hands of Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Tennessee's 'Big 3' of Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown combined for only 136 yards.

"If former Titans owner Bud Adams were alive today," Mike Vrabel said, "he would be giving his own team the middle finger, maybe two."

Russell Wilson passed for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns, two to Tyler Lockett, in the Seahawks' 28-16 win at Indianapolis.

"That's a perfect example of Russell 'cooking,'" Pete Carroll said. "Here's the thing about Russell's cooking: even though it's delicious, we still have to force opposing defenses to eat it."

Seahawks win, 30-27.

Dallas @ L.A. Chargers (-2½)

Despite 403 yards passing and 3 touchdown passes from Dak Prescott, the Cowboys lost 31-29 to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last Thursday night.

"Dak can't do it by himself," Mike McCarthy said. "I can't either, so it amazes me that I keep getting head coaching jobs.

"Now, to address our kicking game: Greg Zuerlein struggled, missing two field goals and one extra point. Did the pressure get to him? Maybe. But this is the NFL. If the pressure's getting to you, you need to piss, get off the pot, or sneak out of a team meeting for a massage."

Justin Herbert passed for 337 yards and a touchdown to lead the Chargers to a 20-16 win at Washington.

"Justin is totally comfortable putting this team on his back," Brandon Staley said. "And he basically always comes through. He's like the Rivers' family gynecologist, because Justin 'delivers,' time and time again."

Chargers win, 31-27.

Kansas City @ Baltimore (+2½)

The Ravens lost 33-27 to the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Monday night. Big plays surrendered on defense and 2 Lamar Jackson fumbles spelled doom for Baltimore.

"I don't want to dwell on the past," John Harbaugh said. "Let's talk about more important things, like who's on our practice squad. Le'Veon Bell is on our practice squad. We basically just picked him up off the street, where he was parked in a car with his buddy LeGarrette Blount."

The Chiefs overcame a 22-10 deficit and roared back to beat the visiting Browns 33-29 at Arrowhead Stadium. Patrick Mahomes passed for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns and added a rushing score.

"We feel like we can score from any spot on the field," Mahomes said. "Often, that ends up being our own 25-yard line after our defense gives up a touchdown."

Chiefs win, 34-28.

Detroit @ Green Bay (-10½)

The Lions fell 41-33 at home to the 49ers in Jared Goff's debut at quarterback. Detroit was down 38-10 early in the third quarter, but rallied late to make the score respectable.

"We scored 21 points after that," Dan Campbell said. "We call that 'garbage time.' Everything we did prior to that was also garbage time."

The Packers were embarrassed 38-3 by the Saints in a game played in Jacksonville due to the effects of Hurricane Ida.

"So the Packers/Saints contest was a 'blowout' in two cities?" Aaron Rodgers said.

"But seriously, 38 points is a lot. The last time I referenced 38 points was when I presented Packers' management with my '38-Point Plan to Make Me Happy.'"

Packers win, 38-17.

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