NFL Expert Picks - Week 2
Running back Jay Ajayi returns to his birthplace trying to help wake up Miami's offense after Jay Cutler laid that egg against the Jets. The Saints' defense would seem like a good opportunity for a big rebound rushing game, but they are coming off an overachieving win in Carolina. In a game with some shootout potential with plenty gunslinging, it's hard to trust taking Cutler over Drew Brees.
Whoever is playing quarterback for Minnesota, Dalvin Cook will remain the lifeblood of the offense, and when he's running well, it's difficult to slow down both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen downfield. The Vikings can render the Lions more one-dimensional and make Matthew Stafford uncomfortable with Mike Zimmer's front seven in constant attack mode. Cam Newton isn't playing well behind shoddy pass protection and will be without at least one of his top targets. That gives New England's lost pass defense a much-needed break.
There are plenty of good matchups for Tom Brady, back to being a quarterback possessed, to exploit in the middle of the field and deep against Carolina's defense. Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray used Seattle's defense of all things to get back on track, complementing each other at a high level. Deshaun Watson has provided more than just a spark for Houston's offense — he's downright carrying it by passing the ball around and running for big plays, too.
Mariota has a lot more diverse help around him, and Murray and Derrick Henry's pounding can wear down the Texans' pass rush. Jacksonville seems a lot more at home while on the road with its basic winning formula: That's a perfect way to handle New York's limited offense and wilting defense.
And hey, Blake Bortles is playing well, too. Cincinnati has made its offense simple by channeling almost everything through A. Green and Joe Mixon, and it saw immediate positive results in a losing effort. Andy Dalton will see Green run free against Cleveland's secondary, while Mixon has breakout game as an all-purpose rookie back. DeShone Kizer will be forced into a few more key mistakes with the heat of Geno Atkins getting in his face.
Philip Rivers was terrible last week at home, and Los Angeles looks headed toward absolute free-fall. Everybody's looking more at Carson Wentz and Philly as playoff sleepers, but winning on the road remains their hurdle. On the other side, Rivers should refocus and find several matchups he likes getting the ball out quickly against the visitors' deficient secondary.
Yet another matchup of the team that played Thursday vs. Arizona's inability to run the ball well will keep things more interesting than they should be. Eventually, Carson Palmer will pick apart San Francisco's secondary, but it will be a grind in the red zone. Former Cardinal Brian Hoyer makes a few plays late, but former 49er Phil Dawson ensures a quick home bounce-back.
The Packers rallied to overcome what would have been a devastating loss to the desperate Bengals, while the Bears are riding the high of knocking off Big Ben and the Steelers. Aaron Rodgers won't let that happen in his house, and Green Bay can get away with its weak secondary against Chicago's wideouts — and eventually force Mike Glennon into a big mistake.
The Seahawks' offense woke up in Nashville, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough after the defense continued to get gashed in the running game. The Colts don't pose any such backfield threat, and the nature of Seattle's zone coverage will limit T. Hilton from getting free for his patented big plays. Russell Wilson and Chris Carson will be much too much for Indy's D to handle on the road in prime time.
It seems like with Alex Smith playing well and Kareem Hunt playing awesome, the Chiefs' offense can't be stopped, even when either Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill has an off game. Washington will have trouble with Hunt and Kelce, so it will likely be on Kirk Cousins, Chris Thompson and Vernon Davis to keep its passing game hot in order to keep up. The Chiefs survive a second straight home game against an NFC East foe in familiar-but-closer fashion. Start Slideshow Use left or right buttons to navigate.
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