Thursday, Sept. 14
A short week with little rest is a tough way for these teams to start the season but it may be even tougher for we, the fans, to watch. Deshaun Watson will be making his NFL debut behind an offensive line that allowed 10 sacks in the season opener and the Bengals are coming off a week in which their team was shutout, 20-0, and Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. So which team will play worse than the other I guess is the question?
Q’s Pick: Texans, 19-13
Sunday, Sept. 17
I would like to start by pointing out the fact the Browns did a damn good job holding their own against a tough Steelers squad last weekend and DeShone Kizer was close to pulling the team within striking distance of an upset. But the Ravens defense is better than Pittsburgh’s and are coming off a dominant performance on both sides of the football against the Bengals. Cleveland should keep this a game but I don’t see them winning.
Q’s Pick: Ravens, 27-17
Both teams had a solid Week 1 but Carolina’s new-and-improved defense looked like it could be a legitimate force to be reckoned with as the Panthers try to pound their way back into the discussion of top NFC teams. They’ll be tasked with stopping Tyrod Taylor, who threw for a pair of touchdowns last week, and LeSean McCoy who ran for 110 yards. Still, if defense wins games, I’m more comfortable trusting Carolina’s.
Q’s Pick: Panthers, 24-20
The biggest gossip in the desert right now is stud David Johnson‘s dislocated wrist and the subsequent surgery that will keep him out for the next two to three months. That’s a major blow to the Cardinals offense but they will fortunately start the no-Johnson-stretch against either Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett, neither of whom played well last week in the 46-9 rout at the hands of the Rams.
Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 28-19
For as well as the Jaguars played in upsetting the Texans last week, I’d be surprised to see them do it again against a squad as talented as Tennessee’s. The Titans hung around against the heavily-favored Raiders and have a much better offense that will test how good “Sacksonville’s” defense really is. If the Jags can pressure Marcus Mariota and make DeMarco Murray uncomfortable in the backfield, they have a chance to win at home, but I don’t see the Titans’ offensive line allowing either of those to happen.
Q’s Pick: Titans, 26-21
If you picked the Chiefs to beat the Patriots in last week’s season opener, I’d sorta believe you. If you predicted them to put up a 42-spot on them, I’d sorta not. Kansas City’s offense showed brilliance against the defending world champions and now we’ll get to see rookie Kareem Hunt go against Philly’s tenth-ranked run defense (64.0 ypg). Was Hunt’s brilliant trio-touchdown debut a fluke or is he the real deal? Believing the latter has me leaning towards K.C. in this one.
Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 30-24
The Patriots don’t like to lose and getting embarrassed on national television last week will surely set the tone of how they come to play against the Saints in Week 2. Since Tom Brady became New England’s starting quarterback in 2001, the Pats have won fewer than 10 games in a season only once (2002, 9-7 record) and a big reason for that is the team’s incredible ability to bounce back the week following losses. Expect them to do just that against a Saints defense that looked shaky at best against the Vikings last weekend.
Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20
Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs were the most exciting thing to watch last week that you didn’t know you should be watching. The Steelers defense will need to take that into consideration while their offense works to tweak a few things against a solid Vikings defense. Playmakers will be in attendance on both sides but the more valuable ones will be Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in the black and yellow.
Q’s Pick: Steelers, 27-22
Fresh off an unexpected bye week, Jameis Winston and the Bucs will be all systems go against da Bears. With Mike Evans leading the way on offense, Tampa Bay looks in good position to contend for the NFC South title while the Bears will likely struggle to hover around .500 this season. Yes, Chicago nearly upset the Falcons last weekend but that was because of solid run defense, something they won’t need to worry about as much against Tampa — a team that likes to win through the air.
Q’s Pick: Buccaneers, 24-17
The Chargers found a way to lose another close game last week, but in this case they looked like the better team in the final frame — they were just unlucky in how the game ended. That being said, holding your own against the Broncos in Denver should be a confidence boost enough to head back to the StubHub Center for the team’s debut in Los Angeles.
Q’s Pick: Chargers, 26-23
Derek Carr looked like his usual self last week, Amari Cooper looked healthy, and even Marshawn Lynch looked like he’s already back in the groove of this whole football thing. The Jets aren’t necessarily a bad team, they just don’t have the talent to keep up with Oakland on either side of the ball.
Q’s Pick: Raiders, 31-20
Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension has been temporarily lifted which will allow him to play at least the first half of the season unscathed. No one is happier about that than the Cowboys, who enjoy making him the epicenter of the offense. Last week, he ran the ball 24 times for 104 yards but he’ll get a challenge against the Broncos this week. Still, I think the Stars have a more well-rounded team and I’d trust Dak Prescott over Trevor Siemian any day.
Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 24-20
The Rams looked incredible last week, posting 46 points against the Colts, thanks in large part to rookie head coach Sean McVay’s offensive genius that helped Jared Goff throw for more than 300 yards against a decent Rams secondary. In the other uniform will be Kirk Cousins who, formerly under McVay, has had a couple of career years in Washington. McVay knows Washington and he knows how to score. Pair that with the strength of L.A.’s defense and the Rams appear in good shape.
Q’s Pick: Rams, 30-20
The Seahawks were on the wrong end of multiple poorly called penalties at Lambeau Field last week but that doesn’t excuse the loss. That can be blamed at least partially on terrible offensive line play that forced Russell Wilson out of the pocket for most of the game. The 49ers pass rush isn’t very lethal and while Seattle should have no problem winning this game they have a lot of work to do on the offensive end as the season progresses.
Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 24-13
It took the Packers offense about a half of football to shake off their offseason rust, but once they did, Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb looked like their usual selves and should be in full form against the Falcons in this 2016-17 NFC title game rematch. That’s not to say Matt Ryan and Julio Jones won’t be, but the Falcons defense looked shaky last week while Green Bay’s looked impressive.
Q’s Pick: Packers, 28-24
Monday, Sept. 18
Every time the Giants take the field without Odell Beckham Jr., it looks like they can’t win without Odell Beckham Jr. Held to only three points last week, the offense struggled without their star playmaker who is listed as “questionable” for Week 2. If he plays, the Giants have a chance, but I still liked how Detroit looked against the Cardinals last week as their defense has improved drastically from last season.
Q’s Pick: Lions, 27-23
Last Week’s Record: 11-4
Season Record: 11-4