If you were pleased with all of the big plays, incredible individual player performances, touchdown dances, close contests and all-around excitement from Week 1 of the 2012 NFL regular season, get geared up for Week 2′s action, which kicks into full swing on Sunday, Sept. 16.
The Packers’ defense picked apart QB Jay Cutler and the Bears in their 23-10 win on Thursday night.
After finishing with a 170-86 regular season predictions record last year, I went 10-6 with my Week 1 picks. After correctly picking the Packers over the Bears, how will I fare in Week 2? Cechk out my picks and leave your feedback below.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – FOX; 1:00 p.m.
As expected, QB Christian Ponder came away with his first win at home, as the Vikings outlasted Jacksonville 26-23 in OT and the Colts got beat up at Chicago last weekend.
After completing 23 of 45 passes for 309 yards with 1 TD and 3 INTs against the Bears, Andrew Luck makes his home debut at Lucas Oil Stadium, where he should fare better against a suspect secondary.
Look for a stronger showing from star RB Adrian Peterson and WR Percy Harvin against a lackluster Indianapolis defense that will be without linebacker Dwight Freeney. Prediction: Minnesota 17, Indianapolis 14
Houston Texans (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – CBS; 1:00 p.m.
The Texans trailed the Dolphins 3-0 at home 23 minutes into their “Super Bowl or bust” season. Then the defense flipped the script, forcing the Dolphins to turn over the football in each of their final four possessions in the first half and the Texans went into the half with a 24-3 lead.
Blaine Gabbert looked solid in last week’s OT loss and Jacksonville has home-field advantage here. Look for the Jaguars to play the Texans tough as usual, but Houston is much more talented and the healthier team. Prediction: Houston 27, Jacksonville 10
New Orleans Saints (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-1) – FOX; 1:00 p.m.
It wasn’t a shock that two teams in the NFC South started the season with a loss. It was a very surprising that rookie QB Robert Griffin III and the Redskins outperformed and outscored Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome in the opener.
Many were also caught by surprise that quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers only found the end zone once against the Bucs.
Both teams will need to run the football well to keep it out of the hands of the other team’s starting signal-caller. Look for Brees and company to bounce back from last week’s weak showing, but it might become a bare-knuckles brawl. Prediction: New Orleans 28, Carolina 21
Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Miami Dolphins (0-1) – CBS; 1:00 p.m.
The Dolphins turned over the football four times in their final four possessions in the first half of last week’s 30-10 loss to the Texans. The Raiders had a plethora of embarrassing punting problems, including a blocked punt and two ground ball snaps in last week’s 22-14 loss against the Chargers.
Nevertheless, each team has a chance to bounce back in Sunday’s showdown. The long-distance, coast-to-coast trip on a short week could cause Oakland to come out flat, but the ‘Phins haven’t had a great track record recently in home games and Miami is likely to play pretty pedestrian after last week’s mistakes. Prediction: Oakland 16, Miami 13
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1) – CBS; 1:00 p.m.
Last year’s get-together between these two teams featured a mind-boggling 41-7 blowout by the Bills in Week 1. The Chiefs surrendered 40 points in their season opener last week against Atlanta at Arrowhead Stadium and Buffalo fell flat, allowing a whopping 48 points against the New York Jets.
That was the biggest surprise from last week in my eyes. With home-field advantage, look for the Bills to bounce back with its front four finally starting to earn its money against Matt Cassel and company. Prediction: Buffalo 27, Kansas City 17
Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at New England Patriots (1-0) – FOX; 1:00 p.m.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots feast on inexperienced quarterbacks. Kevin Kolb played well in the game-winning drive last week against the Seahawks and will get the start with John Skelton out with an injury.
Contrary to last week, the Cardinals’ contest this week is on the road across the country against the prolific Patriots. The Cardz may make a game out of it in the first half, but New England will win with conviction. Prediction: New England 31, Arizona 13
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – CBS; 1:00 p.m.
Both of these AFC North rivals didn’t do as expected in Week 1. The Bengals were beat to a pulp at Baltimore, 44-13 on Monday Night Football and the Browns lost a 17-16 slugfest to the Eagles at home.
Look for Cincinnati to bounce back in a big way with the home-field advantage and the absence of Cleveland’s standout cornerback Joe Haden. Prediction: Cincinnati 21, Cleveland 6
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – CBS; 1:00 p.m.
This might be the most marquee matchup of the weekend, but it’s certainly up for debate. This bird battle features two teams expected to make a playoff push in 2012 and this might be a potential Super Bowl preview.
Michael Vick and the Eagles looked ho-ho-horrendous, as they barely beat the Browns last Sunday. But a win’s a win, and you’ll take it any way you can get it. Plus, each season is a marathon, not a sprint.
The team is home this week and seeks redemption after last week’s poor performance. Baltimore beat the Bengals to a pulp and Joe Flacco had a stellar showing, but this will be a tough test on the road against a great team on a short week. Look for lots of plays to appear on the highlight reel. Prediction: Philadelphia 28, Baltimore 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1) – FOX; 1:00 p.m.
The up-and-coming Bucs added a ton of talent over the offseason and looked to make some series strides entering the season. After a strong showing in Week 1, the team seeks a stellar 2-0 start in a tough test against the defending Super Bowl champions and coach Greg Schiano makes his Jersey homecoming.
Though the Giants won’t have second-year cornerback Prince Amukamara in the lineup, the team has had 10 days to prepare after last Wednesday evening’s letdown at MetLife Stadium.
Look for Big Blue to place plenty of pressure on Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman and dominate this game from beginning to end. It’s not that Tampa Bay is not nearly as talented as the G-Men or anything; the team just faces the wrong team at the wrong time. Prediction: N.Y. Giants 27, Tampa Bay 7
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (0-1) – FOX; 4:05 p.m.
For my surprise upset of the week, look for rookie QB Russell Wilson and company to bounce back from last week’s letdown at Arizona with a stronger showing at home against Dallas. The Cowboys’ corners are better and could give the Seahawks headaches, but Wilson will be more careful with the football in his home debut.
Seattle’s strong secondary could cause concerns for quarterback Tony Romo and the Cowboys receivers and the Seahawks surrendered just 23 yards to Ryan Williams and Chris “Beanie” Wells against Arizona last weekend. If DeMarco Murray doesn’t put up big numbers and the team keeps the ‘Hawks and its fans in the game, it could spell trouble. Prediction: Seattle 24, Dallas 17
Washington Redskins (1-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-1) – FOX; 4:05 p.m.
St. Louis showed some serious promise in its three-point defeat at Detroit. Rookie QB Robert Griffin III and the Redskins were firing on all cylinders in New Orleans, but I got the feeling about mid-week that this team would suffer its first loss against St. Louis. Our own Danny Vasta, as well as Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com and Albert Breer of NFL Network are all also going with the home team here.
The Jeff Fisher era appears to be off to a solid start in St. Louis, as quarterback Sam Bradford completed 17 of 25 attempts for 198 yards and a score in last week’s loss to the Lions. Look for the Redskins to struggle a little with their second straight road test to start the season. This one will do right down to the end of the wire. Prediction: St. Louis 24, Washington 23
N.Y. Jets (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) – CBS; 4:15 p.m.
Gang Green will be without star cornerback Darrelle Revis in this high-stakes marquee matchup. The Steelers aren’t about to start the season 0-2 and fall to Gang Green in their home opener. New York put up an impressive display last weekend, but this is a better team on the road and the Jets are without Revis.
Expect Big Ben to go to Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace early and often. Also look for the Jets to feature more wrinkles with Tim Tebow, as the Jets didn’t need to show their hand in the blowout over Buffalo.
This shouldn’t be a cakewalk for the Steel Curtain, however, as the team is likely to be without star safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison in Sunday’s showdown. Prediction: Pittsburgh 17, N.Y. Jets 13
Tennessee Titans (0-1) at San Diego Chargers (1-0) – CBS; 4:15 p.m.
San Diego’s slow starts aren’t going away anytime soon, but they don’t have to, as the Chargers face another contest they should win without too much trouble.
Jake Locker is a question mark, and so are two of his top targets, Kenny Britt and Nate Washington. Tight end Antonio Gates and running back Ryan Mathews is also ruled as questionable for the Bolts.
Both of these team’s offensive lines are areas of weakness and with home-field advantage, Philip Rivers and the Chargers should pile up enough offense and points on the scoreboard to hold on against the battered Titans. Prediction: San Diego 24, Tennessee 14
Detroit Lions (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0) – NBC; 8:20 p.m.
The Handshake Bowl steals the headlines heading into this game. And while that’s a fun, interesting storyline, it’s a shame that there’s not more discussion about the actual game. The 49ers struck gold in their 30-22 victory at Lambeau Field last week, while the Lions pulled off yet another exciting come-from-behind fourth quarter win with Matthew Stafford leading the charge.
Running wild against the Niners’ stellar front seven never happens, especially for a team like the Lions that have struggled in the ground game, though Kevin Smith did a decent job last weekend. The 49ers will win this one with solid play on offense and keeping Detroit’s dynamic attack in check as much as possible. Prediction: San Francisco 20, Detroit 17
Denver Broncos (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0) – ESPN; 8:30 p.m.
Matty Ice was on fire in the season opener and the Falcons’ up-tempo offense has more success in its own dome. One of the best games of Week 2, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan will go toe-to-toe for four quarters in a high-scoring affair.
The key for Atlanta will be to take an early edge so he’s not having to handle non-stop pressure by the Broncos’ excellent pass rush. Denver needs a turnover or two to slow down Hotlanta’s high-flying attack. Prediction: Atlanta 31, Denver 28
Verse of This Piece: “My son, keep your father’s commands, and don’t forget your mother’s teaching. Keep their words in mind forever as though you had them tied around your neck.”—Proverbs 6:20-21
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He also writes for RantPolitical.com, where he reports on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyzes important issues in the liberty movement. Follow @_MichaelGartman, @RantPolitical and @GridironGrit on Twitter!