Sunday is here.
For months, NFL fans sat patiently waiting for [regular season] football. Tyreek Hill as a Dolphin. Davante Adams wearing silver and black. A.J. Brown flying high in Philadelphia; boy was there a lot to look forward to. And wow, did week 1 ever deliver.
The storylines were fantastic. Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson both began their next chapter with a new team by facing off against their old squad. Hill, Adams and Brown each logged triple-digit scrimmage yards. Best of all, us fans were spoiled with touchdown after touchdown.
In fact, the Dallas Cowboys were the only team to not score a touchdown during week 1.
The NFL hosted an incredible opening week to start the year, and we can only hope this Sunday satisfies our football cravings as well. Before the games begin, though, let’s get to some quick picks.
Picks with Alex – Mapping out week 2 predictions (Sunday)
Early window Sunday
Patriots @ Steelers
Analysis: The Steelers’ defense is simply too great for New England to best. Against the ’21 AFC champs in week 1, the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh forced Joe Burrow into committing five turnovers. With all due respect to Mac Jones, he is no Joe Burrow.
Panthers @ Giants
Analysis: Personally, I see great potential in New York [Giants]. It’s the combo of Daboll and Daniel Jones that do it for me. Daniel Jones is the same type of quarterback as Josh Allen – not to be confused with the same caliber quarterback – and we all know the success Daboll had with Allen in Buffalo. If he can replicate a mere fraction of that success with Jones, life will be great. Jones tossed two touchdowns on 17-for-21 passing last week. On the other side, I see no great potential with Carolina, who are fresh off of a loss to Cleveland.
Jets @ Browns
Analysis: Cleveland may be without Deshaun Watson, but veteran Jacoby Brissett is plenty serviceable. The Jets are also without their starting quarterback, but there’s one significant difference: 37-year-old Joe Flacco cannot get the job done like Brissett can.
Colts @ Jaguars
Analysis: Don’t be surprised to see Indianapolis compete for a trip to the AFC Championship Game. Don’t be surprised to see Jacksonville fight for a top-5 draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Still, this is a divisional game, so the Colts can’t fall asleep at the wheel. They did in 2021, and lost.
Dolphins @ Ravens
Analysis: Now equipped with Tyreek Hill, it’s a bit unpopular to go against the ‘Fins. I’m still going to do it. Contract talks between Baltimore and Lamar have gone south this year, resulting in no deal getting done. Lamar Jackson, a former MVP, will have more to play for than any other season. The next victim? Miami.
Buccaneers @ Saints
Analysis: The G.O.A.T. going up against Jameis Winston and Dennis Allen, and I roll with the latter? Talk about bold. Still, I’m confident with this one. Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., but it isn’t because of what he does in September. The 45-year-old will save his best football for later on while the Winston, Allen duo have something to prove right now. In the first-of-two faceoffs, I like New Orleans.
Commanders @ Lions
Analysis: Detroit is certainly on the rise, but it isn’t their time yet. Meanwhile, veteran quarterback Carson Wentz is coming off of a four touchdown performance against Jacksonville. Truth be told, I’m not convinced the Lions’ defense is any better. Expect another week of Wentz slinging the football around.
Later window Sunday
Seahawks @ 49ers
Analysis: To be blunt, there’s no real area Seattle trumps San Francisco at. The 49ers field a more explosive offense at every unit, and their defense is much more stout. That said, I saw no way Seattle could beat Denver, nor did I think the Bears could ever top San Fran’ in week 1. Both happened, though, and Seattle may walk away making me eat my words two weeks straight.
Falcons @ Rams
Analysis: L.A. [Rams] lost to an incredible Buffalo team during the first contests of the 2022 NFL season. Don’t expect the same results against Atlanta. The Dirty Birds may have great potential, but the chances of them sticking it to the reigning Super Bowl champions are slim to none.
Cardinals @ Raiders
Analysis: Who’s going to cover Davante Adams? Who’s keeping Hunter Renfrow in check? Darren Waller? Against the Chargers, these questions all had answers. Against Arizona, though, not so much. Don’t expect Carr to throw three interceptions again, either. The last time he did, in week 1 of the ’18 season, Carr responded with a 0 turnover game where he completed 90.6% of his passes.
Texans @ Broncos
Analysis: Truthfully, I want to roll with Houston here. I love what they did against Indianapolis in week 1, while Denver flopped against Geno Smith and the Seahawks. Given these facts, there’s no real reason Denver should get the nod, other than they’re the better team on paper. I’m going to side with the paper on this one.
Bengals @ Cowboys
Analysis: Burrow logged an astonishing five turnovers in the NFL’s opening week last Sunday. Don’t bank on that happening again. On the other side, Dak Prescott remains sidelined with a hand injury. All things considered, there’s no safer contest to predict than this one.
Sunday Night Football
Bears @ Packers
Analysis: Aaron Rodgers had a dreadful performance in week 1 against Minnesota. Rodgers also had a forgettable showing during the opening week of the 2021 season, being on the wrong side of a 3-38 spanking. The following week, Green Bay’s future HoF quarterback tossed four touchdowns and 0 interceptions against his division rivals in Detroit. Expect a similar result against Chicago in week 2.
Monday Night Football
Titans @ Bills
Analysis: If week 1 is any indication of how things will play out, the Bills may be the team to beat in the AFC. To open up the season, Buffalo squared off against the reigning Super Bowl champs and dominated with a 31-10 score. Now, they’re at Buffalo to face Tennessee, who lost to the Giants last week.