It’s a pivotal week for Seattle.
The Seahawks were thought to be a potential juggernaut after Week 1, but they stumbled in Week 2, falling 33-30 in overtime to Tennessee. After leading 24-9 at halftime, the Hawks were outscored 24-6 the rest of the way.
Seattle could have avoided overtime altogether had kicker Jason Myers connected on a PAT following a 68-yard touchdown from Russell Wilson to Freddie Swain. The big play put the Seahawks up 30-16, and Myers had the chance to increase their lead to 15 but missed the try.
It was the Derrick Henry show in the second half as he bulldozed the Seattle defense to the tune of three scoring runs, including a 60-yarder that cut the Seahawks’ lead to 30-23 with just over 12 minutes to play. He later plunged in from one yard out, allowing Tennessee to knot things up at 30-30 with 29 seconds on the clock.
Seattle looked to be in a good position in the extra period after stopping the Titans on their opening drive and forcing a punt. However, a devastating sack on 3rd-and-10 made the Seahawks punt from their 1-yard line. Tennessee took over at the Seattle 39, gained nine more yards, then ended the game with a Randy Bullock 36-yard field goal.
A trip to Minnesota could massively help or hurt the Hawks. A win over the 0-2 Vikings would right Seattle’s ship and put it right back in the playoff discussion as it would start 1-0 against NFC competition. A loss to a winless team – which, to be fair, is likely better than its record suggests – would likely expose some weaknesses and keep them in the cellar of the NFC West at 1-2 and 0-1 against the NFC.
That all being said, it’s time to pick some games.
My season picks record: 10-6 last week, 20-12 overall
Seattle (1-1) at Minnesota (0-2)
The Seahawks lacked a rush defense in Week 2, allowing 212 yards to Tennessee, including 182 from Henry. It wasn’t just yards on the ground, though. Seattle surrendered 320 pass yards, bringing Tennessee’s total to 532. Russell Wilson was himself, finishing with 343 yards and a pair of scores through the air – 178 of those yards and a TD to Tyler Lockett. Chris Carson found the end zone twice on 13 carries but had only 31 yards. To sum it up, the Seahawks’ offense is fine; the defense has a ways to go.
The Vikings played well against an apparently really good Arizona team. They led 30-24 in the third and 33-31 in the fourth before ultimately falling 34-33 to the Cardinals. KJ Osborn improved on his Week 1 performance (7 catches, 76 yards) as he hauled in five receptions for 91 yards and a score. Dalvin Cook led the way on the ground with 131 yards.
Following Week 1, I would have picked Seattle hands down, but I feel like the Hawks are in for a rude awakening on the road as Minnesota seems better than its 0-2 record.
Pick: Vikings 33, Seahawks 31
Carolina (2-0) at Houston (1-1) – Thursday
The Panthers won handily against New Orleans, holding the Saints to 128 total yards. The defense came away with two interceptions and had four sacks in the rout. Sam Darnold had 305 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. DJ Moore led a balanced passing attack with eight catches for 79 yards and a score.
Following a surprising Week 1 win over Jacksonville, the Texans were downed by Cleveland in Week 2. Brandin Cooks led the way with nine catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Carolina’s defense looks solid and should hand Houston a second-consecutive loss.
Pick: Panthers 26, Texans 18
Washington (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1)
The Washington Football Team escaped with a 30-29 win over the Giants as Dustin Hopkins kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired. Taylor Heinicke threw for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in his first NFL start. Terry McLaurin had 107 yards and a score on 11 catches.
The Bills shut out Miami on the road. Josh Allen’s line of 17-of-33 passing for 179 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception isn’t eye-popping, but Buffalo’s defense forced three turnovers and held the Dolphins to 216 total yards.
Allen could struggle again, but Buffalo’s defense seems to be coming into its own.
Pick: Bills 27, WFT 17
Chicago (1-1) at Cleveland (1-1)
I called it last week, “If (Justin) Fields starts – or replaces Dalton early – Chicago has a chance…”. I may have ultimately picked incorrectly, but my sentiment was spot on as Fields took over in the second quarter after Andy Dalton was injured, and the Bears beat the Bengals. He didn’t do much through the air – 6-for-13, 60 yards, 1 interception – but did enough to get Chicago in the win column. He also had 31 yards on 10 carries.
The Browns didn’t falter this Week. After giving up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter in Week 1’s loss to Kansas City, Cleveland shut Houston down after taking a 10-point lead in the fourth this time around. Nick Chubb led the Browns with 95 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries.
Fields or no Fields, Cleveland takes this one.
Pick: Browns 29, Bears 20
Baltimore (1-1) at Detroit (0-2)
The Ravens have a knack for dramatic endings. They lost the Week 1 overtime thriller in Las Vegas; then, they overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Kansas City 36-35. It marked Lamar Jackson’s first-ever win over Patrick Mahomes. Jackson ran for 107 yards and two scores on 16 carries while adding 239 yards, a touchdown, and two picks through the air.
The Lions held a 17-14 halftime lead and still managed to get blown out 35-17 by Green Bay. Jared Goff had 246 yards, a pair of TDs, and a pick. Goff, who isn’t known for his running ability, also led Detroit in rushing with 46 yards.
Baltimore wins easily.
Pick: Ravens 34, Lions 19
Indianapolis (0-2) at Tennessee (1-1)
The Carson Wentz experiment is off to a slow start. Despite holding the lead in the fourth quarter, the Colts fell to the Rams. The bright spot for Indy? Second-year receiver Michael Pittman Jr. finished with 123 yards on eight catches.
As mentioned above, Derrick Henry (aka “the Titans”) came back from 15 down to beat Seattle in overtime. Also mentioned above, Henry finished with 182 yards and three scores. Not mentioned above, Julio Jones catching six passes for 128 yards.
Henry shouldn’t be slowed down too much, and Tennessee will send Indianapolis to an 0-3 hole.
Pick: Titans 33, Colts 27
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at Kansas City (1-1)
Justin Herbert got the yards (338) but couldn’t find the points as the Chargers finished with only 17 in their loss to the Cowboys (who scored 20). Herbert threw one touchdown pass but was picked off twice. Keenan Allen had four catches for 108 yards, his second straight game with 100-plus yards.
Patrick Mahomes usually completes the comeback, but last week, he and the Chiefs allowed one to the Ravens. After leading by 11 in the fourth quarter, Kansas City gave up 12 straight points and fell to Baltimore. Mahomes threw for 343 yards and three TDs while being intercepted once. Travis Kelce netted 109 yards and a score on seven catches for the Chiefs.
Kansas City will take out its frustration on LA.
Pick: Chiefs 37, Chargers 23
New Orleans (1-1) at New England (1-1)
What a way to fall back to Earth. Following their unexpected 38-3 trouncing of Green Bay in Week 1, the Saints were humbled 26-7 in Carolina. Jameis Winston, who threw five touchdown passes two weeks ago, finished with zero TDs and two picks. He did have the team’s lone TD on an 8-yard rush, though.
Mac Jones got his first win in the NFL, but the Patriots’ defense secured the victory. The D picked off Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson four times, matching the team’s number of sacks. Josh Uche led the way with two of those sacks.
Expect nothing “new” as New England and New Orleans will continue trending up and down, respectively.
Pick: Patriots 23, Saints 16
Atlanta (0-2) at New York Giants (0-2)
With a 7-yard run by Cordarrelle Patterson with 1:45 to go in the third quarter, the Falcons cut their deficit against Tampa Bay to 28-25. Then Atlanta stopped playing. The Falcons didn’t score again and gave up 20 points in the fourth. Patterson found the end zone twice as he had a TD catch as well. He finished with 58 yards on five catches while taking seven carries for a mere 11 yards.
The Giants had it. Until they didn’t. New York gave up a last-second field goal and lost 30-29 to Washington. Daniel Jones passed for 249 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 95 yards, including a 46-yard scamper and a 6-yard score.
In a battle of winless teams, I feel like Atlanta has the better roster. So naturally, I’m going with New York.
Pick: Giants 25, Falcons 21
Cincinnati (1-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1)
Joe Burrow was intercepted thrice in the Bengals’ loss to Chicago. He had a pair of touchdown passes but netted only 207 yards. Tyler Boyd rebounded from a less-than-spectacular Week 1 – 3 catches, 32 yards – as he hauled in seven of nine targets for 73 yards.
Perhaps the Steelers’ performance against Buffalo in Week 1 was a fluke. The Pittsburgh defense, which held highly touted Bills quarterback Josh Allen to 270 yards on 30-of-51 completions and only 16 points a couple of weeks ago, surrendered 382 yards and 26 points to Derek Carr. Diontae Johnson led the “not-so-steel curtain” with 105 yards on five catches.
You never know how a division rivalry game will turn out, but I like Pittsburgh at home over Cincy … barely.
Pick: Steelers 20, Bengals 17
Arizona (2-0) at Jacksonville (0-2)
Kyler Murray looks like a force to be reckoned with so far this season. He had 400 yards on 29-of-36 completions with three TDs and a pair of picks. He also took five totes for 31 yards and a 12-yard score. Rookie Rondale Moore caught seven of eight targets for 114 yards and a 77-yard touchdown.
The Jaguars’ offense scored a touchdown on their opening drive but did nothing after that. Jacksonville’s 23-13 loss to Denver looked closer than it was as a late-game 102-yard kickoff return by Jamal Agnew gave the Jags their final six points. Rookie Trevor Lawrence was held to 14-of-33 passing for 118 yards and two interceptions.
This one shouldn’t be close as Arizona’s No. 1 overall pick (Murray) prevails over Jacksonville’s (Lawrence).
Pick: Cardinals 36, Jaguars 20
New York Jets (0-2) at Denver (2-0)
Rookie Zach Wilson threw four interceptions and had 210 yards in the Jets’ loss to New England. There weren’t many bright spots as the only scoring came from a pair of field goals from Matt Ammendola.
One of only two undefeated teams in the AFC, the Broncos downed Jacksonville behind steady QB play from Teddy Bridgewater – see what I did there? – and lockdown defensive play by the defense. Bridgewater had 328 yards and two touchdowns, while Courtland Sutton netted 159 yards on nine receptions. The defense held the Jags to 189 total yards.
Denver should continue to roll in its home opener over the lackluster New York squad.
Pick: Broncos 31, Jets 18
Miami (1-1) at Las Vegas (2-0)
Tua Tagovailoa fractured his ribs in the Dolphins’ 35-0 loss to Buffalo. Miami surrendered six sacks to the Bills and managed just 216 total yards. Jacoby Brissett will start in Tagovailoa’s absence. He threw for 169 yards and a pick.
The other undefeated team in the AFC happens to reside in the West as well. The Raiders are giving Las Vegas a lot to root for as Henry Ruggs III had 113 yards – including a 61-yard touchdown – on five grabs to lead the Raiders over Pittsburgh. Carr had a pair of TDs to go along with his 382 yards.
I don’t see a backup QB leading Miami to a win in a raucous Las Vegas venue.
Pick: Raiders 26, Dolphins 17
Tampa Bay (2-0) at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
It was touched on earlier – the Buccaneers scored 20 fourth-quarter points to turn a tight contest into a rout, downing Atlanta 48-25. Tom Brady found three receivers for a total of five touchdowns to go with his 276 yards. Mike Evans (5 catches, 75 yards, 2 TDs), Chris Godwin (4-62-1), and Rob Gronkowski (4-39-2) were the Bucs receivers who found the end zone. Mike Edwards took two interception returns to the house as well.
The Rams, who beat the Chargers in Week 2, are another team enjoying their new quarterback. Matthew Stafford netted 278 yards, a pair of scores, and an interception as he found Cooper Kupp nine times for 163 yards and both touchdowns.
I see Tampa, not LA, as the superior unbeaten team.
Pick: Buccaneers 34, Rams 29
Green Bay (1-1) at San Francisco (2-0)
One would think Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdown passes would be the headline in a Green Bay win over Detroit on Monday night. However, Aaron Jones shined with his four total TDs – three receiving, one rushing – and 115 total yards. He took 17 carries for 67 yards and added 48 yards on six catches.
The 49ers’ defense shut down Philadelphia for three quarters, but the offense didn’t do much. Entering the fourth quarter, San Francisco clung to a 7-3 lead. The Niners added 10 points in the fourth before surrendering a late touchdown. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score. He finished with 189 passing yards and 20 more rushing.
San Francisco has the more robust defense, but Green Bay has too much firepower on offense.
Pick: Packers 26, 49ers 23
Philadelphia (1-1) at Dallas (1-1) – Monday
Jalen Hurts is proving to be a problem for the league. After running for 62 yards in Week 1, the agile QB totaled 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the Eagles’ Week 2 loss to San Francisco. He only completed 12 passes against the Niners (23 attempts) and finished with 190 yards through the air. Quez Watkins had 117 of those yards … on only two receptions. His 91-yard catch and run didn’t result in a score.
When Dak Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay, the Cowboys lost. But when Prescott threw for 237 yards, zero TDs, and an interception against the Chargers, Dallas won. Tony Pollard led the ‘Boys with 109 yards and a score on 13 rushing attempts.
I expect Dallas to continue a more balanced approach and its passing game to be better, leading to a close win over Philly.
Pick: Cowboys 33, Eagles 30