Seattle (0-1) at Pittsburgh (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: A hard hitting contest, but only from the Pittsburgh side of the ball.
Key Matchup: Nothing really here, it’s not going to matter.
Risky Prediction: Tarvaris Jackson doesn’t leave the game on a stretcher.
Who wins and why: Pittsburgh because they are going to come out with a mountain’s size chip on their shoulder after being spanked by their arch rival Baltimore last week. Oh yeah, and because Seattle is really bad.
Arizona (1-0) at Washington (1-0)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: Dare I say exciting for a game between the Cardinals and the Redskins? Yes, I sure do. This is my sleeper pick for the “game between two bad teams that will be wicked fun to watch”.
Key Matchup: Rex Grossman against himself. We saw the good side of Rex Grossman this past Sunday, he stayed away from bad turnovers and didn’t lose the game for his team. It will be a great story for Washington if he can keep that up, but there’s always the threat of Bad Rex showing up.
Risky Prediction: Kevin Kolb struggles against the Washington pass defense. The Redskins have a sneaky good defense, and should be able to force Arizona into some obvious passing downs that will let them tee off against Kolb.
Who wins and why: Could it be two straight wins out of the gate for the Redskins? You bet it can! Tim Hightower will have a career game against his former team and the Redskins will emerge from week two as the “can these guys be for real?” team of 2011.
Green Bay (1-0) at Carolina (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: All the offense you could want.
Key Matchup: Charles Woodson against Cam Newton. Newton tore up an Arizona secondary in week one that gave him some really wide open targets. He’s going to come into this game with a huge confidence boost, enough of a boost to embolden him to try to get more aggressive in this one. Aggressiveness that a veteran defensive back like Woodson will take advantage of for at least one pick.
Risky Prediction: Aaron Rodgers one-ups Tom Brady with a 550 plus passing yard game.
Who wins and why: The Packers because without Jon Beason this Carolina defense is going to get scored on by even bad offenses, who knows what kind of silly totals Green Bay can put up.
Dallas (0-1) at San Francisco (1-0)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: San Fran will keep it close in the first half, but if the Dallas defense gets the kind of pressure they’re capable of the 49ers could find themselves out of the game quickly.
Key Matchup: Tony Romo against the fourth quarter. Oh wait, I almost forgot this isn’t a big game, he’ll be just fine.
Risky Prediction: The 49ers take the ball out of Alex Smith’s hands and feed it to Frank Gore, who runs for enough yards to keep the game close and give San Francisco a chance in this one.
Who wins and why: The Cowboys, because the 49ers aren’t good enough on defense to take advantage of the Dallas mistakes like the Jets were on Sunday night.
San Diego (1-0) at New England (1-0)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: A good new fashioned shootout.
Key Matchup: Devin McCourty against Vincent Jackson. If the Patriots top cover guy can neutralize Jackson the Chargers will become one dimensional (focusing on getting the ball to Antonio Gates) and Bill Belichick is always great at taking away what the other team does best.
Risky Prediction: The Patriots come out running the ball. Adrian Peterson and the Vikings had success on the ground before the Chargers took the lead and forced them to abandon the running game.
Who wins and why: The Pats own Phillip Rivers, who is only 1-4 against them. It won’t come easy but New England will win a game that will showcase plenty of scoring.
Houston (1-0) at Miami (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: Offense, offense and more offense. Both of these teams moved the ball well in week one.
Key Matchup: Jake Long against Mario Williams. Williams settled into his role as an outside pass rushing linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 system with 2 sacks in week one. His blend of size and speed is a problem for most left tackles, but Long is one of the best in the business. This will be a great matchup to watch this weekend.
Risky Prediction: Daniel Thomas has his coming out party. After sitting out the season opener, the rookie running back will show the NFL what he has to offer this week.
Who wins and why: Houston, because I’m still not a Miami believer. As a Pats fan I’ve seen plenty of teams move the ball on them the way that Miami did on Monday night. Houston will have better success putting pressure on Chad Henne, and we’ll see more of the Chad Henne we thought we would see against New England.
Cincinnati (1-0) at Denver (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: The Bengals prove you can still beat bad teams with a good running game and a bad quarterback.
Key Matchup: Kyle Orton against his own fans. Remember when he said he didn’t care what the fans thought about him this preseason? Well they let him know how they felt on Monday night, and when the Broncos go down by double digits sometime in the second quarter of this one they’ll be even louder than they were in week one.
Risky Prediction: Cedric Benson gets over 150 yards rushing.
Who wins and why: Cincinnati wins to keep pace with Washington in the “are they for real” race.
Philadelphia (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: It’s going to be emotionally charged with Vick returning to Atlanta for the first time as a starter. He can say all he wants that he doesn’t feel any extra pressure this week, but we all know he does.
Key Matchup: Michael Vick against the Philly game plan. His competitive nature will try to get him to abandon plays early and make plays with his feet to quite the Atlanta crowd, he needs to remember he’ll be more successful doing that with his arm.
Risky Prediction: Matt Ryan continues to struggle and throws multiple interceptions.
Who wins and why: Philly takes this one because their defense will blanket cover the Atlanta wideouts, leading ESPN to already break out the “panic meter” for the Falcons.
St. Louis (0-1) at NY Giants (0-1)
What Type Of Game to Expect to See: Disappointing. This game was put on the Monday night schedule because St. Louis was supposed to be one of the up and coming teams in the league, especially early on. But after the loss of Stephen Jackson and Danny Amendola, and a young quarterback with a bad finger that could lead to some really off target throws leaves viewers with a game that could get sloppy real quick.
Key Matchup: Chris Long against Giants left tackle Will Beatty. Long had a strong start to his 2011 season with 2 tackles and a sack against the Eagles in week one. Beatty and the Giants will have a tough time keeping him away from Eli Manning.
Risky Prediction: The Giants do a good enough job protecting Manning for him to have a 300 yard passing game.
Who wins and why: The Rams because the Giants are bad, especially on defense. Despite the injuries to key St. Louis offensive playmakers, the Rams will still have their way against the even more depleted New York defense.