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Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 p.m.

Houston pulled off an overtime comeback last week over the Titans after a great game from their rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins caught the game-winning touchdown from Matt Schaub in overtime, giving him over 100 yards receiving on the day. The Texans’ running game was dominant as usual, with Ben Tate and Arian Foster combining for over 150 yards, while Schaub threw for almost another 300. Schaub had a tough time holding onto the ball however, throwing 2 interceptions. The Ravens had an ugly game against Cleveland last week, scoring both of their touchdowns in the second half. On the plus side, they only allowed six points, a much better defensive showing than their game against Denver in week one. RB Ray Rice went down with an injury though, which is an enormous blow to the Baltimore offense. They will find it tough to get anything going against Houston’s defense all game.

Prediction: Texans 24-13

New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 p.m.

In the battle of the Manning brothers, Peyton came out victorious. Eli threw four interceptions and looked completely uncomfortable for the entire game. The Giants’ running game didn’t look great either, as David Wilson only managed 17 yards on seven carries. Defensively, they were also a mess. They gave up 41 points and never really made the game close. They will want to put all that behind them as they head to Carolina. The Panthers suffered a last second loss to the Bills after playing a pretty good all-around game. Cam Newton played well, throwing for two touchdowns and over 225 yards while DeAngelo Williams ran for 85. They will have a tough time against the embarrassed Giants, but they should keep it close with their rushing attack. I expect Eli to get back on track this week and pull out the victory.

Prediction: 23-17 Giants

Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 p.m.

Detroit killed themselves with penalties last week in their loss to Arizona, something they are prone to do. Despite a huge game by WR Calvin Johnson, they allowed Arizona RB Rashard Mendenhall to score late in the game, leading to their loss. The Lions have never been a rushing team, but they still hope to get a little bit more production out of their backfield, especially from their new acquisition Reggie Bush. Washington played Green Bay last week and they were never in it from the beginning. Their secondary was shredded by Aaron Rodgers, and they need to work on their coverage schemes after giving up huge passing yardage two weeks in a row. With the Lions coming to town, I expect Stafford to continue the trend and put a lot of points on the board. Even after his 3 TD performance, it still needs to be asked whether or not RG3 can keep it up.

Prediction: 31-24 Lions

San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 P.M.

The Chargers upset Philadelphia on a last second field goal last week, and Philip Rivers put the talk that he couldn’t perform in the clutch to rest, at least for a week. He played outstandingly the entire game, especially on third downs as the Chargers converted on 66% of their opportunities. Antonio Gates also looked like he found the fountain of youth, racking up almost 125 receiving yards. He has always been a great safety valve for Rivers, and now that he is healthy he will give opposing defenses headaches. The Titan’s defense played incredibly well against Houston until the very end of the game. If they want to be a complete team, they need Jake Locker to take some chances and move the ball more than he has been doing. Locker didn’t turn the ball over, but he failed to throw for 150 yards on 30 attempts. Tennessee would like to see him take his game to the next level moving forward.

Prediction: 23-13 Chargers

Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 P.M.

The Cardinal’s defense played well against Detroit, as they usually do, and Carson Palmer did enough to keep them in the game until Rashard Mendenhall’s game-winning touchdown run. Arizona could be a dangerous team this season due to their strong defense, and if Palmer can take care of the ball and put up 20 points or so every week, Arizona could exceed expectations this year. The Saints still haven’t looked exactly like their old high-powered selves, but they’re getting there. Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards, but they only managed one touchdown and 16 points total. Their defense that was criticized last year only gave up seven points (Drew Brees also threw a pick-six) to the dangerous Buccaneers’ offense, directly leading to their division win. I don’t expect things to change this week against the Cardinals.

Prediction: 27-10 Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 P.M.

Josh Freeman was terrible last week against the Saints. He was only 9-22 with a touchdown and an interception, so he really needs to do a lot more for the Tampa Bay offense. RB Doug Martin can only do so much before defenses start focusing in on him and shutting him down. After his outstanding rookie season, Freeman has failed to impress and needs to regain his form for the Bucs to succeed. The Patriots have not looked like themselves this season. They lack weapons at wide receiver for Tom Brady to work with after losing Wes Welker to the Broncos in the offseason and Danny Amendola in week one. They have had big problems scoring this season and it has led to two nail-biters against the Bills and Jets. New England is lucky though, because Tampa Bay also has a tough time scoring. If Brady can figure out how to get about 17 points, the Pats should pull it out.

Prediction: 20-10 Patriots

Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 P.M.

Aaron Rodgers put on a show last week against Washington, throwing for almost 500 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Packers looked like the Packers of old, scoring with ease and playing lockdown defense. They allowed Washington to score in the 2nd half, but that was long after the game was over. Even their running game was strong despite Eddie Lacy going down early in the game with an injury. It looks like the Packers may be about to hit their stride early in the season. The Bengals beat the Steelers last Monday night. It was a tough defensive struggle, but that’s the way this new Bengals team wins. Andy Dalton manages the game well and A.J. Green is developing into one of the NFL’s best receivers. Nevertheless, they will have a tough time stopping Green Bay this week.

Prediction: 30-13 Packers

St. Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

Sunday, Sep 22 1:00 P.M.

St. Louis pulled themselves together too late against Atlanta last week, coming up just short with their rally. Sam Bradford had a huge day, but they just didn’t get enough production from their rushing game to beat the heavily favored Falcons. They also had a hard time stopping Julio Jones, as he almost got 200 receiving yards on the day. They will need to contain Dez Bryant against Dallas if they want to have a chance to win. The Cowboys fell to the Chiefs despite Bryant having a huge game of his own because RB Demarco Murray struggled to find room to run. This game should be fairly high scoring as both teams have high powered passing attacks.

Prediction: 27-24 Rams

Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, Sep 22 4:05 P.M.

Cleveland is starting a new quarterback this week against the Vikings after allowing Brandon Weeden to be sacked five times in their game against Baltimore. Weeden was constantly under pressure through the first two weeks of the season, so the Browns will need to find a way to protect QB Brian Hoyer this week if they want a chance. The Vikings have one of the premier pass rushers in the league in Jared Allen, who has to be excited to face this offensive line. Minnesota lost a nail-biter last week against Chicago, but they head back to Minnesota this week where Christian Ponder plays significantly better. Expect Adrian Peterson to struggle a bit against the Browns’ rush defense (they’re better than you’d think), but the Vikes should eventually pull it out.

Prediction: 17-10 Vikings

Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins

Sunday, Sep 22 4:05 P.M.

Sunday, Sep 22 4:05 P.M.

Atlanta looked amazing in the first half last week and Matt Ryan had an incredible day. He threw for almost 400 yards and two touchdowns as he decimated the St. Louis secondary. Atlanta will be even more dangerous as the season goes on when WR Roddy White returns. On the flip side, Miami QB Ryan Tannehill played very well against Indianapolis, throwing for over 300 yards. More impressively, the Dolphins beat the Colts in Indianapolis, a task that has proven to be very difficult during Andrew Luck’s tenure as Colts QB. Their defense should give Matt Ryan a fairly hard time, but I still think the Falcons simply have too many offensive weapons for the Dolphins to keep up.

Prediction: 30-17 Falcons

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

Sunday, Sep 22 4:25 P.M.

E.J. Manuel has proven that he can be an effective NFL quarterback. After nearly beating division rival New England in his first start, he led a game-winning drive to beat the Carolina Panthers last week, drilling a touchdown with only two seconds remaining. He has been doing a good job of managing the game and avoiding turnovers, something the Bills have sorely needed. The Jets come off their game against the Patriots with some questions regarding their rookie QB Geno Smith. Smith threw three interceptions at crucial points in the game and didn’t look comfortable all night. On the plus side, their defense played very well, and it almost resulted in a victory. I expect them to play well again, but until Smith proves that he can read defenses correctly and take care of the ball the Jets will have a hard time getting wins.

Prediction: 20-10 Bills

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, Sep 22 4:25 P.M.

Jacksonville didn’t have much of a chance against Oakland last week, and QB Chad Henne was sacked five times. He had a fairly decent game overall, but it definitely was not enough to overcome some of the mistakes made by the team, one of which was a costly safety. They did a good job holding the Raiders to field goals, but they still allowed them to move the ball too easily. Seattle is on the opposite end of the spectrum, fresh from completely dominating one of the premier teams in the league last week in San Francisco. In all facets of the game, the Seahawks were simply superior. The raucous crowd was incredibly jarring for the 49er’s offense and it led to many turnovers. Russell Wilson only threw the ball 19 times, but it was enough to win comfortably while eating up the clock with the run game. This one won’t be remotely close, especially since it’s in Seattle.

Prediction: 34-6 Seahawks

Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, Sep 22 4:25 P.M.

Andrew Luck played very well in his game against the Dolphins, but not quite well enough for the victory. He had a chance to lead the Colts on a game-winning drive, but couldn’t get a completion. His task is not easier this week, facing an angry 49er team on the road. He will be under pressure all game from the San Francisco defensive front. Colin Kaepernick struggled against the Seahawks and he will look to get back on track against the much weaker Colts secondary. They should be able to get back on track this week and attempt to keep pace with the Seahawks.

Prediction: 27-14 49ers

Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, Sep 22 8:30 PM

Chicago has started the season off with two close wins, and Jay Cutler has played well on the young season. His favorite receiver, Brandon Marshall, is also having a good start to the season and Pittsburgh will have a hard time dealing with him. Especially now that Matt Forte is healthy, Chicago has a very dangerous offense. Pittsburgh has gotten off to a slow start this season, and they have been struggling to score. They are feeling the effects of their loss of WR Mike Wallace to the Dolphins in free agency, and the loss of RB Rashard Mendenhall to the Cardinals. This should be a low scoring game, as both teams have good defenses, but the Steelers will not be able to score enough to take the Bears.

Prediction: 20-13 Bears

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos

Monday, Sep 23 8:40 P.M.

Oakland comes into the game going against probably the best team in the league in the Denver Broncos. Terrelle Pryor has been decent as the starter for the Raiders and he is a legitimate threat in the running game. Darren McFadden is a consistently good running back, but the Broncos have one of the best run defenses in the league. They have also scored at least 40 points the last two weeks, and they could potentially do it again this week. They simply have too many weapons at wide receiver for the Raiders to possibly match up. Pair that along with one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Prediction: 38-13 Broncos