Week 2 NFL Picks
This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. I’ve been Gridiron Expers’ Pick ‘Em columnist for the past few seasons, and I’m glad to be back at it again! We’re hoping to have even more success this year! Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with more than a dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game.
Welcome back… it’s time for Football!
New Orleans (-3.5) @ Carolina
New Orleans and QB Jameis Winston surprised many by dominating Green Bay last weekend. Winston’s 5 TD passes came in a game where he attempted only 20 passes. Surely, Winston’s track record doesn’t support this ultra-efficiency, however, he has the tools to be a solid starter for the Saints. Combined with RB and all-around weapon Alvin Kamara, the Saints are riding high. Carolina also pulled off a home win last week, albeit over the lowly Jets. Christian McCaffrey will look to outfox Kamara and prove he’s the best dual-threat in the NFL, while Sam Darnold works with Robby Anderson and DJ Moore down the field. In any event, the deciding factor for me is the New Orleans defense here. After absolutely shutting down Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones last week, I trust them to keep Sam Darnold at bay as well. Saints 27-22.
Cincinnati @ Chicago (-2.5)
Joe Burrow led the Bengals to a thrilling win on Sunday in overtime. However, the more exciting dynamic was that Burrow and teammate Ja’Marr Chase proved that they haven’t lost their LSU mojo, hooking up 5 times for 101 yards and a Touchdown. Joe Mixon also broke out on Sunday, logging 127 yards and a score as well. They’ll be opposed by the Chicago Bears who are still insisting on starting Andy Dalton, despite the availability of rookie QB Justin Fields. Dalton struggled on Sunday night in a 20 point loss to the Rams. RB David Montgomery was the bright spot for Chicago, rushing for 108 yards and a score. There’s not much more to get excited for on the Bears’ side, as their defense was no match for Los Angeles this past week. I expect Burrow and Chase to continue their magic while bringing Tee Higgings into the fold, and for the Bengals to pull, the upset in Chicago. Bengals 24-23.
Houston @ Cleveland (-12)
The Texans shocked everyone, as they knocked off Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars in Week 1. Tyrod Taylor was solid, throwing for almost 300 yards and two scores, while veteran Mark Ingram II logged 85 yards on the ground and a score himself. Taylor’s top target was Brandin Cooks, who reeled in 5 balls for 132 shockingly scoreless yards. Cleveland, on the other hand, fell at the hands of the elite Kansas City Chiefs. Baker Mayfield and his squad kept it close until the end, before dropping the game late in the 4th. Mayfield wasn’t at his best on Sunday, with star WR Odell Beckham still injured (he won’t play this week either), failing to throw a touchdown. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt took care of the point scoring for Cleveland, though. Chubb logged 2 scores on 83 yards, while Hunt added his own touchdown as well. While Houston was a fun underdog story in Week 1, they beat a Jaguars team that hasn’t won a game in over a calendar year. I fully expect Baker & Co. to take it to Houston, especially at home in Cleveland. Browns 30-16.
Los Angeles Rams (-4) @ Indianapolis
The Rams looked fantastic on Sunday night, destroying the Bears at home. Matthew Stafford looked like a rejuvenated man, as he picked apart the Chicago defense all night, ending with 321 yards and 3 TDs. He favored WRs Cooper Kupp (7/108/1) and Van Jefferson (2/80/1), while Robert Woods also added a score. Darrell Henderson Jr. took 16 of the team’s 18 RB rushing attempts, logging 70 yards and a TD in the process. The Colts were far less impressive, falling to Seattle by two scores. Carson Wentz played above average, logging 251 yards and 2 TDs, both to WR Zach Pascal. Wentz was sacked three times, though, and RB Jonathan Taylor only rushed for 56 yards. At this point, I don’t feel the Colts will have the firepower to keep up with the Rams on the scoreboard, especially with the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey across the way. Rams 29-19.
Denver (-6) @ Jacksonville
The Broncos took a road victory over the Giants on Sunday but lost their star WR Jerry Jeudy in the process. QB Teddy Bridgewater impressed in his debut, throwing for 264 yards and 2 scores. With the loss of Jeudy, he honed in on Noah Fant (6/62) Tim Patrick (4/39/1) and Melvin Gordon II picked up the slack on the ground, taking 11 totes for 101 yards and a score. Courtland Sutton will need to get more involved this week to give Teddy more options in the passing game. Rookie Javonte Williams did see 14 carries, but only logged 45 yards, as he’s still getting up to NFL speed. The Jaguars, on the other hand, fell to the Texans and extended their losing streak to over 365 days in the process. Trevor Lawrence made his debut, and it was a mixed bag. The rookie threw for 332 yards with 3 TDs and 3 INTs. He’s got some wrinkles to iron out, but the youngster showed tons of promise. James Robinson’s usage was inexplicable, as he only garnered 5 rushing attempts and 3 receptions. Instead, Carlos Hyde took 9 rushes for 44 yards and added 2 catches of his own. Jacksonville does tout a few weapons in DJ Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., and Laviska Shenault Jr. He’ll need to lean on this trio of “juniors” to make this offense successful. However, until Urban Meyer proves he can effectively use his weapons, I’m not going to be betting on the Jags. Broncos 25-17.
Buffalo (-3.5) @ Miami
Buffalo’s season started a bit bumpy, as Josh Allen & Co. struggled in a 23-16 loss to the Steelers. Allen is one of the best players in the game, though, and should have no problem bouncing back this week. Allen does most of the red zone work with his legs, but Devin Singletary also plays a role, with Zack Moss missing some time. Singletary rushed 11 times for 72 yards in an efficient debut. Allen leaned, as always, on Stefon Diggs who caught 9 of 14 targets. However, Diggs struggled to gain chunks of yardage and only finished with 69 yards. Gabriel Davis added a score, while Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley combined for 12 catches and 112 yards. Simply put, the Bills will need more “big” plays to replicate their success from last season. Miami, on the other hand, pulled out a gritty win in New England, as their defense kept rookie Mac Jones in check. Tua Tagovaloa wasn’t great but did enough to keep the Dolphins close. Rookie WR Jaylen Waddle was a bright point for Miami, hauling in 4 balls for 61 yards and a score. Devante Parker was also efficient (4/81), while RB Myles Gaskin saw limited work (9/49) in a close, defensive struggle. I do think that Allen and the Bills get back on track this week and keep Tua & Co. in check. Give me Buffalo to take this by a touchdown on the road. Bills 25-19.
New England (-5.5) @ New York Jets
Two rookies made their respective debuts last weekend, and both were pretty average. Mac Jones completed 29 of 39 passes for New England, logging 281 yards and making few mistakes. On the other hand, Zach Wilson completed 20 of 37 passes for 258 yards and 2 TD, compared to 1 INT. While both QBs certainly have the opportunity to be great, this will be their first showdown of many. Both teams enter at 0-1 and lacked offensive firepower in the opening game. For New York, Corey Davis was the lone bright spot, hauling in 5 receptions for 97 yards and both of the Jets’ TDs. RBs Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and Michael Carter took 15 carries for 45 yards in a pitiful rushing display. Otherwise, the Jets are strapped for offensive weapons. New England’s offensive focal point was RB Damien Harris, who took 23 rushes for 100 yards. Through the air, Jones’ main targets were Nelson Agholor (5/72/1) James White, and Jakobi Meyers. Needless to say, both offenses lack a superstar presence. I give New England’s defense the slight edge here and think they’ll win with a late field goal in East Rutherford. However, I expect the Jets to cover +5.5 as home dogs. Patriots 23-20.
San Francisco (-3.5) @ Philadelphia
With the loss of RB Raheem Mostert, the 49ers will turn to Elijah Mitchell as their lead back, it seems. Trey Sermon did not play last week, while Mitchell took 19 carries for 104 yards and a score. Unless Sermon suddenly catapults to the top of the depth chart, I expect Kyle Shanahan to stick with the hot hand and ride Mitchell this week. QB Jimmy Garoppolo was solid on Sunday, throwing for 314 yards and a TD, while rookie QB Trey Lance ran 3 times and threw a passing TD on his only attempt. It’ll be interesting to see how Lance is involved moving forward, but this still seems to be Jimmy G’s job. Deebo Samuel was the shining star for San Francisco, logging 189 yards and a TD on 9 grabs. Brandon Aiyuk, on the other hand, failed to register a catch. George Kittle was effective as always, and the 49ers waltzed to 41 points. On the other hand, the Eagles were equally impressive last week, knocking off the Falcons 32-6 in Atlanta. QB Jalen Hurts threw for 264 yards and 3 TDs while adding 62 yards with his legs. His top target was rookie WR DeVonta Smith, who snagged 8 balls for 71 yards and a score in his debut. Another young stud, Kenneth Gainewell, was heavily involved in the offense, adding a score in his debut as well. Miles Sanders also returns to an improved Eagles offense. However, Philadelphia will face a much stronger San Francisco defense on Sunday. It won’t be a walk in the park like it was in Atlanta, and I expect Kittle & Co. to take it to the Eagles in Philly. 49ers 31-26.
Las Vegas @ Pittsburgh (-6.5)
The Raiders gutted out a victory on Monday Night Football after almost throwing it away minutes earlier. Derek Carr threw for 435 yards and 2 scores, along with an interception, while Josh Jacobs rushed for 2 scores of his own. TE Darren Waller was unstoppable, racking up 10 catches on 19 targets and logging 105 yards and a score. Waller is a huge mismatch, especially when he has people like Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones demanding some attention on the outside. RB Kenyan Drake also made his debut for the Raiders, logging 11 touches, and proving he’ll be all over the field for Las Vegas this year. Pittsburgh was impressive in their Week 1 win over Buffalo. Although they scored only 16 offensive points, Big Ben didn’t make any major mistakes, and the Steelers rode their defense to victory. TJ Watt, playing on his new deal, immediately awarded the team with 2 sacks and a forced fumble. The offense was solid, but nobody stood out. They’ll need their trio of Claypool, Smith-Schuster, and Johnson to be better moving forward, and for their rookie RB Najee Harris to break out like many expect him to. This week, I don’t expect Las Vegas to move the ball as easily against this stout Pittsburgh defense. I do believe some of the Steelers’ stud offensive weapons will take a step forward this weekend, and that Pittsburgh will take this one at home, covering in the process. Steelers 28-20.
Minnesota @ Arizona (-4.5)
Kyler Murray put on a show last weekend, torching Tennessee at will. Murray 309 all-purpose yards and threw for 4 TD while adding 1 on the ground. Murray’s favorite target was DeAndre Hopkins, who hauled in 6 balls for 83 yards and 2 TDs. Not to be outdone was Christian Kirk, who took 5 catches of his own for 70 yards and 2 scores. On the ground, James Conner and Chase Edmonds split work, while LB Chandler Jones turned in a dominating performance defensively, logging 5 sacks and two forced fumbles. If Arizona’s defense keeps playing as they did on Sunday, they’re going to be a force in the NFC West. Minnesota turned in a decent performance, before falling in overtime to the scrappy Bengals. QB Kirk Cousins threw for 351 yards and 2 scores, both to WR Adam Thielen. Dalvin Cook added a score and 61 yards but lost a fumble in the process. So, it was a mixed bag for the team in Purple. This week, I think Cousins will have his head on a swivel as he keeps track of Chandler Jones throughout the game. With the Bengals dropping 27 points on Minnesota, I expect Murray to do the same and to dominate this game throughout. Give me the Cardinals at home here. Cardinals 30-23.
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-12.5)
The defending champs held off the Cowboys last Thursday night, and are well rested as they host the Falcons here in Week 2. Atlanta was awful in their first contest of the year, only scoring 6 points in Arthur Smith’s head coaching debut. QB Matt Ryan threw for only 164 scoreless yards, and no Falcon registered more than Calvin Ridley’s 51 receiving yards. Mike Davis plodded his way to 49 yards on 15 ineffective carries, and the defense couldn’t stop Jalen Hurts. All in all, Atlanta fans are struggling to find any silver lining in this defeat. On the other side, Tom Brady was, well, Tom Brady. The ageless wonder threw for 379 yards and 4 TD, along with 2 INTs. Antonio Brown was phenomenal, taking 5 catches for 121 yards and a score, while Chris Godwin (9/105/1) and Rob Gronkowski (8/90/2) were also stellar. It’s important to remember that this offense also has Mike Evans and one of the most fearsome defensive fronts in the game. After what I saw out of both teams last weekend, I can’t logically pick against Tampa Bay here. Buccaneers 30-13.
Dallas @ Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5)
Dallas is back, and so is their star QB Dak Prescott. Even though they fell to the defending champions on Thursday night, Dallas fans are pleased with Dak’s return. The Cowboys QB threw for 403 yards and 3 scores, two of which going to Amari Cooper, in his debut. Cooper caught 13 balls for 139 yards, while CeeDee Lamb added 7 grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown of his own. With others getting involved, it was a balanced and potent attack from the Dallas passing attack. The rushing game, however, left a bit to be desired. Ezekiel Elliott only logged 33 yards on 11 totes, while Tony Pollard only gained 14 yards of his own. Dallas will need their backs to perform better if they want to keep defenses on their toes and add to the effectiveness of their play action passing moving forward. Los Angeles, on the other hand, snuck a win in Washington DC last weekend. Sophomore QB Justin Herbert tossed for 337 yards, but only scored once while throwing an interception in the process. RB Austin Ekeler was banged up but added 57 yards and a score in his debut, while WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams combined for 182 yards and a score by Williams. Many expect Herbert to take a big step forward this year, but that step did not come this past weekend. While Washington’s defense is stout, he’ll need to play much better to make that leap this year. Given what I saw last weekend, I feel confident that Dallas can pick up big chunks of yards against any defense. I expect this to be a close game through and through. However, in the end, I expect Prescott to make the big throws late and to lead Dallas to victory. Cowboys 24-23.
Tennessee @ Seattle (-5.5)
The Titans were awful last weekend, as Chandler Jones hit Ryan Tannehill constantly for the duration of the contest. Derrick Henry was bottled up, Julio Jones barely made his mark, and the defense couldn’t stop anyone. AJ Brown was the only bright point for this new-look Titans offense, and they’ll have a lot of work to do to improve this week. Most notably, the Titans rarely employed play-action passing, as the game script made it hard for Derrick Henry to get any type of rhythm. Combine that with horrid offensive line play, and there wasn’t much to be excited about in Tennessee. Now, the Titans will travel across the country to play Seattle and Russell Wilson, who knocked off the Colts last weekend in Indianapolis. Wilson was his usual, dynamic self, throwing for 4 TD on 23 attempts, and logging 254 yards in the process. Wilson hooked up with Tyler Lockett on two scores, while hitting DK Metcalf for another. The offense was tough to stop, and the defense held the Colts to 16 points. Overall, it was a great display of offense and defense. However, I’ve grown to expect the unexpected in the NFL. Mike Vrabel is one of the league’s best coaches when coming off of a loss, and I do believe Tennessee will be dialed in and ready to employ all of their weapons on Sunday. Look for Tennessee to bounce back here and shock the NFL with an upset in Seattle. Titans 28-27.
Kansas City (-4) @ Baltimore
Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a fantastic comeback on Sunday, as they trailed by 9 points in the 4th quarter. Mahomes promptly threw touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and the Chiefs were suddenly in the lead with 7 minutes left. They went on to keep that lead and win the game, and Mahomes’ afternoon ended with 337 yards and 3 scores. The aforementioned Hill received 15 targets and caught 11 balls for a whopping 197 yards and a score, while Kelce continued his reign of dominance with 2 TDs. The Chiefs’ offense is one of the best in the game and can win any contest singlehandedly. They’ll head to Baltimore, where Lamar Jackson will look to contend with Mahomes’ excellence. Jackson took a tough loss on Monday Night Football this past week, as Las Vegas knocked off the Ravens in OT. Lamar was his usual self, passing for 235 yards and rushing for another 86. However, his late fumble was the nail in the Ravens’ coffin. Aside from Jackson, Baltimore lacks superstars offensively, especially with the loss of their top 3 RBs from the preseason. Now, it looks like Ty’Son Williams will carry the load, after adding 72 yards and a score on MNF. With that said, Baltimore will have to be at their absolute best to keep up with Mahomes & Co. on Sunday. With the quality of the Kansas City defense, I just don’t see this happening, and fully expect Mahomes to put in a workmanlike performance and lead his squad to a convincing win. Chiefs 30-20.
Detroit @ Green Bay (-10.5)
Despite a late gasp, the Lions fell to the 49ers at home on Sunday. Jared Goff’s debut was solid, as he threw for 338 yards and 3 TD. TJ Hockenson was his top target, as he reeled in 8 balls for 97 yards and a score. On the ground, the duo of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams combined for over 200 yards of offense, along with 2 scores. Many expected this Lions team to sleepwalk to 14+ losses, however, this Dan Campbell squad seems quite feisty. With that said, they gave up 41 points defensively and will need to lock things up on that end before they head to Green Bay on Monday Night. Aaron Rodgers will be waiting at Lambeau Field, and you can bet he’s motivated after the worst performance of his career. Green Bay scored 3 points against the Saints, and Rodgers threw for a lowly 133 yards and two interceptions. The team as a whole rushed for 43 yards, and Davante Adams caught only 5 balls for 56 yards. Jameis Winston dismantled the defense, leaving Packers fans with little to be excited about. This pick has nothing to do with last week’s results, and only to do with Rodgers’ historical performance. If he truly has lost a step, I’ll wear this one on the chin. However, I don’t think he’s done for, and I do expect him to come back with a vengeance on Monday Night, scoring at will, and blowing out the Lions. Packers 42-20.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…
A former D1 College Wrestler at Boston University, Brad hails from New Jersey. By day, Brad works in the corporate automotive world, but by night, he is an avid sports, football, and fantasy sports enthusiast with a passion for winning. Fun Fact: Brad ran and finished the 2019 Boston Marathon!
Over the past decade, Brad has won dozens of fantasy league championships and has been writing for Gridiron Experts for the past 4 seasons. While he’s surrounded by Giants and Jets supporters, Brad is a diehard Tennessee Titans fan, and, accordingly has dumped a ton of money into NFL Sunday Ticket in his years!