By Joel Deering and the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff
Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season provided us with some great games, and now it’s time for more in Week 2. If you read my picks from last week, you only read my picks. This week, and every week for the rest of the season, you’ll be getting the picks from all six of our writers (Aman, Cullen, Mickayeen, Rahim, Adam, and myself). We’re going to have a friendly competition to see who can pick the most games correctly. I’ll be keeping track of everyone’s record, and we’ll see who the winner is after all the regular season games have been played.
Below you’ll find all of our picks for each game. Below our picks you’ll find a brief overview of how each team performed last week, as well as how that could translate into this week’s matchup. Bring on Week 2!
Ravens vs Bengals (Thursday)
This week starts out with a battle between division rivals who both started their season off right. Baltimore put on a show against the Bills, while the Bengals beat the Colts after scoring 34 points. Neither of these teams played a tough opponent in Week 1, so now we’ll get a better picture of who these teams really are. The Ravens have one of the better defensive units in the NFL, and the offense played well. Last season their defense was good, but the team was plagued by the offense. If they can keep it up, which it looks like we all think they can, the Ravens will be a tough team to beat this season.
Chiefs vs Steelers
Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill put on a show last week against the Chargers, getting both of them placed on my MVP list after Week 1. The Steelers on the other hand, didn’t really impress anyone. They tied with the Cleveland Browns……. Ben Roethlisberger was throwing interceptions left and right. Take that away and the Steelers likely win. They had bright spots in James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, TJ Watt, and of course Antonio Brown, but the team as a whole couldn’t win when it mattered most. If that kind of play continues for Big Ben and the Steelers, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill might go off on them.
Dolphins vs Jets
After throwing a pick six on his first career throw, Sam Darnold rebounded very well against the Lions last week. His numbers weren’t huge, but he was very effective. That’s all the Jets need from him right now. If the rest of the season for the Jets goes like it did against the Lions, the rest of the team can carry the Jets while Darnold works his way up to being a huge number guy. It was a pretty solid all around effort for the Jets. This week they play the Dolphins, who also got a Week 1 victory. While they did win, their win wasn’t anywhere near as convincing as the Jets’ win. They played a good chunk of the game against the Titans backup QB, Blaine Gabbert. To give their defense credit though, they did pick off Mariota twice. It was a decent showing for Tannehill and the offense, but not dominating. I don’t think the Dolphins convinced us they’re not a bad team by beating the Titans, while the Jets did, which is probably why we all chose the Jets to win this week.
Eagles vs Buccaneers
Before the season started, this game looked pretty obvious as to who would be the winner. The defending champs against the Buccaneers, who were expected to be terrible this season. Well Week 1 has obviously changed the minds of some, as four of us have the Buccaneers beating the Eagles this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick, or should I say, Fitzmagic, looked incredible against the Saints. The defense didn’t look great, as they allowed 40 points by the Saints, but the offense was on another level last week. For the Eagles, they looked poor in Week 1 despite their victory over the Falcons. The defense was good, but Nick Foles and the offense barely got anything going. The Eagles defense should be good all season, but can the Buccaneers knock them off? That depends on if we get Fitzpatrick or Fitzmagic.
Browns vs Saints
After tying the Steelers in Week 1, the Browns are already a better team than they were last season! Their defense was much better than we had seen in years past, as well as the offense. This team has some real threats on both sides of the ball now. If Week 2 goes anything like we all think it will, the Browns will unfortunately have to wait at least one more week to finally get a victory. Drew Brees and the Saints scored 40 points last week, but got outscored. Crazy right? It’s not often a team scores 40 and ends up losing the game. While the Browns do seem better, they’re probably not ready for an offense with this much fire power.
Colts vs Redskins
Andrew Luck looked decent in his return to action, but he couldn’t lead his team to victory. They were playing from behind, which led Luck to passing 53 times! In addition to being behind, the ground game wasn’t all that good, which probably led the Colts to throw more passes. The Redskins had a pretty good opening week. Alex Smith played well, and his running backs got the job done on the ground and in the passing game. After giving up 34 points to the Bengals, the Colts defense will probably do the same against the Redskins. That will lead Luck to pass another 100 times. Two of our writers picked the Colts, so it looks like they believe Andrew Luck will return to his true Andrew Luck self.
Chargers vs Bills
I think it’s pretty obvious why we all picked the Chargers to win this game. The Bills scored 3 points last week while allowing 47. Not a recipe for victory. Buffalo started with Nate Peterman as the QB, but he was worse than trash, completing just 5 passes in 18 attempts for 24 yards and 2 INTs. Buffalo made the switch to rookie QB Josh Allen, who was technically better, but not really. Despite losing to the Chiefs, the Chargers did some nice things. Rivers had 3 TD passes, and they had two 100 yard receivers, one of whom was RB Melvin Gordon. It’s pretty obvious by our picks that we just can’t see the Chargers letting this one get away from them.
Vikings vs Packers
Now this game will be exciting! Aaron Rodgers is coming off an incredible comeback victory against the Chicago Bears, while the Vikings started off the season exactly how we thought they would. The Vikings defense was great, picking off Jimmy G 3 times and holding the 49ers to 16 points. The Packers defense looked good at times, mostly at the end of the game, but that was against a Bears offense that didn’t look great. This game is going to be about who can make more impactful plays. Will it be Aaron Rodgers or the Vikings’ defense?
Panthers vs Falcons
Neither of these teams looked great in Week 1. Carolina got a victory, as the defense looked great, but the offense not so much. There were some flashes of things, but they did only score 16 points. The Falcons scored only 12 points, which led them to a loss against the Eagles. Atlanta had problems executing in the red zone, and this week isn’t a good matchup for them to fix those problems. Carolina has one of the best defensive units in the NFL, but they’re playing an offense with a lot of potential. Another factor in this game will be injuries. Both teams are pretty badly banged up already. Watch for each team to try to attack those weak points. Whoever does it better should come out on top.
Texans vs Titans
A team who came close to beating the New England Patriots or a team who lost to the Miami Dolphins? It seems pretty clear to all of us, as we all picked the Texans to win this game. The Titans QB situation is unclear. Will they get Blaine Gabbert or an injured Marcus Mariota this week? Neither seems great. For the Texans, Deshaun Watson didn’t play great either. The offensive line struggled protecting Watson. How will they do against a Titans defense with only 1 sack and 2 QB hits last week? If they can keep Watson from taking 1,000 hits, we might see him go off.
Cardinals vs Rams
This one was an easy decision for all of us. The Cardinals looked bad against the Redskins. The Rams took a little while against the Raiders to get things going, but then turned it on when they needed to. Everyone expects the Rams to win their division and be one of the top teams in the NFC. If they’re going to do that, they can’t lose to a team like the Cardinals. Sam Bradford didn’t look good, and David Johnson looked average. A bad quarterback and an average running back aren’t going to work against Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the Rams.
Lions vs 49ers
Neither team looked particularly great last week. The 49ers had a tough matchup against the Vikings, which was not good for Jimmy Garoppolo. He completed less than 50% of his passes and threw 3 INTs. Then there’s the Lions, who lost to the surprisingly good Jets. Or was it that the Lions were just surprisingly bad? Well the Lions’ QBs were really bad. Matthew Stafford threw 4 INTs. Then Matt Cassel came into the game and threw an INT. If Stafford plays like that again, the Lions are starting 0-2. Can he rebound? Can Jimmy G rebound from his bad performance? Whoever rebounds better will likely lead their team to victory.
Raiders vs Broncos
The Raiders actually looked decent for a while in Jon Gruden’s debut. That is until Derek Carr threw the game away with some interceptions. The Rams’ defense got the best of him when it mattered most. This week Carr plays against a Broncos defense who looked pretty good against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Can they get Carr to make mistakes when the game is on the line? Most of us think so, but Rahim has the Raiders bouncing back. Can Jon Gruden make the needed adjustments to get the Raiders back on track?
Patriots vs Jaguars
The rematch of the AFC Championship game should be a good one. Brady and Gronkowski looked just as good as ever against the Texans. What will Jalen Ramsey have to say about that? Despite winning last week, the Jaguars offense didn’t look great. Leonard Fournette got hurt and may not play this week. Even if he does, he’s still coming off an injury. Can the Jaguars defense carry this team once again? Last time they faced Brady they couldn’t hold up, but this year might be different.
Giants vs Cowboys (Sunday Night)
Both teams were terrible in terms of scoring last week (Giants 15 points and Cowboys 8 points), but they both showed some promising things. Despite the offensive struggles that plagued the Cowboys, their defense gave up only 16 points, which at least gave the Cowboys a chance to win the game. The Giants didn’t score much, but RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr. were both impact players. Eli Manning was still bad though. Can the Cowboys’ defense contain Barkley and Beckham enough for the offense to outscore them? Can Eli Manning play well against a defense which looks to be much improved? One important thing to note, I (Joel Deering) picked the Giants to win. I’m a Cowboys fan, but I just can’t pick them after what I saw from them offensively last week.
Seahawks vs Bears (Monday Night)
Seattle’s defense played decent last week. They picked off Case Keenum three times, but they also allowed 27 points. On offense, things were tough for Russell Wilson. He was picked off twice and sacked six times! Von Miller had three sacks. He’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and this week the Seahawks play Khalil Mack, who is also one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Mack made his presence felt last week against the Packers, and that was against one of the better offensive lines. Seattle’s line is much weaker, which could make for a long day for Wilson. Our writers are split down the middle on this game. Who will prevail? Russell Wilson or the Bears’ defense?