Steve Believes: Week 2, 2019 NFL Season

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. Carolina Panthers-Jameis Winston had a horrific game against the San Francisco 49ers, as the fifth-year pro got sacked three times and threw three interceptions, two of which decided the final margin of defeat for the Buccaneers. As for the Panthers, they nearly rallied from a 10-point deficit against the Los Angeles Rams, only to have those hopes dashed by a 5-yard touchdown reception courtesy of Rams tight end Tyler Higbee and late clock-killing running by Rams running back Todd Gurley. The Buccaneers will play better this week, but it still won’t be enough at their house of horrors a.k.a. Bank Of America Stadium. I got the Panthers in this one.
  • San Francisco 49ers VsCincinnati Bengals-Defense carried the day for the 49ers, as two members (Dee Ford and Nick Bosa) of their vaunted pass rush recorded two of the team’s three sacks, along with future Hall Of Famer Richard Sherman returning an interception 31 yards for a touchdown. As for the Bengals, they played the Seattle Seahawks very tough at The Link and now come back for their home opener at Paul Brown Stadium. However, no A.J. Green and a problematic Bengals offensive line doesn’t bode well against a 49ers team that features Sherman and the 49ers Golden Rush defensive line. Defense will carry the day for a 49ers team that will go 2-0 for the first time since their NFC champion season of 2012.
  • Los Angeles Chargers VsDetroit Lions-The Chargers’ knack for living and dying by close games reared its head again last week, as the Indianapolis Colts forced overtime against them yet still pulled out the victory 30-24 in overtime. The Lions also went into overtime last week, as their blown 24-6 lead resulted in a 27-27 tie against the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions will use last week’s tie as fuel to propel themselves to their first win of the season.
  • Minnesota Vikings VsGreen Bay Packers-The participants of the second of two ties from last season meet once again in a Week 2 matchup at Lambeau Field. The Packers opened this season at Soldier Field with a 10-3 victory against the Chicago Bears. As for the Vikings, their running game and defense punished the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of a 28-12 victory. The Packers offense is still a work in-progress and I don’t expect it to be significantly better during this game, something that will play right into the Vikings’ hands. So with that being said, I’m taking the Vikings to win at Lambeau.
  • Indianapolis Colts VsTennessee Titans-Missed kicks and overtime defensive failures by the Colts have them 0-1 heading into Nissan Stadium. As for the Titans, they have an excellent chance to be two games up on the Colts and whomever loses the Jacksonville Jaguars-Houston Texans Week 2 tilt. Mike Vrabel’s bunch is firing on all cylinders coming into this game and that will continue, as they will send the Colts to 0-2 for the sixth time in seven seasons.
  • New England Patriots VsMiami Dolphins-This might be the strongest that the Patriots have looked as a defending Super Bowl champion since 2015 when they started that season 10-0. Especially with how they throttled the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, along with having Antonio Brown in the mix for this game. As for the Dolphins, they got throttled against the Baltimore Ravens, by the score of 59-10. Logic suggests to pick the Patriots in this one. However, there are five factors that go against them with 1. How well will Brown perform in his Patriots debut?, 2. Brian Flores’ familiarity with the Patriots, 3. The Patriots struggles in the city of Miami, 4. An early September 1 P.M. Eastern time zone game in the city of Miami and 5. The depth of the Patriots offensive line being severely tested without starting right offensive tackle Marcus Cannon. So with those five factors being said, I like the Dolphins in an upset.
  • Buffalo Bills VsNew York Giants-The Bills showed total resiliency last week, as they rallied in a game that had them down 16-0 and turning the ball over four times. As for the Giants, they were one of four teams that lost by 28 points or more, although they showed more signs of life than the other teams that suffered such a fate. This game screams winnable for the Giants, but it’s so tough to go against the grit that Sean McDemott’s bunch usually plays with. So with that being said, I like the Bills to start the season 2-0.
  • Seattle Seahawks VsPittsburgh Steelers-This game marks the fourth meeting between these two teams since their Super Bowl XL meeting, with the Steelers winning two of those post Super Bowl XL meetings. The Seahawks got all that they could handle from the Bengals, whereas the Steelers really looked out of sorts with both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell no longer being a part of their offensive unit. Logic suggests to pick the Steelers because they’re a force at Heinz Field. However, I expect Ken Norton Jr.’s defensive unit to continue the Steelers’ offensive woes and I expect a gutsy performance by Russell Wilson in a hostile environment. Seahawks to go 2-0.
  • Dallas Cowboys VsWashington Redskins-The Cowboys return to the venue of “Snapgate”, as a horrible snap infraction call went against Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, thus making kicker Brett Maher’s field goal attempt to be 52 yards instead of 47 yards. The kick was no good, as the ball hit the left upright. However, both teams went in completely different directions following that game, with the Cowboys winning seven of their nine remaining 2018 regular season games to clinch the NFC East for the second time in three seasons, while the Redskins squandered a 5-2 start to finish the 2018 season at 7-9. The two teams are also stark contrasts to each other this season, with the Cowboys winning in convincing fashion 38-10 against the Giants, while the Redskins blew a 17-0 lead to lose 32-27 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Ever since Dak Prescott has been the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, the Cowboys are 2-1 at FedEx Field, with that one loss being the controversial snap infraction loss. Make it 3-1, because the Cowboys offense is flying high and the Redskins don’t have nearly enough offense to match their longtime NFC East rival.
  • Arizona Cardinals VsBaltimore Ravens-Kyler Murray showed heart bringing his team back from 18 points down against the Lions, only to have that game end in a tie. As for the Ravens, they kicked the Dolphins’ butts all over the field to the tune of a 59-10 victory. They won’t score that many points nor will they win by that many points (49), but they will jump out to a big lead and protect it throughout. Ravens to go 2-0.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars VsHouston Texans-The Jaguars AFC South hopes took a big blow, as they lost their prized $80 million man in quarterback Nick Foles to a broken clavicle. As for the Texans, they were up by 11 points two separate times against the New Orleans Saints, and had a chance to the leave The Big Easy with a win before Drew Brees got them in position for a 58-yard buzzer-beating field goal by kicker Wil Lutz. The Texans return home to NRG Stadium, where they finished 6-2 last season en route to their fifth AFC South division title in franchise history. Gardner Minshew is the man under center for the Jaguars and he will face a Texans defense that features a certain number 99, whom didn’t appear in the stat sheet at all against the Saints. Look for that to change this week, as J.J. Watt will have a monster game, while Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense will do just enough offensively to prevent an 0-2 start for the second consecutive season.
  • Kansas City Chiefs VsOakland Raiders-Offensively for the Chiefs, same offensive dominance, but minus Tyreek Hill. Defensively for the Chiefs, new defensive coordinator (Steve Spagnuolo), but with a bunch of players whom still need time to jell together. The Raiders were a Week 1 surprise following all the Antonio Brown drama, by never trailing against the Denver Broncos, along with racking up three sacks of Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco and getting a masterful game out of Derek Carr. The Raiders are looking to go 2-0 for the second time in the past three seasons, as well as 2-0 for only the third time since the current 32-team format that the NFL adopted back in 2002. However, I’m not entirely sold on the Raiders as yet, so I’ll take the AFC’s number one seed from a season ago.
  • Chicago Bears VsDenver Broncos-It’s the Fangi-Bowl, as Broncos head coach Vic Fangio faces the team where he held the title of defensive coordinator 2015 through 2018, a title that now belongs to Chuck Pagano. Pagano’s unit picked right up from where Fangio’s old unit had left off, as they held the Packers to only 10 points, but had their defensive gem wasted by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. As for the Broncos, they lost a game to a team (Raiders) whom was considered to be inferior to them. Plus, the duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb recorded a combined ZERO sacks in the Week 1 loss. However, that will change, as the Denver defensive duo will combine for four sacks of Trubisky, while Joe Flacco and the Broncos offense will do just enough against Khalil Mack & Company. The Broncos to give Fangio his first victory as head coach.
  • New Orleans Saints VsLos Angeles Rams-The most talked about non-Super Bowl game of the 2018-19 NFL season presents an intriguing early-season storyline, as last season’s NFC Championship Game participants square off in a very-anticipated rematch. After five consecutive seasons of starting 0-1, the Saints finally got off that schneid, by first erasing an early 11-point deficit and moving the ball 35 yards in exactly 35 seconds to beat the Texans at the buzzer with a 58-yard field goal by Wil Lutz. As for the Rams, they nearly let a 10-point lead fall by the wayside against the Panthers, only to be saved by both Tyler Higbee and Todd Gurley. Given that the game is in Los Angeles, logic says to pick the Rams to win at home. However, I like the element of revenge in this one. So with that being said, I’ll take the Saints.
  • Philadelphia Eagles VsAtlanta Falcons-Two of the last three NFC champions square off in what could be the first of two meetings this season. After showing early rust, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz started to resemble the 2017 version of himself and went to his new weapon, DeSean Jackson, to the tune of eight receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns for the latter in a 32-27 comeback victory for the Super Bowl 52 champions. As for the Falcons, they return home after getting roughed up by the Vikings last week in U.S. Bank Stadium. However, Matt Ryan made the final score look a little bit more respectable, by throwing two touchdown passes to turn a 28-0 deficit into a final score of 28-12. Ryan has also lost his past three starts against the Eagles, with his Falcons team(s) averaging 12.3 points in the losses. However, all of those games were in Philadelphia, whereas this game is in Atlanta, a city where Ryan is 2-0 against the Eagles. Make it 3-0 because this is a game that the Falcons can ill afford to lose.
  • Cleveland Browns VsNew York Jets-Week 2 concludes between two teams that are in “must win” mode after being two of the fifteen teams to lose their season openers. The Browns got run out of their own stadium against the Titans. by the score of 43-13, while the Jets lost a 16-0 lead against the Bills as soon as star inside linebacker C.J. Moseley was out of the game with a groin injury. Luckily for the Jets, they’ll get Moseley back for this game and he’ll be the difference in this one, as the Jets will get redemption in Week 2.