Welcome to Week 2 of NFL Pick ‘Em. Obviously, the big game on this week’s slate is our Cleveland Browns as they get set to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The Browns will look to reach the heights of 2-0 for the first time in 30 years. However, the AFC North will be ignited even further as the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens face off in this one as well with the Bengals looking to rebound after getting squashed by the Browns a week ago.
However, it is a jam-packed slate of fun games and slopfests around the league as well. The Kansas City Chiefs square off with the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that figures to score a ton of points. Rookie quarterbacks go head-to-head with the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts taking the field, and we might even get some ugly football between the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders.
Without further to do, here is this week’s edition of NFL Pick ‘Em.
Thursday Night Football: Eagles over Vikings (already completed)
Yes, this game is already completed. But don’t worry! I have the receipts from my podcast Twitter account that I was taking the Eagles.
TNF will happen before my pick em' episode… so I'll put it in writing here: Eagles over Vikings
— Nothing Rhymes With Orange (@NRWOpodcast) September 14, 2023
Bengals over Ravens
The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off of a big loss, while the Baltimore Ravens had to grind out a win over the Houston Texans. This is more of an indication of how tough the AFC North will be every week, but the Bengals find a way to rebound here early in the season.
Seahawks over Lions
The NFL is weird.
After beating the Kansas City Chiefs to open up the season, I am still not ready to buy into the Detroit Lions. They will face a much tougher run game against the Seattle Seahawks, and quarterback Geno Smith will rebound nicely in this game. It will be a tight game, but the Seahawks find a way to claw back to 1-1 on the season.
Texans over Colts
Both rookie quarterbacks in Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud had strong debuts. However, the defense in Indianapolis is susceptible to the big play, while DeMeco Ryans’ unit managed to play well against the Ravens a week ago. Both quarterbacks are fun, and Richardson will probably have more flash plays, but the Texans look like a team that can win in the trenches of a close game.
Look for Ryans to get his first win as an NFL head coach and grind out a win here.
Bears over Buccaneers
Neither of these teams are very good.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a close win over the now 0-2 Minnesota Vikings, while the Bears got blown out by the Green Bay Packers as Justin Fields continues to struggle to find his footing. The Bears, however, have more talent in their secondary to make plays against former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Fields must find his footing or he could be approaching backup territory in 2024. However, we know he is capable of getting loose with his legs. Look for the Bears to win an inefficient game carried by a few explosive plays.
Chiefs over Jaguars
All-Pro Chris Jones is back, and he is a difference-maker against anybody. To make matters worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the interior of their offensive line is also banged up. This game has the potential to be the game of the week as these are two of the more explosive offenses with two of the best quarterbacks in the league.
However, the Chiefs will not start 0-2 and Patrick Mahomes and company find their way to stack up points against the Jags in this one.
Packers over Falcons
Bills over Raiders
Chargers over Titans
The Los Angeles Chargers and Just Herbert went toe-to-toe with the Miami Dolphins last week. The issue: their defense gave up 17 explosive plays to the Dolphins last week.
The Tennessee Titans possess one of the worst rosters in the NFL this season. And they are led by a quarterback who looked past his prime a week ago in Ryan Tannehill. While the Titans remain extremely well-coached, the Chargers should be able to put up points and force Tannehill to play from behind.
49ers over Rams
The Los Angeles Rams have proven to be better than those who follow the league expected them to be. After bleeding talent to get under an overwhelming salary cap deficit this season, all they did was go out and beat the Seahawks convincingly in Week 1.
They will have their work cut out for them this week as they take on the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off a blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. While there is still hesitation to buy into Brock Purdy, the playmakers that the 49ers field in Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk are just overwhelming for a defense to account for.
Look for the Rams to return to earth and for the Niners to continue their winning ways.
Giants over Cardinals
The New York Giants dug themselves a hole they were incapable of crawling out of early in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys a week ago. However, a great way to rebound is to play the depleted Arizona Cardinals.
Let’s be frank. The Cardinals are starting the Browns’ backup quarterback from a year ago who lost his job to a fifth round rookie. And it’s going how you would expect it to go.
The Cardinals are not looking to be competitive this season. And they won’t be.
Cowboys over Jets
The Cowboys did not have to show much offensively a week ago considering they had a two-score lead before they even had to take the field. Make no mistake though: this offense is as well-rounded as any in the league from to bottom.
On the flip side, the Jets are going to struggle to score points with Zach Wilson back under center. The Cowboys are competitors while the Jets will struggle to find an identity yet again. This will bode well for Dallas in this Week 2 matchup.
Broncos over Commanders
This is going to be a defensive highlight reel of a game against these two offenses. Do I have to pick a winner here?
The Broncos are running an offense with the bumper rails up for a highly-paid veteran quarterback (concerning). The Commanders can’t run the football and can’t protect their quarterback. This game is a strong candidate for the Slopfest of the Week.
However, the Broncos find a way to sneak out a win over the inexperienced Sam Howell and the directionless Commanders.
Dolphins over Patriots
Mike McDaniel is proving to be an offensive savant, like his mentor Kyle Shanahan. However, he played a Swiss cheese defense that was led by another Fangio fail-son in Brandon Staley. The New England defense is much tougher at every level and well-coached under the Belichicks and Jerod Mayo.
I am just not a believer in Mac Jones. He is a Jimmy Garroppolo clone who will thrive if he is kept in positive pockets and ahead of the scoreboard. His success when he is forced to play from behind is putrid though, and he’ll have to go shot for shot with perhaps the most explosive offense in the NFL.
Panthers over Saints
Number one overall pick Bryce Young and head coach Frank Reich get their first win with the Carolina Panthers this week. Derek Carr does nothing to move the needle and it took three Tannehill interceptions for the New Orleans Saints to scrape out 16 points a week ago.
The lack of offensive weapons in the passing game is a massive issue in Carolina, and this game will be low-scoring. However, the playmaking ability of Young raises Carolina’s ceiling a bit higher and they will be able to sneak out a win in the putrid NFC South.
Browns over Steelers
The Browns will advance to 2-0 for the first time in 30 years. While this game will be close, the Steelers will look to punch them in the mouth after an ugly start, and a Mike Tomlin-coached team will never back down, the Browns will get it done.
The biggest concern with a Kevin Stefanski-led team is that they have wilted in big moments and cannot punch back when they are hit in the mouth. After flying high after a big win over the Bengals in Week 1, the Browns now have a chance to prove they can win in a slugfest in the trenches as well in Week 2.
The weather will be better, so quarterback Deshaun Watson will have no excuse in this one. The offense has receivers open all over the field and should be able to be explosive against the lackluster Pittsburgh secondary on Monday Night.
However, this game will be defined by how well the Browns punch back in the trenches as the Steelers will give the ball to Najee Harris 20+ times and look to stay on schedule. And the Browns finally have the making of team ready to respond.
Besides, there is no way the Browns can lose in those clean white helmets.