A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 2, along with the consensus pick of Athlon Sports editors Mitchell Light, Rob Doster, Nathan Rush, Patrick Snow and Steven Lassan:
Jaguars (1-1) at Panthers (0-2)
These 1995 expansion teams appear to be back to square one. Both teams have rookie quarterbacks, with Carolina’s Cam Newton taking the league by storm and Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert making his first NFL start following a four-INT effort by Luke McCown.
Panthers by 4
Lions (2-0) at Vikings (0-2)
The ship is sinking in Minnesota, but coach Leslie Frazier refuses to abandon quarterback Donovan McNabb in favor of rookie Christian Ponder. Regardless of who lines up under center, the Vikings must find a way to prevent second-half collapses. In two games, the Vikes have a 24–7 first-half edge and are trailing 41–3 after opponents’ halftime adjustments.
Lions by 5
49ers (1-1) at Bengals (1-1)
These two teams met in Super Bowls XXIII and XVI. Since the majority of both rosters had not been born yet, “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?” probably doesn’t mean as much as it once did between these two franchises.
49ers by 1
Dolphins (0-2) at Browns (1-1)
Since the NBA is in its own lockout, LeBron James could fly from South Beach to Lake Erie to see his hometown Browns. Or is he a Phins fan? Either way, both teams could use LBJ.
Browns by 1
Patriots (2-0) at Bills (2-0)
There is no undefeated home team commanding less respect than Buffalo in Week 3. In fact, the Bills are the only unbeaten home team; if they can keep Tom Brady under 400 yards passing, it will be a success, right?
Patriots by 10
Giants (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)
Michael Vick’s concussion and Vince Young’s hamstring have the “Dream Team” worrying that Mike Kafka could be the starting quarterback against the NFC East rival G-Men.
Eagles by 4
Broncos (1-1) at Titans (1-1)
CJ2K hasn’t even looked like CJ1K so far. But, on the bright side, he’s still been better than fantasy peers Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles. And this week, he’s facing the Broncos, who have the NFL’s 28th-ranked rush defense.
Titans by 5
Texans (2-0) at Saints (1-1)
Houston has notched wins over the gimpy Colts and the floundering Dolphins. This week’s trip to New Orleans is a much-needed test for a team whose questions outnumber its answers.
Saints by 4
Jets (2-0) at Raiders (1-1)
California kid Mark Sanchez will bring a little sunshine to the Black Hole — for his USC fans, not for the NFL fans in Oakland.
Jets by 3
Ravens (1-1) at Rams (0-2)
Baltimore’s defense has shut down Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson in consecutive weeks. The Ravens run defense (70.0 ypg) will likely do the same against a banged-up Steven Jackson. The Rams’ lack of run D (177.5 ypg), on the other hand, should let Ray Rice run wild.
Ravens by 6
Chiefs (0-2) at Chargers (1-1)
Just when K.C. thought it couldn’t get any worse, a trip to San Diego is on the horizon.
Chargers by 14
Falcons (1-1) at Buccaneers (1-1)
The Birds swept the Bucs last season, taking two close calls — a 27–21 victory in Week 9 and a 28–24 road win in Week 13. Tampa Bay hopes Atlanta is still buzzing about taking down Mike Vick; but expect the Falcons to be ready.
Falcons by 1
Cardinals (1-1) at Seahawks (0-2)
A birdbath matchup between two teams that, unfortunately, will be in playoff contention for most of the year due to the NFC Worst division.
Cardinals by 2
Packers (2-0) at Bears (1-1)
The NFL’s oldest, most historic rivalry kicks off for the 183rd time since 1921. Last season, the Packers earned the final Wild Card berth into the playoffs with a win over the Bears and then punched their ticket to Super Bowl XLV with a win at Soldier Field. Chi-town owns a 92–84–6 edge in the all-time series; but Titletown owns the bragging rights until further notice.
Packers by 5
Steelers (1-1) at Colts (0-2)
This game was circled when the schedule came out; now it looks like one of the most lopsided matchups of the week. The Hits-burgh defense will have a field day against Colts graybeard Kerry Collins, who has accounted for two TDs and four turnovers (one INT, three lost fumbles) against the Texans and Browns.
Steelers by 14
Redskins (2-0) at Cowboys (1-1)
Tony Romo rides into Big D trying to catch his breath after coast-to-coast road trips from New Jersey to San Francisco, where he suffered a fractured rib and punctured lung. If Romo can’t go, the Skins will tee off on backup Jon Kitna, who threw two INTs in 10 attempts last week before Romo regrouped and returned to action.
Cowboys by 3