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Week 2 2016 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!


The NFL is in full swing, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

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Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

Thursday's Game

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo Bills

As is often the case, one of these teams will be 0–2 and facing an uphill battle to keep up with the Patriots in the AFC East. The Jets looked better in Week 1, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled against Rex Ryan defenses. That and the home crowd will be enough.

Gworek's Pick: Buffalo, 16–10.

Sunday’s Games

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

The road team won all three meetings between these teams last season, including the Steelers’ 18–16 playoff victory. Both teams’ passing games were in midseason form in Week 1, but the Pittsburgh running game may be the difference.  

Gworek's Pick: Pittsburgh, 30–24.

Baltimore at Cleveland

The Ravens were up to their old tricks on defense, holding Buffalo to seven points and 160 total yards. But other than one big play their offense wasn’t much better than the Bills’. It won’t matter against the lowly Browns, who have already lost Robert Griffin III to a shoulder injury.

Gworek's Pick: Baltimore, 26–10.

Dallas at Washington

Dak Prescott almost pulled out a win in his first career start, but he needs to look Dez Bryant’s way far more often (one catch for 8 yards). The Cowboys held Kirk Cousins mostly in check last season but never picked him off. They may need some turnovers to win this one.

Gworek's Pick: Washington, 24–17.

Tennessee at Detroit

The Titans defense did a nice job against Minnesota, but three turnovers by the offense — two were returned for scores — did them in. The Lions have to be happy that Matt Stafford (31-of-39, 340 yards, three TDs, zero INTs) looks like he did at the end of last season.

Gworek's Pick: Detroit, 27–21.

Kansas City at Houston

The Chiefs routed the Texans in the playoffs last season, but that was before Brock Osweiler arrived. Can he make a difference? Probably not enough for Houston to win if Alex Smith continues his hot start for Kansas City (34-of-48 passing, 363       yards, two touchdowns, one interception).

Gworek's Pick: Kansas City, 23–20.

Miami at New England

Miami put a scare into Seattle on the road, but the Dolphins gained just 222 yards — and more than a third of it came on one drive. The Pats found a way to win in Arizona without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, so it’s tough to bet against them at home.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 20–16.

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New Orleans at N.Y. Giants

Drew Brees can’t do much more than he did against the Raiders: 28-of-42 passing for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Eli Manning did just enough to beat Dallas but should find more open receivers against the Saints. Take the over in this one.

Gworek's Pick: New Orleans, 33–31.

San Francisco at Carolina  

The 49ers dominated the Rams, but don’t forget they routed the Vikings in that same late Monday night time slot last season … and finished 5–11. Carolina needs to do a better job protecting Cam Newton, but the Panthers aren’t starting 0–2.

Gworek's Pick: Carolina, 27–14.

Seattle at Los Angeles

The Rams return to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994, which is appropriate since their performance on Monday night set football back about 22 years. The Seahawks struggled on offense against Miami, but again they will not need to score much in this one.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 28–10.

Tampa Bay at Arizona        

While the Buccaneers could certainly make a statement about being a playoff contender with a win, but it’s tough to see Arizona starting 0–2 at home. Carson Palmer and the Cards have too much firepower for Jameis Winston and the Bucs.

Gworek's Pick: Arizona, 30–21.

Atlanta at Oakland

The Falcons couldn’t run the ball against the Bucs (52 yards on 22 attempts), but Matt Ryan could have a big day against an Oakland defense that allowed 507 yards to the Saints. The Raiders offense looks to be the real deal, though. 

Gworek's Pick: Oakland, 30–28.

Indianapolis at Denver

The champs found a way to win on opening night, but Trevor Siemian isn’t going to win many shootouts. The Broncos defense will have to contain Andrew Luck, who threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions.

Gworek's Pick: Indianapolis, 29–27.

Jacksonville at San Diego

The Chargers led Kansas City 21–3 when WR Keenan Allen, went down with a torn ACL in his right knee. San Diego imploded and lost in overtime. The Jags hung with Green Bay, but these cross-country trips are always tough.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 26-24.

Green Bay at Minnesota

The season-ending injury to Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater takes some of the shine off of the opening of U.S. Bank Stadium. The defense carried Minnesota in Week 1, but the offense needs to show up to beat Aaron Rodgers and company

Gworek's Pick: Green Bay, 20-16.

Monday’s Game

Philadelphia at Chicago

Rookie Carson Wentz won his first start in the NFL, leading the Eagles over the Browns. Monday night in Soldier Field for the Bears’ home opener is a bigger challenge.

Gworek's Pick: Chicago, 21-13.

Week 1 Record: 9–7

Overall Record: 9–7