With a week of NFL football under our belts, there’s a risk of over-reacting to what we saw in the first round of games. Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick burned New Orleans’ secondary for 417 yards and four touchdowns while Matt Stafford threw four interceptions in New York. Stafford’s opponent – rookie quarterback Sam Darnold – won his first start and suddenly is the second coming of Joe Namath.
Don’t expect the Saints to suffer a similar fate this week at home against the Browns. Cleveland did their best to blow their shot at their first win since Christmas Eve 2016 and ended up tying with Pittsburgh, meaning they’re off to their best start in 14 years (they’d lost 13 straight season openers).
Atlanta came off second best, as they did in last year’s playoffs, to the Super Bowl champion Eagles but expect them to rebound at home against a banged-up Carolina.
Alex Smith did what Alex Smith does for his new team Washington – win by putting the ball in the hands of his playmakers, whether that was Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson or Jordan Reed and Paul Richardson. It will be their defense that shuts down Indianapolis this week.
Smith’s former side, Kansas hammered San Diego as Tyreek “The Freak” Hill went ballistic, running back a punt 91 yards for a touchdown and adding two receiving touchdowns. They travel to Pittsburgh this weekend, who didn’t miss Le’Veon Bell thanks to James Connor’s 135 yards and two TDs, but saw Ben Roethlisberger picked off three times. This might be a shootout, with the visitors coming out on top.
Jacksonville travelled to New England in January for the AFC Championship Game and fell victim to a trademark Tom Brady comeback at the death. They, well, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, did a fair bit of talking ahead of that game and since – “Tom Brady doesn’t suck” and "any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game." The Patriots tend to store that stuff away only to bring it out and smash you over the head with it at gametime. They’ll also want to send an early-season message that they’re the daddies in the AFC.
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Saints over Browns
Falcons over Panthers
Redskins over Colts
Chiefs over Steelers
Patriots over Jaguars