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<p>(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)</p>
(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

Pullett’s NFL Picks - Week 2

Vikings @ Eagles: The Minnesota Vikings are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that had a season-long over/under win total of 6.5, tied for the third lowest in the NFL. If Baker Mayfield can game manage his way to a victory against this Vikings defense, one must assume that superstars Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown will be able to do the same. Kirk Cousins is notorious for playing significantly worse in primetime games, with a career record of 12-20 in those games. The Vikings also were an outlier last year when it comes to winning close games as well, going 11-0 in one score games, the best record in NFL history in such situations, and based on what we have seen so far, the Philadelphia Eagles should be able to easily handle this Minnesota Vikings team. Vikings 17, Eagles 30

Packers @ Falcons: Coming off an impressive 38-20 victory against the Chicago Bears, a game in which Jordan Love threw for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns, the Green Bay Packers take on Desmond Ridder and the Atlanta Falcons. The key to this game will be how the Packers run defense can hold against the young running back duo of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Against the Chicago Bears, the Packers defense allowed 4.2 yards per carry, ranking 11th in the NFL Week 1. If the Packers defense is able to force Desmond Ridder to make plays down the field, they should be able to win pretty easily. However, if Robinson and Allgeier are able to take over this game like they did against the Panthers, they might be able to pull this one off. The Packers should be able to contain these running backs and take the victory. Packers 24, Falcons 13

Raiders @ Bills: Josh Allen had four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Play like this has been common in Josh Allen’s 6 year career, as he leads the NFL in turnovers since entering the league with 84. These games are very concerning when it costs the Buffalo Bills games against weaker teams, like the New York Jets without Aaron Rodgers. Allen can look like the best quarterback in the league at times, but inconsistent play like this has and will continue to cost the Bills, especially in the playoffs. With this being said, the Bills should be able to bounce back at home versus the Las Vegas Raiders, who are missing star DE Chandler Jones due to a holdout, as well as their Week 1 leading receiver Jakobi Meyers, who is in the concussion protocol. Bills 28, Raiders 17

Ravens @ Bengals: AFC North matchups are always hard to predict, as these games are typically some of the more physical and gritty games, given the history between the teams. Joe Burrow, after his worst career game as a starter, should be able to bounce back, at least to some extent. A game with only 82 passing yards and no touchdown drives is not going to be a common thing to see from this Bengals core.. The Ravens defeated the Houston Texans 25-9 in Week 1, despite their fair share of struggles last week as well. After struggling to a 7-6 halftime lead, the second half was a different story for Baltimore, as the team scored touchdowns on back to back drives to begin the half. The Ravens may struggle in the run game not only for this week, but potentially long-term as well. The team’s leading rusher, J.K. Dobbins tore his achilles, and will be out for the rest of the season. The Bengals defense should be able to take advantage of this hole in the Ravens rushing attack, and coming out on top. Bengals 27, Ravens 21

Seahawks @ Lions: From having a very successful season last year to defeating the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs in the first game of this NFL season, the Detroit Lions are looking as good as they have in recent history, striving to win the NFC North for the first time since the 2002 league realignment. The Detroit Lions have never won or even been the preseason favorites to win the NFC North division. This season, for the Detroit Lions, could be the one to break the six year streak of not making the playoffs, as well as potentially winning a playoff game for the first time since the 1991 season. With that being said, they face off against a team that made the playoffs last year in the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are looking to bounce back after a week one loss to their NFC West rival, Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks defense wasn’t able to contain the Rams’ offense, who missed Cooper Kupp due to a hamstring injury, and facing off against a better Detroit offense, they very well could struggle again. This game could get ugly fast if Detroit can continue their success on offense. Lions 27, Seahawks 17

Colts @ Texans: This battle of the rookie quarterbacks should be a very entertaining duel, as both the Colts and Texans played well last week, despite losing. Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson showed his dynamic two-way ability, passing for 223 yards, as well as rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Stroud also had a good game last week, throwing the ball 44 times, the 6th highest total ever for a rookie quarterback in a Week 1. DeMeco Ryans and Shane Steichen, the first time head coaches for the Texans and Colts, respectively, are likely to rely on the other pieces on their team. Rookie quarterbacks are more prone to making mistakes like turning the ball over and not knowing when to throw the ball away. Between these two teams, the Colts have the better defense and receiving core. However, Dameon Pierce is a much better running back than any back on the Colts, outside of Jonathon Taylor, who is currently on the PUP list. This game should come down to the wire, but the Colts defense, led by Shaq Leonard and DeForest Buckner, should be able to power them to victory. Colts 20, Texans 9

Chiefs @ Jaguars: The health of superstar tight end Travis Kelce could determine the outcome of this game, as the Chiefs pass catchers struggled heavily against the Detroit Lions, with many believing Kadarius Toney, in particular, may have cost the Chiefs the game. Toney’s disappointing performance included dropping not only a pass that led to a Lions pick six, but also dropping a pass on the Chiefs’ final drive that could have given them enough yardage to kick a game winning field goal. Although these drops may not happen again at his severity, Patrick Mahomes’ trust in his receivers will be something to monitor throughout the game. The Chiefs could struggle if the Jaguars defensive game plan is to limit Kelce as much as possible, and to try and let others on the Chiefs offense make plays. Given the Jaguars success in Week 1 both on the ground with RB Travis Etienne Jr., and their passing success with QB Trevor Lawrence and pass catchers like Calvin Ridley and Evan Engram, may be too much for the Kansas City Chiefs to handle. The return of Chris Jones is of major note, as he could help fill a gap in the Chiefs defense. However, after missing all of training camp due to a contract dispute, he may be on a snap count for the next couple weeks, as he returns to full form. Jaguars 34, Chiefs 24

Bears @ Buccaneers: This offseason, Justin Fields received the most bets out of any player to win the NFL MVP award. This extreme amount of hype coming from the offseason is likely due to his elite rushing abilities, as well as the addition of DJ Moore in the offseason. Although there were high expectations for Fields and the Chicago Bears this offseason, the Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers showed a lot to the NFL world. The biggest takeaway from this game is that the Bears are still a few moves away from being real playoff contenders. While the Bears disappointed against their Week 1 opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not, as they took down the reigning NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings in shocking fashion. This victory was in large part due to their defense forcing Kirk Cousins to turn the ball over three times. The Tampa Bay defense should continue to dominate against the NFC North, and take down the Chicago Bears in Week 2. Buccaneers 24, Bears 16

Chargers @ Titans: Although losing, the Los Angeles Chargers put up one of the more impressive offensive showings in Week 1, scoring 34 points in a back and forth matchup against the Miami Dolphins. It’s hard to be negative about this loss from the Chargers, as Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill seem to dominate against almost every defense that lines up against them. The Chargers should be able to take down the struggling Tennessee Titans’ offense, especially if they throw the ball at the rate they did against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Although Ryan Tannehill isn’t necessarily a terrible quarterback, passing the ball at that volume is a recipe for failure for the Titans. Derrick Henry rushing the ball only 15 times should not happen again as long as he is still a dominant force in this league. If Mike Vrabel and the coaching staff realize this and begin to give the best player on their team the ball more, they could pull off an upset in Week 2, although it doesn’t seem likely. Chargers 27, Titans 20

Giants @ Cardinals: Throughout years of school, I’ve learned the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything nice at all.” With that, I will not say anything about the Giants Week 1 performance against the Dallas Cowboys. Although both the Giants and Arizona Cardinals struggled heavily on offense in Week 1, one of these teams will bounce back and win this game. The New York Giants will likely rely on their superstar RB Saquon Barkley to carry a big offensive workload against this Cardinals defense. Overall, the Giants have the better coach, more recent success, and a more talented team, so they should be able to take the victory. Giants 24, Cardinals 9

49ers @ Rams: The Los Angeles Rams look to take down the NFC West favorites, the San Francisco 49ers. Although they had a very impressive Week 1 victory against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers are simply more talented at almost every position on the field. This, as well as the 49ers winning the last 8 regular season matchups between the two teams, leads one to believe Brock Purdy will continue his undefeated streak in the regular season, as they take down the Rams. 49ers 34, Rams 17

Jets @ Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys are coming off an extremely impressive 40-0 victory against the NewYork Giants, which is the biggest Week 1 shutout win since 2000. The Cowboys proved on Sunday Night Football that their offense, defense, and special teams are all ready to challenge the Eagles for the NFC East title, as well as potentially representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. Their Week 2 matchup, the New York Jets, also had a very impressive Week 1 given their circumstances. Preparing all offseason for Aaron Rodgers to lead the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, just for those hopes to get crushed on his fourth offensive snap, would demotivate a lot of teams. Aaron Rodgers suffered a complete tear of his left achilles on his fourth offensive snap on the Jets, a truly unfortunate injury for both the Jets and Rodgers. This leads to Zach Wilson returning back to the helm of this offense, which has looked very shaky with Wilson at center in his tenure with the Jets. However, with help from his defense and special teams, the team was able to come out on top against Josh Allen and the Super Bowl hopeful Buffalo Bills. This win can lead to some hope for Jets fans, as their season may still be salvageable. However, facing off against the red-hot Cowboys will be a very difficult matchup, especially for Wilson due to the Cowboys star-studded defense. Although there is hope for Jets fans now, Wilson hasn’t shown much in his time. Cowboys 31, Jets 13

Commanders @ Broncos: Both the Washington Commanders and the Denver Broncos struggled offensively while limiting their opponents offensive production in Week One. Both teams have struggling quarterbacks as well, so this matchup should be a close one. The Broncos should be able to get away with a win in a low scoring, defensive game, given they have the better defense, as well as home-field advantage. Broncos 17, Commanders 13

Dolphins @ Patriots: While the New England Patriots gave the Eagles a good fight in a rainy Gillette Stadium, I don’t think they’ll be able to handle the hottest QB-WR duo in the NFL after Week . Tua Tagovailoa,Tyreek Hill and the rest of Miami’s offense was unstoppable last week, putting up 36 points against the Chargers defense. The Dolphins defense, however, should not go unnoticed, as they sacked Justin Herbert 2 times and forced an intentional grounding penalty, that was just as good as a sack, on the Chargers final drive. The Dolphins should continue their hot start to the season, and lead the AFC East after two games. Dolphins 34, Patriots 17

Saints @ Panthers: This divisional matchup could be close due to the two teams knowing each other very well. However, given how the Panthers played last week, there may not be much hope for them to come out on top this week. Carolina had a tough time scoring against a weaker Atlanta Falcons defense, leading me to believe they will also struggle against the New Orleans Saints’ defense. On the contrary, the Saints’ defense was able to contain Derrick Henry to 63 yards on 4.2 yards per carry. The Saints should defeat the Panthers in a potentially dominant fashion. Saints 24, Panthers 14

Browns @ Steelers: As mentioned earlier, the AFC North divisional games are typically very close, physical games. In recent history, one of these games had Myles Garrett ripping Mason Rudolph’s helmet off, leading to a suspension. In this matchup, the team who showed more in Week 1, the Cleveland Browns, should be able to continue their impressive start. Their elite rushing attack led by Nick Chubb will be challenged by T.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. However, Kenny Pickett may not be currently good enough to lead an offense like his over the Browns’ defense. Browns 24, Steelers 20

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