Bet On It: Week 2 predictions
Aaron Rodgers will outduel Jay Cutler in Thursday night's NFC North showdown
Big days are in store on the ground for both Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson
Steelers, Chiefs and Bengals will bounce back after disappointing Week 1 finishes
Each week we'll take our best shot at the predictions beyond the game predictions.
Season Record: 2-8 (.200)
Before you dismiss my bold predictions from opening week, look closer -- the analysis was right on. Rookie QBs struggled at 1-4 (not quite 0-5 like I predicted), the NFC North went 3-1 (not 4-0), LeSean McCoy had 136 yards from scrimmage (not quite 150, but it would have been if Michael Vick knew how to check down) and the Texans dominated the Dolphins up front (three sacks instead of five).
As for my guess that Peyton Manning would have 300 yards and two picks, I didn't know he was going to throw so many short and intermediate passes against Pittsburgh. The one prediction my editor said was too safe, Carolina rushing for 175 against Tampa Bay, didn't quite pan out. The Panthers ran for 10 total yards. Either Carolina's injuries were too much or offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has a personal vendetta against me.
Lesser prognosticators would be scared by a 2-8 start. I look at it as a solid base for improvement. With that in mind, I'll try to be even bolder in Week 2.
1. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throws for at least 325 yards and three TDs against the Bears.
Rodgers has had success against Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense through the years. He has a 102.9 passer rating in eight regular season games, with 15 TDs and 5 INTs. Even in a losing effort against the stingy 49ers defense, Rodgers threw for 303 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT.
2. Bears QB Jay Cutler throws at least two interceptions against Green Bay.
Even as their overall defensive statistics have fallen, the Packers still manage to create turnovers. Cutler is awfully confident and will take some risks downfield on Thursday night.
3. Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb throws at least two interceptions against the Patriots.
New England completely shut down the Titans running game in Week 1 and should have little trouble containing a Cardinals attack that managed only 43 yards on the ground against Seattle. As a result, Kolb will end up in passing situations and New England's pass rush will be able to steamroll past Arizona's inexperienced offensive line on its way to the quarterback.
4. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh storm back with wins to keep the AFC North interesting.
Everyone is ready to hand over the AFC North to the Ravens, but don't forget Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. We didn't get a true indication of where the Bengals were last week -- they ran into a buzzsaw playing at Baltimore in primetime. Cincinnati will get back to its conservative offensive gameplan against Cleveland, and its very questionable defense. Meanwhile, we should also throw out the Steelers' opening loss. They missed safety Ryan Clark in Denver and lacked their usual confidence. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was nearly perfect last week against Buffalo, but we've seen him have big games against the Bills that didn't carry over into performances against other teams.
5. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson runs for over 100 yards.
The Vikings running back made a statement with his punishing runs late against the Jaguars. He won't need many carries to reach the century mark against a Colts defense that didn't show anything against the Bears.
6. The Chiefs defense rebounds, holding the Bills to 21 points or fewer.
Kansas City gets pass rusher Tamba Hali back from a one-game suspension and has too many quality defensive players to repeat last week's disappointing performance against the Falcons. The Bills are without running back Fred Jackson and receiver David Nelson, and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was sloppy against the Jets.
7. Titans RB Chris Johnson has at least 125 yards from scrimmage.
The Tennessee coaching staff will scramble to figure out something after Johnson ran for just four yards on 11 carries against New England. At the very least, Johnson can catch the ball out of the backfield like Oakland's Darren McFadden did against the Chargers last week.
8. Carolina QB Cam Newton throws for fewer than 275 yards against the Saints.
Newton actually didn't have big passing yardage numbers against New Orleans last year (224 and 158 yards). And Newton hasn't put up consistently big numbers since the midway point of last season. The Saints' defense has to be fired up after getting embarrassed by a rookie in the opener.
9. Eagles QB Michael Vick rights the ship and throws at most one interception against the Ravens.
Vick threw four picks against Cleveland, and the Ravens defense was outstanding against Cincy. But this looks like a trap game, with Baltimore having a short week and the Eagles licking their wounds despite getting a close win. Vick has to realize holding on to the ball and trying to make plays downfield isn't working right now.
10. Jets QB Tim Tebow scores a touchdown.
I'm sticking with this every week until Tebow actually scores (on the field). The Jets' backup quarterback is a perfect red-zone weapon -- especially since the Jets don't have any tall receivers they can count on close to the goal line. After all this hype, Tebow had better get in the darn end zone at some point or I'm demanding a refund on all the energy spent talking about him during the offseason.
You can rip me for not making bold enough calls, or you can rip me for being wrong -- but not both. Hit me @andrewperloff with your bold predictions and to disagree with mine.
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