Nostrathomas Predicts: Week 2 of the NFL Season

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 19, 2015

By Tom Pollin

Who the man? Nostrathomas the man! Nostrathomas can talk big after going 13-3 both straight-up and against the spread in Week 1.

As for this week, everyone starts Week 2 back at 0-0, unless you missed on Thursday night’s game, which, in that case you start 0-1

Thursday Night

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs -3

Nostrathomas had no faith in Peyton Manning’s ability to win in Kansas City after his dismal performance against the Ravens. Even though Manning put up 256-yards passing and an 86.9 Passer Rating, Nostrathomas stands by that analysis. Manning was shot-putting passes all night. (Are receivers allowed to call for fair catches?)

Nostrathomas also said, “Alex Smith takes care of the ball very well meaning Denver's defense won't have the opportunity to be the scoring machine it was last week when Aqib Talib returned a Flacco interception for a touchdown.” That’s where prediction met reality.

Talib didn’t run back an interception for a score but, after the Chiefs jumped out to a 10-0 lead, his pick of Alex Smith and 9-yard return to the Emmanual Sanders TouchdownKansas City 15 set up Denver’s first touchdown. With the game tied at 17 apiece, Smith’s second interception by Chris Harris at the Broncos’ 10 ended a promising scoring drive.

At the end, the Chiefs had the ball on their own 20 with the score tied at 24 and 35 seconds remaining but Andy Reid decided not to take a knee. Instead, the normally sure-handed Jamaal Charles had the ball stripped by linebacker Brandon Marshall. Bradley Roby picked it up and returned it 21-yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Kansas City choked away the victory and set Nortrathomas up at 0-1 for the week heading into Sunday.

Sunday – Early Games

New England Patriots -1.5 @ Buffalo Bills

Buffalo took down one of last season’s AFC Championship Game participants at home last week and host the other one at Ralph Wilson Stadium this week.

This game is tougher to pick than usual because the Bills are for real. Last week proved that they’re still fielding a Super Bowl caliber defense but it’s way too early to launch quarterback Tyrod Taylor among the NFL’s elite. However, offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave Taylor an excellent game plan against the Colts and he executed it perfectly.

Still, the Patriots have won 10 of their last 11 in Buffalo and are 18-2 in their last 20 games against the Bills, and one of those losses was last season in an insignificant Week 17 game. Tom Brady also has more to work with on offense than Taylor has.

The Bills can’t be king of the hill until they knock the current champion off their perch and I’m still not ready to believe Taylor is ready enough at quarterback to do it.

New England Patriots 20 Buffalo Bills 16

Arizona Cardinals -2.5 @ Chicago Bears

The Bears host the man who should have been hired as their head coach in 2013 instead of Marc Trestman. Their management team will be kicking themselves about that for a long time to come.

The one area where the Bears excelled in Week 1 against Green Bay was in running the football. Matt Forte rushed for 141-yards in 24 carries and caught five passes for 25 yards. On the flipside, one of the things the Cardinals did well against the Saints was stopping their running game.

The Cardinals will be missing running back Andre Ellington Sunday but quarterback Carson Palmer has a wealth of riches in the passing game available. The same Bears’ pass rush that couldn’t touch Aaron Rodgers last week will need to do much better on Sunday. Word is the Bears signed a Grant Park statue to run their scout team in practice this week. Hopefully the defensive line learned something

Arians is 4-0 against the NFC North as a head coach and the Bears just aren’t good enough yet to hang a loss on him.

Arizona Cardinals 26 Chicago Bears 22

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals -3.5

This shapes up to be one of the best games on the Sunday slate. The Bengals chewed up the Raiders in Oakland 33-13 while the Chargers came
back for a 33-28 win over the Lions.

Philip Rivers tore up the Lions, completing 35 of 42 for 404-yards and two touchdowns but he’ll have a tougher time duplicating that against Cincinnati’s defense. The battle between Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Chargers receiver Keenan Allen should be epic.

On the ground, the Bengals running game led by Gionvani Bernard will give the Chargers a lot more to handle than the Lions did.

Andy Dalton loves to play September football. Since 2012 the Bengals are 9-3 in the month, including last week’s win.

Play the trend and the home quarterback in this one.

Cincinnati Bengals 34 San Diego Chargers 30

Tennessee Titans -1 @ Cleveland Browns

No, Marcus Mariota and the Titans aren’t as good as they showed against the Buccaneers last week. Cleveland’s defense will show up and make life tougher for him.

Unfortunately for the Browns, Dick LeBeau’s defense will be showing up for the Titans to put Johnny Manziel in a world of football hurt.

Tennessee Titans 20 Cleveland Browns 6

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings -3

Both teams coughed up a hairball in their opening games on the left coast last week. The Lions blew a 21-3 lead in San Diego to lose 33-28 while the Vikings never got started in San Francisco in their 20-3 loss.

The Lions were poised to challenge in the NFC North and in the conference for a playoff spot this season but this is a team with problems. Ameer Abdullah was their leading rusher with 50-yards in seven attempts but 24 of those came off of one touchdown run. Calvin Johnson was only targeted four times, with two catches while Golden Tate was targeted eight times but could only catch four.

On defense, Haloti Ngata is no Nick Fairley, let alone Ndamukong Suh and DeAndre Levy’s injury leaves the Lions even more vulnerable. Those issues will make Teddy Bridgewater’s life much easier on Sunday.

For Vikings fans they’re left wondering if Adrian Peterson’s performance in Week 1, 10 carries for 31 yards, is just an aberration after a year away or is it a sing that he’s on the downhill side of his career.

The Lions swept the Vikings in 2014 but their problems this season run a lot deeper.

Minnesota Vikings 23 Detroit Lions 19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints -10

This point spread may not be wide enough. Marcus Mariota was a handful for the Buccaneers at home last week. In Week 2 they have to face Drew Brees on his home turf.

Tampa Bay will continue to look inept on offense while Brees tears up Lovie Smith’s cover-2 defensive scheme.

New Orleans Saints 38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants -2.5

This game may come down to whoever has the ball last, a familiar scenario for the Giants.

The Dallas defense held Eli Manning to 20 completions in 36 attempts for 193-yards and 70.7 Passer Rating. The Falcons aren’t as good, either in Julio Jones Touchdowntheir secondary or in rushing the passer. They only got to the immobile Sam Bradford once last week.

What Atlanta showed it can still do as well as any team in the league is throw the ball. Matt Ryan connected with Julio Jones nine times for 141-yards and hit Roddy White four for 84. Ryan will also have less to fear from New York’s pass rush. The Giants proved they’re nowhere near as effective creating pocket pressure without Jason Pierre-Paul and his misshapen right claw.

The Giants will have to be opportunistic and create turnovers to have a chance in this game. Fortunately for them Ryan has been known to throw the occasional interception. Unfortunately for them, the Giants can’t count on home cooking to cure what ails them. They were only 3-5 at MetLife Stadium in 2014.

Atlanta Falcons 26 New York Giants 20

San Francisco 49ers @ Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5

This game is a tough call, especially with the spread where it is. Call this the “stay away at all costs game.”

Are the 49ers as good as they played last week at home against the Minnesota Vikings and are the Steelers truly as bad as they looked in the season opening game against the Patriots? As usual in the NFL, probably a little of both.

The 49ers’ defense dropped Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater five times and clearly had him frustrated but Ben Roethlisberger is no Teddy Bridgewater. On the other side, the Steelers’ defense spent a lot of time at New England looking disorganized and ineffective.

Both offenses present challenges this week. Can the 49ers contain Antonio Brown, 133 receiving yards, 1 TD, and DeAngelo Williams, 127 rushing yards? For the Steelers, can they contain Week 1 standout Carlos Hyde, 168 rushing yards, 2 TD’s?

The prediction here is that Pittsburgh does enough to win the game but San Francisco hangs tough.

Pittsburgh Steelers 25 San Francisco 49ers 21

St. Louis Rams -3.5 @ Washington Redskins

Even playing in Washington, the Rams as 3.5-point favorites is the money game of the week.

The Redskins’ defense kept Miami close last week, doing everything but putting points on the board. They’ll have to find a way do that to stay within striking distance of St. Louis on Sunday. In the meantime, Kirk Cousins will be facing a Rams defense that sacked Russell Wilson six times in Week 1 and held Marshawn Lynch to 73-yards on 18 carries.

For St. Louis, Nick Foles targeted and connected with six different receivers against Seattle and could be getting a Tre Mason return at running back on Sunday.

St. Louis Rams 27 Washington Redskins 3

Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers -3

Ryan Mallett will start for the Texans Sunday against Carolina over Brian Hoyer. Mallett nearly brought Houston all the way back from a 27-9 deficit last week before falling short against the Chiefs 27-20.

The Panthers’ defense made Blake Bortles look bad last week, or was it the other way around. They did punish him for five sacks, the same number of times Houston quarterbacks were dropped in Week 1. A big negative for Carolina’s defense is linebacker Luke Kuechly is still in concussion protocol, as of this writing, and is Questionable for Sunday.

This one is a difficult call considering the holes both teams sport. What tips this one Carolina’s way is that the Texans are 2-7 when playing in the Eastern Time zone the last two seasons and the Panthers are on a five game winning streak at home.

Carolina Panthers 17 Houston Texans 13

Sunday – Late Games

Baltimore Ravens -7 @ Oakland Raiders

This game opened off the board due to Oakland’s starting quarterback uncertainty, When it did open the Ravens were favored by 10, that spread has dropped to -7 with Derek Carr now expected to start at quarterback.

No matter what spread you go by the Raiders don’t have enough on offense or defense to stay within striking distance against a vastly superior team.

The Ravens struggled on offense in Week 1 against what is turning out to be a daunting Broncos defense. On defense, Baltimore has plenty of talent to keep Oakland’s offense under control, even with Terrell Suggs out for the season with a torn Achilles.

Baltimore Ravens 22 Oakland Raiders 6

Miami Dolphins -6.5 @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars’ Quarterback Blake Bortles said this past week that fans who question play calls are like kindergartners questioning college students. That statement is actually true. What’s also true is Jacksonville fans are like graduate students in recognizing bad football.

The Dolphins aren’t perfect but they stuffed Washington and quarterback Kirk Cousins last week and have more than enough firepower to do the same to Jacksonville on Sunday.

Miami Dolphins 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles -5

The Cowboys took advantage of miserable clock management by the Giants in Week 1 to squeeze out a 27-26 win. The Eagles forgot that running backs can play a key role in NFL offenses. By the time they remembered they had let the Falcons get too far ahead. Philadelphia took a 24-20 lead late but lost to Matt Ryan and the Falcons 26-24.

The Cowboys’ defense kept New York’s offense from running away with the game last Sunday night. They allowed four Josh Brown field goals but only one offensive touchdown. Tony Romo did the rest. He threw two interceptions but also connected for three touchdowns, finishing with a 103.3 Passer Rating.

The Eagles only ran the ball five times in the first half of their game against Atlanta. Darren Sproles finished with 50-yards rushing on five carries and caught seven passes for 76-yards but headline free agent acquisitions DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews were held to 11-yards in 13 attempts, though each did contribute a touchdown to the effort.

Dallas’ defense kept Eli Manning and the New York passing game bottled up last weekend but had a tougher time stuffing the run, surrendering 99-yards on 24 carries and finishing the game No. 24 in CHFF’s Defensive Hog Index.

If the Eagles want to spend more time running the ball this week they should be able to do so successfully. There’s no doubt DeMarco Murray has had this game circled on his calendar since the schedule came out but Chip Kelly will have to give last season’s rushing yards leader more than 8 touches as a running back.

The Cowboys will be without Dez Bryant this week but Romo spread the ball out to seven other receivers last week and will figure something out.

Will Kelly learn from last week? The prediction here is he’ll continue believing he’s the smartest one in the room, forget his running game again and cost the Eagles their best chance to get their first win this season and take a step up in the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys 31 Philadelphia Eagles 26

Sunday Night

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers -3.5

The Seahawks had the Packers’ number last season. They dominated Green Bay 36-16 in Week 1 then made one of the most improbable comebacks in NFC Championship Game history by erasing a 19-7 deficit with just under four minutes left in the game to win 28-22 in overtime. 2015 NFC Championship GameStill, that was last season, time to look ahead.

Bears running back Matt Forte shredded the Packers’ defense last week, gaining 141-yards on 14 carries. They were more successful against Jay Cutler in the passing game, holding him to a 67.5 Passer Rating.

Week 1 demonstrated to the football world how much the Seahawks miss Kam Chancellor patrolling their secondary. Rams quarterback Nick Foles completed 18 passes in 27 attempts for 297-yards and a Passer Rating of 115.8.

Aaron Rodgers can put up a 100+ Passer Rating in his sleep and Saturday night he’ll be having wet dreams about Seattle’s depleted secondary even without wide receiver Randall Cobb being completely healthy.

The Packers were undefeated in Lambeau field in 2014. They’ll settle their unfinished business with the Seahawks and continue that dominance Sunday Night.

Green Bay Packers 30 Seattle Seahawks 24

Monday Night

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts -7

Indianapolis lost their first two games of 2014 so losing last week to the Bills, even though they were dominated in the game, shouldn’t send Colts fans into a panic. Last year’s team finished 11-5 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

The New York Jets don’t have as formidable a defense as Buffalo but give head coach Todd Bowles time. He’s the man who engineered Arizona into a defensive power.

The Jets’ defense smothered the Browns in Week 1 by forcing five turnovers and converting them into 14 points. The Colts turned the ball over three times in Week 1, two of those were interceptions. That’s been the Achilles heel of Andrew Luck’s game since he entered the league. In 2012 Luck was third among NFL quarterbacks in interceptions with 18 and, after a successful season protecting the ball in 2013, was sixth last season with 16.

Ryan Fitzpatrick did enough on offense last week to beat the Browns, 15 of 24 for 179-yards, but New York will need more from him with Chris Ivory slowed by a groin injury. The Colts are 19-5 at home since Luck came to town as 2012’s first overall draft pick.

There have been reports of dissension in the Colts’ locker room after their loss to Buffalo. Those reports are storylines the media is creating and will turn to if the team continues to struggle this season. Don’t let that influence a decision about this game. Indianapolis’ coaching staff has been in place for two very successful seasons and the team will be all about business when they take the field.

The Colts were favorites by seven or more points five times in 2014 and covered all of them. They’ll cover this spread Monday Night in their home opener.

Indianapolis Colts 29 New York Jets 20

Point Spreads from Bovada

Read more: Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Alex Smith, Alvin Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, Andre Ellington, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Antonio Brown, Aqib Talib, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Blake Bortles, Bradley Roby, Brandon Marshall, Brian Hoyer, Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Chris Harr, Chris Harris, Chris Ivory, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, D Dean, D Washington, Dallas Cowboys, Darren Sproles, DeAndre Levy, DeAngelo Williams, DeMarco Murray, Denver Broncos, derek carr, Detroit Lions, Dez Bryant, dre kirkpatrick, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, golden tate, Green Bay Packers, haloti ngata, Houston Texans, Ian Peters, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jamaal Charles, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jay Cutler, Johnny Manziel, Josh Brown, Julio Jones, Kam Chancellor, Kansas City Chiefs, Keenan Allen, Kirk Cousins, Luke Kuechly, Marcus Mariota, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Matt Ryan, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, N Taylor, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Nick Fairley, Nick Foles, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randall Cobb, Rod Taylor, Roddy White, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Ryan Mathews, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Shawn Lynch, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TBA, Team, Teddy Bridgewater, Tennessee Titans, terrell suggs, Todd Bowles, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Tre Mason, Tyrod Taylor, Washington Redskins, Will Kelly
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