NFL Pick’em: Week Two

If you weren’t excited from start to finish during the opening weekend, you’d better check your pulse. From the Packers “stuffing Mark Ingram”:http://www.twitvid.com/OXOXH as time expired to win the opener, to Cam Newton “tearing up the Cardinals’”:http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d82225ee1/Week-1-Cam-Newton-highlights defense in his debut (a loss), to Sebastian Janikowski kicking a “63-yard field goal”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7atiP3N9Rw, the NFL proved anything can happen on any given Sunday (and — in Tom Brady’s case — sometimes Mondays).

New “touchback rule”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/new-kicking-rule-produces-more-touchbacks-in-opening-weekend/2011/09/11/gIQAGz3SLK_story.html be damned, there were more return touchdowns (8), passing yards (7,842) and sacks (89) in Week One than ever before. Let’s hope the fireworks continue as we turn our attention to this weekend’s upcoming matchups:

Seattle @ Pittsburgh

Unfortunately for Tarvaris Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, Big Ben and co. have something to prove after a “seven-turnover loss”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/09/4e70288481088 to the Ravens in Week One.

Players to watch: Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Defense

Prediction: Steelers 35, Seahawks 13

Oakland @ Buffalo

Unlike “last year”:http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Steve-Johnson-blames-God-for-his-overtime-drop?urn=nfl-289770, it appears God may be in Stevie Johnson’s corner this season (4/66/1 in Week One), which is bad news for Raiders fans.

Players to watch: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Darren McFadden

Prediction: Bills 27, Raiders 20

*Arizona @ Washington*

Neither of these defenses are spectacular, so points will be scored. Look for Larry Fitzgerald to have a big game because of his significant height advantage over the Redskins’ corners.

Players to watch: Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower, Rex Grossman

Prediction: Cardinals 23, Redskins 20

*Tampa Bay @ Minnesota*

Donovan McNabb will throw for more than 39-yards this week, but it’ll still be the Adrian Peterson show in the Metrodome. Josh Freeman should improve on his decent first game (28-42/259/1 TD/1 INT), but don’t expect him to pick apart the Vikings like Phillip Rivers did.

Players to watch: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Josh Freeman, Kellen Winslow

Prediction: Vikings 30, Buccaneers 20

*Jacksonville @ New York Jets*

Look for the Jets to establish the running game early; Shonn Green only had 39 yards on 16 carries against the Cowboys. Maurice Jones-Drew will get a score or two, but there’s only so much one man can do.

Players to watch: Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Plaxico Burress, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jets Defense

Prediction: Jets 34, Jaguars 20

Chicago @ New Orleans

The Saints return to the Superdome after a heartbreaking loss to the Packers in the opener. Brian Urlacher’s status is uncertain in the wake of his mother’s death, but the Bears continue to impress. This one will probably come down to whoever gets the ball last.

Players to watch: Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Jay Cutler, Matt Forte

Prediction: Saints 30, Bears 27

*Green Bay @ Carolina*

The Packers defense reminds Cam Newton he doesn’t get to play the Cardinals every week.

Players to watch: Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Packers Defense

Prediction: Packers 34, Panthers 13

*Baltimore @ Tennessee*

Don’t look for much production from Chris Johnson — it’s only his second game back and the Ravens held Rashard Mendenhall to 45 yards in Week One.

Players to watch: Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Kenny Britt, Ravens Defense

Prediction: Ravens 24, Titans 13

*Kansas City @ Detroit*

Matt Stafford takes over where Ryan Fitzpatrick left off as the Chiefs realize how much they “need Eric Berry”:http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22475988/31925011.

Players to watch: Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, Jamaal Charles, Jahvid Best

Prediction: Detroit 24, Chiefs 16

*Cleveland @ Indianapolis*

The Browns will keep this game closer than the Texans did, but it’s hard to imagine the Manning-less Colts doing much of anything.

Players to watch: Peyton Hillis, Joseph Addai

Prediction: Browns 20, Colts 16

*Dallas @ San Francisco*

Tony Romo should have no trouble throwing against the 49ers; he’ll continue to target Dez Bryant, if he plays (quad).

Players to watch: Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Vernon Davis

Prediction: Dallas 24, 49ers 14

*Cincinnati @ Denver*

If Kyle Orton underperforms, “Tebow” chants will be heard all night. However, I like Neck Beard’s chances in a close game.

Players to watch: Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd, Cedric Benson, Andy Dalton, AJ Green

Prediction: Broncos 20, Bengals 17

*San Diego @ New England*

Passing yards aplenty in this one. The Chargers’ defense will keep them in the game, but Brady does it again.

Players to watch: Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Wes Welker, Mike Tolbert

Prediction: Patriots 34, Chargers 27

*Houston @ Miami*

The woes continue in Miami as the Texans prove they weren’t just beating up on the Colts last week.

Players to watch: Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush

Prediction: Houston 24, Dolphins 16

*Philadelphia @ Atlanta*

Matt Ryan will keep the game close, but the defense will help Michael Vick win his first game in Atlanta as a starter for the Eagles.

Players to watch: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Matt Ryan, Michael Turner

Prediction: Eagles 24, Falcons 21

*St. Louis @ New York Giants*

Both the Rams and Giants are banged up, but the Giants’ depth will help them shine on Monday night.

Players to watch: Ahmad Bradshaw, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks (questionable), Sam Bradford

Prediction: Giants 24, Rams 17