NFC South Week 2 picks: Falcons-Giants and other NFC South picks

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Sep 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley (44) hits Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford (7) as he releases the ball int he second quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison Nayler

Atlanta Falcons (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)

After a somewhat surprising win against the Eagles, Atlanta turns its attention to a Giants team that threw away a victory on Sunday night. The Falcons defense looked vastly improved in Week 1, and at times outright exceptional, and the team will look to continue that trend against an offense that couldn’t get much going against the Cowboys.

Odell Beckham Jr. will be an obvious focal point in the game, particularly as he looks to bounce back from a quiet week, but the New York run game is competent enough to continue to test the Falcons historically poor run defense.

For the Falcons, Julio Jones started the season with a bang, claiming NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He and Matt Ryan will look to continue their good start against a solid Giants secondary led by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants made several key defensive plays last week, including a scoop and score touchdown from DRC, so a balanced approach with a heavy dose of Tevin Coleman should benefit Atlanta here.

Vic Beasley will notch his first career sack this week, as Giants LT Ereck Flowers has been impacted with injury and is a significant downgrade from Eagles LT Jason Peters. Stopping the Giants’ run and dialing up the pressure should allow the Falcons to pull away.

Pick: Atlanta 28, New York 20

Houston Texans (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)

The Panthers will look to improve to 2-0 against a Texans team on the rise, despite failing to impress against Jacksonville. Despite a difficult game for Greg Olsen in Week 1, the Texans were torched by Chiefs TE Travis Kelce last week, so Olsen may see a significant number of targets in this one. However, the Texans pass rush, along with the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins, could be too much for the Panthers to overcome.

Pick: Houston 21, Carolina 13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)

The soon to be inferior Mercedes-Benz Superdome welcomes two NFC South teams this week. Having predicted the Buccaneers would handle the Titans, only to watch their defense get shredded by a rookie and some Falcons castoffs, I have no faith in Tampa Bay to deliver much of anything this week. On the back of a tough loss, the Saints should capitalize on the Bucs poor offensive line and loose defense. As a divisional game, I’m sure Tampa will put in a little more effort, but this one looks like it could get ugly.

Pick: New Orleans 34, Tampa Bay 13

Last week: 3-1
Season: 3-1

Next: Curtis Hobbs