Sep 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore (25) intercepts a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) in the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Coming off a hard fought, uplifting win over the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons now turn their attention to the New York Giants. During the showdown against Philly, you couldn’t help but notice that the Falcons looked different. The team as a whole looked more aggressive. Although the Falcons gave up 399 yards, the defense pressured Bradford numerous times including the two occasions where Bradford tossed interceptions.
With the matchup against the Giants, the key is to limit Odell Beckham Jr. as much as possible. The matchup between ODB and Desmond Trufant has knowledgeable football fans drooling. Expect the defense to provide constant pressure on Giants QB Eli Manning and force some throws as they did against Sam Bradford.
On the flip side, the offensive line of the Falcons gave up a sack against the Eagles talented defensive line as QB Matt Ryan had plenty of time on several instances to connect to WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White. Keep in mind that this Giants defense is without star DE Jason Pierre-Paul and gave up 436 yards to a Dallas offense with no Dez Bryant. Look for Ryan, Julio, Roddy and company to be aggressive and attack the Giants defense.
I expect the Giants to come out swinging but I believe the mindset instilled by coach Quinn will be portrayed once again as the Falcons play fast and physical and rack up another win.
Pick: Atlanta 34, New York 21
Houston Texans (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
In their home opener, the Panthers welcome J.J Watt and company to town. At this point, with no viable receiving threat outside of TE Greg Olsen, the Panthers offense looks as if they may struggle to score points week in and week out. It doesn’t do any justice as their average offensive line has to block Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Vince Wilfork.
The defense, led by Luke Kuechly, will be facing QB Ryan Mallett who was named the starter this week. With the offense struggling, the Panthers may need a defensive or special teams touchdown. Although Mallett has a tough test in front of him, the Texans make just enough plays to steal a road win.
Pick: Houston 21, Carolina 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)
The Jameis Winston era got off to a really bad start as the rookie tossed two picks, one which was his first NFL throw that turned out to be a pick-six. Look for Bucs OC Dirk Koetter to limit the throws of Winston and try to get the running game going led by RB Doug Martin.
The Saints themselves are coming off a Week 1 loss to Arizona. The Saints defense is still searching for answers as they gave up 427 yards to the Cards. The showdown may be closer than expected, but the Saints find a way to get a win at home with Drew Brees connecting early and often with WRs Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.
Pick: New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 21
Last week: 4-0