Ravens at Bengals, 7:20 Thursday Night: This Thursday Night Football matchup may be more exciting than I originally pictured. The Ravens looked like a powerhouse vs. the Bills (who may be the worst team in football) and will look to continue that success vs. their division rivals. The Bengals offense actually looked potent last week as well. I'll be keeping an eye on Joe Flacco's performance closely. If he can keep up the level of play he started with, he'll be able to hold off electric rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson longer than I originally anticipated.
Chiefs at Steelers, 12:00: Will Pat Mahomes be able to keep it rolling vs the Steelers? The second-year quarterback was very impressive, flashing arm strength, mobility and creativity. Tyreek Hill also proved that he is the most explosive player in football. Watch for how the Steelers guard him. Pittsburgh employs a more diverse coverage scheme and will likely challenge Mahomes mentally. I'll also be monitoring if Big Ben Roethlisberger can bounce back from a miserable performance against the Cleveland Browns. KC's secondary will also need to bounce back after Phillip Rivers threw for over 400 yards against them in last week's win.
Dolphins at Jets, 12:00: These two AFC East teams looked better than anticipated in the season opener. Rookie Sam Darnold was mightily impressive after starting his career with a pick six, finishing with two touchdowns while completing 76% of his passes. The Jets defense was most impressive however, intercepting Lions QB Matt Stafford four times. They looked downright dominant. The Dolphins will likely look to run the ball, and put the offense on the backs of Kenyan Drake and Ageless Wonder Frank Gore.
Eagles at Buccaneers, 12:00: Suddenly this game looks a whole lot more interesting. Ryan 'Fitzmagic' played OUT OF HIS MIND against the Saints, throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles will look to come back off a sloppy opening night performance, in which they were a bit lackluster. This is a game that was for sure marked as a loss for the Buccaneers before the season. Now they've got a chance. In a battle of journeymen QB's, this game has more intrigue than we'd have guessed a week ago.
Browns at Saints, 12:00: Oh, Browns. They had every opportunity to win the game against the Steelers, but ended up tying the game instead. How typical. They'll need Tyrod Taylor to play much cleaner against the Saints. Taylor only completed 15 of his 40 passes, a pretty brutal number. Drew Brees and the Saints offense will likely come in pissed off that they lost last week, and I expect them to put up some serious points. Somebody tell Brees to watch out for second year defensive end Myles Garrett and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, though. They were both immensely impressive in week one.
Colts at Washington, 12:00: This is a game I'm interested to watch. Alex Smith did his Alex Smith thing last week, throwing two touchdowns and completing 70% of his passes in his Redskins debut. Andrew Luck also looked good, and he threw for over 300 yards. Maybe he's back. Either way, the two quarterbacks are who I'm watching here, although Adrian Peterson definitely deserves some love. He ran roughshod over the much more talented Cardinals defense, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against a Colts team that is rebuilding on that side of the ball.
Chargers at Bills, 12:00: It looks like the Bills aren't too keen to repeat Nathan Peterman's epic fail of a first start that he had last season in which he threw five interceptions against the Chargers defense in only one half of football. Rookie Josh Allen is certainly intriguing, with a cannon for an arm, but his offensive line, to put it nicely, is a work in progress. They lost three starters from last season at that spot, which means the new guys need to acclimate quickly. The Chargers wide receivers need to redeem themselves here, as they dropped far too many crucial passes in week one. Buffalo's secondary is actually pretty talented with Micah Hyde, second year corner Tre'davious White and veteran corner Vontae Davis, so that will be a fun matchup to see.
Vikings at Packers, 12:00: This'll be a big one. Aaron Rodgers is coming off what could be the best game of his career, and he proved he is the best quarterback playing football currently. End of discussion. What gets lost with all the Rodgers coverage is that the Packers defense played extremely well in the second half vs. the Bears, allowing only a field goal after half-time. The Vikes defense played lights out vs. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers, picking him off and sacking him three times as well as forcing two fumbles. It will be interesting to see how a hobbled Rodgers plays against such a vaunted unit. Throw in Kirk Cousins and the duo of wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen plus electric second year runner Dalvin Cook, and this is the best NFC game of the week.
Panthers at Falcons, 12:00: The Falcons, specifically quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian looked lost on opening night against the Eagles. Julio Jones had himself a day, but the QB and OC need to get on the same page quick. The Falcons have too many offensive weapons to not be putting up points. Aside from that, things are looking tough on the other side of the ball as well. Stud safety Keanu Neal is out for the year with a knee injury and the team moved linebacker Deion Jones to Injured Reserve for the foreseeable future. Cam Newton and company will need to come in to the Georgia Dome looking to make a statement after a solid win vs. the Cowboys last week. The Panthers defense held Dallas to only eight points and 232 yards of offense. If they can keep that up against a more talented Atlanta offense, look out for Carolina.
Texans at Titans, 12:00: Both teams struggled in week one. Deshaun Watson completed half his passes for only 176 yards and a one to one touchdown to interception ratio. Meh. Marcus Mariota looked even worse than that, exiting with a shoulder injury and throwing two picks. The loss of tight end Delanie Walker is a killer for this team, as he has been their most reliable contributor over the past several seasons. The Titans will have to ask a lot of running backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis. The Texans stout defense, featuring J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Tyrann 'Honey Badger' Mathieu, should be up to the task.
Cardinals at Rams, 3:05: This game could be a blowout. Although it's a division rivalry and the Cardinals defense is nice, The Rams just have too much firepower offensively and defensively. Things looked good vs the Oakland Raiders and they very much look like the type of team that will be playing meaningful football in late January. Sam Bradford is capable of playing good football, but the o-line needs to play better, and he needs some help from his star running back, David Johnson.
Lions at 49ers, 3:05: Two QB's that played really disappointing games will be squaring off in this game; Garoppolo and Stafford. Stafford is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the league, but his performance last week was inexcusable. He needs to be better. Garoppolo will be happy to not have to face a defense on the level of Minnesota's. He still needs to avoid corner Darius 'Big Play' Slay and safety Glover Quin. It'll be interesting to see how 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman handles playing against Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. Sherman got hit with the spin cycle by Stefon Diggs in last week's matchup.
Raiders at Broncos, 3:25: Jon Gruden's offense got off to a hot start last week vs. the Rams, but quickly fell back to earth. Derek Carr did not look good, so I am very curious to see how he looks against Denver's fearsome pass rush featuring Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb. Broncos QB Case Keenum threw three interceptions in week one, but also three touchdowns. His aggressiveness will be something to watch here against an Oakland defense that mixes old players (Derrick Johnson, Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson) with younger guys (Gareon Conley, Arden Key, Maurice Hurst).
Patriots at Jaguars, 3:25: Here's the best game in the AFC. A rematch of last year's championship game, I'm most excited to see the Jags defense take on Tom Brady and company. The Pats are thin at receiver, so expect Jalen Ramsey to be barking at whoever he sees, including star tight end Rob Gronkowski. If Brady can deliver in the clutch, as he has done so many times, it won't matter how low scoring the Jags keep it. Keep an eye on Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette, who may or may not play in this game due to a hamstring injury. He's key for this Jags offense.
Giants at Cowboys, 7:20: The Giants offense had a tough time moving the ball against the Jags last week. That makes sense. They also had their moments, as Saquon Barkley broke off a 68 yard touchdown run and Odell Beckham Jr. had 11 catches for 111 yards. The Cowboys will need to play much more efficiently. Either Dak Prescott needs to step up, or they need to commit to feeding Ezekiel Elliot as much as he can take. These NFC East games are usually close, so I want to see if this Cowboys offense can take on a pretty talented NY defense with much success.
Seahawks at Bears, 7:15 Monday Night: The Bears lost in heartbreaking fashion last week, and will look to redeem themselves against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Khalil Mack should again have a field day against a Seahawks o-line that still isn't as good as it should be. I'll be watching to see who is getting the lions' share of carries in the backfield for Seattle. Will it be Chris Carson or rookie Rashaad Penny? Also, keep an eye on Mitch Trubisky's progress. He flashed some against the Packers, but will need to watch out for safety Earl Thomas.