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Gregg Rosenthal went 11-4-1 on his predictions for Week 1. How will he fare in Week 2? His picks are below.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 12
Carolina Panthers 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18
8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network) | Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)
Cam Newton’s arm looked great. The uproar regarding the 30-year-old QB’s failure to throw deep in the opener overlooked the obvious heat on his deep outs. Cam missed a few key touch throws and might need to improve the consistency of his new delivery, but the Panthers’ biggest problem offensively was the lack of communication on the offensive line, leading to many protection busts. The Buccaneers’ pass rush, which hit Jimmy Garoppolo exactly one time last week, appears uniquely ill-suited to take advantage. New Tampa defensive coordinator Todd Bowles likes to blitz, but there are few outside rushes less formidable than the Bucs’ starting duo of Shaq Barrett and Carl Nassib.
The bigger surprise in the Buccaneers’ Week 1 loss was the tepid offense. They didn’t connect on any vertical passes, and Jameis Winston played on tilt from the first snap on. Even with Tampa Bay RB Ronald Jones running reborn, no risk it and no biscuits could make the Bucs a dull watch.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 15
Baltimore Ravens 30, Arizona Cardinals 12
1 p.m. ET (FOX) | M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
With this matchup against Arizona following last week’s cakewalk against Miami, Ravens coach John Harbaugh should send a thank-you card to 345 Park Avenue for scheduling the sport’s two least-talented rosters in succession to open the season. Whether Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury’s frenetic fourth quarter against Detroit was a fluke or a sign of things to come, the Cardinals’ defense doesn’t have the birds to slow down the Ravens’ depth of flock.
The Ravens’ front office has surrounded Lamar Jackson with complementary playmakers. It starts with their four-headed backfield (Jackson, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill) and an ornery offensive line, a foundation that allows one-on-one matchups for tight ends Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst, alongside wideouts Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin and Willie Snead. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman hasn’t even begun emptying out his playbook. It will take weeks’ worth of game film and a far more talented defense than Arizona’s to catch up with all the Ravens streaking down the field.
Dallas Cowboys 30, Washington Redskins 20
1 p.m. ET (FOX) | FedExField (Landover, Md.)
Of all the rookie wideouts who broke out in Week 1, Terry McLaurin might have had the most repeatable success. It’s hard to find his combination of catch-point strength and obvious speed, and he’s a reasonable pick to lead the Redskins’ baby wideout group in snaps and targets. Case Keenum played with more confidence against the Eagles than he did all last season in Denver — yet another reminder that scheme fit makes all the difference for journeymen like Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then again, this Redskins season should be about developing young players like No. 15 overall pick Dwayne Haskins, budding defensive line star Jonathan Allen and running back Derrius Guice, but the first one is benched and the other two are already hurt. Coach Jay Gruden will have to work harder than ever to earn his seven wins this season, including this week against the suddenly high-flying Cowboys.
Most defenses will provide more resistance to new Dallas coordinator Kellen Moore than the Giants did last week, but it’s not like the Redskins’ D is above average. Moore has barely started rolling out his playbook, and Dak Prescott probably can’t believe how much easier life is with a coach providing schematic advantages. It feels like 2016 all over again, safe for the rest of America outside of Dallas to enjoy watching this Cowboys offense.
Indianapolis Colts 33, Tennessee Titans 30
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
Andrew Luck was undefeated in 11 starts against the Titans, so no tears were shed in Nashville when he announced his retirement. Jacoby Brissett, meanwhile, was winless in his two starts against Tennessee in 2017, but the Colts were an inferior organization then — and he was a different quarterback. While Brissett held the ball too long a few times in the overtime loss to the Chargers, he was accurate and composed in the opener. The Colts’ running game, once soft and forgettable, exerted its will in a manner that was positively Titanian.
It’s remarkable how different Tennessee looked in Week 1, too. New coordinator Arthur Smith schemed up 10.5 YPA from Marcus Mariota without requiring many difficult throws. Tight end Delanie Walker’s return means more than words to the Titans’ offense, and rookie receiver A.J. Brown adds an explosive element their passing game lacked. Add it all up,
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