2023 NFL Week 2: Expert Picks, Predictions For Every Game

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Every Thursday, we’ll provide analysis and score predictions for every game on that week’s slate. The aftermath of Week 1 often leads to overreactions, especially when title contenders lose. Three of the top teams in the AFC lost last week, as did three other 2022 playoff teams. Will they bounce back?

Thursday Night Football

Vikings at Eagles

Spread: Eagles -7

Total: 48.5

When these two teams faced each other last season, the Philadelphia Eagles comfortably beat the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7. Philadelphia’s defensive front has an advantage over the Vikings’ beat-up offensive line. More importantly, Jalen Hurts’ passing attack has the raw materials to shred Minnesota’s secondary.

The Eagles are in the driver’s seat in this matchup at home on a short week. If the Vikings are going to keep this close, Kirk Cousins’ passing attack will have to exceed expectations. Otherwise, you’re counting on new defensive coordinator Brian Flores to carry this game despite being at a major talent disadvantage. The Eagles have far more paths to victory than the Vikings in this matchup.

Score Prediction: Eagles 27, Vikings 20

Sunday Afternoon Slate

Chiefs at Jaguars

Spread: Jaguars +3

Total: 51

This is a classic correction spot for Patrick Mahomes’ offense. The Kansas City Chiefs’ pass catchers dropped eight passes on opening night, digging the Chiefs a hole they never got out of. Ideally, they’ll get Travis Kelce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars’ very beatable secondary. The Jaguars’ blue-chip edge duo could give the Chiefs’ new offensive tackle pair issues, but Mahomes’ offense is positioned to get back on track in this matchup. 

Trevor Lawrence’s ascending passing attack could put Kansas City in a 0-2 hole to start the season. If the Jaguars win this game, Lawrence will rise toward the top of the MVP race. If Jacksonville doesn’t knock off Kansas City, returning Chiefs DT Chris Jones will have been a factor in that outcome.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 24

Lamar Jackson stands at the line of scrimmage

Ravens at Bengals

Spread: Bengals -3

Total: 46.5

The Cincinnati Bengals were throttled by the Cleveland Browns on opening day, while the Baltimore Ravens beat the rebuilding Houston Texans. Both AFC North offenses underwhelmed in Week 1, but Cincinnati is in danger of starting the year 0-2. Including the playoffs, these division rivals squared off three times last season, with the Bengals going 2-1 with a Wild Card win. (Remember that Cincinnati’s two wins came while Lamar Jackson was sidelined).

All three contests had limited scoring, but this matchup has a few factors you want to see in a potential high-scoring affair. The premium quarterbacks are obvious, but both teams have better offensive lines than pass rushes. They also both have beatable secondaries. Factor in the Bengals’ high-end wide receiver trio and Baltimore’s improved collection of pass catchers, and this matchup could go over 50 total points.

Score Prediction: Bengals 27, Ravens 24

Raiders at Bills

Spread: Bills -8.5

Total: 46.5

The Buffalo Bills lost to Zach Wilson’s New York Jets in front of a national audience Monday night. The Bills now host a Las Vegas Raiders team that beat the Broncos in Denver by a single point in Week 1. Buffalo has a better roster than Las Vegas, and Josh Allen’s offense could conceivably shred the Raiders’ secondary. The Bills are another contender in a classic correction spot.

Score Prediction: Bills 27, Raiders 17

Seahawks at Lions

Spread: Lions -5.5

Total: 47.5

The Detroit Lions played a tough, clean football game to knock off the Chiefs in Kansas City. Detroit has become a reliable football team, but the Lions only scored 14 points of offense on opening night. The Seattle Seahawks were blown out at home by the Los Angeles Rams on opening day. Both of the Seahawks’ starting offensive tackles are on the injury report and are in danger of missing Week 2, and teams had dramatically opposite experiences in Week 1.

When they faced off last year, the Seahawks won 48-45. Geno Smith’s offense struggled down the stretch last season, and it didn’t show up on opening day. If one or both Seahawks offensive tackles miss this contest, Smith will struggle in muddy pockets. In that scenario, Seattle is staring a 0-2 start right in the face.

Score Prediction: Lions 27, Seahawks 20

Chargers at Titans

Spread: Titans +3

Total: 45.5

Both teams lost close games in Week 1. The Los Angeles Chargers have two “plus” matchups against the Tennessee Titans: The Chargers’ offensive line can mitigate Tennessee’s strong front, while Justin Herbert can shred the Titans’ beatable secondary. Herbert’s passing attack has an enormous ceiling in this contest.

If Los Angeles can play with a lead, its edge duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack has a trench advantage against Tennessee. The Chargers’ run defense has been a liability for the past two seasons for the Titans. That’s a major problem when facing Derrick Henry. Ultimately, the Chargers have the better roster and the better quarterback, but the Titans have the better head coach.

Score Prediction: Chargers 27, Titans 20

Bears at Buccaneers

Spread: Buccaneers -3

Total: 41

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense spearheaded a 20-17 win in Minnesota on opening day. Baker Mayfield’s offense was good enough to win, but the unit didn’t inspire much confidence, either. Tampa Bay will draw another beatable defense this week when it hosts the Chicago Bears. The Bears had a rough Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

Justin Fields had his moments, but he was inconsistent as a passer. Chicago’s defense was still a liability despite their many offseason additions. Each unit has major room for improvement. Ultimately, this is a game between two volatile teams where Fields can potentially carry the Bears’ offense. 

Score Prediction: Bears 21, Buccaneers 20

Packers at Falcons

Spread: Falcons +2

Total: 40.5

This is a matchup between two similarly talented teams that have young, still-unproven quarterbacks. Both offenses have top-10-caliber offensive lines with two quality running backs. The Atlanta Falcons might finish the year as the most run-centric offense in the league. Green Bay allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to running backs in 2022. Wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts are blue-chip pass catchers, but they see limited usage in Desmond Ridder’s offense. 

Jordan Love played very well on opening day in Chicago, but he’ll face a better pass rush and secondary this week in Atlanta. The Packers’ defense has the talent to shut down Atlanta’s offense if it can stop the run. Keep in mind that this is Green Bay’s second road game in as many weeks.

Score Prediction: Falcons 20, Packers 17

Colts at Texans

Spread: Texans +1.5

Total: 40

Anthony Richardson was better than C.J. Stroud on opening day. With that in mind, the Indianapolis Colts only scored 14 points on offense against the Jaguars. Richardson played well in his debut, but he didn’t quite keep that game as close as many might think.

Despite losing effort, the Texans’ defense had a sneaky solid game in Baltimore. Houston just faced the king of all mobile quarterbacks — Jackson — which will help the Texans when facing a dynamic athlete such as Richardson. We expect this contest to be close between these two rebuilding division rivals.

Score Prediction: Texans 17, Colts 16

Deebo Samuel

49ers at Rams

Spread: Rams +7.5

Total: 44

These two NFC West rivals blew out their opening-day opponent on the road. The San Francisco 49ers completely dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers in all phases, to the point that the contest was over early. Matthew Stafford carried the Rams’ offense, while Geno Smith’s might have been the most disappointing unit of Week 1.

San Francisco has one of the best rosters in the league, and its pass rush will have a major advantage against the Rams’ offensive line. Similarly, the 49ers’ collection of elite skill players is hard for anyone to handle. Last season, San Francisco won both matchups against the Rams by at least two scores. 

Score Prediction: 49ers 30, Rams 13

Giants at Cardinals

Spread: Cardinals +5.5

Total: 40

The New York Giants were embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys in front of a national audience Sunday night. The Arizona Cardinals went into Washington and gave the Commanders quite a scare in a one-score loss. The Giants’ defensive front has a trench advantage, while Arizona’s bottom-tier pass rush can’t truly exploit New York’s offensive line. The Giants are in a bounce-back spot against the worst roster in the league.

Score Prediction: Giants 24, Cardinals 17

Jets at Cowboys

Spread: Cowboys -9.5

Total: 39.5

Dallas humiliated the Giants, 40-0, on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys’ top-tier pass rush and secondary now get Wilson’s Jets at home in Week 2. It’s hard to imagine Wilson’s offense having significant success in Dallas. If the Jets are going to keep this contest close, that will rest on their premium defense.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 17, Jets 10

Russell Wilson

Commanders at Broncos

Spread: Broncos -3.5

Total: 38.5

The Commanders escaped with a Week 1 win against lowly Arizona despite facing the Cardinals in Washington. Denver lost a one-point game to rival Las Vegas in the opener. Russell Wilson didn’t set the world on fire against the Raiders, but his performance was a step in the right direction. It’s easier to see Wilson playing a clean game against Washington than it is to see Sam Howell doing so in Denver.

Score Prediction: Broncos 20, Commanders 13

Sunday Night Football

Dolphins at Patriots

Spread: Patriots +2.5

Total: 46.5

The New England Patriots gave the Eagles all they could handle on opening day. Not only did the Patriots’ defense play well, but Mac Jones threw for more than 300 yards. Tua Tagovailoa played so well on opening day that he’s the current favorite in the MVP race. Similarly, Tyreek Hill is the current favorite in Offensive Player of the Year betting markets. We’ve already seen Miami’s enormous ceiling on offense, but Bill Belichick’s defense has held Miami to 21 or fewer points in three of their past four matchups.

Score Prediction: Patriots 23, Dolphins 20

Monday Night Football

Saints at Panthers

Spread: Panthers +3.5

Total: 40

The Carolina Panthers are a rebuilding team with a solid defense and a very mediocre offense. Bryce Young showed some flashes in his NFL debut, but ultimately, the Panthers’ offense was nearly nonfunctional in Atlanta. Derek Carr threw for more than 300 yards in his first game as a Saint. He did that against a Titans secondary that allowed the most passing yards last season. Neither side has any game-derailing matchup advantage in this game, but the Saints have the better, more experienced roster.

Score Prediction: Saints 20, Panthers 17

Browns at Steelers

Spread: Steelers +2

Total: 39.5

The Browns’ premium pass rush and secondary completely shut down Joe Burrow’s offense on opening day. Despite Cleveland’s 24-3 Deshaun Watson was an inconsistent passer who badly missed a number of wide-open receivers. Cleveland is a title contender if Watson regains his 2020 form. The better defense likely wins this contest. Given the injuries Pittsburgh has on both sides of the ball, we’ll lean toward the Browns on Monday night.

Score Prediction: Browns 17, Steelers 13

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Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook

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