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Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

The Week 2 NFL schedule for the 2021 season is stacked with great matchups, and we got you covered with what you need to know heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the biggest keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and, of course, final score picks.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a big statistic to know for each contest, and our Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN researcher Kyle Soppe hands out helpful fantasy football and betting nuggets, as well. Everything you want to know is here in one spot to help you get ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 2 slate, including a meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson on Sunday night, a battle between two AFC East rookie QBs and Patrick Peterson‘s return to Arizona. It all culminates with a Monday Night Football matchup between the Lions and the Packers on ESPN. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)

Jump to a matchup:
BUF-MIA | LAR-IND | NO-CAR
SF-PHI | LV-PIT | HOU-CLE
NE-NYJ | DEN-JAX | CIN-CHI
MIN-ARI | ATL-TB | DAL-LAC
TEN-SEA | KC-BAL | DET-GB

Thursday: WSH 30, NYG 29

Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
67.3 | Spread: BUF -3.0 (47.5)

What to watch for: The Dolphins have yet to solve Josh Allen over the course of his career. In six career games, Allen is 5-1 against Miami with 1,552 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Allen will throw at least three touchdown passes, and the Bills’ offense will get back on track. For whatever reason, Allen has had the most career success against the Dolphins. He has thrown for at least three TD passes in four of six games against Miami and has averaged 8.7 yards per attempt in those six games. Miami’s defense, especially the secondary, could cause issues for the Bills, but the Dolphins won’t be able to replicate the Steelers’ pass rush. — Alaina Getzenberg

Stat to know: Since last season’s Week 2 game at Miami, Allen’s QBR is 78, which ranks third behind Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Allen also has thrown more touchdown passes in 16 starts (36) than he did in 28 starts (32) before that game.

Injuries: Bills | Dolphins

What to know for fantasy: Wideout Stefon Diggs had 15.9 fantasy points — nine catches for 69 yards — in the Bills’ Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh. Now, he’ll line up against Miami corner Xavien Howard, who allowed just 23 yards on four targets as the nearest defender last week, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Dolphins have covered five of the past seven meetings with Buffalo that did not occur in Week 17. Read more.

Getzenberg’s pick: Bills 31, Dolphins 24
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 28, Dolphins 24
FPI prediction: BUF, 50.2% (by an average of 0.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: After Bills’ sloppy mistakes led to season-opening loss, what’s the message? ‘Don’t panic’Tagovailoa already clicking with receiver Waddle


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
64.3 | Spread: LAR -3.5 (48)

What to watch for: Aaron Donald vs. Quenton Nelson. It’s the NFL’s best interior defensive lineman against the league’s best guard. Nelson, an All-Pro in each of his first three seasons in the league, will have his hands full — and might need help, at times — against Donald, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. “Every team schemes for a player like Aaron Donald,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “You can’t scheme for him on every play because he’s not at the same spot every play. … He moves around. We have to be able to make some in-game adjustments.” — Mike Wells

Bold prediction: Quarterback Matthew Stafford will throw for more than 300 yards and four touchdown passes in a dominant offensive performance. Stafford is coming off a huge Week 1 performance that saw him pass for 321 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions, in a 20-point win over the Bears. The Colts’ secondary proved suspect in Week 1, allowing the Seahawks to pass for four touchdowns. Watch for Rams coach Sean McVay to dial up the passing game once again on Sunday. — Lindsey Thiry

Stat to know: Stafford hasn’t started a season 2-0 since 2017. If he tallies at least 317 passing yards against the Colts, he will have the most passing yards through the first two games of a season in his career.

Injuries: Rams | Colts

What to know for fantasy: Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has a touchdown — or the fantasy equivalent of a touchdown (six points) — as a pass-catcher in each of his past seven games. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Rams are 19-13 on the road since the McVay era began in 2017. Read more.

Thiry’s pick: Rams 32, Colts 17
Wells’ pick: Rams 27, Colts 17
FPI prediction: LAR, 55.5% (by an average of 2.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Ramsey leads entertaining cast of characters in Rams’ secondaryWentz won’t have a chance if Colts’ O-line doesn’t protect him betterStafford throws for 3 TDs as his big-play ability is on display in winning Rams debut


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
59.9 | Spread: NO -3.0 (44.5)

What to watch for: Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold was sacked only once but hit seven times by an average Jets defensive front. Now, he has to go up against a strong Saints front that sacked Aaron Rodgers twice, hit him seven times and forced three interceptions. Darnold himself said Saints DE Cameron Jordan can “wreck a game.” How well Darnold handles duress will be key for Carolina keeping pace. — David Newton

Bold prediction: Cornerback Bradley Roby will have an interception in his Saints debut after arriving in a trade from Houston last week. The Saints’ defense has taken the next-man-up mentality to the next level early this season, dominating despite several key players missing from last season. And they might need to do it again, with top CB Marshon Lattimore now dealing with a thumb injury. New Orleans’ secondary will be tested by Carolina’s dynamic receivers, which will be a key to this matchup. — Mike Triplett

Stat to know: Jameis Winston looks to lead the Saints to their first 2-0 start since 2013. In 10 career starts vs Panthers, he has a Total QBR of 40.

Injuries: Saints | Panthers

What to know for fantasy: Alvin Kamara has scored north of 19 fantasy points in five straight games against the Panthers, tallying at least 20 touches of multiple touchdowns in each of those contests. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Saints covered every game last season that went under the total (six), making them the only team in the league to do so. In Week 1, they covered easily, and the under once again cashed. Read more.

Triplett’s pick: Saints 23, Panthers 19
Newton’s pick: Saints 30, Panthers 17
FPI prediction: NO, 60% (by an average of 3.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Saints’ defense delivering on vow to be team’s identity without BreesHow McCaffery ‘opens up all of the possibilities’ of the Panthers’ offenseLattimore among key Saints dealing with injuriesReddick: Panthers’ D ‘put league on notice’ with six sacks


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
54.6 | Spread: SF -3.0 (49.5)

What to watch for: This matchup is all about the explosive plays. Philadelphia’s defense did not allow a single pass play of 20 or more yards in Week 1 against the Falcons, while the Niners’ offense was third in explosive pass plays against the Lions with five. Eagles corner Darius Slay likened 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel to a faster Anquan Boldin and said the key to success against such a dynamic offense is to read its keys and stay disciplined. — Tim McManus

Bold prediction: 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell will go over 100 rushing yards for the second straight week to begin his rookie season. The sixth-round pick was a relative unknown a week ago, then he set a record for rushing yards (104) by a Niner in his debut, against the Lions. The Eagles should be a bit better slowing the run than Detroit was, but this is a defense that looks vulnerable at the second level, which could make them susceptible to Mitchell’s one-cut-and-go ability. — Nick Wagoner

play

1:56

Field Yates and Mike Clay examine the fantasy outlook for 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell in Week 2.

Stat to know: Samuel had a career-high 189 receiving yards in Week 1. If he tallies 100 yards against the Eagles, he would have the most receiving yards in the first two games of the season by a 49ers player in team history.

Injuries: 49ers | Eagles

What to know for fantasy: From 2017 to 2020, the 49ers ranked fourth in running back fantasy points. Coach Kyle Shanahan manages a running back fantasy factory and will have to work more magic with Raheem Mostert out for the foreseeable future. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Jimmy Garoppolo is 8-4 against the spread in regular-season road starts since 2019. Read more.

Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 30, Eagles 24
McManus’ pick: Eagles 27, 49ers 26
FPI prediction: SF, 52.8% (by an average of 1.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Without Mostert, Lance could be eventual key to 49ers’ run gameHurts’ statement game offers Eagles hope: ‘He’s the leader’Losing Verrett would make 49ers’ rise substantially more difficultHurts’ jersey sales surge 500% after Eagles’ Week 1 win


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
49.8 | Spread: PIT -6.0 (47)

What to watch for: The Steelers confused Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense with their defensive versatility, moving safety Minkah Fitzpatrick all around the field. Look for them to weaponize versatility again with guys such as Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, Tre Norwood. And keep an eye on outside linebackers Melvin Ingram III, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith trying to minimize tight end Darren Waller — a player who certainly has their attention after 19 targets a week ago. — Brooke Pryor

Bold prediction: Maxx Crosby and Watt will repeat their respective opening-week performances and both get two more sacks apiece. The Raiders’ and Steelers’ offensive lines are works in progress, but Crosby is coming off AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, while the ink on Watt’s four-year, $112 million extension is still wet. Oh, to be a young pass-rusher in this game. — Paul Gutierrez

Stat to know: The past four meetings between these teams were decided by exactly three points. There has only been two series in NFL history featuring five straight games decided by exactly three points. Also, keep an eye on Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger; he needs three passing touchdowns to become the eighth NFL player with 400 passing touchdowns.

Injuries: Raiders | Steelers

What to know for fantasy: Steelers wideout Chase Claypool‘s ceiling captures headlines, but after Week 1, he has now failed to score more than 10 fantasy points in five of his past seven games. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Steelers have had just one losing ATS season at home since 2010 (3-5 ATS at home in 2017). Read more.

Gutierrez’s pick: Steelers 31, Raiders 23
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 17
FPI prediction: PIT, 64.5% (by an average of 5.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Raiders’ Crosby not resting on Monday night laurels heading to PittsburghSteelers’ Watt caps ‘heck of a week’ by helping lead upset win over BillsSecond-half utilization of wide receivers allows Carr, Raiders to find rhythm … … Carr rallies Raiders past Ravens in wild OT win: ‘Hope this is a sign of things to come’


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
45.8 | Spread: CLE -12.5 (48)

What to watch for: How will Houston quarterback Tyrod Taylor perform in his return to Cleveland? Baker Mayfield, who took over for Taylor as a rookie during the 2018 season, praised Taylor for his leadership and mentorship this week. Taylor would probably love nothing more than to show Mayfield another thing or two on Sunday. — Jake Trotter

Bold prediction: The Browns hold the Texans to fewer than 50 rushing yards. Taking out Taylor’s four carries for 40 yards, Houston ran for 120 yards on 37 carries in Week 1 (3.2 yards per carry) against Jacksonville. But it’s hard to see the game playing out the same way, and if the Texans are playing from behind for most of the tilt, it’s easy to see how Cleveland’s front seven dominates Houston’s backs. — Sarah Barshop

play

1:30

Stephania Bell analyzes why Odell Beckham Jr. has yet to return to the field after making significant progress in the offseason.

Stat to know: The Browns did not lose consecutive games at all last season. And they haven’t started 0-2 in a season since 2017. On the flipside, the Texans only won consecutive games once last season, and they have not started a season 2-0 since 2016.

Injuries: Texans | Browns

What to know for fantasy: Including the playoffs, Kareem Hunt has scored five times in his past five games. (He scored 13 times in his first 24 games with the Browns.) See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Baker Mayfield is just 4-8 ATS over his past 12 starts. Fantasy managers should take note, however, if you think the Browns will cover this week; in those four games, Mayfield has completed 73.9% of his passes for an average of 289 yards. Read more.

Barshop’s pick: Browns 27, Texans 17
Trotter’s pick: Browns 34, Texans 17
FPI prediction: CLE, 79.3% (by an average of 11.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Texans show blueprint for 2021 success, but not everything is perfectWhat did QBs Taylor, Mayfield get out of their year together in Cleveland?How Mayfield remade his body after a disappointing 2019No setback, but Browns rule out OBJ vs. Texans


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
38.7 | Spread: NE -6.0 (43)

What to watch for: Here come the rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson and Mac Jones, coming off encouraging openers, meet for the first time in what should be a long personal rivalry. This is a new feel for the Jets-Patriots series, which was dominated by a veteran quarterback (Tom Brady) for two decades. The Jets have cycled through a handful of rookies over the years, but Jones is the Patriots’ first rookie starter since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. It’s the first time in the 62-year history of the rivalry that rookie QBs are starting against each other. — Rich Cimini

Bold prediction: The Patriots will make running back J.J. Taylor active as a result of rookie Rhamondre Stevenson‘s struggles in the season opener, and Taylor’s presence as a complement to Damien Harris and James White will be key against a Jets defense that blitzed 41.7% of the time in the opening week — the fifth-highest total in the NFL. Also, Jones will throw multiple touchdown passes and continue to refuse to keep the footballs when teammates attempt to hand them to him. — Mike Reiss

Stat to know: The last time a rookie quarterback beat the Patriots was … Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa last season in Week 15. The Patriots, however, were 9-0 in nine previous such games.

Injuries: Patriots | Jets

What to know for fantasy: Corey Davis was WR16 for an extended stretch last season (Weeks 8 to 15), and he showed out last week with 26.7 points against the Panthers. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The over cashed in both Patriots-Jets games last season after being a winning ticket just once in the four seasons prior. Read more.

Reiss’ pick: Patriots 30, Jets 17
Cimini’s pick: Patriots 22, Jets 17
FPI prediction: NE, 64.8% (by an average of 5.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Will Belichick reduce Harris’ workload after fumble?Jets get help with WRs Crowder, Cole returningJets LT Becton to miss at least 4-6 weeks after dislocating knee capJets’ protection issues could be pain in neck for QB Wilson


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
34.3 | Spread: DEN -6.0 (45.5)

What to watch for: The Jaguars’ offensive tackles struggled last season, with Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor combining to allow 27 sacks, per ESPN Stats & Information research. The duo got off to a solid start against Houston, but this week will be significantly harder. Even if Bradley Chubb doesn’t play or is limited, Von Miller will be hard to handle. Expect the Jaguars to keep tight end Chris Manhertz in to help the tackles. — Mike DiRocco

Bold prediction: The Broncos’ defense will have six combined sacks and turnovers. Denver won’t load up on the blitzes against Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and while the Broncos certainly see Lawrence’s obvious talents, he will face of a variety of four-man pressures backed by a variety of coverage looks from Vic Fangio’s defense. And if the Broncos keep the Jaguars in difficult down-and-distance situations, Lawrence could have a tough time finding room to work. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: Jacksonville, dating back to last season, is on the verge of losing 17 straight games, which would be tied for the fourth-longest losing streak since the merger in 1970. The Jags have allowed at least 20 points in each game of the skid.

Injuries: Broncos | Jaguars

What to know for fantasy: Jacksonville running back James Robinson scored at least 10 fantasy points in every game last season as an unknown resource. He let managers down with just 8.4 points in Week 1, and he faces a Broncos team this week that held Saquon Barkley to 26 yards on 10 carries last weekend. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Teddy Bridgewater is 22-3 ATS on the road as a starter, but one of his rare loss against the spread came in Week 2 of last season at Tampa Bay, when he played for the Panthers. Read more.

Legwold’s pick: Broncos 30, Jaguars 16
DiRocco’s pick: Broncos 27, Jaguars 13
FPI prediction: DEN, 62.7% (by an average of 4.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Shirt on or shirt off, elite-version Miller has returnedOpening loss to Texans shows pass rush still a problem for Jaguars Broncos place CB Darby, WR Jeudy on IR … … Bridgewater makes the first impression Broncos hoped to see


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

1 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
32.5 | Spread: CHI -2.5 (45)

What to watch for: Justin Fields is always the center of attention. The Bears rookie quarterback played five snaps and scored a rushing touchdown in Chicago’s Week 1 loss to the Rams. What will Fields do for an encore? The entire city of Chicago is on edge over the Bears. Veteran starter Andy Dalton — formerly of the Bengals — will need to play exceptionally well to hold onto the job. Even that might not be enough to fend off Fields. — Jeff Dickerson

Bold prediction: The Bengals will have two wide receivers with at least 75 receiving yards, and look for the Cincinnati to attack the right sideline. Chicago surrendered four completions for 138 yards and a touchdown down the right sideline against the Rams, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. — Ben Baby

Stat to know: The Bengals have the NFL’s worst road record of 3-20-1 (.146) since 2018. Quarterback Joe Burrow is looking for the first road win of his career; he is 0-5-1 with a Total QBR of 45 in six career road starts.

Injuries: Bengals | Bears

What to know for fantasy: Think the Bears, a three-point favorite, will win this game? In Chicago’s final three wins of 2020, David Montgomery averaged 146 total yards per game on his way to 24.6 fantasy points per game. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Chicago quarterback Andy Dalton is 10-19 ATS in his past 29 starts. Read more.

Baby’s pick: Bengals 28, Bears 24
Dickerson’s pick: Bears 21, Bengals 20
FPI prediction: CHI, 54.2% (by an average of 1.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: How Burrow’s expectations for himself, Bengals are creating successBears offer small glimpse of Fields’ potentialHiggins to swap number: ‘I’m not Ochocinco 2.0’


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
58.4 | Spread: ARI -3.5 (50.5)

What to watch for: Sure, all eyes will be on Kyler Murray just because of his unpredictability and excitement levels. But the most important aspect to watch on Sunday is how the Cardinals’ front seven pressures the Vikings’ offensive line and whether it can get to Kirk Cousins, who threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns last week. If the Cards’ defense plays like it did in Tennessee, and Chandler Jones goes for another few sacks, then Minnesota’s offense will be stuck in the mud, much like the Titans’ was. — Josh Weinfuss

Bold prediction: Jones and J.J. Watt will each tally two sacks. Penalties won’t plague Minnesota’s offense like they did in Week 1; that responsibility belongs to the Cardinals’ defensive front, which will wreak havoc against the Vikings’ struggling O-line. Unlike the Titans, Minnesota will attempt to help its tackles against Jones, but it won’t be enough. — Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: Murray threw for a career-high four touchdown passes in Week 1 versus the Titans, with three of those coming on third down. He is the first Cardinals player with four pass touchdowns and a rushing score in a game since 1962 (Charley Johnson).

Injuries: Vikings | Cardinals

What to know for fantasy: Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has seen an end zone target in nine straight games. (He has nine touchdowns over that run.) See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Unders are 10-2-1 in Arizona games played in the first month of the season since 2018. Read more.

Cronin’s pick: Cardinals 30, Vikings 17
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 34, Vikings 17
FPI prediction: ARI, 61.1% (by an average of 4.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Have the Vikings finally found their No. 3 receiver?Watt done ‘tiptoeing’ around his trainingJones: Contract will come as sacks pile upA healthy Murray makes Cardinals a contender


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
Matchup rating:
50.6 | Spread: TB -12.5 (52)

What to watch for: It’s rare that a team manages to come away with a victory being minus-three in the turnover margin, but the Buccaneers did just that against the Cowboys in Week 1. Cutting down on those mistakes against Atlanta will be key. On the other side of things, how long will Falcons coach Arthur Smith stick with the run against the league’s top-ranked run defense over the past two years? Especially since the Cowboys didn’t need it last week after getting chunk plays through the air against a Tampa Bay secondary that had issues tackling. The Bucs also will be without starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. — Jenna Laine

Bold prediction: Matt Ryan will have a 300-yard, three-touchdown day against Tampa Bay — but it still results in a loss. The Falcons will find a way to get on track offensively; Ryan had 621 yards and five touchdowns in two games against the Buccaneers last season. But Tom Brady will have a 300-yard day of his own to counteract Atlanta’s offensive discovery and send the Falcons to 0-2. — Michael Rothstein

Stat to know: Brady has a career record of 8-0 against the Falcons — including a win in Super Bowl LI. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Brady looks to become the sixth QB to go 9-0 or better against a single team since starts were first tracked in 1950.

Injuries: Falcons | Buccaneers

What to know for fantasy: Playoffs included, wideout Antonio Brown has run more than 25 routes eight times in his Buccaneers career, including last week with 36 routes. Tampa has won five of those games, and AB has found the end zone in all five. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Weeks 8 and 9 last season were the last time Tampa Bay failed to cover consecutive games (playoffs included). Read more.

Rothstein’s pick: Buccaneers 35, Falcons 24
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 21
FPI prediction: TB, 78.1% (by an average of 11.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Ryan: Super Bowl loss has ‘no bearing’ on game vs. Brady, BuccaneersBucs RB Jones to start despite Week 1 benchingPatterson — now clearly a running back — finds a role in Atlanta’s offenseBrady trolling Falcons ahead of Week 2 matchup?


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
61.9 | Spread: WSH -3.5 (40.5)

What to watch for: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will be looking for Austin Ekeler through the air this week after the running back didn’t have a catch in Week 1. Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley has said the team needs to work Ekeler into the passing game. On the other side, the Cowboys need a big day from their offense to avoid an 0-2 start. — Shelley Smith

Bold prediction: Dak Prescott will not throw for 400 yards. Not bold enough? In the past four games that he has started and finished, he has thrown for at least 403 yards. He is the first player in league history with four 400-yard games in a five-game span. He has eight 400-yard passing games since 2016, most in the NFL. But the Cowboys are just 1-3 in those four games and know that is not a long-term formula for success. Maybe he throws for just 399 yards instead. — Todd Archer

Stat to know: The Cowboys are looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2010; the only time they have started 0-2 with both games on the road was in 1989. And while the Chargers have won the past three games versus Dallas, they are 0-3 against Mike McCarthy-led teams.

Injuries: Cowboys | Chargers

What to know for fantasy: The Cowboys are a three-point underdog, so Prescott managers have their opponent right where they want them. In his past three losses, Prescott is averaging 57.7 passes and 30.7 fantasy points per game. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Chargers covered their final two home games of 2020 after failing to cover seven of their previous nine games at their place. Read more.

Archer’s pick: Chargers 27, Cowboys 23
Smith’s pick: Chargers 34, Cowboys 23
FPI prediction: LAC, 50.2% (by an average of 0.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Elliott shows versatility, but Cowboys need better run gameChargers’ Williams looking to step up in contract yearCowboys defensive end Lawrence will miss 6-8 weeks with broken foot, sources sayClutch keep-away drive allows Chargers rare drama-free victoryCowboys’ McCarthy: ‘A challenge’ when O-line is in flux again


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
56.5 | Spread: SEA -6.0 (54)

What to watch for: Seattle’s defense must be licking its chops after watching the Titans allow six sacks in their blowout loss to Arizona in Week 1. The Seahawks got to Carson Wentz early and often in their opener. Now, their pass-rushers will have the added advantage of the crowd noise at Lumen Field, which could be as loud as ever with fans in attendance for the first time in a regular-season game since December 2019. — Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: The Titans will score a touchdown on their first drive. That’s saying a lot considering how Tennessee only gained a total of four yards on their first four drives last week. The Seahawks are playing in their 2021 home opener at Lumen Field, where they only allowed opposing offenses to score a touchdown on the opening drive twice last season. — Turron Davenport

Stat to know: The Titans have allowed more than 35 points in their past three regular-season games. And with Russell Wilson putting on a four-touchdown performance in Week 1, it is entirely possible that Titans streak continues. Wilson followed up the 2020 opener with five passing touchdowns in consecutive games.

Injuries: Titans | Seahawks

What to know for fantasy: In the Titans’ past five losses (playoffs included), Derrick Henry has touched the ball 100 times but has not scored once. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Titans have failed to cover three straight regular-season games twice in the past calendar year (includes an active streak). Read more.

Davenport’s pick: Seahawks 28, Titans 24
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 30, Titans 24.
FPI prediction: SEA, 70.5% (by an average of 7.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Titans’ Hooker to IR after injuring foot in openerTaylor, Seahawks pass rush show that they’re as good as advertised‘It is a wake-up call for us’: Titans’ offensive line can’t keep getting outmuscledAlready ‘cooking’: Seahawks’ Wilson-Waldron partnership gets off to fast start


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating:
84.8 | Spread: KC -3.5 (54.5)

What to watch for: Patrick Mahomes has diced up the Ravens’ defense in three meetings, with the Chiefs averaging 31.3 points per game. Baltimore’s defense looked vulnerable Monday night, when it allowed 33 points in Las Vegas. But the Ravens have never given up more than 30 points in each of their first two games of a season. — Jamison Hensley

Bold prediction: Mahomes will complete six throws of at least 20 yards. Those plays are always there for him against a Ravens team that blitzes a lot but leaves itself vulnerable to big throws. He has 16 such plays in three career starts against the Ravens, who come into this game with a depleted secondary. — Adam Teicher

play

1:30

Stephen A. Smith sounds off on Lamar Jackson’s comments about the Ravens’ matchup with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 2.

Stat to know: Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have the two highest Total QBRs among quarterbacks to appear in 10-plus prime-time games since the metric began in 2006. Mahomes has an eight-game winning streak in prime-time contests, the longest active streak of any quarterback. Jackson is 0-3 in his career versus the Chiefs, largely due to accuracy issues, failing to complete 55% of his passes in any of those three matchups.

Injuries: Chiefs | Ravens

What to know for fantasy: Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill has 310.6 fantasy points over his past 12 games (playoffs included). How good is that? Texas wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had 287.8 points in 16 games last season. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Mahomes is 8-3 ATS for his career in September. Read more.

Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 30, Ravens 20
Hensley’s pick: Chiefs 27, Ravens 24
FPI prediction: KC, 55.7% (by an average of 2.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: A promise to his father: Why Orlando Brown left the Ravens for the ChiefsRavens promote veteran RB Freeman to active rosterChiefs, Mahomes know it can’t be just Hill and KelceJackson says he’s not dwelling on past losses as Ravens prepare to face Mahomes, Chiefs


Guide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, moreGuide to every Week 2 NFL game: Picks, matchup nuggets, more

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
37.6 | Spread: GB -11.0 (48)

What to watch for: How will the Lions try to defend Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense? The Saints blitzed him just twice and focused their efforts on taking away Davante Adams & Co. Will that serve as a blueprint for future opponents? What the Lions do — and how well they do it — might help determine what kind of coverages Rodgers sees throughout the season. — Rob Demovsky

Bold prediction: The Lions will pull off their first upset of the Dan Campbell and Jared Goff era. Yes, the odds of this happening are slim, but I’ll pick Detroit to win at Lambeau Field against a vulnerable Green Bay team. Detroit’s running back duo of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams will give the Packers problems, since most teams in the NFC North aren’t used to facing a Lions team with a solid ground game. — Eric Woodyard

Stat to know: The Packers’ offense was bad in Week 1, but maybe there’s a silver lining. In two games following a 25-point loss under coach Matt Lafleur, Rodgers has thrown four touchdown passes in each.

Injuries: Lions | Packers

What to know for fantasy: Rodgers had no touchdown passes and two interceptions Week 1 at the Saint. He has never had back-to-back games with zero passing TDs as a starter. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: The over hit in all three divisional games at Lambeau last season (1-4 in the other five regular-season games Green Bay hosted). Read more.

Woodyard’s pick: Lions 21, Packers 17
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 23, Lions 17
FPI prediction: GB, 67.4% (by an average of 6.5 points)

Matchup must-reads:Don’t call it a blueprint (yet), but Saints showed how to give Rodgers fitsGoff earns admirers in comeback attempt vs. 49ersLions CB Okudah out for year with ruptured Achilles

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