NFL picks, predictions for Week 2: Cowboys, 49ers get on board with wins; Vikings edge Colts

NFL picks and predictions for Week 2 of the season are much less of a crapshoot than they were for opening weekend given the newfound knowledge we have about all 32 teams, but we’re not about to suggest that there are any sure bets.

If anything, teams like the Colts and Eagles last week reinforced the fact that even some of the biggest favorites based on the odds can lose. Now some contenders are flirting with a damning 0-2 hole to start the 2020 NFL season.

Based on the odds, Week 2 is expected to be a big one for the home teams, as the road team is favored in just five of the 16 games on the schedule. And of the games that feature home favorites, several of them have been set with point spreads that suggest the game is all but a toss-up.

With that as the background, below are our picks and predictions for Week 2 of the NFL season. As always, our point spreads are courtesy of Sports Insider.

NFL picks, predictions for Week 2

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Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

At the risk of overreacting to a solid debut for Joe Burrow, we can’t help but trust him more than Baker Mayfield in this game given what the latter showed us last week to start his third NFL season. The Browns suddenly are in the rare “must-win” spot in Week 2; if they lose to the Bengals, their season could quickly fall into the tank. The good news for Cleveland is that Mayfield is just one many players and coaches who are feeling the same pressure. They have no choice but to respond.

Pick: Browns 21, Bengals 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This is another matchup of teams trying to avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole. The Cowboys, though, have many more positives to take away from their Week 1 loss than the Falcons do. Matt Ryan should be able to exploit some favorable matchups again, but Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense this week don’t have to deal with the game-wrecker that is Aaron Donald.

Pick: Cowboys 34, Falcons 27

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Both of these teams are playing on short weeks, which in theory works in favor of the team that doesn’t have to deal with travel. The Steelers have realistic title aspirations in 2020 with Ben Roethlisberger back in the lineup to support a dominant defense. The Broncos are not yet on that level, especially without their best player, Von Miller.

Pick: Steelers 28, Broncos 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This matchup makes the Eagles’ Week 1 clunker against Washington much worse, because the level of difficulty rises significantly against the Rams. If Washington was able to sack Carson Wentz eight times, what are we supposed to expect Aaron Donald and Co. to do? If the Eagles’ defense can get the Rams’ offense off schedule, Philly will have a good chance to win. If not, it’s an 0-2 start for the defending NFC East champs.

Pick: Rams 27, Eagles 21

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Overreactions to Week 1 results are common, and suggesting the defending NFC champions are in trouble because they lost their season opener to a division rival is certainly an overreaction. Suggesting the Jets are still bad does not feel like an overreaction. Adam Gase’s team needs to flip that perception quickly before things get nasty in New York, but that’s unlikely to happen in Week 2.

Pick: 49ers 30, Jets 20

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

As tempting as it might be, and even though everybody else is doing it, the Packers can’t look at the Lions as the “same old Lions” after Detroit gifted Chicago a win last week. This is still a tricky division game against a team that had reasonable expectations for 2020 but was embarrassed in Week 1. The better team should still win even if the game is closer than expected.

Pick: Packers 26, Lions 23

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Colts getting a field goal at home makes this a toss-up game in the eyes of oddsmakers, which seems reasonable for a contest featuring a pair of contenders who suffered disappointing results in Week 1. The Vikings, though, lost to a much better team than the Colts did. They also have more stability at quarterback and better health in the running game.

Pick: Vikings 30, Colts 24

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

We doubt lightning will strike twice, so if the Bears fall behind in this game, don’t expect Mitchell Trubisky to get his team back into contention by making big throw after big throw. This will be more about coach Matt Nagy’s offense running on schedule against a defense it can manage.

Pick: Bears 26, Giants 20

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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Many subscribe to the theory that legitimate contenders need to win all of the games they’re supposed to win. So here’s the second consecutive chance for the Bills to prove their legitimacy in 2020 to that crowd. Chances are they won’t have a problem doing to the Dolphins almost exactly what the Patriots did in Week 1.

Pick: Bills 21, Dolphins 10

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Carolina’s offense looked good in the first game of the Matt Rhule/Joe Brady era, but there’s a significant difficulty increase from Las Vegas’ defense to that of Tampa Bay. And that young Panthers defense that couldn’t keep a Derek Carr-led offense out of the end zone enough? Meet Tom Brady.

Pick: Buccaneers 35, Panthers 24

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Gardner Minshew magic was impressive in Week 1 as the Jags upset the Colts, but Indianapolis didn’t exactly help itself with a pair of costly turnovers. The Titans are less likely to throw the game away and more likely to give Minshew trouble in the passing game.

Pick: Titans 24, Jaguars 17

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

Who had these two teams being undefeated in Week 2? Both are riding the highs of their respective Week 1 upsets, but Washington feels like its playing with house money more so than Arizona. The Cardinals suddenly have legitimate hopes of contending in the NFC West after knocking off the defending champs. This game should only reinforce that optimism.

Pick: Cardinals 30, Washington 20

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Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

It’s the Chargers’ turn for their home opener at the brand-new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, but it might not go as well as it did for the Rams against the Cowboys in Week 1. The Chargers got away with an average offensive performance in their escape against the Bengals. They won’t get away with it against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Pick: Chiefs 34, Chargers 21

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

It’s hard to think of a more brutal way to start the season than a schedule that features games against the Chiefs and the Ravens in the first couple of weeks. Houston had some moments in its loss to Kansas City to start the year, but not enough for us to think it can upset Baltimore and avoid the dreaded 0-2 hole.

Pick: Ravens 33, Texans 26

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The is the first real test for the Patriots’ new offense with Cam Newton, and the NFL scheduling gods give it to us in a primetime spot on national TV. The Seahawks will present the Patriots new challenges on that side of the ball, but we all know Bill Belichick’s bunch will do the same to Russell Wilson. Seattle is fortunate that its quarterback is known for adjusting on the fly and leveraging his many talents to squeak out wins.

Pick: Seahawks 28, Patriots 24

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ABC

This is not the party the opening of the brand-new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was supposed to be, but at least the Raiders are riding the high of a Week 1 victory. The lack of fans in the stadium should be the least of the home team’s concerns against the Saints, who, based on their Week 1 win over the Bucs, are primed for another run at a Super Bowl. Too much Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in this one.

Pick: Saints 34, Raiders 24

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