Buffalo Bills 21, New York Giants 16
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Eli Manning has turned the ball over 20 times more than any other quarterback since 2013 and has lost more games (24) since the start of 2017 than any other signal-caller. There’s at least a chance this could be the last chance Eli gets, because the Bills defense is capable of fattening up that turnover total, and the Giants should be capable of imagining life with Daniel Jones if they fall to 0-2.
I couldn’t be higher on this Buffalo defense. Bills rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver looks like an instant star, veteran Trent Murphy appears to be back to his Redskins form and the rest of the D-line rotation is impressive in its depth. This is a defense disciplined enough to limit the production of stars like Giantsrunning back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram while forcing lesser G-Men to beat them. If Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is still a season away from fulfilling his vision, Bills coach Sean McDermott has been building to this team, this year.
What to watch for: Saquon Barkley ran for 120 yards on just 11 carries in Week 1, the second-fewest carries in his career. That’s not likely to happen again, especially against a Bills defense that has been so good against the pass since the start of last season. “We all know that Saquon is a focus of our offense. … Yeah, we want him to get the football,” coach Pat Shurmur said. It’s not hard to see where this one is headed, for good reason. — Jordan Raanan
Bold prediction: Bills quarterback Josh Allen set a career high in Week 1 with 254 passing yards — he’ll set another career high in Week 2 with his first 300-yard game through the air against a Giants secondary that just surrendered 405 passing yards to Dak Prescott. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: The Giants are 4-12 at home over the past two seasons, the worst home win percentage (.250) in the NFL during that span. But they need a win to avoid a sixth 0-2 start in their past seven seasons.
Betting nugget: New York is 6-15-1 ATS in its past 22 September games since 2013, and it has failed to cover its past seven Week 2 games. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 24, Giants 10
Raanan’s pick: Bills 22, Giants 20
FPI prediction: BUF, 50.3% (by an average of 0.2 points)
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
The Patriots have lost five of their last six games in Miami, and Bill Belichick was thumped by former proteges Matt Patricia and Mike Vrabel last season, facts which probably make Belichick far less comfortable than his fans this week. Even if Belichick saying that the Dolphins have so many “great players,” that they “can’t get them all in the game at the same time” feels like laying it on thick, there’s a paranoid part of Belichick that probably believes it.
Comfort isn’t Belichick’s thing. The addition of Antonio Brown and the subsequent sexual assault allegations brought against him have somehow raised the stakes for an organization that has been to three straight Super Bowls. It looks exhausting from the outside, but Tom Brady followed up a sharp camp with a sharper season opener. Belichick should be glowing (on the inside) because of his defense, with a dynamic linebacker group and players like slot corner Jonathan Jones ready to make the leap. All the continuity in the secondary allows the defense to start in midseason form, while the Dolphins are just looking to find keepers after their Week 1 embarrassment. On the plus side, Ryan Fitzpatrick played about as well as a quarterback can in a 59-10 loss, and NFL rosters are too balanced for such beatdowns to continue. At least the expectations are now so low that a 17-point home loss could be considered a moral victory.
What to watch for: You could see potential career days for Sony Michel, James White and the Patriots’ running game. The Dolphins loaded the box to stop the Ravens’ run game last week, and as a result, they were torched by Lamar Jackson‘s arm. But even then, they still gave up 265 rushing yards to Mark Ingram II and the rest of the Ravens’ backfield. — Cameron Wolfe
Bold prediction: Assuming the NFL doesn’t step in and place him on the commissioner’s exempt list, Pats receiver Antonio Brown will play and score at least one touchdown. Tom Brady will want to get Brown involved early in his New England debut. — Mike Reiss
Stat to know: The Dolphins sustained blocks through 2.5 seconds just 35% of the time in Week 1, the second-worst rate in the NFL according to ESPN’s pass block win rate using NFL Next Gen Stats. Meanwhile, Michael Bennett had a pass rush win rate of 39% in Week 1, third-best among individual pass-rushers.
What to know for fantasy: The Patriots have struggled in Miami recently, but Brady has been a top-three fantasy quarterback in two of his past three trips to South Beach. See Week 2 rankings.
Betting nugget: No team in the Super Bowl era has ever been more than an 18-point favorite on the road before the end of September. The largest home underdog in that span was 18 points, done twice (1969 and 1970). Both of those underdogs were shut out and did not cover. Read more.
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 37, Dolphins 16
Wolfe’s pick: Patriots 44, Dolphins 20
FPI prediction: NE, 85.7% (by an average of 15.2 points)
Cleveland Browns 26, New York Jets 13
8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) | MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Here’s a list of disappointing aspects from the Browns‘ and Jets‘ openers, ranked in order of long-term concern: My friends’ well-being, Adam Gase’s proclivity for the dink-and-dunk, the Jets‘ well-paid interior offensive line, Cleveland’s offensive tackles, the Browns‘ blah pass rush, the Browns‘ penalty party, Gase’s cranky press conferences, Baker Mayfield‘s interceptions and Odell Beckham Jr.’s sartorial choices.
I did not expect to have to add Sam Darnold’s mononucleosis to the mix, which climbs right to the top. I predicted the Browns winning on the road even before the depressing Darnold development because of the Jets‘ passing-game struggles, which won’t improve with Trevor Siemian behind center. Now a fun, desperate matchup between 2018 draft wonder boys has been sullied before it even started, which could describe this entire Jets season, with Darnold also expected to miss Week 3 against the Patriots. Give your local Jets fan a hug.
What to watch for: Without quarterback Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), the Jets will turn to Trevor Siemian to save them from an 0-2 start. The Gregg Williams-coached defense will have to play out of its mind to beat Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr., who accused Williams of teaching his players how to execute dirty hits. Williams, fired by the Browns after last season, will “have a chip on his shoulder,” as New York safety Jamal Adams said. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: Much like in last year’s Bud Light Fridge Game against the Jets, Mayfield dazzles under the lights with three prime-time touchdown passes, placing Cleveland’s hype train back on its track after that disastrous Week 1 performance. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: In their Week 1 loss to the Titans, the Browns had at least three wide receivers on the field for 60 of their 63 snaps (95%). That was the team’s second-most such snaps in a game over the last 10 seasons (61 snaps versus the Chargers last season). But Mayfield did not throw a touchdown and tossed three interceptions — all in the fourth quarter — while targeting Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
What to know for fantasy: In Week 1, the Jets were the second-worst team in preventing yards before first contact. Why does that matter? Since the beginning of last season, Browns running back Nick Chubb ranks as the fifth-best back after first contact. See Week 2 rankings.
Betting nugget: Cleveland has not been a road favorite of at least five points since 1995, when Bill Belichick was still its head coach. Read more.
Trotter’s pick: Browns 30, Jets 24
Cimini’s pick: Browns 24, Jets 14
FPI prediction: NYJ, 58.8% (by an average of 3.2 points)