1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 53 | Spread: SF -6.5 (41)
What to watch for: It’s a battle of two relatively inexperienced quarterbacks — the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo and the Jets’ Sam Darnold (27 career starts each). Garoppolo (21-6) has done more winning than Darnold (11-16), who hasn’t had the same talent and coaching around him as his counterpart. How each performs on Sunday will be a difference-maker for two passing offenses looking to get going after Week 1 losses. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: Niners rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk will go over 100 yards in his NFL debut. Aiyuk is back from a hamstring injury, and after a poor showing for the Niners’ receivers last week, he will get plenty of chances to show why coach Kyle Shanahan coveted him in the first round of the NFL draft. — Nick Wagoner
Stat to know: San Francisco tight end George Kittle was held to 44 receiving yards on four catches in Week 1. He hasn’t had back-to-back games under 50 yards since 2017.
What to know for fantasy: No player in the NFL accounted for a greater percentage of his team’s Week 1 scrimmage yards than Jamison Crowder(45.3%). Whether he suits up will be something to keep an eye on. See Week 2 rankings.
Betting nugget: San Francisco is 7-21-2 ATS in its past 30 games as a favorite. But in its past 20 games as a road favorite, San Francisco is 13-7 ATS. Read more.
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 31, Jets 20
Cimini’s pick: 49ers 24, Jets 20
FPI prediction: SF, 61.1% (by an average of 4.0 points)
San Francisco 49ers 23, New York Jets 13
I’m afraid to write this preview because another key 49ers starter will probably be revealed as injured before I finish the paragraph. The football gods taketh, but they also giveth with San Francisco’s schedule over the next month — SEE: both New York teams and the Dolphins on tap in the next four weeks. Despite the injuries, the 49ers are still far more talented and well-coached than the Jets. Nick Bosa versus promising Jets behemoth left tackle Mekhi Becton would be worth the price of admission, if that was a thing that still existed.
UPDATE: 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee) was ruled out for Sunday’s game after this article published.
49ers at Jets (+7)
How are things going in San Francisco? The fourth question in Matt Barrows’ mailbag was about whether Nick Mullens could be a threat to Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers will be without Richard Sherman (calf) for a couple of weeks. His potential replacement, Ahkello Witherspoon, suffered a concussion Sunday. And their next-best option, Jason Verrett, is recovering from a hamstring strain. It could be Dontae Johnson, who was promoted from the practice squad, starting for the 49ers in Week 2. Luckily for them, they are playing the Jets. Adam Gase got the dreaded vote of confidence from ownership one week into the season, leading to this comment:The 49ers found ways to win despite bad injury luck last year. Their coaching staff has earned the benefit of the doubt.
The pick: 49ers (-7)
From: The Athletic
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 43.2 | Spread: BUF -5.5 (41)
What to watch for: In two games against the Dolphins in 2019, Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 62.7% of his passes for 458 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions, along with 11 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown. We should keep an eye on whether that success continues against a revamped Dolphins defense which now includes former Bills edge rusher Shaq Lawson but still gave up 217 rushing yards last week to the Patriots — including 75 yards to Cam Newton. — Cameron Wolfe
Bold prediction: The Bills will have two 100-yard receivers on Sunday. They ran a four-receiver set on a league-high 25% of their snaps last week, and despite the Dolphins’ struggles against the run in Week 1, the Bills will commit once again to their passing game. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: The Dolphins had 87 rushing yards in Week 1, and they had 13 games with fewer than 100 rushing yards last season (tied for the most in the NFL with the Jets).
What to know for fantasy: Allen has thrown multiple touchdown tosses nine times in his career, and he is 4-for-4 against the Dolphins and 5-for-25 against the rest of the NFL. See Week 2 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Bills have covered four straight games as the favorite. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 31, Dolphins 17
Wolfe’s pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 16
FPI prediction: BUF, 65.3% (by an average of 5.6 points)
Buffalo Bills 27, Miami Dolphins 17
One week after struggling with a Cam Newton-led rushing attack, the Dolphins will face the would-be poor-man’s Cam in Josh Allen. After talking about reducing Allen’s carries in training camp, underrated offensive coordinator Brian Daboll did the opposite last week, calling seven Allen runs before calling one for Devin Singletary. The Bills’ offense is also smartly getting the ball out of Allen’s hand quickly and using far more play-action. The Dolphins were handled twice by the Bills last season, have very little continuity and rank below average in every position group outside the secondary. That’s a bad combination against a cohesive Bills squad.
Bills at Dolphins (+5.5)
The clip of Josh Allen rolling to his left and badly missing John Brown in the end zone last week made the rounds on social media, but overall Allen got off to an encouraging start. He performed well in metrics like completion percentage above expectation, which compares a quarterback’s actual completion percentage to a projected completion percentage, based on factors like where each pass was thrown, how close the nearest defender was, pressure, etc. And Allen was 4-for-7 on throws that traveled 15 yards or more from the line of scrimmage. Allen struggled against man coverage last year and will see a heavy dose of that against Miami. Bills win, but the Dolphins keep it close.
The pick: Dolphins (+5.5)
From: The Athletic
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 73.4 | Spread: SEA -4 (44.5)
What to watch for: Will the Seahawks continue to let Russell Wilson cook? They strayed from their usual establish-the-run M.O. and dropped back to pass on 11 of their 14 first-quarter offensive plays against Atlanta. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has said matchups will factor into how much the Seahawks throw early, and the matchup this week includes the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore. — Brady Henderson
Bold prediction: Undrafted rookie running back J.J. Taylor will make a play that leads the national television audience to take notice. At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he can play “hide and seek,” according to running backs coach Ivan Fears, who has compared Taylor to Dion Lewis and Darren Sproles in terms of his physical stature. — Mike Reiss
Stat to know: Cam Newton and Wilson have combined for five seasons with at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. The rest of the players in NFL history have combined for four such seasons.
What to know for fantasy: Newton was the sixth-highest-scoring quarterback in Week 1, and his 25.7 points were more than Tom Brady had in any single game from last season. See Week 2 rankings.
Betting nugget: This ends the Patriots’ streak of being favored in 64 consecutive games. Read more.
Reiss’ pick: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Patriots 20
FPI prediction: SEA, 61.8% (by an average of 4.3 points)
Seattle Seahawks 27, New England Patriots 19
The Patriots’ incredibly diverse Week 1 rushing attack is unlikely to be repeated on Sunday night. That strategy was built to expose Miami’s weak linebackers and extra defensive backs, which is not Seattle’s problem. Similarly, Russ is unlikely to cook at the same temperature against perhaps the best collection of cornerbacks in football. The Patriots will invite the Seahawks to run, and Brian Schottenheimer is not one to turn down that invitation.
Even in a best-case Patriots season (11-5?), this looks like one of those losses. Their offense will take time to build up its passing concepts. They had incredible turnover in defensive personnel up front and have completely transformed their offense. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are locked and loaded from the jump, like a team with a top-three quarterback and excellent supporting cast should be. Pats fans know well what those teams look like.
Patriots at Seahawks (-4)
The key in this game will be how Russell Wilson attacks the Patriots’ man coverage. When the Falcons played man last week, Wilson was 18-for-20 for 194 yards, according to Sports Info Solutions. But comparing the Falcons’ man coverage to the Patriots’ man coverage is like comparing sweet potato fries (bad) to curly fries (amazing). Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson and company were terrific last week against the Dolphins, but they’ll face a much tougher challenge against Wilson, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. This feels like a field-goal game either way.
The pick: Patriots (+4)
From: The Athletic