The 2018 season rolls into Week 2, featuring a host of division rivalries and grudge matches. Here are our NFL tips and analysis for every Week 2 match-up!
History: Played 44: Ravens 22 V Bengals 22
Last meeting: December 31, 2017: Bengals 31 V Ravens 27 M&T Bank Stadium
Final Thoughts: Week 2 kicks off with an AFC North showdown between two first-up winners.
The Baltimore Ravens made an early statement with a 47-3 demolition of the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. They’ll be looking to back that up on their first road trip of the season against a Cincinnati Bengals outfit that pulled off a 34-23 away upset of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Bengals have won seven of their last nine against the Ravens. Both sides nabbed an away win last season, with the Ravens getting up 20-0 in Cincinnati and the Bengals winning 31-27 in Baltimore.
If the Bengals can match their devastating pass rush of last week the Ravens could be in a bit of trouble, but in a match-up that is incredibly tough to split we’d prefer to have a nudge at the overs with both teams hitting the ground running offensively.
History: Played 34: Steelers 23 V Chiefs 11
Last meeting: October 15, 2017: Steelers 19 d Chiefs 13 at Arrowhead Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Kansas City Chiefs downed the highly-fancied LA Chargers 38-28 in Week 1, while the Pittsburgh Steelers will be bristling from a 21-all tie with the lowly Cleveland Browns.
It’s so far, so good with Patrick Mahomes at QB for the Chiefs, but the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger was shut down by the Browns – giving up three interceptions – and should be primed for a big bounce-back performance.
The Steelers have won six of their last seven against the Chiefs, including a Divisonal Playoff Game two seasons ago and another tight win last year. Five of their last eight clashes were decided by six points or less.
The Chiefs’ defence wasn’t overly impressive last week, but if their offence keeps humming they shape as a solid underdog option in Week 2.
History: Played 18: Eagles 10 V Buccaneers 8
Last meeting: November 22, 2015: Buccaneers 45 d Eagles 17 at Lincoln Financial Field
Final Thoughts: The Philadelphia Eagles’ title defence began with a hard-fought 18-12 defeat of the Falcons after trailing at halftime. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the surprise packets of Week 1, rolling the hotshot Saints 48-40 in New Orleans.
Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles was average at best for the Eagles last week and looks set to start again with Carson Wentz unlikely to return. Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick had a blinder for the Bucs, throwing for four touchdowns, while Tampa’s secondary backed it up with a strong performance on Saints QB Drew Brees.
The Eagles have won their last two at Tampa Bay, but this is the teams’ first meeting in three years. The Bucs have won eight of their last 12 at Raymond Jones Stadium and are a very tempting pick as a home underdog based on what they put up last week.
History: Played 17: Browns 13 V Saints 4
Last meeting: September 14, 2014: Browns 26 d Saints 24 at FirstEnergy Stadium
Final Thoughts: Coming off an 0-16 campaign last year, the Cleveland Browns started impressively by holding the heavyweight Steelers to a 21-all tie – a game they were unlucky not to win.
The Saints, meanwhile, went down at home to the Buccaneers 48-40 in a Week 1 shock. The Super Bowl smokies will be desperate to avoid going 0-2 after what was regarded as a relatively gentle start to the year.
Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns against Tampa but getting their running game cranking is the key for the Saints.
The Saints have won only one of their last six against the Browns. The hosts should be able to turn things around sufficiently to win, but the Browns have been afforded a huge start and look like the play here.
History: Played 115: Packers 60 V Vikings 52 (2 Ties)
Last meeting: December 23, 2017: Vikings 16 d Packers 0 at Lambeau Field
Final Thoughts: Another of the NFL’s great rivalries gets another airing in Week 2, with the Green Bay Packers hosting fellow first-up victors the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikes outlasted the 49ers 24-16 with new quarterback Kirk Cousins passing for two touchdowns. The Packers shaded the Bears 24-23 with Aaron Rodgers passing for three fourth-quarter TDs in his comeback match after they trailed by 17 at the last change.
Rodgers is under a knee injury cloud for this game, but is hopeful of starting.
The Vikings have won four of their last five against the Packers, including two of their last three at Green Bay. Last season’s 16-0 shutout at Lambeau Field was the third straight game between the teams decided 13 points or more.
It’s a massive chance for both teams to put their early stamp on the NFC North and it should go down to the wire. Again, we can’t resist the in-form home underdog.
Tip: Vikings Win
History: Played 46: Falcons 28 V Panthers 18
Last meeting: December 31, 2017: Falcons 22 d Panthers 10 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Final Thoughts: A ferocious NFC South rivalry shapes as one of the highlights of Week 2, with the Atlanta Falcons hosting the Carolina Panthers in a pivotal showdown.
The Falcons went down 18-12 to the Eagles in the season opener but were far from disgraced, with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones starting the season brightly. The Panthers kicked off their campaign with an impressive 16-8 home win over the Cowboys, with their miserly defence the highlight.
The Falcons have won four of their last five against the Panthers. The Panthers ended a three-match losing streak in the rivalry with a 20-17 victory at home last season, but the Falcons won the return clash in Atlanta in the last regular-season round.
Atlanta are warm favourites here but Cam Newton’s Carolina outfit looks the far more astute play, as does the unders.
History: Played 117: Raiders 63 V Broncos 52 (2 Ties)
Last meeting: November 26, 2017: Raiders 21 d Broncos 14 at O.co Coliseum
Final Thoughts: Long-time adversaries the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders face off in a crucial AFC West derby, but the teams’ are coming off contrasting Week 1 fortunes.
The Broncos edged the Seahawks 27-24 with Case Keenum starring. The Raiders stuck with highly-fancied Rams until halftime before being blown out 33-13 – after a 26-0 second half.
The Broncos won 16-10 at Mile High early last season, but the Raiders turned the tables 21-14 at home. The Broncos have won 10 of their last 13 against the Broncos but only two of the last five.
Despite a dreadful season overall in 2017 the Broncos managed a 4-4 home record; a second straight week in their own backyard should produce another victory against a Raiders side that have lost six of their last seven on the road.
History: Played 112: Cowboys 64 V Giants 46 (2 Ties)
Last meeting: December 10, 2017: Cowboys 30 V Giants 10 at MetLife Stadium
Final Thoughts: In a week brimming with division rivalries and grudge matches, few shape as being more crucial than this showdown between two Week 1 losers.
The New York Giants went down 20-15 at home to the Jaguars with the under-pressure Eli Manning have a forgettable game, while the Dallas Cowboys were strangled by the Panthers’ D in a 16-8 away loss. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was kept very quiet and Ezekiel Elliott’s impact was also limited; the Giants’ defence will be looking to replicate the Panthers’ effort.
After losing the previous three games between the teams, the Cowboys won both clashes last season convincingly – 19-3 away in Week 1 and 30-10 at home during the tail-end of the campaign.
Both sides need major improvement, particularly offensively, if they are to chalk up a much-needed maiden W. The Cowboys should get it done at home.