This week the Layerz Football writing team will give our predictions for the outcome of the games. If you’re in a hurry I suggest reading Tariq’s section.

Jets vs. Browns

Drue:

This is the week the Browns get to drink that victory beer i guarantee it. This defense has played very well against both the Steelers and Saints. They lead the league in takeaways, and I have a feeling they will get a couple from rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. The Browns offense and special teams may try their best to lose but this week the defense will be too good. Browns 13 Jets 6.

Anthony:

The Browns will finally break their horrendous two year losing streak against a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold and Myles Garrett should have a big game against the Jets offensive line. The Browns played well in their past two games against two playoff teams from last year in the Steelers and Saints respectively and their defense should put enough pressure on Sam Darnold to give Tyrod Taylor and the Browns offense ample scoring opportunities. In the end this game will come down to whoever wins the turnover battle and my money is on the Browns at home. 24–17 Cleveland.

Tariq:

Battle of the defenses here as both have been dominate, however i trust Darnold (barely) to outperform Tyrod because of the diverse group of Robby Anderson and Quincy Enuwa. Jets 24–21.

Bills vs Vikings

Drue:

A rookie quarterback going up against possibly the best defense in the league is a recipe for disaster. On the other side of the ball we have Kirk Cousins going up against a defense that has been carved up each of the last two weeks. I expect Kirk to have some fun with his cache of weapons and for this game to be over by the half. Vikings 30 Bills 3.

Anthony:

The Vikings are my Super Bowl team for the NFC this year and the Bills, well their starting corner Vontae Davis retired at halftime last week against the Chargers so I think you know where I’m going with this one. The Vikings have a top five offense that is averaging 26.5 points per game and their defense is ranked 14th in the league allowing just over 22 points per game. This Bills team is obviously much different from last years without Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and the play of Josh Allen and/or Nathan Peterman will determine whether this team even wins a game this year. Final Score: 35–10 Vikings

Tariq:

Bills ass. “YOU LIKE THAT” Im all in. Vikings 28–14.

Giants vs Texans

Battle of the disappointments I suppose. On the Giants side you have a quarterback who is completely washed using his weapons in the least effective way possible. As for the Texans you could say we possibly expected too much from Deshaun Watson, but with Will Fuller back he seemed to play much better. I expect the his growth to continue, I don’t however expect the Giants to find anything to grow on. Texans 24 Giants 17.

Anthony: Both of these teams are 0–2 and are hungry for their first win and while my selfish side (that has Hopkins and OBJ in one of my fantasy leagues) hopes that this will be a high-scoring game, my smarter side says otherwise. The Giants offensive line is no better than last year’s even with the additions of Nate Solder at Left Tackle and Will Hernandez at Guard, allowing six sacks last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Their defense has shown improvements thus far however and is currently ranked 6th in yards allowed per game. Even with the number one rushing offense in the NFL to this point, the Texans haven’t been as explosive on offense as many predicted they would be with the return of Deshaun Watson to go along with Lamar Miller, Will Fuller, and of course Deandre Hopkins. They made strides last week though, and Deshaun Watson was able to get both Will Fuller and Deandre Hopkins over 100 yards receiving, each with a touchdown as well. I feel the Texans pass rush will prove to be the difference-maker in this game with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney coming off the edge against a porous Giants O-line and Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense will prove that they are a top 10 unit. 27–17 Houston.

Tariq:

Please Please let me be right. I have been frustrated with this Giants offense but i think they finally get right against the Texans. Barkley and Odell combination cannot fail for long and Watson has been looking mortal after his rampage last season. If quick hits to Barkley can keep the D line of the Texans guessing and tired i can see he Giants coming away with the win. Giants 28–21.

Packers vs Redskins

Drue:

Aaron Rodgers played good enough against the Vikings for me to not worry too much about his knee. The Packers defense has also been much better than I expected and it will only get better as their young secondary continues to get experience. The Redskins came out really strong against the Cardinals and for a moment I expected them to compete in the NFC East but then they played a mediocre Colts team and managed just 9 points. Im starting to think their first game was more about how bad the Bills West, I mean Cardinals are rather than how good the Redskins are. Packers 27– Redskins 13.

Anthony:

Any time Aaron Rodgers is on the field for Green Bay they will be given a chance to win whether he is fully healthy or not as evidenced last week in their tie against Minnesota. However, Rodgers admitted this week that his knee was a ‘little sore’ and that his knee is more likely to get worse as the season rolls along. He didn’t seem to have many limitations last week but I can’t imagine his knee will be getting better anytime soon by not giving it any rest. I think Alex Smith and the duo of Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson coming out of the backfield along with Jordan Reed will take advantage of the Packers thin depth at linebacker and have a big game. As I mentioned earlier however, any game that Aaron Rodgers suits up for automatically gives his team a fighting chance, so it will be close but Alex Smith will ultimately come out on top. 27–24 Washington.

Tariq:

Upset pick again. Alex Smith has been doing what he usually does and that’s staying consistent. He hasn’t looked bad so far this season and with A-Rod nursing this injury i don’t think the Packers pull this out. Also look for AP to have another solid game as that Redskins line should make mincemeat out of the Packers front. Redskins 24–21.

49ers vs Chiefs

Drue:

Patrick Mahomes first game in Kansas City should be a good one. The 49ers are getting Reuban Foster back this week which will no doubt help the run defense and it will help them rush the quarterback. This will also be a good test for Richard Sherman who has hardly even be targeted this season. I had my doubts about him after seeing the video of Marquise Goodwin zooming past him in practice on a go route, but he’s done a good job of bottling up his receivers through the first two weeks. Tyreek Hill will be the fastest and most versatile receiver Sherman has faced yet and I am curious to see if the niners are smart enough to have a safety over the top of him. Either way I don’t expect Mahomes to shy away from Sherman as he’s distributed the ball all over the field the first two games of the season. On the flip side I expect a huge game from Jimmy G. Play-action should work ay better after a big game from Matt Brieda plus he is facing an awful Cheifs secondary and could really get some momentum going against this team, especially if Marquise Goodwin is back on the field. This is going to be an offensive bonanza with Kyle Shanahan going against Andy Reid this week and I expect a shootout. I believe the team with the better defense will win. 49ers 34-Chiefs 31.

Anthony:

I will be probably the first to tell you to pump the brakes on the Jimmy G hype train but it’s hard to deny he’s a good system fit for Kyle Shanahan’s version of the West Coast Offense. This game will be come down to whose defense makes more plays and both defenses are suspect. The 9ers are ranked 23rd in total defense, allowing 385 yards per game and 22 points, whereas the Chiefs are ranked dead last, allowing 33 points per game and a whopping 508 yards per game. Mahomes has obviously been on fire recently but we’re two games in folks so let’s cool the MVP talk and give defensive coordinators a chance to watch film and figure out how to slow this guy down. Ultimately the 49ers’ secondary is probably worse than Kansas City even with their prized offseason addition of a washed-up Richard Sherman, so Kansas City will win this game fairly easily with their high-powered offense backed by their loud and raucous crowd. 34–20 Kansas City.

Tariq:

Jimmy G has not looked good to me at all this season and the chiefs are the hottest offense in the league (Sorry FitzMagic fans). Mahomes has been dominate and with his cannon of an arm and the speed of Tyreke Hill, who no one in the secondary for the 49ers has a chance of running with him, should lead to an easy win for the Chiefs. Chiefs 34–21.

Raiders vs Dolphins

Drue:

In terms of ugly football only the Jets and Browns can rival what we’re going to see here. The Raiders looked great for three quarters and quarterback Derek Carr actually involved Amari Cooper and threw the ball downfield, both things to be positive about. Unfortunately this team has played poor in the second half for back to back games and that leads me to believe their not in condition. That won’t cut it in Miami, where it is extremely humid. The Dolphins have a great home field advantage and they’re 9–1 in Ryan Tannehill’s last 10 starts. Expect them to make it 10–1. Dolphins 20- Raiders 14.

Anthony: I am slightly biased in this because of my fandom for the Oakland Raiders but I don’t feel the Dolphins are as good as their record portrays. They are undefeated through two weeks after edging out close games against the Jets and Titans. The Raiders on the other hand are 0–2 coming off two tough losses against the Rams and Broncos that seem to boil down to second half adjustments. In week 1 the raiders were leading the Rams 13–10 and Derek Carr was efficient through one half of ball and then all hell broke loose. Derek Carr ended the game with three interceptions, one of which was a pick-six and penalties hampered any sign of hope on both sides of the ball for the Raiders. In week 2 the Raiders once again went into halftime leading with a score of 12–0, and once again thanks to a blocked extra point, which ended up being the difference between overtime and a gut-wrenching loss in the final seconds, the Raiders fell victim to being complacent on offense in the second half. Marshawn Lynch had a big game in Miami last year against a Dolphins defense that had Ndamukong Suh and I expect much of the same this year against a Suh-less Dolphins defense. Derek Carr is coming off of a historical performance last week against a talented Denver D in a hostile environment and looked to be back to the 2016 version of himself completing 29 of 32 passes (4th best in NFL history) for 288 yards and a touchdown. As long as Derek Carr and the Raiders offense can take care of the football I think they can squeak out a victory in hot and humid Miami. 30–24 Raiders.

Tariq:

TRAP GAME!!!!!!!! This is the homer in me obviously but i don’t believe in Ryan Tannehill to put up consistent good games. Also Carr was playing well during the Broncos game last week look for him to stay hot and knock off the Dolphins. Raiders 27–24

Colts vs Eagles

Drue:

Carson Wentz’s first game back and he is expected to put up good numbers against a Colts defense that I feel is getting better each week. I believe Wentz will be a bit rusty to start this game and that will allow the Colts to take advantage early. The Eagles defense is very talented but they gave up a lot of yards to the Falcons, who just couldn’t score in the red zone and they got obliterated by Ryan Fitzmagic. Maybe they’re a bit overrated. I’m counting on Andre Luck to prove that. Colts 24-Eagles 17.

Anthony:

This will be Carson Wentz’s first game back from his ACL injury and the Eagles offense should look much better with his athleticism and big-time arm back in the fold. The Colts have Andrew Luck back and what looks to be an improved defense lead by standout rookie linebacker Darius Leonard. Ultimately the RPO’s will prove to be too much for the Colts defense to handle however and Carson Wentz will have a strong first game back. The Eagles defense should generate some good pressure with their talented D-line and should generate enough turnovers to keep the ball in Carson Wentz’s hands. 23–13, Philadelphia.

Tariq:

WentzSania has returned and that leads to a more dynamic offense for the Eagles. Even if Nick Foles was playing i would have picked the Eagles, as their defense has been coming to play sans Jalen Mills. I expect the Colts to be down and out early here. Eagles 27–17.

Titans vs Jaguars

I’m very curious to see which Blake Bortles we see. The one who obliterated the Patriots last week or the one who throws more interceptions than touchdowns? Regardless, whether it’s Mariota or Gabbert the Jaguars defense is going to eat this offense for breakfast. The Titans are missing their top three tackles and they’re supposed to block that front? If they’re smart I would let Mariota take one more game to heal. Jaguars 17-Titans 3.

Anthony:

The Jaguars are legit if you haven’t noticed by now and are a serious threat to the Patriots dominance of the AFC as evidenced last week. They beat the Patriots fairly easily last week by a score of 31–20 and at one point they were up 21–3 which is unheard of against Brady and Bellichick. As long as Blake Bortles can limit his mistakes and their top 10 defense can keep Mariota in check they should win this one fairly easily. 34–21 Jacksonville.

Tariq: Mariota is a good college qb and a bad NFL one. Jaguars Defense is too good. Jags 31–14.

Bengals vs Panthers

Drue:

AJ Green, Andy Dalton and a revamped Bengals offense going against a stout defense in the Carolina Panthers. I expect the Panthers to make this game ugly and slow paced. Cam newton will probably lead the team in rushing yards and the Panthers will control time of possession limiting the amount of chances the Bengals get to score. Bengals 7- Panthers 17.

Anthony: The Bengals are 2–0 and are coming off their second week in a row having scored 34 points. A.J. Green seems to be back to dominating corners and I don’t see anyone on the Panthers roster that could slow him down. Will the absence of Joe Mixon effect the explosiveness of this improved Bengals offense? Look away if you love defense because this game should be an offensive shootout, with the winner likely being the team that commits less turnovers as is normally the case with suspect defenses. Cam Newton should put up big numbers if his o-line can keep him clean against a 27th ranked Cincinnati defense that allows 332 passing yards per game. If the game were in Cincy I might have the Bengals winning this one but it’s not. 30–28 Carolina.

Tariq:

My team to shock the AFC goes against my

Team to shock the NFC. Bengals without Joe Mixon is a blow, but Gio Bernard should get lose against a somewhat disheartening line for the Panthers. Also look for Cam to have a turnover or 2 because the Bengals D has been gelling nicely. Bengals 24–17.

Broncos vs. Ravens

Drue:

You won’t see much of this game on the red zone in large part because I expect this game to be a punt fest. Joe Flacco turned back to his usual self last week, and Case Keenum continues to throw interceptions. I believe the Brocos win because they have a better defense and rushing attack. Stay away from this game as it will be ugly. Broncos 21–14 Ravens.

Anthony:

My bias may show once again here but I don’t feel the Denver Broncos are as good as their 2–0 record says they are either. There’s no denying the fact that their offense is lightyears ahead of last year’s debacle led by Trevor Siemian, but their defense still remains their strong suit. The loss of Aqib Talib has weakened their secondary and I think Joe Flacco and his new arsenal of receivers will prove this just as Derek Carr did last week. If the Ravens can limit the amount of pressure on Joe Flacco, as the Raiders did only allowing one sack last week, then this game shouldn’t be close. The Ravens have the number two ranked defense in the NFL allowing only 267 yards per game of total offense and their front seven should be able to make the Denver offense one dimensional, putting the pressure on Case Keenum to let loose and make mistakes. 34–17 Baltimore.

Tariq:

Battle of the defenses need i say more. Broncos D has looked more suspect then usually and Game Manager Keenum has had 4 picks in 2 games and the Ravens know how to stay strong defensively. I see a defensive battle with Keenum’s turnovers turning the tide in the Ravens favor. Ravens 17–7.

Saints vs Falcons

Drue:

This game should be an offensive shootout. Drew Brees should dissect this injured Falcons Defense and I expect Alvin Kamara to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 receiving yards to go along with a 100 yard game for Michael Thomas. The Falcons will also put up huge numbers. Julio Jones will have a good matchup with Marshon Lattimore, but that should free up the rest of their receiving core to get lots of yards. Tevin Coleman will also do a good job gashing the Saints front. In the end it will come down to the red zone, a place where the Falcons struggle mightily. Saints 34-Falcons 27.

Anthony: This game should be a fun one to watch as both teams are 1–1 and Division rivals. The Saints defense has been terrible thus far allowing 428 yards of total offense and 33 points per game. Their trio of offensive weapons in Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara has kept them in games however, and I expect much of the same this week against Atlanta. Julio Jones has been solid through two weeks but he doesn’t seem to be getting as much love as he should be in the redzone, which was a problem for the Falcons last year. Tevin Coleman doesn’t seem to have a problem being the bell cow with Devonta Freeman out, rushing for over 100 yards last week against the Panthers and should continue his success against the 17th ranked run defense of the Saints. This game is a toss-up for me and should be another high-scoring game but in the end the Saints defense is can’t stop Julio Jones and Tevin Coleman. 35–31 Atlanta.

Tariq: Who is ready for a Shootout??? Both teams come with great offensives, but the Falcons inability to put TDs in the redzone will come back to haunt them. Also look for Kamura to keep up his big game streak as the Falcons without Deion Jones and his replacement Pat Riley will be too easy to get loose on. Falcons 37–34.

Chargers vs Rams

Drue:

My game of the week. Unfortunately the Chargers best defensive player Joey Bosa won’t be playing but that’s alright there’s plenty of stars playing in this game. We have the Rams who’s offense features Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Brandin Cooks. I fear that the Chargers rush defense just won’t be able to tackle Gurley and that will allow the Rams to control both the tempo and time of possession. Derwin James has played well but unfortunately he can’t just shadow Gurley all game due to all of their other weapons, and that’s what makes this team so dangerous. As for the Chargers offense my bold prediction is that Rivers carves up this all star secondary because he’s going to have to. There’s no way that Melvin Gordon is going to be able to run between the tackles on this front, so I expect him to be very active in the passing game along with the rest of the team. Unfortunately that just won’t be enough Rams 34-Chargers 27.

Anthony:

The battle for LA. This game should be another fun one to watch with two extremely talented offenses and defenses going head to head. Somethings got to give in this game as both offenses boast two of the best running backs in the NFL in Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley. In the end I think this game will boil down to the best play caller and I’m giving that advantage to Sean McVay 9 times out of 10 against Ken Whisenhunt. 38–35Rams.

Tariq: This will be a closer game then everyone will expect. The Rams defense has looked amazing and their offense has been clicking, but the chargers are a strong offensive team, who have the pass rushers to be a nuisance for Goff. However i expect the Chargers to pull a Chargers and lose because of a missed FG or a defensive breakout. This team knows how to choke. Rams 31 — 28

Bears vs Cardinals

Drue:

This Bears defense going up against a cardinals offense that has managed 6 points in two games just doesn’t seem fair. Look for Matt Nagy to take advantage of a weak team and get his offense going as the Bears cruise to victory. Bears 24-Cardinals 3.

Anthony:

The Chicago Bears have a top 10 defense and the Cardinals look like the worst team in the NFL right now. The Cardinals have scored a grand total of 6 total points on offense after being shutout last week by the Rams and their defense has clearly taken a step back with the loss of Tyrann Mathieu. On the bright side the Bears offense hasn’t looked great either but they did add a certain someone to their defense that has certainly helped them. Khalil Mack should do what he has always done on a weekly basis and that is dominate. Contrary to the media’s perception, Khalil Mack has always dominated games the way he’s dominated these past two games for Chicago but for some odd reason he’s receiving ALOT more attention now that he’s in Chicago. Coincidence? Anyway this should be a rather low-scoring game but the Bears defense will give them the advantage over a non-existent Cardinals offense. Will Josh Rosen make his NFL debut? Final 17–7, Chicago.

Tariq:

Cowboys vs Seahawks

Drue:

The Cowboys defense has come out playing very well and I don’t expect it to stop this week. The Seahawks have looked abysmal on offense. That’s mostly because Russel Wilson has spent the first two games running like a mad man due to a terrible offensive line. Look for the Cowboys to ride Ezekial Elliot to victory, and for Dak Prescott to make easy play-action throws in between. Cowboys 17- Seahawks 13.

Anthony:

Both Seattle and Dallas have had little success on offense thus far. Russell Wilson has been forced to carry the entire offense on his back which he has done every year since Marshawn Lynch retired and the Cowboys are clearly not the same without All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. With that being said, Dallas has the 4th ranked defense in terms of yards allowed and Russell Wilson will be without his number one receiver, Doug Baldwin yet again. Seattles defense will get some juice with Bobby Wagner coming back but Zeke should have a good game against Seattle’s 23rd ranked run defense. 17–13, Dallas.

Tariq:

This was a real toss up for me as i have been impressed with either team going into this game. However Russell Wilson again has no line and AGAIN will be running for his life. See the Cowboys to be able to hand it to Zeke 30 times enough to secure victory. Cowboys 17–10.

Patriots vs Lions

Drue:

The Patriots haven’t lost back to back games in each of the last 2 seasons. I am concerned that Lions head coach Matt Patricia knows everything about the Patriots, but I’d be more concerned if he was a good coach. Tom Brady should carve up this Lions defense, but I also expect Matthew Stafford to carve up a not great Patriots defense. Offenses are what’s going to keep these teams competing but I’m counting on Brady to make less mistakes than Stafford. Patriots 31- Lions 21.

Anthony:

This game probably won’t end well for Detroit. The Lions have given up 78 points the last two weeks and the Patriots roll into town with Tom Brady and a shiny new toy in Josh Gordon. Depending on which version of Matthew Stafford the Lions get will determine how ugly this game will be. If last weeks game against San Francisco shows up then they should be in good shape but if week one Stafford shows up that threw 4 interceptions against the Jets, then look out. In the end, I think Matt Patricia’s overall knowledge of Belichick’s system and Tom Brady’s tendencies will keep this game competitive but Brady’s just too good to let a middle of the pack defense beat him. 30–20 New England.

Tariq:

No i am not crazy. Stafford gives us bad INT games all the time, but he is still one of the best in the league and i think him and his underrated receiving core give the Pats all they can handle. This high scoring affair will go down to the wire in my book and as long as it isn’t Tom with ball last i think the Patriots Defense is suspect enough to lose this game. Lions 34–31.

Steelers vs Buccaneers

Drue:

My fantasy team is really counting on a Ryan Fitzmagic appearance and I bet he shows up. This steelers secondary was carved up by rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes and I expect Fitzpatrick to do the same. The Buccaneers are getting Vita Vea back this week so that should help their defense put, but I still expect Big Ben to throw for a lot of yards on this team. Look for Antonio Brown to have a big game especially since he’s been so frustrated with the team. This Steelers team is on the brink of implosion but it won’t be this week. Steelers 37- Buccaneers 31.

Anthony:

If the past two weeks are any indication of how this Monday night matchup will play out then it should be a fun one. Tampa Bay has the number one offense in the NFL thanks in large part to FitzMagic. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the hottest quarterback in the league right now having thrown for over 400 yards in each of his last two games. Pittsburgh is right behind them led by Ben Roethlisberger and Juju Smith-Schuster and would probably be even better if they stopped playing hardball with LeVeon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger, Juju Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, and James Conner have all picked up the slack in Bell’s absence on offense but their defense is atrocious, as is Tampa Bay’s. Pittsburgh’s defense is ranked 25th in total yards, allowing 388 yard per game and 31.5 points per game and yet Tampa Bay’s defense is worse, allowing 443 yard per game and 30.5 points per game, which puts them only ahead of Kansas City for the 31st ranked defense. I like Pittsburgh’s weapons more than Tampa’s in this game and think Antonio Brown has a huge game against the Bucs weak secondary. 38–31 Pittsburgh.

Tariq: The Steelers have too much disfunction going on. Look for Ryan Fitzmagic to steal this game. Bucs 31–21.