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Game Capsules: Breaking Down Week 2

Luke Hoover

Luke Hoover

Luke Hoover has covered fantasy football for Rotowire.com since 2011 and is most proud of recommending Victor Cruz as a starter in his breakout game against the Eagles. He's a lifelong fan of Notre Dame, the Packers and, unfortunately, the Knicks.

New York Jets (+12) @ New England, Thursday 8:30 p.m.

Comments:
The Patriots' offense is a mess right now. It took Tom Brady tossing 52 passes -- only 55.8% of which he completed -- to barely squeak by a Bills team led by a rookie quarterback just three weeks removed from a knee procedure. Facing a physical Rex Ryan defense, it's going to be highly interesting to see where New England finds yards and points with their skill positions now a veritable hospital ward. The biggest bright spot versus Buffalo was Shane Vereen, whose 159 total yards saved the backfield after Stevan Ridley fumbled twice, but a broken wrist landed him on the injured reserve/designated-to-return list. He'll be out until Week 11 leaving the fumble-fingers Ridley and LeGarrette Blount to hold the fort. The pass catchers look even worse as top target Danny Amendola is likely to be out with a groin injury he suffered last week. With Rob Gronkowski (forearm/back) still at least a week away from his return and rookies Zach and Aaron Dobson both dealing with hamstring injuries, the options for Brady may be limited to Julian Edelman (a must add in all formats by the way) and Kenbrell Thompkins, the latter of which caught only four of his 14 targets in Week 1. Given that the Jets smothered Doug Martin to the tune of 2.7 yards per carry last Sunday, things could get ugly for Bill Belichick's offense on this short week turnaround... The Jets may have found their quarterback of the future after witnessing Geno Smith complete 63% of his passes despite facing serious pressure from an aggressive defense that boasts Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson in the secondary. Not only did the rookie pitch it for 256 yards, displaying patience and accuracy, but he also flashed good athleticism and smarts by using his legs to pick up key first downs and 47 yards rushing. That he could move the ball with a limited receiving corps and a dreadful running game (Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory totaled 44 yards on 22 carries) is a testament to the rookie's resolve and skill. With Jeremy Kerley expected to be out this week with a concussion, another big week from Kellen Winslow and significant help from the run game could be a must against a team that likely won't give them the benefit of 13 penalties like Tampa Bay did.

Prediction: Smith throws for 224 yards and a score to Santonio Holmes, while also adding 56 yards and a touchdown with his legs. Powell and Ivory chip in a combined 104 total yards. Ridley rushes for 78 yards and a short score. Brady connects with Thompkins and Leon Washington for scores in a 281-yard effort. Patriots 24-17.

St. Louis (+7) @ Atlanta, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
After failing to convert on four downs inside the 10-yard line on the final drive last Sunday in a heartbreaking divisional loss, Atlanta returns home to face one of the most balanced upstart teams in the league. The Rams have speedy and talented young playmakers at Sam Bradford's disposal, a quality offensive line and a defense that is strong at all three levels. Of course said defense has never had to face the franchise's all-time leading rusher. Steven Jackson endured many dreadful seasons as the centerpiece of the Rams offense and there's little doubt he'll be motivated to help his new team beat his former. To fend off Jeff Fisher's well-coached ball club though Matt Ryan will need to be at his sharpest. Harry Douglas was a nice surprise in Week 1 chipping in 93 yards, but to beat a stingy Rams secondary Atlanta may need Roddy White to overcome a high ankle sprain that limited him greatly versus New Orleans. If White can't go Julio Jones will be smothered all day and the offense will likely be slowed again... The Jared Cook Show took over and helped the Rams overcome a deficit to a relentless Cardinals defense in Week 1. After flashing enormous potential for several years in Tennessee the super athletic tight end put his talents on full display in his first game as a Ram, announcing to the league that he's a force to be reckoned with. Clearly Bradford's favorite target, Cook looks poised to remain towards the top of tight end fantasy ranks this year. While he'll certainly be involved heavily, Bradford will need his receivers to exploit Atlanta's rookie corners in this one, which could lead to a big game for Chris Givens or Tavon Austin. In the backfield St. Louis returns Isaiah Pead from a one-game suspension, and after Darryl Richardson struggled in gaining only 3.2 yards per carry with his 20 totes last week, the former second-rounder could be a threat to Richardson's feature role.

Predictions: Richardson totals 82 yards, while Bradford connects with Cook and Givens for scores in a 315-yard outing. Ryan passes for 288 yards and hits Tony Gonzalez for two touchdowns. Jackson contributes 130 total yards and a rushing score to the narrow victory. Falcons 24-23.

Carolina (-3) @ Buffalo, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
The highlight of Buffalo's offense last year was the lowlight last week as C.J. Spiller was the clear focal point of New England's defense. Spiller could barely breathe without a defender draped on him as he totaled a paltry 55 yards on 22 touches, with a long gain of nine yards. His ineffectiveness and lost fumble opened the door to more Fred Jackson, who looked nowhere near his 32 years as he ripped off 108 total yards on 17 touches with an impressive 5.2 YPC. What became clear on Sunday though was that the Bills have a new centerpiece in quarterback EJ Manuel. Despite returning just three weeks from a knee procedure, the rookie signal caller displayed immense poise in completing 67% of his passes and throwing two scores. He also somehow managed to avoid taking a single sack or turning the ball over. A fast and physical Carolina front seven though presents a much stiffer test for all Bills skill players, so Manuel's experience - or lack thereof - may be exposed... Somehow DeAngelo Williams was able to find running room against a stout Seattle defense without any real threat of a pass last week. His 86 rushing yards at 5.1 per try should put great faith into his fantasy owners, especially after Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley tore through Buffalo for 147 yards on 23 combined carries. Cam Newton predictably struggled to produce downfield plays against arguably the league's best secondary, but that should change against a Bills squad that may be without the services of top safety Jarius Byrd (foot) for another week.

Predictions: Spiller and Jackson combine for 153 total yards, with the former finding the end zone. Manuel throws for 194 yards and hooks up with Robert Woods for a score. Newton nets 64 yards with his legs and 221 with his arm while hitting Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn for touchdowns. Williams tallies 115 total yards and hits paydirt rushing. Panthers 27-17.

Minnesota (+6.5) @ Chicago, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
Jay Cutler threw the game-winning touchdown to Brandon Marshall last week because his revamped offensive line somehow held off a Bengals defense that piled up 51 sacks in 2012. The Marc Trestman offense proved effective and the addition of pass-catching tight end Martellus Bennett was crucial as the Bears started 1-0 with a strong comeback win. However, a divisional match with a Vikings crew that kept them out of the playoffs last year won't allow them to rest easy. After a rough outing for Matt Forte (2.6 YPC against Cinci), the Bears could use him doing his best Reggie Bush impression this week... After already dropping a divisional road game, the boys in purple need this one badly. To hang with Chicago's improved offense though they'll need to shore up a leaky defense that let Detroit pile up nearly 500 yards and 34 points. Grinding out drives with Adrian Peterson may be another solution, but if Christian Ponder doesn't manage the game more efficiently that plan will also fail. After ripping off a 78-yard score on his first carry, Peterson was stoned to the tune of 17 tries for 15 yards the rest of the way because Ponder simply isn't a threat to the defense. If Chicago isn't forced to respect the Vikes' pass game, expect more of the same on Sunday, which of course makes any Minnesota receiving option a super risky fantasy play.

Predictions: Forte feasts with 158 total yards and a rushing score. Cutler hits Bennett for a TD in a 281-yard effort, but gets picked twice. Ponder throws for 233 yards with a score to Greg Jennings. Peterson bullies his way to 113 yards and a touchdown. Vikings 20-17.

Washington (+7) @ Green Bay, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
Green Bay came up just a bit shy of exacting revenge in San Francisco but solidified what we all already knew - this is an offense to be reckoned with. The balance that Eddie Lacy will provide, especially as he improves, could make this team unstoppable if the receiving corps remains healthy. Aaron Rodgers looked as sharp as ever and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb appeared to be 100% after dealing with preseason injuries. James Jones was the odd man out, but he'll certainly be more involved most weeks. Facing a Redskins defense that was owned by Philadelphia's up tempo offense for three quarters, all Packers skill guys look like strong fantasy options this week... With less than nine months to recover from ACL surgery it should be no surprise that Robert Griffin got off to a miserable start last week. Still, he was able to shake some rust off to notch a career-high 329 yards and make it a productive fantasy week. Of course, it took 49 attempts to get there, but a Packers defense that struggled badly versus the pass last week should yield similar results, especially when Washington's defense cannot keep Rodgers off the scoreboard and forces RGIII to throw it often. That could translate to an underwhelming day for Alfred Morris, however, as he figures to see limited touches versus a Green Bay front seven that left Frank Gore no running room a week ago (2.1 YPC for Gore).

Predictions: Rodgers throws for 304 yards and hits Nelson, Jones and Jermichael Finley for TD's. Lacy rumbles for 105 yards and a two short touchdowns. Morris contributes 51 yards and a score, while Griffin pitches it for 294 yards and touchdowns to Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis. Packers 38-21.

Miami (+3) @ Indianapolis, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
The Colts struggled to contain the mobility of Terrelle Pryor in a surprisingly close Week 1 win that required yet another Andrew Luck fourth-quarter comeback. Though a whopping 127.9 passer rating is proof that Luck wasn't phased by it, the Raiders were able to get after him in the backfield, sacking him four times. A Dolphins defense that took down Brandon Weeden six times should present a similar problem for the Colts offensive line, though probably not with the same three-INT result. If the Miami offense can move the ball, expect more dropbacks for Luck and a better statistical day for all Colts receivers, not just Reggie Wayne who is still clearly the favorite target. The Indianapolis backfield, however, could be in trouble as a torn ACL in Thursday's practice forced Vick Ballard onto IR. Ahmad Bradshaw will need to do the heavy lifting, but with him still on the mend from offseason foot surgery Donald Brown figures to be in the mix for touches as well... Ryan Tannehill struggled getting on the same page with his new receiving weapons - most notably Mike Wallace who was limited to one catch - and faced constant pressure from a highly aggressive Ray Horton-coached defense. Until he gets more in sync with Wallace, expect Brian Hartline to keep seeing a ton of work (his 15 targets were third in the league for the week). The more vanilla Colts defense however should provide some relief for the young passer, though a matchup between suspect left tackle Jonathan Martin and sack specialist Robert Mathis may end poorly. Ultimately, for Tannehill to find the success he's capable of Miami needs to get the ground game going after a downright embarrassing performance by first-year starter Lamar Miller, who's 10 carries for three pathetic yards opened the door for Daniel Thomas to threaten his hold on the backfield duties.

Predictions: Bradshaw totals 75 yards. Luck passes for 298 yards and hooks up with Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen for scores. Miller rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown to redeem himself, while Tannehill finds Brandon Gibson and Charles Clay for TD's in a 255-yard effort. Colts 30-21.

Dallas (+2.5) @ Kansas City, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
The new-look Chiefs were never challenged by a Jaguars squad devoid of any playmakers on either side of the ball last week. Defensively they allowed Jacksonville a measly 2.5 yards per play while registering six sacks and picking off two passes, one of which went for a Tamba Hali touchdown. They're not likely to find the same success versus a talented Dallas offense, but in Arrowhead and with both Tony Romo (ribs) and Dez Bryant (foot) ailing, we could see another strong fantasy performance out of a fairly loaded defense. Andy Reid's offense however may find converting touchdowns more difficult against a Monte Kiffin defense that generated six turnovers and sacked Eli Manning three times in Week 1. Alex Smith will likely need to improve on the disappointing 5.1 yards per pass attempt he turned in last week, and to do so expect him to push the ball downfield more to Dwayne Bowe who somehow saw only six targets in their win. Jamaal Charles is dealing with a quadriceps bruise, but it shouldn't limit him from his usual feature role, meaning he's a lock in any fantasy lineup... The Dallas defense truly saved them in a game in which they let Eli Manning produce 450 passing yards and four touchdowns. Romo struggled to get Bryant involved (only 22 yards!) and the lack of firepower between the two limited the offense as a whole. DeMarco Murray ran tough and certainly raised eyebrows in PPR leagues with his eight catches, but the Chiefs defense boasts three Pro Bowl linebackers and rangy safety Eric Berry who figure to cut down on his yardage. If Bryant is impacted by the foot issue the Cowboys will once again need heavy doses of Miles Austin and Jason Witten to notch victory number two.

Predictions: Charles totals 113 yards and finds paydirt. Smith connects with Bowe and Anthony Fasano for scores in a 260-yard performance. Romo tosses it for 276 yards and finds Bryant and Austin for touchdowns. Murray chips in 77 total yards. Chiefs 24-20.

Cleveland (+6.5) @ Baltimore, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
It's been more than a week, but I believe Peyton Manning just threw another touchdown on Baltimore. Reeling from the track meet Manning put the Ravens through in an epic second half performance, a divisional home game against a Cleveland team that fell apart offensively in Week 1 could be just what the doctor ordered. The Browns couldn't protect Weeden and it showed in the six sacks he took and three interceptions he threw. Of course, the Browns defense was equally as physical as its offense was inept. They registered four sacks of their own and held the Dolphins to an embarrassing 20 yards on 23 rush attempts. Sure Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are significantly better individual talents than Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but that doesn't mean they'll find much more running room. If they cannot get going that could equal another pass-heavy day for Joe Flacco, meaning Torrey Smith, Dallas Clark and, to a lesser extent, undrafted rookie Marlon Brown, who will start in place of the injured Jacoby Jones (knee), may all post quality fantasy numbers... Weeden badly needs the downfield presence of Josh Gordon to open up the passing game and limit the pressure opposing defenses can put on the backfield. Of course, feeding the ball to Trent Richardson more than 15 times may also go a long way towards helping the quarterback be more efficient. Jordan Cameron was really the only bright spot for Cleveland in Week 1, and with Gordon suspended one more game he should continue to star in what has the look of a major breakout campaign. Without the other weapons surrounding him though, don't expect Baltimore to let him pull a Julius Thomas on them.

Predictions: Rice and Pierce combine for 112 total yards with Rice punching in a short score. Flacco passes for 235 yards and touchdowns to Smith, Brown and Brandon Stokley. Weeden finds Cameron for his only score again, this time in a 247-yard day. Richardson contributes 108 total yards and a rush TD in the loss. Ravens 31-14.

Tennessee (+9) @ Houston, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
Houston showed just why they're a serious Super Bowl contender in the AFC by erasing a 21-point second-half deficit in San Diego last week. With Andre Johnson looking ageless, Matt Schaub firing crisp passes and Arian Foster on the mend, the Texans offense is loaded and ready to push them deeper into January this year. If Foster can get 100% healthy he and Ben Tate will form the best 1-2 running punch in the league in the Texans' zone-blocking scheme. And with coach Gary Kubiak committing publicly to a timeshare, Tate suddenly becomes flex worthy while Foster could fall out of his usual placement among the elite fantasy backs. Both backs look like strong starts with a home matchup on tap with a Titans defense that is nowhere near as strong versus the run as their Week 1 thumping of Pittsburgh's disgustingly bad offense suggests. Of course, with Houston unlikely to fall into such a big hole in this one, don't expect similar numbers from Schaub or tight end Owen Daniels who hooked up for two scores on Monday night. Johnson, however, figures to still get his... Chris Johnson could find little running room against a big and physical Steelers front seven and unfortunately the going gets no better versus Houston's stout defense. As Jake Locker continues to prove himself a below-average passer though (and that's being generous), count on Johnson to remain the only relevant fantasy option for Tennessee.

Predictions: Locker passes for 213 yards and finds Kenny Britt for a touchdown, while Johnson contributes 84 total yards. Schaub hits Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins for touchdowns. Foster punches in a score as he and Tate combine for 174 total yards. Texans 27-10.

San Diego (+7.5) @ Philadelphia, Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Comments:
The Eagles didn't disappoint in the debut of Chip Kelly's fastbreak system, sprinting to 53 plays and 26 points in the first half versus Washington last Monday. They only have the short week to catch their breath, but so does San Diego, who will actually have to travel across the country for a 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff. Doing so last week seemed to significantly slow down the high-powered Seahawks who could muster just 12 points in Carolina. With a Chargers team that's dangerously thin at linebacker and lacks depth really everywhere defensively, LeSean McCoy should have another field day running the ball. Bryce Brown should even contribute more in this one after struggling against Washington. His fresher legs could give Philly an early boost that San Diego simply won't be ready to handle. Michael Vick and his key targets DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek figure to get in the action as well and are solid options in most leagues (PPR notwithstanding)... The Eagles defense flustered Robert Griffin early, but it's certainly nothing to write home about. When the Philadelphia offense quickly gives Philip Rivers the ball back, expect San Diego to try grinding out dink and dunk type drives to control the clock and keep their defense from vomiting. This could be fortuitous for Ryan Mathews owners, as the athletic back should see more than the 15 touches he had in Week 1 to grind out longer drives. Eddie Royal is also a sneaky option, as his quick-footed slot role lends itself to a ball control offense, as was displayed by his team-leading six targets versus Houston.

Predictions: Vick scrambles for 65 yards and passes for 238 with touchdowns to Celek and Riley Cooper. McCoy piles up 139 rushing yards with a score while Brown runs for 60 and finds the end zone as well. Rivers pitches it for 259 yards and connects with Vincent Brown and Antonio Gates for TD's. Mathews tacks on 94 total yards and runs one in for six. Eagles 34-24.

Detroit (-1) @ Arizona, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments:
Larry Fitzgerald is back. Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer dug him out of the fantasy grave that Arizona's quarterback roulette buried him in last season. The moving chess piece in Arians' pass-heavy scheme suits Fitzgerald perfectly, as evidenced by the eight grabs and two touchdowns he turned in against a stingy Rams secondary last week. A hamstring issue that's limited the veteran in practice this week doesn't seem likely to effect his game status, and with rising sophomore Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts demanding attention of their own, Palmer and his trio of wideouts could feast on a mediocre Lions secondary. Though the Lions limited Adrian Peterson to one big run last week, the constant threat of Arizona's passing game is drastically different from Minnesota's dormant aerial attack, so Rashard Mendenhall should find plenty of running room if his hamstring ailment doesn't take a turn for the worse... Reggie Bush was a revelation in his new Detroit digs last week, nearly going for a 100 rushing and receiving while fighting through the pain of a dislocated thumb and a tweaked groin. He's clearly a candidate to lead the league in total yards if he can stay healthy, and although Joique Bell served as the goal-line back and vultured two scores, Bush is a must-start in every league. Bell, by virtue of his newfound role and his uncanny ability to post good yardage numbers on limited touches, has raised his value to legit weekly flex status. Matthew Stafford was terrible in the desert last year with no scores and three picks, but that was also with a highly depleted receiving corps that did not include Bush. Expect his numbers to be there and Calvin Johnson's to bounce back from one of the lowest outputs he's had since 2010.

Predictions: Palmer passes for 331 yards and touchdowns to Fitzgerald, Floyd and Patrick Peterson. Mendenhall chips in 64 rushing yards. Bush and Bell compile 215 total yards with a short score going to the vulture. Stafford slings it for 310 yards and two touchdowns to Johnson, but a pick six crushes Detroit. Cardinals 31-24.

New Orleans (-3.5) @ Tampa Bay, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments:
The Bucs blew a surefire W with the 13th and most egregious penalty of their sloppy loss to the Jets in Week 1. In that ugly contest Josh Freeman was highly erratic (ultimately finishing a shoddy 15-for-31 passing), while Doug Martin found himself running into a stone wall of defenders. The Jets defense though is a significantly more physical unit than the Saints group. Although New Orleans showed improvement from last year's historically leaky defense by limiting Atlanta to 17 points, they still bled yards - and that was with Roddy White all but out. Expect Martin to find much better running room while Vincent Jackson continues piling up yards and Mike Williams keeps getting those red zone looks... Not surprisingly, Drew Brees carried a Saints offense that was largely ineffective running the ball last week. After a promising preseason gave Mark Ingram the look of a breakout candidate, the former first-rounder turned in a major dud with only 11 yards on nine carries. After Pierre Thomas turned the same number of attempts into 43 yards, it's hard to imagine the veteran not leading the backfield split for at least the time being. That may matter little though against a Buccaneer defense that stoned the Jets' tailbacks and picked up right where they left off from their showing as 2012's top run stoppers.

Predictions: Brees finds Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Kenny Stills for touchdowns in a 320-yard day, while Thomas adds 56 rushing yards to the cause. Freeman throws it for 252 yards and scores to Jackson and Martin, who adds 84 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Saints 24-21.

Jacksonville (+6) @ Oakland, Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Comments:
Terrelle Pryor breathed life into a Raiders offense that looked hopeless in mid August. Before LeSean McCoy went nuts on Monday night, Pryor's 112 rushing yards led the league. That scrambling ability enabled Oakland to sustain drives, which allowed them to notch a couple short scores, control the time of possession and nearly upset Andrew Luck and Co. With a raw skillset as a passer, Pryor is sure to have his rough moments, but with his legs and his ability to improvise, he has the makings of one of those rare good fantasy/bad real life quarterbacks. At the end of the day though, he certainly makes Oakland watchable, while also keeping Darren McFadden's value from completely going down the tubes. With possibly the friendliest matchup the Raiders will get all season, Pryor may even be a reasonable start in larger leagues (like 14 or more teams)... Chad Henne will replace Blaine Gabbert after the former-first round pick suffered a laceration to his throwing hand that required 15 stitches. Realistically, Gabbert's dreadful performance in Week 1 may have still led to a switch sooner rather than later, and should Henne perform well in a fairly optimal matchup, he could retain the job indefinitely. For Maurice Jones-Drew owners, the switch could lead to more scoring opportunities, as Henne displayed late in 2012 that he's an upgrade over Gabbert. Cecil Shorts should see plenty of targets in this prime matchup with Justin Blackmon still suspended, and he and Jones-Drew have a nice shot at bouncing back from poor performances given the limited defensive talent in silver and black.

Predictions: McFadden totals 91 yards and finds paydirt. Pryor tosses it for 205 yards and a touchdown to Rod Streater, while adding 62 and a score with his legs. Henne hooks up with Ace Sanders for a TD in a 211-yard effort. Jones-Drew totes it for 106 yards and a short TD plunge. Raiders 24-14.

Denver (-4.5) @ New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Comments:
The brothers Manning combined for a preposterous 912 yards and 11 touchdown passes in Week 1, but younger bro Eli accounted for all three interceptions to cost his G-Men a potential victory. The Giants' QB was dramatically better in a furious second-half comeback though, so it's possible the rust is off and he'll be ready to go shot for shot with Peyton in a matchup that could see more video game passing numbers. While the Broncos boast the best overall, Eli Manning has some special weapons of his own, as the Cowboys learned first hand when the trio of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle each topped 100 yards. With Champ Bailey (foot) likely out again and no Von Miller, these wideouts should continue racking up yards. The same may not apply to David Wilson on the ground, however, as the second-year back has to first re-earn Tom Coughlin's trust after giving away two crucial fumbles in last week's loss. The Giants went as far as to re-sign Brandon Jacobs to give the team an alternative beyond Wilson and the inexperienced Da'Rel Scott. Given Jacobs' history in New York, it's almost a certainty that Coughlin will trust the behemoth back more near the goal line than Wilson, so fantasy owners beware for at least another week... Peyton Manning was at his best during a 5-touchdown second half for the ages and it's difficult to see him slowing down given the absurd abundance of talent catching his passes. Demaryius Thomas can score from anywhere, Wes Welker is uncoverable underneath and Julius Thomas is a matchup nightmare. And that's not even mentioning some guy named Eric Decker who happened to snare 13 touchdowns last year. While all the Denver receiving weapons are worthy starters in fantasy, it's possible none of their running backs are after witnessing Knowshon Moreno as the surprise lead back in Week 1. Moreno started and got most of the first half work, but Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman both saw action and are clearly in the team's plans, further clouding the league's murkiest running back situation.

Predictions: Wilson rushes for 74 yards but gives way to Jacobs for a goal-line plunge. Younger Manning pitches it for 328 yards and hooks up with Nicks and Randle for TD's. Elder Manning finds both Thomases and Decker for scores in a 354-yard performance. Moreno totals 70 yards, but Ball gets the short touchdown. Broncos 34-27.

San Francisco (+3) @ Seattle, Sunday 8:30 p.m.

Comments:
Russell Wilson turned in one of his best passing performances as a pro when the 49ers came to town late last year, as he completed 15-of-21 attempts for four touchdowns. Achieving that level of efficiency again is a long shot, but rest assured both star quarterbacks will do everything within their power to raise eyebrows in this rivalry game. The Niners secondary struggled versus the pass last week, but that was versus Aaron Rodgers and his assortment of weapons. Wilson has the individual talent to post big passing stats, but his weapons, particularly with Sidney Rice still less than 100%, just can't compare with Green Bay's. To overcome San Francisco's hard-hitting defense, Seattle may need Marshawn Lynch to bounce back from last week's poor showing to extend his streak of 100-yard games versus the Niners to four... Despite losing Michael Crabtree (Achilles) during the offseason and having no real No. 2 wide receiver, Colin Kaepernick was nearly unstoppable throwing the ball in Week 1, posting over 400 yards while completing almost 70% of his passes. Of course, the Packers defense - at least in the secondary - is a far cry from the ultra stingy unit the Seahawks boast. Moreover, Seattle is arguably the toughest place in the league to play, and somewhere Kaepernick struggled mightily last year (albeit in only his sixth career start). If Seattle can take out either Anquan Boldin or Vernon Davis, who combined for over 75% of the 49ers passing yards, saw 26 combined targets and caught all the TD's, they should be able to limit the damage Kaepernick can do with his arm. That still may not slow him though if Kaepernick is able to work the read-option effectively with Frank Gore. Ultimately, to steal one in CenturyLink Field, San Francisco will likely need a much better performance from Gore and a balanced showing by their dual-threat signal caller.

Predictions: Lynch rumbles for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Wilson connects with Golden Tate and Zach Miller for scores in a 275-yard performance. Kaepernick passes for 284 yards and TD's to Davis and Quinton Patton, while adding 44 scramble yards. Gore totes it for 56 yards in the loss. Seahawks 23-20.

Pittsburgh (+7) @ Cincinnati, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments:
The Bengals dropped a heartbreaker on the road after leading Chicago by 11 points late in the third quarter. A 3-to-1 turnover differential crushed Cincy and was the primary difference between two teams that otherwise matched up evenly. Fortunately for the Bengals they draw a Pittsburgh defense that notched just one sack and couldn't register a turnover versus a very mediocre Titans offense in Week 1. The Steelers were stingy in the yards department, but Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are a huge upgrade from the weapons Tennessee put on the field. Though Dick LeBeau knows this Bengals offense well, the unit has become deeper with the additions of Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert. Although the pair only touched the ball five times each in their first rookie action, don't be surprised to see a bit more from them in this divisional rivalry. As for the Bengals defense, it was a shock to see them go sackless against Jay Cutler, but that should be chalked up to a greatly improved Bears line. The loss of star center Maurkice Pouncey (ACL) helped Tennessee drop Ben Roethlisberger five times, so expect Geno Atkins and Co. to wreak some havoc in this one... After witnessing Tennessee hold Pittsburgh to a measly 195 yards and live in the backfield, it feels safe to say Roethlisberger is looking at a rough year. A wretched offensive line, inept running back play and a thin receiving corps offer him very little help. Despite fumbling twice last week Isaac Redman appears to be the starting tailback by default while Le'Veon Bell is still on the mend (foot), but the re-signing of Jonathan Dwyer could have him on a short leash. With LaRod Stephens-Howling (knee) landing on IR, Felix Jones could get involved as a third-down option. Still, at the end of the day only Antonio Brown looks remotely useful for fantasy play.

Predictions: BenJarvus Green-Ellis continues to lead the backfield with 54 yards and a short TD. Dalton throws for 242 and scores to Eifert and Mohammed Sanu, while Green notches 90 yards. Roethlisberger slings it for 202 yards and finds Emmanuel Sanders for the teams only touchdown. Redman and Jones combine to chip in 56 total yards. Bengals 21-12.