Sando's best guesses: Week 2 predictions

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
11:21
AM ET
NFC West games get a little tougher to predict heading into Week 2.

I won't gloat for posting a 3-0 record in predicting outcomes for Week 1. There were no big surprises.

Let's run through the games for Week 2:
  • Seattle at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET: The Steelers' age on defense works in their favor against the Seahawks' inexperienced offense. Seattle is building for the long term, not for a Week 2 matchup against the defending AFC champion. After allowing two return touchdowns in Week 1, the Seahawks need to score one of their own. It's tough to envision their offense scoring enough points to prevail. The Steelers' past three regular-season home opponents -- Carolina, Cincinnati and Oakland -- combined for 13 points. My best guess: Steelers 24, Seahawks 9.
  • Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m. ET: Both teams appear improved from last season. The Cardinals face difficult matchups in pass protection, compounded by playing on the road. And their pass defense inspired no confidence in the opener. Kevin Kolb can open eyes by leading the Cardinals to victory here. It's not out of the question. Kolb completed 22 of 35 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and a 76.0 NFL passer rating in a relief role against the Redskins last season. Kolb's Philadelphia Eagles lost that game, 17-12. My best guess: Redskins 27, Cardinals 21.
  • Dallas at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m. ET: The Cowboys had to work extra hard to lose their opener on the road against the playoff-tested New York Jets. I suspect they'll bounce back in this game. Jim Harbaugh earns a spot among the "risers" in the next NFC West Stock Watch if his offense plays a key role in getting the 49ers to 2-0. San Francisco opened last season with five consecutive defeats. The 49ers were 2-0 in 2009, with both wins against division teams. My best guess: Cowboys 24, 49ers 19.
  • St. Louis at New York Giants, Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET: A tough opening week marked by injuries makes the Rams an easy team to write off. That would be premature. The Giants have their own injury problems. Both teams have significant issues in their secondaries. Eli Manning appears more likely than Sam Bradford to fully capitalize. He has superior weapons, including Hakeem Nicks, and the home-field advantage should also help. With the Giants' Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora hurting, the Rams probably have the better defensive line. My best guess: Giants 21, Rams 17.

At least one NFC West team figures to prevail in Week 2. I'm just not confident enough in any of them to single out which one. Your best guesses?

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