By Brian Burke
Entering Week 2, there's only one thing that's statistically reliable enough for making predictions, and that's home-field advantage. Offensive efficiency from Week 1 appears to matter a bit, but don't put much stock in one game. Turnovers are predominantly random enough to discount at this point, so don't worry if your team coughed up the ball too often last Sunday.
Strangely enough, over the past 11 seasons, teams with a lot of interceptions in Week 1 are more likely to win in Week 2. But that's almost certainly a statistical illusion -- just due to random chance. This early in the season, it's best to stick with the preseason projections, but tweak them slightly to account for what we saw in Week 1.
Here are our Week 2 game predictions, with Will Leitch chiming in once again with his picks. (In Week 1, we got 6 out of 15 games called correctly accounting for the spread, while Leitch got 8 out of 15.)
Note: The Machine's outcome probabilities are based on who will win the game, not the point spread. The score predictions are Burke's own estimates when factoring in the win probability, which is based on a logistic regression model of projected core team efficiency statistics. For more on Burke's model, click here.
JETS: 20 (20%)
PACKERS: 34 (80%)
VEGAS: Packers (-8.5)
This is the most lopsided game of the week. Green Bay struggled against a great Seahawks team, and the Jets struggled to pull away from a very weak Raiders team at home.
It's going to be 70 degrees in Green Bay this Sunday. It should never be 70 degrees in Green Bay.
CHIEFS: 14 (25%)
BRONCOS: 35 (75%)
VEGAS: Broncos (-13)
Denver appears to be back to its old self, as we expected. And the Chiefs' luck from last season won't carry over.
If you're in one of those old-school fantasy leagues that give six points for touchdown passes (like me), Peyton Manning has sort of destroyed the whole format these last two years.
JAGUARS: 13 (26%)
WASHINGTON: 26 (74%)
VEGAS: Washington (-6)
Washington is consistently able to run the ball, and that will probably be enough to beat a Jaguars team that can't.
I really want to pick the Jaguars here. If Jacksonville can come into Dan Snyder's sad swamp and win, it may tear that building apart. (Before a wild 2 mph police chase on the freeway heading out.)
RAMS: 16 (27%)
BUCCANEERS: 33 (73%)
VEGAS: Buccaneers (-5.5)
Both teams lost the turnover battle last week, but the bottom line is the Rams will struggle all year without a reliable offense, especially on the road.
The Rams are the early leader in the "there is no actual reason to watch this team" contest.
BEARS: 17 (28%)
49ERS: 27 (72%)
VEGAS: 49ers (-7)
Jay Cutler can be blamed for some mistakes last week, but the Bears' defense didn't do anything to convince us it has improved from last year.
Do you like that Jay Cutler face where he looks like he has forsaken all hope for humanity? This'll be a fun game for that face.
SEAHAWKS: 31 (69%)
CHARGERS: 20 (31%)
VEGAS: Seahawks (-6)
The Seahawks defense picked up where they it off and held Aaron Rodgers to 5.7 yards per attempt. A team with a suffocating defense and good running game is very hard to beat.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick the Seahawks to win, and win handily, every week.
PATRIOTS: 38 (68%)
VIKINGS: 17 (32%)
VEGAS: Patriots (-3)
Minnesota looked good against a mostly incompetent Rams offense. They won't have that luxury this week. Brady is much more likely to be closer to his career average 7.4 yards per attempt than his 4.4 from last week.
Despite that tough ending, I'm still not too worried about the Patriots. Also: Tom Brady gets to play on a Big Ten field again!
SAINTS: 26 (65%)
BROWNS: 10 (35%)
VEGAS: Saints (-7)
Neither defense played well last week -- they were 31st and 32nd in yards allowed per play. The Saints were facing a much better offense though.
Brian Hoyer played just well enough to hold off Johnny Manziel for a few more weeks, darnit.
LIONS: 20 (38%)
PANTHERS: 21 (62%)
VEGAS: Panthers (-3)
The Lions looked strong Monday night but need to cut down on the penalties. Carolina's defense against the Detroit passing attack should be a revealing matchup.
Is this the year the Lions finally put it together? More likely it all falls apart in the final month, but getting there will be fun.
TEXANS: 19 (62%)
RAIDERS: 10 (38%)
VEGAS: Texans (-3)
The Raiders will need to do much better than their 1.7 yards per carry from Week 1, and that might not be likely with J.J. Watt on the field.
You have to pick the Raiders to win some games.
FALCONS: 23 (41%)
BENGALS: 27 (59%)
VEGAS: Bengals (-5)
My numbers think Atlanta is better than many people do. If you're looking for an upset this week, this might be your best bet, especially if Matt Ryan can come close to his interception-free 10.4 yards per attempt from Week 1.
The Falcons are a little feistier than I thought they were ... but Cincinnati is going to win another division title.
EAGLES: 28 (43%)
COLTS: 31 (57%)
VEGAS: Colts (-3)
When you see the win probability percentage just below 60/40 in favor of the host, the numbers are saying the teams are at about equal strength and home-field advantage makes the difference.
A great offensive game on Monday night, and Berman isn't calling this one.
CARDINALS: 19 (47%)
GIANTS: 20 (53%)
It's too early to know for sure, but the Giants offense looks to be even worse than we expected. Against the Lions on Monday, they averaged 4.1 yards per attempt (6.4 is average), 2.4 yards per carry (4.3 is average), and a 6.1 percent interception rate (2.0 percent is average).
The Giants' wheels are coming off, folks: People are going to be debating where Eli Manning fits in the NYC sports hierarchy for the next 100 years. That'll be fun.
COWBOYS: 28 (53%)
TITANS 27: (47%)
VEGAS: Titans (-3.5)
Fans are overreacting to the Titans' big defensive day against Alex Smith and Dallas' mistake-filled first quarter against San Francisco.
DOLPHINS: 10 (48%)
BILLS: 17 (52%)
VEGAS: Dolphins (-1)
How can the team that beat up New England last week be underdogs against Buffalo? NFL teams are more equal than people perceive. Miami is probably the better team here, but its on the road.
I want a Buffalo Bills bandwagon to exist so, so badly.
Brian Burke is a former Navy fighter pilot and tactics expert. He is the founder Advanced Football Analytics, the site that made modern football analysis a reality.