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Stampede Blue’s NFL Week 2 staff picks

NFL: NFC Championship Game-Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

After two somber days with no professional football, Thursday night kicks off an exciting Week 2 with a bout between the 0-1 Panthers and the 0-1 Buccaneers.

Sunday’s early slate features enticing matchups between the Steelers and Seahawks, Vikings and Packers and 49ers and Bengals. Taking the good with the bad, we’re in for two maulings when the Cardinals travel to take on the Ravens and the dominant Patriots head to Miami to take on a reeling Dolphins squad that wants no part of suiting up for Brian Flores this season. The AFC South also gets its first look at their divisional rivals, with the Colts traveling to Tennessee and the Texans hosting the Jaguars.

The Bills play their second straight game in New York, after Josh Allen led an improbably 17-point comeback against the Jets a week ago. After the Lions squandered their own fourth-quarter lead and left Arizona with a tie, the Detroit Lions host the Los Angeles Chargers — fresh off their own overtime victory against the Indy. Kellen Moore will showcase his well-designed, well-balanced offense this week against a Redskins team that plans to start Adrian Peterson a week after making him a healthy scratch.

The game of the week is undoubtedly the NFC championship rematch from last season, with the New Orleans Saints making their way to Los Angeles to play a Rams team that narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of the Panthers one week prior. Other late afternoon games include the Chiefs taking on the Raiders, and the Broncos hosting the Bears in a battle of 0-1 teams that blundered in primetime contests.

Sunday Night Football gives us another playoff matchup, this one from 2017, between the Carson Wentz-led Philadelphia Eagles and an Atlanta Falcons squad that got embarrassed on the road in Minnesota last weekend.

All things end on Monday Night Football with a featuring of the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Baker Mayfield and his Browns, after an underwhelming performance against the Titans at home, travel to play a Jets team that also left their home crowd with an unpleasant, last-second defeat.

The picks are in, so let’s check out the first standings board and where the staff is leaning for the Week 2 slate.

Elliot Denton: 14-1 / Greg Rader: 12-3 / Chris Blystone: 11-4 / Mateo Caliz: 11-4 / Matt Danely: 11-4 / Brett Mock: 11-4 / Josh Hudgens: 10-5 / Stephen Reed: 10-5 / Chris Shepherd: 10-5 / Zach Hicks: 9-6 / Andrew Aziz: 8-7 / Blake Pace: 8-7

Thursday 8:20 pm ET

Panthers @ Buccaneers

Sunday 1:00 pm ET

Cardinals @ Ravens

Chargers @ Lions

Colts @ Titans

Jaguars @ Texans (9) | Contrarians: Elliot Denton, Zach Hicks, Blake Pace

Vikings (8) @ Packers | Contrarians: Aziz, Josh Hudgens, Brett Mock, Pace

Cowboys @ Redskins

Seahawks @ Steelers (8) | Contrarians: Aziz, Matt Danley, Hudgens, Greg Rader

Bills (8) @ Giants | Contrarians: Aziz, Danley, Stephen Reed, Chris Shepherd

Patriots (11) @ Dolphins | Contrarian: Reed

Sunday 4:05 pm ET

Chiefs @ Raiders

Sunday 4:25 pm ET

Saints @ Rams (7) | Contrarians: Mateo Caliz, Danely, Elliot Denton, Hicks, Hudgens

Bears @ Broncos

Sunday 8:20 pm ET

Eagles @ Falcons

Monday 8:15 pm ET

Browns @ Jets

Who do you have coming out on top in Week 2?