Week 1 in the NFL is usually a feeling out process in terms of betting, but I think I did fairly well. Going 9-7 your first week is nothing to sweat about, and that record could’ve been better had Detroit not blown it against the Cardinals (curse you ties!!!!).
The slate of games for Week 2 has me less confident, however. Glancing at the schedule and immediately I see plenty of road teams that I like, which is never a good sign. I can already picture myself next week having to write this as swapping that “9-7” for a “4-12”. Nevertheless, I have a duty to fulfill.
So without any further ado, let’s try and not get embarrassed!
(Betting lines last updated September #12th)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2.0)
At first glance, both of these squads have a lot in common. Young offensive-minded coach, stellar defensive lines, and even injured starting running backs. While Tevin Coleman is 100% out for the Niners, Joe Mixon is looking questionable right now for Cincy, which is great news. Despite the loss, Zac Taylor’s offense looked so good that he was able to get John Ross to do this. The game should be close, but I’m leaning towards trust the San Francisco offensive line and Kyle Shanahan’s play-caller experience in this game.
THE PICK: 49ers (+2.0)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-2.5) vs. DETROIT LIONS
Despite the embarrassing #4th quarter display by Detroit that allowed Arizona to come back and force a tie (I’m not going to get over this for a while, bear with me). I really liked what I saw from Matt Stafford. He looked accurate, nimble, and might’ve found the next Gronk in T.J. Hockenson. Los Angeles had a great battle against Indianapolis Sunday afternoon, showing that they still are contenders even with their mounting slew of injuries. I foresee the running games of both teams being utilized greatly like last week, but a more consistent passing offense in favor of the Bolts gives them the edge here.
THE PICK: Chargers (-2.5)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (-2.5)
Ohhhh boy this one’s a toughie. Both Minnesota and Green Bay are coming off impressive victories off the backs of their defenses. The Vikings relied heavily on the running game against Atlanta, as Dalvin Cook ran for over 100 yards and looked prime to explode this season. Going against the Bears defense was a tough task, but Green Bay looked even more impressive on that end. With both teams so evenly matched, I have to slide over to the home team with easily the better quarterback which oddly I don’t feel great about.
THE PICK: Packers (-2.5)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (-3.0)
Much has been made about the Colts’ recent dominance over the Titans, home or away. However, if you care to research the results, all of those wins have been with Andrew Luck at the helm. In fact, the only two losses Indy has endured is when Jacoby Brissett was at quarterback. I really do respect Frank Reich as a coach and believe that this Colts team does have the talent to be somewhat respectable, but Mike Vrabel is also very underrated, and the things the Titans do best (run-defend, gash the middle of the defense) are what Indianapolis likes to do also. It’s early in the season, but a Tennessee win could very well put them in the driver’s seat for the AFC South title.
THE PICK: Titans (-3.0)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-18.5) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I mean, you can’t blame the line for being this large in Week 2 against Miami after not only no-showing against the Ravens, but having some of your own players requesting trades and to be released. Although the Pats have lost three straight regular-season games in Miami, I fully expect them to take care of Miami. However, New England hasn’t beaten the Fins by more than 19 points since 2010. Take into the fact also of Belichick being notoriously sloppy in Week 2, I am more than willingly taking Miami.
THE PICK: Dolphins (+18.5)
BUFFALO BILLS (-1.5) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
This game to me as clearly the stinker of the week. While I always enjoy watching great defense, the Bills offense is too much of a see-saw for me. As for the Giants, I guess they’re you’re team if you like horrendous defense and an aging quarterback with the same 40 yard dash time as my grandmother. Unless Saquon absolutely explodes this week, because despite the Bills’ excellent interior defensive line he is that good it doesn’t matter, I foresee a game similar to last week where turnovers are the story early on but composure and defensive pressure (especially in the Bills sublime secondary) lead Buffalo to a 2-0 start in the 2019 NFL season.
THE PICK: Bills (-1.5)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS vs. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-3.5)
Much has been made about the Steelers’ poor performance against the Patriots Sunday night. Despite the awful showing, I do entrust in Mike Tomlin and his men getting back to their usual ways this weekend against the Seahawks. Big Ben struggled facing Stephon Gilmore and the elite New England secondary, but he has a much easier task going up against a poor on in Seattle. Throw in the fact that their running game should bounce back and their offensive line should hold up well against the tandem of Jadeveon Clowney and the returning Ezekiel Ansah, I would be stunned to see Pittsburgh fall on its face again.
THE PICK: Steelers (-3.5)
DALLAS COWBOYS (-5.5) vs. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
There is low-profile a lot to look for in this game. If Dak has a game similar to the one he had against the Giants last week, he’s about to be a very rich man. Even if he doesn’t, I expect the Ezekiel Elliott to be fully unleashed this week and gash the middle of a Redskins’ D that will be missing Jonathan Allen with a knee injury. Washington looked super impressive in the first half against Philly in Week 1, but as is often the case, coach Jay Gruden was unable to adjust during the half and got bodied by an Eagles offensive onslaught. If there is any solace, I think a fantastic Dallas team should make their demise quick and easy this week, even at home.
THE PICK: Cowboys (-5.5)
ARIZONA CARDINALS vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (-13.0)
Just like the Pats-Fins game this line is ridiculously large, but I find this more egregious. While it is clear that Baltimore is the better team, the Cardinals put forth a fantastic effort that allowed them to come back against Detroit that was absent from their organization last year. Kyler Murray did a complete 180 from his awful first half to throw for nearly 200 yards with two touchdowns and four incompletions in the second half. I 100% expect a closer game than this line suggests, and if Baltimore winds up destroying them, we might have a third horse added to the championship race in the AFC.
THE PICK: Cardinals (+13.0)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS vs. HOUSTON TEXANS (-8.5)
Another game that I have irrational confidence in the underdog. Deshaun Watson was special Monday night, nearly guiding the Texans to victory after injuring his back with two of the best throws I’ve seen him make on back to back plays. It was a shame that he had to be handed the loss, and I expect his play to out-duel that of rookie QB Gardner Minshew Jr. against Jacksonville. On the other hand, outside of new acquisition Laremy Tunsil, Watson was still creamed by the Saints’ pass-rush, and facing Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Josh Allen won’t be a walk in the park either. Texans should win this game (keyword SHOULD) but it’ll be tight.
THE PICK: Jaguars (+8.5)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-7.0) vs. OAKLAND RAIDERS
I don’t care if the Chiefs are on the road. I don’t care if Oakland looked impressive against Denver Monday night. I don’t care if the removal of Antonio Brown somehow gifted the Raiders organization immunity for the entire season. Only eight points on the road for the best offense with the best quarterback in the NFL is a gimme. Help me out here Hov.
THE PICK: Chiefs (-7.0)
CHICAGO BEARS (-2.5) vs. DENVER BRONCOS
Both of these teams are coming off disappointing losses in Week 1 and are looking to bounce back this Sunday afternoon. Mitchell Trubisky looked awful against the Packers, and going against Vic Fangio’s defense won’t be easy either. I do trust Matt Nagy and his playcalling expertise to put him in better situations this week, and while Fangio is one of the best defensive minds, some of his decisions against Oakland had me questioning his situational coaching. Reasons like that have me taking the Bears, even if it is close.
THE PICK: Bears (-2.5)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS vs. LOS ANGELES RAMS (-2.0)
In a rematch of the 2018 NFL Championship Game where New Orleans fans (rightly) feel they were robbed. As I said last week the Saints are on a mission this week, and coming back to win Monday night against Houston showed they are never going to let up this year. The Rams’ offense was a little gimpy this week against Carolina in Week 1, but they still put up 30 points! At the end of the day, I see Drew Brees abusing an overrated L.A. secondary that may miss Eric Weddle this week with a concussion. Oh and don’t forget that Kamara guy too.
THE PICK: Saints (+2.0)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-2.0) vs. ATLANTA FALCONS
Last week, I decided to take Atlanta on the road against Minnesota. It was one of those decisions that as soon as the ball was kicked off I immediately regretted it. Matt Ryan wasn’t his usual stellar self, but that was the least of my concerns. New offensive coordinator ran a stale and predictive offense that barely utilized the run game at all. Throw in the fact that the Falcons were absolutely gashed in the middle of the field and the entire team didn’t look impressive at all. The Eagles were able to get into a groove in the passing game, and I fully expect Carson Wentz to put forth a nice game for Philly. Losing Malik Jackson for the year with a foot injury stinks, but when you have Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and many others on your defensive line, I think the Eagles are going to be just fine.
THE PICK: Eagles (-2.0)
CLEVELAND BROWNS (-6.0) vs. NEW YORK JETS
What once looked like a solid Monday night game between two up and coming football teams has lost its mystique after news that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. While unfortunate that the Jets won’t be at full strength, Cleveland must be somewhat pleased that all they have to do is get past Trevor Siemian. If they can’t do that… well, actually it’s the Browns. The more things change, the more they stay the same
THE PICK: Browns (-6.0)