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Week 1 is always a tricky week to bet the NFL. The underdogs almost always have a good opening showing, and one of these years, I'll remember that heading into it.
All the same, we had an even 8-8 week against the spread to open and went 10-6 straight-up. We were a 49ers meltdown and some Patriots mental errors away from a winning week, plus my ponies (the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals) each delivered winning tickets.
Let's get to the Week 2 lines, highlighted by the 49ers' trip to face Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles, and a few contenders' quests to avoid an 0-2 start.
Record: 8-8 ATS (10-6 SU)
WFT vs. New York Giants
Line: Football Team -3
The Football Team’s vaunted defensive line hit a brick wall in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers, as LA’s new-look OL stood tall and kept the pressure off Justin Herbert. I expect better out of Chase Young and Co. on Thursday night.
Washington feasted against bad offenses in 2020, and the Giants’ offense gave me little to be optimistic about in their Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. Give me the Fighting Heinickes.
Pick: WFT 23, Giants 16
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts
Line: Rams -4
Russell Wilson torched the Colts with the deep ball in Week 1, and here comes Matthew Stafford and the Rams, who showed off their vertical passing game against the Chicago Bears in Week 1. LA jumps out early, and Aaron Donald eats up the Colts’ offense.
Pick: Rams 31, Colts 21
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Steelers -5.5
The Steelers’ defense stifled Josh Allen and the Bills in an impressive Week 1 win. The offense, though? Not great. But the Raiders are coming off an emotional victory in their Las Vegas opener and are on a short week.
The Steel Curtain wins the day, but the Raiders cover.
Pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 20
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Broncos -6
Trevor Lawrence is a rare talent, but he’s swimming upstream in Jacksonville. The Jaguars’ offense scuffled against the Texans. They face a more challenging task in Week 2 against one of the top Ds in the NFL.
Lawrence plays well, but he can’t do enough to win it on his own. Urban Meyer gets on a private jet ticketed for LA with a box of Papa John’s after the loss.
Pick: Broncos 24, Jags 17
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
Line: Browns -12.5
Baker Mayfield and the Browns had the Chiefs until they didn’t. Now, they return home to try and regroup against the AFC South-leading Texans in a game that will be much tighter than the spread anticipates. Tyrod Taylor gives the Browns a scare, but the Texans can’t stop Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Party on, Cleveland.
Pick: Browns 30, Texans 24
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears
Line: Bears -2.5
The Bengals won a game they would have lost in years past by beating the Vikings in OT. That’s progress.
Meanwhile, the Bears looked atrocious in a Week 1 thumping at the hands of the Rams. Matt Nagy is sticking with Andy Dalton for now. That’s an issue, but I think the Bears’ defense is good enough to get the best of Joe Burrow in this one.
Pick: Bears 23, Bengals 20
Buffalo Bill at Miami Dolphins
Line: Bills -3.5
Is Josh Allen headed for regression or was it just one bad game? The Bills’ offense looked bad in Week 1 against the Steelers, but they’ll get back on track against the Dolphins. Miami’s Week 1 was more about the Patriots’ mistakes than anything the Dolphins did well.
Bills win and cover.
Pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 23
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Line: Patriots -6
The Jets couldn’t protect Zach Wilson against the Carolina Panthers, and now Mekhi Becton is out. Bill Belichick excels against rookie quarterbacks. Mac Jones throws for 300 yards and a couple scores as the Patriots pour it on the Jets.
Pick: Patriots 31, Jets 17
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Line: Saints -3
Sam Darnold played well against his old team in his Panthers debut, but the Saints’ defense offers a stiffer challenge than what Carolina faced in Week 1. Jameis Winston won’t have to do much in this one as the Saints’ D wins the day as New Orleans moves to 2-0.
Pick: Saints 28, Panthers 20
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Bucs -12.5
It might only be one week, but the Falcons looked like something my dog hacks up after he drinks water too quickly. Arthur Smith’s play-action-based offense had trouble gaining traction without the threat of Derrick Henry, and Kyle Pitts only managed 31 yards in his debut. And that was against the Eagles.
This is a get-right game for a Bucs defense that had a tough time in a Week 1 win against the Cowboys. This one won’t be close.
Pick: Bucs 34, Falcons 17
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals
Line: Cardinals -3.5
Mike Zimmer is looking like a potential sleeper to be the first coach fired after the Vikings looked undisciplined and unprepared in a Week 1 loss to the Bengals. Now, Minnesota has to travel to Arizona to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
The Vikings’ O-line could have issues with Chandler Jones and the Cardinals’ front, and I don’t think their defense has any answers for Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.
Pick: Cardinals 28, Vikings 21
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks
Line: Seahawks -5.5
Chandler Jones and the Cardinals' front abused Tennessee's O-line in Week 1. Can the offense get anything going in the Pacific Northwest against a Seahawks defense that looked solid against the Colts?
It’ll be tight because the Seahawks can’t play a normal game, but the Titans struggle to contain Russell Wilson’s deep ball and fall to 0-2.
Pick: Seahawks 31, Titans 27
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chargers -3
This is a “home” game for the Bolts in a stadium that almost certainly will be 85 percent Cowboys fans. Tough draw. This one has all the makings of a classic shootout between Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott.
Derwin James picks off Prescott late to seal the win.
Pick: Chargers 34, Cowboys 30
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Chiefs -3.5
Kansas City survived a scare from the Browns and now has to go on the road to face another top AFC challenger. It won’t be easy, but the Ravens like to blitz and Patrick Mahomes should be able to rip their zero looks apart.
Pick: Chiefs 31, Ravens 26
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Give the Lions some credit for not quitting against the 49ers, but this is a baaaaad football team. The Packers looked like a bad football team in Week 1, but how often has Aaron Rodgers tossed up two stinkers in a row?
Packers in a rout.
Pick: Packers 34, Lions, 16
49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Line: 49ers -3.5
The 49ers looked like world-beaters for three quarters in Detroit before they started throwing up on themselves and almost gave the game away. Jalen Hurts was impressive in Week 1, and I think he can take advantage of the 49ers’ banged-up secondary. Hurts hits DeVonta Smith for a game-winning touchdown late.
Pick: Eagles 28, 49ers 27