Week 2 NFL Picks
We waited 7 months for the NFL to be back and just like that we’re already at the doorstep of week 2! I wish I could say I watched every minute of every game because I was so excited, but that would be a huge lie. But don’t fret I watched, and read, plenty of week 1 highlights and recaps and I’m even more fired up for week 2 if that’s even possible. Probably helps that the Cowboys dominated the Giants.
Week 1: 10–4–1
Texans @ Bengals -6.5
Boy, I bet the Bengals regret letting Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler go. Andy Dalton looked like trash albeit he was facing a pretty good Baltimore defense. People know I’m down on the Bengals and that’s because I don’t know how they’re going to score against teams that can get to the QB. Unluckily for Andy, Houston is one of those teams. I don’t think there’s anything particularly exciting about Houston, but if this is going to be a low-scoring affair, which I think it is, I don’t know how the Bengals win this by a full touchdown. The Ravens ran 40 times on them and I expect Lamar Miller to do better than West (19 for 80) and Allen (17 for 71) since he’s the better runner. For Andy, he’s still surrounded by immense talent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he struggles against another good defensive front. I know the Jags *looked* great against Houston, but they still averaged less than 4 YPC and managed only 125 yards through the air. If the Texans can move the ball more effectively under Watson who can extend plays/drives with his legs, which helps the defense, I think they can steal a win.
Browns @ Ravens -8
I like Deshone and I think he could have a fun year, but the Ravens defense is for real. He made some mistakes at home against a good Steelers defense and they were able to keep it close, but the Ravens have the potential to be great and I anticipate more mistakes in his first true road game. I feel like this line is a little low because the Steelers didn’t blow out the Browns, but I see no reason the Ravens can’t hold the Browns to less than 10 points while putting up 20–24 of their own. A couple of mistakes by Kizer and those short fields benefit the Ravens. The Ravens also look committed to slowing down the game through the running game rather than letting Flacco lose it for them through the air, which will magnify each mistake Kizer makes. Running first also opens up the pass making Flacco’s job easier. I do think the Browns are on the right path, I just don’t think playing a top 5 defense on the road in Kizer’s 2nd game ever is something I’m going to bet.
Titans @ Jacksonville +2.5
This one seems like a spread that would have been Titans -7 if it was week 1. People are jumping off the Titans bandwagon, but is it really that bad that they lost to the Raiders who were on their way to a possible number 1 seed with Derek Carr before he got hurt last year? And are we really convinced the Jaguars are for real after beating up on a team that started Tom Savage and then switched to the 12th pick in last years draft halfway through their first game? I just don’t want to overreact and I do think the Titans are the better team. Officially, Lynch ran for 76 yards on 18 carries on the Titans last week, which does average out to over 4 YPC, but if you take out his first carry, which also happened to be his only double-digit yards carry, it drops down to 3.64 YPC. This is all to say maybe the Titans run defense with Jurrell Casey in the middle isn’t that bad and Fournette won’t go over 100 yards (26 for 100 in his first game). If Lenny doesn’t run wild it means Bortles is going to have lead them and I will always bet against that.
Bills @ Panthers -7.5
I wish this was an even touchdown and maybe it’ll move by tipoff, but I like the Panthers here. The Panthers still have issues, but I think the Bills are tanking and are going to start losing a bunch of games very, very quickly. They just don’t have very many weapons. Charles Clay has emerged as someone who can get targets, but none of Tyrods receivers help him that much. And it kind of feels like they’re showcasing LeSean McCoy for what feels like an inevitable in-season trade. And with the Panthers looking rejuvenated with their new toy Christian McCaffrey it surprises me that Cam’s completion percentage was still under 60% against the Niners. I’ll keep that in mind later in the season, but against the Bills his comp percentage could be 40% and it’ll still probably be enough.
Patriots @ Saints +7
Now this will be a fun game. Or maybe it won’t be because Bill doesn’t want to get in a shootoout with Drew Brees. Either way, I think what Alex Smith did to the Patriots defense will inform a little of what the Saints will do. They’ll use their pass catching backs to spread the defense and then try to hit as many receivers as possible (9 different people had targets for KC with 5 of them having 4 or more), which Brees should be able to do. Now, the tricky part here is NE. It would seem like they could score every single possession against the Saints if they wanted to. If the Saints made Sam Bradford look like Tom Brady who is Tom Brady going to look like against the Saints?! However, the last 2 games Brady has looked… mediocre? He hasn’t looked great and until I see a vintage Tom performance I’m going to be cautious with the Patriots and so I’ll take Drew Brees getting a full touchdown at home this week.
Cardinals @ Colts +7.5
I guess I’m just going to keep betting against the Colts until Luck comes back. Sreiously, how is Jacoby Brisset going to make any sort of difference if he starts. The Cardinals still have a pretty good defense if you forget Kenny Golladay shitting on them. But seriously, I still don’t think I can name more than 5 players on the Colts. I’ll take Peterson and Bethel to shut down TY and Moncrief and Palmer to do what he does best: slang the ball. Jared Goff had 2 completions of 20+ yards against the Colts — seems like Carson’s wheelhouse.
Eagles @ Chiefs -5
It really sucks that Eric Berry is out for the year. He’s been through so much and did a great job shutting down Gronk and now to be out for the year... it just sucks. In regards to the game, this probably means Ertz is going to have a good game. I think the Chiefs defense takes a real hit without Eric Berry, which may allow a team like the Eagles with their talented receiving corps and multitude of running backs to stay in a game longer than they should. I probably won’t bet this game, but I’d have to go with history rather than recency and believe that Alex Smith will come back to earth. The Eagles have a good defense that can get to the QB forcing all that short stuff KC will take every single time. If that’s the case I don’t see how this game will be decided by more than a touchdown. I don’t have any stats to back up my claim because if I was in a pick ’em where you had to reward confidence points I’d give this a solid ‘1’.
Vikings @ Steelers -5.5
I know the Steelers are supposed to be prolific and the line did drop by a full point since it came out, but I’ll still take the Vikings. That defense did a great job of shutting down Drew Brees. They’ll have a tougher time with Le’Veon Bell and AB will present match-up problems, but the Vikings have good personnel at every level of the defense (Xavier ‘Rhodes closed’ for AB, Eric Hendrick at LB and a mean DL) so they should be able to contain the explosiveness of the Steelers’ offense like the Browns did. And if Le’Veon still isn’t given a full workload the Vikings have a chance at an outright win. It’ll help if Sam Bradford plays smart football just as he’s done the last year and a half. Also, Big Ben has thrown a pick in 19 of his last 27 games and I expect the Vikings to be opportunistic in forcing turnovers since they didn’t have one last week.
Bears @ Buccaneers -7
I feel like the Buccaneers are the Falcons-lite so how are the Bears giving a whole touchdown? The Bears shut down Freeman last week and will do so against whoever the Bucs march out there not named Doug Martin. That leaves a pretty decent secondary to deal with Mike Evans (Julio had 5 targets last week btw) and DeSean Jackson. Pretty good receivers, but if Tampa Bays line doesn’t hold up to the front 7 of the Bears it may force Jameis to try to be a hero and make some ill-advised throws. If that happens we could see a Bears defense of old picking off passes on ill-advised deep balls to Evans or DJax. The Bucs added Chris Baker to be a run-stopper and they’ll need him to deliver on that against Jordan Howard. I’ll take the points in what I think will be a slug-fest.
Dolphins @ Chargers -4.5
Give me a healthy Chargers defense against the Dolphins. I actually like this game to go under because we know Anthony Lynn and Adam Gase are going to run the ball. Lynn was responsible for all the work McCoy got in Buffalo the last few years and now he is doing the same thing with Melvin Gordon. Adam Gase pretty much came out and said they’re going to give Ajayi as much work as he can handle, which makes sense with Cutler as your QB. I’m interested to see how the Chargers fare against a defense that’s not Denver’s and while the Dolphins have some pieces it doesn’t inspire fear. If they can’t get to Rivers then I think they’re in for a long day. On the other side, Ingram and Bosa will be getting after Cutler, which means we’re bound to see at least one classic Cutler turnover. I don’t really know what else to say other than I’m excited for Cutler to not care again this year.
Jets @ Raiders -14
Well the Jets are 0–1 and my bet for a team to go 0–16 is alive for another week. I swear to god it better last another week because this is my survivor pick. Carr won plenty of these games last year and I just can’t fathom that they’ll blow this. McCoy went for over 100 so I expect Marshawn to have a yooooge homecoming. I wonder if Jermaine Kearse is mad he got traded from the Seahawks to the cellar-dwelling Jets or if he’s happy to be the number 1 to show off his talents. I’m guessing the former just because I imagine the culture in the Jets locker-room is kind of like when you go to a party, but only know one person there and you’re really just looking for an exit the whole time, but you’re there because you promised to be there and so you have to stay for much longer than you would under any other circumstances.
Redskins @ Rams -2.5
I am not a Goff fan, but last week was a step in the right direction for him. He came out and he needed to beat up on a weak Indy team and that’s exactly what he did. However, his defense helped him tremendously. I don’t know, it’s almost as if this is week 1 for the Rams because I don’t trust any stats that come out of a game versus the Colts (or the Jets or the Niners). I’ll take Washington because they have an offense that can actually score on the Rams, this will require Goff to manage the game better and may even force him to come from behind. That is to say: I still don’t trust Goff even though his last showing tells me he should get at least the year to show us what he is made of. Also, Gurley starting the year averaging 2.1 YPC! And his only opponent has been the Colts… sad!
Cowboys @ Denver +2.5
If Zeke and Dak and Dez and Witten and Cole and Tyron and Travis and Zach are all on the field at the same time I like the Cowboys chances every time no matter the defense. This game will come down to whether or not the Cowboys can sustain long, time-consuming drives. Drives that take 5–6 minutes will keep their defense from getting tired and will lessen the number of possessions each team gets making each possession more meaningful and if that’s the case I’ll take Dak over Siemian every single time. After watching both the Cowboys and the Broncos I do think the Dallas OL matches up well with the Denver DL. If Shane Ray is out again that’s a big plus and La’el Collins needs to play as well against Von as he did against JPP. Gimme the ‘boys!
Niners @ Seahawks -14
I don’t have balls big enough to take the Niners here. In my mind this comes down to whether or not you think Seattle finds its rhythm offensively this game. If they do, then the defense gets rest for the 4th quarter that they didn’t get against Green Bay and I think that leads to a throttling of the Niners. If they struggle to move the ball and the Niners get some 3-and-outs to setup decent field position that keeps the Seattle D out there longer, this could be a game that stays close until the 4th quarter. I just don’t think we have enough information on the Seattle offensive line just yet. However, Rodgers only scored 17 on them in Lambeau and Hoyer has to travel to Seattle. Yikes.
Packers @ Falcons -2.5
Straight up: I’m taking the Falcons. I think the Falcons are a good team that lost some respect because they didn’t blow out a team that was expected to be awful, but maybe the Bears defense isn’t as bad as we think. In fact, I’d say it’s definitely better than the Packers. Last week, GB got some pressure on Wilson because Seattle pays it’s OLine the least of any team in the league. They are almost daring Wilson to win without help. This week though, Matt Ryan is playing at home with a bunch of weapons around him and an offensive line that was one of the best last year. The Packers gave up 4.5 YPC to the Seahawks mostly because of Russells 2 rushes for 40 yards, but Prosise averaged 4.9 YPC to help boost it as well. I presume that Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will be glad to see a less ferocious front line. I also presume that Julio Jones will be excited by the trash heap the Packers roll out at corner. This isn’t to say the Packers won’t put up some points, but remember the Falcons had a pretty good defense and they return Desmond Trufant who missed 9 games and the playoffs last year. Plus, another year with Dan Quinn! I think the city of Atlanta will be going crazy for their first home game of 2017 and I think they’ll get a win.
Lions @ Giants -3
The Giants looked terrible against a good team. The Lions came from behind in a high-scoring affair scoring 26 unanswered points at one point on a defense that is supposed to be good. The Lions got a bunch of turnovers (3 picks and a fumble) and if they can do that against Eli then they have a great chance. And let’s be honest, we expect turnovers out of Eli at this point. The Giants have a good defense so I imagine that this game will stay close until the end, but if their offense lets Ziggy Ansah into the backfield on too many plays he’s going to kill several drives and Stafford will capitalize eventually. OBJ is supposed to play, but doesn’t that really just upgrade their offense from ‘unwatchable’ to ‘I’ll watch if there’s nothing else on’? Fortunately for them, there won’t be anything else on. I’m down on the Giants and I’m not giving them any points until they show me how they’re going to score — or they play the Colts.