NFL Week 2 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
Although Week Two is a CBS/AFC double header, most out of town Pats Fans will still be shut out of this week’s game on broadcast television. Outside of New England the game will only be televised in Florida (the Dolphins are not going head-to-head with either the Bucs or Jaguars) and the state of New York (AFC East interest). Bengals at Steelers will get most of the CBS coverage in the early east game, with KC at Houston being shown through much of the midwest. Indy at Denver gets the broad coverage late on CBS, while FOX has a mixed bag of regional coverage. The Boston area will receive the Seahawks at Rams late, while many others will get (shocking!) another NFC East game on FOX: Dallas at Washington.
To see what is being broadcast in your area, please check out JT Kirby’s NFL Maps.
It happens every year. After the first week of the NFL season, half the teams have a winning percentage of 1.000 and half have a winning percentage of .000. And for whatever reason both fans and media overreact; not necessarily predicting 16-0 or 0-16 seasons, but assuming that the teams that won last week will perform gloriously on the next Sunday and those that lost will continue fail to get out of first gear.
Rarely does that happen.
Whether it be some tips and bounces going the other way, playing on the road versus at home, more intensity after an embarrassing loss or a bit of complacency after a win, far too much stock tends to be placed in the final score of week one games when handicapping the following week’s games.
As Bill Belichick is wont to say, ignore the noise. Look instead at where each team is at that moment of time. That is why (patting self on back) Miami plus the points at Seattle, San Diego plus the points at Kansas City, Tampa Bay at Atlanta plus the points, and the Jets plus points at home versus Cincinnati were games I was confident with.
Of course there were others that I totally missed on; the Bears upsetting a (possibly) over hyped Texans team on the road was an experience in humility, but nobody will ever get all of these picks correct. With that thought in mind, here goes nothing…
★★ Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker
Lions -6 (opened at -5½) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . DET -250, TEN +210
Detroit’s offense averaged 7.0 yards per play last week, third best in the NFL behind only New Orleans and Oakland. The Titans will be without their best defensive player, linebacker Derrick Morgan, who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury. Congrats if you picked up the Lions when they were only giving away 3½ points when the early advanced lines were published ten days ago. The biggest concern for Detroit fans may be that the Lions could be caught looking past Tennessee with sights on next week’s game at Green Bay.
Prediction: Lions 27, Titans 17
Lions -6 . . . . . under 47½ . . . . . Detroit -250
Final Score: Titans 16, Lions 15 x
Lions -6 x … under 47½ ✓ … Lions -250 x
★★★★ Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Texans -2½ (opened as pk) . . . . over/under 43 . . . . HOU -130, KC +110
Yes the Chiefs made a fantastic comeback last week, but that was all after Keenan Allen blew out his knee. The Texans are better than the Chargers on both sides of the ball and Kansas City’s defense, as we saw last week, can be exploited. The KC defense is just not the same with outside linebacker now being a liability rather than a strength because of knee injuries to Justin Houston (out, on PUP) and Tamba Hali (playing, but clearly not 100%). Marcus Peters was burnt consistently last week by Allen; what happens when he has to cover DeAndre Hopkins? The Texans will get revenge for last year’s embarrassing playoff loss to the Chiefs.
Prediction: Texans 24, Chiefs 17
Texans -2½ . . . . . under 43 . . . . . Houston -130
Final Score: Texans 19, Chiefs 12 ✓
Texans -2½ ✓ … under 43 ✓ … Texans -130 ✓
★★★★★ Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Patriots -6½ (opened at -5) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . NE -280, MIA +240
As with all division games, the Fins almost always give New England a hard time. Miami will be looking for retribution after a close loss at Seattle, and playing with confidence after proving naysayers who pronounced that the Dolphins did not have a chance in that game wrong. With any other team I would say that New England would let up a bit and feel good about themselves after coming home with an upset victory on the road, but there is no way that Bill Belichick will let that happen – even without veterans Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich in the locker room. For what it’s worth the Dolphins have won three of the last five meetings between these two teams – though it should also be noted that all three of those victories came in games played in south Florida. On the other hand the Pats have won seven in a row at Gillette, with Miami’s last win in Foxboro being the Wildcat Game in 2008.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Dolphins 16
Dolphins +6½ . . . . . under 42 (one unit) . . . . . Miami +240
Final Score: Patriots 31, Dolphins 24 ✓
Dolphins +6½ x … under 42 x … Dolphins +240 x
★★ Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Carter Blackburn, Chris Simms
Ravens -6 (opened at -2½) . . . . over/under 42½ . . . . BAL -250, CLE +210
Baltimore did win last week, but it is starting to look as though defeating the Bills doesn’t count for much. Cleveland did lose by 19 points last week, but were only down by a field goal in the third quarter before Robert Griffin was injured and things went south. In my opinion Josh McCown is actually an upgrade at QB, though he definitely is not the long term answer for the Browns.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Browns 17
Browns +6 (two units) . . . . . under 42½ . . . . . Cleveland +210
Final Score: Ravens 25, Browns 20 ✓
Browns +6 ✓✓ … under 42½ x … Browns +210 x
★★★★ Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Steelers -3½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . PIT -175, CIN +155
Last year Antonio Brown owned Bengal corner Dre Kirkpatrick. The Pittsburgh wide receiver had twenty receptions for 253 yards in three games against Cincy last season, and started off 2016 with a bang, with eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Steelers 31, Bengals 21
Steelers -3½ (two units) . . . . . over 48½ (one unit) . . . . . Pittsburgh -175
Final Score: Steelers 24, Bengals 16 ✓
Steelers -3½ ✓✓ … over 48½ x … Steelers -175 ✓
★★ Dallas Cowboys at Washington Snyders
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch
Skins -3 (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . WAS -150, DAL +130
Dez Bryant was limited to one reception last week and Washington’s defense is at least as good, if not better than the Giants. The Skins losing to Pittsburgh is no crime, and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott getting his first NFL road start will not help the anemic Dallas offense. Three points for the home team means these two are listed as equals on a neutral field; Washington is the much better overall club right now.
Prediction: Skins 27, Cowboys 17
Skins -3 (three units) . . . . . under 45½ . . . . . Washington -150 (one unit)
Final Score: Dallas 27, Washington 23 x
Skins -3 xxx … under 45½ x … Skins -150 x
★★★ New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Giants -4½ (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 53½ . . . . NYG -210, NO +180
Both teams have shaky offensive lines, but the New York defensive line is far superior while the New Orleans defense is still abysmal. Even so I still see the Saints with a better offense, so to me it is a tossup – and give three points to the home team. With that in mind I’ll give a slight lean to the visitors plus the points.
Prediction: Giants 31, Saints 28
Saints +4½ . . . . . over 53½ . . . . . New Orleans +180
Final Score: Giants 16, Saints 13 ✓
Saints +4½ ✓ … over 53½ x … Saints +180 x
★★ San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Panthers -13½ (opened at -13½) . . . . over/under 45 . . . . CAR -900, SF +600
The Niners won 28-0, so what? First of all it was against a team led by Jeff Fisher, one of the most overrated head coaches in NFL history. Throw that game out; the Rams were so bad that Carolina head coach Ron Rivera fell asleep watching the film in preparation for this week’s game. Second off, let’s look at San Fran’s 2015 season. The 49ers beat a good Minnesota team 20-3 in the season opener and then lost 11 of the next 14 – including the next two games by a combined score of 90-25! Now add in a west coast team playing an early game on the east coast, against the defending conference champions playing there home opener, and all I can see is a blowout of massive proportions.
Prediction: Panthers 34, Niners 13
Panthers -13½ (two units) . . . . . over 47 . . . . . Carolina -900
Final Score: Panthers 46, Niners 27 ✓
Panthers -13½ ✓✓ … over 47 ✓ … Panthers -900 ✓
★★★★ Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis
Cardinals -7 (opened at -7½) . . . . over/under 50 . . . . ARI -320, TB +260
The Bucs are going to be much improved this year, but they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Making a long road trip to face an Arizona team that got their asses chewed out all week by their head coach, general manager, fans and media for losing a home opener in which they were heavily favored puts Tampa Bay in a very tough spot. Under other circumstances I would take the Bucs plus the points, but not here.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Bucs 17
Cardinals -7 (one unit) . . . . . under 50 (one unit) . . . . . Arizona -320 (one unit)
Final Score: Cardinals 40, Bucs 7 ✓
Cardinals -7 ✓ … under 50 ✓ … Cardinals -320 ✓
★★ Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, September 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Seahawks -6½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 37½ . . . . SEA -280, LA +240
Why in the world did the Rams give Jeff Fisher an extension? In 22 years he has only six seasons with a winning record, and has not had a winning year since 2008! With a 6-10 record or worse – certainly a very real possibility – Fisher could become the NFL all-time leader in losses by a head coach. Until their offensive line can gel the Seahawks are still a bit shaky, but until further notice I am just going to go with whatever team is playing against the Rams no matter how many reasons I have to doubt their opponent.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Rams 10
Seahawks -6½ . . . . . under 37½ (three units) . . . . . Los Angeles +240
Final Score: Rams 9, Seahawks 3 x
Seahawks -6½ x … under 37½ ✓✓✓ … Rams +240 ✓
★★★ Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Sunday, September 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Broncos -6 (opened at -4) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . DEN -270, IND +230
Two years since an unknown Jonas Gray ravaged the Indy run defense for 199 yards and four touchdowns, the Colt rushing defense still can’t stop a nosebleed. Detroit rushed for 4.8 yards per carry, and Denver’s running game is much better than the Lions is. On top of that Indy is now on the road, against one of the league’s best defenses, against a team possessing possibly the best home field advantage thanks to the thin air at Mile High.
Prediction: Broncos 27, Colts 13
Broncos -6 . . . . . under 46½ . . . . . Denver -270
Final Score: Broncos 34, Colts 20 ✓
Broncos -6 ✓ … under 46½ x … Broncos -270 ✓
★★★ Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders
Sunday, September 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Raiders -4½ (opened at -6½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . OAK -210, ATL +180
As you can see from what I said last week, I didn’t think much of the Falcons playing at home. Now they have to cross three time zones to face a good offense playing their home opener. Unfortunately for Oakland their defense is not very good, and containing Julio Jones is a challenge for even the best defenses.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Falcons 27
Falcons +4½ . . . . . over 46½ (two units) . . . . . Atlanta +180
Final Score: Falcons 35, Raiders 28 x
Falcons +4½ ✓ … over 46½ ✓✓ … Falcons +180 ✓
★★★ Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, September 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Chargers -3 (opened at -2½) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . SD -160, JAX +140
San Diego is without WR Keenan Allen for the rest of the season, but Jacksonville has multiple injuries in their defensive backfield so that may not be the huge issue that many are predicting it will be in this game. I don’t feel strongly about either team in this matchup, so I’ll go with the team playing at home over the one making a coast-to-coast trip.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Jaguars 23
Jaguars +3 . . . . . under 47½ . . . . . Jacksonville +140
Final Score: Chargers 38, Jaguars 14 ✓
Jaguars +3 x … under 47½ x … Jaguars +140 x
★★★★ Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, September 18 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Packers -2½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 43 . . . . GB -130, MIN +110
I feel like asking ‘what’s the catch’ with the line in this game. Sure, Minnesota has a good defense and is the home team. It’s just that 2½ points for a Packer team facing a club that just recently lost their starting quarterback seems to be a bit low.
Prediction: Packers 24, Vikings 17
Packers -2½ . . . . . under 43 . . . . . Green Bay -130
Final Score: Vikings 17, Packers 14 x
Packers -2½ x … under 43 ✓ … Green Bay -130 x
★★ Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Monday, September 19 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Bears -3 (opened at -1) . . . . over/under 42½ . . . . CHI -170, PHI +150
Houston’s defense is much better than Philly’s, so expect the Bears to look better than they did last week against the Texans. Similarly the Eagles benefited by playing against an inexperienced and inferior Cleveland team, and struggled until the third quarter.
Prediction: Bears 27, Eagles 20
Bears -3 . . . . over 42½ . . . . . Chicago -170
Final Score: Eagles 29, Bears 14 x
Bears -3 x … over 42½ ✓ … Chicago -170 x
10-6 Straight Up
10-6 Against the Spread
21 units invested
9-2, +840 on $2310 risk
3-unit plays: 1-2, -360
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 4-0, +400
Week 2 Results:
10-6 Straight Up
9-7 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 1-1, -30
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 4-2, +180
20 units invested
9-3, +950 on $2200 risk
Year to Date Results:
20-12 Straight Up
19-13 Against the Spread
3-unit plays: 1-1, -30
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 4-2, +180
18-5, +1790 on original $2310 risk
39.7% ROI on total weekly investment
77.5% ROI on original $2310 investment
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