I didn’t start Week 2 off as strongly as I did Week 1 as a close-to-meaningless touchdown in the game’s final minutes blew the cover and my last minute switch to take the over got blown, but I still came away with a W to start the week.
The Chargers weren’t that fortunate as they blew a 17-7 lead, early in the 3rd quarter, to lose 27-24 in Kansas City. The Bolts were pretty much in control and Mike Williams was essentially unstoppable through 3 quarters totaling 8 catches for 113 yards and 1 TD. For some reason, the ball just stopped going his way after LA went up 17-7 and Williams saw only 1 target the rest of the way.
The Chiefs worked their way back into it as Mahomes started to heat up in the second and the defense got their bearings, forcing back-back 3 & outs that allowed them to tie the game at 17-17. Chargers coach Brandon Staley is under fire for showing a more conservative approach than last season and opting not to go for a couple of 4th & short chances in the first half but, all things considered, the Bolts had the game exactly where they wanted it.
Early in the 4th quarter, coming off a big gain from Gerald Everett that set LA up with 1st & goal from the KC 3-yard line, things imploded. Everett was clearly tired after the play and signaling to come off the field. Staley wanted to go hurry-up, which is understandable, and sent Everett back on the field. The problem was that there seemed to be no awareness that Everett was gassed and the play that was sent to the offense went right back to him. He didn’t even really run a route and Justin Herbert didn’t recognize it and threw a terrible interception that Jaylen Watson took 99-yards the other way for the go-ahead TD for the Chiefs.
That really deflated the Chargers and you could see the body language on the sideline before they even came back onto the field. When they got the ball back, the energy was noticeably sapped and they went 3 & out quickly. They punted on the next series too and, even worse, Herbert got hurt on a clean hit and an awkward fall that fractured his rib cartilage. The Chiefs would go up by 10 on the field goal and that was enough.
Much to his credit, Herbert battled through some obvious pain and engineered a late TD drive that would give the Bolts a shot at an onside kick. They damn near got the onside kick too, but the Chiefs managed to find the loose ball and fall on it to secure the win. It was probably a long flight home to LA but there’s a lot to learn from that game while the Chiefs showed that they aren’t ready to let go of the AFC West just yet.
(+158) Miami Dolphins 1-0 @ (-190) Baltimore Ravens 1-0 (-3.5, O/U 44.5)
Both Miami and Baltimore are coming off wins to start the seasons, but I would have to think the Fins’ win over New England was the better of the two. So, I am a little surprised to see Baltimore favored by 3.5 points here. Miami’s team speed proved to be a problem for a Pats’ defense that was highly ranked last season, and the Ravens surrendered a lot of yards to the Jets in Week 1. Baltimore also punted twice as much as Miami last week, so it’s not a huge vote of confidence for their offense. The Ravens will have the best player on the field in Lamar Jackson, but Miami did also beat the Ravens last season as well. I’ve gotta go Miami here knowing they are a little healthier and more robust offensively.
Pick: MIA | ATS: MIA +3.5 | O/U: Under 44.5
(+228) NY Jets 0-1 @ (-285) Cleveland Browns 1-0 (-6.5, O/U 39.5)
I have a friend who is a big Jets fan and he was telling me how improved the defense was during the offseason. While they lost 24-9 to the Ravens in week one, they did keep the lid on the Baltimore offense. Jacoby Brissett and the passing attack never looked comfortable in Carolina but it’ll be a taller task containing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt who combined for 200+ yards and a pair of TDs in Week 1. Zach Wilson is still out for NYJ so it’s Joe Flacco still, but the Jets are going to have to stay committed to the run game instead of asking Joe to throw it 60 times. All that said, Cleveland should have the run game, and the pace to control this one for the W. The Jets may be able to cover but I can’t bet that yet.
Pick: CLE | ATS: CLE -6.5 | O/U: Over 39.5
(-165) Indianapolis Colts 0-0-1 @ (+140) Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 (+3 ,O/U 45)
The Colts got the 2022 season off to a disappointing start with a come-from-behind draw vs Houston, while the Jags started building towards some positive but ultimately blew the late lead and lost in Washington. The Colts have dropped 7-straight games in Jacksonville including the abysmal collapse at the end of last season that torpedoed Indy’s playoff chances. Add to that, both Michael Pittman Jr. and Alex Pierce are out at WR and Shaquille Leonard is out at LB, and that’s a recipe for trouble. You’ve gotta believe that Jonathan Taylor is the best player in this matchup and he’ll be busy after a strong start to his season, but it may not be enough. Matt Ryan threw it 50 times for 350+ yards but only 1 TD and they were losing 20-3 at one point. It’s almost a must-win for the Colts and they are due to win in Jacksonville, but there’s a reason they haven’t won there in years and this is likely the best version of the Jags they have seen in the last couple of years as well.
Pick: JAX | ATS: JAX +3 | O/U: Over 45
(-140) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-0 @ (+118) New Orleans Saints 1-0 (+2.5 ,O/U 44)
Similar to the anomalous slump mentioned above, Tom Brady is winless against the Saints in the regular season since moving to Tampa Bay. Much of that is because the Saints have been focused on pressuring Tom and it has yielded results. Denis Allen, who was the former defensive coordinator is now the head coach in New Orleans, so he knows what to do but this Saints defense didn’t look impressive in Week 1. The Falcons ran all over them, going for 200+ and 2 TDs. Some of that came from Marcus Mariota, which Brady won’t provide, but Mariots was effective and efficient as a passer too.
It’s entirely possible that TB12 drops his 5th-straight regular-season meeting to the Saints because he’ll be without Chris Godwin and offensive tackle Donavan Smith is probably out too. Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Breshad Perriman are all listed as questionable too, so that’s concerning. The Bucs’ defense, however, is healthy and they looked fantastic against Dallas. The last time these teams met, Tom Brady was shut out for the first time in 255 games and you know he remembers it. Tampa will have to lean on the run game, get the backs involved in the passing game, and bring the heat vs Jameis Winston.
Pick: TB | ATS: TB -2.5 | O/U: Under 44
(+110) Carolina Panthers 0-1 @ (-130) NY Giants 1-0 (-2, O/U 43.5)
Brian Daboll’s Giants picked up a massive road win to start the new coach’s tenure with New York and they look to build on that as they return home to the Meadowlands. The Panthers nearly won the Baker revenge game and after a big emotional dump, they regroup on the road. The bad news for Carolina is they gave up a ton of ground yards and the renewed Saquon Barkley ran all over the Titans, so they may be preoccupied with stopping the run. The Giants, on the other hand, did a great job shutting down Derrick Henry and the Titans run game in Week 1, so CMC will have his work cut out for him on the ground. Fortunately, he’s a great receiver too. The Giants are a little thin at cornerback for this one with Nick McCloud and Jason Pinnock OUT and rookie WR Wondale Robinson is out too with a couple of other defenders in the doubtful club. If Carolina had hung on to beat Cleveland, they’d be the favorites here so there is no time like the present for Baker to step it up and find the upset.
Pick: CAR | ATS: CAR +2 | O/U: Over 43.5
(-135) New England Patriots 0-1 @ (+115) Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0 (+2.5, O/U 40.5)
Even though I picked the Pats to win, despite the evidence suggesting otherwise, I can’t lie. It was fun to watch them get beat one-sidedly by the Dolphins. I have no idea how they are favored on the road against Pittsburgh who is coming off a hard-fought win against the defending AFC Champs, but I’ll take it. Yeah, T.J. Watt is out for this one, but PIT is the much healthier team as a whole. For me, it’s about quality of competition and the Steelers looked better against the better team and even showed some ability to limit the area where NE is the strongest. With Mac Jones nursing some back issues too, I don’t see how the Pats can be favored. I’ll ride with PIT again.
Pick: PIT | ATS: PIT +2.5 | O/U: Under 40.5
(+100) Washington Commanders 1-0 @ (-120) Detroit Lions 0-1 (-1.5, O/U 48)
This should be a fun one as two young teams looking to work their way back into contention square off. Both teams showed they can score and both showed that they are going to surrender some points as well. I was tempted to lean towards the Lions because of how they performed against the Eagles but they were down by 14 in the 4th quarter in that one as well. I’m not liking the injuries along Detroit’s offensive line with their starting center out and their LG unlikely because that will effect everything and D’Andre Swift is questionable too. They are fortunate that Chase Young is still out on Washinton’s D-line but they still have a good defensive front. I would like the Lions to win and I could see Carson Wentz making a big error, but I think they get edged here.
Pick: WSH | ATS: WSH +1.5| O/U: Over 48
(+335) Seattle Seahawks 1-0 @ (-440) San Francisco 49ers 0-1 (-8.5, O/U 40)
The Seahawks surprised everyone winning their revenge game, including me, but lost Jamal Adams for the season in the process. I knew they would be better than they have gotten credit for in the offseason, but I still picked Denver. The Niners played in monsoon conditions so it’s tough to tell what to make of them, but this is an important game for them. Neither of these team scored after the half in Week 1, so I see why the over/under is set at 40. Trey Lance is still something of a question mark but I assume he’ll play better in clean weather and the forecast looks good. George Kittle looks like he will still miss this game but the Niners defense is going to have to pin their ears back and get after the Hawks here. Seattle has won 4 in-a-row against SF but, with new faces at the QB posistion for both teams, it’s not the most reliable streak. The 49ers need this one, but I don’t know if they cover a big spread and how they got a bigger spread here than vs Chicago after losing that game is odd.
Pick: SF| ATS: SEA +8.5 | O/U: Under 40.5
(+400) Atlanta Falcons @ (-550) Los Angeles Rams (-10, O/U 46.5)
The Rams are in line for a bounce-back game vs Atlanta after getting embarrassed in the season opener by the Bills. The Rams defense isn’t the type to let bad performances pile up and I’m sure Sean McVay is going to have them dialed in. Their offense needs to click too, and going up against a team that loves to blow 4th quarter leads is just what the doctor ordered. Atlanta may surprise people but, even if they play as well as they did against NO, I don’t expect them to win. The Rams are without their starting center so they’ll have to adjust and make sure they get the ball out quickly. Aaron Donal, Bobby Wagner, and Jalen Ramsey are going to have to make thier presence felt and I think they will. I’d selfishly like Allen Robinson and Matthew Stafford to get on the same page as well.
Pick: LAR | ATS: LAR -10 | O/U: Under 46.5
(+360) Houston Texans 0-0-1 @ (-480) Denver Broncos 0-1 (-10, O/U 45)
The Russell Wilson era in Denver didn’t start according to plan, but they showed some good signs heading into Week 2 against Houston. Houston showed some good signs too, going to a draw with a team that demolished them twice last season. Both of these teams have injuries along the O-line, but I think it’s worse for the Texans whose starting center, Kenny Britt, is out. KJ Hamler is out for Denver too but Jerry Jeudy looked great last week and I expect a lot of heavy sets from the Broncos anyway. Wilson basically has to win this one, but Houston has shown they are no pushovers. I’ll go with DEN but I like Houston to challenge them here.
Pick: DEN | ATS: HOU +10 | O/U: Under 45
(-192) Arizona Cardinals 0-1 @ (-235) Las Vegas Raiders 0-1 (-5.5, O/U 51.5)
I have never been a believer in this Cardinals team. Even at their highest highs, I never elevated them to my upper echelon of teams. Kyler Murray is a very talented player and they are different when healthy, but I fully expected them to get shellacked by the Chiefs, and they did. The Raiders gave the Chargers a fight despite not looking great, introduced Davante Adams to Raider Nation. The Cards are very thin at WR with Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella out and D-Hop suspended. A.J. Green and Zach Ertz are capable options in the passing game, but them taking over a game is unlikely. J.J Watt is still questionable too. Vegas is better on both sides of the ball but do have some injury issues with their C Andre James, LB Denzel Perryman, and S Tre’Von Moehring all OUT. They have a more dynamic defense than Kansas City, so I expect them to take care of business at home against a depleted Arizona team. As long as Derek Carr doesn’t turn the ball over 3 times again, they’ll be fine.
Pick: LVR | ATS: LVR -5.5 | O/U: Over 51.5
(-345) Cincinnati Bengals 0-1 @ (+270) Dallas Cowboys (+7, O/U 41.5)
The Bengals damn near won a game they had no business winning in Week 1, but close doesn’t count. It does say something that Joe Burrow was sacked 7 times and had 5 turnovers, but still threw for 300 yards and had his team in it. It says they are tough to beat even under ideal circumstances. These are far less than ideal circumstances for Dallas who is without Dak Prescott due to hand surgery, but also without SS Jayron Kearse, WR Michael Gallup, LG Connor McGovern, and Terrell Basham who was put on IR. The Cowboys have no business being competitve in this game, but that will be the Bengals burden. Dallas can get after the QB and Cincy can’t seem to pass protect, so maybe they make it interesting, but I don’t think so.
Pick: CIN | ATS: CIN -7 | O/U: Under 41.5
(+360) Chicago Bears 1-0 @ (-480) Green Bay Packers 0-1 (-10, O/U 41.5)
This is an interesting, but not entirely unfamiliar spot for the Packers. They got blitzed in Week 1 last season too but went on to win the NFC and have the NFL’s best record. Aaron Rodgers predictably choked in the playoffs, but this is the regular season. The Bears got a big win over the 49ers in the slop, but now they face their real nemesis. Rodgers is 22-5 in his career against Chicago and this is a weaker Bears’ defense than he’s used to. It’s also a weaker Packers offense than CHI is used to. Week 1 was a new look Packers and it wasn’t a good look, but if Christian Watson doesn’t drop an easy TD that could be a different game. I fully expect the Packers to handle business, even though the Bears did play them tough last season.
Pick: GB | ATS: CHI +10 | O/U: Over 41.5
(+360) Tennessee Titans 0-1 @ (-480) Buffalo Bills 1-0 (-10, O/U 48)
It’s time for the Bills to shine in Primetime once again and right the ship against the rival Titans. Buffalo looked every bit the favorite they were made out to be during the preseason and the Titans looked about as mediocre as I thought. They blew the late lead while giving up a ton of ground yardage in the process. Plus, they are without CB Kristian Fulton, and backups RB Dontrell Hilliard and OT Jamrco Jones, but it’s always the Derrick Henry show anyway. Ed Oliver is OUT, but Buffalo’s interior D-line was rebuilt with this in mind and it’ll be a good test. Gabriel Davis was a late addition to the injury report for the Bills and is questionable with an anle injury, but he’ll probably play. They should have enough to get it done regardless. Bills by a Billion!
Pick: BUF | ATS: BUF -10 | O/U: Under 48
(+110) Minnesota Vikings 1-0 @ (-130) Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 (-2, O/U 50.5)
Why we are moving to overlapping Monday Night Football games already is beyond me, but I fortunately have picture-in-picture. Surprisingly, these teams haven’t played since 2019, but they are both 1-0 and looking to take advantage of a changing NFC landscape. Both teams are mostly healthy among the starters except for Derek Barnett who was placed on season-ending IR. I know Philly was supposed to have the superior defense between the two, but that didn’t appear to be the case in Week 1 where they surrendered 35 points to the Lions. The Vikes’ defense went out and sacked Aaron Rodgers 4 times, picked him off, and kept him almost completely in check. The Eags will have to run the ball successfully and not fall too much in love with A.J. Brown’s Week 1 explosion. The Packers had success against Minny on the ground but abandoned it. As much of a sexy pick as the Eagles are this season, the quality of competition edge goes heavily to the Vikings and even though they have burned me in the past plenty of times, I’ll take them to pull the upset.
Pick: MIN | ATS: MIN +2 | O/U: Over 50.5
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