Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (0-1) (BAL -2.5)
Remember when this was the best rivalry in the NFL? From 2008-2011, it was what the 49ers and Seahawks is right now. The problem with both of these defense-first teams is their defensive leaders were old. Now, the Ravens have done a better job of replenishing, but the Steelers have the better QB (no matter what 4 games in January 2013 taught us). The Steelers are on the road here, and I can’t see Baltimore dropping another home game. Also, I think the players rally around the Ray Rice situation. Despite the amount of people who fucked up, I can say with moderate confidence that the 52 other Ravens players did not watch the video; they were straight lied to. They can rally around this. I think they do, and getting the Ravens under a field goal is good value.
Steelers 17 Ravens 23 (BAL -2.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) @ Washington Redskins (0-1) (WAS -5.5)
Ugh, I don’t even want to talk about this game. You leave Week 1, and despite one team losing by 17 after leading by 17, and the other losing by 11 in a game when everything went wrong, I feel better about the team that lost by 17. I would have to think the Redskins can play better on offense at home, but the Jaguars defense has some ability and Gus Bradley can coach scheme. The line seems a little high, but I do think mentally the Redskins will be better off here, and teams on their 2nd straight road game are generally poor ATS. I’ll go with Washington, but I’m not confident about the pick at all.
Jaguars 20 Redskins 28 (WAS -5.5)
Arizona Cardinals (1-0) @ New York Giants (0-1) (ARZ -2.5)
I’m of two minds here. I think Arizona is definitely the better team, but here they’re on the road, playing east coast on a short week. The Giants offense looks awful, and that is not a good matchup when you are going up against a very good to great defense, but I do think the Giants defense is good enough to contain the Cardinals iffy offense. The Chargers are not a good defense and they held them down pretty well. All the indicators point to the Giants, so I’ll ride them.
Cardinals 16 Giants 20 (NYG +2.5)
New Orleans Saints (0-1) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1) (NO -6.5)
This is a high line for a team on the road, especially given the Saints so obvious issues on defense. The Browns offense even seemed competent last week (albeit when already down many points). Still, The Saints offense should travel reasonably well in September. Would it be that shocking for the Saints to have all the same problems on the road that they have always had? Sure, but I can’t really see it. I hate taking road favorites by this much. Just hate it. I probably shouldn’t do it. We’ll see if my gut works here, because by skill the Saints should be able to cover this line.
Saints 31 Browns 20 (NO -6.5)
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-0) (TEN -3.5)
This is a line I really like. The Cowboys are a public team, but that performance was so abhorrent they are now being put down on the road against Tennessee. The Cowboys defense wasn’t really given a chance to show how bad it really is, but the offense surprisingly was average. Mainly, Romo looked old. Maybe it is the multiple back-surgeries, but his ball had no zip, he was throwing awful passes to covered receivers. That doesn’t just get fixed. I can easily see the Cowboys winning and getting love again, but the Titans offense played really well in Week 1 against a better defense.
Cowboys 20 Titans 27 (TEN -3.5)
Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-0) (MIA -1)
I really like the Bills here, even though I think the Dolphins are the better team. The Bills are a good early-season home team over the past few years, there are some signs of optimism here, and the Dolphins are coming off of a ridiculous win. The Bills are Dolphins were viewed relatively even before the season started, and both had impressive wins. There’s really no good reason for the Bills to be underdogs here. The Bills pass rush will be a much better test of the Dolphins offense than the Patriots were. The Bills offense is also better set up to test the limited depth of the Dolphins back-7. I like the Bills here.
Dolphins 17 Bills 24 (BUF +1)
New England Patriots (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0) (NE -3)
The Vikings can easily win this game. I would love for them to win this game. I would love to see the media swarm around an 0-2 Patriots team (of course, they would probably destroy Oakland 41-7 in Week 3 at home and everyone would act like Week 1&2 mean nothing). I think the case for Minnesota winning is actually quite easy. Their far better D-Line dominates against that mixed-up o-line of the Patriots. The Patriots porous rush defense can’t stop Adrian Peterson. The Patriots linebackers are way too slow to stop Cordarrelle Patterson. All of that could easily happen. But I think it won’t. One reason is the Vikings now playing outdoors. Team’s don’t adjust quickly to new stadiums historically, and I think it happens here.
Patriots 30 Vikings 17 (NE -3)
Detroit Lions (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0) (CAR -2.5)
I like the Panthers here, and I’ll like them in every home game unless they get injured or prove that the defense has taken a step back (which it most certainly has not, yet). The offense does scare me, but the line is rather low, needing just a field goal to cover. I don’t know if Stafford is quite as good outside the dome (something lost considering mostly people care about Brees being good inside or outside the dome. Also, I think the public is getting a little too carried away with Detroit right now.
Lions 17 Panthers 23 (CAR -2.5)
Atlanta Falcons (1-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) (CIN -5)
I’m terrified of Matt Ryan and that offense being great again, but I’m also terrified of picking against the Bengals in a regular season home game, considering they were 8-0 at home last year and fully dominant in most of those. They should win and cover, and I’ll take them before I have the chance to really think about the pick. Their secondary is set up well to slow down the Falcons passing attack. Their offense is great when Dalton isn’t pressured and he shouldn’t be against a woeful pass rush.
Falcons 17 Bengals 31 (CIN -5)
St. Louis Rams (0-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) (TB -6)
Another game I don’t really want to talk about. The Rams are getting decimated with injuries (Bradford, and now Chris Long), while the Buccaneers are getting decimated with Josh McCown still being their QB. The Buccaneers are getting no value here with that high of a line. It makes sense, I guess, but I can see St. Louis playing a lot better. I’m taking way too many favorites as well, which scares me. The Rams can easily cover this game, but I’m always afraid of taking an unsure QB against a good Bucs defense.
Rams 13 Buccaneers 20 (TB -6)
Houston Texans (1-0) @ Oakland Raiders (0-1) (HOU -3)
This is the 3rd awful game of the week, and another situation where I don’t even want to pick. The Texans should destroy the Raiders offense, but the Raiders offense might do well against the Texans defense as well. I still think the Texans are relatively overvalued (was not really that impressed with their win over the Redskins), so I’ll keep riding the team I think is relatively undervalued.
Texans 13 Raiders 16 (OAK +3)
New York Jets (1-0) @ Green Bay Packers (0-1) (GB -8.5)
Considering how bad the Packers looked in Week 1, this line might be a little high, but there are a lot of indicators to back the Packers winning comfortably. First, the Packers are desperate, at 0-1 at home. Then, the Jets have no secondary to speak of, which is a problem against the Packers. Also, the Packers rarely ever lose back to back games. Finally, this is going to be a tough environment for Geno. Add it all up and I like the Packers to cover a high line that is less than 10.
Jets 20 Packers 30 (GB -8.5)
Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0) (DEN -13)
Go against 10 point lines. Of course, it didn’t work in Week 1 with the Jaguars not covering +10.5 despite going up 17-0, and I can see it so easily not working here, but it is a principle. I’ll ride the principle.
Chiefs 20 Broncos 31 (KC +13)
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) @ San Diego Chargers (0-1) (SEA -6)
Love San Diego here. They are built to hang with Seattle on offense, with a passing game dependent on swift short-route players like Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, and a QB that can hit some downfield throws as well. The Chargers defense is better than people think, and this team nearly beat a defense that is probably 85% as good as the Seahawks on the road. The only thing giving me pause is the Seahawks recent track record against great QBs and the Seahawks having 10 days to rest versus 5 for the Chargers. Still, I think the Chargers keep this close, and what they hell, I’ll pick them to sneak out the win.
Seahawks 20 Chargers 24 (SD +6)
Chicago Bears (0-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-0) (SF -7)
The fact that Marshall and Jeffery might be gimpy scares me. The fact that they might not be that gimpy against a bad secondary scares me the other way. This is the home opener for the 49ers, but teams rarely adjust too quickly to new stadiums. I can see the 49ers losing, but the Bears are also the more desperate team. I really have no idea. The 49ers pass rush probably won’t get to Cutler which will help. Gun to my head, I like the Bears to cover but not win.
Bears 23 49ers 28 (CHI +7)
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-1) (IND -3)
The Colts have yet to lose back-to-back games in the Andrew Luck era, and they have been great over the years in primetime (last week notwithstanding), and Andrew Luck should be able to do well against that defense, but the other side of the ball terrifies me. The easiest way to get the Eagles off their game offensively is to get pressure on Nick Foles. He has bad pocket presence and is not accurate when pressured. Sadly, the Colts can’t really get pressure on Nick Foles given them not having Robert Mathis and coming in just hoping Bjoern Werner develops. Still, the Colts offense has a ton of matchup edges as well, and this is a proud team that won’t drop primetime home games too easily.
Eagles 24 Colts 30 (IND -3)