Kansas City Chiefs vs LA Chargers
Spread: Chiefs -4
Both teams are coming off good week 1 performances and in my opinion are very evenly matched with maybe a slight lean for Kansas for me. I like Kansas in this one because I believe they’ll be able to establish a good running game unlike the Chargers and they can control time of possession. The injury to Keenan Allen will hurt the Chargers at receiver as well though Herbert will be given time by an offensive line coming off an excellent pass rushing performance. This game should be a shootout due to it likely being a pass heavy matchup for the Chargers at least and Kansas thrive off of big plays and since the sharp money is coming in for Kansas and I like them to win, I may as well take them to cover the spread.
Chiefs 34-28 Chargers
New York Giants vs Carolina Panthers
Spread: Giants -2
This game is a bit dicey to pick. Both quarterbacks will likely commit a lot of turnovers this season and could hold back good rosters outside of that so the game will probably be decided by who protects the ball the best. I’m going for the Panthers on this one because I believe they’ll be able to put more pressure on Jones than the Giants will on Mayfield. The main concern for the Panthers will be stopping Barkley given he had a monster game last week and the Panthers got torn apart by the run game but I believe the Giants aren’t as strong at running as the Browns are and the Panthers were an ok rush defending team last season so they can improve on that front this week. McCaffrey can have a big game and Mayfield will likely be able to make enough throws against what looked like a poor pass defence last week to get the win.
Panthers 24-17 Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Colts -4
This is another game that is hard to pick. There’s 2 major reasons for this, the first is the uncertainty over the availability of Shaq Leonard, if he’s available then the Colts will easily cover, if he isn’t then it becomes a coinflip of a game, the news is very 50/50 coming from the Colts camp and that doesn’t help. The second reason is that both of these teams were incredibly penalty happy in week 1, I like the Jaguars to clean up on this more than the Colts due to them facing a weaker pass rush this weak but the Jaguars love shooting themselves in the foot. For now I’m going to take the Jaguars to cover, this figures to be a low scoring game given that Matt Ryan will likely face some heat so I imagine he’ll have to spend the game dumping the ball off to Taylor who will definitely make some plays out of the backfield but it may kill off their chances of big plays downfield. The Jaguars should have more success throwing the ball this week but the chance of penalties and turnovers concerns me. I’ll take the Colts to win by 1. (This pick changes if Leonard is declared healthy)
Colts 21-20 Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins
Spread: Ravens -3.5
I like the Ravens in this one. They may have injuries but they’re a very well coached team and I believe Lamar Jackson will likely turn things up this season to secure himself a big money contract. The Dolphins failed to score a touchdown on 2 trips to the redzone last week and given Baltimore have an excellent secondary, I believe the Dolphins will have to grind things out downfield more than relying on a couple of big plays last week. Tua also made a couple of unpunished mistakes despite an improved performance. The Dolphins will likely keep Baltimore honest on the ground and may have success with getting to Jackson given their strong O-line but I also don’t like the Miami running game and that may hurt them against a defence that is weaker to the run than the pass. I believe the failure to convert in the redzone costs Miami here and the Ravens squeak out a cover.
Ravens 21-16 Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots
Spread: Patriots -1.5
I’m actually annoyed that this is a matchup this week. I would’ve loved to have bet against both teams this weekend given they’re both overrated. I’m going to take the Patriots in this one. It projects to be a defensive struggle though both teams should run the ball well, I believe Pittsburgh have a more talented running back, but the QB edge New England have and the injury to TJ Watt swings the pendulum in their favour. I expect this game to be run heavy and low scoring and with both QBs likely to be even on turnovers, it may come down to which QB can make a drive in the 4th quarter and I trust Jones more than Trubisky to do that.
Patriots 17-13 Steelers
Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets
Spread: Browns -6
I believe the Browns will win this game easily enough. Their running backs will do very well and I imagine their pass rush will be all over Joe Flacco in this game, but given the Browns don’t have a great quarterback and the Jets have a good secondary, the question is will the Browns score enough points to cover 6 points if they let the Jets score some points in garbage time which is likely. I’m going to go with no, the Browns will likely feast off of intermediate gains which will mean long drives and a lower scoring game, I also could see Brissett forcing a throw or 2 if the Jets pass rush can get to him and an interception turned into a short field could see some free points for the Jets. The Jets offense will likely be anaemic for most of the afternoon given they will struggle to run the ball effectively and their tackles have bad matchups against the Cleveland edge rushers, but Flacco does love a garbage time stat pad. The opportunity for points off a turnover, added to the likelihood of a garbage time TD are a good enough reason for me to go with the Jets to cover but lose.
Browns 20-17 Jets
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: Tampa -2.5
I like the Saints to win this one outright. The Buccaneers have a lot of key injuries and the Saints had a bend but don’t break performance on defence last week, especially towards the end of the game and given the Bucs have lost Godwin and Evans will be stuck against Lattimore, the best chance of them getting offense is either running the ball or dumping it off to Fournette. The Buccaneers also have secondary injuries and with Michael Thomas looking like he may be back to his best and a selection of other receivers to throw to, the Saints look like they should be the better team in this matchup. The Buccaneers D will likely limit Kamara but Winston is mobile enough to make plays against a good pass rush. This is probably going to be a low scoring game, but the Saints have more weapons that should perform well here and they can win this game.
Saints 21-17 Buccaneers
Detroit Lions vs Washington Commanders
Spread: Lions -2.5
This may be one of those picks that looks really stupid come the end of the weekend, but I’m taking Washington to win this game. Both teams figure to heavily struggle on defense, the Lions block excellently which will neutralise the best part of the Washington D which is its pass rush and the Lions looked awful against the run and AJ Brown last week, so Wentz should be comfortable handing the ball off or taking the deep shots he loves to take. The key factor for me is redzone defence, Washington kept Jacksonville down to 2TDs from 5 redzone trips while the Lions gave up 4 on 5 redzone trips, given both teams are expected to give up a ton of yardage, being able to stiffen up in the redzone may be the key to victory in this one. I’ll take Washington to win a shootout.
Commanders 31-28 Lions
LA Rams vs Atlanta Falcons
Spread: Rams -10.5
The Rams occasionally play down to opposition at home so I’ve had a look into what the trend is for that and whether the Falcons can find a way to cover. The 2 games last year where they got played close by weaker teams were the Lions and Seahawks who effectively erased either the passing or running game to keep things close and then ran the ball effectively. I struggle to see the Falcons stopping either aspect, they struggled against the run last week and though they have good corners, an elite number 1 receiver can beat them which is what the Rams have in Kupp, I’m not entirely sold on this Rams offense but they’ll be able to do enough to cover as the Falcons had turnover issues last week. This game won’t be the most exciting but the Rams should get the job done at home.
Rams 24-10 Falcons
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
Spread: 49ers -8.5
I imagine people will overreact to the 49ers losing last week. The conditions were awful and their QB made some bad plays in a matchup where not turning the ball over was key. Fortunately for the 49ers this matchup will not have bad weather and the Seahawks aren’t a great team. Last week was their “SuperBowl” which is definitely something I should’ve picked up on when making my pick for the game but I can’t see them doing anything on offense this time with their O-line projected to struggleand the defense gave up a lot of yardage last week but got a couple of turnovers, if the 49ers can keep it down to 1 turnover maximum then they’ll cover this spread.
49ers 27-13 Seahawks
Dallas Cowboys vs Cincinnati Bengals
Spread: Bengals -7
This is another game where I can see it being low scoring which allows an underdog to cover. The Cowboys defense will have to play to a higher level knowing the offense will likely struggle and given that Burrow got sacked 7 times last week, it looks like the Bengals offense may need some time to fully get into gear. I imagine Joe Mixon will have a better day this week after a slightly underwhelming performance in a good matchup last week but I’m still not sold on the Bengals getting much past the 20 point mark. The Cowboys will have Cooper Rush playing who will mostly be a checkdown artist with the potential of a turnover but he can make the odd good throw every now and then and I can see him driving down the field at least once or twice. This isn’t a game I’d bet but I’m taking Dallas to cover.
Bengals 20-14 Cowboys
Las Vegas Raiders vs Arizona Cardinals
Spread: Raiders -5.5
I like the Raiders to cover here. I was slightly disappointed in how they played last week given I had bet them to win but most of that comes down to Carr being under heavy duress and struggling because of that. Based on the current injury report he should have plenty more time in the pocket in this one and he’ll be able to rely on his running game more. I worry for Arizona, Murray looks like he’s struggling to read defenses and I’m not convinced by their coaching staff ever since they collapsed last year, add that to a whole host of injuries in key areas and it’s tough to see how the Raiders don’t win the battle in the trenches and the game. I’m going for the Raiders in a surprise blowout.
Raiders 31-17 Cardinals
Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans
Spread: Broncos -10
While the Texans were better than most expected and the Broncos were worse than most expected, I’m still confident the Broncos can cover here. Davis Mills has consistently struggled on the road and the Broncos secondary should be able to easily shut down the Texans, the only hope the Texans have is establishing the run which they may have some success with but I imagine the game script will force them to throw it a lot which will hurt them. Denver should have a good day on offense here, they picked up a huge amount of yardage on Monday and only lost because of fumbling issues, I’m willing to put that down as a freak result and take them to fix things up here and pick up a win.
Broncos 31-13 Texans
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
Spread: Packers -10
The Packers lost last week because having both of their tackles out meant Rodgers had no chance against a solid pass rush. They look set to be back this week and that entirely transforms how Green Bay will play, I expect them to win this comfortably as Rodgers will have time to throw the ball, the run game projects to do well and given the Bears don’t have anyone on offense of the talent level of Justin Jefferson, the Packers should be able to clamp down on defense and pick up a much needed win.
Packers 28-14 Bears
Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans
Spread: Bills -10
I believe this spread is too high. The Bills were obviously excellent last week and they will move the ball well against anyone but the strength of the Titans defense is their pass defense and specifically their pass rush, they looked atrocious against the run last week but the Bills don’t have an elite running back so they may not have the success the Giants had last week. I also believe the Bills to be weaker to the run than the pass and given the Titans have one of the best backs in the league in Henry, they can mount long drives and turn this game into a bit of a slugfest. It feels like a game where Allen puts together a drive late to bail out his team against a tough opponent. I’ll take the Bills to win but the Titans to cover.
Bills 24-21 Titans
Philadelphia Eagles vs Minnesota Vikings
Spread: Eagles -2
This looks like it will be a matchup where both rushing attacks dominate and I believe the spread being a coinflip is fairly accurate. I was surprised by how much success Detroit had on the ground last week and Dalvin Cook could have a big day this week. Minnesota also struggled against the run and Philadelphia are an elite running team so expect a lot of running from both sides. This will likely come down to which quarterback can make a play late and I’m going to pick Cousins in this spot over Hurts. I’m still not entirely sold on Hurts while I believe Cousins is improving and with the Vikings having Jefferson as an X factor, they can get the win here.
Vikings 27-24 Eagles