The second week of the NFL season produced some dramatic last minute comebacks. Heading into Monday the pointspread mattered in 5 of the 15 Week 2 games, including a pair in which the line was a FG. New Orleans and Kansas City each won but failed to cover while laying 3 points.
Chicago and Buffalo had dramatic last second comeback wins and San Diego got a last second FG to break a tie with Philadelphia, winning as underdogs of 7½ points on the road.
The potentially high powered offenses of both New England and New Orleans struggled to convert yards into points while the New York Jets and Oakland followed up their solid defensive play in week one with more of the same this past week.
Denver and Peyton Manning were impressive for a second straight week, breaking open a competitive game at the half against the Giants much as they did against Baltimore to open the season for a second straight win by more than 17 points.
Miami won a second straight road game to open the season 2-0 while Houston struggled for a second straight week but has also started 2-0. Green Bay and Atlanta each recovered from tough opening week road losses with impressive home wins that were each more one sided than the final score would otherwise suggest. Kansas City also has opened 2-0 following a tough win over Dallas.
Seattle showed its strong home field with its impressive domination of San Francisco, following up last season’s 42-13 win on its home field with a 29-3 rout Sunday night. While some questions may have been answered as a result of Week 2 results many more continue to be raised, especially those surrounding those 0-2 teams expected to be Playoff contenders.
Through the first 31 games of the season, underdogs are 17-13-1 ATS with double digit favorites going 0-3 (New England, twice, and Indianapolis in Week 1 failing to cover although all three games were straight up wins).
Despite all the talk and emphasis on the potent passing attacks we’ve seen and the high scores being posted, totals results have been virtually even with 16 OVER, 15 UNDER. There has been an average of 45.2 total points scored per game, slightly lower than for all of 2012 and slightly higher than all of 2011. It’s still too early to draw conclusions about how this season will unfold vis-à-vis scoring patterns.
Week 3 has a number of compelling matchups and games involving teams seeking to start 3-0 or avoid 0-3. It’s the last full week of games before Byes begin in Week 4.
Chiefs +3 at Eagles (50½): KC coach Andy Reid returns to where he successfully coached the Eagles for more than a decade before falling out of favor. And although he may be unfamiliar with new coach Chip Kelly’s offense, he is very familiar with the personnel who run it. That is a significant edge, especially considering the Chiefs are the much better defensive team and have an offense capable of controlling the clock with a strong running game which will keep the Philly offense on the sidelines. CHIEFS.
Chargers +3 at Titans (44): Kudos for the Chargers who made the tough trip east and controlled the game pace in their 33-30 win at Philadelphia. But now they make another long road trip to face an improved Titans team that nearly won at Houston which followed a road win at Pittsburgh. This is Tennessee’s home opener. San Diego has the more potent offense but also the more vulnerable defense. Hence a preference for the team that has shown the better ability to make stops. TITANS.
Browns +4½ at Vikings (41): Both teams are winless although each has been competitive in their losses. Cleveland has been involved in a pair of low scoring games, falling at home to Miami and at Baltimore. Minnesota’s losses have come in high scoring games at Detroit and Chicago. This is the home opener for the Vikings who have the best player on the field in RB Adrian Peterson. Both teams have average QBs at best, but the spot also favors the hosts. VIKINGS.
Bucs +7 at Patriots (44): The extra time to prepare should benefit New England as they have struggled mightily on offense with QB Tom Brady still looking to develop chemistry with all his new receivers. TE Rob Gronkowski may be back for this contest. It’s only a matter of time before the Patriots start looking like normal. PATRIOTS.
Texans -2 at Ravens (44½): Houston could just as easily be 0-2 as 2-0 after comeback wins against San Diego and Tennessee. Baltimore still has issues on offense and suffered another injury when RB Ray Rice had to leave last week’s game against Cleveland. Ravens did show a much better defense against the Browns. RAVENS.
Rams +4 at Cowboys (47): Both offenses have struggled to establish the running game, relying much more on the pass attack. Both defenses have also been vulnerable to the pass with both teams allowing over 300 passing yards per game through 2 weeks. This total is very reasonable. OVER.
Cards +7½ at Saints (48½): Arizona’s offense is clearly improved but the defense has been inconsistent. The Saints have been vulnerable to the run which should translate to the Cardinals scoring points, even with WR Larry Fitzgerald currently listed as questionable. An entertaining shootout. OVER.
Lions +2 at Redskins (49): At 0-2 the ‘Skins are desperate for a win and they have a long history of success against the Lions, especially in DC. RGIII has not looked comfortable and given the dire situation it would not be surprising that if he struggles early in this game that coach Mike Shanahan might turn to Kirk Cousins. This call is based largely on situation. REDSKINS.
Packers (NL) at Bengals: The Monday result could impact the opinion for this game as a loss would drop the Bengals to 0-2. Still, the preference is to take the better defense playing at home in a game close to pick ‘em. BENGALS.
Giants +2 at Panthers (45½): Panthers have been able to run the football but QB Cam Newton has not fared well in passing the pigskin. The Giants’ inability to run suggests we could see this game played at an uptempo pace. OVER.
Falcons +1½ at Dolphins: The Falcons have the more talented, experienced roster and rate the call in a game the lines makers see pretty much as even. FALCONS.
Colts +10 at 49ers (46): The Colts are a well coached team but will face a very physical and highly motivated foe. And although Indy QB Andrew Luck may have some fan support from his fans from his college days at Stanford. 49ERS.
Jaguars +19 at Seattle (41): Traditional handicapping suggests this is a perfect spot to take the huge points with the underdog but traditional handicapping is no longer in vogue. A perfect spot for Seattle to suffer a letdown. UNDER.
Bills +2½ at Jets (39): Both teams rely on rookie QBs with Buffalo’s E J Manuel and the Jets’ Geno Smith. The Jets’ have a solid defense while Buffalo’s appears much improved over last season. UNDER.
Bears (NL) at Steelers: Despite the shortcomings on offense, especially in the running game, the Steelers still have a formidable defense. That unit should be able to frustrate Chicago QB Jay Cutler. STEELERS.
Raiders +14½ at Broncos (49½): QB Terrelle Pryor has given the Oakland offense a spark, especially in the running game, which is averaging 198 ypg. Dangerous to be laying double digits, especially against a foe that is playing with confidence. RAIDERS.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]