The second week of the NFL season did not provide the drama we were treated to a week earlier although there were a number of competitive games that were decided late.
Two of the more surprising results were the Rams winning their first game back in Los Angeles with a 9-3 win over Division rival Seattle and the lack of offense and scoring in the shootout that never was between the Giants and Saints.
Arizona, which won 13 games last season, bounced back from the upset loss to New England with a dominating effort on both sides of the football in a rout of Tampa Bay.
With last Thursday’s game between the Jets and Bills closing at pick, home favorites were 8-6 ATS last week. Five underdogs won outright and the pointspread mattered in only one game – the Giants’ 16-13 win over New Orleans. The Giants were bet down to 3.5 point favorites.
Baltimore covered in its 25-20 win at Cleveland with the closing line at 4.5 after being as high as 6.5 for much of the week. Interestingly, last Sunday at the Westgate the Ravens opened as 5 point favorites and following an initial bet on the Ravens the dropped the line to 4.5 by midday on Monday Baltimore was up to 6 point chalk.
Eight games went OVER the Total and 7 stayed UNDER. Through the first 31 games this season games were averaging 45.1 total points with 17 OVERs and 14 UNDERs prior to Monday night.
Injuries continue to dominate the headlines with last week’s action featuring numerous injuries to key players. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson was the most high profile player banged up and exiting the game although a pair of quarterbacks, New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, also suffered injuries.
Of the four teams to start on the road only Miami dropped both. Cincinnati, Green Bay and Tampa Bay each followed up their opening week win with a loss this past weekend.
Week 3 will be the final week of 16 games with Byes beginning next week and continuing for almost two months.
Houston -2.5 at N. England (41): Barring a quick signing, rookie Jacoby Brissett will start in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo for the Patriots. Either way, the Pats have precious little time to prepare for this game which suggests a very plain and simple game plan. Houston started the season with a pair of home wins. We’ve been down this road before and Patriots coach Bill Belichick seems to find a way to have his team will prepared when missing key personnel. That points to a big effort from the defense and a reliance on the running game. UNDER.
Denver NL at Cincinnati: The Bengals should be about a FG favorite with Dalton starting as they play their home opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos who play their first road game after a pair of home wins. The Bengals still have a talented roster with an offense that can challenge a very good Denver defense. Cincy’s defense should have success against still untested QB Trevor Siemian making his first road start. CINCINNATI.
Oakland +1 at Tennessee (47): The Titans have the edge on defense which should allow them to control the tempo in this contest. Oakland’s defense has been porous so the Raiders may cooperate in running a more deliberate offense to keep their defense on the sidelines. UNDER.
Arizona -4 at Buffalo (47): Bills head coach Rex Ryan, and his brother, Rob, in charge of the defense, are under pressure to produce with a roster filled with talent that has either underachieved or been poorly coached. Last week’s effort against Tampa may signal the return to form of the Cardinals whose defense keeps them in every game. Normally a “circle the wagons” spot for the Bills their current situation suggests they cannot be trusted. ARIZONA.
Baltimore (PK) at J’ville (47.5): Jacksonville has been touted as much improved this season and if that assessment is correct this is a game the Jags should win. Their running game has been slow to develop but the Ravens showed vulnerability defending the run against the Browns. JACKSONVILLE.
Cleveland +8 at Miami (42.5): Injury concerns about Cleveland QB Josh McCown had this game off the boards at many books at the start of the week with untested Cody Kessler the backup to McCown. Cleveland’s QB woes will halt that progress whereas Miami’s should continue as they play their first home game seeking their first win. MIAMI.
Washington +4.5 at NY Giants (47): The Redskins are a desperate team and desperate often equates to dangerous. They are a better team than they’ve shown and make for an attractive take at more than a FG as they seek to avoid an 0-3 start from which it is very difficult to overcome. WASHINGTON.
Detroit +7.5 at Green Bay (48): Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Lions signal caller Matthew Stafford are positioned for big games. Normally this would be a spot to back the Pack but the line may be a bit too high for comfort. The Total provides the better option. OVER.
Minnesota +7.5 at Carolina (43): The early reports on the injury to Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson suggest he is likely to miss this game. The Monday morning line seems to support this view. Minnesota will rely on one of the NFL’s top defenses to stay competitive in games with an offense that, with or without Peterson, will rely more on the run than the pass, although QB Sam Bradford played well in the win over Green Bay. Carolina was sloppy in its win over San Francisco, losing 4 turnovers. This should be a cleaner game and the Vikings’ defense is good enough to pressure Panthers QB Cam Newton into some poor decisions. MINNESOTA.
SF 49ers +9.5 at Seattle (40.5): In going 1-1 the 49ers have played better than expected in Chip Kelly’s first season as coach. Seattle could easily be 0-2 but for its late comeback in the opener to defeat Miami. The offense has struggled with the well documented offensive line woes. The Seahawks are the better team and despite the problems on offense the defense has been outstanding. The Seahawks were favored by 14 on this field last season against the Niners and will be aggressive on both sides of this football against a developing but still outmanned foe. SEATTLE.
LA Rams +5.5 at Tampa Bay (42): The Rams have yet to score a touchdown in their first two games. Tampa Bay was bullied by an angry Arizona last week and QB Jameis Winston was picked off 4 times in the one sided loss. This is Tampa’s home opener and although the Rams have a solid defense their offense still is lacking. The Bucs step down in class here and with their edge on offense will be aggressive against the Rams’ defensive line. This is a tough spot for the Rams who travel cross country and face a third Divisional foe next week. TAMPA BAY.
Pittsburgh NL at Philadelphia: Pittsburgh has won its first two games against Playoff teams from last season. The Eagles played Monday night at Chicago in QB Carson Wentz’ second NFL start. The Steelers will be just under a TD favorite and their improved defense should take advantage of facing a rookie QB playing for a rookie head coach. Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger has better supporting talent that will present the Eagles with their biggest defensive challenge of the season to date. PITTSBURGH.
NY Jets +3 at Kansas City (43.5): The Jets have extra rest following last Thursday’s 37-31 win at Buffalo. Kansas City had its 11 game regular season winning streak ended in Houston. The Jets have played excellent defense against the run but have been vulnerable to the pass, including big plays. The Chiefs still rely on the run and are expected to have Jamaal Charles back this week. The depth they’ve developed the first two weeks may negate the Jets edge vs the run. Alex Smith showed in their comeback in week one against the Chargers that he can be an effective passer when given the chance. The Chiefs have the better balance and are laying a low price against a foe that has more flaws. KANSAS CITY.
San Diego +2.5 at Indy (51): San Diego’s offense has played well over the first two games. The Colts’ offense lit up Detroit’s defense but struggled against Denver’s elite ‘D’. Both quarterback – San Diego’s Phillip Rivers and the Colts’ Andrew Luck – should have success this week. The Chargers suffered another injury to the offense last week and the status of versatile RB Danny Woodhead is uncertain. At 0-2 the Colts’ fate for the season could be on the line, as well as that of head coach Chuck Pagano. Teams other than elite teams tend to bounce after surprisingly strong efforts which suggests the Chargers may be less productive this week. INDIANAPOLIS.
Chicago NL at Dallas: The Bears are weaker on offense this season and QB Jay Cutler was sacked 5 times in their opening loss at Houston. The Cowboys will be between a FG and TD favorite for this Sunday night game. With a healthy Tony Romo the Cowboys were projected to be a Playoff contender. Based on the early performance of Prescott and a solid running game, that projection appears most warranted. DALLAS.
Atlanta +3 at New Orleans (53): The Saints are 0-2 following close 1 and 3 point losses to open the season. The defense, which was putrid in their opening home loss to Oakland, played much better in the 16-13 loss at the Giants. Whether that improvement was a fluke or a true sign of things to come under new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen may be partially answered against Atlanta’s potent offense. The Falcons won a 35-28 shootout at Oakland following their 31-24 home loss to Tampa Bay. At 0-2 this is a key spot for the Saints who won both meetings last season and have won 15 of 20 meetings with the Falcons over the past decade. NEW ORLEANS.
Last week: 12-3
(not including MNF result).