Here is a look at five more Week 2 NFL games in the early Sunday time slot: New England at NY Jets, San Francisco at Philadelphia, Las Vegas at Pittsburgh, New Orleans at Carolina, and Denver at Jacksonville.
With regard to weather, there’s a 25-40 percent of light rain in Jacksonville for Broncos-Jaguars as of midday Thursday.
(All times are EDT; odds below are furnished by PointsBet)
New England Patriots (0-1) at NY Jets (0-1)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Patriots by 5 (43)
The skinny: A pair of rookie QBs will meet when the Patriots’ Mac Jones, taken 15th overall out of Alabama in the 2021 draft, vies against NYJ’s Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick out of BYU.
Facts: The Jets are likely to get back their leading receiver the past two seasons, Jamison Crowder, who sat out last week’s game with COVID issues. New England was a 17-16 home loser to Miami in Week 1, thanks in large part to four fumbles, losing two. Miami didn’t have any. Wilson was sacked six times in New York‘s 19-14 loss at Carolina, a team that finished tied for 23rd last season in getting to the QB. Despite the loss by the Patriots, Jones outdueled Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa, with 281 yards and a TD (102.6 passer rating)
Analysis: The Jets’ adrenaline reservoir will be overflowing in their first home game under popular rookie coach Robert Saleh, which might actually be a problem for Wilson. What are the chances he gets caught up in the hoopla and makes silly throws while trying to hit for big plays? Also, until he starts reacting quicker in the pocket he’s going to face even more pressure than the Panthers brought, especially since their OLT is out for a while. For sure, Bill Belichick ‘s defense will deploy a variety of blitzes and will disguise coverages to bewilder the new guy. Jones, meanwhile, will benefit from one of the league’s stoutest running games, led by Damien Harris, who had 100 yards last week.
Forecast: Patriots 24, Jets 10
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: 49ers -3.5 (50)
The skinny: Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts will attempt to prove his success last week wasn’t a fluke when he directed a 32-6 upset win at Atlanta.
Facts: Hurts was 27-for-35 for 264 yards, three TDs and a 126.4 passer rating vs. a Falcons team coming off a 4-12 season. The 49ers came relatively close to blowing a 38-10 lead last week in their 41-33 win in Detroit, which would have matched the biggest regular-season collapse in league history set in 1980 when the Saints fell to San Fran. … San Francisco’s defense was on the field for a league-high 84 plays last week. But fear not: Last year, teams that faced that many snaps in a game went 6-3 SU/ATS their next game. … Philly had a 15-yard edge in average starting field position last week. In the 2020 season its biggest advantage was 8 yards.
Analysis: The 49ers, who spent the week in a West Virginia resort instead of flying home after facing the Lions, are down two key performers after knee injuries last week to RB Raheem Mostert and CB Jason Verrett, both on IR. Although backup RB Elijah Mitchell had 104 yards, they came against the Lions. A key for Philly will be the running of Mile Sanders and the rest of the ground game, which generated 173 yards (5.6/carry) to keep the pressure off Hurts, who despite his solid performance seemed to quick to escape the pocket when a defender wasn’t social distancing.
Forecast: Eagles 27, 49ers 24
Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Steelers by 6.5 (49)
The skinny: The Raiders have the scheduling injustice of the week when they head to the East Coast on short rest to face a Steelers team that stifled the Bills last week.
Facts: Both teams rallied from double-digit deficits to triumph in Week 1 as underdogs, the Steelers from 10-0 down in Buffalo to win 23-16; the Raiders from a 14-0 hole at home to beat Baltimore 33-27 in OT. Raiders TE Darren Waller (“The best player I ever coached,” according to coach Jon Gruden) was targeted a league-high 19 times vs. the Ravens but caught only 10 of the throws. He had a 74 percent success rate on 145 targets last year. Over the past four seasons, only two times did a West Coast team have to play back East on short rest, including the Raiders last year when, after a stirring MNF upset up the Saints in their Vegas debut (but with no fans), they lost at NE 36-20 as a 6.5-point dog. The Steelers had the league’s worst-rated rushing offense last year. Last week, rookie Najee Harris, the only RB to get a carry, averaged 2.8 yards a rush.
Analysis: The Steelers, who had only 16 points on offense last week, have a rebuilt offensive line that will limit their ability to throw deep, but vet QB Ben Roethlisberger should have success with the short game — at least in this game. On the other side, Vegas will face a far more aggressive defense than what it saw last week, led by suddenly mega rich OLB T.J. Watt, who should find paths to the pocket throughout on Sunday. Plus, Pittsburgh has a proud history of thwarting tight ends, LV’s top weapon. And with Vegas RB Josh Jacobs dealing with ankle/toe issues, the Steelers warrant an edge.
Forecast: Steelers 20, Raiders 10
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Saints by 3 (46.5)
The skinny: The Saints, off the most lopsided victory by any team in Week 1, are down six offensive coaching assistants, and not to be overlooked their nutritionist, because a COVID outbreak after beating Green Bay.
Facts: The Saints have won four in a row in the series, including 42-10 (2020) and 33-7 (2019) triumphs in Carolina the past two regular-season finales. The Saints were 38-3 upset winners over the Packers in Jacksonville last week, behind five TD passes by Jameis Winston and NO INTS! Last season, teams off wins of 30-plus points went 7-2 the next week (5-4 ATS). Carolina had six sacks last week in its 19-14 win over the Jets, more than it had in any game last year.
Analysis: Besides the virus situation, the Saints will be without two key defenders, with top corner Marshon Lattimore (hand) and DE Marcus Davenport (pec strain) out. And then there’s center Eric McCoy, who will be sidelined with a calf issue. McCoy’s absence can’t help but negatively affect Winston’s comfort zone. Without Davenport’s presence in the pass rush and Lattimore spearheading play in the secondary, all-purpose RB Christian McCaffrey (187 yards from scrimmage last week) and 1,000-yard receivers from last year Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore should find room to roam. QB Sam Darnold looks like he’ll be 2-0 after Sunday.
Forecast: Panthers 31, Saints 20
Denver Broncos (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Broncos -6 (45)
The skinny: New coach Urban Meyer and celebrated rookie QB Trevor Lawrence make their home debut against a Broncos team playing its second straight game on the East Coast.
Facts: So what else is new? Jacksonville was one of five teams with double-digit penalties last week (10 for 82 yards). Over the previous five years, the Jaguars were in the top five in infractions and yards each season. The Broncos were one of two winning teams last week that didn’t benefit from a short field on any possession. Jacksonville didn’t have any, either, having 14 drives and never starting past its 25. Denver will be without star WR Jerry Jeudy (leg) and CB Ronald Darby (hamstring), who were put on IR. Plus, will pass-rush specialist Bradley Chubb play this week (ankle) after sitting out last week? He was limited in midweek drills.
Analysis: Is it possible a team on a 15-game losing streak entered last week’s game in Houston a little overconfident? That probably was one reason for the Jaguars’ 37-21 loss that included three Lawrence INTs. This week, Jax will be facing a team that cashed in thanks to sloppy play by the Giants in a 27-13 victory. The Broncos, a little travel weary, still should win here, but the spread seems mighty high for a relatively mediocre team that hasn’t been this big a road favorite since the 2015 Super team.
Forecast: Broncos 24, Jaguars 23
Last week/season total: 10-6 ATS, 12-4 SU.