Week 2 plan:Don’t be 0-2!

Sep 13, 2005 5:55 AM

Not surprisingly, in the opening week of the NFL season there were numerous upsets.

Five favored teams fell and a sixth, Washington, won its game against Chicago but failed to cover the six-point line. Favorites went 9-6 against the pointspread not including the Monday night matchup between Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Road favorites were 2-2, matching Week 1 of 2004. Last season the sports books were hurt by the early season success of road favorites. After that 2-2 start, road favorites went 15-8-1 over the next five weeks before finishing the season 43-38-2 ATS. Eight of the games went ”˜over.’

Week 2 is often a key week for teams losing their opening games. The desire is strong to avoid an 0-2 start.

Sunday, Sept. 18

Ravens -3½ at Titans (36): Both seek to avoid 0-2 starts. The Titans have struggled in adapting to the offense installed by ex-USC coordinator Norm Chow and now face a defense every bit as dominant as Pittsburgh’s. Baltimore likely runs the ball. UNDER.

Steelers -4 at Texans (38½): RB Willie Parker was the star for the Steelers in their domination of Tennessee, which took the pressure off of second year QB Ben Roethlisberger. Houston is well coached and with a better effort likely from QB David Carr we might see more points than expected here. OVER.

Jaguars +8½ at Colts (46½): These teams have split their season series the past two seasons. Only one of Jacksonville’s last four losses to the Colts has been by more than a TD. The Jags are well coached and built on a solid defense with an above average running game. JAGS.

Lions -2½ at Bears (34): In winning 17-3 over Green Bay last week the Lions still managed little offensively against a below average defense. Chicago allowed Washington to move the ball in a 9-7 loss, but kept the Redskins out of the end zone. Chicago’s D will serve well against Lions non-prolific offense. BEARS.

Vikings +3 at Bengals (47): Minnesota was shocked at home by Tampa Bay in its opening game as QB Daunte Culpepper committed several miscues. Expect a better effort from the Vikings offense here. Cincinnati also has a high powered offense behind QB Carson Palmer. OVER.

49ers +10 at Eagles (NT): Philly is off the Monday game in Atlanta. San Francisco held on to upset St. Louis despite being outgained by 188 yards and giving up 26 first downs. Eagles still among the elite. EAGLES.

Bills +2½ at Bucs (35): Buffalo used a well balanced offense and stifling defense to dominate Houston. J.P. Losman did not look like the QB who struggled in August and the running game gained over 150 yards. TB played well in its upset of Minnesota, forcing five turnovers. However, this is still a team in transition. BILLS.

Patriots -3 at Panthers (44): In their opening win over Oakland, the Pats showed they are still the team to beat. Carolina got ambushed by emotionally charged New Orleans last week and should put forth a better effort here. Carolina needs a win to avoid falling 0-2. PANTHERS.

Falcons NL at Seahawks (NT): Atlanta played Monday night. Seattle played a solid first half in losing at Jacksonville, but went made five turnovers in a scoreless second half. Defensively, they will have trouble containing Atlanta QB Michael Vick. Seattle should be able to throw downfield on Atlanta. OVER.

Rams -1 at Cards (44): The Rams are now 0-9-2 ATS in the first two games of the season under coach Mike Martz. 1-7. Both teams figure to put the ball in the air twice as often as they run. Neither defense is stout. OVER.

Dolphins +6 at NY Jets (37): Miami was very impressive in routing Denver while the Jets were inept in losing at KC. QB Chad Pennington had six fumbles that resulted in turnovers or lost yardage. Expect a better effort here. The Jets won here last year 41-14, favored by a TD. Last week was an aberration. JETS.

Browns +7 at Packers (41½): The loss of WR Javon Walker will greatly hurt Green Bay and place even more pressure on QB Brett Favre. Cleveland is a young team prone to mistakes, but also capable of making an occasional big play. Should be entertaining. OVER.

Chargers (+3) at Broncos (44): The Chargers have not had great success in Denver and gets the host off a loss. We prefer the intensity of Denver coach Mike Shanahan over the conservative style of Marty Schottenheimer. DENVER .

Chiefs -1½ at Raiders (53): Oakland self destructed in its opening loss at New England, committing numerous penalties. KC benefited from numerous Jets miscues in an easy opening win. These teams scored 61 points in each meeting last year. OVER.

Monday, Sept. 19

Redskins + 6 at Cowboys (36): Dallas is 13-1 both SU and ATS versus Washington since 1998. The Cowboys are much closer to being a playoff team than the Redskins. The Skins struggled to edge the offensively inept Bears. COWBOYS.

Saints +3 at Giants (44): The game moved to the Meadowlands as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Giants routed Arizona last week and want payback from a 45-7 loss to Saints in 2003. GIANTS.

Last week: 10-4-1

Season: 10-4-1