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Bills will coverin Pittsburgh

Sep 11, 2007 6:52 AM

It’s always tempting to make judgments after we see the first real football of the season, but it can be extremely dangerous.

With just 16 games comprising a team’s schedule there is a very fine line between being a winning and losing team.

Here’s a preview of Week 2:

Sunday, Sept 16

Bills +9½ at Steelers (38): Pittsburgh was dominant in its win at Cleveland. Buffalo nearly upset Denver despite being outgained by nearly 300 yards. Yep, that’s no type. This line opened a shade under double digits rather than on the key number of 10, a signal that we’ll see a better effort from the visitors. BILLS

Bengals NL at Browns: Both teams are playing a second straight divisional game. Cleveland was embarrassed on this field by Cleveland last week, appearing ill prepared to open the season. An improvement from the Cleveland offense can be expected against a Cincinnati defense not nearly as powerful as Pittsburgh. OVER

Colts -7 at Titans (47): Both were impressive in winning their first games, though there were negatives for each. The Colts struggled in the first half before outscoring the Saints 31-0 after recess. The Titans ran for 282 yards at Jacksonville yet managed just 13 points. The Colts have several extra days of rest. COLTS

Texans +6½ at Panthers (37½): Both teams look much improved over last season. The Panthers have been very good to bettors, excelling as underdogs under coach John Fox. They have fared very poorly when favored. TEXANS

49ers NL at Rams: RB Stephen Jackson was keyed on and contained by the Panthers and the St. Louis passing game failed to take advantage. The 49ers defense, while improved, should not have similar success against St. Louis. The Rams had lost three in a row to SF before winning the second meeting last season. RAMS

Packers NL at Giants: QB Eli Manning and RB Brandon Jacobs were both banged up in Sunday’s loss at Dallas. Manning is expected to play but Jacobs may out a month. Green Bay also has concerns about the running game but has the better defense. With two divisional games on deck, this game is critical for the Giants. GIANTS

Falcons +10 at Jags (34½): New Atlanta QB Joey Harrington was awful in his debut at Minnesota, having two interceptions returned for touchdowns. The Jaguars defense played poorly in a loss to Tennessee. Starting the season with two straight home losses would be disastrous. JAGUARS

Saints NL at Bucs: Tampa Bay RB injuries keep this game off the boards. The Bucs played well early in their loss at Seattle as did New Orleans in its loss at Indianapolis. The Saints are the more talented team and have the benefit of several extra days of rest and preparation. Laying around a FG is reasonable. SAINTS

Vikings +3 at Lions (42½): Both teams have reasons to be optimistic following opening wins. Detroit has the more potent offense although rookie RB Adrian Peterson looked very good for the Vikings. Minnesota has the better defense which should improve. The Vikes have beaten the Lions 10 straight times. VIKINGS

Cowboys -3½ at Dolphins (40): As sharp as Dallas looked on offense in their 45-35 win over the Giants, that’s how poorly the defense played. Dallas allowed 438 yards. Miami has a solid defense but an offense that remains a work in progress behind new QB Trent Green and new coach Cam Cameron. Spread favors home dog. DOLPHINS

Seahawks NL at Cards: Arizona is off Monday night’s game at San Francisco and plays a second straight divisional game. Seattle’s offense was held in check in a win over Tampa Bay, but faces a weaker Cardinals defense. The OVER is 5-1 in the last six series matchups. More of the same here. OVER

Jets NL at Ravens: The Ravens are every bit as strong as the Patriots with arguably a better defense. The offense is not as strong. Jets QB Chad Pennington was banged up, but did finish the game against the Pats. Both teams have above average RBs that should assist in ball control, time consuming drives. UNDER

Raiders +9½ at Broncos: Denver coach Mike Shanahan’s disdain for former employer Oakland has been well documented. The Broncos have won 7-of-8 against Oakland and 15-5 against the Raiders over the past decade, going a solid 12-7-1 ATS. The Raiders appear to be better on offense. Denver’s D should be the difference. BRONCOS

Chiefs +12 at Bears (35): It will be a long season for the Chiefs offense until RB Larry Johnson is back in form, taking pressure off of QB Damon Huard. The defense will keep the Chiefs in many games. Chicago’s defense excelled last week in containing San Diego RB LaDanian Tomlinson, but the offense remains weak. UNDER

Chargers +3½ at Pats (47): The Game of the Week, if not the regular season. Two years ago the Chargers buried the Patriots 41-17 on this field, a fact not lost on New England coach Bill Belichick.The Chargers have excelled as underdogs recently, going 12-1-2 ATS since 2004. In the coaching matchup, Belichick has a huge edge over Norv Turner. Look for both well balanced offenses to have success. OVER

Monday, Sept. 17

Redskins +7 at Eagles (40): Both teams played identical 16-13 games to open the season. Philly had poor special teams’ play against Green Bay and the offense was sluggish, committing 3 turnovers. The Eagles have had Washington’s number of late, sweeping the season series in 4 of the past 5 seasons. The UNDER is 6-1 in last 7. UNDER.

Jacksonville was a major disappointment last week with the negative momentum from the end of last season seemingly carrying over. New Orleans, St Louis and the New York Jets were also disappointing in their opening season losses. Keep an eye on Carolina as the Panthers bounce back from last season.

Houston, Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis were all impressive in winning their first games of the season.

Scoring was pretty low in week one. The games averaged just 37.4 points per game were 10 of 14 UNDER the posted total. Favorites were 8-5-1 ATS with the Miami-Washington game pushing. Denver won, but failed to cover the FG line in a last second 15-14 win at Buffalo.

Historically the line comes into play in about 1 game in 6 (15-18%).

6-7-1 6-7-1 46.2