Sometimes throwing darts against the dart board works! The first week of the NFL season can be particularly difficult because there’s not a whole lot to gauge what teams are this early in the season. It’s all conjecture. Week 2 can really be much of the same, let’s see if I can get lucky again.
Here are the picks for the remaining Week 2 schedule.
Week 1: 10-5
Tennessee Titans (-2) at Jacksonville Jaugars
I’m a believer in the Titans. They have a terrific running game, a quarterback who makes good decisions (and is one of the best in the league in the red zone). Their defense is solid and their division is brutal. I think they are in perfect position to make the playoffs this year. The Jaguars looked impressive in Week 1, but I’m not ready to buy in.
Cleveland Browns (+8) at Baltimore Ravens
I traditionally like the underdogs in division rival games especially when the point spread is bigger. I also think the Browns are trending upward in the future (so same as usual), but I like the Browns. I think they are tough, eager, and motivated and I think that’ll make for a lot of close games for them this year even if it doesn’t reflect in the standings.
Buffalo Bills (+7) at Carolina Panthers
The Bills aren’t a great team, but they have a quarterback who takes care of the football and a terrific running back. The Bills will also be coming into the game with a head coach who has an insight into the tendencies of the Panthers because of their coaches’ background.
New England Patriots (-6.5) at New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees getting 6.5 points at home against a Patriots defense than just let up 1,000 passing yards to Alex Smith and 400 yards to rookie running back Kareem Hunt. I’ll take my chances with the points.
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are one of the worst-run franchises in the league. The Cardinals are not special, but their defense can be overwhelming and will cause a whole lot of problems for the Colts.
Carson Wentz is fun to watch which is not something I was hoping for when the Eagles drafted him. The Eagles also have a good offensive line and a pretty good defense. The Eagles could be a team that is pretty good this year. The Chiefs have one of the most talented rosters in the league and you didn’t need last week to know that, but the point spread seems like a bit of an overreaction. I think the Eagles will keep this close.
Minnesota Vikings (+6) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Vikings are a talented football team except for their offensive line which is among the league’s worst (sound familiar, Giants fans). Still they’re good enough to keep this one close. I think Xavier Rhodes and company can keep Brown in check, and if you can manage that the Steelers offense bogs down a little bit.
Chicago Bears (+7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bears played much better last week than I anticipated. The Buccaneers are not in an enviable position getting their bye week 1. It’s tough to know what they’ll be, with the addition of Desean Jackson and the continued improvement of Jameis Winston you would expect the Buccaneers offense to take another step forward, but is it enough to be favored by 7?
Miami Dolphins (+4.5) at L.A. Chargers
It’s not quarterback vs quarterback in any game, but it’s always important to mention the quarterback’s contributions to the game. And Cutlers’ contributions are sporadic and can lead to points for the other team. I like the Chargers here off a few Cutler turnovers.
New York Jets (+14) at Oakland Raiders
Washington (+2.5) vs L.A. Rams
Sometimes a coach is a good coach, but a culture change is needed (like Tom Coughlin and the Giants). Other times a coach is a bad coach and a culture change is long overdue. I like this Rams team. I Think Goff will be much better this year, more competent. And the defense talent is terrific. I’m not sure what Washington is yet, but I don’t think they’re better than the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Denver Broncos
I’m probably picking with my heart here.
San Francisco (+14) at Seattle Seahawks
I like big point spreads for divisional underdogs. I especially like big point spreads when a heavily favored team has a critical flaw like the Seahawks do, offensive line play is poor across the league, Giants fans.
Green Bay Packers (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Rodgers is an all-time great, but the Falcons roster is much better than the Packers overall roster. I think the Falcons team speed will create some difficulties for the Packers.
Detroit Lions (+3.5) at New York Giants
You have to hope with the return of Odell Beckham Jr. and the embarrassing performance the Giants had on offense last week that they will bounce back, but that’s been the hope for over a year now while we continue to watch the Giants struggle to score points. Here’s hoping.