Peyton Manning might not have it anymore, but at least we know he'll suit up for Sunday Night Football. The NFL odds are on hold until we know more about Matthew Stafford.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 21: 11-5 ATS; 0-1 ML (–1.00 units); 4-4 Total
Week 2 of the new NFL betting season turned out to be a big winner here at the home office – although it did take a while to get the accounting right. The record you see above should be correct; we followed up our marginally profitable opening week by going 7-2 ATS, splitting the totals 2-2, and honking that one moneyline pick on the Cowboys-Eagles game. As always, you can look at my archive and keep track of my progress at your leisure.
There's definitely been some run-good along the way. We had the Denver Broncos in our NFL picks for both Week 1 and Week 2, and the Broncos had to come up big on defense to win and cover both contests. What can they do for an encore this Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) when they visit the Detroit Lions? And will Matthew Stafford be able to suit up? Most books have their NFL odds on hold until that second question is answered, but BetOnline and SportsBetting have Denver favored by three as we go to press. No totals on the board yet.
Stafford was one of at least four quarterbacks who got mauled in Week 2. He needed X-rays on his ribs and chest after losing 26-16 to the Minnesota Vikings (–2.5 at home), and at first, the Lions feared Stafford might have to bow out for a while. Instead, Stafford practiced as usual on Monday, although it's still not clear if he'll face the Broncos.
It isn't just his torso that's bothering Stafford. He took multiple hits in the season-opening 33-28 loss to the San Diego Chargers (–3.5 at home), including a shot from LB Melvin Ingram that left Stafford with numbness in his right arm. Last Sunday, Stafford ranked No. 16 among all Week 2 quarterbacks at +47 Total DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement). Not stellar, but not a disaster.
Peyton Manning, on the other hand, ranked No. 22 at –5 Total DYAR after Thursday's 31-24 come-from-behind win over the Kansas City Chiefs (–3 at home). Kansas City went up 24-17 with under three minutes to play, but Manning found WR Emmanuel Sanders for the tying score with 36 seconds remaining, then CB Bradley Roby scooped up a Jamaal Charles fumble and took it to the house. Ball game.
This is officially a problem for Denver. Manning was 0-for-5 on his deep throws, as his arm strength continues to be in question. His offensive line is letting him down, too. We could end up seeing both the Lions and the Broncos send blitz packages all night long, since Stafford is also having trouble getting the ball downfield in his condition. Let's keep an eye on those status updates for now.