Here’s an early preview of Week 2’s entire slate, complete with our choice NFL picks. Week 1 NFL action is mostly in the books, save for Monday’s doubleheader.
A Few Words on Opening Week
It’s too early to make sweeping conclusions about the NFL landscapes with just one week of action in the books, but it’s hard to ignore some of the glaring revelations, shock upsets and stunners that simply were contrary to wide expectations and preconceived notions. Such as the revelation of just how woeful Cowboys’ defense really is, or Miami scoring 23 unanswered points in a stunning win over rivals New England Patriots or the shocking upset win by the Falcons over the Saints in overtime. So many different takeaways from NFL Week 1 that must be considered carefully for our NFL picks in the coming week but, at the same time, doing so mindfully as the natural inclination is to overreact is common amongst bettors.
So here’s our mindful rundown of week 2 NFL betting action complete with our free NFL picks.
NFL Thursday September 11th
By: Nikki Adams
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.0 at Baltimore Ravens -3.0
Analysis: The Steelers took a convincing 27-3 lead into the locker room, only to return in the second half and allow the Browns to score 14 unanswered points in the third quarter and another 10 in the fourth to just barely hold on to a 30-27 victory. Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, came out flat against Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Flacco fired blanks all through the first half. The Ravens started a mini-comeback in the second half, but those heroics were just a little too late as they meekly succumbed to a 23-16 defeat, and failed to both win straight up as the home favorites s and cover as the -1.5 favorites on the spread.
NFL Betting Verdict: Save for the second-half collapse, the Steelers offense proved just how good it was, tallying up nearly 500 yards against a modest Browns defense. Nothing about the Ravens in week 1 convinces us they have the answers to a solid Steelers offense: their secondary waffled about the field while Andy Dalton easily accounted for 301 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Ravens now have more problems to deal with that go beyond the field. Monday dawned on the sensational release of the Ray Rice video, which stole NFL headlines and prompted the organization to respond ruthlessly by releasing the polarizing NFL-er from his contract, and the league to suspend him indefinitely. It remains to be seen whether this latest development will have an impact on the Ravens, but given all the brouhaha is sure to be a distraction in the locker room and the short week to boot, one has to like the Steelers to unapologetically heap more misery on the Ravens in week 2.
NFL Picks: Steelers +3.0
NFL Sunday September 14th
By: Nikki Adams
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Analysis: The NFL betting line is yet to be released on this game, as both the Cardinals and Giants are set to kick off their season in Monday Night Football’s slate of games. In lieu of any week 1 results, this sports pick is a bit of a shot in the dark. That said the Giants finished 2013 strong. They went 5-0 in preseason. And we think they’ll prove better than most are expecting them to be and with home advantage for this game, this is really a game they should win.
NFL Picks: Giants
Atlanta Falcons +5.0 at Cincinnati Bengals -5.0
Analysis: Last season, the Falcons shared the burden of propping up the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind a 4-12 season. It’s only the first week of the new season, but strangely they are enjoying the view from the top after a winning start. They are 1-0 along with the Panthers, while the Saints and Bucs are 0-1. Is this a sign of things to come in this division? Undoubtedly, Matt Ryan had a standout game against the Saints – throwing for a franchise-record 448 yards and 3 touchdowns as he lead the Falcons to a comeback from behind win over the Saints 37-34 in OT. The best bit for Falcons fans is the Saints have no excuses. It’s not as if they played badly. On the contrary, Drew Brees had a great turnout going 29-of-42 for 333 yards and a touchdown. Simply put, they were beaten by a Falcons side that proved better than expectations. Question is can the Falcons take this form on the road to Cincinnati. Andy Dalton was outstanding in his win over the Ravens, proving why he’s worth the cash that was splashed on his new contract. For Matt Ryan to outdo Andy Dalton he would need to have an even better game than he did last week, and that is hard to imagine. Both sides are 1-0-0 ATS after week 1, covering as the +2.5 underdogs (although the Bengals dropped to 1.5 underdogs near game time).
NFL Picks: Bengals -5.0
Dallas Cowboys +4.0 at Tennessee Titans -4.0
Analysis: Surprisingly, Jake Locker looked good in his opening game with the Chiefs. Leading the Titans to a 26-10 road victory to start the season, he went 22-of-33 for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The best news: the made-over defense looked solid as it picked off Alex Smith three times. Tony Romo should be concerned for his safety in Tennessee, never mind, the frightening rate at which he turned over the ball in week 1. Romo had three interceptions and the Cowboys defense was more porous than Swiss cheese against the Niners. Tennessee Titans to pick the Cowboys apart has to be the best NFL pick of the week. Ha who’d have thunk it.
NFL Picks: Titans -4.0
Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers, NFL betting line: OTB
Analysis: Cam Newton sat out in week 1, but the Panthers were fine without him as Derek Anderson threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 20-14 win over the Buccaneers on the road, covering as the road dogs comfortably. Defense sacked Josh McCown three times and twice intercepted his errant throws. Clearly, with or without Newton the Panthers are still contenders in the NFC South.
NFL Picks: Panthers SU
Jacksonville Jaguars +6.0 at Washington Redskins -6.0
Analysis: Jacksonville Jaguars frittered away a 17-0 lead in the first half when they allowed the Eagles to score 34 unanswered points. After the incredible start, it looked to be headed towards the stunner of Week 1. Foles recovered however in the second half, leaving the Jaguars to mull over the stunner that almost was instead. Washington meanwhile were routed by the Houston Texans 17-6. RGIII was wholly ineffective despite going 29-of-37 and 267 yards, not to mention fumbled the ball on a sloppy handoff to Morris. Both teams go into week 2 searching for their first win on the season, all while offering few positive takeaways in week 1 for NFL bettors to sink their teeth into. That said the Jaguars are one of several vogue NFL picks for turnaround teams. What‘s more, basic home field advantage math: HFA = 3-points. Online sportsbooks are suggesting the Redskins are all of 9-points better than the Jaguars. Not sure we’re convinced by that.
NFL Pick: Jaguars +6.0
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (PK)
Analysis: The Dolphins pulled off the incredible upset over the New England Patriots in week 1, storming back in the second half with 23 unanswered points. The Dolphins outplayed, outmuscled and outmanoeuvred the Patriots in a highly entertaining game, and Ryan Tannehill had a game to remember as he threw for two touchdowns in a 33-20 win over the Patriots. The Dolphins take that momentum into Buffalo in week 2, with the Bills flush off an upset win over the Bears, but one that was largely down to Jay Cutlers numerous mistakes rather than anything special they did. So it’s a bit surprising bookies would release a pick’em line on this game, which seems to severely underrate the Dolphins all while overrating the Bills.
NFL Picks: Dolphins
New England Patriots - 3.0 at Minnesota Vikings +3.0
Analysis: So the New England Patriots collapsed in the second half with the Dolphins. So Tom Brady struggled towards the end as he attempted a late-stage comeback with some ill-advised throws. So the Patriots prop up the AFC East. It’s bizarre, but it’s no reason to panic. Certainly, it’s no reason to send the Patriots on a virtual pick’ em to Minnesota – IF HFA = -3-points, then by simple maths: -3.0 + -3.0 = 0. The Patriots aren’t much better than the Vikings is what the bookies seem to be saying with this line. Granted the Vikings beat the Rams, coming through as the +3-point underdogs in a big way. But we are still talking about the Patriots that regardless of week 1 are still in a league of their own.
NFL Picks: Patriots -3.0
New Orleans Saints -6.0 at Cleveland Browns +6.0
Analysis: The Saints failed to come through as the road favorites s last week when they lost to the inspired Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Good news, Drew Brees and the Saints offense still looked good and that should prove deciding against a Cleveland Browns that had no business losing to the Steelers so closely 30-27. The only reason they did so was down to the Steelers lack of focus in the second half, allowing the Browns to score 24 points in the second half.
NFL Picks: Saints -6.0
Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers
Analysis: Seattle Seahawks made winning look as easy as they took apart a very good Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, one of several legitimate Super Bowl contenders. We’ve yet to see the Chargers in action, but the Seattle Seahawks looked very good in the 36-16 victory on both sides of the ball with Russell Wilson doing his part on offense (2 TDs) and the Hawk’s defense continue their stingy ways. Chargers are good on paper but the Hawks are a tall order. The NFL betting lines are yet unavailable on this game, but we’re still going for the Seattle Seahawks at least in straight-up betting.
NFL Picks: Seattle SU
St. Louis Rams +5.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -5.5
Analysis: The Rams allowed the Minnesota Vikings to romp to a 34-6 victory, a win that marked the week’s biggest margin of victory (28-points) and a game that was set to the tune of a 3-point spread (or thereabouts) with the Rams to the good no less. Talk about getting things completely wrong. So much for the famed Rams defense everybody was on about, or for that matter the capable offense producing just two field goals in the second half and being held to just 170 yards in the first three quarters. Of course, the Rams could bounce back against the turnaround hopefuls Bucs in week 2, but a fresh round of injuries at centre is threatening to unravel their season before it gets off the ground. (Shaun Hill left injured after the first half while an inexperienced Austin Davis took over).
NFL Picks: Buccaneers -5.5
Houston Texans -3.0 at Oakland Raiders +3.0
Analysis: Houston Texans are looking to build on their convincing win over Washington with a road win over the Oakland Raiders. Texans were great at both running and passing the ball in Sunday’s home opener. Arian Foster ran for 103 yards, defense forced two turnovers and tallied three sacks all while J.J Watt was the most instrumental player on the field and seasoned Ryan Fitzpatrick went 14-of-22 for 206 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders were lucky to escape the big apple with only a narrow 19-14 defeat to the New York Jets. Derek Carr put up unassuming numbers 20-of-32 for 151 yards but he did score two touchdowns and kept them close. Still, this matchup should favour the Texans on the road, they are much better on both sides of the ball than the Raiders are, more than their 3-point edge on the spread suggests.
NFL Picks: Texans -3.0
Kansas City Chiefs +13.0 at Denver Broncos -13.0
Analysis: The most disappointing team in week 1 takes on one of the more impressive of the first week. Chiefs barely registered any offense against the Titans and defense was largely ineffective in the 26-10 defeat. By contrast, the Broncos stormed to a 24-0 lead against the Colts and although the Colts did respond in the second half, the Broncos were better on both sides of the ball and able to hold them back in 31-24 win. This week’s spread is rather hefty at 13-points. If Titans can put up 16 points against the Chiefs, surely the record-breaking Peyton Manning can too if not top that. But surely the Chiefs will perk up in week 2 and make it a closer game than the bookies expect. What we’re saying is the Chiefs were disappointing in week 1, but it could have been just a blip. So Broncos to win but Chiefs to cover is our choice NFL pick right now.
NFL Picks: Chiefs +13.0
New York Jets +8.0 at Green Bay Packers -8.0
Analysis: The Jets beat the Raiders 19-14 but Rex Ryan wasn’t exactly beaming on the sidelines. Fact is the Jets very nearly mucked it up towards the end and instead of having a field day with the Raiders they let the visitors get away with too much, including a late touchdown that could have turned the game on its head. Green Bay Packers are a tall order on the road, especially now that they are 0-1 SU on the season following a blowout defeat to the Seahawks. The Packers will be raring to go and the Jets could be the unassuming victims of a Aaron Rodgers raid.
NFL Picks: Packers -8
Chicago Bears +7.0 at San Francisco 49ers -7.0
Analysis: Everyone thought the Niners offense was dead but it turns out they were playing possum in the preseason. The 28-17 win featured a previously unseen Niners’ quick strike offense and Cowboys’ woeful defense that collapsed quicker than a house of cards, not to mention Romo’s turnovers. Jay Cutler left much to be desired with a string of mistakes and mishaps that cost the Bears the defeat to the Bills. This isn’t a good matchup for the Bears, certainly not Jay Cutler as the Niners’ defense will look to capitalise on his mistakes as they did last week.
NFL Picks: San Francisco -7
NFL Monday September 15th
By: Nikki Adams
Philadelphia Eagles +3.0 at Indianapolis Colts -3.0
Analysis: Eagles came back from behind to defeat the Jaguars, a game most expected to be a straightforward home opener. The Colts struggled mightily in Denver while Andrew Luck got off to a sluggish start. Eagles look to make it a 2-0 start while the Colts look for their first win on the season, in a game that is chalked on a 3-point spread and that could turn into a shootout between two exciting quarterbacks in the game. Foles and the Eagles put up 34 points in the second half alone, which just goes to show when they light up they are quite lethal.
NFL Picks: Eagles +3.0