With Week One of the NFL season in the books, we have a general understanding of what teams will look like after an unprecedented training camp. This season is going to be different and the lack of preseason games will make for some close matchups early in the year. Here are a few teams to avoid in Week Two.
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, September 20, 2020 – 08:20 PM EDT at CenturyLink Field
Russell Wilson was cooking right from the start in Seattle’s season-opener. He hit nine different receivers for 322 yards and four touchdowns on 31 completions in 35 attempts. The pass working early and head coach Pete Carroll stuck with it en route to a confident 38-25 victory over Atlanta. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett torched a weak Falcons secondary for 187 combined yards and Chris Carson added two touchdowns out of the backfield. All systems were go and Seattle looked great out of the block. However, they run into a bullish Patriots team that is run by the man in the cutoff hoodie in Week Two.
Bill Belichick again did what he does best during the offseason— he meticulously crafted a roster that caters to his vision and put his players in the best position to succeed against the Dolphins in Week One. Cam Newton stepped into Josh McDaniels’ offense and New England looked totally different than it did with Tom Brady under center, as it should. Newton took 15 carries for 75 yards (more than Brady’s total from 2019) and added two touchdowns. He also completed 15 of 19 passes for an average of 8.2 yards per catch.
Now, the Seahawks are a much better team than the Dolphins, but the Patriots offense will only continue to get more comfortable as the season goes on and their pesky defense is up to the task. In addition, Seattle loses its ‘12th Man’ with home-field advantage nonexistent as fans are not allowed in the stands.
There is no reason to ride with Russ on Sunday, especially when the spread requires a touchdown victory margin. New England will keep it close, as it always does, and could pull off the victory. Wait to see where the line opens on the NFL odds board when Seattle faces Dallas on the 27th and put your money elsewhere this week.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 01:00 PM EDT at Hard Rock Stadium
On the other side of the aisle, Miami lost but did not play horribly against New England. The new-look defense kept the Patriots at around 350 total yards of offense and only allowed three scores. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in the game, but even still, Brian Flores’ group stuck around until the fourth quarter. The Dolphins have also quietly been very good at home in recent years. They went 4-1 against the spread as underdogs in their last five home games of 2019 and won three of them outright.
Their opponents, the Bills, won by only 10 points against a very bad Jets team to begin the year. Josh Allen lit it up on paper in Week One with 312 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he looked good, not great. His decision-making was questionable at times, and the New York secondary inflated his stats by getting torched over the top. Buffalo didn’t establish much of a run game and its defense allowed 17 points. Did I mention that the Jets are bad?
There is no reason to be embarrassed by taking the Bills with your NFL picks and having them lose to the Dolphins this weekend. It’s better to look somewhere else.
My Pick: Dolphins +6 (-115) at Bovada
Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 04:25 PM EDT NRG Stadium
The Baltimore Ravens looked great in a 32-point win over the Cleveland Browns, while the Houston Texans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by 14 to open the year. Thus, the 2019 No. 1 seed in the AFC will be a popular team to tail this weekend.
Week One saw rookie running back J.K. Dobbins score a pair of touchdowns while Mark Ingram sat back and let the Ohio State alumnus drive his legs. To add to the offensive attack, Lamar Jackson is already in MVP form and threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns with 45 yards rushing. The Ravens looked great and will surely make a deep playoff run if they can stay healthy. That is all well and good, but it’s never smart to count out Deshaun Watson.
As an underdog, the fourth-year quarterback out of Clemson is 12-6 against the spread. He completed more than 60 percent of his passes against the 2019 Super Bowl champions and added a touchdown with his legs. Head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien may have sent waves through the National Football League by trading DeAndre Hopkins away in the offseason, but Will Fuller V stepped up into the leading role. Meanwhile, David Johnson, who the Texans received in return for its Pro Bowl receiver ran for 77 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He looked healthy and competent in a system that suits his running style.
Jackson could continue his reign of terror on Sunday, but one of these days, it will click for a talented team in Houston. That day could come this weekend.
My Pick: Texans +7 (-110) at Bovada