Week 2 NFL Pickss

BY: Grant

I don’t know how much better week one could’ve been. Three games were separated by
just one point. Eight games were decided by one possession. To top it off, the Jets won a thriller
on Monday Night Football thanks to a walk-off punt return touchdown.

If you followed my picks, you would have gone 10-6 on the money line and 7-9 on the
spread. This wasn’t exactly a great start, but it is a long season. It’s also going to help this week
knowing what we saw last week. Some teams that I faded, like the 49ers, will not be faded much
for the rest of the year. Other teams, like the Seahawks, might not get picked as much.

Like my SEC articles, the money line picks have looked good so far and the spreads have
not. Fade me at your own risk and tail me at your benefit. The odds are provided by DraftKings.

9/7 (TNF): Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5, O/U 48.5), 8:15PM EST, Prime

One of the biggest eyebrow raisers of the 1PM games last week was the result of the
Bucs-Vikings game. Tampa was supposed to look like a poor team all year and Minnesota
usually wins close games. The Vikings could not get anything going on the ground as their lead
rusher, Alexander Mattison, only had 34 yards. On the bright side, Minnesota’s passing game
was solid. Kirk Cousins threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn’t all good for Cousins
as he was responsible for three turnovers (one interception and two fumbles).

If it weren’t for Cousins’ mistakes, Minnesota wins this game. However, hypotheticals
don’t mean anything in the NFL. What does matter is the game in front of you. The Vikings are
going to have their hands full on Thursday night in Philadelphia. That’s especially true if they are
as careless with the football as they were against Tampa.

To start off last week, the Eagles looked like an elite team in the first quarter in their win
on the road against the Patriots. Before the Patriots could blink, Philadelphia was up 16-0. The
defense was stellar in giving the Eagles the lead. Mac Jones was even shown on camera yelling
in frustration.

That frustration quickly turned into jubilation as the Foxborough magic came into play as
the Patriots scored 14 straight to make it a 16-14 game at half. Coming out of the half, the Eagles
were strong again as they extended their lead to 25-14. A late Patriots touchdown made the final
score (25-20) more respectable. If there is just one takeaway, it would be that Philly handled the
game when they wanted to. Expect more of that this week in the Eagles’ home opener.

Prediction: Philadelphia wins, Philadelphia covers -6.5

9/17: Green Bay Packers (-1) @ Atlanta Falcons, O/U 40.5, 1PM EST, FOX
This may be the hardest game of the week to predict. Vegas agrees as this is just a one-
point spread. Last week, the Packers were underdogs by a point and ended up winning huge
against the rival Bears. In that contest, QB Jordan Love looked like Aaron Rodgers revitalized.
He had a great statline in which he threw for 245 yards with three touchdowns and no

interceptions. Additionally, no receiver was targeted more than five times. This will make
Atlanta’s secondary work that much harder to try and stop him down.

On the defensive side of things, the Packers had a field day against Chicago QB Justin
Fields as LB Quay Walker got a pick-six and they recorded four sacks. What makes last week’s
performance even better for the Packers going into this week is both the Bears and Falcons are
focused heavily on their running games. While Chicago has a much different style, look for the
Packers’ success to continue against Atlanta.

As for the Falcons, they looked great in their 24-10 opening victory over the Carolina
Panthers. Number one overall pick QB Bryce Young looked like a young rookie in this one as
Atlanta forced him into two interceptions and just 146 yards passing. Additionally, the Falcons’
defense caused two fumbles and recovered another one. Winning the turnover battle three to zero
helped big time in their win. Jordan Love isn’t really that much more experienced as it comes to
on-field play, but he also has been in the league much longer.

When Atlanta has the ball, watch out for the two-headed monster of RBs Tyler Allgeier
and Bijan Robinson. Both found the end zone last week as Allgeier did twice rushing and
Robinson caught six passes with a score. It wasn’t all full steam ahead for the dirty bird offense
as QB Desmond Ridder had a pedestrian game as he only threw for 115 yards, but he didn’t turn
the ball over. While no turnovers is great, Atlanta is going to need more from Ridder if they want
to beat teams with quality rushing defense.

Prediction: Green Bay wins, Green Bay covers -1

9/17: Las Vegas Raiders @ Buffalo Bills (-8.5, O/U 48), 1PM EST, CBS
If you watched Monday Night Football last week, you would’ve thought someone
hypnotized Josh Allen to throw it to the guys in green. His poor performance cost the Bills a
game in which Jets QB Aaron Rodgers was injured on his first series of the game. Allen
throwing just one touchdown to three interceptions and fumbling once is not something that is
going to happen every week.

Last week, the Raiders were unable to force a turnover from the Broncos. Despite that,
they still won the game 17-16. You could chalk that one up to Denver kicker Wil Lutz as he
missed a field goal and an extra point. Vegas got lucky with that one. Offensively, the Raiders
struggled to run the ball as they only put up 2.1 yards per carry. At least they were able to put up
200 yards through the air with WRs Jakobi Meyers and Davante Adams leading the way in that

Safe to say that both teams cannot afford to play the way they did last week going
forward. In this matchup, watch for the matchup of the Buffalo front seven versus the Vegas
offensive line. Last week, Jimmy Garoppolo was not sacked. On the other hand, Buffalo was
able to record three sacks and an interception against the Jets.

My takeaway from last week is that Buffalo losing the way they did was a fluke and Las
Vegas winning a game was also a fluke.

Prediction: Buffalo wins, Buffalo covers -8.5

9/17: Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5, O/U 46.5), 1PM EST, CBS
Baltimore looked slow out of the gate last week against Houston as they were only up 7-6
on them at halftime. Of course, it is good to have a lead in the NFL. However, against a team like
the Texans, Baltimore should have done better throughout the game. The defense looked great as
they only allowed nine points thanks to four sacks of rookie QB C.J. Stroud as well as a fumble
recovery. On offense, turnovers slowed down the Ravens as Lamar Jackson threw an interception
and the unit lost two fumbles. On the bright side, Baltimore looked like the better team from the
beginning to the end.

Unlike Baltimore, Cincinnati looked awful all game last week. Cleveland dominated that
game as they held Joe Burrow to just 82 yards passing on 31 attempts. Not only that, Cincinnati’s
top receiver Jamaar Chase only recorded 39 yards total. Although the Bengals passing defense
had a good game, their rush defense got torn to pieces as they allowed 206 yards on 5.2 yards per

The good news for Cincinnati is that things can’t get worse than that. Additionally, Joe
Burrow is unbeaten against Baltimore at home and in each of those contests the Bengals won by
at least seven points. Furthermore, that brings Burrow’s record against the Ravens to 4-2 in his
career. I don’t feel too good about what I’m about to predict, but I was burned last week in
predicting the Bengals game. Can I really be wrong two weeks in a row?

Prediction: Cincinnati wins, Cincinnati covers -3.5

9/17: Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions (-5.5, O/U 49), 1PM EST, FOX
Both teams surprised in week one for completely different reasons. Seattle got throttled
by the Rams and Detroit pulled an upset over the Chiefs. Seattle QB Geno Smith looked like he
regressed from last year. The rushing game was not up to par either as they only put up 85 yards
in the game. A big reason. For the underperformance of Seattle was the time of possession. The
Rams had the ball for nearly 40 of the 60 minutes. With that, Los Angeles outgained Seattle 426
to 180 and had 27 first downs to Seattle’s 13. Overall, the Seahawks got their ass kicked.

As for Detroit, they looked like they belong amongst the elite in the league. The defense
took advantage of the lack of talent in the WR room for the Chiefs as they only allowed 20
points in the game. They also benefitted from not having to go against Travis Kelce. One shining
star for the Lions was Chiefs WR Kadarius Toney. He dropped several balls in crucial situations
and one of those drops was right in his hands which ricocheted into Brian Branch’s hands. The
lone interception for Patrick Mahomes was returned for a touchdown.

Overall, Seattle isn’t as bad as they played and Detroit likely wouldn’t have beaten
Kansas City if they had Travis Kelce or didn’t have a major case of the drops. That said, Seattle
allowed 334 through the air against Rams’ QB Matt Stafford. If the pass defense doesn’t improve
this week, Detroit QB Jared Goff will rip them apart. Which, in turn, makes the much-improved
Detroit defense’s job that much easier.

Prediction: Detroit wins, Detroit covers -5.5

9/17: Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) @ Tennessee Titans, O/U 45.5, 1PM EST, CBS
The Chargers played in a thriller last week as they lost 36-34 thanks to the Tua-Tyreek
connection. Don’t feel too bad, Chargers fans. Most teams that play against the Dolphins will get
scorched by Tyreek Hill. Fortunately for Los Angeles, the Titans’ passing game is nowhere as
strong as Miami. Last week, the Titans’ passing attack was awful. While 198 passing yards out
of Tannehill isn’t terrible, throwing three interceptions with no touchdowns to counter that is
atrocious. Fortunately for Tennessee, the Chargers defense is not up to the skillset of the Saints.

In this one, the Titans would win a defensive battle and the Chargers would win in a
shootout. After seeing the Titans defense allow Saints QB Derek Carr to throw for 305 yards last
week, I don’t see the Titans being able to slow the Chargers down. One way the Titans could
slow down the Chargers’ offense is through Derrick Henry. Last week, Henry was not used
enough. When he did get the ball, he was a force to be reckoned with as he totaled 107 yards (63
rushing, 56 receiving). If the Titans can get Henry more involved, they will be able to control
time of possession which keeps the ball out of Chargers’ QB Justin Herbert’s hands.

Neither of these teams are ones I would trust long term, but I have to make a choice.

Prediction: Chargers win, Chargers cover -3.5

9/17: Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, O/U 42), 1PM EST, FOX

This matchup features perhaps the surprise team of the week against one of the most
disappointing teams of last week. Chicago felt like they finally were going to have the leg up on
Green Bay as this is their first year without starting Aaron Rodgers since 2008. Even so, the
Packers beat the Bears 38-20. To make things worse, Chicago QB Justin Fields was sacked four
times. On top of that, he threw an interception that turned into a pick-six and lost a fumble.

On the positive side, the Chicago run defense was outstanding as they allowed just 2.9
yards per carry. Additionally, they will be facing a weak running attack in the Bucs as they only
ran for 2.2 yards per carry last week. This will likely cause Tampa to throw it more than they did
last week. This will have the Bears with their hands full trying to cover both Mike Evans and
Chris Godwin.

The matchup of the game will be the Chicago offense against the Tampa Bay defense.
Justin Fields was pressured on 48.8% of the dropbacks last week. The Buccaneers have a solid
front, so I could see them putting up similar numbers in this one. Beyond the pressure, look for
Bucs CB Carlton Davis to lockdown D.J. Moore.

Prediction: Tampa Bay wins, Tampa Bay covers -2.5

9/17: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars, O/U 51, 1PM EST, CBS
Is there trouble in paradise for the defending Super Bowl champions? If Travis Kelce is
out, I would say so. He was limited in practice Wednesday, so concerns are growing that he will
miss this game too. Last week, Patrick Mahomes didn’t seem to have much help as there were

several drops and the leading receiver (Marquez Valdes-Scantling) had just 48 yards. Mahomes
was also the leading rusher with just 45 yards on the ground. While he is the greatest quarterback
in the league right now, he’s going to need more help than that to beat a quality team like the
Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville beat Indianapolis last week 31-21 in Indy, but they really should have beat
the Colts by more than that. Jacksonville is the better team and looked like it for most of the
game. It didn’t help that RB Tank Bigsby picked up a live ball and stood there while the Colts
punched the ball out and ran it back for a touchdown. The Jaguars cannot afford to give
Mahomes and the Chiefs a touchdown as easily as that, so don’t expect any mental mistakes like
that to happen again.

Trevor Lawrence had a solid game with 241 yards passing and two touchdowns to one
interception. He also added 21 yards on the ground. Lawrence is capable of much more than that.
One sign that an improvement might be coming this week is Detroit’s QB Jared Goff throwing
for 253 and a score with no interceptions against the Chiefs secondary. Moreover, unlike
Mahomes, Lawrence had help last week. RB Travis Etienne Jr. had 77 yards rushing with a score
and added 27 yards receiving. WR Calvin Ridley played great as he racked up 101 yards
receiving on eight receptions with a touchdown. As a result, the Chiefs are going to have their
hands full this week.

Prediction: Jacksonville wins, Jacksonville covers +2.5

9/17: Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans, (-1, O/U 40), 1PM EST, FOX
If this weren’t a matchup between two top five picks, this one could turn into a snooze
fest. I don’t trust Colts QB Anthony Richardson as well as Texans QB C.J. Stroud. Last week, it
seemed like Anthony Richardson was more NFL ready, but he also didn’t have to go against the
Ravens defense.

The game itself, not considering the spread, seems like a toss-up. Both have young rookie
QBs and are rebuilding teams. One thing the other doesn’t have is LE Will Anderson Jr. In his
first career start last week, he recorded a sack and several pressures to go with it. He is going to
be a quality player for a long time and that will show itself again this week. He is going to make
Anthony Richardson’s life difficult Sunday in his first road game in the NFL.

Look for Texans RB Dameon Pierce to bounce back in a major way this week as he only
rushed for 38 yards against Baltimore. Even with a tough defense, Stroud was still able to
distribute the ball well to guys like Nico Collins and Robert Woods without throwing an
interception. This game will be close, but let’s root for the home team in this one.

Prediction: Houston wins, Houston covers -1

9/17: San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) @ Los Angeles Rams, O/U 44, 4:05PM EST, FOX
Last week I made a major mistake in fading the 49ers. Am I crazy enough to do that
again? After how San Francisco looked last week, I won’t be doing that again. From the moment
the game started, the 49ers looked like the far superior team and like they hadn’t missed a step

from last year’s success under QB Brock Purdy. He looked like the real deal last week as he
threw for 220 yards with two touchdowns. To compliment Purdy, RB Christian McCaffrey
rushed for 152 yards and a score with 17 yards receiving. Additionally, WR Brandon Aiyuk had
129 yards and a score receiving. To make things even better for the 49ers, their defense was
amazing as they intercepted Steelers QB Kenny Pickett twice and recovered two fumbles with
five sacks in addition.

The Rams also had a great game as they dominated the division rival Seahawks. They
out-possessed Seattle nearly 2-1 and had Matt Stafford throw for 334 yards. Los Angeles’
offensive line did not allow a sack last week, so look for that matchup against the amazing San
Francisco defense. Los Angeles will have some unknown weapons at their disposal as WR Tutu
Atwell and WR Pacu Nacua put up 119 yards receiving. If the Rams can be relevant on the
ground outside of the red zone (3 touchdowns rushing), then this one will be interesting.
However, if the Rams only put up 2.3 yards per carry, I don’t see much success coming for Los
Angeles in this one.

Prediction: San Francisco wins, San Francisco covers -7.5

9/17: New York Giants (-4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals, O/U 38.5, 4:05PM EST, FOX
What a disappointment the opening game was for the New York Giants. Losing to a
division rival is one thing but getting beat 40-0 at home to start the season is essentially rock
bottom. The good thing for the Giants is that game was an absolute fluke. While the Cowboys
are extremely solid, the Giants are in no way 40 points worse than them or as bad as they looked.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, lost a close one to the Washington Commanders 20-16.
If Washington hadn’t turned the ball over three times, this one likely wouldn’t have been close.
Arizona is stuck with QB Josh Dobbs starting and he has shown to be someone that can take care
of the ball, but he won’t make you any plays either.

There is no way the Giants play as poorly as they did last week. Look for them to take
care of the ball this week and get it to their playmakers in RB Saquon Barkley as well as TE
Darren Waller. Another thing about this week’s game that will be different than last week’s game
is the weather. It was pouring in Metlife Stadium during the Cowboys-Giants game on Monday
night. With this game being in Arizona, the dome won’t allow for poor weather conditions to
impact the play of the game.

Prediction: New York wins, New York covers -4.5

9/17: New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5, O/U 45.5), 4:25PM EST, CBS
This game really could have been something special. Without the Rodgers injury it could
have been a great matchup between an outstanding defense and a future hall of fame quarterback.
Now, with Zach Wilson at the helm for the Jets, I’m not sure this one will live up to what it could
have been. That being said, Wilson did help lead the Jets to a win over the Buffalo Bills without
Rodgers. That just goes to show that the New York Jets are a solid football team. However, so
are the Dallas Cowboys.

Before Rodgers got injured, Dallas was only favored by three. His absence has caused
Vegas to move the line a whole touchdown in favor of the Cowboys. This is rightfully so if you
watched Dallas last week.

Dak didn’t have to do all that much as the running game put up 122 yards and three
touchdowns. Furthermore, the defense put up two touchdowns of their own to start the game. If
Dak can take care of the ball and the defense can contain Jets RB Breece Hall, the Cowboys will
coast in this one.

Prediction: Dallas wins, Dallas covers -9.5

9/17: Washington Commanders @ Denver Broncos (-3.5, O/U 39), 4:25PM EST, CBS
Broncos’ country, let’s ride? No offense scored less points than Denver in 2022, so head
coach Sean Payton should bring them some success this year. However, it seems like there will
be some growing pains as the Broncos only scored 16 points in a one-point loss to the Las Vegas
Raiders. This was strange as Broncos’ QB Russell Wilson had a lot of time to pass as he was
only pressured on 16.7% of his dropbacks. If he holds the ball for a long time this weekend, that
could be a major problem as the Washington defensive line is really good.

When Washington is on offense, they need to do better in pass protection. QB Sam
Howell was sacked six times. That is an absurdly high number of sacks. As a result, he had less
time to get the ball out. In turn, that caused no receiver on the team to record 60 yards. On the
bright side, Denver recorded no sacks against the Raiders.

The difference in this game could very well be the special teams. Several mistakes on
special teams cost Denver the game last week. To start his Denver coaching career, Sean Payton
decided to go for an onside kick on the very first play. The execution on the kick was near
perfect and the Broncos ended up coming away with the ball. There was one issue as the Broncos
touched the ball one yard too early, which gave the Raiders great field position to start the game.
Moreover, Broncos K Wil Lutz missed a field goal and an extra point. Those are pretty important
when it comes to a one-point game. On the other hand, Washington K Joey Slye made both of his
field goal attempts and both of his extra point attempts.

In the end, it comes down to who you trust. While I don’t completely trust the
Washington in this one, I just can’t pick Denver until they prove me wrong.

Prediction: Washington wins, Washington covers +3.5

9/17 (SNF): Miami Dolphins (-3) @ New England Patriots, O/U 47, 8:20PM EST, NBC
This is going to be a great game to close out the second football Sunday of the year. The
game will feature two completely different styles of play. Miami comes into this one with a fire-
power offense and New England has a stout defense.

In the game against Philadelphia, the Patriots were able to slow down Jalen Hurts and
crew at times. However, they bent a little too much at times as the Eagles were able to get
multiple score leads several times in the game. As for Miami, the offense was high flying from

the very beginning. Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill might legitimately have a chance to get 2,000
yards receiving. Last week was a fantastic start to that as he recorded 215 yards receiving.

The matchup of the game will be Tyreek Hill against Patriots CB Christian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez looked solid last week, but will he really be able to handle Hill? The answer simply is

What happens when the Patriots are on offense? QB Mac Jones threw for 316 yards and
three touchdowns. One thing to note about that is that came on 54 pass attempts. They should
have an easier time throwing against the Dolphins than they did against the Eagles.

Another thing to note is the home environment in New England. Last week, they had an
impact on the game. Now, was that because Tom Brady returned or is that the expectation of
what the home crowd will be like the rest of the season. It is more than likely to be both of those
things. On Sunday in Foxborough, the weather looks to be perfect. So, Miami won’t have to deal
with the winter weather. As a result, I feel good but not great about picking Miami in this one.

Prediction: Miami wins, Miami covers -2.5

9/18 (MNF): New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Carolina Panthers, O/U 41, 7:15PM EST, ESPN
New Orleans on defense last week was a perfect example of what it means to bend and
not break. The Saints won the game thanks to three interceptions of Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill
and allowing no touchdowns. New Orleans ended up pulling it out 16-15. Yes, the Titans scored

five field goals. This week, the New Orleans defense has to have their mouths watering as they
are set to go against number one overall pick QB Bryce Young. Last week, Young threw two
interceptions and RB Miles Sanders fumbled once. If the Panthers are as careless with the ball
against the Saints as they were against the Falcons they will lose this game by multiple
possessions. On the same note, if the Saints giveaway the ball twice in key situations like they
did a week ago, they could end up going home 1-1 instead of 2-0.

The emergence of Chris Olave last week is something to be confident about if you are a
fan of the Saints. The matchup between him and Panthers CB Jaycee Horn will be one to watch
out for. Even if Olave gets locked up, the Saints have other options in WRs Michael Thomas and
Rashid Shaheed.

On both sides, the defensive lines are going to be a focal point. Derek Carr and Bryce
Young were under constant pressure and both teams have solid front sevens. This will more than
likely be a close game, but I lean towards experience in this one.

Prediction: New Orleans wins, New Orleans covers -3

9/18 (MNF): Cleveland Browns (-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers, O/U 40.5, 8:15PM EST, ABC &
I don’t think these teams could have looked any different from one another last week if
they tried. Cleveland handled Joe Burrow like he was a third-stringer and Pittsburgh got drug
around like their whole team is supposed to be third-stringers. Fortunately for Pittsburgh,

Cleveland is neither as good as San Francisco nor as talented as it relates to weapons on both
sides of the ball. Fortunately for Cleveland, Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is no Joe Burrow.
Although, those two did look similar last week.

Can Pittsburgh slow down Cleveland’s running attack? The Browns rushed for 5.2 yards
per carry against the Bengals which gave them 206 yards total on the ground. The Steelers
conceded 5.5 yards per carry against the 49ers with 188 yards total. That is a recipe for disaster
for Pittsburgh in this one.

Can Kenny Pickett be more careful with the ball this week? He threw two interceptions
last week and had to constantly throw the ball since they were behind all game. Although
Cleveland didn’t cause Joe Burrow to turn the ball over, they did make his life extremely difficult
that day.

As a result of both of the questions in the last paragraphs being no, I see Cleveland
coming out with this one in a close game.

Prediction: Cleveland wins, Cleveland covers -2

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