Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season is in the books, meaning we’ve spent the past few days celebrating one of football’s greatest traditions: overreacting.
While making grandiose claims based on just a few minutes of actual on-field action may be a boon for debate shows on ESPN and FS1, it can lead to some dangerous waters for gamblers. Week 1 undoubtedly showed us a few breakout teams likely to emerge as powerhouses through the season, but don’t throw away your preseason rankings after one matchup.
Last week, our picks went a frustrating 6-9-1, with one failed two-point conversion and one blown 14-point fourth quarter lead between us and a winning week. But hey, that’s gambling. There’s always next week.
Take a look below at our picks against the spread for Week 2 of the NFL season, as we attempt to wade through the overreactions and get back to our winning ways.
All lines are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
LAST WEEK: 6-9-1
Baltimore Ravens (PK) at Cincinnati Bengals (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bengals PK
The logic: Guessing the Ravens are a bit overvalued here after destroying the Bills on Sunday, and I’m not giving teams all that much credit for destroying the Bills this year. Hopefully, the Bengals can keep it close.
Carolina Panthers (+6) at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Falcons -6
The logic: The Falcons have had an extra three days to prepare for this game, and their offence was a few broken red-zone appearances away from scoring a lot more than 12 points against the Eagles to open the season. Atlanta hasn’t lost to the Panthers at home since 2014 – I think they do enough to cover here.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bills +7.5
The logic: Save yourself the anxiety and don’t bet this game, but it is my solemn duty to pick every game on the slate. Every rule in the book is working against the Chargers here – West Coast team coming east playing a home dog after getting blown out. Josh Allen may not be the most impressive rookie of the 2018 class, but he should at least be an improvement on Nathan Peterman.
Minnesota Vikings (NO LINE) at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Vikings
The logic: There’s not going to be a line on this game until Vegas has a better idea on the status of Aaron Rodgers, but either way I’m probably backing the Vikings here.
Houston Texans (-1.5) at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Texans -1.5
The logic: Again, there’s no sense in betting this game until we know whether Marcus Mariota will be ready to go, but as long as the line doesn’t get out of hand on this one, give me the Texans over a Titans team I’ll be picking against all year.
Cleveland Browns (+8.5) at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Saints -8.5
The logic: The Saints and the Browns killed me separate ways last weekend. But the Saints’ offence still put up 40 points against the Buccaneers, and the Browns needed a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback despite winning the turnover battle six to one. Give me the Saints in a rout.
Miami Dolphins (+3) at New York Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Dolphins +3
The logic: It was tough not to fall in love with Sam Darnold in his NFL debut, but I still expect some growing pains for the young rookie at some point this year. Thought this game would be a pick’em, so taking the free three points.
Kansas City Chiefs (+4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Steelers -4
The logic: In the fourth quarter of their eventual tie against Cleveland, the Steelers were down 5-0 in the turnover battle and still held a 21-7 lead. The Chiefs looked like the best team in football last week, so it feels as if the public will be all over Kansas City. Look for the Steelers to cut down on the turnovers and bounce back at home.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Eagles -3.5
The logic: Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t ruin me two weeks in a row, right? Oh god, please be right.
Indianapolis Colts (+6) at Washington Redskins (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The pick: Colts +6
The logic: The Redskins have lost their home opener in three consecutive years, and now after one suitable performance, they’re six-point favourites? That feels like a bit of a reach. The Colts defence is suspect, to say the least, but Andrew Luck can keep it close and will be eager to get his first win since his return from injury.
Arizona Cardinals (+13) at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
The pick: Cardinals +13
The logic: With the Rams looking stellar against the Raiders and the Cardinals looking awful in Week 1, this is the most overjuiced line of the weekend. It doesn’t look good, but this spread was probably about eight when bookmakers were examining it before the season. Take the free points and hope for the best.
Detroit Lions (+6) at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
The pick: Lions +6
The logic: According to VSiN’s Steve Makinen, since 2002, Week 1 favourites of six or more points that lose straight-up have gone 13-3 straight-up and against the spread in Week 2. Closing my eyes and riding that trend with the Lions and the Saints this week.
Oakland Raiders (+6) at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Broncos -6
The logic: Case Keenum slotted into the Broncos offence just fine, and the Denver defence is still quite a force in the league. Oakland may have looked impressive in its first drive of the season, but that Gruden magic quickly faded in the second half.
New England Patriots (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Patriots -1
The logic: The Jaguars couldn’t hold on to 10-point fourth-quarter lead in the AFC Championship game last year, and I don’t see them ever building that big of a lead this time around.
New York Giants (+3) at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
The pick: Giants +3
The logic: The Cowboys offence looked dreadful last weekend against the Panthers. Odell Beckham Jr. is still due for an explosive performance, and what better place to do it than on “Sunday Night Football” against Dallas, where his three-fingered catch made him infamous.
Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Chicago Bears (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bears -3.5
The logic: If Chicago can keep its defence running all four quarters, it could be the surprise team to come out of the NFC. A matchup against Russell Wilson is no easy fate, but after staring down Aaron Rodgers last weekend, the Bears should be ready.
Now check out our Week 2 Power Rankings
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