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Week 2 NFL Picks

Not sure I know much of anything about most of these teams after Week 1, but let’s make some Week 2 picks anyway.

Last Week:  10 – 6 – 0
Season:       10 – 6 – 0

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Chargers 24 at Chiefs 27
Patrick Mahomes was good, bad and extremely lucky. The Chargers coaching staff made a whoopsie. And Justin Herbert nearly died to save a backdoor cover.

Let’s start with Mahomes. He made some great throws. He also made a handful of really dumb ones and got away with all of them because of questionable penalties and the receiving struggles of Charger defensive backs. Mahomes is still great, but these strings of sloppy play are happening more often than before. I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, but the ears are up. I’m definitely curious.

As for the Chargers, don’t coaches always preach about the details and getting the little things right? Why then did Los Angeles value tempo over getting a fresh tight end in the game? It was 1st and goal from the three. There’s no reason to rush if your tight end is dying. The Navy Seals like to say, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” The Chargers lost that game because they denied an exhausted Gerald Everett a sub and then ran the ensuing play for an exhausted Gerald Everett. Bad coaching.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Jets at Browns
Obviously, any Cleveland win without The Masseuse will exponentially strengthen their playoff chances. The ticket is the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. If I were a Browns fan I’d want a 60/40 split in favor of the ground game until the creeper returns. I know game-manager is offensive these days but that has to be Jacoby Brissett’s wheelhouse if Cleveland hopes to stay in contention. BROWNS -6.5

Commanders at Lions
I can’t quit Carson Wentz. If you think about it, he’s actually one of the more exciting quarterbacks in the league. You really have no idea what is going to happen. He threw a 3 yard interception straight to a defensive end last week. No other NFL quarterback is doing that. Wentz needs to be enjoyed like Brett Favre. He’s not nearly as good as Favre (or nearly as criminally fraudulent), but Wentz offers a similar level of excitement. Unless of course he’s the quarterback of your team. Then it’s pure torture. COMMANDERS +1.5

Buccaneers at Saints
Tom Brady looked good. It’s 2022. This is insane. BUCCANEERS -2.5

Panthers at Giants
Saquon Barkley looked like Saquon Barkley again. That’s a huge win for football fans and alarming news to opposing defenses. Whether he can do it for an entire season remains to be seen but for now it was nice to see Saquon dominate. Speaking of comebacks… I thought Baker Mayfield was really good in the 2nd half last week. The Panthers have something there if he doesn’t have to be superman. GIANTS -2

Patriots at Steelers
Pittsburgh’s win last week was exciting and all but wow do I feel worse about the Steelers now than before that game. While I never expected Mitch Trubisky to be 1998 Randall Cunningham, I legitimately thought he could excel in an air-it-out offense. Nope. Despite an immensely talented receiving group, Trubisky never got it going. The Steeler running game remaining a disaster certainly doesn’t help either. If Kenny Pickett can rip it like they say, Pittsburgh should consider my viewing pleasure and give him the reigns. I know, I know it makes no sense to put a rookie quarterback behind a struggling offensive line but I need those receivers to get more action. STEELERS +2.5

Colts at Jaguars
Matt Ryan threw for 352 yards and Jonathan Taylor ran for 161 as the Colts dominated in a Week 1 victory. Just kidding. They tied the lowly Texans. I don’t know Doug Pederson personally but I bet he wants to win this one real, real bad. Frank Reich has often gotten a lot of credit (maybe even more than he deserved) for the success of the 2017 Eagles. Pederson can prove he’s the better coach with a win despite the lesser roster. (Yes, I’m aware the two faced off in 2018. But I’m investing capital in this idea that Doug really wants this so let me enjoy my ignorance.) JAGUARS +3

Dolphins at Ravens
Sometimes stats make me laugh. Last week the Dolphins had a pressure rate of 15.2%, which was 5th worst in the NFL. They surrendered less than 200 passing yards and only 7 points. The NFL leader in pressure rate at a resounding 58.5% is …drum roll… the Arizona Cardinals. That’s right, the same Cardinals that surrendered 44 points, 360 yards, 33 1st downs and had zero sacks. RAVENS -3.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Falcons at Rams
For all his offensive genius, Sean McVay has struggled with a running game since the great Todd Gurley fell off a cliff in 2019. The Rams haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Gurley’s 2018 season. They’ve been among the bottom eight in rushing yards two of the last three seasons. This is a major problem for the Rams moving forward. Their offensive line is weak and Matthew Stafford is already dealing with nagging injuries. If they can’t protect Stafford AND can’t run the football, it’s going to be a long season for the defending champs. FALCONS +10

Seahawks at 49ers
“It was the rain. They played that game on a splash pad. Total fluke.” – Every 49ers fan this week, trying not to completely panic that the anointed franchise QB has yet to look good in a real NFL game. 49ERS -9

Bengals at Cowboys
The NFC isn’t deep with playoff contenders, so I’m not writing off the Cowboys just yet. After the Bengals, Dallas has @NYG, WASH, @LAR, @PHI, DET, CHI, BYE. Four of those games are very winnable, and they’ve had the Eagles number for a while too, so it’s not completely insane to think the Cowboys get to their bye week at 3-5 or even 4-4. That would be about 8 weeks out for Dak Prescott who is supposed to return in 6-8 weeks. Of course, the Cowboys offense showed no life Sunday night even with Prescott so maybe I’m wrong and Dallas is already DOA. COWBOYS +7.5

Texans at Broncos
Not a great start for Broncos country (Let’s Ride!). However, I think it’s a bit early for everyone jumping off the bandwagon. If that Monday night game gets played 10 times, I think Denver wins 8 or 9 of them. The Broncos dominated over the final 37 minutes. Stupid mistakes ultimately cost them a win but those can be ironed out. The defense was dominant in the 2nd half, albeit against a bad offense, and the Denver offense didn’t punt after the 13:23 mark of the 2nd quarter. I think I like the Broncos more now than I did before Monday. BRONCOS -10

Cardinals at Raiders
Arizona gave the Patriots all they could handle in the Week 1 Most Lifeless Team contest. The Cardinals looked resigned to their fate almost immediately against the Chiefs. Kyler Murray was nonchalant the entire afternoon and the team in general has a laissez-faire demeanor that throughout history hasn’t translated to winning football games. I don’t think Kliff Kingsbury makes it to Halloween. RAIDERS -5.5

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Bears at Packers
If you’re life depended on it and you had to pick one NFC team to advance to the NFC Championship, who would it be? It’s the Packers for me. Aaron Rodgers will figure out the offense soon enough. They’ll win 11-13 games and have another opportunity to choke at home in January. Also, I don’t know if you’re paying attention, but Green Bay improved over last year’s Week 1 embarrassment by a whopping 19 points. That’s significant improvement. PACKERS -10

Monday Night (7:15 and 8:30PM ET)

Titans at Bills
The Bills were dominant last week in Los Angeles. Turnovers couldn’t stop them. The Rams certainly couldn’t stop them. The football world was thoroughly impressed. Not me. I couldn’t help but notice that Josh Allen underthrew every deep ball. You know what it means when a quarterback completes 83% of his passes for 297 yards, rushes for 50 more and scores 4 touchdowns and you still criticize his performance? It means you’re a bad person. The Bills pass rush came through big time against the Rams. This week, they’ll need to be tough against the run. TITANS +10

Vikings at Eagles
Justin Jefferson was supposed to be in midnight green. Everyone else can praise Howie Roseman for all he did this past offseason. That’s fine. He almost deserves the praise. But I won’t forgive him for the Jalen Raegor over Jefferson draft. It didn’t make sense to anyone at the time and was a disaster from the jump. Praising Howie for getting AJ Brown is like praising your kid for stripping the sheets after wetting the bed. VIKINGS +2

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