Week 2 NFL Picks

FYI: I hate all my picks this week. Sometimes you just hate what you’re telling yourself and that’s me this week.

Last Week:   7 – 9 – 0
Season:         7 – 9 – 0

Thursday (8:20PM ET)

Vikings 28 at Eagles 34
The Eagles offensive line was dominant, which is a great sign for the rest of the season. On the other hand, Jalen Hurts still looks like he’s buffering. His reads are poor, he looks slow and he took a horrific sack early in the 4th that definitely cost the Eagles the cover and could have cost them the game. (Good teams win. Great teams cover.) I won’t complain about being 2-0 but both wins came with very generous contributions from the opponent. I don’t think winning by less than a touchdown at home when you win the turnover battle 4-1 is awesome.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Packers at Falcons
Unlike many fans, I don’t hate Aaron Rodgers. However, it seemed fitting that, after demanding out of a franchise that always gave him a good to very good offensive line, he was injured on his first series with his new team. Not a coincidence that his new team did not have the same consistency and proficiency on the offensive line. Anyway, the Packers looked great. This is probably my own projection, but they looked like a team set free. No longer worrying about what may or may not upset their franchise cornerstone, the Packers just played football. They should be a joy to watch all season. PACKERS +1.5

Raiders at Bills
I don’t necessarily feel bad for Josh Allen, but the Buffalo front office deserves some heat, too. The last time Buffalo used a pick in the top three rounds on a pass catcher was 2019. That was tight end Dawson Knox in the 3rd. Yes, the Bills selected Dalton Kincaid in the 1st round of the 2023 draft, and I do expect him to be awesome, but if you have a franchise quarterback, doesn’t it make sense to give him an arsenal? The Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith for Jalen Hurts and then added AJ Brown. The Dolphins drafted Jaylen Waddle for Tua Tagovailoa and then traded for Tyreek Hill. The Bengals drafted Ja’Marr Chase for Joe Burrow even though they drafted Tee Higgins the year prior. Even Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen. RAIDERS +8

Ravens at Bengals
Before the season I picked the Bengals to flop and miss the playoffs. One week doesn’t make me right, but it did make me feel bad. I did not enjoy watching Joe Burrow and the Bengals struggle. They’re too much fun when they’re rolling and I kind of hope I’m wrong because the league is more fun with that team firing on all cylinders. The JK Dobbins injury is devastating and depressing. Baltimore will find a way to still have a productive ground game but it won’t be nearly as explosive. Also, I know we like to throw around player comparisons too easily, but Zay Flowers may be the closest thing we have to Tyreek Hill. RAVENS +3

Seahawks at Lions
Despite a Detroit victory, I wasn’t impressed much by either team in Week 1. I thought the Chiefs gave away that game more than Detroit took it, and Seattle was the worst dumpster fire of Week 1 outside of New York (Giants, Bills, Jets… take your pick). So let’s briefly talk about Deion Sanders and Colorado instead. I’m all for Colorado being a legitimate college football program again. I’ll never be a huge Deion fan, but what he’s done in his brief college coaching career is nothing short of amazing. At the same time, I have two beefs. First, beating an over ranked TCU team that lost double digit starters (including a Heisman finalist quarterback) from their runner up 2022 team is not as big of a win as everyone is pretending it to be. Nor is beating up on one of the Big Ten’s perennial trash heaps a week later. For a Colorado program that has struggled to win games, yes those are two big wins, but let’s stop pretending this team isn’t going 4-5 in Pac 12 play (which would be a tremendous accomplishment for Deion and Colorado). Second, Colorado State hasn’t had a winning season since 2017. They’ve won seven games total the last three seasons. I understand Deion is a master motivator, but whipping up a laughable dig and making it “personal” is below Deion and Colorado at this point. They’re punching down, simple as that. SEAHAWKS +5

Chargers at Titans
Prior to the 2022 season, the Chargers handed JC Jackson a five-year deal worth over $80 million with $40 million guaranteed. Jackson underperformed that contract last season and was a flat out disaster in Week 1 as Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins torched him. The Eagles whiffed on a similar signing with Nnamdi Asomugha in 2011 and then again in 2015 with Byron Maxwell. It takes years for defenses to rebound from such misses. Thankfully, the Chargers have Justin Herbert and a loaded offense, so scoring 35+ per game isn’t impossible even if it may be required. TITANS +2.5

Bears at Buccaneers
Justin Fields threw the football 37 times in Week 1. Three of those attempts went beyond ten yards. THREE. That’s insanely stupid. The Bears are essentially running a more sophisticated and practiced offense than the 49ers ran in the NFC Championship AFTER their two quarterbacks went down. I don’t dislike Fields but it appears even the Bears know he’s not a legit NFL quarterback. While I won’t defend the lack of effort by Chase Claypool, it’s understandable that an NFL wide receiver doesn’t want to block for an entire afternoon. Only a third of Fields’ targets went to wide receivers. Chicago’s big offseason acquisition, DJ Moore, had two targets all afternoon. Nothing makes sense in Bears land. BUCCANEERS -2.5

Chiefs at Jaguars
I think Kansas City is going to start the season 0-2 and the media will treat it as if they’re 0-10. Without financial considerations (because I don’t know the cap details for all 32 teams), how did the rest of the league not chase after Calvin Ridley? He and Trevor Lawrence looked awesome in Week 1. JAGUARS +3.5

Colts at Texans
The Colts also looked kind of awesome. In fact, I think Anthony Richardson stood head and shoulders above Bryce Young and CJ Stroud after Week 1. If Jonathan Taylor is interested and invested in playing for the Colts after Week 4, I think Indianapolis could maybe be a part of the Wildcard race come late December. COLTS +1.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

49ers at Rams
When Matthew Stafford is cooking there are few quarterbacks as fun to watch. Unfortunately, cooking against the 49er defense will be much more difficult. Also, Kyle Shanahan loves beating Sean McVay. McVay hasn’t won against the 49ers in the regular season since 2018. Yes, the Rams beat San Francisco in the 2021 NFC Championship, and I understand that matters most, but an eight game regular season losing streak to a division rival is pretty jarring. 49ERS -7

Giants at Cardinals
I know everyone is piling on the Giants this past week, and rightfully so. They deserved whatever vitriol they got after such a pitiful performance. However, sometimes the wheels come off and there’s just no recovering without a reset. The Giants aren’t 40-0 bad. The mistakes snowballed on them and they never found their feet. While I don’t think they’re NFC title contenders, New York will still be in the playoff mix at around 9-10 wins. You know who is kind of sneaky good? The Arizona Cardinals defense. I didn’t hate their performance against Washington in Week 1. They tackle well and get after the quarterback. I thought their corners could be a major issue this season. While that may still be the case, they did pretty well against Washington’s receiving duo. The Giants don’t have Washington’s level of talent on the outside so Arizona could give the Giants some fits. GIANTS -4

Jets at Cowboys
The Aaron Rodgers injury is obviously a complete disaster for the Jets, but it’s equally a disaster for the NFL and its fans. With Rodgers this would be an enthralling matchup between one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and one of the NFL’s top defenses. Rodgers LOVED going against Dallas. Even when his teams were overmatched he often found a way. Instead of that we’ll get Zach Wilson getting trampled by Micah Parsons while committing nine turnovers. If Dak Prescott doesn’t throw a pick six, Dallas may not surrender a point until October (they go to Arizona next week). Sauce Gardner may be our only hope. COWBOYS -8.5

Commanders at Broncos
I was probably too harsh yesterday when I grouped Sam Howell’s Week 1 performance with Kenny Pickett. Howell wasn’t great, but he wasn’t Pickett bad either. At the same time, I’m not sure Washington wins that game without huge plays from their defensive line. They swung that game. Also, Antonio Gibson fumbled again. His leash is just going to keep getting shorter and shorter. COMMANDERS +3.5

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Dolphins at Patriots
I love the NFL slate this week and this is my favorite matchup. It will be fascinating to see how the Patriots defense tries to slow a Miami offense that was an erupting volcano a week ago. New England disguised a plethora of blitzes against Jalen Hurts and the Eagles a week ago to considerable success. I expect more of the same this week against a less mobile Tua Tagovailoa. Last week Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins threw it at a nearly 3:1 ratio. Miami must run the ball to some success in order to slow down the Patriots getting after Tagovailoa. Mac Jones and the Patriots will find themselves in a similar position as well, but I don’t see the Patriots having any problem keeping the ball on the ground and grinding away the clock. I’m not saying they won’t have any problem from a success standpoint but merely strategy. PATRIOS +3

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

Saints at Panthers
I can’t decide if I underrated the Saints defense or underrated how bad Ryan Tannehill would be this season. I’m not sure New Orleans had any business winning that game and yet Tannehill made sure they left victorious. I told you it would take a minute for Carolina to find their footing and I’m sticking to that despite how bad the offense looked a week ago. Can we find Jaycee Horn a new hamstring? While we’re here, maybe go two-for-one and get Cooper Kupp one as well? Thanks. SAINTS -3

Browns at Steelers
It’s only Week 2 but this is a very big game for the Steelers and especially Kenny Pickett. They say a bad loss in front of a national audience feels like three or four losses. Imagine the heat on Pickett if he and the Steeler offense are a train wreck yet again. Cleveland’s defense is legit and the Browns pass rush is every bit as good and perhaps better than San Francisco’s. Pittsburgh must stretch the field to have any shot, and without Diontae Johnson that will not be an easy task. (I would throw a go to George Pickens every series just to test the defense and give Pickens a shot. He’ll likely come down with a third of them.) I don’t expect a better outing from the Steeler offense so it’ll be on the defense to win this one. BROWNS -2.5

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