WEEK 2 ATS
CAROLINA -(4.5) over Houston
Houston looked sterile last week against the Chiefs. Don’t let the close final score fool you- to quote the great Tony Bruno, they got boat raced against KC at home. Now they’re going on the road, and bringing their quarterback carousel with them. I’m still not sold on the Panthers, but they should do enough to beat the Texans by a touchdown.
Just ask yourself this: do you think Ryan Mallet can win in a hostile environment? How many times has he done it at Michigan and Arkansas, let alone the NFL?
NEW ORLEANS (-10.5) over Tampa Bay
Vegas is begging you to take the Bucs, but don’t take the bait. Jameis Winston still has a bright future in the NFL, but he looks exactly like you’d expect a rookie to look: lost and scared. He’ll be fine, but he won’t go on the road and beat the Saints.
The poor performance by the defense was what would scare me if I was a Bucs fan- they made Marcus Mariota look like Joe Montana. It was an abysmal performance.
Detroit (+3) over MINNESOTA
(and to win)
Speaking of abysmal performances, what the hell happened to the Vikings? They let a San Francisco team everyone had left for dead trample them. Now at home, against a rival, will they wake up? I don’t think so.
PITTSBURGH (-6.5) over San Francisco
Let’s give Jim Tomasulo some credit. He got the 49ers ready to play, and their defense hammered Teddy Bridgewater and co. into submission. It’ a nice story.
The Steelers won’t be in the mood for nice stories, though. This is a playoff team, and they got embarrassed last week by their inability to notice the biggest, best player on the other team split out wide by himself (on more than one occasion). They’ll have fixed their communication issues, and if by chance they have to listen to the radio feed in their headsets again, at least it’ll be their own broadcasters this time.
New England (+1.5) over BUFFALO
(and to win)
This has all the makings of a classic trap game. On the road, hostile environment, division rivals, Rex Ryan, stifling defense, Bills riding high after beating the AFC favorite… How can you pick the Patriots?
Because Bill Belichick will make sure they’re aware of all of the above. He will not let them forget it. I was dead wrong when I guessed they’d come out flat last week- the Patriots were fired up.
Shady McCoy will get some yards, and it should be low scoring, but I’m interested to see how the Bills overcome two things: an inexperienced quarterback, and the age old question: who covers Gronk?
I mean, really, he’s uncoverable. The only reasonable option is to bracket and double him all game, but then Julian Edelman will see single coverage and eat them alive.
CHICAGO (+1.5) over Arizona
(and to win)
The Cardinals are a decent team, and they go in to Chicago with every chance to get a win against the Bears. I just think the bears have too many weapons on offense to lose at home in this one; I like Matt Forte to have a big game. Alshon Jefferies’ health is obviously a big concern, but they should be able to edge the Cardinals.
CLEVELAND (pk) over Tennessee
This game is a complete and utter mystery. You can’t pretend to have any idea who is going to win; it’s all gut feeling. The point spreads were all over the place here- some have the Titans as favorites, others the Browns. Marcus Mariota looked great last week, and Johnny F’ing Football is starting today, so there’s sure to be fireworks.
Sometimes, though, you take a step back and keep it simple: the Browns are at home and have a good defense.
ST. LOUIS (-2.5) over Washington
The last time Nick Foles faced the Redskins, he tore them to pieces in a shootout. He won’t have Jeremy Maclin and LeSean Mccoy this time, but after the Seahawks, the Redskins will seem like a JV team.
I have no faith in the Redskins. They played well for stretches last week, and led in total yards for a while, but they just could not put the ball in the end zone. You don’t score, you don’t win.
Atlanta (+2.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS
(and to win)
The Falcons played well for a half last week, which is more than the Giants can say. Look, I understand it was a game near then end, but neither the Giants or the Cowboys looked like they had any right or ability to beat anyone that day. It was a horror show for fans of good football.
The Falcons front 7 played much better than anyone expected, and should keep Elisha on his back all day.
Baltimore (-4.5) over OAKLAND
What in the world happened to the Raiders? There was so much optimism! What a humiliating game, getting shellacked on their home turf by the Bengals.
Baltimore didn’t look too impressive last week either, but they should be able to handle the Raiders. Justin Forsett should have a solid day, assuming he plays.
JACKSONVILLE (+6) over Miami
I’m not ready to give up on the Jaguars just yet. The Dolphins didn’t look very impressive last week against the Redskins, short of Jarvis Landry going off. The Jags should cover the spread, at the very least. Their defense is nothing to joke about, and they have plenty of high draft picks on offense who should start to develop… sometime.
The wild card here is that the stadium will most likely be just as filled with Dolphin fans as Jaguar fans. This may swing the momentum late on.
PHILADELPHIA (-4) over Dallas
Full disclosure: if Dez was playing, I’d be picking the Cowboys. But he’s not. Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and the ‘Boys don’t scare me. They’ll get some points, but the Eagles should be able to outpace them at home. If the Birds play like they played the second half against Atlanta, this game won’t even be close.
They won’t be able to keep that up for 60 minutes, but they should be able to beat a Dez-less Dallas by a touchdown. Let’s just hope and pray it doesn’t come down to a Cody Parkey field goal. Oh, David Akers, where art thou?
GREEN BAY (-3) over Seattle
I don’t think Seattle has any reason to panic just yet, but this was the worst possible game they could imagine after a week one debacle in St. Louis: having to travel to Lambeau to face a Packers squad hellbent on revenge from a fluke NFC Championship Game loss a year ago.
Oh, and remember when everyone was panicking about losing Jordy Nelson? James Jones sure put a stop to that. He’s going to bury that fraud Cary Williams, especially with no Kam Chancellor over the top.
INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over New York Jets
Indianapolis has to take that game film from week one, strap it to a rocket, and fire it into the sun. They can’t possibly be that bad. They’ll be at home, and the Jets will struggle to move the ball. It should be low scoring, though, as the Jets have a massive advantage in the matchup between Corners and Receivers when Indy has the ball. Indianapolis will have to establish a running game and control the tempo.
Straight up: 7-9