Week 1 was not kind to Nostrathomas but that can happen in Week 1 when you’re speculating off of trends and preseason games. I was 7-8-1 straight-up and 4-12 against the spread as six underdogs won or tied straight-up.
As we head into Week 2 of the 2022 season there’s one rule we have to keep in mind before heading to the betting window, don’t overreact to the results of Week 1. This season is still young and there is still a lot to figure out.
Amazingly, it appears the sports books believe they have things figured out. There are five two-score spreads in the 15, Week 2 games still to be played.
With that said, let’s dive into the Week 2 action.
New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (1PM ET; Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA)
Granted, the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t overwhelming in their overtime win last week against the Cincinnati Bengals but they held down their high-powered offense, taking the ball away five times. Pittsburgh never trailed in the game
For the Patriots, nothing good can come of the combination of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia overseeing the offense. It didn’t work during the preseason and looked bad last week against Miami. All they can accomplish is slowing the development of second-year quarterback Mac Jones.
The Dolphins sacked Jones three times last week and kept him under pressure most of the game. Even without T.J. Watt, who is out for the season, Pittsburgh has a defense that will also have Jones hearing footsteps.
The Patriots are favored in this game on the road in Pittsburgh. That might be because of a lingering Bill Belichick influence. I gave Belichick the benefit of the doubt last week against the Dolphins. That’s over. He has to earn it again. Take the home dogs to win and cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 New England Patriots 20
Atlanta Falcons vs Los Angeles Rams -10 (4:05PM ET; SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)
The Los Angeles Rams will have had 10 days to lick their wounds after being crushed by the Buffalo Bills on opening night.
The Falcons have had seven days to lick theirs after losing a game against New Orleans that were leading by two scores after three quarters.
The Los Angeles Rams are the defending Super Bowl Champions and despite their Week 1 loss, have plenty of weapons on offense for quarterback Matthew Stafford plus an elite defense.
Atlanta is on a 15-game losing streak against teams that made the playoffs the previous season. Only two of those losses were by less than one score. Until the Falcons show that they’re ready to compete with the big boys there’s no reason to think they can keep this game within the spread.
Los Angeles Rams 32 Atlanta Falcons 20
Cincinnati Bengals -7 vs Dallas Cowboys (4:25PM ET; AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX)
The Cincinnati Bengals committed five turnovers last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers but still came within an Evan McPherson extra point block of winning the game. McPherson also missed a 29-yarder in overtime that would have put Cincinnati in the win column.
For the Dallas Cowboys, Cooper Rush will get the start at quarterback after Dak Prescott fractured his thumb last week.
The Cowboys can’t chalk up their problems on offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Prescott’s injury though. Kellen Moore’s offense failed both on the ground and through the air. Head coach Mike McCarthy has already put Moore on notice, saying that he has to “be smarter” when calling plays.
Joe Burrow had a nightmare game against the Chicago Bears last season in Week 2 and immediately righted the ship to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl. Expect Cincinnati to right the ship this year against an overmanned Dallas team.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Dallas Cowboys 16
Best of the Rest
Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers -9.5 (4:05PM ET; Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)
The San Francisco 49ers will clearly be the superior team on the field in their home opener but they were last week against the Chicago Bears, even when taking the driving rainstorm into account. They still lost 19-10.
San Francisco’s offense gained 331 total yards in Trey Lance’s first outing as starting quarterback but they failed to convert those into points, especially in the second half. Their two turnovers in that second half led to short-field opportunities for the Bears, which they turned into touchdowns.
Still, the 49ers defensive front showed that they were ready to play, which is going to be a problem for Seattle.
The Seahawks took advantage of two Denver Broncos fumbles at their one-yard line and a massive end-of-game brain cramp by rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett to escape with a 17-16 win last Monday night.
Give Seattle credit, their defense was lining up in their end zone but they created the turnovers that shut down the Broncos offense. Otherwise, they are still a team that is starting journeyman quarterback Geno Smith at quarterback and one that was shut down by Denver’s second half defense.
This game is a perfect indication why you can’t let Week 1 results drive your thinking when making Week 2 picks. Seattle stole a win. The 49ers let one get away. San Francisco won’t do that at home this week.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Seattle Seahawks 10
New York Jets vs Cleveland Browns -6.5 (1PM ET; FirstEnergy Field, Cleveland, OH)
Joe Flacco threw for 297 net passing yards last week against a team that is considered a top contender in the AFC North. The Problem is, you can throw for as many yards as you want but at some point, those yards have to be converted into points. The Jets only put up nine against Baltimore.
New York’s defense also held Kenyon Drake to 31 rushing yards in 11 carries but this week they face the duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
The problem with the Cleveland Browns is that Jacoby Brissett does not have an arm that scares anyone. He can’t keep Cleveland in playoff contention on his own but as long as the Browns are able to run the ball, they can keep themselves close in the AFC North.
The Browns also have a strong enough defensive front to keep Flacco running for most of the afternoon. The road dog doesn’t have a chance in this one. Take the Browns to win and cover.
Cleveland Browns 20 New York Jets 10
Washington Commanders +1.5 vs Detroit Lions (1PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)
The Detroit Lions host a team from the NFC East for the second straight week. The question we need to ask about Detroit heading into Week 2 is, can they play a game where they don’t give up a crapload of points early and have to make a frenzied, fourth quarter comeback to try and win.
The squad formerly known as The Washington Football Team played well last week in their first game with Carson Wentz at quarterback. They also kept their heads when the Jacksonville Jaguars took a fourth quarter lead.
Detroit has to prove they can establish a lead and play while ahead before I can take them seriously as a pick against anyone. Take Washington to win and cover.
Washington Commanders 26 Detroit Lions 19
Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5 (1PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)
The Jacksonville Jaguars occupy space inside the heads of everyone on the Colts sideline. Indianapolis receiver Michael Pittman has been declared out for this game which tears a huge hole in the Colts offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars 26 Indianapolis Colts 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 vs New Orleans Saints (1PM ET; Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA)
This is the one game this week that I find it impossible to get a handle on this early in the season. The Saints essentially played one quarter of football last week but it was enough to beat Atlanta. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers scraped together five Ryan Succop field goals before a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Mike Evans sealed the game.
Right now, until the king is dead, long live the king. In the NFC South, that king is the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New Orleans Saints 23
Carolina Panthers vs New York Giants -2 (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
This line was running with the New York Giants favored by -2.5 for their home opener but heavy money coming in on the Carolina Panthers has cut the spread to its current number
The question is, where is this faith in Carolina coming from? Quarterback Baker Mayfield put the team on his back in the fourth quarter but head coach Matt Rhule took the ball out of his hands in the last minute of the game.
The Panthers ran two plays to drain clock and put the ball into position for a field goal to take the lead but their defense allowed Cleveland to drive 35 yards and kick the game winner.
Carolina allowed Nick Chubb and company to rack up 217 yards rushing last week. Against the Tennessee Titans, Saquon Barkley produced 164 yards on 18 carries.
The Giants also showed a lot of resiliency in Week 1. Tennessee jumped out to a 13-0 first half lead but New York came back to tie the game in the third quarter and take the game with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion with one minute left.
This is a game between a coach who played not to lose and one who wasn’t afraid to put the game in the hands of his players to win. I’ll take that team.
New York Giants 24 Carolina Panthers 21
Miami Dolphins +3.5 vs Baltimore Ravens(1PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)
The Baltimore Ravens dominated last week but that was against a bad New York Jets team. Miami didn’t work very hard either last week in taking down a troubled Patriots squad.
It’s tough to determine where these two teams are yet. We need to see a couple of more games to get a handle on both and where they fit into the AFC playoff equation.
Right now, I’m going to take the Ravens to win a close game as Miami keeps the final within the spread.
Baltimore Ravens 23 Miami Dolphins 21
Houston Texans vs Denver Broncos -10 (4:25PM ET; Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO)
Last week, the Denver Broncos generated enough offense to easily beat the Seahawks. Two turnovers on the one-yard line and a head coach brain cramp at the end of the game allowed Seattle to escape with a win.
The Houston Texans fought the Indianapolis Colts to a 20-20 tie last week but I don’t see them having the same success against Russell Wilson and Denver’s offense. It’s also difficult to see Texans quarterback Davis Mills having enough success to keep this game close.
Denver Broncos 25 Houston Texans 10
Arizona Cardinals vs Las Vegas Raiders -5.5 (4:25PM ET; Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV)
The Las Vegas Raiders trailed 17-3 against the Chargers last week before making a comeback that fell short.
The Arizona Cardinals stumbled out of the gate in Week 1. Kansas City came into State Farm Stadium and crushed them 44-21.
To win this game, Josh McDaniels has to keep Derek Carr from over-targeting wide receiver Davante Adams. What the Cardinals need to do is find a way to generate an offense until DeAndre Hopkins gets back from suspension.
I like the Raiders chances to succeed more.
Las Vegas Raiders 27 Arizona Cardinals 17
Chicago Bears +10 vs Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night Football, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI)
The Green Bay Packers looked horrible in their season opener in Minnesota last week but you can’t read a lot into that. The Packers were embarrassed in New Orleans in their season opener last season, then came home and buried Detroit in a Monday night game. Green Bay’s winning streak extended to seven before they lost again.
The Chicago Bears spotted San Francisco 10 points last week before sweeping the 49ers out of Soldier Field with the rainwater, 19-10.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields only completed eight passes in 17 attempts for 121 yards, but two of those completions and 69 of those yards came on two touchdown passes, against what was supposed to be one of the league’s best defenses.
The problem for Green Bay this week is their injury situation. Wide Receiver Allen Lazard, tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins and guard John Runyan are all listed as questionable for this game. Jenkins should play but it’s hard to say about the other three.
Rodgers will struggle if he doesn’t have Lazard, his new top receiver, and Bakhtiari protecting his back. Don’t be surprised if Green Bay moves more towards a running attack against the Bears featuring Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.
Chicago is a young team but opened a lot of eyes with how handily the beat the 49ers last week. I also think this is a team that is going to continue to improve and be better later in the season than they are now.
If the Bears play a perfect game in Green Bay, they can pull off the upset. However, they are facing the team that has won the NFC North, three years in a row, ne that they’ve struggled to play evenly with since Rodgers has been quarterback and have to play them on their home turf.
The Packers should win this game but no way they do it by 10 points. Take the Bears to give Green Bay something to think about as they cover the spread.
Green Bay Packers 26 Chicago Bears 20
Tennessee Titans +10 vs Buffalo Bills (Monday Night Football, Highmark Stadium, Buffalo, NY)
The Buffalo Bills thoroughly destroyed the defending Super Bowl Champions on their home field in Week 1. The Tennessee Titans jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead in their opener but couldn’t hold down Saquon Barkley, letting him erupt for 164 rushing yards.
Fortunately for Tennessee, the Bills don’t have a runner of Barkley’s caliber on their roster but they are one of the most prolific, and effective, passing teams in the NFL. The Titans were able to hold down Daniel Jones last week but they’re stepping up in weight a couple of classes in this game.
It’s Week 2 which makes it tough to swallow the defending conference number one seed being a 10-point underdog, even against a powerful Bills squad. The Titans also beat the Buffalo last season last season in a Week 6, Monday Night Football showdown at Nissan Stadium.
Take Tennessee to cover the two-score spread but the Bills are the better team and should win this one at home.
Buffalo Bills 30 Tennessee Titans 24
Minnesota Vikings vs Philadelphia Eagles -2 (Over/Under 50.5) (Monday Night Football, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)
The Minnesota Vikings made everything look easy in beating the Green Bay Packers last week. The Philadelphia Eagles took a 38-21 lead into the fourth quarter against the Lions in Detroit then took their foot off the gas. That nearly got them rear-ended but the Eagles escaped with a 38-35 victory.
For this game, forget about the Lions for a moment. Philadelphia showed in Week 1 that they have a two-headed running attack that features quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Miles Sanders. Hurts also showed that he really likes having A.J. Brown to throw to.
The Vikings defense will have to do a lot more adjusting on defense than they had to last week when Aaron Rodgers showed how much he missed Devante Adams.
The Eagles have dominated the series between these two teams, especially when the game is played in Philadelphia. These are also two teams with strong offenses but with question marks on defense.
The Eagles will win and cover while the “over” takes a beating by these two potent offenses.
Philadelphia Eagles 32 Minnesota Vikings 26