NFL Week 2 Spread Locks

The King stays the King.

CBS Sports

They were who they thought they were. That was the theme from the first week of the NFL’s 100th season.

The kings stayed the kings. In response the subtle Goodell dig — not having the defending champs kick off the season — the Patriots responded by beating the piss out of Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The day prior they signed Antonio Brown who the Raiders cut, because they are the Raiders.

Once again, the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady look like the odds on favorite to win the AFC. The addition of AB could have a similar, although nowhere near equal, to when the the Patriots saved Randy Moss from the Raiders. A perfect season is not out of the question, especially with the rest of the AFC East looking as bad as a Cam Newton pass.

Which bring us to the jesters, who stayed the jesters. The Jets blew a 16-point lead in the final quarter and a half to Josh Allen and the Bills (who had four turnovers), because that is what the Jets do. Sam Darnold now has mono to put the icing on the cake.

Equally predictable was Cleveland failing to live up to expectations. Baker Mayfield threw three fourth quarter interceptions. Odell Beckham wore a watch that cost more than the six figures I owe Rutgers, because why not, and the Browns got stomped out by the Titans in a matchup of the ugliest uniforms in the NFL.

Is time a flat circle in the NFL or are teams still shaking off the cobwebs? That is the answer we are looking for in Week 2. Jameis Winston gave a little hope on Thursday that narratives can change.

Which teams will bounce back and change their narrative, and who are exactly who we thought they were?

Let’s breakdown the Week 2 slate and try and find some answers ourselves.

Home teams are in CAPS.

Patriots (-19.5) over DOLPHINS

No, I haven’t lost my mind, but you certainly have if you are even considering taking Miami. I know all about the Miami misfortune Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have endured (7–10 in Miami compared to 15–1 in Foxboro) including last season’s Miami miracle.

None of that scares me the least bit. Did you not see Lamar Jackson and the Ravens sautée the Dolphins last week?

The Patriots are better than the Ravens in every possible way, which is saying something, and will most likely trot out Antonio Brown, who might go full ’06 Kobe mode if you catch my drift.

I say that to say this: this line could have been 35 and I would have still taken the Patriots. They have the 2007 feel of invincibility which should scare the rest of the league. As for us, we should be happy we have an easy winner to rely on each week.

PACKERS (-2.5) over Vikings

An opening night victory was the perfect middle finger by the Packers to everyone that anticipated an immediate rift between Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFelur. Was it pretty? Hell no. Will Green Bay take it? Hell yeah. Up next is another division game against another solid defense.

The Vikings undressed the Falcons at home in a dominant performance, mostly by the defense and Dalvin Cook, who reminded us how deadly he is when healthy. Kirk Cousins and the kicking game is that x-factor. Last week they were not really tested, Bailey hit on all four extra points and Cousins only threw the ball ten times. On the road, at Lambeau Field, against a rejuvenated Packers defense, they will be tested.

Compared to the Bears front seven, the Vikings front seven will feel like a step down for the Packers offensive line, but Rodgers should not get comfortable. Aaron Jones is likely in for another forgettable game. Xavier Rhodes once again blanketed Julio Jones, up next he has Davante Adams. Adams scored in both games versus the Vikings last year, but failed to reach 100 yards.

This will likely be a close game throughout. With two solid defenses, this game will be won by quarterback play and kicking game. Dan Bailey vs. Mason Crosby is a push; Aaron Rodgers vs. Kirk Cousins however? Not so much.

Cowboys (-6) over REDSKINS

Washington seemed poised to actually beat the Eagles in Philly last week. Then they regressed to their true selves. They blew a 20–7 halftime lead and lost Derrius Guice to add some salt in the wound. Jordan Reed and Jonathan Allen are out this Sunday, as well as continued holdout Trent Williams. The only possible positive is Adrian Peterson (healthy scratch last week) will get a lot of action.

Dallas will look to continue beating up on the bums of the NFC East. They took out the trash in their home opener, mopping up the Giants. The defense gave up some plays to Saquon Barkley and allowed Eli Manning to throw on them.

Those types of problems will not arise versus the Case Keenum-led unit. Dak Prescott should be able to find similar success Carson Wentz found against the Redskins secondary and this line should probably be a little larger.

Chargers (-2) over LIONS

It is truly impressive how both these teams failed to cover last week. The Lions should be embarrassed they tied with a clown team like the Cardinals. Whoever is calling plays for the offense should be drug tested for not giving Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay the ball more.

The Chargers are a better team in every facet, sans kicking. That could end up being the deciding factor if they let the Lions hang around. They too could not close last week, allowing the Colts to hang around. The difference with their failure is the Colts are actually good.

Traditionally west coast teams playing early games lead to weird games. Shenanigans in this one will certainly happen, but the Chargers are just better than the Lions. I don’t trust the Lions to get the ball to their playmakers.

Prediction: Chargers 31, Lions 24

Colts (+3) over TITANS

Giants fans and Baker Mayfield haters were honorary Titans fans last week. Their 43–13 beatdown of the Browns was a surprising performance from the Titans. Not the result itself, the Titans have been a competent team under head coach Mike Vrabel. The big thing that has held them back is the offense. Marcus Mariota has lacked for weapons, but he has himself a battering ram in Derrick Henry, and might have a receiver to rely on in A.J. Brown.

The Colts were written off the second Andrew Luck said he was done with football. Jacoby Brissett proved that wrong immediately as the Colts performed as they would have if Luck were playing. T.Y. Hilton reached the end zone twice and Marlon Mack was phenomenal.

This will be a 60 minute bare knuckle brawl. The Titans can gain an early grasp on the division with a home win. Indianapolis can bounce back and do the same. No matter how this shakes out, I think it will be a close one.

STEELERS (-3.5) over Seahawks

The best way to get people to forget about a 33–3 asswhooping is to unleash an asswhooping of your own. Last Sunday night was not the greatest moment to be a Steelers fan. This Sunday could be different, thanks to a drastic dropoff in the quality of their opponent.

Things seem to always work out for Russell Wilson. He can play like pure shit for 45 minutes, then dazzle for 15 and grab the win. He did just that last week against the Bengals, a game they should have won by a comfortable margin. I think karma catches up to Wilson’s team this week.

The Seahawks defense allowed Andy Dalton (without A.J. Green mind you) walk up and down the field on them. Simple logic tells us that Ben Roethlisberger should be in line for a strong day. Toss in JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner, and I like the Steelers a lot.

Poo Poo Platter

Warning: Don’t spend much time watching the following two games

BENGALS (-1) over 49ers

Andy Dalton, without A.J. Green, threw for 418 yards and lost! That has to suck. What sucks even more is that no one will care if he does it again versus the 49ers. Dalton and the Bengals, like their opponent, are in that category of teams that no one really cares about outside of fantasy football implications.

The 49ers should not be one of these teams given their team history, but no one cares. Turns out Jimmy G is not the heir to Tom Brady. He did just enough to not out-crap Jameis Winston. He will be without Tevin Coleman and a few receivers you never heard of. Nothing about this team screams “take me”, so ride with Cincy.

GIANTS (+2) over Bills

Back to back trips to New Jersey is rough. No one wants to visit Jersey that many times in a full year, let alone in a single month. The Bills had no business beating the Jets last week, but they did because, you know, the Jets. This week they face an equally inept team, with a worse defense.

Why am I taking the Giants? One word: Saquon. He and the offense should put up points on Buffalo, and while their defense stinks, this is one of the rare matchups they can win. They struggle in the same areas the Jets do: rushing the QB and the secondary. Hopefully they learned from their NY brethren and force Josh Allen to beat them with his arm, not his legs. The Giants won’t win many games, but this should be one of them.

RAVENS (-13) over Cardinals

This is a lot of points to give up. That is how confident I am in Lamar Jackson. He is not a running back, in fact he might end up being the best QB taken in the 2018 draft. Jackson made chow out of the Dolphins, guiding his guys to a shocking 59-point day. His reward? A suspect Cardinals secondary coming east to play early.

Kyler Murray ended his first game on a high note (308 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), leading a 17-point comeback. They will score more than Miami did, it’s just a matter of when. The Ravens defense in Baltimore is a different animal than facing the Lions at home. Terell Suggs homecoming will be the only positive as Murray likely gets his “Welcome to the NFL” moment.

TEXANS (-8.5) over Jaguars

Deshaun Watson deserves better. What he did on Monday night in New Orleans was unreal.

He let his nuts hang, only to have his defense let him down even though they had to defend for less than 60 seconds. J.J. Watt had the same amount of tackles as me and you. That just doesn’t happen. Expect Watt to make up for that against a familiar foe.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey is the only matchup anyone should truly care about. The Jaguars have to pray Ramsey wins that tilt, and pray some more that they can keep up with Watson, who has clearly leveled up.

Rookie Gardner Minshew did a decent job filling in for the injured Nick Foles, throwing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Almost all of that came when the game was decided. Also, it will be a cold day in hell before I choose a guy with two last names to win anything.

RAIDERS (+7) over Chiefs

Relax, I don’t think the Raiders will win this game. No Tyreek Hill on the surface level hurts. Once you remember the Chiefs were without Hill for most of last week and managed to toss up 40 on one of the better defenses, you begin to feel better. Andy Reid can trot out three guys from the crowd and one of them will catch a touchdown.

The Raiders might be able to keep up early on. Rookies Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller seemed poised to be the focal point of the offense. All Derek Carr has to do is not screw up, like he did Monday night. The problem with the Chiefs is Carr will have to be aggressive.

To win this game the Raiders might have to score 30-plus points. Jon Gruden might counter by attempting to control the game with Jacobs. It likely won’t stop the Chiefs from taking this game, but a garbage time TD to cover

BRONCOS (+2) over Bears

Does anyone feel good about Mitchell Trubisky? Anyone at all? He could not find the end zone last Thursday for his life. And that was against a defense that did not know his tendencies inside and out. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio on the other hand, will know everything about Trubisky, and the defense, after spending three seasons as the Bears defensive coordinator.

The Broncos as a team are not enticing to gamble on. They hung around in Oakland, and easily could have won, and that was Flacco’s first action of the year. Another week under his belt plus the homefield swing should be enough to eke out a win versus the Bears.

RAMS (-2) over Saints

Savvy move by the league to have this rematch in LA. If this was in New Orleans again I’m not sure we would be able to hear anything over the boos. Instead we get to see the NFC Championship game ran back in the sunnier and quieter confines of the Coliseum.

The Saints were lucky to win at home and did not really impress. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas remain the key things to love. Drew Brees had a hint of washedness at certain points, but to his credit, made the throws when he had to. The defense looked like crap, the question is was it because Watson was that good or do they suck.

If Todd Gurley gets off that Kawhi Leonard load management plan the Rams can help give us an accurate answer. Even with a reduced Gurley and no points after the first quarter, the Rams put up 30 points.

This should be an exciting shootout which means it will be a boring rockfight. In any case, the Rams are well equipped to run with the Saints or throw down in the trenches.

Eagles (-2) over FALCONS

What the hell were the Falcons doing? They were out of the game before it started. The offensive line got mauled by the Vikings front seven. Julio Jones had 13 yards until garbage time, and Devonta Freeman finished with 19 yards. Dan Quinn has the early lead to be the first head coach fired, and his Sunday night opponent will not do him any favors.

The Eagles that showed up for the second half looked really good. Carson Wentz had confidence again. DeSean Jackson looks right again now that he’s back in Philly. The offense did a good job hiding how bad the defense played. If they play like that again they could be in danger, because unlike the Redskins, the Falcons have legitimate weapons.

This has the right pieces to be a good game, at least compared to that massacre that happened in New England last week.

Browns (-6.5) over JETS

Being a Jets fan is the definition of insanity. Every year I believe they will become something watchable and every year they prove me wrong. They are bringing out all the stops early. Not only did they blow a 16–0 lead. Not only did Le’Veon Bell barely touch the ball after scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion. Sam Darnold has mono and will be out for a few weeks.

Blame Adam Gase being everything Jets fans feared and calling a shit game. Blame the offensive line for sucking. Blame Trumaine Johnson for being a human traffic cone. Blame the front office for not signing a kicker who knew what foot to kick with.

No, I’m not kidding about that, ex-kicker Kaare Vedvik warmed up with both feet.

Only the Jets, right? Not exactly. The Browns took a wet shit during their home opener as well. The Titans, known for their offensive ineptitude, beat them 31–7 in the second half.

Both these team’s asses are in the jackpots. The season isn’t on the line, but it kind of feels like it is. Whoever loses will face a week of being the hot topic on every sports show. Colin Cowherd already has his zipper down hoping it’s the Browns.

Gregg Williams and Odell Beckham have added some juice to this game as well. Odell blames Williams for this “life changing” hit.

Williams responded by asking who Odell was. If Odell does not have 200 yards and three touchdowns he should be embarrassed.

This Week: 0–1
Last Week: 9–7
Overall: 9–8