Did you know that the Cleveland Browns had not won a season opener on the road since 1996 until they dispatched the Carolina Panthers with a game-winning field goal in Week 1? They also beat their former quarterback, Baker Mayfield, who really waited until after halftime to get up and running. For the Panthers, the hope is that Mayfield will start playing with that level of energy from the opening kickoff going forward, and for the Browns, the hope is that they can keep dominating the rhythm of games with their run-heavy approach. We were also wondering how well Matt Ryan would do leading the Indianapolis offense, but the Colts were only able to put up 20 points against Houston in a head-scratching tie. What teams will disappoint in Week 2? Read on for our thoughts as to how you should plan your NFL betting.
NFL News: Sure Losers for Week 2
→ Sunday, September 18
New England Patriots (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
(12:00 pm ET, CBS)
Let’s see. Pittsburgh snatches five turnovers from Cincinnati and ends up winning in overtime. New England manages just a single touchdown in Miami. How does this line make sense again? Add to this the fact that Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is questionable with a back injury (and that the New England passing game did not look sharp at all in Week 1), and you have a line that, at least for now, lacks balance.
New England only got 48 yards out of their top running back (Damien Harris). The Pittsburgh running game was not much of a factor against Cincinnati, as Najee Harris went down with a foot injury and remains questionable. He missed much of training camp with a Lisfranc injury, so it will be interesting to see how his injury evaluation goes now. Jaylen Warren is Harris’ backup, and he will face some pressure getting some yardage going so that Mitch Trubisky does not have to carry the offense by himself. Even so, given the way Pittsburgh defends against the run and gets after the passer, the Steelers should win this. Steelers to win and cover.
Atlanta Falcons (+10) at L.A. Rams
(4:05 pm ET, FOX)
If you watched the Rams’ season opener against Buffalo, you know that the team has a lot of frustrations to work out after getting thrashed. Matthew Stafford had an ugly day, throwing three interceptions. He found Cooper Kupp 13 times for 128 yards and his only touchdown, but pressure forced Stafford into bad decisions. The Falcons will not generate that much pressure and are likely to have their heads back down after watching New Orleans mount a last-minute comeback to take the win in Week 1.
Marcus Mariota was more impressive as a runner than as a passer in the season opener, although he threw for 215 yards while running for 72 more and a touchdown. Tailback Cordarrelle Patterson picked up 120 yards and found the end zone as well. Mariota will need to do a better job of finding Drake London and Kyle Pitts if the Falcons are going to sustain drives against the Rams. I don’t see the Falcons mustering much opposition against a frustrated Rams team, and so while I don’t usually like double-digit lines in the NFL, this one makes sense. Rams to win and cover.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7) at Dallas Cowboys
(4:25 pm ET, CBS)
Dallas’ defense held Tampa Bay to 19 points last week. One reason for this was the two sacks that Micah Parsons had on Tom Brady in the red zone in the first half, forcing the Buccaneers to kick a pair of field goals instead of getting touchdowns. However, Leonard Fournette lit Parsons up on a block, and Parsons did not make nearly as much of an impact after that, having just five total tackles on the night. The Cowboys lost Dak Prescott to a thumb fracture that will likely keep him out 6-8 weeks (although team owner Jerry Jones said later that Prescott could be back after four, which is Jones’ way of justifying not going after Jimmy Garoppolo, Cam Newton, Garrett Gilbert or other available quarterbacks who will be better than the Cowboys’ backup, Cooper Rush). With holes on the offensive line, the Cowboys will not be able to sustain drives – so the Bengals should be able to roll easily.
Will Joe Burrow throw four more interceptions this week? It’s not likely. Tee Higgins left the season opener with a concussion, so we will wait to see if he clears the protocol, but Ja’Marr Chase had a huge day anyway, catching what should have been the game-winning touchdown. We will also see how Clark Adomitis does at the long snapper position. The Bengals called him up to replace Clark Harris, who tore a bicep in Week 1 and may miss the whole season. Losing Harris contributed to kicking game woes in that loss to the Steelers, but the Bengals should have that figured out this week. Bengals to win and cover.
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