NFL Odds Week 2: Big Lines That Favorites Will Struggle to Cover

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots readies to throw against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York.New England won 23-21.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL season, also known as the "week of overreaction." Performances in Week 1 get over-analyzed and teams come out looking much better or worse than they really are.

This reaction takes over the league and causes people to go crazy with expectations, including with line spreads for the upcoming week.

On the other hand, there are other instances where fans and bettors simply forget that Week 1 existed and ignore the performances on display. This is not good either as preseason expectations should be partially changed after seeing teams in action.

It is important to find that middle ground to find accurate lines, something that these games do not do. While the favorites might come away with victories, covering the spread will be near impossible.

Note: All spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider as of Sept. 12.

Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) vs. San Diego Chargers

These two teams had very similar performances in Week 1. Both squads went up by more than 20 in the third quarter against playoff teams from last year before allowing the lead to slip away late.

The only difference is that the Eagles held onto win against the Washington Redskins while the Chargers lost at the buzzer to the Houston Texans.

While this makes a huge difference in the standings, it is hard to say that more than a touchdown separates these teams.

Philadelphia is not strong enough on the defensive line to take advantage of the weak offensive line on San Diego, and the Chargers should be able to match the high-powered offense of the Eagles on the scoreboard. 

If Philip Rivers can avoid turnovers, he will keep this game close and possibly be able to pull out an upset victory.

Oakland Raiders (-5.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It is true that the Jaguars looked awful in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Raiders looked respectable in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. However, this is still pretty much the same Oakland team that went 4-12 last year while posting the fourth-worst point differential in the league.

Terrelle Pryor was certainly exciting to watch running around the field in Week 1, but a lot of this had to do with lack of preparation from the defense. No one had really seen what the quarterback could do with his legs.

With a week of preparation, Gus Bradley and the Jaguars will find a way to slow him down as a runner. This will force Pryor to throw the ball, which is still a weak part of his game.

On offense, Maurice Jones-Drew should be able to find enough running room against a defense that allowed the Colts to rush for 4.9 yards per carry in Week 1. Indianapolis ranked near the bottom of the league in this category in 2012, with only 3.8 yards per carry.

Jacksonville is still unlikely to win too many games this year, but the Raiders should not be favored by 5.5 points against anyone. This battle will be decided by a field goal at most. 

New England Patriots (-11) vs. New York Jets

This is an example of not focusing enough on what happened in Week 1.

While the Jets were far from perfect in the first game, it is clear that the defense is better than it has gotten credit for, and Geno Smith is coming along nicely.

However, the more notable part on display last week was the inefficiency of the Patriots offense. Three turnovers caused the team to struggle to 23 points, and things will be even worse this time around.

Already weak on weapons, Tom Brady will have to survive without Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola and likely Aaron Dobson and Zach Sudfeld, according to Erik Scalavino of Rob Gronkowski is also still injured.

Combining these injuries with Stevan Ridley's fumble problems and there are not too many players you can trust.

The Patriots still have the superior team overall, but it will be difficult to win by double digits with these issues on offense.

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