It's dangerous to make any sort of guarantees this early in the 2013 NFL season, but as Week 2 gets underway, there are several home favorites who should have no trouble covering rather sizable spreads.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were embarrassed pretty badly by Peyton Manning's seven-touchdown performance in a loss to the Denver Broncos, but home cooking against the Cleveland Browns can get their divisional slate off on proper footing.
Another divisional showdown plays out in Chicago, where the Bears will look to go 2-0 in facing the rival Minnesota Vikings.
Finally, the team at the bottom of just about everyone's power rankings after Week 1, the Jacksonville Jaguars, shouldn't see its prospects get much better after a road trip to face the Oakland Raiders.
Here is a look at those three games, and why the home teams will cover their deservedly generous projected margins of victory.
Note: Point spreads are courtesy of Bovada.
Chicago Bears (-6) over Minnesota Vikings
B/R's NFL draft expert Matt Miller breaks down the new offense of head coach Marc Trestman well. The Bears' big targets in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery should give the Vikings huge problems on the outside.
Even worse news for Minnesota is that Chicago running back Matt Forte figures to be a huge part of the equation.
Forte is a great receiver out of the backfield whom quarterback Jay Cutler targeted six times in the opening win over Cincinnati, connecting on four passes for 41 yards. Although the running game wasn't well-established, it should be easier to do so against the Vikings.
In Week 1, Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush ripped off a 77-yard receiving touchdown and also ran for 90 yards. Since Forte has those similar all-purpose skills, he should have a big game.
Stopping Adrian Peterson is difficult even with eight-man fronts, but as long as Vikings QB Christian Ponder doesn't beat those with any more regularity, the Bears should win at home handily.
Prediction: Bears 34, Vikings 20
Baltimore Ravens (-7) over Cleveland Browns
The AFC North is completely wide open now that all four of the division's teams have lost their opening games.
Which team is likelier to take advantage of such a situation, the defending Super Bowl champions, or a franchise that hasn't sniffed the playoffs recently?
Let's go with the former, which would be the hosting Ravens. Although it was disappointing to get shellacked by Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the league's kickoff game, Baltimore has had extra rest and time to prepare for the lowly Browns.
As well as the Cleveland defense played for much of a 23-10 home loss to the Miami Dolphins, the offensive line did not hold up.
Those in particular responsible for QB Brandon Weeden absorbing terrible punishment were on the right side—new starter Oniel Cousins and tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Running back Trent Richardson was extremely elusive but largely bottled up due to poor blocking:
Between Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil coming off the edge, the Browns will be hard-pressed to protect Weeden much better, which will put the onus on Richardson to have a monster game.
Josh Gordon is also the Browns' only dependable, explosive receiver, and he's suspended. Thus, the Ravens can focus their game plan on shutting down dynamic tight end Jordan Cameron without worrying about much else.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Browns 10
Oakland Raiders (-6) over Jacksonville Jaguars
Terrelle Pryor surprised many critics with his accuracy in completing 19 of his 29 passes in the loss to the Colts, in which he also ran for 112 yards.
The two interceptions Pryor threw weren't disastrous, but did show a hint of inexperience. That's more than the Jags can boast under center, though, because Chad Henne will be taking the starting reins from the injured Blaine Gabbert.
Henne hasn't proven himself to be a franchise guy, and in the hostile environment of the Black Hole, that isn't likely to change.
The electricity Pryor brings and his threat to run should allow Darren McFadden to bounce back from a disappointing 17 carries for a mere 48 yards in Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, without competent quarterback play, Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew has no chance to get going. That will ultimately doom the Jaguars offense, allowing the Raiders to cruise to 1-1 with a needed win ahead of Week 3's trip to take on the mighty Broncos in the AFC West opener.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Jaguars 6
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