The second week of NFL action is upon us with another exciting slate of games.
Week 2 can sometimes be the most difficult week in which to make predictions due to the tendency to overvalue each team's Week 1 performance. Sorting out the flukes from the meaningful trends can be tough with just one week of games in the books.
But a few matchups on the schedule do stand out as strong plays this week. Here's a look at this week's games and some of the top picks heading into Sunday's action.
|Week 2 NFL Picks|
|Buffalo Bills||New England Patriots||Patriots||Patriots (-1.5)||Under (44.5)|
|Chicago Bears||Arizona Cardinals||Cardinals||Cardinals (-1.5)||Over (46)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||San Francisco 49ers||Steelers||49ers (+6.5)||Under (45.5)|
|New York Giants||Atlanta Falcons||Giants||Giants (-2.5)||Under (51)|
|Cleveland Browns||Tennessee Titans||Titans||Titans (-3.5)||Under (41.5)|
|Carolina Panthers||Houston Texans||Panthers||Panthers (-4.5)||Over (39)|
|New Orleans Saints||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Saints||Buccaneers (+10.5)||Over (47)|
|Minnesota Vikings||Detroit Lions||Vikings||Vikings (-3)||Under (43.5)|
|Washington Redskins||St. Louis Rams||Rams||Rams (-2.5)||Under (41)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||San Diego Chargers||Bengals||Bengals (-3)||Under (47)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Miami Dolphins||Dolphins||Jaguars (+5.5)||Over (41.5)|
|Oakland Raiders||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens||Raiders (+7)||Under (43)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Dallas Cowboys||Cowboys||Cowboys (+4.5)||Over (55)|
|Green Bay Packers||Seattle Seahawks||Packers||Packers (-3)||Over (49)|
|Indianapolis Colts||New York Jets||Colts||Colts (-7.5)||Over (47)|
|Spread Info via Odds Shark|
Note: Spread info courtesy of Odds Shark.
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears: Cardinals -1.5
The Cardinals don't have a strong history on the road, to put it mildly. But it has been a different story under Carson Palmer. With Palmer as the team's starter, Arizona is 6-3 on the road and riding a four-game win streak, which includes victories against the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.
To further swing things in Arizona's favor, the Bears have been awful at home in recent years. According to ScoresAndOdds.com, Chicago went 4-12 against the spread at home over the past three seasons.
Be sure to monitor Alshon Jeffery's hamstring situation, as his absence would further push this one in Arizona's direction.
#Bears Alshon Jeffery (calf/hamstring) also did not practice today and is questionable for Sunday's match-up against Arizona.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 18, 2015
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders: Raiders +7
Picking the Raiders straight up would be foolish, but they're a smart play given six points at home. Losing Torrey Smith to free agency took away a major part of the Ravens offense, which limits their big-play ability.
According to Pro Football Focus, 10 percent of Joe Flacco's passes traveled at least 20 yards down the field a season ago, but he attempted just one such pass against the Denver Broncos in Week 1.
The Ravens may rely on the running game more than usual this season, and they run into a formidable Raiders front seven featuring Justin Tuck, Dan Williams and Khalil Mack.
This has the potential to be a low-scoring affair, giving the Raiders a solid opportunity to cover the spread, even in a loss.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints: Over 47.5
The Buccaneers and Saints have the third-highest line of the week, and yet it still feels too low.
Both the Buccaneers and Saints went over in their Week 1 games, with each game reaching the 50-point mark. With neither defense providing much resistance, and both offenses focused on the passing game, this one should easily reach the 50s.
Jameis Winston's presence factors into this decision as well.
A team with a veteran quarterback may make a late switch or slow the pace down in a blowout loss. But the Buccaneers want to get Winston reps—which they showed late in their loss to Tennessee—so he'll be airing it out in the second half even when facing an insurmountable lead.
If you're thinking about this play, keep an eye on Mike Evans' status. A healthy Evans makes this an even easier bet.
#Bucs WR Mike Evans practiced again Friday. Officially, it will be a game time decision, but lean heavily toward Evans playing vs. Saints— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) September 18, 2015
St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins: Rams -2.5
A letdown on the road after upsetting the Seahawks is certainly a possibility for the Rams, but the Redskins probably aren't up for making that happen.
Over the past three seasons, the Redskins are 10-23 against the spread overall and 5-12 at home, according to ScoresandOdds.com.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, both Tre Mason and Todd Gurley have been full participants in practice:
For the second straight day, Rams reported full practices for RBs Todd Gurley and Tre Mason.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2015
Led by Mason, the Rams racked up 131 yards on the ground against Washington last season. With a full stable of running backs, the Rams should have no problem shredding the Redskins defense once again.
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