Welcome back ya filthy animals. Week 1 came and went and we hit .500. Like I said, the first few weeks of the season are wildly unpredictable and only a fool would bet on these games. So needless to say we’ll be getting after it again this week. But first, lets recap last week:
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (-8) LOSS
New York Jets (+9.5) @ Buffalo Bills UNDER 40 WIN WIN
Arizona Cardinals (-2) @ Detroit Lions LOSS
Seattle Seahawks (+3) @ Green Bay Packers LOSS
Carolina Panthers (-5.5) @ San Francisco 49ers WIN
Here’s what I learned last week:
- The Patriots spent so much time and effort constructing one of the greatest offenses in recent memory this offseason that they may have neglected the other side of the ball. Once D’onta Hightower was out of the game, this tattooed hooligan named Cassius Marsh stepped in and got fried by rookie RB Kareem Hunt up the seam.
- Patrick Peterson did in fact eliminate one receiver on the Lions, but it wasn’t Golden Tate. Also David Johnson got hurt before the wheels started coming off the Cardinals wagon. Sue me.
- I knew that weird new Seahawks logo was a bad omen. Turns out Russell Wilson having sex again didn’t change much as the Seahawks only put up 9 points at Green Bay.
Week 1 101 class is dismissed. Lets get into this week’s picks:
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
My dumb gambling brain is thinking that it’s about time the Titans right their ship against the spread. Last year when the Titans went into Jacksonville in Week 16 I put the rent on them, and they fell apart. Marcus Mariota suffered a season ending injury, and Blake Bortles caught a TD pass. It was fugazi.
Week 2 is a tough week to bet because everybody overreacts from the smallest sample size available. The Jaguars put on a defensive CLINIC against the Texans last week. They had 10 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, and an INT. But that was against Tom Savage and a Houston Texan team that still has no idea what they’re doing on offense. The Jags jumped out to an early lead and they were able to hide their QB inefficiencies by running the ball 39 times compared to 21 passes. Of Bortles’ 21 passes, he was only able to complete 11 of them. Part of the reason was that #1 wideout Allen Robinson suffered a season ending injury.
The Titans couldn’t keep up with the Oakland Raiders last week en route to a 26-16 loss. Last week they took an L but this week they’re gonna bounce back. Mariota is the truth, and he now has another week of practice with rookie WR Corey Davis and former Jet Eric Decker. The Jags secondary is also banged up:
Despite the Titans signing CB Logan Ryan and drafting CB Adoree’ Jackson, their secondary is by far the weakest part of their team. Fortunately for them, the Jaguars’ biggest weakness is the QB position. The Jaguars will likely try to pound the rock with rookie RB Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory, so the Titans will stack the box. That’ll lead to a lot of 1-on-1 man coverage outside. Blake Bortles will be without Allen Robinson and rookie WR Dede Westbrook, so the Titans’ new guys will be paired up against the likes of Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, and Arrelious Benn. Advantage Titans, especially if Adoree’ can make more plays like this:
Cleveland Browns (+8) @ Baltimore Ravens
The Cleveland Browns may have finally found their QB of the future in DeShone Kizer. An underrated talent out of Notre Dame, he and now healthy Corey Coleman made the Steelers look silly several times last week. You can still pencil in a ‘W’ when facing the Browns, but they’re no longer the ‘win the game by 14′ Browns. They fought until the final whistle last week and lost 21-18 to a Steelers team that is much better than this Ravens squad.
Meanwhile the Ravens are favored by so much because they shut out an atrocious Bengals offense that hasn’t scored a touchdown in 8 quarters to start the season. They forced 5 turnovers but were only able to capitalize by scoring 20 points. The Ravens also lost pass catching RB Danny Woodhead last week, so unproven RB Javorius “Buck” Allen will have to take his spot. Joe Flacco had an injured back all offseason and only completed 9 of his 17 passes last week, so it’s possible that the Ravens are trying to limit his throws until he is fully healthy. The Browns should capitalize on that and force Flacco to beat them through the air. The Ravens do have Jeremy Maclin and speedster Mike Wallace, so I think that the Browns’ secondary is the key to the game. They gave up 182 yards to Antonio Brown and 2 TDs to TE Jesse James last week, so they have to up their game. Look out for rookie safety Jabrill Peppers to make some plays out there. I don’t love this pick, but I think the Browns can narrow the gap at the end of the game with a backdoor cover.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
The Eagles have a really good defense everywhere but the secondary. They addressed that problem by trading for Ronald Darby this offseason. Unfortunately for them, he just went down with an ankle injury last week.
So now the same Chiefs team that just dismantled a much better Patriots secondary is playing at home. Tyreek Hill had his first 100+ yard receiving game and I think he’ll make it 2 in a row this week. We saw how effective Kareem Hunt is in the passing game last week, and how can we forget Travis Kelce at TE. The biggest question for the Chiefs will be how they fare with star safety Eric Berry suffering a season ending achilles injury. His absence may open up the middle of the field for Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Ertz caught all 8 of his targets last week for 93 yards, so Carson Wentz will definitely continue to look his way.
The Chiefs beat the Patriots in New England by 15. Tom Brady and company are a much better team than Carson Wentz and company. Also lets not forget that Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid was fired by the Eagles less than 5 years ago. Revenge game baby.
Miami Dolphins @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4)
The Keenan Allen breakout game. When he’s healthy, Keenan Allen is one of the most efficient receivers in the game. He was running free last week against two of the best corners in the league in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. The Dolphins have next to nobody in their secondary, and I expect Philly Rivers to light it up alongside Allen and Melvin Gordon.
On the other hand, Jay Cutler will be making his Dolphins debut after coming out of retirement. He hasn’t been good/healthy in a long time and I’m not expecting anything positive coming from Smokin’ Jay. He’ll continue to force the ball into double coverage, and probably throw an INT for every TD he throws. To make matters worse, Jay Ajayi has been reporting knee pain:
His knee troubles at Boise St resulted in Ajayi dropping all the way down to the 5th round of the 2015 draft. Retired QB collecting a paycheck in the same backfield with an RB who has ticking time bombs for knees? Give me the Chargers and the Joey Bosa-Melvin Ingram duo at defensive end and Casey Hayward shutting down DaVante Parker.
Washington Redskins (+2.5) @ Los Angeles Rams
Lets not overreact to last week’s results. Throw the Rams’ 46-9 win last week out the window. The Colts are an incompetent team without Andrew Luck and their defense allowed Jared Goff to throw for his first 300+ yard game. That was only his 8th career game, so I think he has quite a few more growing pains to go through until he can put out consecutive performances like that.
The Rams were only able to run for 1.9 yards per carry last week, despite having the lead since there was 12:43 left in the 1st quarter. So they’re not a good running team. Meanwhile, the Redskins allowed just 2.4 yards per carry in their loss to the Eagles last week. With two rookies from Alabama in Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson helping bolster their front 7, the Redskins are going to make teams beat them through the air, where Josh Norman resides.
I expect the Redskins to hold the Rams to the 2.2-2.5 yards per carry range and forcing Jared Goff to try to beat them in only his 9th career game. Norman will probably all but eliminate Sammy Watkins, so Goff will have to try to win by throwing to rookie Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tavon Austin. Yikes.
While the Redskins running game is a mess (Kirk Cousins led the team with 30 rushing yards last week), they have one of the most underrated pass catching running backs in Chris Thompson. He joins Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, and Ryan Grant in one of the most lethal receiving corps in the league. As each day passes, Pryor and Kirk Cousins will build a stronger rapport, as they learn each other’s tendencies and get their timing routes down. They’re just going to get better and better.
Also worth noting for the Rams:
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons (-3)
This game is going to be fun. The Falcons are coming off of the worst collapse in Super Bowl history, and are seeking revenge while unveiling their new stadium.
This could very well be a preview for this years NFC Championship game. While I think this game will be a shootout, the Falcons’ defense is lightyears better than the Packers’. Matt Ryan at home in his career is 48-22 with a QBR of 99. He’s 38-35 with a QBR of 89 on the road. His completion percentage is over 5% higher at home as well, and with his abundance of weapons against a truly horrid Packers secondary, both numbers should go up. Even with Davon House and Kevin King being added to the Packers secondary, there are far to many weapons for Matt Ryan to pick apart the Pack. I think Julio goes off this week. If the Packers do something to shut him down, they the Falcons have Freeman and Coleman out of the backfield, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and Justin Hardy out wide, and stiff-arm king Austin Hooper at TE.
Aaron Rodgers is insane but his defense won’t be able to keep him in the game. Ty Montgomery might catch 15 balls and Martellus Bennett might give Falcon fans PTSD, but Keanu Neal, Vic Beasley Jr, Deion Jones, and Desmond Trufant are talented enough to force some turnovers and/or huge stops. 42-38 Falcons?
There you have it. Six picks this week. We’re going 6-0. Call me Jordan Belfort because I’m gonna be throwing fun coupons at the FBI after this week.