The 2020 NFL Season is underway, with plenty of storylines already beginning to unfold. Week 2 brings some exciting quarterback duels, like Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson, and Cam Newton vs. Russell Wilson.
Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady, and Joe Burrow will all be searching for their first win with their new team in Week 2.
NFL Week 2 is, in my opinion, even harder to pick than Week 1. Sure, in Week 1 you’re not sure how new players and coaches will mesh with their teams, but in Week 2, everything you know can be thrown out the window. It’s easy to overreact to a Week 1 win or loss when picking Week 2 matchups.
In Week 1 I went 10-6. The first few weeks of the NFL season are often the hardest to pick, and 10-6 is a pretty good start.
I incorrectly predicted:
- Vikings over Packers (not enough faith in Rodgers)
- Eagles over Washington Football Team (as everyone did)
- Colts over Jaguars (also a big upset)
- 49ers over Cardinals (who saw that coming?)
- Cowboys over Rams (a close one)
- Giants over Steelers (favorite team bias definitely showing)
I felt good hitting on Bears over Lions (-3) and getting the Titans-Broncos score very close (I predicted Tennessee would win 17-13, they won 16-14.) Check out my full NFL Week 1 Picks.
Thursday Night Football
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-5.5)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals showed signs of promise against the Los Angeles Chargers, but made a lot of mental mistakes and suffered from some poorly executed plays. The good news for Cincinnati is that fixing a few of these mistakes would make them a competitive team.
The Browns got absolutely hammered by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. While I think Cleveland has a more talented roster, they still aren’t finding ways to make it work in Baker Mayfield’s third season. Burrow gets an early road upset over his AFC North rivals on Thursday Night Football.
Bengals win 23-16, Bengals win ATS
Sunday Day Games
New York Giants (0-1) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
Line: Chicago Bears (-5.5)
The Chicago Bears stormed back to beat the Detroit Lions last week, with Mitch Trubisky throwing three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The New York Giants had a few impressive drives against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but ultimately put up just 16 points. Daniel Jones threw two costly picks and Saquon Barkley was absolutely stuffed on the ground. (See Also: Recap: Roethlisberger’s Return Spoils Judge’s Debut, Steelers Beat Giants 26-16)
Unfortunately, Jones and Barkley may struggle again against a solid Chicago defense. Steelers receivers were able to create some separation against New York’s pass defense, and if Bears receivers can do the same, Chicago will emerge victorious in their home opener.
Bears win 24-17, Bears win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-4.0)
Matt Ryan put up 450 passing yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and Dallas’ defense will have to keep him in check if they wish to bounce back from their Week 1 loss.
The Falcons defense let up four passing touchdowns to Russell Wilson as well as 38 points in total. While the Cowboys only put up 17 points in Week 1, they’ll find more success against Atlanta’s defense.
Cowboys win 27-24, Falcons win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-6.0)
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers put up a league-high 43 points in Week 1. Detroit’s defense won’t do a better job than Minnesota’s, and Matthew Stafford’s offense won’t be enough to will the Lions to victory.
Packers win 37-27, Packers win ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) at Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-9.0)
The Tennessee Titans squeaked out a two-point, last-minute victory over the Denver Broncos, while the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a full touchdown. The Jaguars still come into this AFC South matchup as heavy, nine-point underdogs.
I wouldn’t expect a big day from Ryan Tannehill, but rather Derrick Henry, as Tennessee looks to run the ball down Jacksonville’s throat. But it Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars play like they did last week, they could once again be a good pick to cover the spread.
Titans win 23-15, Jaguars win ATS
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-3.0)
One of the toughest games to call this week is Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts. Philip Rivers had a strong Colts debut spoiled by a Jaguars upset. The Vikings lost 43-34, still putting out a pretty impressive offensive performance in Week 1.
This one’s a toss-up to me, but I think Minnesota finishes the season with a better record. For that reason, I’ll give them the victory here.
Vikings win 27-24, Vikings win ATS
Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
If this game goes anything like it did in Week 1 for Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, then Buffalo can easily deliver on their -5.5-point spread. The Miami Dolphins are comparable in talent level to the New York Jets, so there’s no reason not to expect similar results in Week 2.
Bills win 30-17, Bills win ATS
San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-7.0)
Jimmy Garroppolo and the San Francisco 49ers let one slip away against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. Even with an injury to George Kittle, there’s still no reason to panic about the NFC’ best team from 2019.
Sam Darnold and the New York Jets still looked like an incomplete team in their Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills. New York may eventually be competitive this season, but the 49ers are completely out of their league. This one could get ugly depending on how long San Francisco keeps their foot on the gas.
49ers win 37-17, 49ers win ATS
Los Angeles Rams (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (1.0)
Looking at last week’s games alone, it would be crazy not to pick the Los Angeles Rams here. They outlasted a solid Dallas Cowboys team 20-17, while the Philadelphia Eagles suffered an embarrassing 27-17 loss to the Washington Football Team.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles open as narrow one-point favorites, but I’d almost consider the Rams to be the favorite here based on last week’s results.
I’m picking Philadelphia to bounce back and win, and even though they’re favored, I think it’s one of my riskier picks.
Eagles win 26-23, Eagles win ATS
Denver Broncos (0-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)
On one hand, the Tennessee Titans would have blown out the Denver Broncos 29-14 if not for four missed field goals and a missed extra point from kicker Stephen Gostowksi. But the final box score still read 16-14. The Broncos have a knack for hanging in games until the very end.
For that reason, I love Denver as 7.5-point underdogs against the spread. I might even go as far as picking the Broncos outright. The Titans are a good team, and the New York Giants squad that the Steelers defeated in Week 1? Not so much. (See Also: Recap: Roethlisberger’s Return Spoils Judge’s Debut, Steelers Beat Giants 26-16)
Drew Lock and the Broncos get a road upset in Pittsburgh.
Broncos win 24-20, Broncos win ATS
Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5)
This could be Tom Brady’s coming out party in Tampa Bay. After an up-and-down performance against the New Orleans Saints defense in Week 1, Brady and the Buccaneers face a Carolina Panthers defense that allowed 34 points to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1.
Teddy Bridgewater, Christian McCaffery, and the Panthers did score 30 points of their own. At best, we’ll get a fun shootout in Brady’s first home game as a Buccaneer. At worst, Tampa Bay will outclass Carolina at home.
Buccaneers win 34-27, Panthers win ATS
Washington Football Team (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
Washington Football Team stunned the NFL world with an upset of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had an upset of their own, knocking off the defending NFC Champions, the San Francisco 49ers, in their season opener.
Both teams come into Week 2 with high spirits, but only one of these teams will actually stay competitive all season: the Cardinals. DeAndre Hopkins gives second-year quarterback Kyler Murray the perfect weapon to put up points, and Arizona’s defense was stout late against Jimmy Garroppolo.
Cardinals win 27-13, Cardinals win ATS
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5)
I liked some of the offensive ideas with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback against the Cincinnati Bengals. But at the end of the day, the Los Angeles Chargers barely defeated the NFL’s worst team from 2019. The game would have went to overtime if not for a botched Randy Bullock field goal at the buzzer.
The Kansas City Chiefs are not the Bengals, and barring a myriad of injuries or on-field gaffes, there’s no reason Mahomes shouldn’t cruise to 2-0.
Chiefs win 27-15, Chiefs win ATS
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Houston Texans (0-1)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-7.0)
The Houston Texans have one of the most brutal schedules imaginable for the first two weeks of their season: opening on the road against Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, and then hosting reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, who finished 14-2 last season.
The Texans are going to start 0-2, but I think they’ll put up a fight at home. I wanted to give this matchup the “Game of the Week” designation, but I just can’t see Houston pulling off the upset.
Ravens win 27-21, Texans win ATS
Sunday Night Football
GAME OF THE WEEK: New England Patriots (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Line: Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
This juicy Sunday Night Football matchup has all kinds of storylines. Can the game even be played in Seattle, with California wildfires affecting air quality? Who wins the quarterback duel between Cam Newton and Russell Wilson, Pro Bowlers who previously split two games in the NFC playoffs? Can Bill Belichick beat a good team without Tom Brady? It’s also a rematch of of Super Bowl 49, where Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson in the endzone to seal a championship for New England.
I definitely wouldn’t count out Newton and the Patriots, with Belichick at the helm. But on paper, the Seahawks have a little more talent, and a current MVP-caliber quarterback in Wilson. The Jamal Adams experiment is also going well so far for the Seahawks defense.
Seahawks win 30-20, Seahawks win ATS
Monday Night Football
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-6.0)
The Las Vegas Raiders are opening a new stadium, which can sometimes spark inspiration in a team. Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, and the Raiders offense also hung up 34 points on the Carolina Panthers last week.
I still don’t see a well-oiled New Orleans Saints team losing on Monday Night Football. Brady’s Buccaneers probably won’t be too bad, and the Saints handled them with ease in Week 1. I think New Orleans handles Las Vegas as well, spoiling their home opener.
Saints win 33-24, Saints win ATS
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Header Photo: Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports, via Reuters