Week 2 saw injuries ravage the NFL, potentially altering the landscape of the league. But through two weeks, some of the usual suspects sit at 2-0: the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and Green Bay Packers all look to defend playoff berths from 2019. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, and Minnesota Vikings, who all made the postseason […]
Week 2 saw injuries ravage the NFL, potentially altering the landscape of the league. But through two weeks, some of the usual suspects sit at 2-0: the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and Green Bay Packers all look to defend playoff berths from 2019. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, and Minnesota Vikings, who all made the postseason in 2019, are struggling with 0-2 starts.
Week 3 features some big matchups, but none bigger than the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. It’s last year’s regular season MVP in Lamar Jackson and the reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes playing the quarterback position, and there should be no shortage of explosive plays.
Week 1: 10-6
Week 2: 11-5
Last week I incorrectly predicted:
- Bengals over Browns (thought Cleveland would struggle again)
- Eagles over Rams (wasn’t sold on the Rams, now I am)
- Broncos over Steelers (but I’m still not sold on the Steelers)
- Vikings over Colts (thought Vikings would bounce back against easier opponent. Nope.)
- Saints over Raiders (didn’t see this one coming)
Thursday Night Football
Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Line: Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.0)
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins put up 28 points on a good Buffalo Bills defense, so I wouldn’t count them out on Thursday night. But Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars have exceeded expectations by all measures this season. They knocked off the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 and nearly upset the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. A win here makes Jacksonville an unlikely 2-1.
Jaguars win 27-20, Jaguars win ATS
Sunday Day Games
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
Line: Atlanta Falcons (-3.0)
The Chicago Bears are sitting pretty at 2-0, with wins over the Detroit Lions and New York Giants. They face another winless team in the 0-2 Atlanta Falcons, but Matt Ryan’s offense is a different beast. With an NFL-high 78 points in their favor, the Falcons offense is legit. Chicago’s defense is strong, but Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense won’t be able to keep up if the Falcons run up the score.
Falcons win 27-17, Falcons win ATS
Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-2.0)
In easily one of the best matchups of Week 2, the resurgent, undefeated Los Angeles Rams take on Josh Allen (the NFL’s leading passer, by the way,) and the Buffalo Bills.
Allen and the Bills are set for a run at the AFC East title in 2020, but their 2-0 start does come with a caveat: wins came against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. By comparison, the Rams victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys were more impressive.
My initial instinct is to go with Jared Goff and the Rams, but I actually think Buffalo will rise to the occasion and improve to 3-0 with a home victory.
Bills win 27-24, Bills win ATS
Washington Football Team (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-7.0)
It’s crazy to think either the Cleveland Browns or Washington Football Team will start the season 2-1. Washington had an uplifting Week 1 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, but looked much more like the team we expected in a 30-15 Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Baker Mayfield and the Browns outdueled Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday night, but pardon me if that win doesn’t impress me.
The Browns have more talent, and while they still haven’t made the playoffs, they haven’t been terrible in Mayfield’s two seasons under center. The home favorite pulls this one out.
Browns win 27-16, Browns win ATS
Tennessee Titans (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
Over on The Athletes Hub, I said the Minnesota Vikings were among the most likely 0-2 teams to bounce back this season. Well, that still could happen, but not until after the Vikings find themselves in an 0-3 hole.
The Tennessee Titans are too efficient, with a down-your-throat rushing attack and a patient Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is struggling in the absence of Stefon Diggs, and the Vikings lose at home in Week 3.
Titans win 27-20, Titans win ATS
Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) at New England Patriots (1-1)
Line: New England Patriots (-6.0)
The Las Vegas Raiders stunned the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football and shot up my Post-Week 2 NFL Power Rankings. Yet, Derek Carr and the Raiders are still underdogs by nearly a touchdown in New England. And for good reason.
Fans or not, playing at home gives your team an edge. Almost no edge is bigger than the one Bill Belichick receives when he coaches at home. The Patriots lost in Week 2, but in such an impressive fashion that I actually think more highly of Belichick’s squad now. The Seattle Seahawks are an elite team, and Cam Newton nearly engineered a last-second victory over them.
The Raiders keep this game a lot closer than some people may expect, but New England prevails at home.
Patriots win 24-20, Raiders win ATS
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-4.0)
The San Francisco 49ers are absolutely banged up, dealing with injuries to Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Solomon Thomas, and even starting quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo.
If Jimmy G can’t go on Sunday, I still wouldn’t put a 49ers victory out of the realm of possibility. But quarterback isn’t even the biggest issue here: without key pieces on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, this is a shell of the roster that won the NFC in 2019.
Daniel Jones lost his best weapon in Saquon Barkley, but the Giants played a tough second half last week and nearly beat the Chicago Bears. I think they build on that momentum, and catch the 49ers in the absolute worst of spots.
Giants win 20-17, Giants win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5)
Carson Went has had the roughest start to his 2020 season of perhaps any starting quarterback in the NFL. The once-hopeful Eagles are now 0-2, with problems on both sides of the ball. Went wouldn’t be playing so poorly if not for a injury-filled offensive line.
Still, the Eagles catch a bit of a break playing the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow is liable to throw for a ton of yards, but I still see the Bengals struggling to score points. If the Eagles can put up at least 20, they should secure their first win of the season.
Eagles win 23-16, Eagles win ATS
Houston Texans (0-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.0)
Ben Roethlisberger is having a resurgent year, and has his Pittsburgh Steelers at 2-0. The Houston Texans are 0-2 in the post-Deandre Hopkins era, managing just 18 points per game. The Steelers have scored a cool 26 points in each of their first two games, and assume the role of favorite over last year’s AFC South winner.
But don’t count out the Texans before looking at who each of these two teams have played so far. Houston drew the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens as their first two opponents: quite literally the toughest combination you could imagine. The Steelers bested the New York Giants (who boast the NFL’s worst record over the past three seasons,) and the Denver Broncos (by a single score, with starting quarterback Drew Lock out for most of the game.)
This will be anything but an easy win for the Texans, but I think Deshaun Watson gets on the board with his first victory of the young season.
Texans win 23-20, Texans win ATS
New York Jets (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)
The New York Jets have quickly fallen from a potential wildcard team (they did finish 7-9 last season) to one of the NFL’s worst teams in an instant. Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts bat up the Minnesota Vikings last week, 28-11.
While the Jets don’t have as much talent as the Vikings, I actually see Sam Darnold and the Jets getting something going against the Colts. Not a win, of course, but covering the 10.5-point spread? Definitely within the realm of possibility.
Colts win 28-20, Jets win ATS
Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
With Tyrod Taylor nursing a chest injury, Justin Herbert looks to get the nod at quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers for the second straight week. He was impressive in his NFL debut, nearly upsetting the defending Super Bowl champions.
Teddy Bridgewater’s Carolina Panthers put up a cool 30 points in a Week 1 loss to the Raiders, indicating a potentially potent offense. But that offense struggled against Tampa Bay, and with running back Christian McCaffrey sidelined, it could continue to struggle.
Chargers win 26-18, Chargers win ATS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Denver Broncos (0-2)
Line: Tamp Bay Buccaneers (-6.0)
The Las Vegas oddsmakers love Tom Brady, giving his Tampa Bay Buccaneers a six-point edge on the road against the Denver Broncos. Even without Drew Lock, this is a dangerous Denver team that took both the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers all four quarters to beat in the past two weeks.
I do agree with Vegas making the Buccaneers the favorite here. They looked good last week and weren’t horrible against the New Orleans Saints. I’ll take Brady to improve to 2-1, but not without the Broncos covering the generous spread.
Buccaneers win 27-24, Broncos win ATS
Detroit Lions (0-2) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
The Detroit Lions fell apart in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears in Week 1, and were then blown out by the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. It seems Matthew Stafford, Adrian Peterson, and the Lions offense won’t have too much trouble scoring over 20 points per game. But if the defense is giving up over 30 points a game, as they have so far, it’s gonna be another long season in Detroit.
I love what I’m seeing from Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals this season. I thought they would take a step forward, finish with seven or eight wins, and go all-in next season. But through two weeks, there’s no reason to believe the Deandre Hopkins trade didn’t make them a whole lot better. Arizona rolls to 3-0.
Cardinals win 31-21, Cardinals win ATS
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
Line: Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)
The Dallas Cowboys could easily be 0-2 if not for a heroic comeback led by Dak Prescott in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons. The Seattle Seahawks? They’re 2-0, and they’ve scored 73 points, the second-highest mark in the NFL. However, they’ve also let up 55 points, getting into a couple shootouts with the Falcons and New England Patriots.
The Seahawks were my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season: and I couldn’t feel better about that selection through two weeks. We may get a fun shootout between Prescott and Russell Wilson, but personally I see a more dominant Seattle victory.
Seahawks win 34-20, Seahawks win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Green Bay Packers (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-3.0)
For the past two seasons, I’ve bet on the demise of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. But they keep proving me wrong. Sure, they’ve only beaten the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings so far, but they’ve also scored an NFL-high 85 points.
The New Orleans Saints are a huge step up in competition, and conventional logic would point to New Orleans coming out on top at home. But this time, I’m not picking against Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay always shows up in prime-time, and I think they edge out a last-second field goal victory over the Saints.
Packers win 33-30, Packers win ATS
Monday Night Football
GAME OF THE WEEK: Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, play the rare role of underdog in their Monday night matchup with Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens get the edge as the home team, along with an NFL leading +49-point differential through two weeks. By comparison, the Chiefs have outscored opponents by just 17 points, and needed overtime to defeat Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Ravens claimed the top spot in my Post-Week 2 NFL Power Rankings.
But make no mistake: this game is pretty much a toss-up. The two teams met under the same circumstances in 2019: two 2-0 teams clashing in Week 3. The Chiefs won that game 33-28, holding off a fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Ravens.
You wouldn’t be wrong making the argument for either team in this matchup. All we can really hope for is a back-and-forth game on Monday night with an epic fourth quarter finish. I think at this moment in time, the Ravens are the hotter team, and for that reason, I’ll give them the win.
Ravens win 27-24, Chiefs win ATS
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Travel and Hiking
Featured Image: BaltimoreRavens.com