NFL Picks Against the Spread Week 2

Don't let one week cloud your judgment on teams

Week 2 of the NFL season usually brings wild overreactions to what we saw in Week 1 and the key is to not fall for them. The Jets looked really good on Monday night, but they aren't challenging for a playoff spot yet. The Chargers looked bad, but we know how they are in September. The Cowboys also looked pathetic... and well it's because they probably are. Let's take a look at the Week 2 slate and see what over/under values there are. 

 

Record: 3-1-1 (53-32-3 last year)

 

Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Sept. 16.

 

Carolina Panthers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1), 1 p.m.

These two teams played in low-scoring games that went in different directions in Week 1. Atlanta has had some extra time to lick their wounds after falling 18-12 at Philadelphia. The Falcons' offense underperformed in the red zone and the defense had some key injuries. It's a concern that they lost a pair of safeties for this one, but I'm not concerned as much about the Panthers' offense. Carolina beat Dallas 16-8, but managed just 293 yards of offense. Greg Olsen's injury is a blow to Cam Newton's receiving corps. Carolina's defense is very tough, but the Falcons are a lot better at home in the dome. They beat the Panthers there 22-10 last December. I think Julio Jones has a great game and may actually score a touchdown because it'll come outside the red zone. I'm just not thinking either team explodes for a ton of points. SELECTION: Under 44.5

 

Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0), 1 p.m.

The Jets were arguably the biggest story outside of Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. Sam Darnold throws an interception on his very first pass and then the team goes nuts in a huge blowout win over the Lions. Darnold looked fantastic and the defense made a boatload of stops. They forced five turnovers in the win and were able to run the ball really well. Now they return home to host the Dolphins who are coming off a 27-20 win over the Titans. Ryan Tannehill looked pretty good going 20-for-28 for 222 yards, while the defense was solid in its own right. Last year these two split their matchups with the home team winning. I really think it's a lot to ask the young Jets to keep their focus to the field after everyone talked about how great they are. The line is telling you that Vegas isn't that convinced yet either. SELECTION: Dolphins +3

 

Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1), 1 p.m.

Things did not go well for the Saints in Week 1, losing to Tampa Bay 48-40 at home. New Orleans finished with 432 passing yards alone in the loss and will most likely look to try and get their running game going in this one. Cleveland allowed James Conner to have plenty of success in Week 1. The Saints' defense was absolutely horrific, giving up more than 500 yards of total offense to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cleveland's offense showed more punch on the ground with the likes of Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb able to find some running room. Cleveland's defense could struggle in the dome after surrendering close to 500 yards against the Steelers in less-than-ideal conditions. I think the Saints cash in more on their opportunities and won't have six turnovers. New Orleans has gone over in 12 of its last 18 home games. Cleveland has gone over in 11 of its last 16 road games. SELECTION: Over 49

 

Detroit Lions (0-1) at San Francisco 49ers (0-1), 4:05 p.m.

The two teams in this matchup combined for nine turnovers, one of the big reasons both lost their openers. San Francisco coughed it up four times in a 24-16 loss to the Vikings. This is the 49ers' only home game in the month of September. I'm just not high on this team, I don't think their offense is good enough and I think the defense is exploitable. The running game features Matt Breida and Alfred Morris after losing Jerick McKinnon to a knee injury. You can't get much lower than the Lions, who had five turnovers and looked awful on a larger stage falling to the Jets 48-17. Quite often, I like to fade teams making this quick turnaround, but really I think the Lions are better than they showed and this is a slight overreaction by Vegas. The defense should be able to shut down the 49ers' ground game and the passing attack doesn't scare anyone either. San Francisco has covered just five of its last 16 home games and 13 of its last 33 overall. I don't think the Lions win outright, but we'll see a better effort. SELECTION: Detroit +6.5

 

New York Giants (0-1) at Dallas Cowboys (0-1), 8:20 p.m.

Both of these NFC East teams are 0-1 and could run the risk of falling out of the race after just two games. The Cowboys scored eight points and failed to get Ezekiel Elliott on track. Dak Prescott struggled terribly to get the ball to his mediocre wide receivers. Defensively, Dallas played pretty well although the Cowboys allowed nearly 150 rushing yards. The Giants struggled to run against Jacksonville outside of a 68-yard touchdown by Saquon Barkley. Eli Manning locked in on Odell Beckham Jr. and fed him a ton of talents. The Cowboys don't have a cornerback capable of covering OBJ, so he should go nuts in this one. New York's defense hung tough against the Jaguars and will probably stuff the box against Elliott. Dallas is just 8-9 ATS at home the last three seasons. Vegas thinks this is essentially a pick 'em on a neutral field. I think the road team is the better squad so give me the points. SELECTION: Giants +3

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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