The NFL is back for week two after a thrilling first week of the 2021 season. Last week saw shocking upsets (New Orleans – Green Bay), surprising surges (Houston crushing Jacksonville), thrilling comebacks (Kansas City – Cleveland), back and forth slugfests (New England – Miami) and more.
This week has some great match-ups as well with the Football Team and Giants kicking it off on Thursday night. Sunday has the surprising Bengals taking on the disappointing Bears, the Texans coming off a shocking win facing the Browns coming off a tough loss, and the high-flying Rams visiting the beat-up Colts.
Two inter-divisional match-ups in the AFC East with the Bills coming off a tough loss facing the Dolphins who pulled out an improbable one point win over the Patriots. New England, after a sloppy week one, gets another AFC East opponent taking on the feisty Jets as two first-round picks at quarterback face-off.
Teams that all had big wins in week one face-off with the 49ers and Eagles facing off, the high-flying Saints and solid Panthers in an NFC South heavyweight battle, and the Raiders taking on another AFC North heavyweight as they have the strong Steelers defense in line this week.
Jacksonville had a tough first week and now faces the Vic Fangio defense of the Denver Broncos. The Vikings are coming off a tough overtime loss to the Bengals and have to face the Cardinals who were dominant against the Titans last week. The Titans were humiliated by Arizona and now have a tough game against Seattle who won convincingly against Indianapolis last week.
Back in the NFC South, the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers had a long week to get ready for the Falcons, who were crushed in week one by the Eagles. The Cowboys put up a tough fight against the Buccaneers to kick-off the NFL season, but another tough match-up faces them with the Chargers.
The Sunday night game has the undermanned Ravens trying to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Monday night is an NFC North battle with the Lions and Packers both trying to bounce-back after rough losses in week one.
Last week was a rough one for me in the picks against the spread, as it was almost an even split.
No worries, week one is the toughest week to pick other than the last week of the season when playoff teams rest starters. Las Vegas, Houston and Cincinnati were the surprises as all three performed above expectations.
The upset special was right on as Pittsburgh not only covered but won outright against Buffalo.
Last week: 8-7-1 vs the spread
Year to date: 8-7-1
So many great match-ups in week two! Less talk, more picks:
New York Giants vs. Washington Football Team
Giants vs. Washington date and time: Thursday, September 16 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Giants vs. Washington spread: Washington -3.5
I made this pick Wednesday on my weekly spot on the Sports Krunch with DKrom podcast, I had Washington winning but the Giants covering the spread. Bingo. I was off by a touchdown or so (I had 24-21 Washington, but the final was 30-29 Washington), but I’ll take it as 1-0 starting week two.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chicago Bears
Bengals vs. Bears date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Bengals vs. Bears spread: Bears -3
The Bengals are on their way to a 4-2 start and first place in the AFC North heading into their match-up with the Ravens in week seven. Crazy? Chicago this week, then at Pittsburgh, home vs Jacksonville and Green Bay and at the Lions. Looks like 4-2 to me going to Baltimore in week seven. Hey Matt Nagy, Andy Dalton is not the answer, no matter what the question.
I’m going to get on the Bengals train early. This week should be a win and cover.
Prediction: Cincinnati 27 – Chicago 17
Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
Texans vs. Browns date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Texans vs. Browns spread: Browns -12.5
This is a huge point spread, especially considering that Houston is all alone in first place in the AFC South. Now, Houston may not be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but they are better than many assumed. Now, the Browns certainly are legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2021. They may have come up just short against the Chiefs, but they outplayed Kansas City much of that game in a hostile environment.
I expect a bit of a “Post-Mahomes” letdown for the Browns, and while David Culley’s well-coached squad won’t pull the upset, it will be close.
Prediction: Houston 25 – Cleveland 27
Los Angeles Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts
Rams vs. Colts date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Rams vs. Colts spread: Rams -4
As good as Los Angeles’ offense looked last week in Chicago, the defense transitioning from former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to Raheem Morris and not skipping a beat was most impressive. On the other side, Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis offense was out of sync much of the day versus an aggressive Seattle team last Sunday.
It does not get any easier for the Colts this week. Expect the Rams to sneak through with a cover.
Prediction: Los Angeles 33 – Indianapolis 27
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Bills vs. Dolphins date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Bills vs. Dolphins spread: Bills -3.5
Last week my upset special was the Steelers over the BIlls. I hate to garner the wrath of the city that gave us the greatest football food of all time, the buffalo wings, but Miami had no business winning against New England last week and willed their way to a victory. The BIlls offensive line needs time to get healthy and in sync.
Until the Bills can pass block and run the ball and set-up play-action passing, the upset special again is picking against the Bills.
Prediction: Buffalo 22 – Miami 24
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Patriots vs. Jets date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Patriots vs. Jets spread: Patriots -5.5
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones had a rough start in week one, but had the Patriots in position to win against Miami last week with strong play and was hurt by fumbles in the running game and penalties. The Jets lost to Carolina and had huge problems blocking for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. They then lost left tackle (and best lineman) Mekhi Becton who is out in week two and he is out for the next four to eight weeks.
Wilson will again makes some jaw-dropping throws to keep the game close, but the offensive line for Jones will keep him upright and allow him to exploit the weak Jets secondary.
Prediction: New England 23 – New York 16
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San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
49ers vs. Eagles date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
49ers vs. Eagles spread: 49ers -3.5
The Eagles pounded the ball on the ground to the tune of 173 yards, Jalen Hurts completed 77% of his passes, and the defense did not allow a touchdown. Of course, that was against the Falcons. The 49ers fell asleep at the end of the game and let the Lions mount a furious comeback, but the offense was unstoppable and should have won by 24 points.
Expect the 49ers’ offense to find their groove if they can run the ball and slow the Eagles’ pass rush.
Prediction: San Francisco 27 – Philadelphia 17
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Raiders vs. Steelers date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Raiders vs. Steelers spread: Steelers -5.5
The Raiders not only covered the spread last week against Baltimore, they became the eighth team in the AFC/NFC West to win the opener. Las Vegas’ rushing attack was anemic and they leaned on the arm of Derek Carr. Pittsburgh defined an anemic offense in the first half against Buffalo last week before the defense and special teams bailed them out.
The Raiders’ offensive line could make this an upset special. I have them covering the spread and winning outright.
Prediction: Las Vegas 24 – Pittsburgh 21
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
Saints vs. Panthers date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Saints vs. Panthers spread: Saints -3.5
The Saints demolished the Packers last week to serve notice they were still a threat even without Drew Brees. The Saints are banged up though. Carolina beat the Jets and went into cruise control early with a 16-0 halftime lead and let the Jets make it look closer than the game really was on Sunday.
That said, it still should be an easy cover for the Saints and that smothering defense.
Prediction: New Orleans 26 – Carolina 16
Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Broncos vs. Jaguars date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 1 p.m. ET
Broncos vs. Jaguars spread: Broncos -6
The Broncos’ defense smothered the Giants in week one and were in control the whole time with a garbage time touchdown at the end making the blowout not look so bad. Now they should have Bradley Chubb back in week two? Trevor Lawrence made some great plays and is going to be great…but not this year with that surrounding cast in Jacksonville. The defense was particularly putrid.
Denver should help continue the dominance of the 2021 NFL season for the teams in the West.
Prediction: Denver 30 – Jacksonville 13
Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals
Vikings vs. Cardinals date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Vikings vs. Cardinals spread: Cardinals -4.5
The Vikings fell flat in week one, but so did the entire NFC North. In a winnable game against Cincinnati, they never got Dalvin Cook on track and had to roar back just to force overtime. The Cardinals were dominant in week one on both sides of the ball against Tennessee.
Minnesota should play better and the Cardinals may come down to earth, but Arizona should win but not cover at home.
Prediction: Minnesota 24 – Arizona 27
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Falcons vs. Buccaneers date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Falcons vs. Buccaneers spread: Buccaneers -12.5
The Falcons were roadkill last week against the Eagles. Now they have to travel to Tampa Bay for a Buccaneers squad with extra rest after disposing of Dallas on the Thursday night season kickoff? Tom Brady has two huge comeback wins against Atlanta already with Super Bowl 51 and last season’s 17-0 halftime deficit, but should have no worries about the need to come back on Sunday.
Make this game the lock of the week. I have the Buccaneers with the win and cover.
Prediction: Atlanta 20 – Tampa Bay 34
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Cowboys vs. Chargers date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Cowboys vs. Chargers spread: Chargers -3
Dallas played surprisingly well against Tampa Bay on Thursday night. However, terrible news out of practice with Demarcus Lawrence breaking his foot. This team is not built for injuries with limited depth. Meanwhile, Justin Herbert was fantastic again and despite trying to give the game to Washington the Chargers gutted out the win with a 15 play drive to end the game.
Dallas may keep it close early, but the Chargers have too much firepower and cover with ease.
Prediction: Dallas 24 – Los Angeles 34
Tennessee Titans vs. Seattle Seahawks
Titans vs. Seahawks date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Titans vs. Seahawks spread: Seahawks -5.5
The Titans cannot be as bad as they were last week. They had a clunker like that against Green Bay last year and bounced back. Seattle’s defensive line, however, was the real story last week as they controlled the line of scrimmage and harassed Carson Wentz mercilessly.
Tennessee will bounce back in week two and not only cover the spread but win the game in dramatic fashion with a last second field goal.
Prediction: Tennessee 34 – Seattle 33
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
Chiefs vs. Ravens date and time: Sunday, September 19 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Chiefs vs. Ravens spread: Chiefs -3.5
This looked like a marquee match-up before the season. Then seemingly every wide receiver and running back got hurt for the Ravens. The surprise of the loss to Las Vegas was how poorly the young secondary looked. Oh look, this week Patrick Mahomes and his 337 yards of passing against a top secondary in Cleveland last week come to town.
Short of some weird Sunday Night Football injury striking Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and/or Travis Kelce, it is an easy Chiefs win and cover.
Prediction: Kansas City 34 – Baltimore 24
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Lions vs. Packers date and time: Monday, September 20 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Lions vs. Packers spread: Packers -10.5
Lose 38-3 and the next week you’re 10.5 point favorites? Yah, I don’t believe Green Bay is as bad as they looked against New Orleans either. That said, I don’t think Detroit is as good as the final score last week with their fantastic finish and two touchdowns and two point conversions in the final two minutes of the game. All that and they still didn’t cover the spread.
Aaron Rodgers will likely throw five touchdowns and ruin the television ratings by having this game over at halftime.
Prediction: Green Bay 38 – Detroit 23
–Hal Bent is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots and NFL. Follow him on Twitter @halbent01.
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