2019 NFL Picks Week 2: That Escalated Quickly

2019 NFL Picks Week 2: That Escalated Quickly

Last Week: 9-7

This Week:

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What a week! It was exhilarating to see Lamar Jackson summon his Louisville form on deep bombs against a better-than-you-might-think Dolphins’ secondary. Patrick Mahomes took vengeance on the one defense to hold him without a passing touchdown last year by throwing for two touchdowns in the first quarter in Jacksonville. Baker Mayfield and the Browns defied all preseason hype to lose by 30 points at home. It was a great welcome back to the NFL, and it ended with a phenomenal back-and-forth-and-back sequence in New Orleans as the Saints gave up a 2-play touchdown drive before kicking a game-winning 58-yard field goal to start the season 1-0. Wait, there was another game after that? I feel bad for anyone who stayed up to watch that one! Let’s sift through the surprising performances of Week 1 to pick all 16 Week 2 games against the spread.

Carolina Panthers -6.5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Panthers looked pretty good in a competitive game against the Rams last week while Jameis Winston continued to do exactly what Jameis Winston does, throwing two pick-sixes in a 31-17 home loss. With a better defense and an effective Cam Newton, one mistake from Jameis would be enough for Carolina to win by a touchdown at home. Panthers -6.5

(I thought Cam Newton looked good enough coming into this game to establish the Panthers as contenders and put their divisional rival in an 0-2 hole they wouldn’t bounce back from, and I thought wrong. Something ain’t right there, and it’s going to be a long year.)

Tennessee Titans -3 vs. Indianapolis Colts

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Indianapolis fought their way to an overtime loss last week, ruining my Chargers -6.5 pick in the process. Jacoby Brissett looked effective though not spectacular, and the young collection of talent on both sides of the ball continued to play well. Their biggest problem was getting gashed on the ground by Austin Ekeler and co., who ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries. This could be an issue against Derrick Henry and the Titans, who ran for 125 yards 26 carries in a blowout over the Browns. The Colts’ offensive line should fare much better than the Browns did against the Tennessee defensive front, but it won’t be enough to pick up a road win. Titans -3

Detroit Lions +2.5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

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In case I haven’t covered it before, a lot of my friends are Lions fans. I’ve always marveled at their commitment to the team, sitting through losing seasons and deadbeat coaches and insisting on watching every game. They’re not insane, though; everyone involved understands how things will work out, which is why no one was shocked when their 24-6 lead evaporated in the fourth quarter. Neither team deserved to win the game (the Cardinals could use some more aggressive decision-making), and neither did. The Chargers wasted no time in their own overtime contest, scoring on their first drive and keeping the ball out of Jacoby Brissett’s hands. This game should be fairly straightforward. Even with all of their injuries, the Chargers are a playoff contender. The Lions, and especially Matt Patricia, are not. Chargers -2.5

New York Giants +1.5 vs. Buffalo Bills

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Wow, picking this game was a special kind of hell I assumed was reserved for degenerate gamblers who spend too much time thinking and reading about the NFL. Wait a minute…

Somehow this game will be decided by Eli Manning going against the Bills’ defense and Josh Allen fighting himself to throw balls in a straight line. I don’t know if the Giants are better than the Jets, but at least they’ll be at home. Josh Allen struggled mightily on the road last year, going just 2-6. He’ll continue to struggle in this one, and Saquon Barkley will make just enough plays to help the Giants cover as a home underdog. Giants +1.5

Baltimore Ravens -13.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals

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I was excited about Kyler Murray and the Cardinals coming into this season, and nothing in their Week 1 tie pushed me on that opinion. Rookie quarterbacks almost always struggle, and erasing an 18-point deficit (even with Matt Patricia’s help) is an encouraging sign. Unfortunately, the Cardinals go on the road this week to take on a real team with solid coaches and an explosive offense. Earl Thomas is ready to feast on rookie mistakes, and the Lamar Jackson train won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Ravens -13.5

Miami Dolphins +18 vs. New England Patriots

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This line actually moved all the way to +19.5 at one point this week, and I couldn’t help but laugh at it. I talked about it with a couple of our other contributors, and we all agreed picking the Patriots -18 points is absurd; seeing the Pats lead 30-6 with one minute left and a garbage time touchdown ruining the pick is very much in the cards. But can these Dolphins score a garbage-time touchdown? Against a Patriots’ defense that allowed just 3 points last week against a team with real players on their offense? No they can’t, even if they wanted to. Patriots -18

Washington Redskins +5 vs. Dallas Cowboys

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Washington looked surprisingly feisty for an entire half last week, but it took a last-second touchdown for them to cover an 8.5-point spread. The Cowboys had no such issues, easily dispatching the Giants and flashing some exciting offensive schemes in their first game under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Plays like this touchdown to Blake Jarwin are replicable. As an experienced fantasy owner of Vernon Davis, plays like this are definitely not. Cowboys -5

Houston Texans -9 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

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Houston looked good against the Saints, but none of my concerns about the Texans coming into this year have been addressed. Deshaun Watson was repeatedly hit and forced to make absurd plays to keep them in the game. The defense was effective for much of the game, but crumbled when it mattered most. Now they’ll be at home against a Jacksonville team who lost their starting quarterback last week, which would usually be the recipe for a blowout. But only one team in the NFL has Gardner Minshew II as their backup quarterback, and it’s the Jaguars! Look at him! Read about his exercise habits! Bask in the glory that is this man starting an NFL game after completing 88%(!) of his passes in his first NFL appearance! No, I don’t think they’ll win, but I believe in Gardner to cover a 9-point spread. Jaguars +9

Pittsburgh Steelers -4 vs. Seattle Seahawks

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I don’t know if the Seahawks underachieved last week or if the Bengals were surprisingly competent. I KNOW the Steelers underachieved, but I don’t know by how much. The Patriots have an excellent defensive secondary, but 3 points is an embarrassment. So why are they favored by more than the usual 3 points at home this week? Are we expecting Russell Wilson to struggle in a big game? Even if the Seahawks don’t win, they’ll keep things close. Seahawks +4

Cincinnati Bengals -1.5 vs. San Francisco 49ers

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Looking at this line wasn’t as repulsive as looking at Giants-Bills, but it was close. The 49ers would have lost last week with an opposing quarterback less generous than Jameis, and it’s very reasonable to still be skeptical of Jimmy Garoppolo. I don’t think we saw anything last week to suggest a meaningful separation between these teams, so I’ll take Cincinnnati at home. Bengals -1.5

Green Bay Packers -2.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Let’s review the basic elements we know coming into this game:

  • Minnesota is 3-0-1 in their last four games against Green Bay

  • The Vikings stomped all over the Falcons in Week 1, executing their offense efficiently and not allowing points until the game was out of reach

  • The Packers struggled mightily against the Bears defense (understandable) and held Mitchell Trubisky to 3 points (whoop-de-doo)

So why is Green Bay favored here? The Vikings’ defense is at the same level as the Bears’, and their offense is considerably better. Unless Rodgers can regain his truly magical form, I think Minnesota will establish themselves as the leaders in the NFC North. Vikings +2.5

Oakland Raiders +8 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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The Chiefs seemed to pick up right where they left off last week, with an amazing offense staying just ahead of what their porous defense allowed. The Raiders might have a better offense than the Jaguars, but their defense is nowhere near as good. There’s no way Oakland can cross the 30-point line they’d need to hit to cover against Kansas City’s 40+. Chiefs -8

Los Angeles Rams -2.5 vs. New Orleans Saints

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The revenge game from last year’s NFC Championship, with the Saints traveling to Los Angeles for an afternoon game that may have home-field advantage implications at the end of the season. Neither team seemed to be hitting on all cylinders just yet, with narrow victories over teams we considered to be a notch below them. I expect this matchup to bring the best out of both squads, though, and home field advantage will reign supreme. This line should have been a full 3 points, but I’m more excited to watch it than I am to bet on it. Rams -2.5

Denver Broncos +2.5 vs. Chicago Bears

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The third of the tepid trifecta, I had no idea where to go with this line when I first saw it. Turning to the stats, I found that Mitchell Trubisky was just 5-3 on the road last year with narrow victories over the Cardinals and 49ers. Now my Bears are traveling to Denver to play against their former defensive coordinator, who should have more trouble deciding which plan to use to stop Trubisky than how to stop Trubisky. Joe Flacco against the Bears’ defense won’t be any prettier, but I’ll take the home team with the points. Broncos +2.5

Atlanta Falcons +1.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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The Eagles sleepwalked into the season, but they righted the ship quickly and went on to pummel Washington exactly as they should have. The Falcons did the opposite, waking up only when the Vikings took their foot off Atlanta’s throat and let them throw the ball around the field en route to a whole 12 points. Philadelphia is undoubtedly a better team, and they’ve won the last two matchups between these two teams. Eagles -1.5

New York Jets +2.5 vs. Cleveland Browns

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After wildly underwhelming in Week 1, the Browns have a chance to redeem themselves against Trevor Siemian of all people. Sam Darnold is out indefinitely with mono, so an already-banged up Jets squad is forced to turn to their backup quarterback. Their defense also struggled the moment C.J. Mosley left the game with a groin injury, and I’m not sure he’ll be 100% just one week later. If the Browns are going to do anything this year, they’ll need to show out this week. Browns -6.5

That's all for this week! Kick back, grab a drink, and feel free to blame me if you put money on these picks and come out behind. I won't compensate you, but maybe your significant others will send their wrath in my direction instead of yours.

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