The first week of the 2016 NFL season is always crazy, and last week certainly didn’t disappoint with four big upsets and a bunch of impressive performances.
From an NFL betting perspective, we gave our input on the week one NFL spreads (ATS) and Totals, as well as score predictions and straight up (SU) picks. It resulted in a mixed bag, but you can see our records after one week in each category:
The four main upsets really hurt us, but the three games that dinged us the most were Chargers/Chiefs, Seahawks/Dolphins and Browns/Eagles. We thought Cleveland would at least be competitive and they got blown out, we thought the opposite of the Chargers in Kansas City and Seattle was atrocious in a 12-10 home win. Seattle’s game alone went 1-2 on the week and really could have easily gone 0-3.
Considering the rough week, we made out okay on the Total and we’ll take a near .500 mark on the straight up picks. Our ATS radar was way off, so here’s to a better showing in week two. Let’s break down all 16 games with the spread and total and see which way you should be leaning via our week two NFL picks:
Jets (-1) @ Bills (+1) – Total: 40.5
Week two gets started on TNF with a huge AFC East battle between the Bills and Jets in Buffalo. Rex Ryan and Ryan Fitzpatrick both face off with their former teams in a series that was split 1-1 in 2015. With both teams sitting uncomfortably at 0-1 to start the year, this promises to be a bloodbath.
Both defenses are capable of pitching a shutout, while Buffalo’s passing game could be hindered with receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) not being 100%. This game is basically a pick’em over at Bovada this week and that makes total sense with both teams having strong defenses and some glaring issues.
New York has more offensive upside in this one, but Buffalo’s defense was a little more impressive in week one. They should hold down the fort and get a big home win. That being said, we can’t expect a ton of offense in this one, so bet the Under.
Pick: Bills 20, Jets 16
Saints (+4.5) @ Giants (-4.5) – Total: 53
The Saints and Giants combined for an insane 101 points in their 2015 meeting and New Orleans just gave up 35 points to the Raiders in week one, so we know their defense is as horrible as ever. New York’s defense looks to be improved, but it’s unlikely they stifle the Saints in a pretty big game.
You can safely go for the Over in this one and given that this game is bigger for the 0-1 Saints, we tend to side with them. New York still needs to prove they can be trusted after beating a rookie-led Cowboys team by just one point in week one.
Pick: Saints 38, Giants 35
Cowboys (+3) @ Redskins (-3) – Total: 45
Two 0-1 NFC East teams try to stay out of the division cellar in this week two battle. Dallas continues to be a tough bet with rookies playing key roles at quarterback and running back, while Washington looked absolutely lost in a blowout defeat at home on Monday night.
Defense could be the kicker here, as the Cowboys only lost by one and held the Giants to 20 points last week, while the Redskins couldn’t do a thing to stop the Steelers. The matchup and spread favors the Redskins, but going off of last week, they did not look like a team to fear. We’ll take Dallas in what could be a mild shootout.
Pick: Cowboys 24, Redskins 23
49ers (+14) @ Panthers (-14) – Total: 45.5
It’s a miracle that the Niners escaped with a big week one win, seeing as Blaine Gabbert looked truly awful at times. The Niners might have a decent defense and a solid rusher in Carlos Hyde, but there’s just no way they’re going into Carolina and beating the Panthers with Gabbert under center.
Carolina obviously gets a positive shift at home and will want to erase last week’s close loss to the Broncos in Denver. Look for a big game out of Cam Newton as the Panthers roll. Carolina should put up a good amount of points at home in this one, so we can see going for the Over here.
Pick: Panthers 34, 49ers 13
Bengals (+3) @ Steelers (-3) – Total: 48.5
This might be one of the toughest games to call, as the Steelers and Bengals faced off three times in 2015 and all three games were pretty intense. Pittsburgh won the series (2-1), but Andy Dalton was out for most or all of the two Cincy losses.
While Dalton is back and the Bengals should keep things tight, the Steelers looked amazing in week one and are always tough to beat at Heinz Field. We’ll take the Steelers to cover in a huge week two battle that probably should stay Under the Total.
Pick: Steelers 23, Bengals 20
Ravens (-7) @ Browns (+7) – Total: 43
Josh McCown takes over for the Browns under center thanks to a RG3 injury and believe it or not, that might actually give Cleveland some life on offense. That and being at home help them this week, but their defense is still trash and the Ravens looked very good last week.
Baltimore should be better on offense and if their defense’s return to an elite level is to stick around, it’s tough to imagine this game being overly close. Cleveland should offer more of an offensive punch than they did in week one, but it won’t lead to them beating the spread.
Pick: Ravens 30, Browns 17
Titans (+6) @ Lions (-6) – Total: 47
Tennessee was actually quite good defensively last week, as they completely took Adrian Peterson out of the game and overall held Minnesota’s offense in check. They made some costly offensive mistakes, however, and will need to play a perfect game this week in Detroit to escape with a win.
Detroit’s defense was really put to the test in Indy last week, but this week’s challenge isn’t nearly as daunting. The Titans are good enough to keep this one tight and possibly beat the spread, but the Lions are looking at a 2-0 start. With the Titans slowing things down, we figure this game goes Under.
Pick: Lions 24, Titans 17
Chiefs (+2) @ Texans (-2) – Total: 43.5
Kansas City heads back to Houston for the third time in the past year. They wrecked the Texans in week one and shut them out in a 41-0 demolition in the first round of the playoffs. Houston did make some huge offensive adjustments in an effort to get better over the off-season, but they delivered a mixed bag in a closer than expected win over the Bears.
Kansas City’s resilience last week was impressive and we know how good they can be on both sides of the ball. With the Texans losing linebacker Brian Cushing to a knee injury, the Chiefs could have more room for their running game, as well as tight end Travis Kelce. We’ll take the Chiefs to cover in a defensive battle.
Pick: Chiefs 23, Texans 16
Buccaneers (+6.5) @ Cardinals (-6.5) – Total: 50
Tampa Bay was borderline flawless in a big road win last week, but beating the Cardinals in the desert could be a tall order this week. Arizona probably should have won in week one and for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, this could be a must-win game.
The Cardinals are too good to be in a spot like this, so we expect them to come out focused in a big home win. Tampa Bay won’t go away quietly, but Arizona should squeak out a close win. Offense should be had in this game, too, so shoot for the Over.
Pick: Cardinals 27, Buccaneers 24
Falcons (+5) @ Raiders (-5) – Total: 49.5
If you’re looking for offense, this week two clash between the Falcons and Raiders might have it. Neither team’s defense showed up in week one and it will be very interesting to see how things shake out for both sides this week.
Both offenses can challenge down the field and it’s very arguable we’re heading for a high-scoring shootout with the Over very much in play. Oakland is at home and showed true moxie last week, so we’ll side with them but have Atlanta beating the spread.
Pick: Raiders 33, Falcons 30
Jaguars (+3) @ Chargers (-3) – Total: 47
Jacksonville narrowly lost to the Packers in week one, so we know they’re battle tested and will be out for blood in week two. San Diego almost upset the Chiefs in Kansas City, but their inability to close out the game is classic Chargers and ultimately very troubling.
The Jaguars were projected as the better team in 2016 and their offense could be unleashed in a likely shootout. San Diego will hang tight in a big week two battle, but look for the Jags to stage the mild upset. Shoot for the Over in a game that should yield plenty of points.
Pick: Jaguars 34, Chargers 27
Dolphins (n/a) @ Patriots (n/a) – Total: n/a
Bovada hasn’t yet released the spread and Total for this AFC East clash, largely due to the pending status of star Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
We don’t need Gronk to play to favor New England, however. Miami did look tough on the road against the Seahawks last week, but the Pats don’t lose at home and proved they can win tough games sans Gronkowski or Tom Brady with a huge road win in Arizona last week.
New England should take care of business at home and we like them to win by a touchdown. Apply our predicted score to any over/under betting this week.
Pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 17
Seahawks (n/a) @ Rams (n/a) – Total: n/a
Ditto for this game, as Russell Wilson (ankle) is still a little questionable for this contest. Obviously if he’s out the Rams have a slight chance to hang in and get the upset at home, but Case Keenum was brutally bad last week and it’s got to be way too easy to stop the Rams on offense right now.
There’s always the chance Todd Gurley goes nuts or Tavon Austin springs a big return, but Seattle’s defense isn’t about to let such a bad offense embarrass them. These NFC West battles tend to be closer than we ever expect, but the Rams were so bad last week, we might favor Seattle with any spread. Apply our predicted score to the spread and Total.
Pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 10
Colts (n/a) @ Broncos (n/a) – Total: n/a
The data isn’t out on Bovada for this game either, and that also may be due to an injury to star Broncos wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas.
Indy is absolutely a threat in this game, as they can clearly score the ball and it’s still tough to trust Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian. That being said, the Broncos can run the ball and play elite defense, so it’s not likely they get upset at home here. We’ll take Denver to win a close one. Again, apply our predicted score to any spread/total betting for this week two matchup.
Pick: Broncos 27, Colts 23
Packers (-3) @ Vikings (+3) – Total: 44
Green Bay held on to beat a rising Jaguars team on the road last week and one of this year’s title favorites could be in amazing shape if they can start 2016 at 2-0 away from home. That may not be easy this week, when they tackle the Vikes in Minnesota.
Any divisional clash can be tough, but Adrian Peterson was easily shut down last week and Minnesota is not yet a threat through the air. Green Bay probably won’t put up 30 points in this one, but they have the tools to squeak out another big road win in this one. Brace for more of a defensive battle, but expect Green Bay to win and cover.
Pick: Packers 21, Vikings 17
Eagles (+3) @ Bears (-3) – Total: 43
Here’s an interesting stat: 8-2. That’s Jay Cutler’s record on Monday Night Football since joining the Bears back in 2009. For whatever reason, the dude performs well on the game’s biggest stage and in week two he gets a favorable matchup at home.
Cutler should play well in this one and Chicago’s underrated offense as a whole should find solid success against what still figures to be a beatable Eagles defense. That could play into a pretty solid offensive game both ways, so we like the Over and the Bears to cover ever so slightly.
Pick: Bears 27, Eagles 20
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