Friday, October 7, 2022

NFL Week 2 picks and best bets, plus Chiefs make a statement and why teams need to avoid an 0-2 start

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

For the first time in the history of my life, I spent three hours on Amazon last night without buying anything. Normally when I spend three hours on Amazon, I end up buying roughly $179 worth of things that I don’t need, but that didn’t happen last night because I was distracted by Amazon’s first-ever exclusive streaming of “Thursday Night Football.”

The NFL has no idea what kind of viewership numbers the games will be getting on Amazon, but if they’re all as entertaining as the Chiefs‘ 27-24 win last night, then I’m guessing that people will eventually watch if they’re not watching it already. 

In today’s newsletter, we’ll be recapping every important thing that happened in the game, plus we’ll be looking at why getting off to an 0-2 start is pretty much a playoff death sentence in the NFL. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let’s get to the rundown. 

1. Today’s show: Recapping the Chiefs’ wild win over the Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

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Every time the Chiefs play the Chargers, the game seems to go down to the wire and Thursday night’s game was no different. Kansas City’s wild 27-24 win wasn’t clinched until the Chiefs recovered an onside kick with just under 1:15 left to play.

The only thing wilder than the game was our recap podcast that came afterward. If you missed the game, here’s a quick rehash of what happened and what we talked about on the podcast:

  • Chiefs defense comes up big. The biggest surprise of Thursday night was how well the Chiefs’ defense played against the Chargers, especially in the second half. The turning point of the game came from Chiefs rookie Jaylen Watson in the third quarter. After picking off Justin Herbert at the 1-yard line, Watson proceeded to return it 99 yards for a touchdown that gave Kansas City a 24-17 lead. It was a huge play for a guy who was literally working at a Wendy’s just three years ago. The Chiefs trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter (17-7), but the defense forced two three-and-outs in the quarter, which allowed Kansas City to get back in the game before Watson’s pick six. 
  • Patrick Mahomes is almost unbeatable in September. If there’s one month Mahomes has owned since his first NFL start, it’s September and he showed why on Thursday. Although he only threw for 235 yards, he threw two wild touchdown passes. The first one was a side arm throw to Jerick McKinnon that Mahomes somehow threw left while scrambling right (You can see the play here). The second TD was a 41-yard strike to Justin Watson that came on a third-and-10 in the third quarter. Chargers corner J.C. Jackson came about three inches away from knocking the ball down and you can see that by clicking here. Mahomes is now 13-2 all time in September games with 48 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. 
  • Brandon Staley apparently doesn’t believe in going for it anymore on fourth down. If there was one thing Staley was known for last year, it was going for it on fourth down under almost any circumstance, so it was a total surprise on Thursday when he passed up multiple attempts to go for it on fourth down. The Chargers faced fourth-and-2 IN Kansas City territory on three different occasions in the game and on all three occasions, Staley decided to NOT go for it (He punted twice and kicked a field goal). Remember, this is a guy who went for it on fourth-and-1 from his OWN 18 in last year’s season finale against the Raiders. After Thursday’s game, Staley said punting made sense in each instance because he “wanted to give our defense a chance to compete. I loved the way we were playing. I felt like that was the formula — to flip the field there.” That same explanation would have also made sense last year, so it’s not clear why he’s decided to use it now. It feels like he either accidentally set his fourth-down play call sheet on fire before the game or someone above him asked him to tone things down or he spent the offseason second-guessing himself. No matter what happened, he seems to have changed his philosophy, which might not be for the best. 
  • Justin Herbert gets hurt. Not only did the Chargers lose the game, but they’ll be holding their breath today waiting for a diagnosis on Justin Herbert. Their quarterback got hurt with just under five minutes left to play after taking a hard, but legal, hit from Kansas City’s Mike Danna. After the hit, Herbert seemed to be favoring his ribs for the rest of the game. He was in so much pain that he refused to scramble on a third-and-1 play where he would have EASILY gotten the first down. After the game, Staley said Herbert was “OK” and that he doesn’t expect the injury to be an issue moving forward, but if it turns out to be a rib injury, that’s something that could bother Herbert for the next few weeks or months, even if he’s still able to play. 

If you want to hear our entire recap of the game, be sure to click here. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Today’s show Part II: Best bets for Week 2

The best part about Friday — besides the fact that it’s Friday — is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. Brinson didn’t show up for the Thursday night recap, but he did show up to record his weekly picks show with Pete Prisco and R.J. White. 

Those three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game being played in Week 2 and we’re going to cover three from each guy below.  

Pete Prisco (3-0 last week in picks covered here)

Rams (-10.5) to cover against the Falcons

Texans (+10) to cover against the Broncos

Patriots (-2) to cover against the Steelers

Will Brinson (0-3 last week in picks covered here)

Packers (-10) to cover against the Bears

Jaguars (+4) to cover against the Colts

Saints (+2.5) to cover against the Buccaneers

R.J. White (1-2 last week in picks covered here)

Jets (+6.5) to cover against the Browns

Colts (-4) to cover against the Jaguars

Cardinals at Raiders OVER 51.5 points

The three guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595, which means you’d make a $595 profit off of a $100 bet. Here’s a look at the three legs in their parlay: 

  • Packers (-10) to cover against the Bears
  • Saints (+2.5) to cover against the Buccaneers
  • Commanders at Lions OVER 48.5

To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 2 — and there are quite a few — be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast.

3. NFL Week 2 picks

This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. I once crammed in eight hours of studying three hours before an exam, so I know I’m good at cramming. 

With that in mind, we’ve got five more Week 2 picks coming your way and those will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco, along with Will Brinson, Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself. 

Here’s how things are going to work: I’m going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you’ll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on. 

  • Pete Prisco: Ravens (-3.5) 27-20 over Dolphins. From Prisco, “The Dolphins and Ravens both won in impressive fashion last week, but now Miami goes on the road for the first time. The Dolphins dominated the Ravens last year at home, but this will be different. The Ravens and Lamar Jackson get the best of the Dolphins.” For the rest of Prisco’s Week 2 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Tyler Sullivan: Bengals (-7.5) 30-20 over Cowboys. From Sullivan, “This is the perfect spot for the Bengals to get right after a rough showing in the overtime loss to the Steelers. They played possibly their worst game imaginable (five turnovers) and were still within striking distance of the win.” For the rest of Sullivan’s Week 2 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Will Brinson: Jaguars (+4) 24-21 over Colts. From Brinson, “The Jags should treat this game like it’s their Super Bowl, plus it’s a chance for Doug Pederson to flex on his old offensive coordinator, Frank Reich” For the rest of Brinson’s Week 2 best bets, be sure to click here.
  • Jordan Dajani: Steelers (+2) 20-14 over Patriots. From Dajani, “Heinz — excuse me — Acrisure Stadium is going to be rocking on Sunday. Jones has lost his last four games on the road, including playoffs, after winning his first six road games. I didn’t see anything from New England’s Week 1 performance that showed me this team is better than Pittsburgh.” For the rest of Dajani’s Week 2 best bets, be sure to click here.
  • John Breech: Commanders (+1) 27-24 over Lions. Washington actually impressed me in Week 1, which is weird, because I never thought I’d use the words “Impressed” and ‘Washington” in the same sentence. Carson Wentz looked good and I think the Lions secondary is going to struggle to stop him, so I’m taking the Commanders in the upset. For the rest of my Week 2 picks, be sure to click here

4. The dreaded 0-2 start: Why 15 NFL teams are facing an almost must-win situation heading into Week 2


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Heading into Week 2, there are a total of 15 teams that are currently sitting at 0-1 and those teams are definitely going to want to make sure they win on Sunday because starting a season 0-2 is basically the playoff kiss of death in the NFL. 

Of the 40 playoff spots that were earned in the NFL over the past three seasons, none of them went to a team that started the year 0-2. 

Here’s a look at how teams have done since 1990 based on their record after Week 2: 

  • Teams that start 0-2: Of the 265 teams that have started 0-2 since 1990, only 30 of them (11.3%) have rebounded to make the playoffs. Of those 265 teams, only three of them went on to win the Super Bowl (1993 Cowboys, 2001 Patriots, 2007 Giants). 
  • Teams that start 1-1: Of the teams that were .500 after Week 2, 41.9% of them ended up making the playoffs (193 out of 460), which is a huge jump over 11.6%. Of course, only nine of those 460 teams (2%) went on to win the Super Bowl, so your odds don’t improve that much there. 
  • Teams that start 2-0: Of the 262 teams that have started 2-0 since 1990, 63% of them ended up making the playoffs (165). Teams that started 2-0 have also won 20 of the past 32 Super Bowls, a list of teams that includes last year’s Rams. 

You don’t want to say that a game in Week 2 is a must-win game, but based on recent NFL history, I’m going to go ahead and say that all 0-1 teams are facing a must-win situation this weekend. Barring a tie, there will be at least three 0-2 teams when Week 2 comes to an end since there will be three games this week involving winless teams (Bengals at Cowboys, Cardinals at Raiders, Falcons at Rams). 

Two other teams to keep an eye this weekend are the Patriots and Packers. Both teams have gone more than 15 years without starting 0-2, but their streaks could potentially be coming to an end this week with each team currently sitting at 0-1. The Patriots haven’t started 0-2 since 2001 while the Packers haven’t done it since 2006. Every other team in the NFL has started 0-2 at least once since 2010. 

5. NFL coaches on the rise — and on the decline — heading into Week 2

The first week of the NFL season went pretty well for some coaches (like Brian Daboll), but not so well for other coaches (like Kliff Kingsbury). With that in mind, Cody Benjamin decided to take a look at the coaches who are trending up and the coaches who are trending down as we head into Week 2. 

Trending up

  • Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. “The NFL’s second-youngest coach behind Sean McVay, O’Connell was probably the biggest winner of Week 1, not only because he routed the rival Packers, but because of how his team did it.”
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “Carroll had become something of a punching bag for those skeptical of his ancient commitment to the run game, and yet, in prime time to open 2022, it was his offense and defense that stood up to Wilson and the more talented Broncos.”

Trending down

  • Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “It’s time we really start reckoning with the fact that the NFL may be passing Belichick by. No one can dispute his place among all-time greats, but it’s now been over three years since ‘The Hoodie’ won a playoff game.”
  • Falcons coach Arthur Smith. “Smith’s Falcons have now lost four of their last five games dating to 2021 and their latest loss came by blowing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter.”

To see Cody’s full list of coaches who are on the rise and his list of coaches who are on the decline, be sure to click here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Seahawks lose defensive star for the season


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It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Jamal Adams out for the season. The Seahawks safety got injured against the Broncos on Monday and it looks like that injury is going to knock him out for the year. Adams is expected to undergo surgery on a torn quad tendon and the recovery from that operation is expected to keep him off the field for the remainder of the season. Due to the injury, Adams will miss more games this year than he’s missed in his entire career combined. Before this season, Adams had only missed 11 games over his first five years.   
  • George Kittle might could miss his second straight game. The 49ers star tight end is dealing with a groin injury and there’s a good chance it could keep him out for the second straight week. Kittle didn’t practice on Thursday and Pro Football Network is reporting that Kittle is unlikely to play on Sunday against the Seahawks.  
  • Giants first-rounder expects to make debut on SundayKayvon Thibodeaux wasn’t on the field for the Giants in Week 1 due to a sprained MCL he suffered during the preseason, but he does expect to be on the field for Week 2. The fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft said Thursday that he’s “really confident” that he’ll be able to play against the Panthers on Sunday. 
  • How to fix the Packers’ offense. After watching Green Bay’s offense struggle in Week 1,’s Jared Dubin took a look at what the Packers need to do to fix their offense and you can check that out by clicking here

  • Practice Squad Power Rankings. The Practice Squad Power Rankings are back for another season! This is where’s Chris Trapasso ranks the 10 best practice squad players in the NFL. Heading into Week 2, it looks like the Bills might have the best practice squad with two of the top 10. If you want to see the entire ranking, be sure to click here

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