Week 2 had no shortage of drama as we had several late-game collapses that brought clubs — like the Dolphins, Jets, and Cardinals — back from the dead. Not only that, but all three of those comebacks also helped out yours truly in our little betting circle that we’ve carved out here. In last week’s picks, we had the Dolphins and Cardinals covering and, thanks to their late-game heroics, they did. Even further, we pegged the Jets as a dog that we liked to upset the Browns and they proved us right in a glorious final two minutes.
While that’s certainly a positive trend, none were inside my five locks of the week, which is still running cold to begin the year, albeit getting some poor luck with the Chargers getting a backdoor cover thanks to Justin Herbert connecting with Josh Palmer on a fourth-and-goal touchdown with just over a minute to play. Still, the tides feel like they are turning in a more positive direction and we’ll look to keep the momentum going from those comebacks going into Week 3.
Locks of the Week ATS: 2-8
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
Bengals at Jets
Latest Odds: New York Jets +5
I was high on the Jets’ chances last week, but I’m fading them here in what could be a letdown performance against a very desperate Bengals team. Cincinnati was inside my locks of the week heading into Week 2 following an OT loss to Pittsburgh in the opener and then looking at a Dak Prescott-less Cowboys team in Dallas. However, they couldn’t take care of business and are now sitting at 0-2. Protecting Joe Burrow is still a massive problem for the Bengals, but New York does not have as dynamic of a pass rush as Dallas did with Micah Parsons, which is promising. The Jets defense is also 32nd in the NFL in DVOA against the pass, which does set up Burrow to have a get-right game at MetLife.
Projected score: Bengals 30, Jets 21
The pick: Bengals -4.5
Latest Odds: Minnesota Vikings -6
The Vikings are coming off a stinker on Monday night where Kirk Cousins looked like “Prime-time Kirk Cousins” and threw three picks while the team managed just seven points against Philadelphia. While the 1 p.m. ET kickoff is a much more palatable window for Cousins, the Lions have played teams close under Dan Campbell. Since he arrived last season, Detroit has covered 68.4% of their games (13-6 ATS), which is the second-best percentage in the entire NFL over that stretch. That also includes a 2-0 ATS record to begin this season. Against divisional opponents, the Lions are 4-2 ATS over that same stretch. Minnesota may be the better team and are set up nicely for a bounce-back at home, but Detroit will keep this close and could end up being a game determined by a field goal. After all, both games between these two teams last year were determined by a total of four points.
Projected score: Vikings 30, Lions 27
The pick: Lions +6
Falcons at Seattle
Latest Odds: Seattle Seahawks -2
The Falcons have been plucky to begin the season, owning a 2-0 ATS record. A special teams snafu by the Rams — a blocked punt returned for a Falcons touchdown — did bring Atlanta back to life with a cover, but it moved the ball well offensively and hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of utilizing star tight end Kyle Pitts. This week, the Falcons get their easiest opponent of the season thus far in the Seahawks, despite this game being played on the road at Lumen Field. While Seattle was able to upset the Broncos in an emotional opener, Geno Smith and the rest of the offense don’t exactly strike fear in opposing defenses. They’ve also struggled against the run, ranking 28th in the NFL in DVOA.
Projected score: Falcons 24, Seahawks 20
The pick: Falcons +2
Rams at Cardinals
Latest Odds: Arizona Cardinals +3.5
Arizona pulled off a wild upset against the Raiders but may be in for a letdown performance with the defending Super Bowl champions coming to town. In his six starts against Sean McVay in his career, Kyler Murray is 1-5 SU and has completed just 62.8% of his passes on a 6.7-yards-per-attempt average. He’s also thrown seven touchdowns and six picks over that stretch. Simply put, the Rams know how to contain him and Arizona has been shaky under Kliff Kingsbury. Since arriving as head coach in 2019, the Cardinals are 8-9-2 ATS against divisional opponents.
Projected score: Rams 27, Cardinals 23
The pick: Rams -3.5
Jaguars at Chargers
Latest Odds: Los Angeles Chargers -7
Justin Herbert’s status in this game is somewhat in doubt after he suffered a fracture to his rib cartilage in the loss to Kansas City last week. However, head coach Brandon Staley did qualify him as day to day, so it could come down to pain tolerance. Thanks to the extended rest by playing last Thursday, I expect Herbert to suit up and he will be facing a Jags team fresh off a shutout win over the Colts. Not only does that set up a possible letdown performance in Week 3, but Jacksonville will be flying across the country to play this matchup. This will also be a rare instance where the Chargers have some semblance of a home-field advantage at SoFi Stadium with the Jaguars not having a strong traveling fanbase. It’s certainly risky considering Herbert’s uncertain status, but I like rolling the dice here and backing a very talented Chargers team.
Projected score: Chargers 30, Jaguars 21
The pick: Chargers -7
Rest of the bunch
Steelers at Browns
Projected score: Browns 23, Steelers 17
The pick: Browns -4.5
Bills at Dolphins
Projected score: Bills 33, Dolphins 24
The pick: Bills -5.5
Chiefs at Colts
Projected score: Chiefs 27, Colts 20
The pick: Chiefs -6.5
Raiders at Titans
Projected score: Raiders 27, Titans 24
The pick: Raiders -2
49ers at Broncos
Projected score: 49ers 23, Broncos 20
The pick: 49ers -1.5
Cowboys at Giants
Projected score: Giants 23, Cowboys 17
The pick: Giants -2