NFL picks against the spread Week 2: Rams deny Saints’ revenge, Eagles fly past Falcons

The opening week of an NFL season is always tough to predict, so coming out with 13 wins and a push on playing the spread (thanks to that one pesky tie) is acceptable. But we like to take it one week at a time, and we’re just trying to get better every week.

Although that may sound cliché, and it is, we can’t wait to dive into Week 2 with more NFL picks against the spread. This week presents a lot of interesting betting lines, including three double-digit spreads and three pure toss-ups. Let’s do our best with that, shall we?

Week 2 NFL picks against the spread

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints come in looking for some revenge from the NFC championship game. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara will have much to do toward that goal as the Rams struggle to contain either one of them. The problem with New Orleans continues to lie in pass defense, where Jared Goff will have two great matchups to exploit with his receivers in Eli Apple and P.J. Williams. A healthy Todd Gurley also will cause problems as he gets more involved as a receiver. Wade Phillips will scheme better in crunch time than Dennis Allen will.

Rams win 31-27 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

This is a big early game in Lambeau Field featuring two 1-0 teams that are looking to wrestle the NFC North title back from the Bears. The Packers’ defense has become legitimate on every level, while the Vikings have been and still are legit on defense. Both teams should expect some tough sledding in the running game, so it comes down to who can produce clutch pass plays against a high degree of difficulty. That’s the big-game advantage that goes to Aaron Rodgers over Kirk Cousins, who will end up making the bigger mistakes.

Packers win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Barring an unlikely tie, of these NFC South teams will be in a big 0-2 hole. Jameis Winston and Cam Newton continue to have upside in their offenses, but the strengths lie elsewhere, Tampa Bay with its receiving corps and Carolina with Christian McCaffrey. Because they are roller-coaster QBs, expect them both to rebound against shaky defenses and make it an up-and-down duel. Trust Cam a little more at home over Jameis.

Panthers win 27-24 and fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Colts need to win to keep the Titans from going up two games early in the AFC South race. Indianapolis will shore up some things defensively, and its diverse receiving corps can cause problems, especially with Jacoby Brissett being well protected. Derrick Henry will do some more big running, but Marcus Mariota will have less success than Brissett will in trying to push the ball downfield. Adam Vinatieri redeems himself with a game-winner.

Colts win 23-20.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Cowboys’ offense has unleashed its more creative and explosive look with Dak Prescott operating under Kellen Moore, and the Redskins don’t have much to slow it down with their fading secondary. Prescott tends to play well in Washington, which will struggle to make enough big plays to match.

Cowboys win 35-20 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Kyler Murray vs. Lamar Jackson is a fun passing duel to watch, and whatever they do on the ground is gravy. Murray faces a lot more resistance in his first road game, though, cross-country against a sound Baltimore defense. Jackson draws Arizona’s shaky downfield pass defense, which just struggled against Detroit’s wideouts and tight end.

Ravens win 31-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Giants were ripped apart by a big, athletic passer who likes to fire deep in Week 1. Josh Allen can tap into some of what Prescott did to New York fresh off leading a big fourth-quarter comeback in the same venue. The Giants likely won’t have top wideout Sterling Shepard, allowing the Bills to focus extra safety attention on Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram. Eli Manning will be rattled, and Allen will remain comfortable. 

Bills win 20-17 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jaguars’ offense wasn’t the issue against the Chiefs, as rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew looked comfortable executing the new-look downfield passing game with Chris Conley and D.J. Chark after Nick Foles went down. Their defense couldn’t handle the big arm and elusiveness of Patrick Mahomes. Deshaun Watson will play as well as he did Monday night, and Jalen Ramsey will get quieted by DeAndre Hopkins. On the other side, we expect J.J. Watt to return to the hit, tackle and sack columns.

Texans win 27-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chargers’ offense showed its full force last week without Melvin Gordon thanks to Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Hunter Henry is also a game-changing tight end for Philip Rivers. Matthew Stafford seems to have one, too, in rookie T.J. Hockenson. In the battle of Powder Blue vs. Honolulu Blue, it comes to which tired, post-OT defense can rebound better. Rivers and Stafford are classic fourth-quarter gunslingers, but it’s a little easier to trust LA’s pass rush and secondary in crunch time.

Chargers win 31-27 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Last week, the Patriots beat the Steelers 33-3 at home, and the Dolphins lost to the Ravens 59-10 at home. The visitors can get by with 11 fewer points, and the hosts need to do more than 30 points better. This might feel like a trap because New England has a history of struggling in Miami, especially in the early-season heat, but not this year. The Patriots also tend to keep stepping on the gas with Tom Brady, and after losing badly to Matt Patricia’s team last year, Bill Belichick will put Brian Flores in place. Tack-on field goals always help.

Patriots win 38-14 and cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Steelers were atrocious in New England, but desperation will kick in at home with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for big plays behind more consistent running support from James Connner. Russell Wilson and Seattle are road warriors, and Pittsburgh has lost big games at Heinz Field of late. But the Steelers’ run defense will slow down Chris Carson and set up the pass rush to limit Wilson’s deep throws.

Steelers win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

These teams are far removed from Bill Walsh vs. Sam Wyche in Super Bowl 23, but they still have innovative offensive head coaches in Kyle Shanahan and Zac Taylor. The Niners have more juice around Jimmy Garoppolo, and their improved pass rush and secondary carry less concerns against Andy Dalton, who won’t have either A.J. Green or Joe Mixon. Richard Sherman is key in cooling off John Ross.

49ers win 24-20.

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

The Raiders’ offense last week was efficient with Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and their non-Antonio Brown receivers. They are equipped, especially at home, to trade some big-play blows with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with help from the Kansas City defense. But this is Mahomes, who will push the ball downfield to his non-Tyreek Hill targets. Jon Gruden and Andy Reid will have their best duel in a while, as this sets up for another good performance by Oakland at home.

Chiefs win 34-27 but fail to cover the spread.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox

Both offenses struggled to score in Week 1, and now the Bears and Broncos face the present and past Vic Fangio 3-4 pressure defenses. The Bears are bound to have more success because they have the better, more diverse skill position group to set up better matchups. While Mitchell Trubisky can run away from trouble, Joe Flacco will have a rough debut at home in Denver with his running support shut down. It won’t be pretty, and it might take a defensive TD to get enough scoring, but Chicago will get a much-needed rebound on the road vs. a familiar coach.

Bears win 20-13 and cover the spread. 

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ passing game will stay on fire, while the Eagles’ pass defense will continue to have issues against noted Philly-area native Matt Ryan, who is always best at his new home in the dome. The Falcons’ run defense got gashed in Minnesota, and the Eagles can dominate them with their offensive line. This sets up for a Sunday night thriller full of chunk plays. The final score won’t resemble the 15-10 of the 2018 opener, but it will show a repeat winner.

Eagles win 34-31.

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

These teams played in the first-ever Monday night game in 1970, and last year they played on a Thursday night in Cleveland. That was when Baker Mayfield made his debut and led a big comeback to end a 19-game winless streak — and begin the hype. Both offensive lines are below average, so the difference will be which QB, Mayfield or fellow second-year first-rounder Sam Darnold, can extend plays to make big throws downfield. The Browns have a better edge rush and cornerbacks, and they are better positioned to rebound from 0-1.

Browns win 23-17 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week
Week 1 record straight up: 13-2
Week 1 record against the spread: 8-8
Upsets of the Week: 1-0
Locks of the Week: 1-0

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