Week 2 of the NFL season has arrived and it couldn’t come soon enough after I struggled to an 8-8 record straight up and 6-9-and-1 against the spread last week.
That’s what I get for listening to my gut and taking a few flyers in Week 1, but there is a whole lot of time to get back on the horse and it starts Thursday night with a good, old fashioned battle of Ohio.
Let’s get right to this week’s picks.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-6) The Bengals are coming off a Bengal-like loss in Week 1 while the Brownies had their doors blown off by Baltimore. Cincinnati rookie QB Joe Burrow enjoyed a solid start to his NFL career last week and won’t be phased by the bright lights of prime time football, but new Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski has a ton of ammo to get his team motivated to beat their cross-state rivals. Cleveland 24-20
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+5.5) Buffalo stormed out of the gate against the hapless New York Jets last week, led by QB Josh Allen and their stout defence. This is Miami’s home opener and they will have a few thousand fans in attendance at Hard Rock Stadium, but this is a bad matchup for the Dolphins, who will drop their fourth straight against the Bills. Buffalo 23-17
New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-5.5) Chicago shocked Detroit last week with an epic fourth quarter comeback and the Bears will try to carry that momentum into their home opener against a Giants team that didn’t look particularly slick on Monday Night Football against Pittsburgh. Chicago 23-20
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9) Tom Brady certainly didn’t play lights out football in his debut with the Bucs last week, but that was against an exceptionally talented Saints team. The Panthers won’t nearly be as tough. Brady finds his groove in a blowout win. Tampa Bay 37-13
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) A matchup that features two quarterbacks who can sling it. Advantage Cowboys. Dak Preskott and the Cowboys are coming off a tough defeat in L.A. against the Rams on Sunday night, but the Falcons are stumbling into Big-D after getting torched at home by Seattle. Dallas 33-24
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6) This one could get ugly, and in a hurry. The Lions blew a fourth-quarter lead against Mitch Trubisky and the Bears last week while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers pounded Minnesota in Week 1. I smell a laugher. Green Bay 42-14
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (-3) One of these two teams will start the season 0-2, a stat that hasn’t been kind to NFL teams with playoff hopes. The QB with the hotter hand, Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins or Indy’s Philip Rivers, will be talking about a win in their post-game news conference. I’ll go with Rivers and the home side. Indianapolis 28-27
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5) Pittsburgh is at home after a victory over the Giants on Monday night in a game in which QB Ben Roethlisberger looked pretty good. The Broncos are dealing with some injuries and are on the road, a bad combo. Pittsburgh 27-17
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets (-7) After falling last week against Arizona, the heavily motivated 49ers travel across the country to take on a Jets team that is simply a hot mess. This isn’t going to go well for Gang Green. San Francisco 27-13
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles (+1) The Rams will also take a trip across the U.S. following their Week 1 victory over Dallas for their second consecutive game against an NFC East opponent. The injury-riddled Eagles blew a 17-0 lead in Washington last week and they will need to dig down deep to topple L.A. I don’t see that happening. LA Rams 23-20
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-9) The Jags surprised many by winning their season opener last week against Indianapolis. Lost amid the hoopla was that Jacksonville didn’t force the Colts to punt. The Titans should have won handily in Denver on Monday night, but their kicking woes kept it close. This game won’t be, as RB Derrick Henry and Tennessee rumble to their seventh straight win over the Jaguars in Nashville. Tennessee 31-16
Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) Cards QB Kyler Murray had an outstanding season debut against a very tough 49ers defence, a game that many believe was the start of a potential MVP calibre season. Washington stormed back to beat the Eagles in Week 1, thanks in part to eight sacks and three turnovers. Home cooking does the Cardinals good. Arizona 28-17
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (+7) Houston has had a few extra days to prepare for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. They could probably use a little more time to get healthier and figure out how to fix their defence. Baltimore is too talented and too well-coached, which was clearly evident in a 38-6 win over Cleveland last week. Baltimore 34-20
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (+8.5) This is all about Kansas City’s high octane offence against L.A.’s excellent defence. As the saying goes, “defence wins championships,” but the Chiefs are the defending champs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a special talent who is a trump card all by himself. Kansas City 27-17
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-4) This has all the makings of a great game. The QB matchup, Russell Wilson vs. Cam Newton, is exceptional. Both defences get after the football. And head coaches Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll know how to get the most out of their troops. This is the game of the week. Seattle 24-23
New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders (+6) In the ribbon cutter at Allegiant Stadium in Sin City, the hometown Raiders will be in tough against the Saints. Drew Brees will be without injured star receiver Michael Thomas for several weeks, but New Orleans has a handful of other weapons at his disposal. New Orleans 34-21
Overall straight up 8-8
Overall against the spread 6-9-1
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.