It was a wild and unpredictable week one in the NFL, with records being obliterated left and right. Who could have foreseen the Steelers getting pounded by Baltimore, Buffalo going into Kansas City where the Chiefs only lost once last year and absolutely thrashing them, or the supposedly powerful NFC South failing to win a game? This is the beauty of the NFL, where unpredictability and uncertainty reign supreme. Well, this article is going plow through the unknown abyss and give you four surefire picks to help with your football betting this Sunday. NFL Week 2 picks against the spread below…
Asher’s NFL Week 2 Spread Picks:
The Ravens looked like arguably the best team in the league in week one, easily dismantling their longstanding AFC North rivals Pittsburgh with an impressive 35-7 win. Not only does this victory give Baltimore an early leg up in the standings, it also will go a long way with giving Joe Flacco some much needed confidence that he can lead his team to victory against the Steelers and their daunting defense. The Ravens’ task is far easier this week, as they head into the Music City and face a Titans team that looked pretty awful for most of their opening game loss to Jacksonville last week. Matt Hasselbeck did seem to develop a rapport with Kenny Britt, but one of his touchdowns was an extremely fluky play. More concerning may be how rusty Chris Johnson looked, possibly due to his extended holdout during the preseason. The Jags run defense is by and large considered among the worst in the league, and they made Johnson look exceedingly regular. Things are going to be a whole lot tougher for CJ and the rest of the Titans offense against the always tough Baltimore defense. Ray Rice, whom many have pegged to lead the league in rushing yards this year, looked fantastic in week one, and there is no reason to think that should be halted this week, as the Titans defense is nothing too special. Rice rushed for 107 yards on just 19 carries last week, and added another 42 through the air. It is quite evident that he is the focal point of this Ravens offense, although Flacco has several useful weapons in Anquan Boldin and newly acquired Lee Evans. For the Titans, Hasselbeck is a step up from the Kerry Collins/Vince Young duo last year, but at this point in his career, it is really only a minimal improvement. One has to consider this as a rebuilding year for the Titans in which the countdown for Jake Locker to take over at quarterback has already begun ticking down. The Ravens should have no problem even on the road in this one, and I would take them even with a bigger line. The 5.5 points seems on the low end considering the talent disparity here, and I intend to take advantage of it. In addition, the Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 as a favorite, and undefeated ATS in their last 4 as a favorite on the road. The Titans meanwhile are a paltry 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games, and 4-12 in their last 16 against a team with a winning record. Baltimore takes over control of their division with an easy win here.
Yes, the Cowboys game had an even worse ending than Entourage on Sunday night, but let’s not discount the fact that Jerry Jones’ boys brought the game to the powerful New York Jets for three and a half quarters, which is no easy feat. In other words, the Cowboys are better than their 0-1 record indicates, much the same as San Francisco’s win last week doesn’t necessarily reflect the strength (or weakness) of their team. The 49ers scraped by the mediocre Seahawks in spite of the weak performance by their quarterback Alex Smith. If not for Ted Ginn’s kickoff and punt return heroics, the result of the game would have been decidedly different. This line seems to be a case of the public putting too much stock into the records rather than the quality of the teams. Yes, Tony Romo needs to prove he can mentally recover from giving the game away last Sunday night, but I’d still take Romo even in a fragile mental state over Alex Smith any day. I’d also take Dallas’ weapons over the meager 49ers offensive attack, as Dez Bryant showed that he is ready to build off an impressive rookie season, while Miles Austin remains a top 10 league receiver. Felix Jones wasn’t lights out at running back last week, but still is a big improvement over the aging Marion Barber, whom he had to share the backfield duties with last year. For San Francisco, if they are to get anything going offensively, it needs to go through their own running back in Frank Gore. Gore had a disappointing week one, rushing for only 59 yards. The Cowboys defense effectively shut down the Jets run game last week, and could make life difficult for Gore this time round. Although they are on the road, I like Dallas to rebound from last week’s heartbreaking loss with a convincing win in San Francisco, as the 49ers simply aren’t good enough to be sporting a 2-0 record. Dallas is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games, and 4-1 in their last 5 on the road. Meanwhile, the 49ers are 0-7-1 in their last 8 as an underdog of a field goal or less, and 1-6 ATS after a straight up win the week before. Dallas should seek redemption here, as both teams will leave the field with matching 1-1 records.
The Colts got their first taste of life without Peyton Manning last week, and it wasn’t pretty. The Colts got steamrolled by Houston last week to the tune of 34-7. Kerry Collins was about as good as people thought he’d be, which is to say, not good at all. In all fairness, the man had only a couple of weeks to learn the playbook, and should see some gradual improvement as the weeks go by. Still, Collins is restricted in what he is capable of, and simply is not capable of leading a particularly productive offense. Reggie Wayne still looked good last week, catching the ball for 100 yards, but Indy has gone from one of the most feared offenses in the AFC to a team that will struggle to put up 20 points every week. The Browns were anything but impressive in their own right last week, losing to expected basement dwellers Cincinnati, who were led by rookie Andy Dalton and journeyman Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback. If the Browns defense couldn’t stop that gruesome twosome, one has to question the validity to the claims that Cleveland are going to be a winning team. Still, the Colts running defense is appalling, and Peyton Hillis is still a beast despite an underwhelming total yards total last week. Watching some of the game last week, its clear that taking down Hillis individually is a fruitless endeavor, and he should give Indy’s defense headaches all game long. Browns quarterback Colt McCoy continued to make positive strides last week, and while he is not a world beater, McCoy is a capable game manager, and has some decent weapons in tight end Ben Watson, and wide receiver Mohammed Mossaquoi. This shouldn’t be a particularly enjoyable game to watch (unless you have Hillis on your fantasy team) but the Browns should be capable of getting a win against the hapless Colts. The Browns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 as a road favorite, while the Colts are 0-6 ATS versus teams with a losing record and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 at home. Back the Browns to win an ugly one.
The Texans made a statement with their dominating win against Indianapolis in week one, staking a claim as the favorites to win a wide open AFC South. With the Colts hamstringed without their leader Peyton Manning, and the Jaguars and Titans failing to impress anyone, the division is Houston’s to lose. It is games against decent but not stellar competition like the Dolphins that are the ones Houston needs to win if they are to be taken seriously as one of the elite AFC teams. They certainly are not without their offensive firepower. Even without star rusher Arian Foster in week one, the Texans put up 34 points, including 167 rushing yards, 116 of which came from rookie Ben Tate. Foster is expected to play this week, which is not good news for the Dolphins defense. Tate provides a nice complement to Foster though, as Houston may wish to ease the pro bowler back with a reduced workload. In the air, the Texans boast one of the best receivers in the entire league in Andre Johnson, who is quarterback Matt Schaub’s favorite target. Johnson is accompanied by wideout Owen Daniels who is healthy again, and Jacoby Jones who will eventually have the breakout year everyone’s been calling for several seasons now. Meanwhile, the Dolphins let Tom Brady and the Patriots put up record breaking numbers on Monday night, and there is nothing to show that Matt Schaub and an equally powerful Texans offense can’t produce similar stats. Reggie Bush looked great in the first quarter but seemed to tire, as he is not used to being an every down back. Chad Henne was better than many thought he would be, and he has an adequate if not especially exciting group of receivers led by Brandon Marshall, Davonne Bess and Brian Hartline. The Dolphins should be competitive in most of the games they play, but don’t seem to quite have what it takes on either side of the ball to be a serious wildcard threat. Houston are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 in games after allowing fewer than 250 total yards in their previous outing. Meanwhile, Miami are 0-4 ATS in their last 4, and have only won 3 of their last 17 ATS in games in the month of September. Houston won’t have quite the cakewalk that they did in week one, but should still have no problem dispatching of the Dolphins by more than 3 points.