You really can’t ask for a better way to kick off a regular season. From Thursday’s opener between the Bucs and Cowboys to the “Monday Night Football” thriller in Las Vegas, Week 1 in the NFL was entertaining as it gets. It was also profitable for those who followed my locks of the week, which went 3-1-1 ATS. There was an added bonus for those who leaned heavily on the Cardinals moneyline, which we had pegged dating back to late August, as well.
With a successful Week 1 in our pockets, we’ll try to ride the momentum heading into Week 2, which features a ton of fascinating head-to-heads. Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson on “Sunday Night Football” is naturally the headliner, but don’t sleep on Cowboys-Chargers, Titans-Seahawks, and Falcons-Bucs — all games that have a total of 52 points or higher. Below, we’ll give our predictions for all those games and the rest of the Week 2 slate, starting with our locks of the week.
Locks of the Week ATS: 3-1-1
Dallas showed that they can hang with the best of them as they went toe-to-toe with the defending champion Buccaneers in the season opener. Dak Prescott looked like the quarterback who was on a record pace in 2020 prior to his ankle injury and the Cowboys defense also showed some promising signs. As they are expected to get Zack Martin back for this contest, there’s an argument to be made that this offense will be even better in Week 2. Getting three points here likely won’t last long and they’ll be playing against a Chargers team that likely won’t have much of a home-field advantage at SoFi Stadium. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Dallas-dominant crowd in L.A. given the Cowboys popularity. Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense will be a tough matchup, but Cowboys have plenty of weapons to match whatever point total they put up.
Projected score: Cowboys 28, Chargers 27
The pick: Cowboys +3
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Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore is currently a 3.5-point home dog to the Chiefs for their primetime matchup in Week 2. That’s the first time the Ravens have been more than a three-point underdog at home with Lamar Jackson as their starter. And for good reason. Jackson has yet to beat Kansas City in the three times he’s faced them in his career. In those games, Jackson has completed just 52.6% of his throws while averaging 170.3 passing yards per game. He also averages 65.3 yards on the ground and has three career fumbles (two lost) to the Chiefs. Baltimore has also been outscored in those games by a total of 22 points. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes and co. boast an offense that can quickly clear the 3.5 points and should be able to against a Ravens defense that is dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball. It also doesn’t hurt Kansas City’s chances as they are expected to have both Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark for this game as well.
Projected score: Chiefs 32, Ravens 28
The pick: Chiefs -3.5
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Urban Meyer in the NFL simply doesn’t work at the moment and the Jaguars — despite the arrival of Trevor Lawrence — continue to look like one of the bottom dwellers in the league, especially after that opening loss to the Texans. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos looked extremely sharp in Week 1 with the Denver QB finishing with a passer rating of 115.7. The veteran also continues to be an almost automatic win for bettors, owning a 35-13 ATS record as a starter. As it relates to this matchup, Bridgewater is 13-7 ATS as a favorite and 4-1 ATS as a road favorite.
Projected score: Broncos 28, Jaguars 17
The pick: Broncos -6
Don’t sleep on the Bears here. While they did lose to the Rams in the opener by 20 points, Chicago hung around more than the final score suggests. Andy Dalton largely played a down-the-middle game, and you can already see the rushing potential of Justin Fields whenever he assumes the starting job. Cincinnati had a quality overtime win over the Vikings in Week 1, but the Bears will see a clear drop in talent going from the Rams to the Bengals, which should play in their favor and keep this above a field-goal lead. I also expect Chicago’s defense to play better than what we saw vs. Los Angeles and David Montgomery continues to be a star running back who should help the Bears control time of possession. Meanwhile, Matt Nagy’s team is 7-3-1 in their last 11 home games against a team with a winning record. The Bengals come into this game with a 1-4 ATS record in their last five games following a straight-up win.
Projected score: Bears 27, Bengals 23
The pick: Bears -3
New Orleans is getting a ton of love after Jameis Winston’s five-touchdown performance in their upset win over the Packers. However, I see this being a much closer game than most people likely expect. The Saints are dealing with COVID-19 issues, which could also throw a wrench into their Week 2 plans of another blowout. As for Carolina, their defense looked solid against the Jets, totaling six sacks on the afternoon. Sam Darnold also performed well in his Panthers debut, sporting a 102 passer rating. I’m not sure if Matt Rhule’s club can go all the way and pull off an upset, but they’ll keep this within a field goal.
Projected score: Saints, 27, Panthers 24
The pick: Panthers +3.5
Rest of the bunch
Giants at Washington
Projected score: Washington 23, Giants 20
The pick: New York +3.5
Texans at Browns
Projected score: Browns 30, Texans 20
The pick: Texans +12.5
Rams at Colts
Projected score: Rams 27, Colts 21
The pick: Rams -4
Bills at Dolphins
Projected score: Bills 27, Dolphins 24
The pick: Dolphins +3.5
Patriots at Jets
Projected score: Patriots 23, Jets 17
The pick: Patriots -5.5
49ers at Eagles
Projected score: 49ers 28, Eagles 24
The pick: 49ers -3.5
Raiders at Steelers
Projected score: Steelers 27, Raiders 21
The pick: Steelers -5.5
Vikings at Cardinals
Projected score: Cardinals 30, Vikings 23
The pick: Cardinals -4.5
Falcons at Buccaneers
Projected score: Buccaneers 33, Falcons 21
The pick: Falcons +12.5
Titans at Seahawks
Projected score: Seahawks 28, Titans 20
The pick: Seahawks -5.5
Lions at Packers
Projected score: Packers 28, Lions 21
The pick: Lions +11