Now things get interesting.
After a few big surprises in Week 1, the next slate of NFL games offers plenty of intrigue. With blowout losses and impact injuries comes bigger spreads and some odd favourites in Week 2. And all of that means harder decisions when picking against the spread.
Below you’ll find picks against the spread for each game. So read on, and keep checking back throughout the season as we’ll be doing this on Friday each week.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7) at Buffalo Bills
The Pick: Chargers
Whether or not the Bills made the right choice by starting Josh Allen is up for debate, but I don’t seeing it making much of an impact against a Chargers team that racked up 540-plus yards in last week’s loss to the Chiefs.
Houston Texans (-2) at Tennessee Titans
The Pick: Texans
Week 1 went badly for Tennessee: A seven-hour game (thanks a lot, lightning) finished in a loss with both Marcus Mariota and Delanie Walker suffering injuries. Mariota will likely play against Houston, but it might be another tough day against the Texans’ pass rush.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3)
The Pick: Jets
While it was hard to get a read on Miami due to the lengthy lightning delays in Week 1, the Jets were dominant against Detroit on Monday. For that reason and New York’s home-field advantage, I like the Jets.
Indianapolis Colts at Washington (-6)
The Pick: Washington
After an impressive win in Arizona last week, 65 percent bettors are going with Washington this week and I tend to agree with them. Alex Smith seemed to transition seamlessly into Washington’s offence while the Colts have plenty of issues despite Andrew Luck’s play.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-6)
The Pick: Panthers
Both of these teams are dealing with major injury issues — Atlanta on defence, Carolina offensively — and I expect this to be a tight, low-scoring game.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-1)
The Pick: Vikings
Got to go with the Vikings here, even if Aaron Rodgers starts. Minnesota gave Jimmy G. fits in Week 1, and will make sure a one-legged Rodgers is uncomfortable all day long.
The Pick: Eagles
It’s highly unlikely the Bucs repeat the Fitz-magic we saw in New Orleans, especially against a top-notch Eagles defence. Tampa is also dealing with injuries on defence, so Nick Foles could take a step towards last January’s post-season form.
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints (-9)
The Pick: Saints
I usually stay away from spreads these big, so avoid this game if you can. However, the Saints will be looking to avenge that embarrassing Week 1 loss and it’s hard to see the Browns being able to keep up if Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara go off.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
The Pick: Chiefs
One thing is for certain about this game: It’s going to be high-scoring, so take the over. Given how Week 1 unfolded, the spread is a bit surprising and it’s hard to pick against the Chiefs’ electric offence.
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
The Pick: 49ers
How do you pick the Lions on the road after Monday night’s pitiful performance at home? You don’t. I like Jimmy Garoppolo to bounce back nicely from a tough test against Minnesota with a convincing win against Detroit.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-13)
The Pick: Rams
Again, big spreads are tough to guarantee but the Rams are tough to pick against. Arizona had major troubles scoring last week, and even in a tight game against Oakland on Monday, L.A. ended up winning by 20.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-6)
The Pick: Raiders
Derek Carr and the Raiders imploded late against L.A. in Week 1, but kept it close for most of the game. Oakland may not beat Denver, but I like Jon Gruden’s team to keep it close.
New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars (EVEN)
The Pick: Jaguars
The line on this game has moved from -2.5 in favour of New England to even money. The Jaguars’ defence is still as good as advertised, especially in the front seven, and if there’s any formula to beat Tom Brady it’s overwhelming the G.O.A.T. with pressure. I predict that happens, and I predict AFC title game revenge for Jacksonville.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
The Pick: Giants
There’s no sugar-coating it: The Cowboys offence was awful last week. On the other sideline, Big Blue hung tough with Jacksonville and there’s good reason to like Pat Shurmur’s team to come out on top on Sunday night.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-3.5)
The Pick: Bears
This is a defining game for Matt Nagy’s Bears: How does Chicago rebound after blowing it Sunday night against Green Bay? I like them to bounce back against a Seahawks team that surrendered six sacks and three turnovers in Denver last week.