Week 2 NFL panel picks: Cowboys a popular road underdog

Cam Stewart and Drew Livingstone have a tough time handicapping Cowboys vs. Chargers in Week 2, reluctantly picking the Cowboys after how good their offence looked against the Bucs.

Throughout the 2021 season, a panel of Sportsnet’s NFL contributors will preview each week’s slate of games from a gambling perspective. Staff writer/host Donnovan Bennett, staff writers Emily Sadler and Mike Johnston, plus fantasy writers Andy McNamara and Matt Marchese will pick one FAVOURITE, one UNDERDOG, one OVER, and one UNDER, including their personal lock of the week, as they attempt to beat the odds

Opening week is in the books and we saw a handful of surprising results. In fact, Week 1 saw 12 of 16 underdogs cover the spread with nine dogs winning outright, while the under finished 9-7.

The Week 2 schedule begins with a Thursday NFC East meeting between the Giants and Football Team. It concludes with Aaron Rodgers and his Packers looking to rebound from an embarrassing loss when they host the Lions.

Sandwiched between those two featured contests is an anticipated AFC East showdown between the Bills and Dolphins, a potential shootout with the Cowboys visiting the Chargers, and a Sunday nighter that has Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs facing Lamar Jackson’s Ravens.

Six games this week have totals of at least 50 points and three teams are favoured by double digits. Does that mean we’re going to see a half-dozen shootouts and a handful of ugly blowouts?

Here are the Week 2 picks.

Donnovan Bennett, staff writer/host
2021 record: 3-1-0
Last week: 3-1-0
Locks: 0-1-0

🏈 Cowboys at Chargers OVER 55
🏈 Falcons at Buccaneers UNDER 52
🏈 Chiefs (-3.5) at Ravens
🔒 Eagles (+3.5) vs. 49ers

The Niners are about to witness why they need to turn their team over to Trey Lance because the Eagles are about to show them what could be at their disposal if they start a QB who is a master of the zone read run/pass option game like Jalen Hurts. Hurts is coming off his third career game with 250 yards passing and 50 yards rushing. With San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert now done for the year after just three plays, Philadelphia has the superior QB and superior running game, which will help them nullify the 49ers’ dominant pass rush.

Emily Sadler, staff writer
2021 record: 2-2-0
Last week: 2-2-0
Locks: 1-0-0

🏈 Rams at Colts OVER 47.5
🏈 Raiders at Steelers UNDER 48
🏈 Cowboys (+3) at Chargers
🔒 Rams (-4) at Colts

The Chargers of 2020 lived life on the edge – nine of their games, including five of seven total wins, were decided by a single score. Considering their tight-margin win over Washington in Week 1, we could see more of the same this year. If they beat the Cowboys, whose slick passing game came out flying against the defending champions in the season opener, I’m counting on it being close. Really close. As for my lock, I’m picking on the Colts again. That's what happens when you start the season with back-to-back matchups against the NFC West, unfortunately. Let’s see what else Matthew Stafford can do at the helm of that Rams offence.

Mike Johnston, staff writer
2021 record: 2-2-0
Last week: 2-2-0
Locks: 1-0-0

🏈 Saints at Panthers OVER 44.5
🏈 Titans at Seahawks UNDER 54
🏈 Colts (+4) vs. Rams
🔒 Cardinals (-4.5) vs. Vikings

**Sniff sniff** This line stinks. Be aware. I’m skeptical in how confident I am in the Cards here. You’d think Arizona would be favoured by closer to a touchdown at home after how both teams played last week. The fact that more than 70 per cent of the public is on the Cardinals yet the line has shifted slightly in Minnesota’s direction on some books has me extra wary of this number. However, in an example of gambling cognitive dissonance, I’m staying with Kyler & Co., especially with Chandler Jones and Isaiah Simmons balling out on defence. Either oddsmakers are going to regret it after another big Arizona win, or it’ll serve as a valuable early-season reminder that fading the public is often a wise decision.

Andy McNamara, analyst/fantasy sports writer
2021 record: 2-2-0
Last week: 2-2-0
Locks: 1-0-0

🏈 Washington (-3.5) vs. Giants
🏈 49ers at Eagles OVER 50
🏈 Cowboys at Chargers UNDER 55
🔒 Lions (+10.5) at Packers

The Lions are far from perfect, but there's no way I'm spotting Green Bay a double-digit victory after that stink bomb they dropped against New Orleans to start the year. I'd expect Aaron Rodgers to use that extra chip now firmly planted on his shoulder to rebound at home. However, Jared Goff and the Detroit offence are good enough to put up some garbage time points late and keep the final score respectable like we saw in Week 1. Packers win with the Lions covering.

Matt Marchese, radio host/producer/fantasy football writer
2021 record: 1-3-0
Last week: 1-3-0
Locks: 0-1-0

🏈 Chiefs (-3.5) at Ravens
🏈 Cowboys (+3) at Chargers
🏈 Falcons at Buccaneers UNDER 52
🔒 Bills at Dolphins OVER 48

In the last five Josh Allen starts against the Dolphins, the total has been over 50 and these are two teams that are looking to vastly improve on mediocre offensive showings in Week 1. The last time these two teams played was Week 17 and the Bills put up 56 points en route to a blowout win in which Allen had three touchdown passes in the first half before giving way to Matt Barkley.

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