Thursday, September 8, 2016

2016 NFL Week 2 Picks

The last couple of seasons, my weekly posts have faded down the stretch due to priorities with work and school, so I'm going to change things up a bit this year and only highlight a handful of picks each week that I at least have some sort of confidence in after going much more in depth in my season preview. Due to a lack of injury information on most teams earlier in the week, I won't always have picks for the dreaded Thursday games, but I had the Jets in that surprising shootout.

Giants -4 versus the Saints

It'll take more than that to stop OBJ.
The Cowboys' usual keep away tactics didn't let the Giants get their explosive offense into rhythm, limiting them to a minuscule 54 total plays in just 23:17 of possession, but New York is in a great spot this week at home against a bad Saints defense that lost their top corner Delvin Breux while giving up 35 points last week. The Giants lost this matchup 52-49 in New Orleans last year at the last minute, but Drew Brees has been mortal on the road in recent season, with a 288.1 yards per game average and 9-6 touchdown to interception ratio away from home compared to 356.6 YPG and a 23-5 ratio in the Superdome last year. It will be hard to match last year's jaw-dropping numbers, but New Orleans natives Eli Manning (30/41 for 350 yards, 6 touchdowns, and no picks) and Odell Beckham (caught 8 of 9 targets for 130 yards and 3 scores) should have no trouble carving up this defense again.

Texans -1 versus the Chiefs

After getting punked at home by these Chiefs in their first and last games of the 2015 season, you know the Texans likely had this game circled on their calendars. The offense is drastically different now with their change at the skill positions, and their banged up line won't have to worry about blocking Justin Houston this time as a part of a defense that gave up 21 first half points before the opponent's star receiver went down. Although I think Kansas City's higher scoring offense could be for real for a team that should be better as the season goes on, I can't take them on the road in a preview of another possible playoff meeting after needing a dramatic overtime comeback at home against a lesser opponent.

Jaguars +3 at the Chargers

The team that the Chiefs came back against need to rebound from the gut-wrenching loss on the scoreboard and the loss of Keenan Allen, who tragically tore ACL after already racking up 6 catches for 63 yards before halftime in what was set to be a monster season. I don't think they will against a hungry Jaguars team that similarly lost their opener in dramatic fashion to a better opponent. They kept the Packers in check with just 294 total yards, and T.J. Yeldon should find more room to run against a Chargers defense that coughed up 155 rushing yards on 32 attempts. With some more balance on offense, I like Jacksonville's chances to close it out and win outright.
Yeldon had an impressive touchdown run with Chris Ivory out.
Bears -3 versus the Eagles

#2 overall pick Carson Wentz had an impressive debut after missing most of the preseason with a rib injury, but you have to wonder just how much of that you have to take with a grain of salt considering that he was facing the Browns and probably the worst roster in the league. The Bears secondary isn't a ton better, but their front seven should give him more challenging looks under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The Eagles defense gave up 120 rushing yards on just 21 attempts, so this is a good opportunity for Jeremy Langford to continue to be a workhorse 'back after dominating the backfield touches 19 to 1 in the opener. Chicago held a 14-10 halftime lead on the road against a playoff team, and they should be able to avoid a second half collapse at home against a team that will be without their number two receiving threat, tight end Zach Ertz.

Last week: 10-6

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