Texans -1 at Patriots
This feels like the type of game Bill Belichick somehow pulls out when the odds are stacked against him like in Week 1 at Arizona, but they had all offseason to get Jimmy Garoppolo ready for that one compared to a short week for the third round rookie , Jacoby Brissett. A good defense travels, and J.J. Watt's group will be ready to terrorize the third string quarterback who relied almost exclusively on passes at the line of scrimmage in relief last week. That will change with first team reps at practice, but it will be difficult to match points with the suddenly explosive Texans, whose new additions at the skill positions are paying off.
|Now back at defensive end, JD Clowney has been dominating|
Man, when I lose a pick, I lose BIG, with another team that shot themselves in the foot. Note to self: don't pick against your Super Bowl pick at home, no matter who's starting.
Raiders +1 at Titans
The young Raiders might have let their big, emotional opening win get to their head last week, and now the Titans are the same situation. Although Oakland's defense has been a disappointment in the early going, they do have talent on that side of the ball and could be adding first rounder safety Karl Joseph to their available players in the struggling secondary. What they really need is Khalil Mack to get his first sack or else Marcus Mariota will have plenty of time to let difficult matchup tight end Delanie Walker and smooth rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe get open.This could turn into a shootout if DeMarco Murray can get some consistency on the ground because Derek Carr's hot start with Amari Cooper is opening up the running game for Latavius Murray and their rookie running backs. The better team should be able to emerge on top despite the early kickoff on the road.
This is a tough opponent coming off 10 days rest, but the Chiefs are at home and the more complete team in my eyes. Both defensive fronts should have big days, and I think Kansas City's offensive line is better suited to get something going. Both Spencer Ware and Matt Forte have been beasts with their overall workloads, with Ware more efficient with his touches as he's emerged as a receiving threat like his veteran counterpart, and I'd expect that to continue this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick might be able to get his receiver some chunk plays, but with the way Darrelle Revis and the Jets secondary has been struggling, Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin should be able to hook up on their own big plays, as well.
Steelers -3.5 at Eagles
Carson Wentz once again didn't look like a rookie quarterback last week, but now he'll be facing a different level team in the Steelers. Antonio Brown should have his way with these corners, and if he's doubled, Ben Roethlisberger has no problem spreading the ball around. That will put pressure on Wentz, especially with Pittsburgh doing such a good job of stopping the run to make offenses one-dimensional. Conversely, DeAngelo Williams has continued to do a great job as the starting running back, and the Steelers are looking at 3-0 with Le'Veon Bell returning from suspension next week.
|This defense will put the heat on the #2 pick.|
It's kind of funny seeing the 0-2 Colts favored against a decent Chargers team, but Vegas knows how good Andrew Luck can be at home. The key for them will be whether their banged up defense can stop the run because potentially getting shutdown corner Vontae Davis back healthy will be a boost in the secondary. The Chargers lost valuable third down back Danny Woodhead to a torn ACL last week and future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates' hamstring will keep him out this week, as well. The incredibly athletic Tyrell Williams is ready to breakout across from new their go-to receiver, Travis Benjamin, but Philip Rivers is running out of options if Melvin Gordon can't keep up his strong start to the year on the ground. Luck lost Donte Moncrief to a shoulder injury for a few weeks, so he'll have to rely on Phillip Dorsett as a secondary receiver to T.Y. Hilton, although both have tough matchups against the terrific Jason Verrett on the outside and Casey Hayward in the slot, respectively. This could be a good spot to get Frank Gore and the running game going to balance the offense, and I think they'll avoid an 0-3 start.
Last week: 2-3
Season total: 12-9