Friday, September 15, 2017

2017 NFL Week 2 Picks

It wasn't a great start for my picks, and I was reminded a bit of why last season I switched to only posting my preferred plays rather than the full slate. After all, I wouldn't be betting each and every game if I was actually in Vegas since some games are clear stay-aways. I am participating in a picks pool on, though, so for now, I'll continue to write a bit about why I made each pick according to the lines listed there rather than go in depth on a few.
I still can't believe Deshaun Watson ran for a 49 yard score on 3rd and freaking 15 one play removed from getting rocked from Geno Atkins. Tyler Eifert stepping out of bounds before his touchdown hurt, and now with the offense's struggles overall have leading to Bill Lazor now taking over as offensive coordinator, we'll see what this 0-2 team is really made of.

Chiefs -4.5 versus Eagles

I should have remembered how good Andy Reid is with extra time to prepare before laying the points against him last week, and even if this only 10 days rest, I like his chances against his old team back home in Arrowhead. The loss of star safety Eric Berry is devastating, but I think Kansas City can get enough of a pass rush to keep Carson Wentz from improving on his deep passes.

Titans -1.5 at Jaguars

Jacksonville's defense looked even better than I had hoped, which allowed them to take the ball out of Blake Bortles' hands and just feed Leonard Fournette. Facing a much better Tennessee offensive line, I think this will be a much more competitive game and will stick to my guns with the better quarterback here, Marcus Mariota.

Vikings +6.5 at Steelers

I think Minnesota can win straight up after their improved offensive line showed out on Monday Night Football, so I'll gladly take the points here. Pittsburgh does have the advantage of being at home against an opponent coming off a short week, but the Vikings defense should at least keep it close.

9/16 UPDATE: Sam Bradford becoming a gametime decision obviously changes things, so if the quarterback can't go, I'll be changing my pick before they lock.

Colts +7.5 versus Cardinals

I've gone back and forth and back again after Indy looked even worse than expected without Andrew Luck, but even if I think Arizona will win, the injuries are mounting too much for them to lay the points on the road given that David Johnson was placed on IR and John Brown and the left side of the offensive line were ruled out, as well. I mean, even with just a couple of weeks of practice, Jacoby Brissett can't be as bad as Scott Tolzien was last week, right?

Patriots -6.5 at Saints

This is another high line for a road team, but New England is in the enviable position of having 10 days rest against a team coming off of a short week. Bill Belichick should be able to fix the defensive breakdowns enough for Tom Brady to win a shootout that features Brandin Cooks' return to New Orleans.
These flags Cooks draws are bound to turn into scores.
Buccaneers -6.5 versus Bears

We haven't seen Tampa play yet, but we did see Chicago's mediocre passing attack look as expected even before losing Kevin White to yet another season ending injury. Losing Jerrell Freeman to a torn pec certainly doesn't help the Bears' cause either, so I'm fine going against them on the road.

Ravens -7.5 versus Browns

I don't like that this is over a touchdown, but Baltimore's defense looked even better than advertised last week and is now facing a rookie quarterback in his first road start. Buck Allen should be able to fill in for Danny Woodhead well enough for both fantasy and real life purposes.

Panthers -7.5 versus Bills

Again, the spread isn't ideal, but Buffalo is now on the road and facing an actual NFL roster after their opening win over the Jets. I wouldn't expect Carolina's defense to allow much against this limited passing game, Cam Newton should miss less throws now that he has a live game under his belt after missing nearly all of the preseason.

Raiders -13.5 versus Jets

Oakland's defense was definitely more on the boom side that I mentioned was possible in my season preview, and now they're at home against an offense devoid of talent. The only real intrigue here is whether Amari Cooper's new red zone usage will keep up or if he'll just score from further out against this secondary.

Chargers -4.5 versus Dolphins

L.A.'s offense should find more consistency now that they're facing a defense that's decidedly not Denver's in prime time. On the other side, Melvin Ingram said Jay Cutler isn't a problem for them, and I'm inclined to believe him after the pressure he generated on Monday night.
It was great seeing Keenan Allen back out there doing his thing.
Cowboys -1.5 at Broncos

Denver's defense still appeared to be vulnerable up front, so since the Dallas offensive line didn't look to miss a step with their new young starters, I think Ezekiel Elliott will continue to find success on the ground. The Cowboy defense won't have the benefit of playing the Giants without Odell Beckham every week, but they did look like they can generate pressure, which the Broncos o-line still looks like it's suceptible to.

49ers +12.5 at Seahawks

This could easily be a 14-0 game and cover, but the Seattle offensive line looked even worse than San Francisco's, making it hard to trust them to score enough against a defensive line that has some talent. The 49ers offense looked decent at times last week, so with Richard Sherman also missing practices this week, I'll take the points with such a large spread.

Redskins +2.5 at Rams

For as discombobulated Washington looked on offense without Sean McVay calling the shots, they were still right in their game until Kirk Cousins was wrongly ruled to have fumbled a ball that was returned the other way. For as good as Jared Goff looked in his first game under McVay, this will be a much truer test than the Colts were.

Packers +2.5 at Falcons

Ty Montgomery looked like he can handle the featured 'back role just fine, so with an actual running game and an improved defense, I think Aaron Rodgers can avenge their visits to Atlanta from last year and ruin the opening of the new stadium. Given that the Falcons offense wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders without Kyle Shanahan, I don't see them running away with this one like the NFC Championship Game.

Giants -4.5 versus Lions

It sounds like OBJ is going to be back to breath life into this listless offense, and Detroit's questionable front seven should be a little easier for New York to handle, especially with a threat to stretch the defense again. I also think the Giants will win the battle of the trenches on the other side of the ball, as well, with the Lions still unable to generate any semblance of a ground game.
Last week: 6-9

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