Week 2 in the NFL presents some interesting matchups after the AFC’s top 3 Super Bowl contenders (Chiefs, Bengals, Bills) all lost. Only 3 games feature a battle of 1-0 teams, and few would have guessed they would be Packers-Falcons, 49ers-Rams, and Jets-Cowboys (after Aaron Rodgers was lost on the team’s 4th play).
- Lions Over 27 Points (-115) at Bet365
- Ravens-Bengals Under 46.5 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)
- Commanders-Broncos Both Score 15 Points (+100) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)
Broncos and Commanders to Score More
While Sean Payton lost his Denver debut by a 17-16 final just like Nathaniel Hackett did a year ago, there were more encouraging signs this time. In Washington, Sam Howell had an uneven performance as the team’s new starter, but the Commanders were able to close in the 4th quarter to get a win over Arizona. Still, neither team did much to appease skeptics.
The Broncos are a 3.5-point home favorite with a total of 39 points, but we think there is a good game prop bet for the scoring in this matchup.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 04:25 PM EDT at Empower Field at Mile High
Denver’s Misleading 17-16 Final
The Broncos losing 17-16 feels like a gut punch in Sean Payton’s debut a year after Denver had the lowest-scoring team in the league despite trading for Russell Wilson. However, there were positive signs.
Denver’s game with the Raiders saw each team only have 6 offensive possessions each. This is so abnormally low that it very well might be the fewest combined possessions (12) in a game in NFL history. That skews the final scoring numbers when the possessions are that low.
Denver averaged 51.2 yards per drive, which would be an NFL record with ease if it sustained that for a season. The 2.67 points per drive would also be an elite figure.
When you keep that in mind, Denver’s offense was not bad in Week 1. It just lacked greatness in a 2nd half that saw the team miss a 55-yard field goal and not be able to get the offense going with a 17-16 deficit late.
But if the Broncos can move the ball like they did in Week 1, they should find a way to crack 20 points or better this week.
Washington’s Rough Time with Arizona
It felt like things were shaping up for quarterback Sam Howell and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to have a big day together in running this new Commanders offense. What better way to start the year than a home game with a talent-lacking team expected to land the No. 1 pick?
Well, the Cardinals came to win, and despite fielding a no-name defense, they sacked Howell 6 times as his inexperience shined. In the 2nd quarter alone, Howell was intercepted, Antonio Gibson lost a fumble in the red zone, Howell took a 3rd-down sack to knock the team out of field goal range.
Then, the worst play was Howell fumbling and having it returned for a touchdown shortly before halftime.
That quarter alone saw the Commanders leave a solid 10 points or more on the board with bad mistakes. Fortunately, the team did rebound for a 20-16 win, but it was not pretty.
But with Denver, the 6 possessions for the Raiders meant the Denver defense played poorly and had a hard time getting Jimmy Garoppolo off the field in his team debut. Bieniemy is used to scheming for Denver’s defense having played them twice a year with Kansas City.
He will hopefully have a grasp on what Howell needs to do to not take so many sacks against a Denver defense that lost some key pass rushers from last year.
These teams played in low-scoring games last week, but they absolutely had the ball movement and the skill players to do more scoring this week. Take a chance on even odds with both teams putting up at least 15 points in this one for your NFL ATS bets.
NFL Pick: Commanders-Broncos Both Score 15 Points (+100) at Bet365
Lions Get Revenge for 48-45 Over Seattle
One of the most decisive games for playoff seeding last year was Seattle’s 48-45 win in Detroit, a game where the Lions never led despite the ridiculous score. That helped the 9-8 Seahawks claim the No. 7 seed in the NFC over the 9-8 Lions, who helped Seattle in by beating Green Bay to end the regular season.
Now it is payback time as the Lions come in with 10 days rest from their upset of the Chiefs to host a Seattle team that looked awful against the lowly Rams in a 30-13 rout. The Lions are a 6-point favorite with a total of 48.5 points, but we are looking at the Detroit side of the score in this one.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Ford Field
Home Sweet Dome for Detroit
The Lions had a special season on offense when it came to home games in 2022. The 45 points against Seattle was the most the Lions scored all season, but they also had at least 27 points in 7-of-9 home games. They only hit that mark twice on the road, so this team was all about putting up the points indoors.
Jared Goff had a very unique season as he threw 23 of his 29 touchdowns at home and only 6 on the road – the largest difference in NFL history for a season with at least 25 touchdown passes.
A little Surprising
Still, it was a little surprising that the Lions only scored 14 points of offense in Kansas City with Chris Jones, by far the best defender on the Chiefs, out. If the Lions did not get a pick-six that bounced off Kadarius Toney’s hands, they may never win that game despite Goff throwing the ball fairly well and the team sticking with its new backfield.
But we know the Lions are capable of much more offensively, and Seattle should be an excellent opponent to get the most out of this unit in Week 2.
The Seahawks’ Awful Week 1 Loss
The Rams have been getting the best of Seattle for several years now, but still, no one expected 30-13 when the Rams were missing Cooper Kupp and lined up 10 random players next to Aaron Donald on defense.
Yet it happened, and Matthew Stafford carved up the Seattle secondary with 119 yards to two unheralded receivers in Tutu Atwell and rookie Puka Nacua. Just think what Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds can do to this secondary, especially if Goff has the time to throw that Stafford did from clean pockets as the Seahawks lack natural pass rushers.
Wildy enough, St. Brown was inactive for that 48-45 game last year, the only full game he missed. Even without his best target, Goff threw for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns.
For all the talk about how bad the Rams and Cardinals were going to be this year, the Seahawks played like the worst team in the NFC West in Week 1. While Pete Carroll is a veteran coach who can get a better effort in Week 2, he has not had a top 10 defense since 2016, he does not like to blitz, has no pass rusher of note, and Geno Smith has not been very good in the last 6 or so games.
It would not shock me if Detroit could approach 45 points again in this one. It would be shocking if the Seahawks got anywhere near 48. The good news is we can get solid value on a bet as long as the Lions score over 27. Look for them to pick it up from Week 1 and hit that mark at home.
NFL Pick: Lions Over 27 Points (-115) at Bet365
Ravens and Bengals Trading Blows
It looks like quarterback health is going Baltimore’s way this time in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson is ready to go for this big clash in Cincinnati after he missed the last 2 meetings. The Bengals are coming off a 24-3 loss in Cleveland that was really the most ineffective game of Joe Burrow’s career.
The Bengals are still a 3.5-point home favorite with a total of 46.5 points.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Paycor Stadium
Is Burrow Healthy?
On Sunday, Burrow became only the 8th quarterback since 1940 to throw more than 30 passes and not gain more than 82 yards. When Ryan Lindley (2012) and Chris Weinke (2001) were the last quarterbacks to do that, you know Burrow is down bad.
Sure, division games are weird, and Burrow is now 1-5 against the Browns. But after injuring his calf in July, one has to wonder if he is even healthy enough to be playing right now after missing so many practices and the preseason games.
This is not going to be an easy matchup for Burrow either. The Ravens could get top corner Marlon Humphrey back. They just held the Texans to 9 points in Week 1. Also, they really limited Burrow’s production in all 3 meetings last season after he torched a much weaker secondary in 2021.
Last season, Burrow never passed for more than 217 yards in any of the 3 games against Baltimore. He took multiple sacks in each game. His yards per pass attempt were all small numbers (6.2, 5.1, and 6.5). He did not throw multiple touchdowns in any of the games.
The games finished with totals of 36, 43, and 41 points. Oddly enough, the lowest game was the only one between Jackson and Burrow, a 19-17 win by the Ravens with 13 of the points scored in the 4th quarter.
Burrow is already in rough shape coming into this one, but the Ravens have the knowledge of dealing with this offense to make sure his slump extends to another game to start this season.
Ravens Get Easy Win but Not Everything Clicked
The Ravens did what they had to against Houston for a comfortable 25-9 win, but that is a rebuilding team with a rookie coach and quarterback. The Bengals present a tougher challenge, but this is a new offense for Jackson as he has to figure out new coordinator Todd Monken’s system and work in new receivers like rookie Zay Flowers and veteran Odell Beckham Jr.
Flowers was already good in Week 1, though Jackson did not throw any touchdowns, the team lost top running back J.K. Dobbins to a torn Achilles, and Jackson took 4 sacks on minimal pass attempts.
It also did not help that tight end Mark Andrews missed the game with a mysterious injury that popped up late in the week. Hopefully, the Ravens can get Andrews back for this important game, but it is possible the new offense will take some time to get used to for Jackson instead of him getting off to a hot start.
Scoring was simply down around the NFL in Week 1 with only 41 combined points per game. The only game where both teams scored more than 21 points was the Chargers-Dolphins shootout. If you saw the Ravens and Bengals play Sunday, you do not see them engaging in a shootout any time soon.
Bank on this being a low-scoring slugfest like the AFC North is known for and take the under. The Bengals started 0-2 last year after some low-scoring games, including a 20-17 loss to Cooper Rush and the Cowboys in Week 2, so this can linger beyond one division game.
This calf issue with Burrow should be taken seriously until he starts looking like the quarterback we thought we were getting this season.
NFL Pick: Under 46.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook