The NFL Week 2 schedule already features some very important games with Chiefs-Jaguars, Ravens-Bengals, and Raiders-Bills after the top 3 AFC contenders all lost in Week 1.
With help from the OddsTrader computer picks, we are looking at 3 of our favorite picks found at the top sportsbooks for Week 2 after going 3-0 with Week 1’s selections.
- Chargers-Titans Under 45.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)
- Packers-Falcons Over 40.5 (-109) at Unibet
- Ravens +3.5 (-117) at BetRivers (check our BetRivers Review)
From Shootout to Struggle for Chargers?
The Chargers are coming off a tough home loss to the Dolphins, where they were torched by the passing game. They should face a much different opponent in the Titans, who struggled to throw in New Orleans and kept settling for field goals in a 16-15 loss.
The Chargers are a 3-point road favorite with a total of 45.5 points.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Nissan Stadium
Kellen Moore Pumps up Running Game
It is hard to say the Chargers did a bad job in Week 1 when the new-look offense under coordinator Kellen Moore scored 34 points and had just the third 200-yard rushing game of the Justin Herbert era. The Chargers had no turnovers as well.
Usually, when a team is home and does those things (34 points, 200 rushing yards, no turnovers), they win the game (165-2 in NFL history), but the Chargers have the 2nd loss on that list.
Expect a different look this week, as the Titans love to shut the run down and force teams to pass. The Chargers should be fine with Herbert taking on more responsibility as his receivers are still healthy. But with a potentially one-dimensional attack, it could be a much lower-scoring game for the Chargers.
Can Ryan Tannehill Bounce Back?
Ryan Tannehill threw 3 interceptions and missed several big plays in New Orleans. He found DeAndre Hopkins more in the 2nd half, but this connection is nowhere near as lethal as Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill, who dominated the Chargers with pinpoint throws and amazing speed the Titans lack.
Instead, the Titans will look to attack with Derrick Henry and protect the ball better. The Chargers did fine against the run last week, but they may be happy to face the Titans now as Tannehill lacks the weapons to really take it to them. These teams played in a 17-14 final last year, won by the Chargers after Tannehill tried to play through injury.
The low score from the computer may be shocking when the Chargers are coming off a 36-34 game, but it makes sense when you think of the huge change in style with the Titans. This game is also in Tennessee as an early body clock game for the team from Los Angeles. It could be a slow start and a game with fewer possessions if the Titans can run and the Chargers throw a lot of short passes.
Mike Vrabel has coached against the Chargers 3 times and the games ended 17-14, 23-20, and 20-19. We like this to be another low-scoring, close affair – right in the Titans’ wheelhouse as they will not want to get into a passing shootout.
Score Prediction: Titans 20 – Chargers 18
NFL Pick: Under 45.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Points Come from the Running Backs in Atlanta
The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons had big days from the running back position in Week 1 with Aaron Jones, Bijan Robinson, and Tyler Allgeier all having big days for their teams. That makes the job easier for young, inexperienced quarterbacks Jordan Love and Desmond Ridder.
The Packers are a 1-point road favorite with a total of 40.5 points.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Green Bay Still Owns Chicago
We need to be careful about overreacting to Green Bay’s Week 1 win in Chicago. Yes, this team still owns the Bears, and yes, they may still have the better passer at quarterback as Love outplayed Justin Fields.
But coach Matt LaFleur is well-versed at owning the Bears, and Chicago did fail to do significant upgrades to a roster that ranked last in passing and last against the pass and scoring in 2022.
The Falcons at least brought in many defensive veterans, and they forced the Panthers into 3 big turnovers last week. Love also had some big YAC plays on short throws to Jones, so his stat line was one of the more misleading ones from Week 1. But Love’s play was encouraging, especially with No. 1 wideout Christian Watson missing the game for another injury.
Bank on Bijan for Rookie of the Year?
Did you see how the Detroit Lions faced criticism for not using rookie back Jahmyr Gibbs more in the opener? The Falcons faced no such criticism, because they went to Bijan Robinson on 13 of their first 28 plays against Carolina.
The rookie showed great skills on his first NFL touchdown, breaking 3 tackles that most backs would not have broken. He was involved on the ground and as a receiver, though 2nd-year back Tyler Allgeier ended up with more touches in the end (18 to 16).
The Falcons did not throw much, allowing Desmond Ridder to complete only 15-of-18 passes for 115 yards. He had more completions to himself (1 on a pass deflected to him) than he had to No. 1 wideout Drake London.
After the way the Packers dropped 38 points in Chicago, the Falcons are going to need to be fonder of the pass this week to keep up. Atlanta was only 2-for-10 on 3rd down and had 221 yards of offense.
Carolina could have easily scored more than 10 on the Falcons if not for the turnovers. The Falcons also held some things back with the pass. Arthur Smith has to recognize this team is not going that far without throwing more than 18 passes. At least we hope that is the case, because he pampered Ridder a lot in Week 1.
The computer prediction sees a very tight game, but we like the score going over as both teams have a real shot to break 20 points in this one. It should be a solid NFC game between two playoff hopefuls with young quarterbacks. Watson (hamstring) getting back in the lineup would also help the over, but as the Packers showed last week, they can move the ball without him too.
Score Prediction: Packers 23 – Falcons 23
NFL Pick: Over 40.5 (-109) at Unibet
It Might Get Harder for Joe Burrow’s Bengals After Week 1 Flop
Cincinnati was one of Week 1’s biggest flops in a 24-3 loss to Cleveland where Joe Burrow did not even break 85 passing yards. The Ravens cruised to a 25-9 win over Houston, but they did unfortunately lose No. 1 running back J.K. Dobbins to a torn Achilles.
The Bengals are a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 46.5 points.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Paycor Stadium
In case people forgot, the Ravens were leading the AFC North in December in each of the last 2 seasons before Lamar Jackson was injured and never returned the rest of the season. Cincinnati won the AFC North both times and also knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs after forcing a fumble on backup Tyler Huntley’s quarterback sneak at the goal line.
This is a revenge game for Jackson, who was not spectacular in running his new offense against the Texans, but he did look sharp with new wideout Zay Flowers, who caught 9-of-10 targets for 78 yards. It was a great effort on a day where tight end Mark Andrews, the real No. 1 target in Baltimore, was out with injury.
The Ravens just cannot seem to escape injuries, and they lost their best back Dobbins to an Achilles injury. Fortunately, they still have fine replacements like Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, not to mention Jackson’s own rushing contributions (38 yards and 3 first downs against Houston).
As long as Jackson is healthy, the Ravens have a good chance and can take a big step forward in reclaiming the AFC North with a win that drops the Bengals to 0-2 in the division this year.
What’s with Joe Burrow?
We know Joe Burrow likes to celebrate wins with cigars, but does he prepare for season openers with bottles of tequila? Burrow’s 3 lowest passer ratings in games in his NFL career are all Week 1 games, and none were lower than the 52.2 he had last week in Cleveland.
Burrow became just the 8th quarterback since 1940 to have a game where he threw the ball more than 30 times and failed to pass for more than 82 yards. Unlike last year’s Week 1 dud when he had 5 turnovers and 7 sacks against Pittsburgh, Burrow was not able to move the ball or put up any touchdowns in this game.
There could be a few things at play here:
- Burrow is now 1-5 against Cleveland, a defensive front led by Myles Garrett that has owned him in his career and upgraded its talent in the offseason.
- Burrow’s calf injury from July that cut his training camp short is worse than imagined, and maybe he should have delayed his season debut.
- The combo of rain and rust made for a messy day for passing, as Cleveland’s numbers with Deshaun Watson were not that impressive either.
Time will tell what happened to this offense in Week 1, but it is not going to get any easier with another defense that knows this unit so well in the division. Despite the big numbers Burrow had against the Ravens in 2021 (941 passing yards in 2 games), he was not impressive in the 3 matchups in 2022, throwing for 209-to-217 yards in each game, and he only had a single touchdown pass in each game.
With Burrow not at 100%, it would seem unlikely that he is going to turn into a dominant passer against another tough defense that knows him and his receivers well.
The Ravens were so close to taking a 24-17 lead in the 4th quarter of the playoffs in Cincinnati, and that was with Tyler Huntley at quarterback. When you add Lamar Jackson, Zay Flowers, and the team hopefully can get Mark Andrews and corner Marlon Humphrey back for Sunday, and this looks like a better team than Cincinnati right now.
Baltimore has had a multi-score lead in the last 12 full starts for Jackson. The Bengals took advantage of Jackson’s injury the last 2 years. This is time for Baltimore to return the favor and make another Sunday very difficult for Burrow. Trust the Ravens to cover on the road, if not win the game outright.
Score Prediction: Bengals 20 – Ravens 18
NFL Pick: Ravens +3.5 (-117) at BetRivers