Folks, I’m battling right now. I’m scratching and clawing for every breath I take, fighting tooth and nail for every step. I’m sick, and it’s no fun. It’s compounded when games like the one that took place last night are thrust upon me. Both those teams stink out loud. After his first few carries, I was ready to dedicate this section to proclaiming Christian McCaffery the best white running back of all time (still may be true), but then he got like three yards the rest of the game. Cam looks, umm… let’s just move on from that before the snipers the NFL hired get loose fingers. The Bucs are just always slightly less enjoyable to watch than you’d think they’d be. Maybe they just haven’t meshed with Bruce Arians yet or something. I don’t know. Another thing, why does the NFL insist on scheduling games in hurricane/tropical storm areas during hurricane/tropical storm season? Particularly in NFC South stadiums that don’t have roofs. Every game gets delayed because-surprise!-there’s always inclement weather. Whatever. Week 2’s got some real duds and some potentially good games that will likely become duds. Let’s get into it. All lines from Bovada.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)
I don’t want to pat myself too hard on the back for correctly predicting what would happen for the league’s two most predictable teams, but man did I nail these two picks. Steelers are just as cowardly and inept as always, and the Seahawks are completely incapable of playing in a game decided by more than one score. So where does that leave them this week? Well, if there’s anything Mike Tomlin is known for, it’s making savvy adjustments on the fly, so I’m sure he’ll have something cooked up. Or they’ll just do what they did last week and completely play into Seattle’s hands.
Pick: Seahawks +4
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-3)
Know what I’m already sick of? Hearing that Kirk Cousins went 8-10 for 98 yards last week. Hey, want to know Kirk Cousins’ stat line from last week? He went 8-10 for 98 yards. How about that? Pretty crazy. Almost as crazy as Kirk Cousins going 8-10 for 98 yards. Know what else is crazy? Aaron Rodgers has a defense now. He doesn’t have do it all on his own (“it” in this case being relentlessly throwing the ball out of bounds, losing before they’re supposed to in the playoffs, and alienating his family and “friends”). Talk about a wild development. Not quite as wild as Kirk Cousins going 8-10 for 98 yards. Something about NFC North storylines really gets under my skin.
Pick: Vikings +3
New England Patriots (-19.5) at Miami Dolphins
This might be the highest line I’ve ever seen in the NFL, but that’s what happens when the Super Bowl champions beat a team by 30 then face a team that was already considered the worst in the league coming into the season before losing by 49 points in week one. Now, I’ve never picked against the Pats here, and I’m not about to start now. But it’s established canon that the Pats struggle in Miami, and I refuse to believe that the Dolphins are really some JV squad with no hope against anyone. Pats losing a Miami game is becoming the new “Pressure Brady Up The Middle,” though, and it’s making me think the Pats win by 50. Going out on a limb, I know. Also, needless to say, the Pats news from last week got a lot less fun in the last few days.
Pick: Pats -19.5
Dallas Cowboys (-6) at Washington Redskins
Is Dak now the best QB in the league? It’s hard to say, but probably not. But he’ll get to put up some more big stats this week because the Redskins stink. Cowboys hype will soon reach critical mass.
Pick: Cowboys -6
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
Here’s a rarity: two of the top five in the official Brian’s Den Helmet Rankings facing off (1. Bengals 2. Rams 3. 49ers 4. Raiders 5. Steelers 6. Chiefs 7. Chargers 8. Cowboys 9. Browns 10. Packers) (Notice my lack of bias. If it was still Pat Patriot this ranking would be much different, though). Andy Dalton is currently on pace for 6,600 yards. Will he reach it? Who could say???
Pick: Bengals -1.5
Los Angeles Chargers -3 at Detroit Lions
Wouldn’t it be weird if the Lions ever made the Super Bowl? Like there’s a lot of teams where it’d be weird to see them playing for a title. Chargers, for instance. But it’d be Weird to see the Lions. Just some food for thought. Kind of love them this week, though. You don’t bring the West Coast Cali Brah mentality into the Motor City and come out with a win, even if Matt Patricia is the opposing coach. You get some Little Caesars and Coney Dogs in big Phil’s system and anything could happen.
Pick: Lions +3
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-3)
I realize I should probably update the Titans’ color but there’s more than enough navy colored teams already. They can stay light blue for posterity’s sake. No one had to be happier that Andrew Luck retired than the Titans, who went 0-11(!) against him. They’ll celebrate their newfound freedom buy losing to the Colts.
Pick: Colts +3
Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens (-13)
The “look at all these fools who said Lamar Jackson should play receiver” straw man argument is so convincing that now I’m thinking that there really was a huge group of people saying that he should change position and not just one old clueless guy who’s been wrong about almost everything for a decade and a half. But yeah, turns out the guy who’s been good at playing QB at every level can have good games at QB. Crazy. Not quite as crazy as Kirk Cousins going 8-10 for 98 yards, but still crazy. They always say when it comes to the truly great ones, you know right away. And I can confidently say that after one week, Kyler Murray is a GREAT backdoor cover guy.
Pick: Cardinals +13
Buffalo Bills (-1.5) at New York Giants
Can I make a weird admission? I kind of love foot cramps. I don’t know what it says about me and I’m not too keen on finding out, but that pain you get when your foot just gets stuck in a ball? I live for that.
Pick: Bills -1.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-8.5)
I’m so ready for the Gardner Minshew era. Need a Mike Leach QB to excel in the league like I need air to breathe. If only he wasn’t on the Jaguars and didn’t play with a roster of 52 other players who completely lose their composure at the slightest hint of adversity. But hey, they were in the AFC Championship game that one time. I know the Texans are pretty good, but they shouldn’t be favored by 8.5 against anyone. Especially not during the great Minshew-Watson duel of 2019.
Pick: Jags +8.5
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) at Oakland Raiders
Are the Raiders back? If they lose this game by less than 40, the answer may be yes.
Pick: Chiefs -7.5
Chicago Bears (-3) at Denver Broncos
Pick: Bears -3
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2)
Remember the last time these two played? Pretty quiet, uneventful game, particularly the end. I’m so out on whiny Saints fans, and it’s different than being bitter about the league railroading the Pats at every turn because it was just a blown call. Like, your team still could have won the game afterward. The league didn’t force Drew Brees to throw a pick in overtime. Get over it. Rams by a thousand.
Pick: Rams -2
Philadelphia Eagles (-2) at Atlanta Falcons
Why is this matchup always in primetime? Feel like it’s been a night game every time it happens. And this isn’t gonna be a good game. Eagles are way better. So much so that I feel like I’m missing something with this -2. It’s like stealing. Whatever, I’ll take the bait. Falcons o-line and defense are swiss cheese.
Pick: Eagles -2
Cleveland Browns (-7) at New York Jets
Earlier in the week, this would have been the biggest lock Jets win of all time, but now Trevor Siemien is starting and Le’veon Bell is kind of hurt. Browns completely fell apart last week, but so much so that you can almost flush it and call it an aberration (almost. It’s still the Browns). Baker and his imaginary haters will have the boys fired up to play on Monday night. Not even the Browns can blow this, right? Right???
Pick: Browns -7