NFL Betting Predictions: Week 2 Opening Line Report and Picks
Well, not great to be a football fan of one of Florida's three NFL teams right now. The Miami Dolphins are an absolute joke and probably would be a losing team in the XFL when the league starts up in February. The Fins were utterly embarrassed 59-10 at home on Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens, who are surely a good team but not quite that good.
It was 21-0 less than 11 minutes in, with Baltimore rookie Marquise Brown catching TD passes of 47 and 83 yards in the first quarter. Lamar Jackson looked like Joe Montana in completing 17 of 20 for 324 yards and five scores. The 59 points and 643 yards were Ravens franchise records (also both most allowed by Miami in a regular-season game), while the 42 first-half points were an NFL Week 1 record for a first half. Ryan Fitzpatrick was bad and Josh Rosen worse after he replaced Fitz under center for Miami. Already there are reports that "multiple" players contacted their agents afterward asking for trades. Brian Flores is going to wish he stayed as New England's defensive coordinator instead of taking over this mess as head coach.
Things were no better in Jacksonville on Sunday as the Jaguars were shredded 40-26 by Kansas City and have lost starting quarterback Nick Foles to a broken left clavicle. He was to have surgery on Monday and his return is TBA, but it's probably going to be at least six weeks. The only other quarterback on the active roster was rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew out of Washington State. He had nice numbers in completing 22 of 25 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, but keep in mind the Jaguars were well behind and that Kansas City's defense isn't exactly the 1985 Bears.
Not much to be happy about in Tampa, either (somewhat unusual all three Florida teams were at home the same day). The Bucs were 31-17 losers to the San Francisco 49ers. Bruce Arians, the supposed quarterback whisperer, was hired to fix Jameis Winston, but the former Heisman winner actually looked much worse. He was 20-for-36 for 194 yards, a TD and three picks - two returned for touchdowns.
Tampa Bay is +6.5 this Thursday at Carolina, Jacksonville is +8.5 at Houston (could change depending on what happens with the Texans on Monday), and Miami is +14.5 vs. New England. Here are some other Week 2 early lines that caught my eye. We won't touch on Thursday's game (Bucs at Panthers) or Monday's (Browns at Jets) because we will be previewing them individually here at Doc's.
Cardinals at Ravens (-13, 43): The future of the NFL quarterback might be on display here in Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray and Jackson. Both are terrific runners (and former Heisman winners) but both slight in frame, so it's somewhat concerning whether they can take such a beating by running a lot - I'll just remind you of Robert Griffin III and what happened to his career for that same reason. We talked about how good Jackson was above, while Murray started really slowly but blew up in the fourth quarter and finished 29-for-54 for 308 yards, two touchdowns and a pick in a 27-all tie with Detroit. That was a miracle tie considering Arizona was down 24-6 in the fourth. I highly doubt Murray breaks Jackson's 2018 quarterback record of 147 carries because Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is an Air Raid guy so Murray will be putting it up plenty. Murray had only three carries in Week 1 and Jackson also three. So maybe both coaches are being overly cautious in protecting their guys. Pick: Cardinals.
Bears at Broncos (pick'em. TBA): I would warn this could be a letdown game in other circumstances for the Bears because they played bitter rival Green Bay in Week 1 last Thursday night, but I promise that everyone will be fired up because the Broncos are coached by former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He was beloved in that locker room, and head coach Matt Nagy essentially left Fangio alone when it came to calling defensive plays, etc. Chicago certainly wanted to keep Fangio and offered him a nice raise, but you can't turn down your first chance at a head coaching gig. Under new DC Chuck Pagano, Chicago didn't miss a beat on that side of the ball against the Packers in a dominant effort, but the offense was putrid in a 10-3 loss. Let the questions about Mitchell Trubisky intensify! Meanwhile, Fangio's team is on a short week after visiting Oakland on Monday night in Joe Flacco's debut with the Broncos as well. Thus, this line could change depending on what happened in that game. Also why no total. Pick: Bears and love the under no matter where it's set.
Saints at Rams (-3, TBA): Clearly the marquee matchup of Week 2 and a rematch of last year's NFC title game. Probably don't have to remind anyone that the Rams should have lost that game but were the beneficiaries of quite possibly the worst missed pass interference call in NFL history late in the fourth quarter in New Orleans. Had that been called, the Saints would have had first-and-10 at around the Rams 5 with under two minutes left and would have been able to run the clock down to the final seconds and then attempted the winning field goal. Instead, they had to settle for Wil Lutz's 31-yarder with 1:41 left for a 23-20 lead. The Rams would tie on a Greg Zuerlein 48-yarder with 15 seconds left and win it on a 57-yarder early in overtime. That NFL was so embarrassed by the fallout from that missed call that coaches can now challenge on pass interference, even if it wasn't called. That seems dangerous to challenge non-calls; a bad call I can understand. The Rams looked good winning at Carolina on Sunday, while the Saints hosted Houston on Monday, so this spread could change and why no total. Pick: Rams.
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