We got the Week 1 jitters out of the way. We went 2-3 our first week on the column. It’s time for a bounce back. It’s my birthday this Sunday, and I don’t lose on my birthday.
Week 1 gave us a lot of interesting storylines. Josh Allen had four turnovers and lost a Monday night football game to the Jets after New York lost their quarterback in the first quarter. The Dallas Cowboys pitched a shutout and had the highest fantasy score outside of Tyreek Hill. The Dallas defense looks legit and may be the most dominant unit in the league.
Now the Jets coming off an epic Monday night win come into town, and they have a great defensive unit of their own. It should be an entertaining old school southwest slugfest in Dallas. Then we have an important AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Bengals. Can the Ravens force the two-time defending AFC North champs to go 0-2? Then we have Patrick Mahomes who is coming off his second September loss of his career. It’s Patty Mahomes birthday Sunday too, and he should have a big game against Jacksonville.
So, with so many games on the slate, let’s get to it.
Green Bay at Atlanta
Spread: Atlanta (-1.5)
Jordan Love silenced critics in his first career start against the Bears. Love threw for 245 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions with a depleted receiving core. The challenge gets tougher going on the road to Atlanta. Atlanta had an astounding 45% pressure rate against Carolina last weekend.
Love will be without Christian Watson and possibly Aaron Jones, and bluntly, Atlanta is just a bad matchup for Green Bay. The Green Bay defense routinely struggles against teams that use 12 or 21 personnel. Arthur Smith implements those formations more than anyone. Atlanta has a two headed running back tandem with Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Atlanta averaged more than five yards per carry last week and they should have similar success. Last season Green Bay ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed per attempt. Desmond Ridder doesn’t offer much upside at quarterback.
The young quarterback just needs to take care of the football and Atlanta should take care of business at home here.
The pick: Atlanta (-1.5)
Las Vegas at Buffalo
Spread: Buffalo (-8)
According to oddsmakers and TV pundits, the sky is falling in Buffalo. Josh Allen did have his worst game since his rookie year. His four turnovers against the Jets were concerning.
But I’m here to tell you, the Bills are fine. In fact, I still consider them the second-best team in the AFC. The Jets defense is legit. It was a tough spot on the road. The Raiders won’t present those same challenges. The Raiders ranked 26th in scoring defense last season and ranked 27th against the pass. The Raiders had a nice defensive performance on the road against Denver. But that was against a struggling Russell Wilson who was a bottom five EPA quarterback last season. The Bills are still going to win and they tend to win by a lot. In fact, 37 of Allen's 53 career regular-season victories have come by more than seven points.
I can see Josh Allen fleecing against a poor Raiders secondary. The Bills defense should hold the Raiders offense at bay. Garoppolo is a quarterback who struggles under pressure. Despite the loss, the Bills posted the third best pressure rate on defense in week one. That should continue here. The Bills win in a route.
The pick: Bills (-8)
Kansas City at Jacksonville
Spread: Kansas City (-3)
It’s a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional playoff game. The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 27-20, despite Patrick Mahomes suffering a high ankle sprain in the second quarter. Both of these teams are projected to be playoff contenders, but the Jaguars want to prove they are Super Bowl contenders with a big home win.
Despite being at home, I think this is a tough spot for the Jaguars. For one, they are playing Patrick Mahomes on his birthday. They get the Chiefs off a loss with a rest advantage. The Chiefs are getting Chris Jones and Travis Kelice back in the lineup. Jacksonville’s offensive line has some injury issues- Left tackle Cam Robinson is suspended for the first four games of the season and Brandon Scherff and center Luke Fortner were non-participants in practice and will be a 50/50 coin flip to be active. Jacksonville’s defense has gotten better this offseason, but this is a big step up in class. Indianapolis was able to move the ball on them last week.
Mahomes is going to have a big-time game and the defense for Kansas City is trending up. They performed really well against an efficient Detroit offense. It’s Patrick Mahomes, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. Me and Patrick Mahomes were born on the same freakin day. So I’m riding with Mahomes here.
The pick: Kansas City (-3)
Indianapolis at Houston
Spread: Houston (-1)
This isn’t a Super Bowl preview by any means. This is an interesting AFC South matchup that pits two rookie quarterbacks together. Anthony Richardson or CJ Stroud will get their first NFL win.
But, I’m not trusting any of the quarterbacks in this spot. The Houston Texans offense looked rough against the Ravens. The offensive line couldn’t block and Strous faced more pressure than anyone in the league. The Texans defense looked great. They were able to pressure Lamar and actually outgained the Ravens in that game. Anthony Richardson scored 21 points at home against Jacksonville. However, the Colts had two turnovers and were 2-12 on third down.
Demeco Ryans is going to make life miserable for the young rookie. Each team is going to be focused on winning this game on the ground. I expect this game to be a defensive slugfest that benefits from some offensive malpractice. I can easily see this game being won 17-13. Bet this game to go under.
The Pick: Under 39.5
New York Jets at Dallas
Spread: Dallas (-8.5)
Tailing Zach Wilson on the road against one of the best defenses in the league isn’t for the faint of heart. But I see a lot of value in this number.
Wilson showed a lot of poise and moxie in the second half of Monday Night’s game. And I think this number was inflated due to the performance of Dallas’s defense on Sunday night. I really like backing the Jets because of their defense. The Jets have a chip on their shoulder after everyone is beginning to write them off since Rodger’s is out for the year. While Dallas is feeling really good about themselves after cruising to an easy 40-0 win.
Dallas is going to get punched in the mouth Sunday afternoon. As long as Zach Wilson allows the Dallas defense to score, the Jets are going to keep this game within a touchdown.
The pick: Jets +8.5
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