It’s only one week.
Say it with me one more time: It’s. Only. One. Week.
In between Kansas City’s stunning win in the opener and Denver’s last-second blocked field goal on Monday night, the games weren’t all that noteworthy (neither were my picks).
It doesn’t get easier in Week 2, so bettors beware. Favorites went 7-7-1 against the spread (ATS) in Week 1. Five underdogs won outright.
My most confident picks ATS this week: Rams, Seahawks, Raiders, Cowboys and Dolphins. Two games that are tricky and you should definitely avoid: Patriots-Saints and Giants-Lions.
JETS (0-1) AT RAIDERS (1-0), 4:05 p.m. Sunday
Raiders by 13; O/U: 43.5
TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)
This edition of Jets-Raiders has the potential to get so out of hand that CBS might switch to a preview of the new season of “Survivor.” Which reminds me: The Raiders are the clear choice for your survivor pool pick this week. The Jets looked as BADvertised in Week 1. The Raiders, meanwhile, looked like an AFC heavyweight with their takedown of Tennessee. Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders roll. Don’t let the big number scare you: It’ll be 17-0 before you’re done with your wings.
The pick: Raiders
LIONS (1-0) AT GIANTS (0-1), 8:30 p.m. Monday
TV: ESPN, ESPN2, Ch. 11; Radio: WCBS (880)
Giants by 3; O/U: 43
The Giants have scored fewer than 20 points in seven straight games, none more offensive than last Sunday night’s 3-pointer in Dallas. The offensive line can’t stop anyone, and even if Odell Beckham Jr. plays, can you trust this offense laying points? Detroit’s defense dominated in the opener, and will get to Eli Manning. This is a rematch of Week 15 last season, when Matthew Stafford couldn’t do much with a dislocated finger in a 17-6 loss. He will make some plays this time. Take the points, and play the under.
The pick: Lions
PACKERS (1-0) AT FALCONS (1-0), 8:30 p.m. Sunday
Falcons by 3; O/U: 54.5
TV: Ch. 4
This is the game of the week. Atlanta will be fired up as it opens its new state-of-the-art stadium. A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game, won by Atlanta, 44-21, this game will be a lot closer. The Packers’ defense stepped up in Week 1, and Aaron Rodgers is always a threat to put up 30 points. Still, the Falcons are the pick to win a close one. Yes, they were lucky to escape Chicago with a win, and the fact that that game was so close works in the Falcons’ favor here. Mistakes will be addressed. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman do a little more than Rodgers & Co. and one of the Falcons’ young playmakers on defense makes a big stop late.
The pick: Falcons
1 P.M. GAMES
PATRIOTS (0-1) AT SAINTS (0-1)
Patriots by 6; O/U: 56.5
All signs point to the Patriots bouncing back after a still-can’t-believe-it loss at home in the NFL opener. But if you think they’re just going to go into New Orleans and win by three touchdowns, you haven’t been paying attention. The Saints are always a tough out at home, and Drew Brees and Sean Payton will try to duplicate what the Chiefs did to a Pats defense that looked uncharacteristally overmatched. The Saints’ defense was just as bad in the opener, but it couuld be extra-motivated against old receiver Brandin Cooks. Not having Julian Edelman hurts the Pats more than we thought, and while Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will do enough to avoid an 0-2 start, this game will be much closer than most think. Oh, and bet the over.
The pick: Saints
VIKINGS (1-0) AT STEELERS (1-0)
Steelers by 5; O/U: 45.5
Sam Bradford (27-for-32, 346 yards, 3 TDs) and Dalvin Cook (127 yards, a Vikings rookie debut record) were lights-out on Monday night. If Minnesota’s offense continues to match its defensive intensity, they’ll surprise some teams. The Steelers looked lethargic in their opener. They should win, but it’s hard not to take the points, especially with this juicy stat courtesy of thespreadinvestor.com: Since 2014, the Vikings are 12-6 ATS as road underdogs.
The pick: Vikings
EAGLES (1-0) AT CHIEFS (1-0)
Chiefs by 6; O/U: 47.5
Let’s call this The Andy Reid Bowl. The former Eagles coach is 16-2 off the bye in his career, including 3-1 since taking over in Kansas City. While the Chiefs weren’t technically on a bye last week, they did play on Thursday night, so it’s a semi-bye with the extra time off. While Carson Wentz and Philly are an exciting team, this is back-to-back road games to start the season, and the Arrowhead atmosphere could be a factor for a young team. Alex Smith looked like Joe Montana in the opener, and with record-setting rookie running back Kareem Hunt and speedy receiver Tyreek Hill, look for Reid to dial up more big plays as Kansas City wins a fun one.
The pick: Chiefs
BROWNS (0-1) AT RAVENS (1-0)
Ravens by 8; O/U: 38.5
John Harbaugh always has his team ready, and it won’t experience a letdown after a big Week 1 win. Especially not in its home opener. The Ravens’ revamped defense dominated at Cincinnati, and could get back-to-back shutouts as the Browns’ DeShone Kizer makes his first road start. Baltimore rolls to its 17th win in its last 19 meetings with Cleveland. The under is also a good play here.
The pick: Ravens
BILLS (1-0) AT PANTHERS (1-0)
Panthers by 7; O/U: 43
Buffalo, hope you enjoyed your week in first place. Going from hosting the Jets to playing at Carolina is a big jump in talent, and Sean McDermott’s Bills won’t be able to hang with his former team.
The pick: Panthers
BEARS (0-1) AT BUCS (0-0)
Bucs by 7; O/U: 43.5
First thought: The Bucs, having to sit out the first week because of Hurricane Irma, will be fresh and blitz the Bears. Upon further review: That sounds too easy. This is the NFL after all, and when something seems so obvious, it usually doesn’t happen. The Bucs have weapons on offense and defense, but they had a poor preseason and weren’t that exciting on “Hard Knocks.” The Bears were two dropped passes away from stunning the defending NFC champion Falcons in Week 1, and the underdogs could give Tampa Bay some trouble. Also, don’t forget that this is a personal game for Mike Glennon. The Bears quarterback will be motivated to pay back his old team. Bucs win, but Bears make it interesting again.
The pick: Bears
TITANS (0-1) AT JAGUARS (1-0)
Titans by 1; O/U: 42
After stunning the Texans in Houston in Week 1, it’s now the Jaguars’ turn to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane. Their schedules being thrown off by Irma could play a role in how they perform. The Titans will be motivated to turn things around after losing at home in Week 1, and they have the better quarterback and more weapons. Important to note: Marcus Mariota broke his leg in last season’s visit to Jacksonville, and the loss ended the Titans’ playoff hopes. Tennessee gets some revenge in a slugfest.
The pick: Titans
CARDINALS (0-1) AT COLTS (0-1)
Cardinals by 7; O/U: 44
How bad was the Colts’ 46-9 Week 1 loss to the Rams? So bad that after the game coach Chuck Pagano referred to the team from Los Angeles as the 49ers. More often that not, though, a team won’t get embarrassed two weeks in a row, especially in their home opener. Arizona didn’t look good, either, and lost their best player in David Johnson. No matter who the Colts start at quarterback, this is too many points to lay on the road.
The pick: Colts
4 P.M. GAMES
COWBOYS (1-0) AT BRONCOS (1-0)
Cowboys by 2.5; O/U: 42
Both teams looked impressive in their openers, but the edge goes to the Dallas running game being able to wear down a Denver defense that played late Monday night. Dak Prescott was 6-2 straight up on the road with 12 TDs to just three picks as a rookie.
The pick: Cowboys
DOLPHINS (0-0) AT CHARGERS (0-1)
Chargers by 3.5; O/U: 45.5
New city, same old bad luck for the Chargers, who rallied for a miracle cover (thanks, guys!) before a last-second tying field goal was blocked. Now, the team formerly known as San Diego plays its first game back in Los Angeles since 1960. The Dolphins have been in L.A. since last Friday night because of Irma. Will they be fresh or rusty after the Week 1 bye? Miami won at San Diego last season, intercepting Philip Rivers four times in the fourth quarter. The Chargers always play close games, so take the points in what should be a fun one between gunslingers Rivers and Jay Cutler.
The pick: Dolphins
LOCK OF THE WEEK
REDSKINS (0-1) AT RAMS (1-0)
Rams by 2.5; O/U: 46
There’s always one game that stands out. For me, this is that game. The Redskins were a mess in their home opener while the Rams won by 37. Don’t think this is an overreaction to one game. The reason the Rams are my lock is because Sean McVay couldn’t have asked for a better matchup. The Rams’ new, young coach was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins from 2014-16. Think about the countless hours he spent with Kirk Cousins. McVay knows all his tendencies, his strengths, his weaknesses. Like Tony Romo did in his broadcasting debut, McVay’s going to know the play before it happens. Wade Phillips’ defense gets Aaron Donald back and will dominate. Jared Goff played like a No. 1 pick last week and could have some success on deep balls against a beatable Redskins secondary. Los Angeles, just like we all predicted, rolls to a 2-0 start.
The pick: Rams
49ERS (0-1) AT SEAHAWKS (0-1)
Seahawks by 14; O/U: 42
The 49ers lost their last two visits to Seattle by 19 and 16 points, and now have to play an angry team in its home opener? Not fair. The 49ers scored three points at home in Week 1 and could get shut out. This has 27-6 written all over it.
The pick: Seahawks
Staff picks (best bets in bold)
Last week: 4-10-1, 0-1 best bets
Last week: 7-7-1, 0-1 best bets
Last week: 5-9-1, 0-1 best bets
Panthers Bucs Titans
Cardinals Broncos Chargers