LOS ANGELES, September 10, 2014 — The first week of the 2014 NFL season is now in the books. Every week of football season is filled with thrilling story lines. Here is THE Week 2 Preview and Bettors Guide, with all times Eastern and point spread provided by FootballLocks.com.
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) — With the backdrop of the 9/11 anniversary in the background, this has always been a hard-hitting affair between two great defenses. Unfortunately, both teams fell off last year and do not show signs of returning this year. The road team frequently wins this game, but a desperate Ravens team cannot afford to open the season with consecutive home losses. Prediction: Ravens cover
Sunday, September 14, 1:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers (-2.5) — The Jim Caldwell era exploded at home in the opener, but Carolina has a solid defense. Cam Newton missed the opener, giving him extra motivation in the home opener for the Panthers. The Lions are improving, and this game should give them a good measuring stick. Prediction: Panthers cover
Miami Dolphins (-1) at Buffalo Bills — These teams were supposed to be awful, but both won their season openers over teams thought to be superior. It will take more than one win to quiet skeptics, and with everything else equal, go with the home field. Prediction: Upset special, Bills win outright
Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins (-6) — Jacksonville blew a 17-0 lead last week while Washington just looked awful. Robert Griffin III is not back to his old self, while Jacksonville is slowly improving. Even at home, the point spread seems high for such an anemic offense. Prediction: Washington wins, but fails to cover
Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans (-3.5) — The Cowboys are much worse than last year, and showed that last week at home. The Titans are much better, and showed that on the road. Now Tennessee is at home. Jake Locker will have a field day against the Dallas defense while Tony Romo will get hit early and often. Prediction: Titans cover
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants (Pick) — The Cardinals showed a ton of heart in overcoming an 11-point fourth quarter deficit last week. As miserable as the Giants looked last week, they are at home and Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin will get some wins out of his squad. Prediction: Giants win.
New England Patriots (-3) at Minnesota Vikings — The Patriots blew a 20-10 lead last week in a stunning road loss. That will not happen again in consecutive weeks in the Bill Bellichick era. Expect Tom Brady and company to right the ship and not lose again to an inferior opponent. Prediction: Patriots cover
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) at Cleveland Browns — Both of these teams lost last week on the road in heartbreaking fashion on the final play, but the Saints are the far better team here. Bryan Hoyer, who has more ability than he is given credit for, may be able to keep the game close enough despite the Drew Brees pinball machine offense of New Orleans. Prediction: Saints win but fail to cover
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals (-5) — The Bengals struggled to reach the end zone almost all game against a suspect Baltimore team, while the Falcons outgunned New Orleans in an instant classic. The Bengals have some offensive talent, but a healthy Falcons team should be on a mission to prove last year’s collapse was a fluke. Prediction: Upset special, Falcons win outright
St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5) — The Buccaneers are not particularly good, but the Rams are a mess. Until the Rams prove they can survive without Sam Bradford, they get no benefit of the doubt. Prediction: Buccaneers cover
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at San Diego Chargers — Seattle defeated a high-powered Green Bay offense by 20 points. San Diego’s offense is not as good as Green Bay, but this time Seattle is on the road. San Diego blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead against Arizona. Philip Rivers should be good for a couple touchdowns, but what is unsure is to which team he will throw them. Prediction: Seahawks cover
Houston Texans (-3) at Oakland Raiders — The Texans won last week against a woeful Washington team, while the Raiders squandered Derek Carr’s opener with a boring, predictable Dink and Dunk with Dennis Allen West Coast Offense. The Texans have virtually no offense, but their defense has potential. With Jadavean Clowney injured and the Raiders at home, the Silver and Black should be able to win if Carr is allowed to throw past the first down marker. Prediction: Upset special, Raiders win outright
New York Jets at Green Bay Packers (-8.5) — The Jets struggled to beat a hapless Oakland team. Aaron Rodgers does not dink and dunk. He stretches the field early and often. This is the game where the Jets are brought back to reality. Prediction: Packers cover
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-13.5) — The Broncos are the far better team, but they blew a 24-point lead last week and barely hung on. Kansas City’s offense looked anemic at home last week, but they may be able to get a garbage touchdown near the end. Prediction: Broncos win but fail to cover
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (-7) — The Silicon Valley Santa Clara 49ers may have trouble obeying the law, but they shredded Dallas and should dispatch a Bears team that lost at home to Buffalo. Jay Cutler is being asked to shoulder the entire offense, and the 49ers defense can get to him. Prediction: 49ers cover
Monday, September 15, 8:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts — Nick Foles and Andrew Luck can both sling the ball. They both faced large deficits last week, with Foles turning a 17-point deficit into a 17-point Eagles win. Luck brought the Colts from 24 points down, but they still lost by seven. With all things considered equal, the home field should be the difference. Prediction: Colts cover