DENVER, September 14, 2017 — At the beginning of every NFL season, predictions are made. After one week of every new season, many predictions are thrown in the garbage. 2017 is no different.
The New England Patriots are not going undefeated. Alex Smith was supposed to be a dink and dunk West Coast Offense game manager who threw four yard passes. He began 2017 by throwing 75-yard touchdown bombs, with the emphasis on plural.
He led the Chiefs rather than just ride their defense. Marshawn Lynch was far from rusty. His attitude allowed the Raiders to close out a game in a way they did not do in past years.
Some predictions are valid. The Jets and Colts really are that bad. The Colts will get Andrew Luck back. The Jets will have a high draft pick.
Throw the predictions away and just enjoy football because it is football. With that, here is the NFL 2017 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:30 p.m.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) — Both of these teams are bad. The Houston defense is no longer able to bail out their pathetic offense. The Cincinnati offense is no longer able to compensate for a fading defense. Both teams were humiliated last week at homer entering home field irrelevant. The spread is too high given last week’s wretched performances. Bengals win but fail to cover
Sunday, September 17
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-8) — The Browns may have finally found a quarterback. Cleveland will improve, but it will take time. Joe Flacco appears healthy, and the Baltimore defense pitched a road shutout last week. Ravens cover
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7) — After the postponement of last week’s game due to Hurricane Irma, the Buccaneers are chomping at the bit to play football. The Bears put up a valiant effort at home last week, but Tampa Bay is an improved team, especially one defense. The spread is high and the weather could be bad. Buccaneers win but fail to cover
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) — Minnesota demolished New Orleans at home while Pittsburgh barely survived on the road at Cleveland. This week order is restored. At home, the Steelers will dispatch the overmatched vikings without much difficulty. Steelers cover
New England Patriots (-6.5) at New Orleans Saints — Both teams had miserable opening week losses, and New England’s loss was especially egregious since they were at home. Neither team has a defense, so Tom Brady and Drew Brees could have a shootout for the ages. Patriots win but fail to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) — Walrus Lite Andy Reid badly wants revenge against the team that fired him. Both teams got road wins last week, but the Kansas City win was far more impressive. Despite the season ending loss of Eric Berry, the Chiefs defense has enough experience to take down the overmatched Carson Wentz. Chiefs cover
Tennessee Titans (-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Titans were pushed around last week, but Oakland has a stellar offensive line. The Jaguars have an improved defense, but if the choice is between Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles, go with Mariota. Titans cover
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts — The Cardinals may not be as good as the preseason hype, but the Colts are every bit as bad as advertised. Andrew Luck is still injured, so expect the Cardinals to rebound. The spread is too high given that Arizona was unimpressive in its opening loss. Cardinals win but fail to cover
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers — Buffalo survived at home against the Jets, while the Panthers went on the road and pounded woeful San Francisco. Cam Newton is better than Tyrod Taylor. Panthers cover
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders (-14) — The Raiders now have Marshawn Lynch to take the pressure off of Derek Carr. The Jets have nothing. The problem is the Raiders never blow out inferior opponents. They find ways to make easy games difficult. Raiders win but fail to cover
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) — The first Chargers home game in Los Angeles in 55 years comes against a Miami team that saw their home opener postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The Dolphins have a defense and Jay Cutler can sling it when given time to throw. Chargers win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks — Seattle lost a brutal road game at Green Bay, but San Francisco is just dreadful in all phases of the game. The spread is high, but the 49ers lost at home by 20 points last week. Seahawks cover
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) — Neither Kirk Cousins or Jared Goff are superstars, but Michelin Man Wade Phillips will get the most out a defense led by Aaron Donald. Cousins struggled at home against Philadelphia, and the Rams defense is much better. Rams cover
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Denver Broncos — Dallas dominated at home against a Giants team missing O’Dell Beckham Jr. Denver dominated most of the time but nearly collapsed at home against San Diego. Trevor Siemian is steady at the helm. This will be a much better measure of whether the Cowboys are as good as last year. Upset special, Broncos win outright
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-3) — Aaron Rodgers has carried this team for several years, but last week against Seattle it was the Dom Capers defense that showed significant improvement. Atlanta may have Super Bowl hangover, given their near meltdown against Chicago. If Atlanta wants to get back to the big show, these are the games they must win. If the improved defense is real, trust Aaron Rodgers to find a way to win. Upset special, Packers win outright
Monday, September 18, 8:30 p.m.
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3.5) — Detroit showed a ton of grit in coming back for a big home win over Arizona. The Giants looked utterly flat at Dallas last week but they should be able to rebound at home. The Giants have a defense, and Matthew Stafford may throw a couple of balls to them. Giants win but fail to cover