MERCK, NEW YORK, September 16, 2015 — Now that Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season is in the history books, the focus is officially off of distractions unrelated to football. Now fans of a few teams can remind themselves that they waited nearly eight months just to experience more agony.
The Cleveland Browns have not made the playoffs since 2002. The Oakland Raiders have not made the playoffs or even had a winning season since 2002. That trend will likely continue.
The Buffalo Bills have not made the playoffs since 1999, but this could be the year the bleeding stops. The Cincinnati Bengals have made the playoffs the last four seasons, but have been knocked out of the first round each time. They have not won a playoff game since 1990.
The Arizona Cardinals have had plenty of success in recent years, but they have not won an NFL championship since 1947. This year they have a realistic shot. All hail the sad sacks! With that, here is the NFL 2015 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 17, 2015, 8:30 p.m.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-3) — Denver barely survived at home while Kansas City won big on the road. Peyton Manning will need a couple more weeks to adjust to Gary Kubiak’s new offense. It’s hard to trust Alex Smith against a solid Denver defense, but the home crowd will be just enough for him to manage the game. Chiefs cover.
Sunday, September 20
New England Patriots (-1) at Buffalo Bills — Bill Bellichick, Tom Brady, and Rex Ryan will pretend this is just another game. They all lie. A Bills win could start talk of a Buffalo Super Bowl. Rex may not have an offense, but perhaps his defense can deflate Tom Brady’s ego, if not his body. Upset special, Bills win outright.
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (-3) — Houston looked listless at home and had awful quarterback play. The Panthers are nothing special, but they should be fine at home. Panthers cover.
Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at Chicago Bears — The Bears are who we thought they were. The Cardinals are very good, and Jay Cutler may already be scouting his next team for 2016. Without Devon Hester to provide a miracle, this Cardinals team will win. Sadly, Dennis Green is not around this team to give another press conference. Arizona is very good, but don’t, “crown their ass,” yet. Cardinals cover.
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — The Chargers overcame a 21-3 deficit at home, while the Bengals went on the road and built a 33 point lead. Take the Bengals in the Jungle. Bengals cover.
Tennessee Titans (-1) at Cleveland Browns — Marcus Mariota may be for real after throwing four touchdowns in his first game. Johnny Manziel showed some flash, but had a tough road game overall. Give the Browns one more chance at home to show they are not the same old Browns. Upset special, Browns win outright.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-3) — Detroit blew an 18 point lead while Minnesota went on the road and looked awful in all phases of the game. The Lions are the better team, but give the Vikings another chance at home to show they are improved. They can run on Detroit’s defense. Vikings cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-9.5) — The Buccaneers are playing like it is 1976. The Saints lost a tough road game last week, but this has all the makings of a blowout. Saints cover.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-2) — Atlanta blew a big lead at home, but won a thriller while the Giants literally gave a game away after reliving the glory of Joe Pisarcik last week. Tom Coughlin’s team will take their frustrations out on the Falcons in a big way. Giants cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) — Pittsburgh lost the road opener, while San Francisco stunned fans by winning their home opener. This week is the reality check where the far better team wins. Steelers cover.
St. Louis Rams (-3.5) at Washington — The Rams had a gutty overtime win at home, and this week they play a Washington team that is dysfunctional from top to bottom. The Rams may not be that good, but Washington is that bad. Rams win, but fail to cover.
Miami Dolphins (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Dolphins may be the most boring team in the league, but Joe Philbin is all personality. Last week they went on the road and beat an awful team. This week they will become the least respected 2-0 team in some time. Dolphins win, but fail to cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Oakland Raiders — The Raiders cannot run, pass, block or tackle. They fell behind by 33 points last week at home, but are even worse than that. Baltimore nearly stunned Denver last week in Colorado. This week they can enjoy a nice nap once the Raiders lay down a few plays into the game. Ravens cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-5) — The Eagles lost a road heartbreaker, while Dallas won a heart-stopper at home that was handed to them. The Cowboys are without injured Dez Bryant, and DeMarco Murray will get revenge against his former team. Eagles win, but fail to cover.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-3.5) — This game cannot come soon enough. Forget Fail Mary and the Matt Hasselbeck guarantee. The Packers gave away the NFC Title Game last year, and Aaron Rodgers will get his payback in a big way. Packers cover.
Monday, September 21, 8:30 p.m.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-7) — The Jets won by 21 at home, while the Colts went on the road and got thrashed, falling behind 24-0. This week is a reversion to the mean. The Colts will tune out the distractions surrounding Coach Chuck Pagano and blow out the overmatched Jets. Colts cover.