BROOKLYN, CONNECTICUT, September 14, 2016 — The greatest sport the world has ever known finally returned last week. The National Football League in Week 1 gave us agony, ecstasy, heartbreak, and heart-stopping thrills.
Robert Griffin III saw his Browns career wrecked after one game, as he was put on injured reserve. He will miss at least eight weeks. Jack Del Rio made a call for the ages and Derek Carr executed the best two-point conversion in Raiders history. Drew Brees showed that he is still worth every penny of the $44 million contract he signed. Carson Went looked impressive in his very first NFL game. The Chargers had an epic collapse as the Chiefs had their biggest comeback in team history. The Lions have a winning attitude under new owner Martha Ford and Chris Berman did his ESPN highlights for the first time in nearly 30 years without Tom Jackson. Jimmy Garoppolo and Dak Prescott were not intimidated in their first ever starts, while the Rams played so badly in their debut that Los Angeles fans may want them to return to St. Louis.
A few players started sideline protests, but backup quarterbacks do not get mentioned unless they do something on the football field. Narcotics For Leatherheads is about football, and only football. With that, here is the NFL 2016 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by FootballLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 8:30 p.m.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (pick ‘em) — As horrendous as the Bills lost last week, Rex Ryan finds a way to get a win when he could be fired. He also pulls out all the stops to beat his old team. Bills win.
Sunday, September 18, 1:00 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions (-5.5) — These are not the loser Lions of years past. Jim Caldwell had the offense clicking last week. At home against a weak Tennessee team, Matthew Stafford will pour it on. Lions cover.
Kansas City at Houston Texans (-2.5) — The Chiefs won 30-0 in Houston during the playoffs. Alex Smith will dink and dunk but in the fourth quarter he will play real football. Upset special, Chiefs win outright.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6.5) — Jimmy Garopollo can play football. The Miami offense cannot. Their defense was solid last week on the road, so beating the spread is possible. Patriots win but fail to cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Cleveland Browns — The Browns are awful with RGIII, worse without him. The Ravens barely survived at home against Buffalo, and Cleveland gears up for this game. Ravens win but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) — League officials might want to hand out fines and suspensions before kickoff. This is going to be a bloodbath after the bitter 18-16 Steelers playoff win last year in Cincinnati. Get Ben Roethlisberger a flak jacket now. Steelers win but fail to cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-3) — Dak Prescott looked good in his very first game, but his receivers went brain-dead when it mattered most. The Redskins look like last year was a fluke. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (-4.5) — This spread is way too high given that Drew Brees is on pace to throw for 6,800 yards. The Saints may not have a defense at all. Giants win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (-13) — It is tough to accept a spread this high when the 49ers just won 28-0. Panthers win but fail to cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) — The Cardinals did not look like a Super Bowl team last week while the Buccaneers are improved, especially Jameis Winston. Cardinals win but fail to cover.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at Los Angeles Rams — As horrendous as the Rams offense is, their defense always plays Seattle tough. The first game in Los Angeles in 22 years will have the crowd rocking. Russell Wilson has a bad ankle, and the Seahawks offense was dreadful at home last week. Seahawks win but fail to cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-6) — The Colts have the offense and the Broncos have the defense. Andrew Luck looks as good as ever but needs help. Broncos win but fail to cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders (-5) — For the first time in 14 years, the Raiders expect to win. Their defense is suspect, especially in the secondary. Derek Carr will have to win another shootout, since Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are still solid. Raiders win but fail to cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers (-3) — The Jaguars gave the Packers all they could handle while the Chargers had an epic meltdown and blew a 21-point lead. At home, trust Philip Rivers to throw everywhere. Chargers cover.
Green Bay Packers (-2) at Minnesota Vikings — Normally going to Minnesota is a house of horrors for any Packers quarterback. Even without Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Zimmer brings the smash-mouth attitude. Hard-nosed defense and Adrian Peterson will get it done at home. Upset special, Vikings win outright.
Monday, September 19, 8:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears (-3) — Carson Went is a lucky man. He played his first ever NFL game against the league’s worst team and now faces the second worst team. Yet the Eagles are nothing special, so give Chicago one more chance at home on Monday night before the 0-16 chants begin. Bears cover.