LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS — The opening week of the 2020 NFL season is in the books. Political statements were made, health warnings were issued, and other non-football stuff happened. Once kickoff occurred, everything became about football. Several games came down to the wire, which is great when it is not your own team giving you heartburn. But now, Week 1 is over. So it’s time for CDN’s NFL 2020 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide.
But first — a Rosh Hashanah break
While God’s grace allows us to watch football, belief in God may separate some letterheads from our beloved games this week.
The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday and extends through Sundown on Sunday. Jewish members of the Raider Nation and the Who Dat Nation can breathe easy. Monday Night Football does not conflict with the holiday. For fans of the other 30 teams, ethical dilemmas may prove torturous.
Taping the game never works. Someone inevitably spills the beans. Taping the service is an option, but will not make the rabbi happy. The God I believe in would watch football if he did not already know the score.
Trying to find a sportswear within walking distance to a synagogue is never easy, especially during the COVID pandemic.
The ultimate decision on whether to attend religious services involving Judaism or adhere to the religion of football is a private one. The only certainty is that there is no such thing as an atheist fan when a field goal kicker’s kick separates a win from a loss.
To Jewish football fans everywhere, a Happy Rosh Hashanah. May you have a sweet New Year. For everyone else, here is CDN’s NFL 2020 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads by DraftKings Sportsbook and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 17, 8:20 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-6)
Our NFL 2020 Week 2 rundown begins somewhat inauspiciously with an all Ohio Gang dustup, with a dubious prize looming on the horizon. Yes, the battle for last place in the AFC North has already begun. Despite losing, Joe Burrow looked like a poised veteran with the game on the line. The Browns are somehow favored after losing by 32. Baker Mayfield keeps talking as the losses mount up. Upset special, Bengals win outright.
Sunday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-10.5)
Now we leave Ohio and move South a bit to launch the bulk of our NFL 2020 Week 2 gridiron battles. Tennessee escaped with a win despite a nightmarish game for kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The spread is too high to trust a Titans team that wins by pounding the ball with Derrick Henry. Titans win but fail to cover.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8)
Tom Brady had a frustrating debut for Tampa Bay, but at New Orleans is a far tougher test than at home against Carolina. The only reason the spread seems high is that, despite the overall mismatch, Teddy Bridgewater can play. Buccaneers win but fail to cover.
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)
Both teams struggled on offense early on, but Pittsburgh eventually got going. Denver has a decent defense even without Von Miller. Drew Lock is good enough to make this a close game. Steelers win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Philadelphia blew a 17-0 lead against a team that does not even have a name. Carson Wentz was awful, and the knives will be out for him if the Eagles lose again. With Aaron Donald chasing him, that could happen. Sean McVay and Doug Pederson are both winners, but McVay has the better squad. Upset special, Rams win outright.
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at New York Jets
The 49ers suffered a stunning home loss to Arizona, while the Jets seem to lack talent on both sides of the ball. The 49ers are still the superior team by a wide margin. 49ers win but fail to cover.
Buffalo Bills (-4) at Miami Dolphins
Josh Allen is coming into his own, and the Dolphins inspire nobody. Bills cover.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Both of these teams looked awful. Mike Zimmer’s defense was gashed by Aaron Rodgers. Philip Rivers threw killer interceptions. Something has to give. There is little to like about the Colts. At least the Vikings lost to one of the best. Upset special, Vikings win outright.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-5.5)
The Lions blew a 17-point fourth quarter last week at home. The Packers looked like a serious contender in a big road win. Aaron Rodgers could end this one by halftime. Packers cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Both teams lost last week, but at least the Cowboys were on the road. Bizarre coaching decisions by Mike McCarthy cost the Cowboys dearly. The Cowboys still have enough firepower to win at home over Atlanta. Cowboys cover.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Neither of these teams are very good. The Bears overcame a 17=-point fourth quarter deficit last week but only won when a wide open Detroit receiver dropped a touchdown pass at the end. Neither Mitchell Trubisky or Daniel Jones are exciting. Bears win but fail to cover.
Sunday, September 20, 4:00 p.m.
Washington Riveras at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray might be for real after stunning San Francisco on the road. Meanwhile, the non-Redskins No-names overcame a 17-0 deficit with defense. Call this team the Washington Riveras because Coach Ron Rivera is a winner. He is battling cancer and needed an IV during halftime of last week. He knows defense, and his results were immediately felt last week. Upset special, Riveras win outright.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Melmac Alien Patrick Mahomes is expected to torch the Chargers defense. The Chargers barely survived Cincinnati and a rookie quarterback starting his first game. The spread is high, but Mahomes is just ridiculous. Chiefs cover.
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Houston Texans
Last year the 14-2 Ravens got bounced out of the playoffs. Lamar Jackson is on a mission, and his defense will get it for him. Deshaun Watson is a star, but Baltimore has the better defense. Ravens win but fail to cover.
Sunday, September 20, 8:30 p.m.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-4)
Malcolm Butler is gone, but Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll are still here and still great. Cam Newton is no Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson is still very much Russell Wilson. The Seahawks repeatedly beat Newton when he led Carolina. Seahawks cover.
Monday, September 21, 8:20 p.m.
New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
Wrapping up this NFL 2020 Week 2 preview, we move to America’s desert Southwest to the brand new Allegiant Stadium located just outside Las Vegas. But sadly, the very first home game in Las Vegas Raiders history will not be a happy one. Derek Carr has offensive weapons, but the Raiders pass defense is still atrocious. The secondary is the weak link, and Drew Brees will exploit that repeatedly. Sean Payton and Jon Gruden both have a Super Bowl ring, but only Payton has a defense. Saints cover.
— Headline image: NFL logo with shofar. Collage for Rosh Hashanah. Combination of logo and CC 3.0 image, fair use.