NFL 2021 Week 2 Preview, Atonement and Bettor’s Guide
LOS ANGELES — Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is now in the history books. That week began with a thrilling Thursday night opening kickoff game that went down to the final play. It ended with one of the wildest Monday Night Football games in league history, also decided on the final play. Sandwiched between those two epic matchups were 14 Sunday games that did football proud. Yet not all of the action was beautiful. Several players had a rough go of it. So now, on the cusp of NFL 2021 Week 2, they need to atone.
Some NFL players need to atone… for last week’s lousy performances
Somehow fittingly, this brings us to this Wednesday, September 15, 2021, the Jewish Day of Atonement. From Wednesday at Sundown through Thursday at nightfall, Jews celebrate Yom Kippur. We fast for 24 hours. We apologize for our misdeeds, intentional and unintentional. We apologize to those we have wronged and vow to be better people going forward.
But in addition, as already noted, and the spirit of Yom Kippur, several players and coaches also need to atone for their weak Week 1 performances.
NFL Players who need to atone for their Week 1 performances
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris must atone for fumbling the ball away in the red zone with the game on the line. The Patriots lost at home 17-16. If Harris hangs on to the ball, the Patriots kick the field goal to take the lead.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has backed up his bravado, but his horrendous interception sealed his team’s fate in a 33-29 loss. Baker is talented, but sometimes he just needs to remember the adage about living to fight another day. Throw the ball out of bounds.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones needs to stop fumbling. Right now. Carry around a sack of flower as practice, but do whatever it takes to hang on to the damn ball.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan needs to learn how to run the ball in the fourth quarter when he has a lead. He has blown two Super Bowls by stubbornly passing the ball late in the game rather than grinding down clock. His 49ers had a 41-17 lead with two minutes to play. they barely survived 41-33. They kept throwing the ball and turning it over when they could have just run the ball.
Mandatory sackcloth and ashes for…
Lastly, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spent the entire offseason acting like a spoiled brat. He blamed his general manager for not getting him enough talent to work with. Rodgers had the 2020 NFC Title Game at home and got his butt kicked. Then he skipped all of the 2021 preseason as he continued his temper tantrum. Then he lost his season opener 38-3. Rodgers talks too much. He complains too much. He needs to shut up and focus on football. Otherwise, he should retire. No one is indispensable. The league can survive without him just fine.
With that, here is our CDN NFL 2021 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide.
Point spreads provided by SportingNews.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, September 16, 2021, 8:00 p.m.
New York Giants at Washington Identity Crisis (-4) —
Almost inappropriately, NFL 2021 Week 2 begins this this lackluster matchup. Once again, Washington is nothing special. But at least they proved competitive in Week 1 against the Chargers. The Giants, for their part, look witless and worthless. Daniel Jones cannot hang on to the football. Ryan Fitzpatrick is out several weeks and Taylor Heinecke takes over. This has all the makings of an NFC Least matchup that is low in quality but close. Washington wins but fails to cover.
Sunday, September 19, 1:00 p.m.
New England Patriots (-5.5) at New York Jets —
The Jets are a young, growing team. Zach Wilson and Mac Jones both lost their openers, but Jones put his team in position to win. The Patriots literally fumbled their Week 1 game away. As another big Sunday of games kicks off NFL 2021 Week 2 in earnest, it would seem that at home, the Jets might show an ounce of pride and keep things close. At the very least, a garbage touchdown to make things look close remains possible. Patriots win but fail to cover.
Denver Broncos (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars —
The Jaguars looked awful last week, getting blown out at a Houston team that looked horrendous on paper. Denver’s defense has returned to form with a healthy Von Miller leading the charge. Teddy Bridgewater can play. Trevor Lawrence is a rookie. The Denver defense will feast on him. Broncos cover.
Buffalo Bills (-3.5) at Miami Dolphins —
Both teams have good defenses. Despite the loss to Pittsburgh, Josh Allen should rebound. He is a better quarterback than Tua Tagovailoa. The quality of Miami’s defense suggests a very tight game. Bills win but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Philadelphia Eagles —
Don’t let the Eagles’ big win at Atlanta last week fool you. The Falcons are dreadful. While the 49ers nearly blew a 24 point lead in the final two minutes at Detroit, they have too many offensive weapons for the Eagles to handle. Jimmy Garoppolo has a chip on his shoulder and will play like it. 49ers cover.
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Indianapolis Colts —
The Rams made a legitimate case for the Super Bowl in their home opener. The Colts are not a bad team, but their first two games are against two great teams. Russell Wilson exposed the Indianapolis defense, and Matthew Stafford has far too many offensive weapons for the Colts to handle. Carson Wentz is not washed up. But Aaron Donald will successfully hunt him. Rams cover.
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) —
Both teams won emotionally draining games last week. The Buffalo defense beat up on the Steelers for a large portion of their game before sealing the win with a blocked punt. The Raiders won one of the craziest Monday Night Football games ever played. Derek Carr is playing lights out. Ben Roethlisberger is not. Yet the Steelers are playing at home. Counting out Derek Carr would be a mistake, and Maxx Crosby gave Lamar Jackson fits. Roethlisberger is not nearly as mobile as Jackson. Nevertheless, the Raiders defense still has room for improvement. Steelers win but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears (-3) —
The Bengals fought their way to an emotional overtime win while the Bears got blown out. This week’s matchup is one of those games where the home field matters. If Red Rifle Andy Dalton falters, the calls for Justin Fields could become deafening. With two teams that seem average at best, just take the home field. Bears cover.
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns (-12.5) —
The Texans did look impressive in their opener, but it was Jacksonville they beat. The Browns went toe to toe with the Chiefs and could have beaten them. Baker Mayfield will be angry over that failure and should take it out on the Texans. Nevertheless, the spread is way too high, given how well Houston played last week. Browns win but fail to cover.
New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers —
If Jameis Winston has truly been fixed, the Saints may prove a force to be reckoned with. The Panthers struggled to beat a Jets team lacking in everything. Christian McCaffrey is back to his old self, but go with pinball wizard Sean Payton and his weapons including Alvin Kamara. Saints cover.
Sunday, September 19, 4:00 p.m.
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) —
The late Sunday afternoon stanza of NFL 2021 Week 2 offers four more interesting matchups, including this one. The Vikings fought hard last week but lost to a Cincinnati team that remains far from special. The Cardinals went into Tennessee and shocked a Titans team that many expected would run over them. Instead, Kyler Murray went wild on offense and Chandler Jones had five sacks. The Cardinals are for real. Cardinals cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5) —
Matt Ryan has not been the same since blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl to Tom Brady. The Buccaneers barely survived in their opener, but the Falcons are just awful. After losing by 26 points at home to a Philadelphia team that is average at best, the Falcons could get blown to bits by the defending champions. The Buccaneers have a defense. Without Julio Jones, the Falcons have little offense. This could be over by halftime. Buccaneers cover.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) —
The Titans were embarrassed at home by Arizona. Now they face a Seattle team that appears in midseason form. Russell Wilson looks as good as ever. The Titans may be better than what they showed last week. But the Seahawks have too much firepower at home with the 12th man roaring. Seahawks cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) —
The Cowboys took the defending champions to the limit, but there are no moral victories in the NFL. Dan Quinn is expected to fix the Dallas defense. Justin Herbert provides a tough test. Dak Prescott looks like he is back. If the Cowboys lose again, fans will have Mike McCarthy walking the plank. In a shootout, give the nod to Dak by a hair. Upset special, Cowboys win outright.
Sunday, September 19, 8:00 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Baltimore Ravens is the Sunday night game.
Sunday’s only evening NFL 2021 Week 2 contest finds the Chiefs at the Ravens. In their previous head-to-head contest, Baltimore had the Raiders down but failed to put them away. This time around, and despite a rash of injuries, the Ravens still look scary. Yet the Chiefs have beaten them three straight times. Patrick Mahomes has outplayed Lamar Jackson. The Chiefs were outplayed by Cleveland last week for most of the game, but pulled out a late miracle. Normally it would make sense to take an angry Baltimore team at home. But until the Ravens can beat the Chiefs, they lose the benefit of the doubt. Chiefs cover.
Monday, September 20, 8:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-11.5) —
As awful as the Packers played last week, getting the Lions at home should prove just what the doctor ordered. Aaron Rodgers wants to silence critics who insist that his act of skipping this summer’s training camp was unrelated to his poor play. Jared Goff put up plenty of yards and points in garbage time last week to make a blowout loss look closer than it was. As high as the spread is for this Monday Night matchup, a garbage touchdown is realistic. Packers win but fail to cover as NFL 2021 Week 2 comes to an end.
See you next week.