By Scott Taylor and Dave Petrishen
It was, indeed, a bit peculiar on Thursday night when a team that barely got past the Bills was an 11 ½ point favorite against a team that won. It was not, however, surprising that the New England Patriots – the favorites – snuck past the New York Jets by a field goal.
Wow! 11 ½ points. That’s why we’re bettors, not bookies. And, by the way, our preferred place to wager is at topbet.eu.
Thursday night, the Patriots were fortunate to beat a Jets team that had a rookie quarterback but a load of defensive grit. Granted, Geno Smith, the rook who got the win in Week 1 (albeit a penalty-induced win over a wonky Tampa Bay outfit at home), had plenty of chances to win Thursday night’s game with New England, but frittered them away with some unfortunate mistakes late in the game.
However, while a 13-10 loss in Foxboro might be difficult to stomach for the Jets, Thursday night’s rainy encounter proved two things: (1) the Patriots still have a lot of work to do on offence without Gronk, Hernandez, Welker and Floyd and (2) the Jets defense might be good enough to keep the team in the odd game this season. Suddenly, the Jets have become a solid beat-the-spread outfit even with a freshman at QB.
New England, on the other hand, gets the shaky Bucs in Foxboro next week and then has to go Atlanta and Cincinnati in the two weeks following. This might, at best, be a 9-7 Patriots team, even with a potential 3-0 start.
In the meantime, our fearless prognosticators feel much better about their chances this week after a good, but not spectacular Week 1.
To open up, Dr. Football went 10-6 straight up and 5-11 against the spread while The Coach went 11-5 straight up and 6-10 against the spread.
This week, there are three potentially sensational games: Dallas at Kansas City, Denver at the Giants and San Francisco at Seattle. Monday night, with Pittsburgh at Cincinnati we might see the completion of the changing of the guard in the AFC North. Regardless, it should be a terrific Week 2.
As always, the Doc writes the reasons for our brilliant decisions while The Coach makes snarky comments and dozes off.
San Diego Chargers (0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) Line: Eagles by 7.5
Chip Kelly’s offense had the Redskins reeling in the first half, before cooling off in the second. Kelly won’t let that happen again. The Chargers basically soiled the sheets in the second half in their Monday Nighter. The simple fact is this: San Diego is not that talented on either side of the ball. The Coach says: Chip Kelly might be the most exciting non-player in NFL history.
The Doc: TAKE THE EAGLES TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE EAGLES TO WIN AND COVER.
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1) Line: Ravens by 6.5.
The Ravens are a shell of the team that won it all last year, but have won the last ten times the two teams have met. Joe Flacco simply doesn’t have the personnel to throw to that he had last year with Anquan Boldin gone and both Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones injured. Cleveland still has huge issues on both sides of the ball but should put up a fight. The Coach says: For Baltimore, this is the free spot on the NFL Bingo card.
The Doc: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Houston Texans (1-0) Line: Texans by 9.5.
The Texans napped through the first half against the Chargers and it nearly cost them, but they were able to regroup at halftime and San Diego answered the bell as always and went ahead and collapsed. The Houston offense was terrific in the second half with Matt Schaub using all of his weapons. The Titans weren’t that impressive in Week 1, so I guess that’s reflected in the spread. They’re a pretty good team and will hang tough and make this a close one. The Coach says: Jake Locker? Who the hell is Jake Locker?
The Doc: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (1-0) Line: Colts by 3.
The Colts Andrew Luck seems to find a way to win but lacks the ability to put away lesser opponents early. The O-Line didn’t offer much help, and that allowed the Raiders to stay in the game too long. The Dolphins are a much better team than Oakland, but I can’t trust Ryan Tannehill to find Mike Wallace as the Colts will be able to handle him easily. The Coach says: Contains scenes of violence and harsh language, viewer discretion is advised.
The Doc: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1) Line: Panthers by 3.
Last week I said that Cam Newton should have a better year than last, and boy was I wrong. He still looks lost and lacks confidence. He did seem to get it together late in the game, but he is not the leader the team needs. The Bills hung with the Patriots last week, and for them it has to be considered an emotional win. They’ll build on it. The Coach says: The Panthers aren’t as good as we thought and the Bills are better.
The Doc: TAKE THE BILLS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE BILLS TO WIN.
St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1) Line: Falcons by 6.5.
While I didn’t expect the Falcons to win last week, I certainly expected more than 17 points from a team I called to win their division. Sam Bradford and the Rams showed improvement last year, and could be on their way to a winning season. They should be able to find success against a suspect Falcon defense, but they’re just not good enough to win in Atlanta. The Coach says: For Sam Bradford, the sign changed: “This plant has now gone one week without lost time due to injury.”
The Doc: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER
The Coach: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Washington Redskins (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (0-1) Line: Packers by 8.
The Redskins looked lost at times against the Eagles especially in the first half. After knocking off some of the rust, RGIII should be able to keep Washington in the game for most of the way against a Packers teams looking to rebound from a tough loss to the 49ers. But there’s this fact; Aaron Rodgers looked awesome torching San Fran’s defense and will light up the inept Redskin secondary. The Coach says: Another chance for Clay Matthews to show he’s worthy of all the TV commercials he does.
The Doc: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) Line: Chiefs by 3.
K.C. may have played the most complete game in the entire first week of the season, while Dallas barely won when the Giants turned over the ball six times. I expect that Alex Smith and the Chiefs to continue exactly where they left off. The Coach says: This is the week that Tony Romo will get pressured, panic and then go fetal.
The Doc: TAKE THE CHIEFS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE CHIEFS TO WIN AND COVER.
Minnesota Vikings (0-1) at Chicago Bears (1-0) Line: Bears by 6.
Adrian Peterson can only take the Vikings so far. Jay Cutler even surprised himself last week. The Coach says: At some point the Vikings are going to have to come to terms with Christian Ponder. Now that they have a playoff-team schedule, this could be an ugly season.
The Doc: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) Line: Saints by 3.
Josh Freeman might be the worst starting QB in NFL history, and he’ll be running for his life in this one. Drew Brees won’t have it too easy, the Bucs do have a pretty good secondary this year. But with no offence, the Bucs defense will be too tired to do anything. The Coach says: Ouch!
The Doc: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Detroit Lions (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1) Line: Lions by 2.
With Carson Palmer behind center, the Cardinals offense looks much improved from a year ago, when he’s not on his butt; he was sacked four times last week. Detroit’s Reggie Bush gives Matthew Stafford another weapon to work with, but the Lions seem too undisciplined to play consistently from week to week. The Coach says: The love affair continues: Matt Stafford really does have the hots for his right arm.
The Doc: TAKE THE CARDINALS IN AN UPSET.
The Coach: TAKE THE CARDINALS TO WIN.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1) Line: Raiders by 6.
Turn the channel. This one will be a stinker. I fully expected the Raiders to go 0-16 until I noticed the Jags visit in Week 2. The Coach says: Terrelle Pryor = Real deal.
The Doc: TAKE THE RAIDERS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE RAIDERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1) Line: Broncos by 4.5.
Manning vs. Manning. Big brother tosses for 445 yards and wins. Little brother tosses for 450 yards and loses. Big brother tosses for 7 touchdowns. Little brother tosses 3 picks. Big brother is better. The Coach says: The Giants had five turnovers in Dallas last week and still put up 31 points. New York should rip it at home. And, hey Peyton fans, Denver isn’t going 16-0.
The Doc: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE GIANTS.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0) Line: Seahawks by 3.
Seattle barely got by Carolina last week, but they may have the best home-field advantage in all of pro football. Look for Colin Kaepernick to come back down to earth after his 412-yard performance against the Packers. The Coach says: This will be a great football game. Even the coaches dislike each other.
The Doc: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) Line: Bengals by 7.
I don’t think the Steelers are as bad as the odds-makers are making them out to be. They just couldn’t shake the rust; a lot of teams looked bad in week one, the Steelers didn’t click until after it was too late. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton was impressive in a losing effort in Chicago, but the Steelers defense is still better than Chicago’s. The Coach says: This is a much more important test for the Steelers than the Bengals.
The Doc: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
The Coach: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN AND COVER.