Week two of the 2019 NFL season is upon us and my picks are in. That’s right, I’ve gone ahead and picked every single NFL week two game. You’re welcome! And here’s a quick chronological rundown of what’s covered in today’s NFL picks guide…
A verdict on Jameis Winston’s wager-ability …Carolina’s mediocrity …Cincy is actually good? …Matt Patricia: gas station owner …Packers field a defense, finally …Patriots’ kryptonite …AB’s back gasm …the NFL’s next cult hero …A three-step guide for buying Colts stock …how to transport $4.5 million …Denver’s BIG THREE …Certifying the Eagles as a contender …And(eye roll) OHhHhhHh, the Browns.
Buccaneers @ PANTHERS (-7)
I thought Jameis might have finally turned a corner. A pick-12 and two (just two!) Mike Evans receptions later, we’re back to the Jameis we knew! From a gambling perspective, this is fantastic news. We can bet against him for the rest of the year, starting right now. I’m giving the points to Tampa and daring them to stay within a touchdown of Carolina. This line is also in the scorching hot core of the teaser zone. But here’s the question you have to ask yourself before throwing Carolina in a teaser: why should you trust them? Which aspect of their game inspires confidence that they won’t lose?
Let’s make a checklist. Quarterback? Not entirely. Running game? He’s explosive but his O-line still sucks! Defense? We’re talented but we’re also all 35 years old. Coaching? When was the last time anyone even said Ron Rivera’s name out loud?
Carolina has the pieces to be a GOOD football team. Lack of speed on defense, limited number of playmakers on offense, average coaching and above average but erratic quarterbacking. Somewhere in Middle America, between a 7-9 and 10-6 final record. I like them to cover against Tampa Bay but BARELY. Don’t tease this, please.
Sunday 1 PM ET Window
49ers @ BENGALS (-2)
Cincy is MY team, so of course I’m irrationally confident in the franchise that’s broken my heart since I couldn’t walk and is more famous for player arrests than football wins. I see the eye rolls at betting on the Bengals, but guys, you knew this was coming. I’m the King of Irrational Confidence when it comes to MY teams. I know every single player on our team, of course I think we’re going to beat the Patriots by thirty on December 15th!
Cincinnati outplayed Seattle this weekend. We should have won. We didn’t punt in the third quarter and scored zero points! An interception in the red zone, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs ended three consecutive drives into the opponent’s territory. Replay that second half 10 more times and I’m certain Cincy wins eight or nine times.
Despite the one-point loss, Zac Taylor’s offense was a Bengal one I finally enjoyed. Andy Dalton? How ’bout RICK Dalton The Red Rifle reached a point this offseason in which fans quietly agreed Dalton wasn’t on the long-term agenda. But then he went out and delivered his most magnificent performance, a 400+ yard day that rejuvenated the franchise. Without A.J. Green, without our starting running back (Mixon exited early), without a competent O-line, Dalton and the offense dismantled the notorious Seahawk defense. Quarterbacks don’t just slice up the Seahawks. Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, the whole golden era is gone but Pete Carroll’s culture isn’t. Andy fired right through it all day! Encouraging outing from the entire team. I think Cincinnati is at least decent and not the train wreck everyone thought. (Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time for that narrative to manifest. After all, we’re still winless as I write this).
CHARGERS (-2.5) @ Lions
What am I missing? The Chargers are coming off a week-one home victory over the Colts (WHO ARE STILL REALLY REALLY GOOD); and if you’ve seen the stands at a Chargers home game, you know they never really have the crowd advantage. The Lions tied the Cardinals who were a DISASTER for three quarters. Kyler Murray struggled with everything a Tolkien-sized quarterback would struggle with and Kliff Kingsbury realized we’re not in Kansas anymore as he coached against an actual NFL team and not the worst power conference team in NCAA football.
Luckily, Matt Patricia’s backward hat and lumberjack beard that make him look like an Alaskan gas station owner (especially when he throws on two or three of those enormous coats he wears in the wintertime) haven’t gone away and he possesses the football decision making of one of those gas station owners. Good grief. His team choked against the Cardinals–the NFL’s worst team last season who hired an unemployed Big 12 burnout as head coach and drafted a 5’9 baseball player as a franchise QB. Patricia is in no way suited to be a head coach, so I’m fading Detroit until somethin’ changes.
Vikings @ PACKERS (-3)
Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers and their first defense I’ve trusted since the Obama/Romney election. In Lambeau, I’ll give Kirk Cousins the points. It’s a fairly simple formula: Rodgers at home with a trustworthy defense against a visiting Kirk Cousins and he just has to win by a field goal? I’ll take that deal. What about you, Utavich?
Patriots @ DOLPHINS (+19)
Pats-Fins has WTF !!! written all over it. I can sniff out bizarre NFL games. (That’s exactly why I stayed away from Redkins-Eagles last week). Something feels fishy about the Patriots visiting the Dolphins. Trust me, I’m fully aware that Miami is New England’s AFC East kryptonite as is. They beat the Pats at home frequently and in increasingly strange ways. Last year, of course, we had the laterals as the clock expired. We probably won’t top that one…unless…Miami wins this year! Lol, no way, right? Probably not, considering Miami is trying to be bad and that is the exact opposite of what New England has been for the past two decades (funny how Belichick’s disciple Matt Patricia deployed the opposite strategy).
BUT, the NFL season is long. Teams change, unusual occurrences…occur? Yes. It’s sports. When you (VEGAS) think you can predict the future–and get cocky by creating a 19 point spread, that’s an open invitation to the agents of chaos. Haha, and they are already at work! Just this week, New England traded Demaryius Thomas to the Jets to clear space for…Antonio Brown, who was just accused of raping his former trainer and “jack [his] dick on her back” while they watched a live church service in the living room. But he said “Oh B… you know, I’m sorry” which makes it better? No. If the accusations are true, and it looks that way, Brown would and should be suspended indefinitely but certainly for all of this year. There you go, that’s some New England bad juju (even though all this just means is The Rock is probably going to end up as a Patriots tight end at some point this year).
JAGUARS (+9) @ Texans
If you didn’t read my Breakout Fantasy Stars piece from Tuesday (shame!), I threw Gardner Minshew on the list. I said this:
My guy just accumulates passing yards by the thousand. The Jaguars won’t suck with Minshew, I promise you. And he’ll sling it 45 yards into traffic. He’s a passing maestro with a mustache. Minshew takes risky chances and has no filter as a passer. Awesome! He’s a boom or bust guy that always booms in terms of raw passing yardage. Mike Leach has his pawn on the board.
I think Gardner Minshew is a franchise QB. And he has a mustache! He just Nick Foles’d Nick Foles! Jacksonville just rocketed from about 16th to top-five in the Most Watchable Teams standings. I know he’s going to put up huge passing numbers, that’s just what he does. Honestly, I’d compare him to Nick Foles. Laid back, big arm and surrounded by a supernatural aura–he’s becoming a cult hero as we speak and he’s only played one half! NFL fans are going to enjoy the hell out of Gardner, a mustache-wearing 23-year-old journeyman–who went from East Carolina to Alabama to Washington State–and had a starting job fall in his lap during the first game of his rookie season. I’m so excited. And I’m channeling that adrenaline into a wager for Jacksonville. They can stay competitive with the Texans. For Houston to dominate, Watson will have to put up 350 yards and a few scores because the Jags are absolutely shutting down that running game.
COLTS (+3) @ Titans
I love Indy this year. I have a full Ewing Theory receipt to show for my preseason support following the Luck retirement and these guys have every team mojo thing going for them. The list:
- Ewing Theory: Defined as “A team [that] inexplicably plays better when their star player is injured or on the bench.” Andrew retired, they are a PRIME candidate.
- “Nobody Believes in Us:” A classic. Does anything motivate you to be great at something more than someone telling you that you SUCK at that thing? Tell a bunch of professional peaking athletic phenoms “you suck at football.” Bet they wind up changing your mind.
- Clubber Lang Mentality: “I want Balboa. I want Balboa!” He was young and hungry and ready to knock off the champ. And he did it! Indy has some Clubber in ’em. Their roster is full of young playmakers on rookie deals. Darius Leonard, the NFL’s leading tackler a year ago. Quenton Nelson, the greatest offensive guard I’ve ever seen (and you know how deep my offensive line analysis stretches). Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack in the backfield. Malik Hooker at corner. Just a wealth of young talent. And now their QB quit, so it’s on them to prove two things: 1.) They deserve a big second contract (or at least a hold-out, come on), and 2.) They don’t need Andrew Schmuck.
I love the vibes from Indy. It feels like I’m front row for a Beach Boys concert. WE ARE HAVING FUN ON THE INDY BANDWAGON. Good vibrations here in the midwest.
BILLS (-2) @ Giants
SEAHAWKS (+4.5) @ Steelers
Cardinals @ RAVENS (-13.5)
Sunday 4 PM ET Window
CHIEFS (-8) @ Raiders
Eight points? Patrick Mahomes has to outscore Derek Carr and Jon Gruden by a little more than a touchdown? Hold on, I just called my garbage collectors and asked if I can rent one of their trucks. Just need a way to transport $4.5 million to The Mirage in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Bears (-2.5) @ BRONCOS
Trubisky bludgeoned my eyeballs for three hours last Thursday. But, Joe Flacco, Philip Lindsey, and Emmanuel Sanders are the big three Denver is promoting on offense, so I’m not really thrilled to watch this game. And I’m sorry, those are hideous headliners for the Broncos. A quarterback who one could argue is just as washed as Eli Manning, a 5’8 running back who lives with his parents and a career number two receiver that is far past his prime. What is there to like? The defense, still controlled by Von Miller, is the obvious answer. But guess what: Chicago’s defense is better than Denver’s. It’s the best unit in the NFL.
SO, in a matchup of two bad quarterbacks, meaningless ground games and elite defenses who do I take? Well, for no other reason than that Oakland manhandled Denver on national television a few days ago, I like Chicago.
SAINTS (+2.5) @ Rams
I have a low lying gut feeling that the Saints win. I just really like their culture, their offense, their colors, their quarterback, the coach. I’m in on the Saints, again. Kamara is the most dangerous back in the NFL aside from poor Saquan, Brees is a Hall Of Famer in the twilight of his career who’s in his third year with most of his offensive core. Plus, those guys–Kamara, Michael Thomas, Taysom Hill, a lot of the O-line–are young and peaking as assets (since they’re still on rookie contracts).
I think Kamara goes crazy on Sunday and Brees hits a few long Thomas connections that the Rams can’t match. I really don’t feel great about this pick but I’m unsure what Gurley’s health looks like and I think there’s some Trail Blazers-esque continuity between New Orleans’ stars. A statement this weekend would put them at the perch of the NFC.
EAGLES (-1.5) @ Falcons
Philly had their version of “MOM, my alarm clock didn’t go off” last Sunday. Understandable. If I won a Super Bowl two years ago I certainly wouldn’t be juiced to play the Washington Deadskins and Case Keenum. Once down 17-0, Philly walloped Washington en route to a 32-27 victory (which featured a very late garbage time TD). 2019-19 was really a year from hell for Philadelphia. Lot of injuries, Super Bowl hangover, a couple key guys aging out of their prime and their QB saw his season cut short once again. They still made the playoffs.
They have the DNA, culture, coaching, and quarterback from their super bowl winning team that finished with the best regular-season record in the league. Wentz is a solid top ten to twelve passer in the NFL and he’s jockeying a stallion roster. Philly spent some money this offseason helping Wentz out by acquiring former Philly legend DeSean Jackson–who hauled in two LONG touchdowns vs. Washington–and acquiring Chicago starter Jordan Howard at RB. On defense, they brought Vinny Curry back after a one year stint with Tampa, signed CB Johnathon Cyprien and LB Zach Brown. All bolstered an already stingy defense. This team is a legit threat to win the Super Bowl. Yeah, they’ll beat the Falcons handily.
Browns @ JETS (+2.5)
WOW, the Browns hype train is already more off the rails than Joe Pesci in GoodFellas. And it’s nice to see Cleveland mimicking Pesci’s behavior. With an ejection in week one and rumors of a fan pouring beer on Titans players, the Cleveland we all know and laugh at is back. Except they irrationally think they’re really good at football! This is incredible. It’s clear the Browns aren’t ready to win important games. Hell, Tennessee thumped them by thirty IN Cleveland. And that same Browns team is favored to win on the road vs. the Jets in week two? This team? Road favorites?
I like New York. These divas on Cleveland–Baker Mayfield and OBJ, chiefly–spend more time pouting and arguing with Colin Cowherd than any starter on a playoff team. Drop the immaturity, win the games. New England doesn’t deal with immaturity, they win Super Bowls. Six of them. Not sure if you’ve heard. Culture is whack in northern Ohio. The Jets didn’t exactly reenact The Godfather on my TV last Sunday but at least they seem focused.
I like the Jets because I can easily envision their path to victory: run the ball with Le’Veon Bell, dominate the clock, limit Cleveland’s possessions. One or two bad possessions from Baker early, a Jets lead and plenty of time to argue in between drives could see a frustrated Browns side break out in civil warfare. I don’t like how the Browns are run, I don’t love their new head coach, their stars’ image obsession really bothers me (when you consider Baker’s criminal history is longer than his list of important NFL wins) and I FLAT OUT do not trust them.
See you next week !!