Welcome back to another week of 2015 NFL Predictions. We had our ups and downs last week but you never really know what you’re going to get in Week 1, right? This week, more patterns should be established and things will begin to clear up a bit. So with that, let’s get into our picks for Week 2 with odds courtesy of Bovada LV. Home teams are in all CAPS.
ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: Top 20 Quarterback Rankings For Week 2
Cardinals (-2.5) over BEARS: The Bears may a little better than last year and they are playing at home but how can you possibly pick Jay Cutler against anyone let alone a playoff-caliber opponent? Arizona’s injury issues in the backfield won’t matter this week.
Falcons (+2) over GIANTS: Can’t really see how anyone can have much confidence in the Giants after last week’s disaster. And even though they were on the doorstep of a win, they didn’t play particularly well against the Cowboys either. The Falcons did everything they could to blow a big lead against Philly but they still showed enough on defense to inspire confidence that they can win on the road.
VIKINGS (-3) over Lions: Minnesota made a solid case for most disappointing performance of Week 1, getting pushed around and beaten up by the 49ers on Monday night. Playing at home against what looks to be the same old Lions should help as should a more liberal dose of Adrian Peterson.
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PANTHERS (-3) over Texans: It’s going to be a long year in Houston. Bill O’Brien’s move from Brian Hoyer to Ryan Mallett after three lousy quarters feels desperate and while it’s not like Hoyer is all that great to begin with, O’Brien looks like he’s panicking by making the change so soon. Meanwhile, Cam Newton is better than both Mallett and Hoyer combined and if he can avoid J.J. Watt, should easily lead the Panthers to a 2-0 start.
Patriots (-1.5) over BILLS: Yes, the Bills have a fast, swarming, exciting defense. Yes, Rex Ryan’s act works great for the first few months he gets to put it on. No, the Bills will not beat the Patriots, who may not move the ball with the ease with which they marched on the Steelers last week but can still manage the pressure they’ll see from the Buffalo’s front seven as well as the hostile environs of Ralph Wilson Stadium. This isn’t exactly Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s first rodeo.
Chargers (+3.5) over BENGALS: Here are a couple of teams who would be rolling in hardware if championships were awarded for playing well in September and October. Both of them are coming off Week 1 wins but the Bengals earned theirs over the lowly Raiders and Oakland’s backup quarterback. Phillip Rivers, Keenan Allen and the Chargers’ offense are powerful enough to go east and win.
49ers (+6.5) over STEELERS: Assuming the Steelers remember to cover the Niners’ tight ends and don’t get outsmarted by a goal line defensive formation that is regularly featured in high school games (then claim it’s cheating), they should enter the win column against a San Francisco team that played over its head on Monday and is traveling east on a short week. Steelers win, Niners cover.
Rams (-3.5) over WASHINGTON: We saw how much trouble the Rams’ defense gave Seattle last week and the Seahawks have only played in the last two Super Bowls. It’s tough to envision Washington and its interception prone QB Kirk Cousins being able to do much of anything against such a good D.
Bucs (+10) over SAINTS: The Saints, who looked eerily similar to last season’s group of underachievers in losing to Arizona, will likely bounce back in their home opener against the woeful Bucs. Tampa should be less worried about James Winston’s middling performance against the Titans than the horrendous defense that made Marcus Mariota look like Joe Montana. Still, the Bucs should cover such a big spread.
Titans (-2) over BROWNS: Tennessee won in Week 1 last year too before dropping 14 of 15. Mariota was in Oregon then, though, and he’s already better than Johnny Manziel, who will get the start for Cleveland. It felt like the Browns were in it for a minute last week before the Jets blew them out. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good. This will be another loss for the Browns, who should be forced to forfeit their entire schedule as punishment for their new uniforms.
RAIDERS (+7) over Ravens: The Raiders stink but their loss to the Bengals was made much worse by injuries, particularly starting quarterback Derek Carr. Meanwhile, the Ravens, who will win this game in a squeaker, are severely diminished on offense as proven last week in Denver and now must play without Terrell Suggs on D. This feels like a 20-17, 17-13—type game.
JAGUARS (+6.5) over Dolphins: Jags QB Blake Bortles unleashed a little fury on the team’s fanbase this week. Maybe some of that fire will seep into Sunday’s interstate tilt against Miami and spark the Jacksonville offense to actually do something. There’s a real weapon there in T.J. Weldon and the more successful he is, the easier it will be for Bortles to get untracked. As far as the Dolphins are concerned, they needed Jarvis Landry to break a punt return to win in Washington so don’t go thinking they’re all that much better just yet.
EAGLES (-5) over Cowboys: Dallas needed one of the biggest brainfarts in recent memory to win last week and that was (mostly) before Dez Bryant went down. The Eagles are tough to predict but after a putrid first half against the Falcons, they exploded and should have won. The Cowboys are a lot tougher than they used to be but there’s not enough there to win a division game like this on the road.
Seahawks (+3.5) over PACKERS: It makes sense to pick the Packers due to the revenge factor, their home field advantage and the problems that have plagued the Seahawks going all the way back to the Super Bowl. But it makes even more sense to give the two-time defending NFC champs the benefit of the doubt. The Seahawks are too talented not to figure out what ails them and beat a team they’ve handled well the past couple of seasons.
COLTS (-7) over Jets: Indy on the road, in a hostile environment against a very good, well-coached defense is a recipe for disaster, as proven by last week’s lousy showing in Buffalo. This week, the Colts return to their comfort zone — indoors against a not terribly intimidating opponent, and that’s when they’re at their best.
Last week: 7-8
Season to date: 7-8
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