Thursday night didn’t go to plan. It sounds like it was a horrible game to watch from start to finish with neither team getting going on offense and from what I saw from watching the 4th quarter, the Panthers really struggling to do anything. Cam Newton doesn’t look right, the play-calling wasn’t good, penalties everywhere, stoppages everywhere. It was a mess. On the plus side though the Tampa Bay run defense looks like it’s pretty decent which I kinda called in the preview.
Ahhhh week 2 is here, and the struggle to avoid over-reacting to week 1 is real. Was what we saw a mirage? A one-off random occurence? Or is that how teams are actually going to play? It’s the fine balancing act between your pre-season expectations and trusting your eyes from week 1.
Baltimore Ravens (-11.5) v Arizona Cardinals: 46.5
The most impressive team of last week opens their home schedule facing the most changed team from the season before as the Ravens host the Cardinals.
The Ravens racked up 59 points against the hapless Dolphins last year, but how much of that was them, and how much was their opponents? A little of option a, a little of option b. I am surprised at how much I like this Ravens team and the coaching job that they’ve done there. They knew their QB and have built around his skillset. 17 completions for 324 and a TD is a ridiculous stat-line however, they face a Cardinals secondary still without their main 2 CBs. There will be points here but I’m struggling to figure out whether it will be on the ground, or through the air for the Ravens.
The Cardinals had the fastest offense in the league last week averaging less than 30 seconds between plays, something that was expected when Kliff took over in the summer and will continue. It’s good for backing points because it tires out both defenses who don’t get enough rest between series. They played 4 WR sets a lot, again as expected and once they settled in the second half looked pretty good with it. Fitz is still the man in the passing game, but the like of Damiere Byrd and Keesean Johnson both played over 75% of snaps each and are big prices tonight.
Ravens should win, I actually like them against the spread first half and taking the Cardinals on a big spread in-play for the second half.
Damiere Byrd anytime – 20/1 (365) – Keesean Johnson anytime – 16/1 (365) – 1 point each.
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) v San Francisco 49ers: 45.5
This line is all over the shop, even at 9am Sunday morning you can still get either side getting a point on the handicap (49ers +1 at 1.80, Bengals +1 at 1.95) depending on where you want to bet. So look around if you’ve got a feeling either way.
Good luck if you’ve got a feeling either way, it’s a really tough game to call. The Bengals expectations coming into the season were basement level, I heard at least 1 person claiming they’re the worst team in the league (Pina…) Which was always a ridiculous take. They surprised everyone last week though and should have won in Seattle. As a fan it was a weird one to digest, watching live I was really happy with the game, but in the cold light of day afterwards, looking back at it I realised they should have won. Andy Dalton had a career day, John Ross had a career day, Sam ‘old mother’ Hubbard had a career day. I doubt two of those three will reproduce it but Hubbard may be able to.
Joe Mixon picked up an ankle sprain in the loss and has been lightly practised this week but it looks like he’ll be a go tonight. If not then Gio is one of the better backups in the league. I want to see some news on Auden Tate or Damion Willis. If Tate goes then 16/1 for him to score at Betfred/365 is a good outside bet.
The 49ers were poor offensively last week against the Buccs, and the main reason for it? Sexy Jimmy G. 166 yards and a TD against a poor Buccs secondary isn’t great, and it’s been pointed out on twitter that he’s turning his back when throwing under pressure, the Bengals should be able to bring pressure. On the other side of the ball the Niners will be able to get pressure against a muddled Bengals offensive line with Bosa and Ford bringing the pain. George Kittle looks like he’ll be the main man again, he finished with a third of their yards last week, 54 from 8 receptions and the Bengals are historically poor against tight ends. Tevin Coleman is out, so it will be Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert in the run game for them, neither are temptingly priced though.
The heart says Bengals but I wouldn’t be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo figures out how to play again and does well.
Auden Tate anytime – 16/1 (365/Fred) – 1pt, George Kittle anytime – 2.62 (365)
Detroit Lions (+1.5) v Los Angeles Chargers: 47
Another tough one here. Both teams went to Overtime last week so there’s no advantage to be gained there, but the Chargers have to travel across the country for an early start. Usually that upsets teams but the Chargers were 7-1 on the road last season.
The Chargers are however continually snake-bit with injuries and that hit again this week with Hunter Henry fracturing his knee and likely out for at least 6 weeks. Add to that Okung, Derwin James being out, and Mike Williams looking less than 50/50 and it’s a tough one for them. The Henry injury historically means more for the Running backs and Ekeler and Jackson are a good partnership, Ekeler finishing last week with 3 total TDs and 150+ yards.
The Lions had the game in the bag then threw it away last week, they would have won had it not been for a ridiculous time out called by the coach which negated an easy pickup for them. They were punished for poor coaching and you’d hope they won’t do it again. It was expected they’d be a run-first team but that didn’t materialise last week with Stafford throwing for 385 yards. TJ Hock had a huge game on debut for them with 131 yards, and Amendola topped 100 as well. The Chargers aren’t great against the run, so basically I’m lost at who to target in their offense.
Can’t pick a winner on this one, Lions would be my lean, but I haven’t seen enough to get a read on them yet.
Austin Ekeler o38.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (Skybet)
Green Bay Packers (-3) v Minnesota Vikings: 43
The Pack return home after a tough win against a good defense in the opening game last Thursday, it gives them a little more time to recover and game-plan against a Vikings side who only had 10 passing attempts last week. The Packers looked good on defense though and I’ve been high on them for a lot of the off-season.
I can’t call this one to be honest. The Vikings defense looked great last week and effectively shut down the Falcons before the 4th quarter.
Geronimo Allison didn’t have a target in that opener, and MVS is clearly the WR2 opposite Davante Adams in that offense, Jimmy Graham caught a TD on a jump ball (did you know he played basketball in college?) Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams frustratingly shared carries in the backfield.
Dalvin Cook had a cracker last week and got my ‘most rushing yards’ bet off to a good start. I’m surprised to find he’s plus money again this week. As you’d expect the receiving lines on Thielen and Diggs are low after last week, Thielen had 43 yards, Diggs 37.
No bets on this one for me, I’m not sure how it will go to be honest, should be a good one to watch though.
Houston Texans (-8) v Jacksonville Jaguars: 44
Both teams head into this at 0-1, but having had mixed fortunes in week 1. The Texans should have beaten a Superbowl favourite, while the Jags had a terrible game with Nick Foles going out injured and their defense undisciplined throughout.
The Texans are the better team in my eyes here, but in fairness I’ve been continuously disrespectful to the Jags for a couple of years now, I just don’t like them. Deshaun Watson is one of the best QBs in the league, and despite taking 6 sacks in the opener (if it carries on he’ll break his record of 62 from last year) he still made the plays when they counted and put them in position to win last week. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best, if not the best WR in the league but he’ll be facing Jalen Ramsey this week. It looks like Keke Coutee will be back in the slot for them, he gets a fair few targets when he’s playing and is a player I like. But the man I want to back in this one is Will Fuller. He’ll be facing easier coverage this week with AJ Bouye out for the game, and his electric pace cause trouble for the best of defensemen.
Gardner Minshew comes in at QB for the Jags for his first start, and his pornstar looks somehow make him instantly likeable (check out the photo on my twitter feed.) He had a great game in relief last week, 22 from 25 for 275 and 2 TDs and the Texans secondary isn’t exactly great. He will be behind an offensive line without it’s starting LT though as Robinson is punished for getting kicked out of the game last week.
Trying to pick who he’ll throw to is rough, it’s between Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and DJ Chark do do do do do do. Usually when a backup comes in he’ll lock on to someone he’s been playing with in training, so I think that would probably be Chris Conley, but I don’t know. Leonard Fournette is probably in line for more carries if they try and hide a rookie backup QB.
Texans should win but I’m avoiding the spread.
Will Fuller anytime TD – 2.75 (Skybet) – 3 points – NB
Miami Dolphins (+19) v New England Patriots: 48.5
Last week couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed for these two (yes I put that phrase in to make it look like I’m intelligent) – The Dolphins were spanked, the Patriots were the spankees against the Steelers so it’s no surprise to see the Pats as one of the biggest favourites in years.
The home team Dolphins have won 5 of the last 6 against the Pats in Miami. That will not happen tonight. They’re terrible and there’s been a lot of chat about the dressing room being in a real state. Preston Williams scored in his first game though and is available at 5/1 again this week.
The Patriots hilariously embarrassed Mike Tomlin and the Steelers last week winning by 30 points. I’m unsure how they’ll deal with this one though. Belichick doesn’t usually run up the score on his old coordinators and Brian Flores will know the Pats defense better than anyone playing against them. It won’t matter, the Pats will win, but I’m not sure they’ll win by 3 TDs.
Obviously the Pats should win, but this is a firm avoid for me.
New York Giants (+2) v Buffalo Bills: 44.5
I… I think I support the Bills. It all started last season when Josh Allen took over and made them entertaining to watch on offense. He’s not the most secure of QBs so you’re almost guaranteed turnovers from him, but he’s got a huge arm and has targets downfield. Add to that they’ve got probably a top 3 defense and they’re going to be feisty this year.
They brought in a few players over the summer who turned up in week 1, John ‘smokey’ Brown burnt the Jets defense with 123 yards and the go-ahead TD last week and I can see that happening again against a Giants secondary which was hit with big plays multiple times last week. Devin Singletary was the other who impressed on offense for them, he effectively took over from Frank Gore in the second half when they were trailing and looked great with 4 rushes for 70 on the ground and 5 for 28 through the air. Unfortunately the books saw that too, and he’s best priced 2/1 which isn’t a bet for me.
The Giants weren’t great in the opener, I thought they’d keep it tight vs Dallas but they were over-matched and couldn’t deal with it. It was surprising how little Saquon Barkley got the ball though so you’d expect them to rectify that by loading him with the ball for more than the 15 touches he got last week. Evan Engram was the main man in the offense last week with 116 from 11 receptions and a TD. I’ve got to think that will be the case again with Sterling Shepard out with concussion. The second choice WRs are really short for the expectations I’ve got of them, they’re an avoid.
I expect and hope that the Bills win this one, they’re on the road again but it’s in the same stadium as they were last week.
John Brown anytime TD – 3.00 (Ladbrokes) – 5 points – NAP
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) v Seattle Seahawks: 47.5
The Steelers were brilliantly and hilariously out-coached and out-played in primetime last week. It’s what they usually do against the Pats who generally own them (unfortunately I stupidly thought they’d keep it tight) and the Seahawks struggled to get past the Bengals at home, which was almost the biggest shock result of the weekend. They really didn’t deserve to win that one.
The Steelers and Big Ben specifically are a much different prospect at home though and will be looking to avenge their embarrassment from last week Juju finished with 88 yards, not as awful as I thought actually against a very good Pats secondary. James Conner was shut down and Donte Moncreif couldn’t catch a cold last week. Moncrief was targeted twice in the redzone though so could be worth a look at nearly 3/1. The rookie Diontae Johnson received the other redzone target, he’s a little better priced at 8/1 although obviously riskier.
The Seahawks offensive line looked improved last year but struggled to protect Wilson against the Bengals last week, I want to hold to the fact that the Bengals actually have a very good D-line and it was mainly that rather than the O-line. They tried constantly to establish the run as is their want, and Chris Carson got 2 TDs and a lot of the ball on the ground as well as 6 catches through the air, for once we could trust the coach-speak. DK Metcalf had a big game on debut and could have topped 100 if he hadn’t had one called back for OPI. He didn’t run a lot of routes, but at his size and athletic ability he doesn’t really need to, he is going to win a lot of jump balls. His line has been kept quite low though 47.5 in most places.
I expect the Steelers to make up for last week and get themselves to 1-1 back at home.
D.K. Metcalf o47.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (most places)
Tennessee Titans (-3.5) v Indianapolis Colts: 43.5
Two teams who impressed last week. The Titans upset the Superbowl winners-elect Cleveland Browns on the road last week, the defense kick-starting that win and it being finished off by the big man Derrick Henry while the Colts impressed without Andrew Luck in an overtime loss against the Chargers and if Adam Vinatieri didn’t have one of the worst nights of his career they would have won that one.
The Titans looked good last week with Cam Wake literally leading the charge against a weak Browns offensive line, he’ll do well to have half the game this week against the Colts offensive line which was one of the best in the league last year. The titans do, in fact have a pretty good defense which will be interesting to watch in this one. Mariota only actually completed 14 passes last week for 248 yards, 75 of them came on a screen to Derrick Henry which he took to the house and rookie AJ Brown had a big 51 yard reception from his 100 as well. So the bare stats look good for Mariota and the defense will keep them in games, but they’ll need these chunk plays to get wins. He does have his comfort blanket back though in the form of Delanie Walker who finished with 2 TDs.
The Colts offense looked good even without Luck, having a great offensive line really does help teams out! They and the coaching protected Jacoby Brissett to some extent, with less than 200 yards from 21 completions it seems like there was a lot of quick short passes, luckily for them they’ve got TY Hilton who isn’t elite but is near the top of the of the second tier of receivers, he finished with 2 TDs in the passing game. They used Marlon Mack a lot in week 1 as well, he finished with some huge numbers, 174 yards from 25 carries! TWENTY-FIVE! That’s more than most RBs will get in any one game, and his TD came on a big 63 scamper down the side-line. Devin Funchess broke his collarbone in this and is on IR so it’s FINALLY time for my man Deon Cain to step up! The camp-hero from last summer finally gets his chance. I have to back him at 7/1 on Unibet
This is another that I don’t have a real feeling for, I don’t think Mack will get that much of the ball again, the Titans should be fairly organised again. Nothing for me, not even really a lean to be honest.
Deon Cain anytime – 8.00 (Unibet)
Washington Redskins (+6) v Dallas Cowboys: 46.5
The Redskins put in a performance that not many expected against the Eagles by actually putting up some points. Taking a 20-7 lead into the second half, but the loss of Jonathon Allen in the defensive line hurt their ability to get to the QB and they fell apart in the second half with 2 deep throws to Desean Jackson doing the damage.
The Redskins will go into this week without Derrius Guice who seems to be made of glass, he’s on IR with another injury which is terrible for the kid who looked good in pre-sesaon a couple of years ago and was someone I wanted to have a good season. It means that Adrian Peterson will be involved this week after being a healthy scratch last week. I would think it will probably be more Chris Thompson than him tonight though as I’d expect them to be trailing in this one. Their passing game looked good though with Case Keenum throwing for 380 and 3, and that should have been more as he was off-target when rookie Terry McLaurin was open downfield. Tezza still finished with 125 and a TD on the night.
The Cowboys. I have completely flipped on my view of Americas team. I think they’re in with a genuine chance of going to the Superbowl this year which is something I never thought I’d say with Dak Prescott at QB. But they looked great last week with Kellen Moores offense looking rather effective. (Tim at F10Y is a little TOO excited – https://youtu.be/199DlpAHiBs) They had players Galluping in wide open spaces between defenders in the Giants secondary. I am FULLY IN. And that is something I never thought I’d say. Warning: This is by far my biggest over-reaction to week 1.
Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper both topped 100 yards last week, Cooper, Cobb, Jarwin and old man Witten all scored TDs, Zeke got one on the ground. They spread the ball around well and schemed guys open, and Dak did what was needed with 25/32 for 405 and 4. He really is just like Andy Dalton, protect him, give him weapons around him and he’ll do the job well. Zeke had 14 touches after coming back from his hiatus in Cabo, and you’d expect that to increase this week.
The Cowboys should win and cover this week. – I am fully expecting this to go tits up as it’s something I’m actually confident in, divisional games are usually tight, but this shows how impressed I was with Dallas last week.
Oakland Raiders (+7) v Kansas City Chiefs: 53.5
Another divisional match to kick off the season for the Raiders after an impressive win against the Broncos last week where they didn’t allow a single hit on Derek Carr against a very good Broncos pass-rush who we thought would feast.
I’ll admit I’ve seen very little of the Raiders game with it being late MNF game in week one, but I’ve heard good things and Carr looks to have been very accurate in his passing. Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller stepped up to the plate, Waller played 100% of snaps last week and finished with 70 yards from 7 receptions. The Chiefs aren’t historically great against tight ends so I’d think he’ll have a good game again this week. It was Josh Jacobs though who impressed the most, finishing his debut with 108 total yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He’s one I want to have a good look at tonight.
I did see a fair bit of the Chiefs game where Patrick Mahomes had the best 1st half of his career with over 300 yards by half time before suffering an ankle injury which slowed him a little in the second half. He’ll be strapped up and put out there today. The loss of Tyreek Hill to a karma-like chest injury didn’t help things either. But the man of the day for the Chiefs was Sammy Watkins who looked trimmed down and electric after the catch; He finished the game with 198 yards from 9 catches and added 3 TDs as well. He’ll be the main man this week with Hill out of the game and the Raiders secondary isn’t exactly stellar. You’d think that Mecole Hardman will step into Tyreeks spot, he played a lot of snaps last week without making any catches, but he was drafted as a replacement for Hill and last week will have helped him as he’s said everything was far quicker than he expected. D Will and McCoy were a good 1-2 punch in the backfield.
I like the Hardman line, but the worry is that De’Anthony Thomas returns from suspension and has more experience in the offense, he could take away from Hardmans up-side but his line is at 37.5 in most places, a little lower on Unibet.
Chiefs should win, I think they’ll cover but it’s an avoid on the spread for me; I’m just a little worried about the ankle injury for ‘Homes.
Denver Broncos (+1.5) v Chicago Bears: 41
On the face of it the Broncos disappointed in week one but they moved the ball well just couldn’t finish off drives in their opener. The Bears stunk up the place at home against a divisional rival. Trubisky showed what most of us expect and was garbage.
The Broncos home record in September is something to take note of. They’ve won 12 in a row at home in September. It’s the altitude that does it, road teams struggle going into it without having built up their game-speed so early in the season. The Broncos failed to get a QB hit on the road which was probably the biggest surprise of the night with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller both ineffective. I can see that changing this one. Flacco moved the ball well enough with Sanders and Sutton his main receivers, Sutton 120 yards and Sanders 86 and the TD last week, i’d expect that to continue. Noah Fant topped his line and it’s another that I’m tempted with tonight, he’s set at 25.5 yards.
The Bears were a stinking hot mess against the Packers. I can’t say I was shocked as I’ve been so down on them and specifically Trubisky for a while now. He’s not accurate, he can’t throw left, he is mobile though I’ll give him that at least. He’ll be facing pressure tonight and it will be interesting to see how he copes with it. Honestly, I know that my view is skewed on Mitch. One man who did step up last week was Allen Robinson who was the main target, and recipient on passing plays, he topped 100 yards from his 7 receptions. Tarik Cohen lined up in the slot a lot last week but Mike Davis and David Montgomery shared time in the backfield despite it being fairly clear that Monty was the better runner.
The Broncos home record and my feelings on the Bears make me think the Broncos win this one outright.
Los Angeles Rams (-1.5) v New Orleans Saints: 52
Odds on this game being decided by a dodgy PI call? This is the first matchup of these two NFC powerhouses since the controversial NFC championship game last year. The Rams got a win on the road in week 1 and closed it out well with Gurley in the last quarter while the Saints got an unlikely win with a 58yd FG as time expired against the Texans.
The Rams, and Jared Goff are far better at home than on the road so I’d expect him to improve on his performance from last week. Robert Woods put up his standard stat-line of around 65-70 yards from 6-8 receptions. He’s so consistent it’s ridiculous. Cooper Kupp looked good from what I saw of the game, he was the main redzone threat for them last year, although he didn’t receive any RZ targets last week. Brandin Cooks provides the downfield threat as always. Someone who did get redzone targets was the tight end Tyler Higbee, 2 of the 4 RZ passing plays went his way, he caught both and got into the endzone with one of them. The main man by the goal-line last week though was Malcolm Brown much to the chagrin of Todd Gurley truthers.
Drew Brees. Michael Thomas. Alvin Kamara. That’s about all you really need to know about the Saints. 13 targets for Thomas last week for 123 yards, Alvin Kamara with 97 yards on the ground and 72 through the air. They’re elite players and they seem to step up every week. But that was at home, in the dome, this one is on the road. I’d expect a decrease on those numbers but they’ll be the main men again. Strangely neither of them scored last week though, the TDs went to Trequan Smith and Taysom Hill, with Latavius Murray running one in from 30 yards out. Taysom Hill is one I mentioned in passing last week at a price and he got his first of probably a few this season.
For the 100th time today I write the word “a tough one to call” but I’m leaning to the Rams back at home in this one.
Robert Woods o65.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (most places)
Atlanta Falcons (+1.5) v Philadelphia Eagles: 52.5
The late, late game this week sees the two teams I picked for the Superbowl from the NFC. They couldn’t have had a much different start to the season with the Eagles powering to a win once they settled down and the Falcons throwing the game away in the first three quarters of their game to go to a disappointing loss against the Vikings.
The Falcons return home and they’ll be hoping that their offensive line does far better this week to hopefully get the run game going. It was sorely missing last week as Devonta Freeman couldn’t get anything going on the ground. He’s a far more talented back than we saw last week and I’m hoping he returns to form in this one, he and Ito Smith shared snaps in the backfield which is a little bit of a worry as well as a Freeman owner in fantasy. They couldn’t get the passing game going until garbage time either, Julio having one of his down games finishing with only 31 yards, but he did get himself into the endzone at least. Ridley had the yards with 64 and a TD from 4 receptions, and probably a sign of the pressure Ryan found himself under, Austin Hooper led the team with 77 yards from 9 receptions. In fairness the Vikings should be a good defense so it could have been that rather than their ineptness.
The Eagles started slow, but the Wentz/DJax connection got them out of the game with a win last week, they connected for 2 huge TDs, both over 50 yards as DJax finished with 154 from 8 and 2 TDs. Everywhere Jackson goes he improves QB stats and it’s obvious to see why. Ertz and Jeffery mixed in as well to keep the chains moving. The ground game was typically muddled with the guys they’ve got there. Jordan Howard did pretty well, Darren Sproles looked great, but Miles Sanders got more of the work in the redzone (admittedly only 2 carries to 1 of the others) and he had a TD called back due to penalty. He’s expected by many to take over the backfield so well worth keeping an eye on them.
Should be a good game, I think the Eagles have too much for the Falcons though.
Fuck me, this was meant to be shorter than last week. Sorry if you’ve read through ALL of this, got a bit carried away. Again.
All bets 2 points unless stated, as always.
Spread treble –
- Bills -2, Broncos +2, Cowboys -5.5 – 6.95
Anytime scorers –
- Damiere Byrd anytime – 20/1 (365) – 1 pt
- Keesean Johnson anytime – 16/1 (365) – 1 pt
- Auden Tate anytime – 16/1 (365/Fred) – 1pt
- George Kittle anytime – 2.62 (365)
- Will Fuller anytime TD – 2.75 (Skybet) – 3 points – NB
- John Brown anytime TD – 3.00 (Ladbrokes) – 5 points – NAP
- Deon Cain anytime – 8.00 (Unibet)
Yard props –
- Austin Ekeler o38.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (Skybet)
- D.K. Metcalf o47.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (most places)
- Robert Woods o65.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (most places)
I think that’s it for bets.
If you fancy some one-day fantasy football then you can join my league which has 2 active contests this week – if you’re not a member on Draftkings then you can sign up below.
It’s been a long morning, now the horrible long wait for the games to start!