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The Bengals and Browns both come off losses in Week 1 as they face off in a divisional rivalry game in Week 2.
The Bengals faced Baltimore less than a week ago, on Monday Night. They kept it close in the first half but were dominated in the 2nd half by a tough Baltimore defense and running game, as Baltimore coasted to a final line of 44-13.
The Browns lost a heartbreaker at home to the Eagles, in a game in which they did everything right defensively but were a victim of too many turnovers. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four picks, and had a hard time moving the ball offensively. The Browns ultimately lost in the final minute of the game, 17-16.
The line opened at -10 for the Browns and has been quickly brought down to -7, with some shops showing 6.5. The total also opened at 40 and has come down to 38.5.
Both teams should be motivated to win this meaningful, early season AFC North divisional matchup. The Bengals may seem like the more talented team on paper, and they might be, but they still have a lot to prove that last year was not a fluke. The Browns have a decent defense – especially against the pass. Though the Eagles, have struggled, offensively they are still extremely potent, and the Browns held them to 17 points. We see this being a close game that will likely be decided on the final possession.
We head into another notable divisional matchup in the AFC South, as the Texans take on the Jaguars.
The Texans dominated the Dolphins last week, and capitalized on Miami’s constant turnovers to win 30-10. Still, the Texans could have played better as they had many lapses on special teams, and had trouble punching it in the end zone for scores and had to settle for many field goals.
The Jaguars lost in overtime to Minnesota last week and had problems in pass defense against the Vikings. Still, the Jaguars are happy with 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert, who had the best game of his career last week. He threw for 260 and two TDs, and led the Jaguars on a 76 yard drive to send the game into overtime.
The spread and total opened at +8 and 41, respectively. There has been upward movement on the spread as some books have +7.5 or +8. The total has been relatively stable, standing at 41 or 41.5.
Both teams will likely rely on a heavy running game to try to try and keep possession, and get it out of the other back’s hands. Adrian Foster and Jones-Drew will likely get a full workload in this game, as both teams have remarkably similar offensive schemes. The Texans are a little more pass happy, but will pound the ball with Foster and Tate once they get a lead. Though, Gabbert performed well last week – Mularkey and his staff know MJD is the workhorse, and his return to the starting role should come with 20+ touches. We see this one being a grind it out, tough, in the trenches type of game.
The Bills and Chiefs continued where they left off last season, which is not a praiseworthy thing for fans of both teams.
The Bills were torched by the seemingly unimpressive offense of the Jets last week and have given up nearly 100 points in their last two games. They lost 48-28, on the road last week, in a game that wasn’t even close in the 2nd half.
The Chiefs suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Falcons and were embarrassed 40-24 at home. The defense did virtually nothing to stop the Falcons offense, as they were forced to punt just one time in the Week 1 win.
The total and spread have pretty much stayed the same since opening. The spread is -3 nearly everywhere, but some have moved the total up a half point to 45.
Both of teams have looked utterly terrible in their openers, but the Bills have seemed to play well at home in recent years. Both teams are also ravaged with injuries, as Fred Jackson will miss four weeks, and wideout Stevie Johnson will miss the rest of the season. The Chiefs are also missing a few players in their defensive backfield, including CB Brandon Flowers.
The Bills romped KC last year at home and KC has a lot of defensive injuries. Hopefully, Mario Williams will be able to pressure Cassel and force some turnovers. Fitzpatrick will still have plenty of targets but also needs to take care of the ball, and hand it off to C.J. Spiller. We like the Bills.
The Raiders head to take on the Dolphins in Week 2, after each team started off less than impressive in Week 1.
The Raiders simply couldn’t get it going in a Monday Night Football loss to the divisional rival San Diego Chargers. Defensively they played well, and simply couldn’t move the ball offensively – except via running back, Darren McFadden, who looked to be at full strength in the season opener.
The Dolphins were decimated in a Week 1 loss to the Texans, in which rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw 4 interceptions, and the Fins could barely move the ball. There isn’t much positive to say about their Week 1 performance, though Reggie Bush continued his upward trend, with over 140 yards receiving and running.
The spread opened at just +1 for Miami and could easily be at +3 by game time. The total has stayed at around 39 at most shops.
The Raiders have been plagued by inconsistency the past year, but have a defense that can pressure the quarterback. They got to Phillip Rivers a few times last week, and one can only imagine what they can do to Ryan Tannehill. Couple that with the Darren McFadden rushing attack and it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Raiders to get a lead, and then pound away at the clock.
The Buccaneers started off Week 1 with a dominant rushing performance against Carolina Panthers. Impressive against Carolina, the Buccaneers not only rushed for over 130 yards, but shut down Carolina’s potent rushing attack just allowing 10 rushing yards in a 16-10 win.
The defending Superbowl Champions had a bit of a hangover in Week 1 and were clearly outmatched by a well prepared Cowboys team. The Giants certainly understand the ramifications of going 0-2 in a tough NFC, and will be ready this Sunday to even their record.
The total has had very little movement from the opening line of 44 and is at either the original number of 44.5 at most books. The opening spread of -7 is trending upward, as some books have -7.5 and -8 pricing.
Games like this show off the parity of the NFL season to season, and even week to week. The Giants did not look like the Superbowl Champions of last year and seemed to have trouble moving the football, especially via the running game.
Tampa didn’t look great in their win over Carolina, but moved the ball the tremendously on the ground and stopped the running game of their opponents, as well. New head coach Greg Schiano also revamped the defense, which has already produced 3 sacks and several turnovers.
We think the Giants win this game, but it will be close. As the spread gets close to +8 for the Buccaneers, we like their chances of covering.
As both teams come off losses in Week 1, this NFC South divisional matchup is seemingly already a must win game for both franchises.
The Saints opener was spoiled by an epic performance from Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. As the Saints move on from the offseason bounty scandal that has rocked the organization, they are refocused this week against a familiar opponent.
Carolina had a rough Week 1 where they managed just 10 points in a 16-10 loss to division rival Tampa Bay. Cam Newton looked decent in the passing game, throwing for over 300 yards – but as a whole, the team didn’t score much or convert on third down. They were also held to just 10 rushing yards against a tough Tampa front.
The line opened at pk, has moved to +2.5 and will likely move to +3 by game time. The total opened at 50.5 and has stayed around that number with most shops at 51.5.
This play is super square, but it’s difficult to think that Carolina has a chance against the Saints, even at home. Brees has been unstoppable against the Panthers in a four game win streak, averaging nearly 320 yards per game with 10 touchdowns. The Panthers are banged up on the offensive line, and simply do not have the firepower to match the Saints potent offense.
The Cardinals and Patriots both started off with wins in Week 1, but the Cards face a tough test to become to 2-0, as the Patriots are large favorites in their home opener at Gillette.
The Cardinals, deemed as one of the league’s worst teams before the season started, rattled off a win last week against Seattle beating them 20-16. Neither team had a strong performance, but the Cardinals rallied to win the 4th quarter on a touchdown drive by backup Kevin Kolb.
However, the Patriots were much more dominant at against the Titans. Defensively, they swarmed 2nd year quarterback Jake Locker, and seemed to have a large improvement defensively. The Patriots can always score, and their offensive looked like one of the best in the league as they beat the Titans down, 34-13.
The spread opened at -12.5 and is actually at -15 at some books! What an enormous number for a Week 2 game! The total has virtually not moved standing at 48.5 since the opening line.
It’s so hard to rationalize an almost two touchdown favorite in Week 2, but if anyone deserves it, it’s the Patriots. Still, we think it’s just too difficult to invest in such a large number so early on. Though, this one will be tough to call, the Patriots had one of the worst defenses last year and even though they looked terrific Week 1, they are still suspect. Kolb will likely be the starter this week due to injuries, and certainly has something to prove to his coach and fan base. Take the points and pray. It may be worth waiting closer to game time on this one, as the line continues to move in favor of the Cardinals.
The Ravens head to Philly, which looks to be an intriguing and exciting matchup of 1-0 teams.
After a dominant performance against Cincinnati on Monday, the Ravens head to Philadelphia to take on the underachieving Eagles. The Ravens didn’t do much wrong Monday Night, as they played fantastic in all aspects, pounding the Bengals 44-13.
The Eagles, on the other hand, barely squeezed out a victory against the Browns, 17-16. Vick fumbled twice and threw several interceptions, but was able to throw a touchdown pass with 2 minutes left to put the Eagles ahead.
The spread opened at Philly -2.5 and has slowly crept towards -1, as bettors like the Ravens in this matchup. The total at 46.5 has moved up 2.5 points from the 44 opening number.
The Ravens seem like the better play, and should come with their A game to Philly, but we can’t count the Eagles out. This is almost a must win for Vick and Andy Reid, and while the Ravens want to win, it doesn’t mean as much. Also, Baltimore is banged up in their linebackers’ core, and veteran Ray Lewis seems to be slowing down. It will be hard for Baltimore’s old defense to contain McCoy and Vick, without LB Terrell Suggs. After all, the Bengals gained 129 yards on the ground last week, in an uncharacteristic start for a perennial run stopping Ravens’ defense. Roll the dice with Vick and the Eagles.
The Vikings come into Indy after an overtime win at Jacksonville,while Andrew Luck hopes to win his first home opener.
The Vikings, thought to be without running back Adrian Peterson in Week 1, actually benefitted tremendously from one of the best backs in the league. Though, Peterson was limited all preseason – in fact, he had zero carries, all preseason – the power back rushed for over 70 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars, in an eventual overtime victory.
The Colts, who started off their season in Chicago, had a rough go of things. 1st overall pick Andrew Luck threw some key interceptions and the Bears dominated the time of possession via the rushing attack of Matt Forte. Cutler also threw for over 300 yards, in the Colts’ 41-21 loss.
The Colts opened at -2.5 favorites but with betting action heavily favoring Minnesota the line been pushed all the way to Indy +1.5. The total has moved a full point from its opening 43.5 number to 44.5.
Andrew Luck is awesomely talented and will have plenty of years in the NFL to rack up victories. It just might not happen right away. The Colts are just not a particularly talented team and have a terrible defense. With a healthy Adrian Peterson, and a slightly more experienced Ponder at QB, it will be hard for the Colts to keep possession with Peterson moving the chains and running the clock.
The Redskins shocked the football world last week, matching the Saints’ potent offense score for score and pulling out a 40-32 victory. Robert Griffin looked great throwing for over 300 yards and one touchdown.
The Rams also put up a formidable fight against the Lions before losing in the final minutes via a Matthew Stafford touchdown. The Rams had decent performances all around, considering how terrible they have been in years past. They look to build on their performance in Week 1.
After opening -1 for St. Louis, the line has gone all the way to +3 as bettors are backing the Redskins heavily. The total has not moved much from 45 but is trending upward towards 46.
The Redskins played well last week, but it’s hard to give a rookie quarterback on a subpar team much respect on the road. On top of that, the Rams look improved under Jeff Fisher. They look more disciplined and aren’t making the stupid mistakes, and dumb penalties of past teams. The Rams have played well at home against the Skins in years past, and it’s hard to not like them in this spot against an unproven rookie in Robert Griffin III.
Rams +3 and Under 45
Another NFC matchup pits two teams on opposite spectrums against each other, a dominant win against a talented team and a terrible loss against projected bottom feeder.
Dallas started the 2012 season off with a bang, taking down the Superbowl Champion Giants. It was a masterly performance from Romo and the gang, and a stout defensive showing from the Cowboys defense.
Seattle had a tough loss to Arizona, a team which experts predict to be exceptionally poor in 2012. Losing 20-16, the Seahawks couldn’t move the ball offensively, and rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson could never get into a grove.
Seattle opened at +1.5 and is now at +3. Some shops have gone to +3.5 as bettors are favoring the Cowboys in the matchup. The total opened at 42.5 and has remained around that number.
While the Cowboys seem like a slam dunk in this game, let’s not forget this is just Week 2. The Seahawks are also an excellent home team benefitting from their raucous crowd presence, colloquially known as the “12th man.” The under looks like the most profitable play in this matchup, as Seattle has a strong pass defense and is a run happy team on offense. Things will probably not be fluid on offense for either team, as Seattle works out the kinks of a rookie QB, and Dallas has a tougher time against the Seattle D and crowd.
The Titans look to rebound against San Diego after a beating at the hands of New England last week. They may be without quarterback Jake Locker, who is questionable after suffering an ankle injury against New England. Hassellbeck will step in as the quarterback – if Locker can’t go. He should benefit from having Kenny Britt back after a DUI suspension during Week1.
The Chargers handled the Raiders well on Monday night, and most of it was off the arm of Phillip Rivers. The quarterback threw for just 231 yards and a touchdown but committed no turnovers.
San Diego opened as a -4.5 and that number has risen to -6. The total opened at 44, and has trended downward and now sites at 43.
The Chargers looked fantastic against the Raiders last week, but still haven’t proven they aren’t the team that missed the playoffs last season. With injuries to Matthews, who will not play Sunday and Antonio Gates, who is questionable, the Chargers aren’t even at full strength. Also, the Titans held their own in the 1st half against the Patriots, will now be with deep threat Kenny Britt. The Titans have the firepower to match the Chargers, in what should be a close matchup.
The Jets almost put up 50 points last week against the Bills and must be riding high after many terrible offensive performances in the preseason. Sanchez and his receiving core looked impressive at home, and the Jets’ defense looked dominant.
The Steelers didn’t fare as well. The perennial AFC contenders held a lead for much of the game and dominated possession but ultimately were done in by Peyton Manning and late Roethlisberger interception. They lost 31-19 in Denver.
The spread opened at Pittsburgh -4 and is now at -5. The total opened at 41.5 and is at 41 or 41.5 at most books.
Though, the Jets seem improved, the Steelers are an excellent home team and are much better on paper. Still, we see this one as a high scoring affair in relation to the total; the Steelers defense is aging and does give up points late in games. Offensively, both teams are somewhat talented with the Steelers having the edge at QB and receiver. We see the Steelers winning by more than a touchdown and this one going over the total.
Steelers -5 and Over 41.5
The Lions started their season off with a shaky performance against the Rams in which they rallied to win in the final minutes. It did not look like the Lions of last year, as defensively they looked somewhat lost, and did not have the continuity on offense they did in 2011.
However, the 49ers impressed heavily on the NFL world, in a victory against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers have to look like the most impressive team so far, as they return most all of their starters from last season’s top 5 ranked defense. On offense, they got even better as Alex Smith continues to look more improved, and the receiving core added Randy Moss.
San Francisco opened as a modest -3 favorite and has moved 4 points to -7. Bettors love SF in this matchup. The total has not moved much from its 46 opening line.
This should be an exciting one to watch Sunday Night and is certainly a statement game for both teams. The 49ers can extend their dominance of the NFC with a beat down of the Lions, and sure seem to have the team to do it with. The Lions are missing players in their already average secondary and did not have an impressive performance against St. Louis last week. We’ll take the Niners and the points.