The challenge of handicapping games in Week 2 is not to overstate the importance of Week 1 results. The Rams are not necessarily going to be a strong team, while the Steelers are not necessarily going to be losers.

It’s important to realize that while coaches are figuring out game strategy, they are still evaluating the talent level of their players. They want to make useful changes, but they don’t want to overreact to what played out in Week 1 – and neither should pro football bettors.

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Week 2 NFL Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 148:15 PM ETMinnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Sept. 171:00 PM ETGreen Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee Titans
4:05 PM ETNew York Giants at Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
4:25 PM ETNew York Jets at Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos
8:20 PM ETMiami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Monday, Sept. 187:15 PM ETNew Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
8:15 PM ETCleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
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Check out the NFL week 2 picks and NFL picks against the spread. We cover every game, from Thursday Night Football through MNF. Take a look at our pick this week: 


Money line: Philadelphia -350; Minnesota +280

Point Spread:  -7

Over-Under: 48.5

This game takes place at the same time and location as the two teams met last year. The Vikings were not up to the task of competing with the Eagles in Week 2 a year ago, and that appears to be the case again this year. The Vikings have a solid QB-WR combination in Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson, but they lack explosiveness in the running game and the defense appears to remain substandard.

The Eagles were pushed to the limit in Week 1 by a feisty New England Patriots team, but still came out on top on the road. Jalen Hurts tore up the Vikings last year, and the same thing happens again this year. The Vikings are 4-2 straight up and ATS vs. Philadelphia in their last 6 meetings, but the Eagles are a much better team and should control this game.

Prediction: Philadelphia, Straight up and ATS.


Money line: Green Bay -115, Atlanta -105

Point Spread: +1

Over-Under: 40.5

Both teams were victorious in their season openers, and while that’s a good sign, the Packers and Falcons have much to prove. Green Bay needs quarterback Jordan Love to build on his performance against the Bears, as he completed 24 of 37 passes for 216 yards and looked confident throughout. That was a huge step since it was his first game as the Packers quarterback following the end of the Aaron Rodgers era. He is dependent on running back Aaron Jones and the Packers defense.

Desmond Ridder got the job done against the Panthers, completing 15 of 18 passes but for a minimum 115 yards. Running backs Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson will anchor this team’s offense. FS Jessie Bates was a game changer with 2 interceptions and 10 tackles. Green Bay has lost 7 of its last 9 games in Atlanta.

Prediction: Atlanta, Straight up


Money line: Buffalo -450, Las Vegas +350

Point Spread: -9.5

Over-Under: 47.5

The Raiders don’t look like a team that will beat opponents with razzle-dazzle, but the combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and wideout Jakobi Meyers may be good enough to help this team put together a solid season. They led the Raiders to a narrow 17-16 road win over the Broncos, but the intensity goes up against the Bills.

Buffalo suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Monday night opener to the Jets. QB Josh Allen threw 3 picks and lost a fumble, and that continues a trend from last year. He needs to protect the ball much better than that. Raiders have covered the spread in 7 of their last 10 games vs. the Bills, and 8 of the last 10 meetings between these two teams have gone over the total.

Prediction: Buffalo, Straight up; Las Vegas ATS; Over the total


Money line: Baltimore +135, Cincinnati -160

Point Spread: -1

Over-Under: 45.5

The Bengals got off to a brutal start against the Browns, but there is no panic in the locker room and this team believes it can replace the Chiefs as the top dog in the AFC. Look for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to rebound from a substandard effort and take it out on the Ravens.

Baltimore may well join the Bengals near the top of the AFC North division, but it will take a while for top weapons Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers to jell with quarterback Lamar Jackson. The loss of RB J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) is a major blow. The Bengals are 12-5 straight up in their last 17 home games with the Ravens.

Prediction: Cincinnati, Straight up and ATS


Money line: Seattle +225, Detroit -185

Point Spread: -5.5

Over-Under: 50.5

The Lions received quite a bit of hype through the offseason as the most improved team in the league and they lived up to it with a road victory over the Chiefs on the NFL’s opening night. The Lions have a balanced offense with Jared Goff throwing to Amon-Ra St. Brown along with David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs running the ball. However, it’s their improved defense led by Aidan Hutchinson that may allow this team to contend for a playoff spot.

The Seahawks fell flat in the opener against the Rams, but running back Kenneth Walker III and rookie wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba are both dangerous. The Seahawks have won 7 of the last 8 meetings between the two teams.

Prediction: Seattle, Straight up and ATS


Money line: Indianapolis +100, Houston -120

Point Spread: -1.5

Over-Under: 40.5

Neither one of these teams are going to be in playoff contention this season as both are rebuilding with an eye towards the 2025 or 2026 seasons. The Colts and Texans both have rookie quarterbacks, and it may be harder for Anthony Richardson to get the Colts off the ground than it will be for C.J. Stroud to do the same thing with the Texans. Richardson is a brilliant athlete, but is he an accurate passer? Stroud is more experienced and accomplished.

Keep your eye on Houston MLB Denzel Perryman, who recorded 11 tackles against the Ravens and looks like a determined warrior. The Colts are 6-2-1 straight up and 6-3 ATS in their last 9 meetings with the Texans

Prediction: Houston, Straight up and ATS


Money line: Kansas City -155, Jacksonville +130

Point Spread: +2.5

Over-Under: 50.5

The Chiefs are hurting after losing their opener to the Lions. One of their problems was not having stud pass rusher Chris Jones who was holding out, but he is back in the fold and could have an impact in this game. Patrick Mahomes may be without TE Travis Kelce (knee) once again, but the Chiefs are likely to rebound.

Trevor Lawrence will continue to improve and now that he has Calvin Ridley, Jaguars are very dangerous. Josh Allen had 3.0 sacks vs. the Colts, and he is dangerous. The Chiefs are 6-0 straight up and 5-1 ATS vs. Jacksonville in the last six meetings.

Prediction: Kansas City, Straight up and ATS


Money line: Chicago +125, Tampa Bay -150

Point Spread: -3

Over-Under: 43.5

The Bears took a heavy shot to the gut in the opener, losing to the Packers yet again even though they no longer have Aaron Rodgers in the lineup. The Bears coaching staff did not have their team prepared and they were two steps behind Green Bay throughout the game. Justin Fields is a gifted athlete but the jury is still out and leaning in a negative direction.

The Bucs avoided mistakes and beat talented Vikings on the road, but that formula does not seem likely for Baker Mayfield as the season progresses. Mike Evans is a major difference maker, and the Bucs could have an excellent chance of starting the season 2-0. A low-scoring game seems likely as 14 of the last 20 Bears road games vs. NFC South teams have gone under the total

Prediction: Tampa Bay, Straight up, and Under the total


Money line: L.A. Chargers -150, Tennessee +125

Point Spread: +3

Over-Under: 45.5

The Chargers picked up right where they left off at the end of last season, losing in heartbreaking fashion. This time it was the Miami Dolphins who pulled off the late comeback, as opposed to the Jaguars in last year’s playoff game. Justin Herbert is a top-level quarterback and he has an incredible set of weapons led by RB Austin Ekeler.

The Titans are limited offensively and couldn’t pull out a road win at New Orleans. Ryan Tannehill has a top receiving weapon in DeAndre Hopkins, but it may not be enough to compete against high-powered Chargers. Los Angeles has won 11 of its last 13 meetings with the Titans

Prediction: L.A. Chargers, Straight up and ATS


Money line: N.Y. Giants -210, Arizona +170

Point Spread: +4.5

Over-Under: 38.5

The Giants got pounded at home in the season opener, and in many ways, a 40-0 defeat is not as painful as a 1-point loss. Look for the Giants to rebound here with RB Saquon Barkley delivering a huge game and tight end Darren Waller delivering multiple key catches.

The Cardinals played a surprisingly tough game in the season-opening loss to Washington, but Arizona will find it difficult to stay competitive most weeks. They are not going to win many games with Josh Dobbs under center. The Cardinals are 4-0 straight up and ATS vs. Giants in the last 4 meetings.

Prediction: N.Y. Giants, Straight up and ATS


Money line: San Francisco -300, L.A. Rams +240

Point Spread: +7

Over-Under: 42.5

The 49ers came through with a sensational Week 1 effort in their 30-7 road triumph over the Steelers, serving notice that they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Brock Purdy has made a remarkable recovery, and add wideout Brandon Aiyuk’s name to the list of offensive stars that include Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Archrival Rams opened with a shocking road win over Seahawks, and QB Matthew Stafford may have a pair of underrated targets in Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell.

The Niners are 8-0 straight up and ATS in the last eight games of the series. Over the long haul, they are 15-5 straight up and ATS over the last 10 years.

Prediction: 49ers, Straight Up and ATS


Money line: N.Y. Jets +140, Miami -165

Point Spread: -3

Over-Under: 45.5

The Jets came up with a sensational effort in finding a way to earn a Week 1 Monday night victory over the Bills even though Aaron Rodgers suffered a brutal injury and backup Zach Wilson had to take over. The Jets have a sensational defense led by DE Quinnen Williams, but they are in over their heads here against the Cowboys.

Dallas has sensational speed on offense with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks along with RB Tony Pollard. They also have the best defensive player in the league in Micah Parsons, who has the ability to ruin a game plan. The Jets have struggled against NFC opponents, going 3-11 straight up and 4-10 ATS since the start of the 2020 season.

Prediction: Dallas, Straight up and ATS


Money line: Washington +165, Denver -200

Point Spread: -3.5

Over-Under: 40.5

The Commanders needed to go all-out to beat the lowly Cardinals in the season opener, and that could indicate that head coach Ron Rivera’s team will struggle on the road. Sam Howell is a maximum effort player, but has limited passing skills. The key to the Commanders is their sensational defensive front led by Montez Sweat (1.5 sacks).

The Broncos appeared to run out of gas in the late stages of Week 1 home loss to the Raiders, but they have hope that QB Russell Wilson will fare much better this year while working with head coach Sean Payton. Denver appears to be limited at the skill positions this season. Broncos are 7-2 straight up and ATS vs. NFC East teams at home.

Prediction: Denver, Straight up; Washington ATS


Money line: Miami -135, New England +110

Point Spread: -2.5

Over-Under: 45.5

The Dolphins are going to be a difficult matchup for nearly every team they face this season because their top players are faster and better than their opponent. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are simply impossible matchups for any cornerback, and when Tua Tagovailoa is healthy, the offensive explosion is almost always going to hit hard. Miami’s defense looks vulnerable, but they stopped the Chargers when the game was on the line in Week 1. If there’s any defense that appears to have a chance against Miami’s explosive offense, it’s the Patriots.

New England came up with a maximum effort and nearly beat the Eagles in Week 1. Matthew Judon will pressure Tagovaila and rookie CB Christian Gonzalez looks like a solid pro. The Patriots are 8-2 straight up and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. the Dolphins.

Prediction: Miami, Straight up and ATS


Money line: New Orleans -160, Carolina +135

Point Spread: +2.5

Over-Under: 40.5

The Saints appear to have a nondescript team with an array of offensive parts that may not fit very well together. Quarterback Derek Carr is the new triggerman and he may be good enough for this team to approach .500 this season. Saints edged Titans at home in Week 1, and they have hope that Chirs Olave could become a star at the WR slot.

The Panthers are clearly playing for the future with rookie quarterback Bryce Young at the controls. The Panthers need running back Miles Sanders to take pressure off of Young by delivering a consistent ground game. Look for a low-scoring game, as 14 of Carolina’s last 20 home games against division opponents have gone under the total.

Prediction: Carolina, Straight up and ATS; Under the total


Money line: Cleveland -115, Pittsburgh -105

Point Spread: +1.5

Over-Under: 42.5

The Browns have started the season with a brilliant defensive effort as they shut down Joe Burrow and the Bengals by a 24-3 margin. Don’t be fooled by the great start, as the Browns are loaded with question marks on offense outside of star RB Nick Chubb. The Steelers were pounded by the Niners, and head coach Mike Tomlin won’t put up with another similar effort here. The Steelers defense will likely punish Deshaun Watson and look for T.J. Watt to have multiple sacks after recording 3 vs. Niners. Second-year QB Kenny Pickett bounces back with solid effort here. Steelers have won 19 straight home games vs. Browns and are 13-5-1 ATS in that span.

Prediction: Pittsburgh, Straight up and ATS


One of the key rules in handicapping early-season games is to find the teams that have extra motivation. Those teams usually include high-quality Week 1 losers that need to assert themselves. Our third selection includes a team with a huge personnel advantage over a damaged opponent.


Cincinnati -1 over Baltimore

The Bengals are an elite team, but for some reason they play poorly on the road against the Browns. Joe Burrow was embarrassed by his performance in that game, and he will get back on track here against a Ravens team that will be much better in the second half of the season than they are now

Dallas -3 over N.Y. Jets

The hard-luck Jets came up with a shocking win in the season opener after losing Aaron Rodgers with a season-ending Achilles injury. Emotion will only take the team so far, and the Cowboys look mean and hungry at this point. Probable blowout win for Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons.

Pittsburgh +1.5 over Cleveland

The Steelers were overpowered by a great team in Week 1, and that loss will serve as motivation for Mike Tomlin throughout the season. The Steelers have dominated the Browns at home, and it continues here.

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