The opening week of picks were going well until a pair of Monday Night Football games reminded that anyone going against home underdogs on this particular primetime stage is bound to get bit.
So be it. Thanks a lot, Eagles and Vikings.
Because of their downfalls, as well as the Indianapolis Colts’ collapse at Buffalo, the Week 1 numbers aren’t as good as they could (should?) have been: 11-5 straight up (.688) and 8-8 (.500) against the spread.
About an hour before some quarterback named Peyton takes the field for Thursday Night Football, we proceed with more game predictions, and I’m sure the dog will be biting again.
(Odds provided by Bovada)
Broncos +3 at Chiefs — What should make anyone nervous is that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has heard for a few days how he’s washed up. And now he’s entering one of the toughest places to play, Arrowhead Stadium, but Manning has had his way with the Chiefs in recent meetings. Why is the Chiefs’ home rout of the Patriots early last season sticking in my head. Pick: Chiefs 31, Broncos 27.
Cardinals -2.5 at Bears — In what will be a reoccurring theme this week, the gut instinct sometimes suggests to go against what so many others are expecting. This trend is typically attached to teams that aren’t so good, but can surprise and take down another, especially as home dogs. Pick: Bears 26, Cardinals 23.
Falcons +2 at Giants — As impressive as Atlanta was in their Monday home win, Philadelphia took a half off before firing on all cylinders. The guys in the booth are quick to credit a Falcons defense, like that problem got fixed overnight. The G-men gift-wrapped their opener at Dallas. Don’t expect the Giants to do it again. Pick: Giants 30, Falcons 24.
Lions +3 at Vikings — Two NFC South rivals are coming off losses, but Minnesota sure looked like it had more issues than the Lions, who blew a big lead at San Diego. Running back Adrian Peterson didn’t go off on the 49ers, but he’ll get his share of yards this week. That said, the Lions didn’t use wide receiver Calvin Johnson enough, either. Megatron is going to get his, and more. Pick: Lions 24, Vikings 20.
Texans +3 at Panthers — One week into the season, Houston is switching quarterbacks to Ryan Mallett. What’s next if the Texans lose this week? Bring back Matt Schaub? Carolina didn’t exactly impress at home, but trust Cam Newton more than Mallett. Pick: Panthers 20, Texans 16.
Patriots -2.5 at Bills — Time for an overreaction after watching Buffalo completely dismantle the Colts last week. Common sense says to stick with the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions. But the gut says Buffalo’s defense will make more of a statement in this game than the previous one against Andrew Luck. Pick: Bills 29, Patriots 23.
Chargers +3.5 at Bengals — After a relatively smooth West Coast trip to Oakland, the Bengals return to “The Jungle” to take on a San Diego squad that needs quarterback Philip Rivers to basically carry the load. Rivers can make any game interesting, but the Bengals are better, regardless of which Andy Dalton shows up at quarterback. Pick: Bengals 33, Chargers 17.
49ers +6 at Steelers — After watching Carlos Hyde run through the Vikings like he’s NFL’s next great running back, it’s hard not to envision him having more fun against a revamped Steelers defense. But Pittsburgh is tougher than Minnesota, and the Steelers are at Heinz Field. And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t let his team start 0-2. Pick: Steelers 38, 49ers 19.
Rams -3.5 at Redskins — Many are predicting a St. Louis letdown after their overtime upset of the Seattle Seahawks at home. But there’s something to be said for a team with an exceptional defensive line that won’t let Washington do much. Go ahead, St. Louis, cross me up and lay an egg. Nah. Not going to happen. Pick: Rams 30, Redskins 23.
Buccaneers +10 at Saints — Smarter picks experts than I warn that underdogs being given 10 points on the road means take the visitors. I’ve always been stupid that way. Watch this one teach me another lesson. Saints kept it close for a while in Arizona. That’s good enough for me because rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is going to make more mistakes. Pick: Saints 42, Buccaneers 16.
Titans -1 at Browns — So of course rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota has everyone thinking he’s that much better than Winston after their lopsided head-to-head opener. Now that there’s a ton of faith in Johnny Football (Manziel), but the Browns are home dogs and play tough in front of the Dawg Pound. This one will be ugly, just the way Cleveland likes it. Pick: Browns 18, Titans 16.
Ravens -6 at Raiders — Baltimore has to go to Denver, loses pass rusher Terrell Suggs as well as a game it could have won if not for a pick-six, then has to fly even farther West to Oakland, which these days qualifies as NFL Siberia under Jack Del Rio’s expert tutelage. Joe Flacco won't let Baltimore start 0-2. Pick: Ravens 34, Raiders 17.
Dolphins -6.5 at Jaguars — One Florida team has legitimate playoff aspirations and is coming off a road win in Week 1. The other lost on the road and it was ugly. Since this is a short flight for Miami, let’s not get too caught up about this being a road game. But the Jags will scratch and claw to make this interesting. Pick: Dolphins 23, Jaguars 20.
Cowboys +5 at Eagles — No Dez Bryant and don’t expect Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly to suffer a Tom Coughlin-like brain camp. Kelly had one of those already when he tried to play it safe last week in entrusting a game on the line to a kicker when his offense was finally rolling. No way the Eagles start slow again. This time, Dallas won’t be so lucky. Pick: Eagles 37, Cowboys 24.
Seahawks +3.5 at Packers — That old “can’t see this team 0-2” theory is messing with the head. But then reality sets in. As long as Aaron Rodgers is quarterbacking the Cheeseheads, it’s not going to matter which team comes to Lambeau Field. In fact, if I ever pick against the Packers at home this season … no, it’s not going to happen as long as Rodgers is playing. Pick: Packers 37, Seahawks 31.
Jets +7 at Colts — In the old days, we’d just cross this game off as an easy bounce-back win for the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. But we remember how the Colts started 0-2 last year after losing in primetime at home to Philly. Surely, history won’t repeat itself. Surely, Indy's offseason hype had some merit. Surely. The Colts are going to win, but it won’t be as easy as many think. Pick: Colts 27, Jets 19.
Last week: 11-5 (.688).
Overall: 11-5 (.688).
Last year after Week 1: 9-7 (.563).
Last week: 8-8 (.500).
Overall: 8-8 (.500).
Last year after Week 1: 7-9 (.438).
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.