Atlanta Falcons (2-0) @ Detroit Lions (1-1)
Can the Lions rebound against the surprising 2-0 Falcons? Can the surprising Falcons start the season 3-0? These are both intriguing questions. Vegas actually has the Lions as a 3 point favorite in this game, whereas a few years ago they would be getting between 3-6 points. I’m not confident either way, a legitimate case can be made for both teams.
But what I do feel confident about is that a ton of points will be scored, and the 46.5 o/u should easily be eclipsed. Whoever wins this game will remain in first place in their division. I do think the Lions have too much talent to lose two games in a row at home, and I can’t envision the Falcons being 3-0.
New Orleans Saints (2-0) @ Green Bay Packers (1-1)
This is a measuring stick game for both teams. The Packers ripped defeat out of the hands of victory last week losing by 1 point to the aforementioned Falcons. Actually, the point differential is far closer for the 2-0 Saints than the Packers. Although they are sitting undefeated after two games, they have a combined 4 point edge (2 points per game).
QB Jordan Love currently has the highest rating at 118.8 among QBs, although he only has a 55.8% completion rate. He has a very efficient 6-0 TD-INT rate, only throwing 52 times in the first two games of the year. He is the poster child for “game manager” thus far this season. They will have to rely heavily on the run against a very staunch New Orleans defense.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
If it’s nearly impossible to make the playoffs starting the season 0-2 (10%), the odds are astronomical that a team starting 0-3 makes the postseason…2%, “So what you’re saying is, there’s a chance”. This is a pick your poison game.
I want to say the Chargers should have the edge, but at this point how can anyone have faith in this team. It may stem all the way back to last year’s playoff game, and their second half collapse. The team may have lost some faith in QB Justin Herbert, and especially HC Brandon Staley. The Vikings have lost two tough games by a combined nine points, while the Chargers have only last their two games by a combined five points. The game means more to the Chargers, coming out of the AFC West. If the Vikings start 0-3, they actually would still have a decent shot at winning the NFC North.
New England Patriots (0-2) @ New York Jets (1-1)
The Patriots have beaten the Jets 14 straight times. They MUST make it 15 in a row on Sunday. Normally this would be a slam dunk, but this isn’t your parents’ Patriots team…and truth be told, it hasn’t been for a while.
With Zach Wilson, the Jets were able to defeat the Bills in Week 1, and they still have a very staunch defense. The Patriots are a slight 2.5 point favorite. Realistically, they should win and cover…but they are only 2-7 in their last nine games. I do believe that like the Winter Warlock in “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” Bill Belichick will be able to muster enough magic to gain the victory, preventing an 0-4 start. However, I’m not convinced they’ll cover. The money line is sitting at -150…risk the $150 to win $100 on the Patriots, because this could very easily be a one or two point game.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Historically, teams beginning the season 3-0 make the playoffs 75% of the time. That will be the case for one of these teams. A road loss against an undefeated team won’t derail the Eagles, and realistically not affect their playoff chances too badly. But a win against one of the league’s powerhouses, to go 3-0, would definitely be a statement win for Baker Mayfield and the Bucs. Vegas doesn’t have much faith in them, making them a 4.5 point home dog. The Bucs have only given up 34 points in their two games, and could keep the Eagles offense at bay to keep it a close game. They may end up stealing one…it is the NFL after-all.
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
I don’t know why the Bengals didn’t leave QB Joe Burrow on the bench to start this season. It isn’t second guessing, I was saying it all offseason. Now Burrow’s health is a big issue and they have a very real shot at starting the season 0-3. The Rams offense is surprisingly respectable without Cooper Kupp, with the three-headed monster of Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua as his receivers.
The Rams are averaging 26 points per game and the Bengals are giving up 25 points per game…while the Bengals are only scoring 13.5 points per game. The Bengals are a slight 2.5 favorite at home, but this could very well prove to be a long night…and season for Cincinnati and their fans.
On the Injury Front
Indianapolis Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson is out this week with a concussion against the Ravens. This was going to be a tough game for the surprising 1-1 Colts and Richardson, but it’s now nearly impossible without him. In two games, he’s already rushed for 75 yards with three TDs. Before the injury, he was on pace to rush for 638 yards and 25 TDs. Gardner Minshew will be filling in…Vegas isn’t impressed. They have the Ravens favored by 8.5 points, which isn’t enough.