The beauty of the NFL is its unpredictability.
As Week 2 dawns, pat yourself on the back if you forecast any of the crazy developments.
Who knew that the NFC East would be led by the team that finished last in 2019? The Washington Football Team, the new, temporary name for the Washington Redskins, are the only team with a victory. It defeated the Philadelphia Eagles and both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
Raise your hand if you thought that the Philadelphia Eagles, who host the Los Angeles Rams as a 1-point underdog Sunday, would blow a 17-0 second-quarter lead and give up 27 unanswered points last week. If you didn’t see it coming, you were not alone. Eighty-five percent of DraftKings handle was on the Eagles at -5.5.
Raise your hand if you ever thought the NFL, dragged into the sports-betting world by a Supreme Court decision legalizing sports wagering, would have a team in a gambling capital. That’s right, Las Vegas debuts its own football team Monday night, when the Raiders, formerly of Oakland, host the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The Saints opened at -6 at DraftKings.
These are just some of the storylines surrounding the schedule for Week 2.
Other betting considerations
The highest over-under on the board midweek was the Dallas Cowboys-Atlanta Falcons contest. The host Cowboys only scored 17 points in losing to the Rams last week, but the Falcons had 506 yards while losing to the Seattle Seahawks. The books expect a shootout, and the line has shifted down to Dallas at -4.5. It opened at 5.5.
Here’s an angle to assess: All teams with mobile quarterbacks triumphed last week. The Arizona Cardinals beat the defending champion San Francisco 49ers behind Kyler Murray and are giving 6.5 to the Washington Football Team.
For Washington, Dwayne Haskins is a good rushing threat. He led the team back from its 17-0 second-quarter hole against the Eagles.
The Buffalo Bills, who used a Josh Allen rushing TD to crush the New York Jets 27-17, give 5.5 on the road to the Miami Dolphins.
Cam Newton ran for two scores as his New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins 21-11. New England travels to Seattle as a 4-point underdog to face the Seahawks in the Sunday night game.
And reigning MVP Lamar Jackson was unstoppable as the Baltimore Ravens crushed the Cleveland Browns 38-6.
Local and regional look
The Eagles need to find someone other than their tight ends to score. They got one each from Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, but they suffer from the lack of a power running back. Carson Wentz killed them with the two interceptions that led to two Washington touchdowns.
The New York Giants? You could have cooked a meal while they chewed up nine minutes and 19 plays in a third-quarter drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And then you would have lost the appetite for it when quarterback Daniel Jones threw an endzone interception. The Giants are 5.5 dogs when they visit the Chicago Bears. One FanDuel prop had you select the date of the Giants’ first win. I thought about Week 6 but didn’t take it. Will I wish I did?
Speaking of “Da Bears,” they had all of a 2 percent win probability when they trailed the Detroit Lions 23-6 in the fourth quarter on Sunday. But they still won 27-23 and Detroit dropped the game-winning TD in the final seconds.
The New York Jets look like they are without star running back Le’Veon Bell, their big free-agent signing two years ago. Now they face the 49ers as a 7-point home underdog.
Storylines around the league
Points Bet awarded a Good Karma payout if you had the Tennessee Titans -2 or -3 against the Denver Broncos on Monday. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals and an extra point, costing the Titans bettors 10 points. PointsBet refunded Titans bettors, always a classy move.
Tom Brady looked average and did his usual complaining, trying to lobby for roughing-the-passer calls as his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fell to New Orleans. Brady looked good enough, but his team looks “over-bet”, meaning expectations are too high and there could be value betting against him.
Josh Jacobs looked electrifying for the Raiders in their victory against the Carolina Panthers. DK Metcalf is an emerging star for the Seattle Seahawks.
Week 2 Lines
Courtesy of DraftKings
Cleveland -6 vs Cincinnati
Los Angeles Rams -1 AT Eagles
San Francisco -7 AT New York Jets
Buffalo -5.5 AT Miami
Green Bay -6 vs Detroit
Tampa Bay -9.5 vs Carolina
Tennessee -9 vs Jacksonville
Pittsburgh -7.5 vs Denver
Indianapolis -3 vs Minnesota
Dallas -4.5 vs Atlanta
Chi -5.5 vs N.Y. Giants
Arizona -6.5 vs Washington
Kansas City -8.5 AT Los Angeles Chargers
Baltimore -7 AT Houston
Seattle -4 vs New England
New Orleans -6 vs Las Vegas Raiders
This week’s picks
This week’s selections, against the spread, excerpted from Beat the Degenerates, which I co-host with Scott Cronick, director of entertainment publications for The Press of Atlantic City, and Brian Cahill. The show airs Wednesdays on Newstalk 1400-AM, WONDRadio.com and 92.5-FM from 5 to 6 p.m. Catch the next one 5 p.m. Sept. 23.
Pickett Russell, “Da Kipster,” general manager of Tennessee Ave. Beer Hall in Atlantic City: Green Bay
James Rabic, WOND producer: Pittsburgh
Dave Weinberg, Weinberg’s Extra Points: Arizona
Dan Skeldon, meteorologist: Seattle
Ky Carlin, WOND sports correspondent: Carolina
Listener: Joyce from EHT: Pittsburgh
Last week’s results
Bontempo, with Washington, Weinberg with New Orleans, “DaKipster” with Da Ravens, Cronick with Kansas City
Skeldon with Tampa Bay, Carlin and Rabic with the Eagles, Cahill with Minnesota, Listener with Detroit
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