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Week Two Picks

September 18th, 2016

Hey, so far, so not entirely terrible. Adding Thursday night’s result into the mix, I’m now at 12-5 straight up, 9-8 against the spread so far this season. As usual, one would hardly be wise to go around wagering actual money based on anything I have to say. But one would hardly be wise to gamble under any circumstances. So I’m calling the whole thing a win. Sort of. Let’s see how short-lived this relatively good feeling proves.

Here’s what not to expect in the rest of the week two games.

Tennessee (+5.5) at Detroit
This looks to me like the kind of game where the punters might end up wondering why they bothered to suit up. The Lions won one of those by four points last week. I’ll look for them to do the same here.

Kansas City (+2.5) at Houston
Whichever team figures out how to mount a ground offense comes out on top. I’m gonna guess it’s the home team. Texans by a field goal.

Miami (+6.5) at New England
I learned a valuable lesson last Sunday night. Sadly for me, it was a lesson I’d already learned years ago and simply found a way to forget. It’s this: There’s no value in picking against New England. No matter whom the Patriots are playing. No matter where they’re playing. No matter what the circumstances. As long as Bill Belichick is on the sideline, the Pats more often than not are going to find a way to win. That formula presents itself at a fairly simple level this week, with New England hosting a Miami squad that’s playing its second straight road game and coming off what has to be a demoralizing late-game collapse in Seattle. Games against division rivals have a way of being more competitive than they ought, but I think the Patriots defense (the pass rush in particular) takes control of this one and New England comes away with win by a margin of six.

Baltimore (-6.5) at Cleveland
Don’t pay attention to those who claim Cleveland’s season is already over. The Browns have to play 15 more games just like everybody else. It’s just that their next 15 games are going to much, much worse than most other teams’. Ravens by a touchdown.

Cincinnati (+3.5) at Pittsburgh
Somebody, somewhere can probably provide some great, prescient insight into how this game is going to play out. Me, I’ve got what most everybody else has. Don’t look for much in the running game. Expect a high score. And look for the home team to come out on top. Pittsburgh by three.

Dallas (+3) at Washington
Neither of these teams got this season off to an impressive start. But the Cowboys at least hung tight against a Giants squad that I believe is better than most observers realize. I’ll take Dallas to win this one straight up. Let’s say it’s by a point.

New Orleans (+5) at NY Giants
I don’t anticipate quite the shootout I’ve seen and heard predicted elsewhere. But I do expect both teams to get into the high twenties. Giants by a field goal.

San Francisco (+13.5) at Carolina
The Panthers, who come into this game on 10 days rest, are not the Rams. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more to say. Carolina by 17.

Tampa Bay (+6.5) at Arizona
One could make an argument that no team should be taken by surprise by the Patriots at this point in NFL history. But it happens just the same. Taken by surprise by the Buccaneers? Not so much. The Bucs appear to have a pretty good team. We’ll get an idea of just how good by whether — and perhaps for how long — they’re able to stay competitive against a very good Cardinals teams that needs a win to right the ship. It may be close right down to the final minutes, but in the end, even if it’s by way of a late touchdown that extends the margin, I think Arizona comes out on top by about nine.

Seattle (-6.5) at Los Angeles
I’ll admit I went to be fairly early Monday night, but I was still up later than the Rams. One suspects this first season back in L.A. is going to be longer than anyone realized. Seahawks by 10.

Indianapolis (+6) at Denver
The Broncos appear to be a balanced team. The Colts are not. Denver by a touchdown.

Atlanta (+4.5) at Oakland
I don’t think there’s anything the Falcons can do to slow down the Raiders offense. Oakland by 14.

Jacksonville (+3) at San Diego
One of these teams has to win. Let’s go with the hosts. Chargers win it straight up. It’s a push with the points.

Green Bay (-2) at Minnesota
Both of these teams will be facing much stiffer opposition than they faced in week one. But I suspect the Vikings are facing a slightly tougher bump. Packers by a point.

Philadelphia (+3) at Chicago
Another gem of a Monday night matchup. Ugh. Bears by six.

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