There are a lot of really big lines this week. Is that part of the inevitable Week 2 overreaction phenomenon? Whatever the reason or explanation, many of these games look fishy to me. Seems like we are already dealing with some significant extremes, with the season barely underway. So you're not going to read much about a lot of those games here. I don't like them.
There are a few games where I see some inviting potential, however. A few potential mismatches. Some teams badly in need of a bounce back, and some who already seem to be a little out of steam – and down on their luck – a mere week into the season. I'm going to focus on those.
Bengals -7 at Cowboys
Yeah, the Bengals still have some pass protection issues, but they aren't facing that Steelers defense this week. The Buccaneers found lots of joy by running away from Micah Parsons last week, and the Bengals will do the same here. Joe Burrow will get rid of the ball quickly if/when Parsons does break free, and the Cowboys will still be licking their wounds with Dak Prescott already out again. Cooper Rush won't muster much, and Dallas lacks difference-makers in the passing game anyway. Cincinnati's DL was a factor last week and will exploit a suspect Cowboys left tackle situation. Put me down for Bengals Over 26 points (+104) and over 2.5 TDs as well (-150). Rush's inexperience will lead to turnovers. I could see this snowballing.
Raiders -5.5 vs. Cardinals
Las Vegas didn't post nearly as many points as hoped, but moved the ball up and down the field on what might be a quality Chargers defense. Five sacks and three picks set them back, but the Cardinals defense looked flaccid and unimposing. The Raiders averaged 7.33 yards per first down play last week. It was pretty impressive, and Carr will learn not to favor Adams quite as much. The Raiders will generate pressure against a suspect Cardinals offensive line and I could see this Chandler Jones revenge game going as well as the Khalil Mack revenge game went against the Raiders last week. Vegas can run the ball too. The Cardinals are still a little beat up and I don't get a good vibe from them. Give me Raiders Over 3.5 touchdowns for +100 as well.
Patriots at Steelers Under 40.5
These are two really bad offenses led by two limited quarterbacks, one of whom got beat up last week. The Steelers defense is going to be elite, even without T.J. Watt, especially against outfits like this. Unless there are defensive touchdowns, this is going to be a low-scoring, ugly game. New England can run the ball some, but the Steelers can't. That should run some clock and I don't fancy the Patriots to finish drives with TDs and not FGs.
Same Game Parlay of the Week: Cardinals-Raiders
Davante Adams Over 93.5 yards, Darren Waller Over 4.5 receptions, Derek Carr Over 285.5 passing yards (+410)
By now you know how I feel about the Raiders' ability to move the ball on Arizona. Davante Adams went over 140 yards last week on a whopping 17 targets, and this Arizona secondary has issues. Adams won't get quite that target share this week, allowing Darren Waller to show off. I liked Derek Carr and Adams to cash as yardage leaders before the season and this is the kind of game in which I believe they will pad their stats.
Bomber of the Week: Bengals to win by 13 to 18 (+450)
Yeah, I see blowout potential here. The Cowboys are not special at running or throwing the ball. They're already feeling a bit sorry for themselves. The coaching staff is under fire. Joe Burrow is not turning the ball over five times again. This will not be an imposing road environment for the Bengals. They are catching the Cowboys at the perfect time.
Teaser of the Week: Colts +2, Dolphins +9.5
Indianapolis' season came to a crashing halt in Jacksonville in Week 17, bringing an end to Carson Wentz's stint with the team. They were sleepwalking again last week against the Texans and settled for a tie. They will wake up here. The Commanders have no great passing attack, but tore up the Jaguars on first-down play action. I see Matt Ryan doing the same thing here with a better line. Yeah, the Colts have some beat up receivers, but they can run the ball, and Jacksonville's naivety and youth was on full display last week.
Miami stomped Baltimore in the middle of last season, attacking Lamar Jackson with 19 Cover-0 looks (the average NFL QB saw it 16 times all of last season). He had an NFL-worst rating of 58.6 vs Cover 0 last season. With the Ravens offensive line suspect on the left side, that could be a problem again. Baltimore is a little beat up in the secondary and Miami's speed will be a problem. The Ravens run game hasn't looked special for quite some time; Jackson might not be as quick to take off and sprint as he was before, either.
Survivor Pick of the Week: Browns
The Jets are still a really poor operation and Joe Flacco looks very much at the end. A lot of smart people backed the Ravens in this survivor spot a week ago; their defensive line was utterly dominant and Cleveland has a superior front seven. There will be turnovers and sacks. Jacoby Brissett knows how to manage a game and not try to do too much.
Player Props of the Week
Joe Flacco Over 0.5 INT
He threw a few jump balls last week and is going to be under duress with a very young receiving group for the most part. Expect some confusion and Denzel Ward getting his hand on an errant pass.
Matt Ryan Over 1.5 TDs
Carzon Wentz threw four against this defense last week. Enough said.
Lamar Jackson Longest Pass Under 35.5 Yards
Baltimore had the worst deep passing attack a year ago, the offensive line is an issue and yeah, there was a TD pass of 55 yards last week. But this Miami defense mixes a lot of zone, has premier safeties and a shutdown corner. They tackle well. They create ample pressure. I see a lot of dink-and-dunk in the Ravens' game plan.
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