Welcome to the first edition of The Sporting Tribune’s weekly football guide in preparation for Week 2 of the 2023-24 NFL season.
Let’s go over a few things before we get started.
This guide will be released every week for the remainder of the NFL season with the intention of having as much information for the upcoming slate of games as possible at the time of release.
The injury report for every Thursday Night Football game will be included upon release. Injury report information for Sunday and Monday games will be updated as it comes in.
Vikings at Eagles, Thursday 5 p.m. PDT, Amazon Prime
Spread: PHI -7.5, O/U 48.5 (Closed at -5.5)
Weather: clear night, low 70s into high 60s during game time
Head referee: Clay Martin
In the first game under the official Thursday Night Football branding this season, the Vikings will travel to The Linc for a match-up with the defending NFC champs in Philadelphia. While the Eagles survived last week’s trip to New England, it wasn’t pretty and was far from the game that Eagles fans were hoping to see. On the Vikings side of things, it was even worse. They dropped their season-opener at home to the rebuilding Buccaneers after vastly outgaining them and looking like the better team all afternoon.
After posting a goose egg last week, Dallas Goedert should be due for a bounce back this week. There’s a lot of love to be spread in this Eagles offense and they should have a much easier time doing so against a Vikings defense that is nowhere near the caliber of New England’s at this point.
Eagles opened -7.5 point favorites, however on Thursday the line is down to -5.5. I expect the Eagles to get out in front early like they did against New England, except this time at the hands of the offense rather than the defense. I think Philly’s offense will do a better job scoring this week, but the injuries on defense will make this closer than it should be. The line movement makes me nervous here, so I’m staying away.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Vikings 25
Raiders at Bills, 10 a.m PDT, CBS
Odds: Bills -9.5, O/U 47 (-7.5, 47 on Sunday).
Weather: sunny, with a high of 70
Head Referee: Craig Wrolstad
History: Raiders lead all-time regular season series 21-19…series is tied at 21-21 including playoffs…Raiders and Bills previously met in Week 2 in 2004 and 2011 respectively, splitting the games…Bills have won last two meetings in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Injury report: Raiders: OUT: DE Chandler Jones (NIR-personal), WR Jakobi Meyers (concussion). Bills: N/A
After hanging on in Bronco’s country last week, Jimmy G and the Raiders are circling the wagons to Buffalo for a match-up against the Bills. Coming off a humiliating loss in the midst of Aaron Rodgers achilles injury, the Bills seem to be in a prime bounce back spot here. It won’t be a walk in the park though. Last week’s Raiders team looked to be tangibly better than the group last year.
Raiders’ newly acquired receiver Jakobi Meyers was one of the breakout stars of Week 1 but suffered a likely concussion in the waning moments of the game on a controversial hit. He’s currently listed as questionable. If he were to play, it’s fair to say he’s established himself as a credible player in the slot role for the Raiders. His familiarity with McDaniel’s concepts should only help ingratiate him into the offense further. I would start him in a flex role, especially in dual-flex leagues.
While I do expect the Bills to bounce back with a win here, that -9.5 line is little too high for me. The Bills failed to gain control of Monday night’s game against a Jets team in utter turmoil. I’m not sure this game is the tune-up the Bills are looking for, but I don’t think they’ll lose either.
Prediction: Bills 27, Raiders 20
Chargers at Titans, Sunday 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
Odds: LAC -3, O/U 45 (-2.5, 40.5 on Sunday)
Weather: sunny, low 80s
Head referee: Alan Eck
History: Chargers lead all-time series 29-18-1…Chargers held 8 game win-streak over Oilers from 1963-1967…Chargers held second 8 game win streak over Oilers/Titans from 1993-2012, spanning both eras
Injury report: Chargers DOUBTFUL: RB Austin Ekeler (ankle), MLB Eric Kendricks (NIR-personal/hamstring), LB Daiyan Henley (hamstring), LB Chris Rumph II (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: LB Joey Bosa (hamstring). Titans: OUT: CB Kristian Fulton (hamstring), S Amani Hooker (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle), T Peter Skoronski (illness).
The Chargers are coming off losing a thriller at home to the high-powered Dolphins offense, 38-35 in Los Angeles on Sunday. Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense lived up to the challenge, but the defense certainly did not. The Titans come into week two having played a polar opposite style of game in Week 1, losing to the Saints 17-16 on a late field goal.
I’m concerned with Mike Williams’ exclusion from the Chargers offensive onslaught on Sunday. Williams hasn’t exactly been a beacon of consistency for the Chargers, so my concern is not yet panic but those are exactly the type of games you expect to see him produce in.
I’m confident the Chargers will win and likely even cover the 3 to 3.5 points they are being allotted in most betting markets. That said, I don’t really understand why this line isn’t teetering around the 5-5.5 point mark even with the home-field edge slotted in. Vegas knows more than I do, so I’m wary that I could be missing something here. Both the money and the handle are heavily in favor of a Chargers cover, for whatever that is worth.
Prediction: Chargers 33, Titans 21
Ravens at Bengals, Sunday 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
Odds: Bengals -3.5, O/U 46 (45.5 on Sunday)
Weather: partly cloudy, mid to high 80s
Head referee: Shawn Hochuli
History: Ravens lead all-time series 28-27 including one post-season meeting…Bengals lead series 11-9 over last decade…teams split 20 matchups in both 2000’s and 2010s each, 10-10 each decade… Series was split 20-20 from 2000-2019
Injury report: Ravens: OUT: CB Marlon Humphrey (foot), C Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), T Ronnie Stanley (knee), S Marcus Williams (pectoral). QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (quadricep). Bengals: QUESTIONABLE: HB Chris Evans (hamstring), LB Markus Bailey (knee), DE Joseph Ossai (ankle).
The Bengals, like the Bills, are another AFC Super Bowl contender looking to rebound off a brutal week one loss. The Browns’ defense suffocated Joe Burrow and the Bengals for the entire game, causing the worst quarterbacking performance across the league in week one. The Ravens, on the other hand, defeated a lowly Texans team in the debut of second overall pick CJ Stroud. The game was closer than the final score indicated, mostly as a result of the Ravens playing with their food. The win came with great loss though, as once-promising prospect JK Dobbins suffered a torn achilles which will cause him to miss an second full season while still on his rookie contract.
With the unfortunate loss of Dobbins, the main fantasy question surrounding the Ravens becomes the backfield. While Justice Hill’s two touchdown carries will make him a popular waiver pick up this week, him and Gus Edwards will likely accrue a similar number of carries. I don’t particularly love either option going forward for fantasy, given that the goal line carries may go to Hill one game and Edwards the next
The Ravens are 18-3-1 ATS in their last 22 games as underdog, a position they will be in Sunday afternoon getting 3.5 points. On the other side, in the last two seasons, teams that lose by 10+ in Week 1 are 9-3-1 ATS in their respective week two games. While the Ravens trend is probably more convincing, I’m still rolling with Bengals -3.5 here. Their problems in Week 1 were in large part created by a defensive dominance by Cleveland that this Ravens squad probably isn’t capable of. In a game that will likely be a shoot-out, I’m going to take the side that has Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
Prediction: Bengals 35, Ravens 31
Packers at Falcons, Sunday 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
Odds: GB -1.5 O/U 40 (Packers +2.5, 40.5 on Sunday), DRASTIC MOVEMENT! Proceed with caution.
Head referee: Tra Blake
History: Packers lead all time series 19-16 including post-season…rematch of NFC conference championship from 2016 season, Falcons won 44-21
Injury report: Packers: QUESTIONABLE: OT David Bakhtiari (NIR-resting player/knee), RB Aaron Jones (hamstring), LB Quay Walker (concussion), WR Christian Watson (hamstring). Falcons: OUT: LB Troy Andersen (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: CB Jeff Okudah (foot).
The Jordan Love experiment started on the right foot for the Packers. He played efficiently and brought the most out of his weapons in a 38-20 win against the Bears. The score was not exactly indicative of how thoroughly the Packers dominated and that’s saying something considering it was an 18-point win. The Falcons also pulled out a win in Week 1 against the Panthers and rookie Bryce Young in his first career start. The Falcons own first-round pick Bijan Robinson tallied a remarkable touchdown run in the victory.
Some concern started to linger last season about whether Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon could co-exist in the Packers backfield but I think we can safely put that behind us. Jones presence as a safety valve for the Packers passing game is an essential part of their machine. He is even more invaluable in that regard playing with a young quarterback who won’t see the entire field as well as Aaron Rodgers did and will need that check-down option consistently. Not to mention the running volume will be up as well.
The Falcons only getting 1.5 points at home just isn’t enough for me to feel comfortable backing them here. I know this could be a big let down spot for the Packers coming off the thrill of last week’s thrashing, but I can’t back a Desmond Ridder led offense against a team of Green Bay’s caliber.
*SUNDAY UPDATE: The line moved all the way to GB +2.5 by game time this morning. I can’t in good faith recommend siding with a line that vulnerable. I’d stay away if you aren’t already invested.
*Prediction: Packers 23, Falcons 12
Seahawks at Lions 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
Odds: DET -5.5, O/U 47 (-4.5 on Sunday)
Head referee: Alex Kemp
History: Seahawks lead all-time series 12-7 including post-season…teams met in wild-card of 2016 playoffs, Seahawks won 26-6
Injury report: Seahawks: OUT: S Jamal Adams (knee), OT Charles Cross (toe), DE Mike Morris (shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: LB Devin Bush (shoulder), LB Boye Mafe (knee). Lions: OUT: DB Khalil Dorsey (illness), DB Emmanuel Moseley (knee/hamstring), DE Joshua Paschal (knee). DOUBTFUL: OT Taylor Decker (ankle).
What else can we say about the Lions? They fully justified the offseason hype by knocking off the defending champs in primetime last Thursday. The Seahawks on the other hand didn’t quite live up to the expectations they set for themselves with their over-achieving run last season, losing to the Rams. I root for Geno Smith but I think even the biggest fans of his can admit last season was clearly the exception and not the rule.
Dan Campbell made it clear in his post-game presser that we should expect to see more Jahmyr Gibbs going forward. He might be a tempting bench this week given the volume David Montgomery received, but I would recommend against it given the match-up with Seattle’s paper mache defense.
This line feels way too reactionary based on what happened this past week. Yes, the Lions held on against a half-strength Chiefs roster. Yes, the Seahawks were smoked by a Rams team we all thought to be rebuilding. Still, if you told me this line would be available at -5.5 a few weeks ago, you would have seen googly eyes pop out of my head. Of course, I’m less convinced now then I would have been then, but I’ll still take Seahawks +5.5 here.
Prediction: Lions 24, Seahawks 20
Bears at Buccaneers, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
Odds: TB -2.5, O/U 42.5 (40.5 on Sunday)
Weather: high 80’s, chance of showers
Head referee: Bill Vinovich
History: Bears lead all-time series 40-21…rematch of 2020 game where Brady bungled the downs
Injury report: Bears: DOUBTFUL DB Josh Blackwell (hamstring). Buccaneers: OUT: CB Carlton Davis (toe), DL Calijah Kancey (calf), LB SirVocea Dennis (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: S Christian Izien (concussion).
The Bucs pulled off one of Week 1’s more surprising outcomes with their win in Minnesota. In media availability this week, Baker Mayfield revealed that he figured out the Viking’s defensive signals and therefore knew what they were calling for a majority of the game. Hearing this information, it makes the outcome a bit more believable in hindsight. The Bears Week 1, to put it simply, was a massive disappointment. Despite being one of the most popular teams for future’s bettors this offseason, they completely laid an egg against Green Bay.
I don’t even think I have any for this game. I have such little faith in both of these offenses that I would refuse to play anyone in either lineup besides Justin Fields.
This is another line that is a blatant reaction from the results of Week 1. If you were someone who was high on the Bears a week ago, this is a great spot to back them against an opponent that isn’t very good regardless of what happened on Sunday. Personally, I was not high on the Bears and I thought they were a team that was being seen through a rose-colored lens. I’m probably staying off this mess entirely. If I had to play something it would be Bucs moneyline, but the price isn’t great on that either.
Prediction: Buccaneers 17, Bears 14
Chiefs at Jaguars, 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
Odds: Chiefs -3.5, O/U 51 (-3, 50.5 on Sunday)
Weather: overcast, high 80s, slight chance of rain
Head referee: Adrian Hill
History: Chiefs lead all-time series 9-6 including post-season…rematch of last season’s AFC Divisional game where Chiefs won 27-20
Injury report: Chiefs: QUESTIONABLE: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (illness), TE Travis Kelce (knee). Jaguars: OUT: S Antonio Johnson (hamstring), CB Gregory Junior (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: OL Brandon Scherff (ankle), OL Luke Fortner (ankle), DL Tyler Lacy (hip).
The Chiefs are coming off a Week 1 loss that felt like more of an achievement for the Lions than something for the banged up to Chiefs to be concerned about. Still, the lack of a consistent receiving group was made blatantly apparent in Kelce’s Week 1 absence. For the first time in the Mahomes era, there is somewhat of a question mark on the offensive side of things for the Chiefs. The Jaguars came into the season as a team that is expected to make a jump. They made their first statement with an impressive offensive showing against the Colts. Trevor Lawrence is really starting to look like one of the game’s elite quarterbacks. With Calvin Ridley re-emerging following his year-long gambling suspension to join an already sneaky list of weapons, this team could be primed for a serious playoff run this season.
I’m probably avoiding all Chiefs running backs in my lineup until we see more clarity on what the situation will be moving forward. Any of the Jaguars’ three-headed monster at receiver looks like a good play as a whole in that offense going forward.
The line on this seems pretty fair. I think Chiefs win by a field goal, so -3.5 is a little close for comfort. 51 also seems like a pretty spot on over/under line. I don’t have a great lean on this one besides Chiefs moneyline at -180, which is too steep for me to recommend taking.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Jaguars 31
Colts at Texans 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
Odds: IND -1.5, O/U 39 (PK, O/U 40 on Sunday)
Head referee: Carl Cheffers
History: Colts lead all time series 33-10 including post-season…Texans lost their first nine games against Colts in franchise history from 2002-2006
Injury report: Colts: QUESTIONABLE: G Quenton Nelson (toe), TE Drew Ogletree (concussion). Texans: OUT: S Jalen Pitre (chest), S Jimmie Ward (hip). QUESTIONABLE: LB Neville Hewitt (illness), QB C.J. Stroud (right shoulder), OT Laremy Tunsil (knee).
This will certainly be a football game. Rookie quarterback’s Anthony Richardson and CJ Stroud will face off in a battle to see who will notch their first career victory. If you live in the Houston or Indianapolis markets, you should be grateful for Sunday Ticket. I would rather watch paint dry.
Until Jonathan Taylor comes back there’s really not much to talk about with the Colts fantasy wise. Dameon Pierce has decent upside for the Texans offense and will likely be relied upon heavily as the bell-cow in an offense being run by a rookie. I would still start him despite a lackluster result in Week 1.
An over/under line in the 30’s is always going to be a risky play. However, both these offenses are horrendous. The Colts’ defense is at least serviceable and Demeco Ryans is in the process of turning around a Houston defense that has some guys at their disposal. I’ll play the under here.
Prediction: Colts 10, Texans 7
49ers at Rams, 1 p.m. PDT, FOX
Odds: 49ers -8, O/U 45 (-7.5, 45 on Sunday)
Weather: Climate-controlled canopy stadium
Head referee: Brad Allen
History: Teams have met 148 times including two post-season meetings…49ers lead all-time series 77-68-3…rematch of NFC conference championship from 2021 season, Rams won 20-17
Injury report: 49ers: OUT: CB Samuel Womack (knee). FULL: LB Dre Greenlaw (groin), George Kittle (groin), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist), T Trent Williams (NIR). Rams: QUESTIONABLE: LB Ernest Jones (illness), WR Puka Nacua (oblique), C Coleman Shelton (toe), S Russ Yeast (knee). FULL: G Joe Noteboom (ankle), CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hip).
The 49ers had the most impressive performance of any team in the league last week in their 30-7 thumping of the Steelers in Pittburgh. Brock Purdy navigated a very good Steeler’s defensive unit with poised intensity. The game was never in doubt. The Rams also impressed in Week 1, handily winning a game in Seattle in which they were healthy underdogs. A healthy Matt Stafford is unsurprisingly still a great NFL quarterback and it seems like Sean McVay’s slot-loving offense may be more essential to Cooper Kupp’s rise than he was to it.
Despite a huge performance from the offense last week, George Kittle’s fantasy numbers left something to be desired. I have little concern he’ll find his way back into a role in San Francisco’s downfield passing game, but his propensity as a blocker is what is going to most valuable to the Niners going forward. Too bad you don’t get fantasy points for that.
Despite both teams notching surprising results Week 1, this line doesn’t seem like it’s too far off from what it would have been before last week. My heart tells me the Rams are getting way too many points not to bet them in this spot coming off an impressive Week 1 in Seattle. My head is telling me to stay away.
Prediction: 49ers 30, Rams 22
Giants at Cardinals, 1 p.m., FOX
Odds: Giants -5.5, O/U 39.5 (-4.5, 40 on Sunday)
Head referee: Land Clark
History: Two of NFL’s four oldest franchises…Cardinals were founded in 1920, Giants in 1925…Teams have met 128 times including the post-season…Giants lead all-time series 80-46
Injury report: Giants: DOUBTFUL: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee). QUESTIONABLE: OL Andrew Thomas (hamstring). LIMITED: TE Darren Waller (NIR-resting player/hamstring). Cardinals: OUT: DL L.J. Collier (biceps), LB Josh Woods (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: S Budda Baker (hamstring), OL Kelvin Beachum (hand), DL Leki Fotu (shoulder).
Do we really need to talk about either of these teams? Fine. The Cardinals held their own early on against a mediocre Commanders team before losing the plot in the second half. Josh Dobbs did about what you’d expect Josh Dobbs to do. The Giants lost to the Cowboys 40-0 on Sunday Night Football, embarrassing themselves in front of the entire country yet again. If you thought last season buried the Giants of old, they have other news.
Similar to Bears/Bucs, I’ll pass on literally anything to do with this cosplay of a football game fantasy wise.
We all saw the Giants get absolutely ramshackled by the Cowboys on Sunday night. So, we should all thank them for this line since their pitiful performance almost certainly brought this down to a playable number. This is a playoff team, albeit a bad one, getting 5.5 points against one of the ten worst rosters ever assembled in a non-lockout, non-strike season. Take it and run.
Prediction: Giants 24, Cardinals 7
Jets at Cowboys, 1:25 p.m. PDT, CBS
Odds: Cowboys -9.5, O/U 39.5 (-8.5, 38.5 on Sunday)
Head referee: Clete Blakemen
History: Cowboys lead all-time series 7-5…Jets have won 3 in a row against Cowboys dating back to 2008
Injury report: Jets: QUESTIONABLE: OT Mekhi Becton (knee), OT Duane Brown (shoulder), RB Breece Hall (knee), K Greg Zuerlein (groin). Cowboys: DOUBTFUL: OT Tyler Smith (hamstring), S Donovan Wilson (calf). QUESTIONABLE: WR Brandin Cooks (knee), G Zack Martin (groin). DNP: DE Sam Williams (NIR – personal matter).
The largest television audience in Monday Night Football’s history tuned in to see a celebration of the Jets having finally landed their white whale at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. It turned into an 84,000 capacity funeral. The powerful image of Rodgers running on to the field with an American Flag in New York on 9/11 being met with the reality that Rodgers’ achilles tendon was at the top of his calf just 15 minutes later was probably the cruelest infliction of a cursed sports franchise I have ever seen. The night before, the Cowboys dominance of the Giants took place on the same turf that claimed Rodgers’ season. Who knew that was only the start? Anyway, the Cowboys very much look like the Super Bowl contender they should have been last season. Don’t look now but they could be this year’s Eagles.
Besides Garrett Wilson, every other Jets receiver has become untenable in fantasy with the loss of Aaron Rodgers. It’s almost the opposite with the Cowboys offense, if you have one of their core playmakers, you have no reason to sit them until shown otherwise.
The spread is a fair line. If I had to play something here, it would be the under. We know Zach Wilson is going to have trouble with the Cowboys’ elite defense, but I also think the Jets defense will have something for Dak and the Cowboys. Losing Aaron Rodgers is a devastating blow to the Jets’ Super Bowl chances, but he doesn’t play defense and that unit is still full of dogs. I think the Jets keep this thing competitive, even if they do blow the cover at the end. It won’t be competitive offensively though, this will be a show of strength for the defenses.
Prediction: Cowboys 24, Jets 9
Commanders at Broncos, 1:25 p.m. PDT, CBS
Odds: DEN -3.5, O/U 46.5 (-4, 38.5 on Sunday)
Weather: sunny, 83 degrees.
Head referee: Brad Rogers
History: Broncos lead all-time series 8-7 including postseason…rematch of Super Bowl XXII on 1/31/88
Injury report: Washington: OUT: CB Jartavius Martin (concussion). Broncos: OUT: TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring), LB Frank Clark (hip).
The Broncos do have some positive things they can take from their Week 1 loss to the Raiders. Russell Wilson looked much improved and the defense notched a relatively solid performance against a Raiders’ offense that has its fair share of weapons. The Commanders turned things around after a rough first half against the Cardinals to avoid killing off of Circa’s Survivor Pool. First-year starter, 2022 fifth-round draft pick Sam Howell looked exactly that. I don’t think he’ll have an easy time in the Denver altitude on Sunday.
This is a great spot to pick up and play the Broncos defense. I’m firmly hedging against Sam Howell doing anything productive in the altitude.
I’m on the Broncos here. The Commanders did enough to win in Week 1 but the score line wasn’t necessarily indicative of the quality of their performance. I saw a team that struggled to find footing against, again, a Cardinals team I consider to be one of the worst teams in league history.
Prediction: Broncos 20, Commanders 10
Dolphins at Patriots, 5:20 p.m. PDT, NBC/Peacock
Odds: MIA -3, O/U 48.5 (-2.5, 46.5 on Sunday)
Weather: sunny, high 70s
Head referee: Shawn Smith
History: Dolphins lead all-time series 60-55 including the post-season…Dolphins have won all 4 matchups with Patriots in the Tagaovailoa era…Patriots held 23-12 advantage in series during Tom Brady era
Injury Report: Dolphins: QUESTIONABLE: T Terron Armstead (back/knee/ankle), DB Elijah Campbell (knee), TE Julian Hill (ankle), LB Jaelan Phillips (back). Patriots: QUESTIONABLE: OT Trent Brown (concussion), OL Sidy Sow (concussion), CB Jonathan Jones (knee), OL Mike Onwenu (ankle), WR DeVante Parker (knee), G Cole Strange (knee).
The Patriots defense was arguably the most impressive unit across all of football last week. They gave up just one touchdown against the Eagles’ NFC championship winning offense which came after a Zeke Elliot fumble deep in Eagles territory. If they weren’t handicapped by the fumble and a Mac Jones pick-six on the first drive, we’re talking about this defense a lot more this week. On the other side, the Dolphins offense was the other unit for contention for the most impressive in football in Week 1. It seems like all of the Tua detractors can finally be put to bed, at least while he has Tyreek Hill and friends to make him look like that.
Hunter Henry was surprisingly atop all tight ends in fantasy points in Week 1 despite the off-season addition of Mike Gesicki. I expect Gesicki to get more work moving forward but it’s clear Henry is a favorite target of Mac Jones. Plus, we all know how tight ends shine in the ideal Belichick offense. For the Dolphins, at this point any rostered playmaker should be considered for your lineup. Hill and/or Waddle should never leave it.
In a battle of a great defense against a great offense, it’s always wiser to side with the defense. Tua is 4-0 all-time against the Patriots but this will be his first time seeing a Patriots defense of their past caliber. I like the Patriots to win straight up.
Prediction: Patriots 25, Dolphins 24
Saints at Panthers, 4:15 p.m., ABC
Odds: NO -3, O/U 40 (39.5 on Sunday)
Weather: clear night, high to low 70s during game time
Head referee: Scott Novak
History: Saints lead all time series 29-28…Series tied 14-14 in Carolina…Saints lead series 15-14 in New Orleans
Derek Carr’s words to Rashid Shaheed before his catch to set up the game winning field-goal have been going viral on social media in the aftermath of the Raiders win. Regardless of what you think of Carr, it appears the Saints have bought into his message. I think the offense will find a better groove with time, especially with the addition of Alvin Kamara looming post-suspension. Rookie Bryce Young struggled for Carolina in his first start at quarterback in a 24-10 loss to the Falcons that left little in the silver linings department.
Saints defense is a solid play here, otherwise pass entirely.
Bryce Young looked really bad in Week 1. The Saints offense is still finding their groove and Derek Carr is still finding his way around. I don’t love anything going into this game but I’m looking at the under.
Prediction: Saints 23, Panthers 14
Browns at Steelers, 5:15 p.m. PDT, ABC
Odds: CLE -2.5, O/U 38.5 (-2, 38 on Sunday)
Weather: partly cloudy, high 60s, chance of rain
Head referee: Ron Torbert
History: Steelers lead all-time series 80-62-1…rematch of Myles Garrett “helmet” game in 2019
The Steelers performance in Week 1 was bailed out in the “Worst Performance of the Week” sweepstakes by the Giants goose-egg but it was still horrendous. The Browns on the other hand exhibited a type of defensive dominance against the Bengals that could spell trouble for this division going forward. I believe the Browns are in a great spot to win the AFC North this season, having seemingly gone completely under the radar.
Browns defense against the Steelers offense and Kenny Pickett, who will surely be scared into at least two interceptions by Myles Garrett’s pass rush, is the only play I can really vouch for in this one.
This line is a bit suspect but it would have been in favor of the Steelers had they displayed any competency in Week 1. I’m cautiously on the Browns here, mostly because the thought of Garrett and company devouring Kenny Pickett is replaying in my mind. We’ll see.
Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 13