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Reply To: NFL – WEEK 2 – Previews, Articles, Info, etc, Sunday 9/20/15

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NFL Football Predictions: Week 2 Opening Line Report and Picks
by Alan Matthews

I was 2-1 on my three game picks in last week’s Opening Line Report, hitting on Green Bay -6.5 at Chicago, although the Bears played it closer than I expected, as well as Miami -3.5 at Washington. The Redskins appear every bit as bad as they were expected to be. I missed on Indianapolis -2.5 at Buffalo as that Bills defense shut down Andrew Luck and Co. and Tyrod Taylor actually looked like a pretty solid NFL quarterback in his first regular-season start. Among Sunday’s games, the favorites covered in nine of them and the “over” also hit in nine.

The biggest surprise of Week 1 was St. Louis knocking off Seattle. That also dropped the Seahawks from the favored role to win Super Bowl 50. Now that belongs to Green Bay, which is +400. And fittingly enough, those two play in one of the most anticipated games of the year to highlight Week 2. Here’s a look at four lines that caught my eye. As usual, I will not touch on the Thursday night game, the Sunday game I will preview (Seahawks-Packers) or the Monday game.

Cowboys at Eagles (-4.5, 54.5): There were so many major injuries in Week 1, but perhaps no team was harder hit than Dallas, which lost superstar receiver Dez Bryant for perhaps up to eight weeks with a Jones fracture in his foot — that’s the same type of injury that wrecked Kevin Durant’s 2014-15 NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bryant was to have surgery on Tuesday. He’s first in the NFL with 41 touchdown catches since 2012 and fifth in yards with 3,935. That Dallas receiving corps is a pretty thin bunch without Bryant. Devin Street is likely to take his spot in the starting lineup. The Cowboys’ running game is also going to suffer and it’s not exactly stellar as is. Bryant gets double-teamed so often that it opens up the running game. Tony Romo is going to have to carry this team. He was largely excellent in Sunday night’s exciting comeback win over the Giants. Key trend: Eagles are 5-5 ATS in past 10 as home favorite in series.
The pick: Philly, even on a short week.

Titans at Browns (-1.5, 41.5): It’s really going to be another long season for Browns fans; at least they have the Cavaliers starting up soon. Cleveland was totally outclassed by a mediocre Jets team in Week 1, 31-10. The Browns also lost quarterback Josh McCown to a concussion, so it’s likely that Johnny Manziel gets the start against Tennessee in what will be an all-Heisman Trophy matchup against Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota. Manziel was OK in replacing the injured McCown against the Jets, completing 13 of 24 for 182 yards, a TD and a pick. He also rushed five times for 35 yards. I don’t happen to think he’s ready to be a starter in the NFL, however, Mariota, meanwhile, was the star of Week 1 with a perfect QB rating in a shocking blowout in Tampa victory, also throwing four touchdown passes. Wonder if those Bucs are already second-guessing drafting Jameis Winston over Mariota — Winston struggled mightily. Key trend: Browns 3-7 ATS in past 10 as home favorite.
The pick: Titans.

Rams at Redskins (+3, 41.5): This could certainly be a huge letdown game for the Rams after they beat the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. That terrific Rams defense sacked Russell Wilson six times. Nick Foles was solid in his St. Louis debut, completing 18-for-27 for 297 yards and a touchdown. The Rams played without No. 1 running back Tre Mason, but he should be back here. Washington got more bad news in its loss to Miami as receiver DeSean Jackson was lost for up to a month with a strained hamstring. He was hurt in the first quarter when he ran a deep route on an overthrow by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Also, the Skins won’t have cornerback Chris Culliver as he was suspended one game for a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The Redskins will get back corner Bashaud Breeland, who was suspended for the first game for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Key trend: Washington is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 as a home dog.
The pick: Rams.

Patriots at Bills (+1, 45): Coach Rex Ryan’s Bills looked like a playoff team — Buffalo has NFL’s longest postseason drought — in their 27-14 win over the Colts. It wasn’t really even that close as Buffalo was up 24-0 late in the third quarter. The Colts should have one of the NFL’s best offenses this year but were held to 64 yards rushing and turned it over three times. The Bills rushed for 147 yards, and Taylor completed 14 of 19 for 195 yards and a TD while rushing for 41 yards on nine carries. New England of course opened the season with a 28-21 win over Pittsburgh last Thursday. I have a feeling Ryan will have something special lined up to deal with Rob Gronkowski in this one after “Gronk” torched the Steelers for three TD catches. Buffalo also gets back Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus after he was suspended Week 1. The Bills have beaten the Patriots just three times this century — actually four, but I don’t count Week 17 last year because the Pats sat most their guys. Key trend: Pats 7-2-1 ATS in past 10 as road favorite in series.
The pick: Bills.