Once on a memorable Monday Night Football broadcast (in which the St. Louis Cardinals somehow beat the Dallas Cowboys by 38 points), Howard Cosell summed it all up this way: “Are they really that good, Frank, or are the Cowboys just that bad?
That was the vibe in Week 1 as the Baltimore Ravens clobbered the Miami Dolphins by 49 points. Magic City fans booed early and often as Lamar Jackson hooked up with rookie WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for 2 Baltimore scores in the 1st quarter following a Mark Ingram gallop to get things rolling.
Despite the Ravens rushing for 250+ yards in the contest, Jackson’s productivity remains the #1 narrative. Just a year removed from going back to the well with Joe Flacco, Baltimore has itself a brand new shiny look at QB.
For that matter, so does Arizona.
The Cardinals looked like a flop on offense through most of 3 quarters in Week 1, but mounted a fantastic comeback to tie the Detroit Lions, thanks in large part to a rookie named Kyler Murray. The top overall pick in April’s draft finished his day at 29-54 for 308 yards.
Kliff Kingsbury took a lot of criticism in NFL circles before ever coaching a down. But he’s got a couple of key players rolling who struggled often last year – ageless WR Larry Fitzgerald and tailback David Johnson.
Led by Terrell Suggs, no stranger to the Ravens, the Big Red will obviously be a tougher challenge for Jackson’s offense to surmount on Sunday afternoon compared to the listless Miami D.
A point spread of (-13) for Baltimore indicates that Las Vegas doesn’t think it’ll be that much tougher.
Despite the Arizona moneyline looking tasty at (+450) payoff, I prefer a wager on the underdog Cardinals ATS (+13) or a gamble on the teams to go Over (46) points at M&T Bank Stadium.
Here’s a few other moneyline, point spread and O/U tips for Week 2 of the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Minnesota was fantastic in all facets of a 28-12 season-opening victory over the Falcons, and Dalvin Cook is finally healthy. Kirk Cousins threw just 10 passes in Week 1, a radical change in an era of pass-happy Vikings offense. Green Bay could be without star tackle David Bakhtiari, who did not practice Thursday, a factor which has helped the visitors’ line shrink to just (+120) to prevail over Aaron Rodgers and the Pack.
I’m headed to pick the Under, which has been a popular-enough Green Bay vs Minnesota wager to drop the line to (43) total points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
The 2019-20 Kansas City Chiefs offense has picked up right where it left off, putting up 40 points on the road against a very good Jacksonville defense. Patrick Mahomes finished 25-33 for 378 yards and 3 TD’s, and while the Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill to a shoulder injury, Sammy Watkins stepped up as a new favorite target for the celebrated QB.
The Raiders defeated the Broncos 24-16 at home in Week 1, an astounding feat of concentration considering what Antonio Brown put the club through prior to signing with New England.
Kansas City is the (-320) Sin City favorite and also a solid true favorite to win Sunday’s late-afternoon contest in NorCal – but I’m taking the Raiders ATS on that KC (-7.5) line that popped up this week.
(MNF) Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
The J-E-T-S are dealing with a triple whammy.
New York appeared to be on its way to a Week 1 victory over the Bills with a 16-3 lead heading into the 4th quarter, but Buffalo came out on top with a 17-16 comeback triumph. The bad news didn’t end there as the Jets lost WR Quincy Enunwa for the season and possibly his career with an awful neck injury.
As if that wasn’t enough, the news broke this week that QB Sam Darnold has mononucleosis and has already been ruled-out of playing Monday Night Football against the visiting Cleveland Browns.
The much-hyped Browns got off to a terrible start as well, as they were throttled 43-13 by the Titans in Cleveland. Baker Mayfield sat on the bench with his head in his hands for most of the game while the Titans controlled the clock. However, Cleveland’s woes still aren’t enough to persuade Las Vegas to lean against the club on MNF, as Mayfield’s team enjoys a (-6.5) point-spread nod over those unfortunate New York Jets.
I’ll take that bet…as long as the number doesn’t slip to (7) points even.
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.