Week 2 of the NFL season got underway on Thursday with the Kansas City Chiefs knocking off the Los Angeles Chargers. However, all bettors could talk about after the game was a hobbled Justin Herbert barging through the backdoor in the final minutes to get Los Angeles the cover.
There are still 15 other games this weekend to satisfy our football hunger. Let's take a look at three different sets of games with similar point spreads and analyze which side we'd rather bet if we absolutely had to.
Carolina or Washington?
The Carolina Panthers kicked off their season with a home loss to the Cleveland Browns, thanks to a last-second field goal from Cade York that ruined Baker Mayfield's revenge game. This week, the Panthers are a 2-point road underdog against the New York Giants. Elsewhere, the Washington Commanders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in their opener in come-from-behind fashion. This week, the Commanders are a 1.5-point underdog in Detroit against the Lions. Which short road underdog would you rather bet?
Greg: The Matt Rhule era can’t end quickly enough. The Panthers coach couldn’t be more lost if he were stranded on a mysterious island with a smoke monster. And I’m not impressed by the Giants’ win over a bad Titans team. New York was lifeless for the entire first half and that could be the norm for them this year. I think the Panthers cover but I really don't want anything to do with either team for the moment.
Penei Sewell is the only healthy starter on Detroit’s offensive line right now. I’d be more concerned about this unit’s health and potential performance against Washington if they hadn’t manhandled a tough Eagles defensive front in Week 1. James Robinson and Travis Etienne exploited some huge holes in the Commanders run defense last week that has to be looking like a delicious cartoon turkey to D’Andre Swift. I am a bit worried about Detroit’s secondary versus a seriously underrated group of Washington pass-catchers. This could be the highest-scoring game of the week. As a Dan Campbell superfan, it’s my sworn duty to take the Lions in their first game as a favorite since 2020. By the fourth quarter, Washington’s knees will be weak and their arms will be heavy and Detroit will grind out a win and cover. That means I have to go with the Panthers here.
Pete: There's been quite a bit of Giants love this week between Saquon Barkley being "back" and Brian Daboll endearing himself to the football world by going for two. I still can't trust this team, especially with Daniel Jones at quarterback. He almost gave the game away with an end zone interception in Week 1. This just feels like a spot where a below-average team has a chance to get momentum for the season and falls on their face with a home loss. As far as Washington, they could have easily lost against the Jaguars last week and maybe even deserved to. I think Detroit gets the cover and the win at home on Sunday. For me, this is a pretty easy call and as our resident "Baker Boy," I have to go Carolina as well.
Green Bay or Denver?
The Green Bay Packers lost their opener against the Minnesota Vikings, scoring just seven points in the process. This week, they're a 10-point home favorite on Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. Elsewhere, the Denver Broncos lost their season opener as a 6.5-point road favorite against the Seattle Seahawks in Russell Wilson's return to Seattle. The Broncos are 10-point favorites over the Houston Texans in their home opener. With both teams coming off a loss, would you rather lay double digits with Green Bay or Denver?
Greg: The only thing I’m taking away from Green Bay’s Week 1 loss is that Minnesota is for real. The Packers still have one of the league’s best defenses, a bruising run game, and the double-reigning MVP. Allen Lazard’s return will offer a much-needed boost to the passing game and AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones should roll against a Bears defense that allowed 6.5 yards per carry to Deebo Samuel and 6.8 ypc to Elijah Mitchell. Matt LaFleur has never lost back-to-back games in the regular season and he won’t have to worry about blemishing that record on Sunday.
Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett is officially on bozo watch. If Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams don’t fumble on Seattle’s goal line, we don’t get to see him bungling the end of that game and his secret remains safe until he’s put in that spot again. At least he admitted his mistake instead of doubling down on it like some coaches would do. Houston enjoyed a bit of luck against the Colts, in terms of dropped touchdown passes and turnovers. However, they only allowed three points through three quarters against the favorite to win the AFC South. The Texans aren’t great, maybe not even good, but they’re underrated and can hang with any team in a given week. Give me the Packers.
Pete: I hate to agree with Greg again, but I have to. Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears, as he so famously announced last season. I expected Chicago to be amongst the worst teams in the league, and I'm not ready to come off that stance just because they beat Trey Lance in a monsoon. While I expected Green Bay to come down a little from last season, I'm not particularly worried about Green Bay because of their Week 1 performance. Minnesota is a good team and Aaron Rodgers has had slow starts in the past.
I was never on board with the Broncos before the season. I think they're at best the third-best team in their division and Russell Wilson is much closer to the fourth best quarterback in the AFC West than he is second. They should beat Houston, but 10 points is way too much for a team that looked extremely sloppy last week. The Texans might be this year's Lions in terms of a bad team win-loss wise, but a team that covers games at an impressive rate. I'm laying the points with Green Bay.
Pittsburgh or New Orleans?
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints had thrilling victories to kick off their season in Week 1. This week, they're both home underdogs catching less than a field goal. Pittsburgh is a 2-point home underdog against the New England Patriots, while the Saints are a 2.5-point home underdog against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Which small home dog would you rather back?
Greg: Let me get this straight: the Patriots got worked over by the Dolphins, the Steelers beat the Bengals on the road, and now New England is a two-point favorite in Pittsburgh? This line is fishy enough to give Jeremy Piven a second bout of mercury poisoning. Zero chance I would take the Steelers here.
The Saints have dominated the Bucs, winning their last seven regular season matchups. Tampa’s injury report is longer than Leonard Fournette’s grocery list. New Orleans is dealing with their own health issues, but Tom Brady has thrown eight interceptions to six touchdowns against the Saints defense since he’s been a Buc. I’m marching with the Saints.
Pete: Would I rather fade Bill Belichick or Tom Brady? What a fun question. Agreed with Greg that the Patriots being a road favorite after their Week 1 performance stinks out loud. What's giving me pause is the Belichick factor. Is his mere presence overrating this team? And is he still worth that much when he's designating the offense to Joe Judge and Matt Patricia? Basically, I'm beginning to think the Belichick name might have a little too much influence on the Patriots' perception right now. Look at the rest of their coaching staff and their roster. If anyone else is their coach, what do we think of this team?
The Saints have owned Tom Brady and he's been made well aware of that this week. However, he might not have the weapons or offensive line to do anything about it. Marshon Lattimore has dominated Mike Evans, Chris Godwin is out. Russell Gage and Julio Jones are questionable. After an injury riddled preseason along the offensive line, they then lost left tackle Donovan Smith in their opener.
I'm higher on the Saints than I am the Steelers overall, so I'm gonna use that as a tiebreaker here and go with New Orleans. However, I think I like both underdogs.