Week 1 is in the books! I dont know about you, but having NFL Sundays back just feels so right. I cant imagine my life without them. There were crazy games all over the place including 2 Overtime games and one tie. Somehow, the Bears were able to pull out a win vs the 49ers, while the Steelers won an absolutely chaotic game vs the Bengals. There were also some big injuries to players like Dak, TJ Watt, Elijah Mitchell, Keenan Allen, and more. Ok, enough about Week 1…. let’s start looking ahead to Week 2, and there are three big games this week starting with Thursday night football. See below the preview for each game along with my best bets for them.
1) Chargers at Chiefs
Both teams come in to this game after getting big wins last weekend. The Chargers defense really stepped up in their close win vs the Raiders, while the Chiefs routed the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs open as a 4 point favorite over the Chargers. Let’s dive into this great Week 2 matchup and make a prediction for this game because, why not?
The Chargers have to be pleased with their big divisional win in Week 1 vs the Raiders. Their defense stepped up to grab the win. The biggest takeaway from their game was the great play of newly acquired Khalil Mack. He finished the game with 3 big sacks for the Chargers. They had 5.5 sacks as a team with Bosa chipping in with 1.5 sacks himself. They will need to continue to get pressure if they want to slow down Mahomes and this passing offense.
The key injury for the Chargers this game was Keenan Allen who left with a hamstring injury. Early reports suggest he could possibly play this week, which would be impressive on such a quick turnaround. The big hope in LA is that their new toy and stud corner JC Jackson is available vs this potent passing offense. All indications so far are that he has a decent chance to suit up and play. This Chargers offense should also be able to put up a lot of points on this Chiefs defense with or without Keenan Allen.
This Chiefs team came out of the gates hot putting up almost 50 points on the Cardinals on the road and never trailed in that game. Mahomes had 5 Td’s (To 5 different players) going 30 for 39 and 360 yards. He relied on his go to guy Travis Kelce as he caught 8 passes for 121 yards and a TD. Ju-Ju also had a good 1st game with his new team catching 6 passes for 79 yards. The Cardinals didn’t have the talent to keep up with the high powered offense with the weapons the Chiefs have on their roster. The Chiefs defense only gave up 1 TD before two 4th quarter TD’s that meant nothing with the game being a blowout.
There were no big injuries for the Chiefs unless you count an ankle injury for their kicker Harrison Butker being important. CB McDuffie also went down with a hamstring injury. Considering he was carted off, it would be hard to imagine him playing on Thursday.
These teams have played close games the last couple years including 2 OT games in the last 4 head to head meetings. This is a tough game to predict since I can see this going down to the wire yet again. A lot will depend on whether or not the Chargers can get pressure on Mahomes like they did last week vs Murray. This Chargers team will be a huge step up in class for the Chiefs after playing a Cardinals team that I believe will struggle all season. Since these games are usually close and the Chiefs are 2-5 ATS vs the Chargers in the last 7, I will gladly take the +4 with the Chargers as I can see this being won by a FG at the end. The total is set at 54.5 which seems about right. Either way, this is must see TV on Thursday!
2) Dolphins at Ravens
I am excited for this game as I am curious to see if the Dolphins are for real with this early test against a physical Ravens team. The Dolphins defense dominated the Patriots last week to cruise to an early win while the Ravens easily handled their business vs the lowly Jets. The spread on this game is Ravens -3.5, which seems like the oddsmakers are giving a lot of respect to the Dolphins here. Lets break down the teams and give a prediction.
The Dolphins rode the back of their defense in the game vs the Patriots as they held them to only 7 points, while scoring a TD on their own. That’s a great sign, but don’t get too excited yet as I think the Patriots offense is one of the worst in the league. The only way they can consistently move the ball is by running the ball. Either way, the Dolphins played well and new head coach Mike McDaniel knows the importance of his defense as he was quoted as saying to his team last night that “This is still the defense’s team until proven otherwise.”
As for the offense, they still have some work to do. Their defense forced 3 turnovers and they still only came up with 13 points on offense. The Dolphins got out of Week 1 pretty healthy. The only impactful loss was their starting RT Austin Jackson, but there is a chance he plays this week vs the Ravens
If you read my Super Bowl article (Which you can find here), you know I am high on this Ravens team this season. They did nothing in Week 1 to prove me otherwise, but this will be a tougher matchup than the Jets obviously. Lamar Jackson only ran for 17 yards in Week 1, but part of that could have been that he didn’t need to run throwing 3 TD passes and not being in any danger of losing the game. We will find out this week if Lamar is trying to become more of a passer in order to stay away from any big hits, or if that one game was just an anomaly. The defense played well, especially the secondary, but I am going to be honest… It’s not hard to stop the Jets and Joe Flacco.
As for injuries, the Ravens did not get as lucky as the Dolphins. The big blow was to their LT Ja’Wuan James who suffered a torn achilles. Also, CB Kyle Fuller went down with a knee injury late in the game and was just ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Brutal injuries for the Ravens after only 1 week. One of the most under rated injuries of week 1 was to the Ravens mascot, Poe. He will be placed on the IR so the replacement will have big shoes to fill!
I believe that both of these teams’ strengths are their defenses, which leads to my best bet for this game being the Under 44.5 points. I can easily see a 21-17 type game in this one. The 3.5 point spread isn’t too appealing to me since I think this will be a close, grind it out type of game. I would maybe lean the Ravens -3.5 if I had to pick, but the Under is my best bet.
3) Vikings at Eagles
This is a great matchup on Monday Night Football! Both offenses looked good so this game has the potential to be a shootout. The stars showed out with Jalen Hurts having 333 total yards, while Justin Jefferson had a monster game going for 9 catches and 184 yards. He also had 2 TD’s. This guy is pretty much unstoppable in only his 2nd season. I think this will be a great matchup and we will see if the Vikings cam improve on their 3-6 road record from a year ago.
The Vikings look like a much less predictable offense under new head coach Kevin O’Connell. This could mean record numbers for 2nd year stud Justin Jefferson. The Vikings are an offense that can beat you on the ground or thru the air, which is what makes them so dangerous this season. This could be the game they rely on their running game with Dalvin Cook after seeing the Eagles defense being unable to stop the Lions running game.
The VIkings defense wasn’t too bad in Week 1 either. I think some of that was also the poor play of the Packers WR’s as they are still trying to adjust to life without Davante Adams. They did struggle to stop the Packers running game when they did actually run. The 2 RB’s for Green Bay had 15 total carries for 94 yards, which is an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Their defense will have to defend a unique offense where most of the running game comes from the QB Hurts. As for injuries, the Vikings came out pretty healthy after week 1 and they also may get their 1st round pick in Safety Lewis Cine back to make his NFL debut on Monday night!
The Eagles offense rumbled thru the weak defense of the Lions in Week 1. Jalen Hurst used his legs and his new weapon in AJ Brown. He had 10 catches for 155 yards. Hurts only completed 18 passes total so Brown was a huge part of their offense. Along with the legs of Hurts, Miles Sanders had 13 carries for 96 yards and 1 TD. The Eagles biggest strength is their running game and when they get rolling, it can be hard to stop!
Their defense was a big disappointment on Sunday as they gave up 35 points to the Lions as they tried to make a furious comeback. Their run defense will have to improve as Swift had a great game running for 144 yards on only 15 carries while also giving up 3 rushing TD’s. I think playing rookie Jordan Davis more will help with this issue. The biggest injury for the Eagles was DE Derek Barnett when he tore his ACL in the 2nd half of their win on Sunday. This is a big blow to the Eagles who were already a little thin at that position.
I think the offenses are much better than the opposing defense in this one so my bet for this game would be on the Over 50.5 for the total game. We probably won’t see the punters very often in this one as they should both run the ball and be able to hit on their play action passes. I am not making this one of my best bets, but I lean Vikings ML at +115 on this one, but it can be hard to trust Cousins on the road in prime time if they need a game winning drive. Either way, there should be fireworks in this game. This is a great game to end Week 2!
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