NFL Week 2 early lines and thoughts

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Taking a look at the NFL Week 2 schedule

Week 1 is just about in the books, as we’ll have to wait for Monday Night Football between the Bills and Jets to officially head into a new chapter of the 2023 NFL season. By the way, you can see what I had to say about Bills vs. Jets and some player props right after you check out this early look at Week 2.

 

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The Week 2 NFL schedule has some interesting games and some intriguing early adjustments. Some sportsbooks have had all 18 weeks of the NFL season posted for a while, including DraftKings, so be careful what you’re using for the “opening” number on these games. Make sure it is a current line from this week and not something from the past.

With one data point in the books for 30 of the 32 teams, we’ve seen a few overreactions, but we’re all very sensitive about those now. Oftentimes, the bigger overreactions are from Week 2 to Week 3. For now, let’s see what kind of cards we’ve been dealt for Week 2 and go from there.

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Here are some Week 2 thoughts:

(odds as of 9/10, 9 p.m. PT)

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5, 48.5)

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Those that picked against the Vikings in Week 1 and for the season were doing victory laps after they lost by three to the Buccaneers. After going 9-0 in one-score games last season and finishing 13-4 with a negative point differential, regression was very much expected, but the Vikings were the better team against the Bucs. They outgained the Vikings by nearly 150 yards and had 5.9 yards per play to 3.6. They had the game’s only three turnovers, with a pick at the goal line and two fumbles. They had no business losing the game.

Meanwhile, the Eagles jumped out to a 16-0 lead early against the Patriots and held on for dear life in the 25-20 win. They covered all numbers, but it was not pretty and Philly only had 4.1 yards per play. I realize that the stats crowd is firmly anti-Vikings, but I do think there’s a chance that 7 ends up the prevailing number here as the week goes along.

Green Bay Packers (-1, 41.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

So, how do we feel about Jordan Love laying a road number here? He almost did this past week against the Bears, as that line closed Packers +1. Now, the Packers are laying 1 against the Dirty Birds in Hotlanta. I’m not going to call it an overreaction by any means, especially because the Falcons were not great against the Panthers. They did hold Carolina to 3.9 yards per play, but explosive plays were few and far between on offense.

I guess all I would say is this – would you have the Falcons favored over the Bears on a neutral field? I would argue that they should be and this line is telling us that would not be the case. It’s definitely a game to monitor as the week rolls along.

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-5.5, 50.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

There have been some big adjustments with the re-posting of lines and this is one of them. The Lions were around -2.5 or -3 in lookahead markets, but they are up to -5.5 after beating the Chiefs on Thursday night. Sure, it helps that the Seahawks got embarrassed at home by a Rams team missing Cooper Kupp, but there is definitely some Detroit respect in the marketplace.

It is an early kick with some travel for Seattle, but those are worse later in the season in my opinion. The question is whether or not this line is an overreaction and if we see Seattle money pop up or not. After the Seahawks had 3.9 yards per play and 180 yards or offense, it may be a reluctant wager on the Seahawks, but this is a noteworthy adjustment after just one game.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 45.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The market is surprisingly tame on this one. Joe Burrow and the Bengals looked really bad against Cleveland’s new-look defense under Jim Schwartz. Burrow also looked extremely rusty coming off the injury and was impacted by suboptimal weather conditions. But, the Ravens lost a big chunk of their offensive line in the game and also lost JK Dobbins to a torn Achilles.

Tyler Lindenbaum and Ronnie Stanley both left hurt for the Ravens and neither injury looked particularly good. Baltimore also lost S Marcus Williams. It wasn’t a great look for Cincinnati, but Baltimore is already walking very wounded into the ‘Nati.

San Francisco 49ers (-7, 42.5) at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

The Rams looked great against the Seahawks, but it sure seems like the 49ers are getting way more respect for how they looked against the Steelers. The concerns about Brock Purdy melted away very quickly, as the Niners took it to Pittsburgh right from the jump at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers had zero first downs for most of the first half until a 12-play, 95-yard drive in 1:25 right before the intermission. 

The 49ers came out of halftime and got a 65-yard Christian McCaffrey TD run two plays into the second half to put the game away. It was as dominant of a performance as you can possibly get and the Rams, who won’t have Kupp again this week, are facing a big number at home.

Early plays I like for Week 2:

Chicago Bears (+3, 43.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

It’s late. The bar is closing. You’re in your feels a little bit and so is the person you’ve been talking to all night. The “ugly lights” come on and one or both of you decides, “Ah, whatever”.

The Bears are ugly. They did not play well in Week 1 and I was firmly against them coming into the season as a believer in Under 7.5 wins and not a believer in what some were out there desperately trying to sell.

But, as I mentioned above, the Buccaneers were thoroughly and soundly outplayed by the Vikings. They won the game, but it was not pretty. I think this is an overreaction. Against my better judgment, I’ll take the Bears home after last call and take the three-point head start in a very winnable game for them.

Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (-3.5, 40.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

While the outcome wasn’t what Sean Payton wanted from his first game back on the sidelines, I thought the Broncos did a lot of good things. Russell Wilson definitely missed some throws and there wasn’t a whole lot of vertical passing in the game-plan, but he spread the ball around and a lot of guys picked up some much-needed reps in real conditions.

The defense played well yet again and that’s why I like the Broncos this week. Denver had a top-five defense in some metrics last season and a top-10 defense in most others. The offense should improve as we go forward, but a good defense might be all the Broncos need after what we saw from the Commanders in Week 1.

Washington mustered a whopping 3.8 yards per play. It never really seemed like head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy were on the same page in the preseason and it didn’t look like there were a lot of commonalities in Week 1 either. The Commanders got seriously lucky to win and survive and Washington’s red-zone play-calling left a lot to be desired. I doubt they’ll get five red-zone chances this week and I’d anticipate an astute head coach like Payton cleans up a lot for the Broncos.