Week 2 NFL picks and predictions from Adam Burke

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NFL Week 2 best bets and betting odds

The NFL will always be king, but the product was lacking in Week 1. A lot of quarterbacks looked really rusty and there were a lot of games that just weren’t very good viewing experiences. Hopefully a week’s worth of practice and a little less rust will lead to some more efficient offensive numbers in Week 2.

 

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It definitely takes some time for everybody to come together and gel with the coaching and roster turnover and some teams will still be a work in progress, but others should be able to get back on track and look crisper in the second of 17 games on the schedule. Then again, if Thursday was any indication, maybe it’ll take another week or two.

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Here are my favorite Week 2 NFL picks:

(Odds as of September 14, 7:30 p.m. PT)

Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 45) at Tennessee Titans

There were some believers in the Titans coming into the season, but I wasn’t one of them. They got the cover against the Saints, but any semblance of competent QB play gets them the win in that game. They were outgained 5.5 to 4.8 yards per play and went 0-for-3 in the red zone, as Ryan Tannehill also got picked off three times.

Derrick Henry played 48% of the snaps and Tyjae Spears played 54%, so the snap share is worth watching here, as it could create additional problems for head coach Mike Vrabel to deal with as the offense continues to suffer.

Speaking of suffering, the Chargers defense did last week. The Kellen Moore debut was successful on offense and I’ll come back to that, but the defense was truly atrocious with 536 yards allowed and 8.2 yards per play. Here’s the thing, though. Of those 536 yards, 466 came through the air and 215 were from Tyreek Hill alone. The Titans don’t have Tua Tagovailoa. They don’t have Hill. They have an aging, ineffective quarterback and may be without DeAndre Hopkins, who had 13 of 33 targets and seven grabs for 65 yards.

The Moore offense produced 5.7 yards per play and really ran the ball effectively with 233 rushing yards. To rack up over 450 yards with a pedestrian day from Justin Herbert (23-of-33, 229 yards, 1 TD) is a good sign for the future and a good sign for this matchup. The Saints averaged 13.3 yards per catch and had a handful of explosive pass plays of 25+ yards. Herbert should be better here.

Pick: Chargers -3

Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (-3.5, 39)

Maybe the Arizona defense will be good under the watchful eyes of former Eagles DC turned Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon and first-time DC Nick Rallis, but the Commanders managed just 3.8 yards per play in their 20-16 win over Arizona. The Broncos were a top-10 defense by a lot of metrics last season and held a dynamic skill-position group for the Raiders to under 4.7 yards per play last week.

I can’t imagine Washington finding much success this week on offense and the defense will be tested by a strong collection of skill guys for the Broncos. Russell Wilson failed to generate a lot of explosive plays, but he connected with 10 different receivers while getting acclimated to Sean Payton and Joe Lombardi’s offense. Standout DC Vance Joseph was Arizona’s DC last season, so he knows the personnel that had success last week for the Cardinals and may try to replicate some of those coverages and schemes this week.

While the numbers weren’t impressive for Denver’s offense, they settled for a 24-yard field goal and did have a FG miss, albeit from 55 yards, last week. The Broncos are typically a very good bet at home in Week 1 and Week 2 because of the elevation and how teams aren’t totally up to game shape yet. It didn’t help last week against the Raiders, but I think it will here against the visiting Commanders.

Pick: Broncos -3.5 (would only play at -3.5 or lower)