From their new black jerseys, to their commanding play on the field against the Vikings and, of course, the sexy distraction from their cheerleaders who were adorned in new eye-catching uniforms, you’d be hard-done to find a better word than red-hot to describe the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. But this is Week 2, and the boys in Pittsburgh are known to have Hearts of Steel, so it will take more than sideline distraction to stop them from doing their intended job in the NFL betting odds. With that in mind, here are our NFL Week 2 ATS picks, including picks for the 49ers at Steelers clash on Sunday.
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BEST NFL WEEK 2 ATS PICKS
BRONCOS (+3) at Chiefs
Peyton Manning was not in his element last week, but the defense still helped the Broncos to earn their first win. The Chiefs, on the other hand, were full of confidence and tore apart the Houston defense both on the ground and in the air. Don’t expect Manning to have another poor game against the beatable Chiefs defense that allowed 20 points to Houston’s middling offense. Even so, the Chiefs have covered six of their last seven games at home, so if you are looking for a safe pick, take Kansas City at home. But if you are ready to risk on Denver’s defense and the hope that Manning will be better under the center (like we do), then take Denver for the points.
Texans at PANTHERS (-3)
Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet are serviceable QBs, which gives Carolina’s QB Cam Newton (who is a better passer and runner) a big edge to lead his team to better tidings this weekend. When you combine the QB advantage with the fact that Carolina has won six of its last seven home games, while none of Houston’s road wins in 2014 came against a playoff team, it all looks well set for a Carolina win and cover in this game.
Buccaneers at SAINTS (-10)
The Saints tried to hang with the Cardinals last week, but their defensive woes, along with lack of efficiency in the end zone cost them the game. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, was manhandled (at home) by their Tennessee visitors. So although the shaky New Orleans defense will allow Jameis Winston and his unit to score a couple of points, Drew Brees and targets should be able to bounce back with a solid home performance, putting this game to bed as early as halftime…and doing so with a considerably big margin that will easily give the ATS win to the Saints.
CARDINALS (-2) at Bears
This game provides a huge mismatch that favors the Cards in a big way. Chicago’s Jay Cutler led the NFL in interceptions last year, while the Cards have a mean defense that kept star QB Drew Brees tamed last week. Finding a way to open up Arizona’s defense (which ranked seventh-best in picking QBs last year) is therefore not going to be easy for Cutler. Plus, the Cardinals are better on the D-line than the Packers, who allowed the Bears a lot of time and chances to make plays, so a stingier game and a comfortable win and cover should be in the books for Arizona.
TITANS (-1) at Browns
The Browns have more depth, but everyone is riding on the hot Marcus Mariota train, and for very good reasons, so why shouldn’t I do the same? After all, they’ll be going against a Browns side that didn’t show much of a fight in their soft Week 1 NFL betting clash against the Jets.
49ers at STEELERS (-6)
It is no secret that Jim Tomsula and his new 49ers team surprised everyone with their stunning performance in Week 1, which saw them take care of the ball on both ends of the field for a comfortable victory over Minnesota. As a note, though, their offensive prowess came mainly because of Carlos Hyde’s big performance at RB. Meanwhile, the Steelers lost to the Patriots, thanks to a clutch performance from Tom Brady who bettered Ben Roethlisberger under the center. Playing at home, and with three extra days of rest, Big Ben should be able to have a better display this Sunday. Plus, with Pittsburgh’s solid run-stuffing defense, it doesn’t look like Hyde will be having another big night. This should make it hard for San Francisco’s middling passing game to cope with the free-scoring Steelers, allowing the home team to keep the points.
RAVENS (+6) at Raiders
The Ravens are a team on the decline (mainly because of injuries and key player losses in the offseason), while the Raiders are looking a tad improved from last season. That, however, does not mean that we will be seeing the miracle of Oakland beating Baltimore on Sunday. I mean, this is still the Raiders team that has defeated Baltimore once in 11 attempts and still has several questions in the defense, which allowed Cincy’s up-and-down offense to score 33 points in Week 1. With Joe Flacco due for a bounce-back week after his limited showing last week, Baltimore (even with its struggles) should be able to beat Oakland at by at least a touchdown.
Jets at COLTS (-7)
The Jets certainly had a good Week 1, albeit against a weak Cleveland team, but nobody should take away the encouraging performances from the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense and the Darrelle Revis-led defense. That said, the Colts (despite with their struggles against Buffalo’s defense) are not likely to repeat their mistakes against the Jets D-line, which was shaky and allowed Johnny Manziel to enjoy some opportunities and a TD under the center. Added to the fact that the Colts went 7-1 at home in 2014 and are not looking to take any chances of dropping another game, expect a crisp performance from Andrew Luck who, as we all know, is a better QB than Fitzpatrick by oceans apart.
OTHER NFL WEEK 2 ATS PICKS
Lions at VIKINGS (-2.5)
The Vikings are 15-2 SU in their last 17 home games against Detroit
The Lions are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games as road underdogs
Rams at REDSKINS (+3.5)
Say what you want, but Nick Foles and the Rams got lucky against the Seahawks, while the Redskins nearly downed the Dolphins, had it not been for that late punt return for a touchdown. Assuming normalcy resumes and every teams plays to their full potential, Washington should be due for the cheap points in this game, if not the outright win.
Chargers at BENGALS (-3)
The Bengals haven’t lost at home to a team outside of the AFC North since 2012
The Chargers haven’t had a winning road record in over six years
PATRIOTS (PK) at Bills
The Patriots are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games at Buffalo
The Patriots have won 21 of their last 23 head-to-head matchups against the Bills
The Bills have lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Patriots in Buffalo
Falcons at GIANTS (-2.5)
The Giants have won five of their last six games against Atlanta
DOLPHINS (-6) at Jaguars
The Jags have gone 9-40 since 2012, and only four of those defeats have come by less than six points
COWBOYS (+5) at Eagles
Even though the Eagles are explosive enough to beat the Cowboys (minus Dez Bryant) handily, the 5 points look too many, as this game is likely to be a close shootout affair won by a field goal (at best). Added to the fact that the Cowboys have covered the point spread in 8 of their last 9 road games, I’m inclined to go with Dallas for the cover.
Seahawks at PACKERS (-3.5)
AARON RODGERS IS HEALTHY and the game will be played at the LAMBEAU FIELD, and not the CENTURYLINK FIELD. Do the capitalized words ring any bells?!?