Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Chiefs -2.5)
Few expected the Lions to go into Arrowhead and take down the reigning Super Bowl champs in the season opener. Fewer still believed that was on the cards when the Chiefs held a touchdown lead at half-time! But Kadarius Toney had a sever case of the “drops” and Detroit took advantage with a pick 6 and went on to claim a memorable win!
The good news for KC is that their perceived nearest rivals in the AFC – Cincinnati and Buffalo – both lost last weekend but this weeks’ opponents got off to a winning start in Indy.
The Jaguars seemed to flick a switch midway through last season and after claiming the AFC South crown, they now have designs on making a deep run into the playoffs. Last year, of course, that run was ended by the Chiefs in a game which saw Patrick Mahomes leave with an ankle injury midway through it. The Jags have claimed some notable scalps at home in the last 12 months – Baltimore and Dallas amongst them – but this would be a step up again.
KC will have been stung by their opening week loss. Key defensive lineman, Chris Jones is back after reaching agreement on a new deal and there’s optimism that tight end, Travis Kelce will make his season debut after missing out with a knee issue. Those are 2 big pieces for the Chiefs, and they have a big point to prove.
The Jaguars are a team on the rise, and they should be expected to be in the mix at the end of the season, but the Chiefs rarely lose back to back games with Mahomes under centre and they have a point to prove.
PICK: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
Las Vegas Raiders @ Buffalo Bills (Total Points – under 47)
The Buffalo Bills are another team in the AFC entering week 2 with a point to prove. There can be no escaping the disappointment felt following Monday night’s loss to the Jets and just as importantly the poor play of QB Josh Allen. Allen threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble in the overtime loss. So now, all eyes on the Bills and how they respond.
Coming into town, a Las Vegas Raiders team on the back of a hard fought road win against the Broncos. In a game where points were at a premium, QB Jimmy Garoppolo did just enough to see them edge to a 17-16 victory.
Make no mistake, that game – against a physical, tough Broncos defense – will have taken it’s toll though. As will Buffalo’s battle against the Jets. Bills head coach, Sean McDermott was animated on the sideline on Monday night, urging Allen to use his head and be less cavalier with the football. That may not translate into a more conservative approach this weekend, but the Bills will certainly hope it means fewer deep balls thrown into coverage.
Meanwhile, for a second straight game the Raiders find themselves on the road against one of the better defensive units in the NFL. If they can keep this game tight, they’ll believe they can pull off another win. They’ll hope they can make the short week and pressure on the Bills can play in their favour.
Expect a competitive game – which may well mean fewer scoreboard fireworks.
PICK: Total points – under 47
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals (total Points – under 39.5)
After all the positive pre-season noises coming out of Big Blue – new deals for QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley, along with the acquisition of TE Darren Waller – disappointing, doesn’t quite cover their performance on Sunday night. To lose 40-0 at home to the division rival Dallas Cowboys as embarrassing as it was humiliating. So, now it’s a test of character for the Giants – on the road, against a team widely perceived to be the worst in the NFL. Win, and everyone will shrug their shoulders, believing that’s what should happen. Lose, and the wheels may really start to come off!
The Cardinals entered this season with a new coaching staff, a new general manager and a QB, Joshua Dobbs, who wasn’t even on their roster 3 weeks before the season started! So, it came as no surprise that they lost at Washington last weekend. But they kept it close and that’ll be the key to this game, if they are to get the win.
On paper, the Giants have the better roster – on both sides of the ball. However, these are two sides, trying to find their way and that’s reflected in the points they put on the board. Last weekend the Cardinals scored 16, the Giants failed to register. Going back to the start of last season, Arizona failed to score over 21 points in 12 of their last 18 games. The giants – including the playoffs – have only scored over 21 points 8 of 20 games in that same period. Nothing suggests this will be a high scoring matchup and we shouldn’t expect one.
PICK: Total points – under 39.5