Week Two is in the books, and I crawled out of it with an even record of 2 and 2 — thanks largely in part to the Bills’ defense having a penchant for allowing terrible teams to hang in easy games, and the Vikings choosing last week as a great time to fall off the face of the earth.
I have to call it like it is when I’m wrong and man, I was dead wrong about the Vikings. Kirk Cousins looked like an undrafted free agent making his NFL debut, with a tantalizing 3 interceptions (3!). There were times in that game when it seemed it might be easier on everyone if the Vikings just didn’t send the offense out on the field — no offense at all might honestly have been better than that rubbish performance.
Luckily, the 49ers came through for me — even after Jimmy Garoppolo and half their defense got taken out of the game. Not entirely surprising, because the Jets are a living example of what it would look like if a D-1 college team tried to take on a real NFL team (#pleasefiregase).
I would say Danny Dimes came through for me as well in the NYG game, though truthfully I owe the Giants covering last week just as much to Mitch Tribusky, who’s always good for a few turnovers. Now on to this week’s picks for Week Three!
#1 — Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings
Spread: Titans -3 (-110)
Kirk, man, you really let me down last week. The Vikings showed just how bad their running defense really was by allowing more than 150 yards on the ground to the Colts. Obviously, the game was destined for failure after Kirk decided to pull a Nathan Peterman by throwing it more to the Colts than his own team. Dalvin Cook looked solid, but unless some drastic changes happen I don’t see how the Vikings manage to keep this game close against a very solid Titans team.
Derrick Henry will be going to work against the Vikings’ weak front-seven, and Tannehill is looking to repeat his four-touchdown performance from last week’s match against the Jaguars. The Titans might finally have found a kicker, although he did doink an extra point off the upright.
Even with their top wideout Brown missing due to injury, it looks very promising that the Titans will be 3–0 going into week four. Once Derrick Henry starts to get the ground game going, Tannehill will pick apart a weak secondary on play action.
#2 — Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills
Line: Rams (+105)
We’ll start with the upside for the Bills: Josh Allen looks really good this season, and he’s playing for that huge extension that Watson received from the Texans. That being said, the Bills’ defense has allowed two weaker opponents to stay in games much longer than they should have and has forced Allen to really step up and make some plays (which, to be fair, he has so far, though time will tell if he’s able to continue to do so.)
They are giving up 22.5 points per game and that has them sitting at a mediocre 19th, but it’s early in the season so the ratings don’t matter nearly as much at this point in time. Allen thus far has been the Bills best running back, something likely to be challenged this week as he’s facing an insanely athletic D-line and one of the best defensive players in football, man/mountain Aaron Donald.
Pressure is the name of the game and if the Rams can get pressure on Allen, then they have a real chance of winning this one. The Rams’ secondary will be in charge of shutting down new acquisition Stefon Diggs and Co., which seems to be right in their wheelhouse after an impressive performance putting the clamps on the star-studded Cowboys offense.
Jared Goff doesn’t look like a potential bust like he did last season, and getting rid of Todd Gurley has proven to be a moot point so far. This will be a great football game, but I think the Rams win this one 24–17.
#3 — The Upset of the Week — Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Spread: Texans +4 (-105)
The Pittsburgh Steelers look like a solid team with shut down defense, but they did allow back-up QB Jeff Driskel to throw for over 250 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. The Steelers love to attack the quarterback, racking up ten sacks so far this season and four turnovers.
This week, their offense will be operating without a 100% JuJu Smith-Schuster and a banged-up James Conner as well. Conner’s back-up, Benny Snell Jr., has 2 fumbles on 22 carries this season which could be something to watch as J.J Watt is always good for one game-changing play a game.
With all that being said, I like the Texans in this matchup because they are already playing for their season — they can not afford to go to 0–3. Watson has shown glimpses of excellence after signing a huge extension in the off-season, and luckily for the Texans, they do not have to face a Top 5 team league this Sunday even if they are facing an elite defense.
David Johnson looked promising as well during their Week 1 game, but was useless in their matchup against the Ravens. I would expect to see him utilized more in the screen game this week as a way to get some pressure off of Deshaun and to take advantage of how much the Steelers blitz. With their season on the line, the Texans will step up with a big upset win this week.
Overall Record: 2–2