NFL Picks Week #2 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #2)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday September 11th, 2019 at 2 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Chicago Bears -2.5 at Denver Broncos (rated 4 stars)
The rest factor, which is critical in the NFL considering the physical nature of the game, is largely in favor of the Bears here. They are going to benefit from three additional days of rest after playing the Thursday Night game against the Packers last week, while the Broncos lose one day of preparation since they played last Monday. In other words, the Bears will have 4 more days than the Broncos to heal and to game plan for their upcoming meeting. That is huge!
Chicago is also coming off a very disappointing home opener where they were repeatedly booed by their home crowd. Playing on the road will relieve some stress; it might actually be a good thing.
Last week I told you about a website called FootballGuys.com that is a goldmine of information. Prior to last week, they were ranking Oakland’s defense 32nd (dead last!). The Broncos only managed to score 16 points against them, so how can they expect to generate some offense against the stout Bears defense? They are in for a long day.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s offense struggled big time against Green Bay. They probably won’t score a boatload of points, but I feel they are going to be more focused on details and will be able to do enough to win this game.
Which team has the best defense? Chicago. Which team has the best offense? Chicago. With a more rested team that I also expect to be very hungry, to me the pick is simple here: Chicago!
PICK #2: Pittsburgh Steelers -4 vs Seattle Seahawks (rated 3 stars)
First of all, teams from the West Coast don’t like playing an early Sunday game at 1 PM Eastern Time, which is the equivalent of 10 AM Pacific Time. It alters their routine.
Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Steelers since 2007. Do you know what is their record against the spread following a straight up loss? 39-27 (59.1%). Pretty impressive! He sure knows how to motivate its squad after losses. In this case, we are talking about a very embarrassing and upsetting 33-3 loss in New England on national television. Do you have any doubts they will come out firing on all cylinders? I don’t.
T.J. Watt and JuJu Smith-Schuster are both expected to suit up this Sunday after suffering minor injuries.
The Seahawks didn’t look so good despite winning 21-20 at home against the Bengals. They got 233 total yards versus 429 for Cincinnati. They were pretty lucky to win this one.
PICK #3: Jacksonville Jaguars +9 at Houston Texans (rated 1 star)
Of course, the big question mark in this game is quarterback Gardner Minshew. He came in relief of injured Nick Foles and opened a lot of eyes by completing 22 of his 25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The sixth-round pick out of Washington State will get the start this Sunday since Foles is out several weeks with a broken collarbone.
Jacksonville’s defense disappointed me quite a bit against the Chiefs last week. I thought they would be able to hold up fairly well, but they ended up allowing 40 points. Houston’s offense isn’t as good, but they are more than potent with DeShaun Watson playing very well in New Orleans last Monday. I do believe the Jags defense will be able to keep this game close.
The Texans are losing one day of rest after playing on Monday. The revenge factor also plays in favor of Jacksonville, who lost both meeting with the Texans in 2018 (20-7 in Jacksonville, 20-3 at Houston).
LEAN #1: Cincinnati Bengals -1.5 vs San Francisco 49ers
The Bengals lost a game they should have won in a very tough environment. Indeed, they racked up 429 totals yards versus just 233 for the Seahawks. They made 22 first downs compared to just 12 for Seattle. However, 3 lost fumbles cost them the game.
Running back Joe Mixon left the game with an ankle injury, but he should be back this week. Andy Dalton looked very sharp with over 400 passing yards despite missing his number one receiver, A.J. Green. John Ross was fantastic with 7 receptions for 158 yards and a couple of TDs.
Cincy’s defense was supposed to be bad in 2019, but they looked good last week. They pressured Russell Wilson pretty often. Was it just a flash in the pan? We’ll find out soon.
Meanwhile, the Niners won 31-17 in Tampa Bay even though the stats were pretty even. Obviously, the four takeaways helped secure the win.
Jimmy Garoppolo raised many question marks during preseason and he did not necessarily impress in Tampa. He missed several open receivers throughout the game.
San Francisco’s running game did okay, but wasn’t great either. They also lost one of their starters, Tevin Coleman. The former Falcon will be out several weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
Considering the game starts at 1 PM Eastern Time, it will feel like 10 AM to 49ers players since they come from the West Coast. That’s another obstacle for them. Also, playing on the road against a non-conference opponent makes it more difficult to find extra motivation (as opposed to the home team that necessarily has the motivation to do well in front of their home crowd, no matter the opposing team).
LEAN #2: Detroit Lions +2.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers defense was supposed to be pretty stingy, but they disappointed big time last week at home against the Colts. Jacoby Brissett completed 21 of his 27 passes and the Colts rushed for more than 200 yards. Thank God Philip Rivers was in great shape and was able to get the win in overtime.
The Lions were cruising to an easy win in Arizona before the Cards stormed back with an 18-point comeback to tie the game.
Matthew Stafford threw for close to 400 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson created mismatches all game long; he finished the game with 6 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. Along with Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones and TE Jesse James, Detroit has a potent offense.
Here is one more case of a team from the West playing an early Sunday game, which causes a disadvantage to them.
Have a great football weekend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)