By Mo Krigsman
Wow, what an eventful opening weekend in the NFL. As I mentioned last week, there is just too much uncertainty and turnover on an annual basis to know how the following season will play out. I still don’t know how a defense that ranked very close to the top last year allowed 48 points to a career journeyman. Thirty percent of my pool was knocked out on the Saints’ loss, and for those who decided to play with the Ravens and avoid the Lions, well done, as you survived the week one bloodbath.
There is a lot to learn from week one, but the mainstays that I believe will stick are: the Falcons don’t know how to put up touchdowns in the red zone, Alvin Kamara is not a one-year wonder, Jordan Reed is still a legitimate TE in the NFL, and the Minnesota Vikings look even better than they did all of last year. I am very excited for Patrick Mahomes as well — that kid can play at an elite level. As we now advance into week two of the NFL season, I will highlight a few more games I like and those I dislike from a survival football perspective.
This week there are 10 games for which Vegas has set the line at below 6 points. That means we have a lot of tight games, not something that we want to see with survival football. The game that is most eye popping to me to advance to week 3 is the Texans at the Titans. It looks at first glance that Marcus Mariota will not be active for this week, therefore leaving Blaine Gabbert as the starter (career record 11–38). I like the odds. Delanie Walker is out as well, leaving few pass catchers for the Titans in this one, and they just lost to the Dolphins. The Texans will look to get their groove back after last week’s loss to the AFC champs and should put this game away early.
Another game that I like this week is the Saints at home versus the Browns. I’m well aware that the Saints knocked out many from the pool (myself included). Throughout the Drew Brees/Sean Payton era, the Saints have only lost their first two games of the season at home once since 2006. That’s some nice odds in favor of the Saints. The Browns don’t nearly have the weapons that the Bucs have, and I don’t see how this game can turn out worse than last week’s game. The Browns have yet to win since 2016. If I didn’t take the Saints last week, I’m taking them this week.
The last team I am most confident in this week is the Rams at home versus the Cardinals. The reason for some slight hesitation is that the Rams played Monday night late, and therefore are on a short week. Also, this is a divisional matchup that can swing either way. I like the Rams in this contest but I am in favor of having this team in my back pocket in lieu of the other games.
I’m going to stay clear of the Chargers and the Redskins in this week’s games. What scares me about the Chargers is that historically, west coast teams traveling to the east coast for 1:00 p.m. start times often look sluggish. Now sluggish versus the Bills still may look more competent; however I think there are enough good options out there this week that will lead me to stay away and maybe see an upset in this one.
The Redskins looked great last week, slaughtering the Cardinals on the road. But that was one week, and I still don’t think we know what type of team the Redskins are. The Colts are coming back slowly from the Andrew Luck injury and I don’t want to bet against a healthy Luck. There are enough playmakers in this game to expect a shootout, especially with the weak defensive play. If we know in advance the game has shootout potential, there is no way to predict how the pendulum will swing.
My week two pick is the Houston Texans.
Wk1, NO (L); Wk 2, HOU