The NFL’s opening week rarely disappoints, and Thursday Night’s battle between the Chiefs and Chargers capped off seven phenomenal days of football.
We’re now on to the meat of the Week 2 schedule, and The Professor has been studying film from all around the NFL looking to get you an edge. If you haven’t signed up for The Oracle’s Picks, you’re missing out after he CRUSHED opening weekend, so be sure to SIGN UP TODAY! And now, on to the prop bets.
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
Joe Flacco, Under 228.5 Passing Yards, -125 (Model: 214.2)
Based on left tackle George Fant’s dreadful performance against the Ravens in the NFL opener, the time that Jets general manager Joe Douglas spent fretting over accommodating Fant’s preference to play on the left side was a bigger waste of time than Charlie Kelly’s work setting up Paddy’s Pub to run on a gas generator. Now Fant has to face off with Myles Garrett, who destroyed Panthers rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu in pass protection last week. Joe Flacco is set to have a very long day – the main concern is that he goes over this number in garbage time.
Note: This number jumped to -145 while this post was written, look for a slightly lower yardage change to get -115 or -125.
Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, Over 75.5 Rushing Yards, -105 (Model: 82.1)
Saquon Barkley is BACK in a big way. New York’s back is moving like a superhero again, which could work out exceedingly well for him financially after the Giants didn’t pick up his 5th-year option. Nick Chubb and the rest of the Cleveland Browns’ rushing attack ran all over the Panthers defense last week; the model has Barkley at an average game of 82.1, but on a gut level, I would be surprised if Barkley doesn’t top 100.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
Marcus Mariota, Under 215.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model: 202)
Marcus Mariota and the Falcons’ offense exceeded expectations in their debut, with running back Cordarrelle Patterson looking absolutely electric in his role as the primary ball carrier. Mariota added to the run game and made some nice throws on the move, but he still looks uncomfortable whenever he is asked to sit in the pocket. Atlanta’s line play was improved after they aborted last year’s incompetent left guard-center tandem of Jalen Mayfield and Matt Hennessy in favor of the underwhelming pairing of Elijah Wilkinson and Drew Dalman, but those two aren’t world-beaters and are likely to be targeted by Aaron Donald this week.
With the Rams’ defense looking to rebound from a brutal performance on opening night, Atlanta may come crashing back to Earth.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson, Under 227.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model: 219.2)
Tua Tagovailoa, Under 253.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model: 227.6)
New Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel did a brilliant job getting Tua Tagovailoa in situations that played to his strength in their win over the Patriots. Receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle were outstanding, with Hill mossing a fade ball for a big gain and Waddle outrunning the Patriots defense on an over route, and Tagovailoa was accurate with the ball. However, there were some concerning moments from Tagovailoa down the stretch, when his ball security wasn’t particularly locked up as the Dolphins tried to seal up the win. New England also looked like a bottom-five team on both sides of the ball, and the Ravens’ defense should make life more difficult for Miami’s signal-caller in what should be a low-scoring game.
Speaking of which, this is the nightmare matchup that the Ravens offense has to get right. Lamar Jackson and company struggled badly against Miami’s hyper-aggressive scheme last year, and the Dolphins did not back off that approach one iota in their Week One win. The Ravens have issues on the offensive line with left tackle Ronnie Stanley still sidelined and his replacement, Ja’Wuan James, blowing out his Achilles last week. Maybe Jackson gets it going against this scheme, but it is as likely to be tough sledding once again.
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys
Ja’Marr Chase, TD Scorer, +115 (Model: 0.6)
Anytime Ja’Marr Chase is plus money to score a touchdown, it seems like a good bet. Chase built on his absurd rookie campaign with a 10-reception, 129-yard, one-touchdown performance that did not include an earlier non-touchdown that would likely have been overturned if the play had been challenged. Fellow receiver Tee Higgins might be back after suffering a concussion last week, but after their turnovers and kicking woes allowed the Steelers to win last week, I expect a far sharper performance from Cincinnati’s offense, and that there will be touchdowns to go around.
Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders
Davante Adams, Over 93.5 Receiving Yards, -120 (Model: 96.8)
Derek Carr attempted 37 passes last week, and 17 of those went to Davante Adams, indicating that any concerns over Adams’ usage with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow also in the mix were wildly overblown. Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy is no better equipped to handle Adams than Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was last week, so Carr should continue feeding Adams. Throw in the fact that the Cardinals defense has severe talent issues, and that Raiders coach Josh McDaniels should outscheme Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, and it could be a big day for the Las Vegas offense.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson, Over 245.5 Passing Yards, -115 (Model 261.2)
Despite Denver’s laundry list of offensive miscues on Monday Night Football, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson still threw for 340 yards. His receivers, Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, both showed some rapport with their new quarterback, with Sutton emerging as a reliable target later in the game after Jeudy had a long catch-and-run touchdown midway through the contest.
Houston’s revamped defense played with more energy than last season, but this is a unit comprised of journeymen veterans and two rookies, and it doesn’t help that third overall pick Derek Stingley Jr., who did certain things very well, was playing with way too much cushion at times against the Colts. Whether Houston’s coaches need to ask Stingley to press more or something else, the rookie cornerback can’t concede routes underneath the way he did last week. The talent is there, and things like that are to be expected from a rookie debuting as a full-time starter in Week One, but that doesn’t mean Stingley will get things all the way cleaned up in one week.
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Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.