Week 2 - Sunday Blitz
September 14, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
GAMES TO WATCH
Vikings at Packers – 1:00 PM EST
An important NFC North game in Week 2 takes place at Lambeau Field with one extremely important question. Will Packers’ star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suit up or sit out after suffering a knee injury last week against Chicago? Green Bay seemed dead in the water after trailing, 20-0 and Rodgers carted off, but he returned in the second half to lead a monumental rally in a 24-23 victory.
Rodgers hopes to play to give the Packers an opportunity at not only a 2-0 overall record, but 2-0 mark inside the division. The last time Rodgers faced the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium last season, Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr drilled the two-time league MVP into the ground and broke Rodgers’ collarbone. The end result of that hit was Rodgers being sidelined for nine games and the Vikings capturing the NFC North title.
Minnesota heads to Lambeau Field following a 24-16 victory over San Francisco in the season opener. The Vikings grabbed the cover as six-point favorites, while causing four 49ers’ turnovers, including a pick-six on San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Kirk Cousins put together a solid debut for Minnesota by throwing for 244 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings improved to 10-1 in their last 11 home contests.
The Vikings compiled a 6-2 record on the highway last season, which included a 16-0 shutout of the Packers at Lambeau Field in December. Minnesota has won and covered four of the past five matchups in the series, including two of the past three trips to Green Bay. The UNDER has been a strong look in this series as well by hitting in seven of the last eight meetings.
Best Bet: Vikings 27, Packers 21
Eagles (-3, 44) at Buccaneers – 1:00 PM EST
It wasn’t pretty, but following a weather delay, the defending champion Eagles raised their Super Bowl banner and knocked off the Falcons last Thursday, 18-12. With Carson Wentz still sidelined, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles overcame a subpar performance (19-of-34 for 117 yards and interception) to lift Philadelphia to its second low-scoring home win over Atlanta in 2018 after eliminating the Falcons in the second round last season.
The Eagles moved to 12-1 in their last 13 home contests, but travel to Florida this week to face a Buccaneers’ squad that shocked the Saints as 10 ½-point underdogs last week, 48-40. Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the New Orleans’ defense for 417 yards and four touchdown passes, while both Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson recorded at least 145 yards receiving and a total of three touchdown catches. Tampa Bay picked up its third consecutive opening day win, unfortunately the Bucs haven’t started 2-0 since 2010.
The Eagles have slumped to a 2-4 ATS record under Doug Pederson as a road favorite, but Philadelphia won six of eight games away from Lincoln Financial Field last season. The Bucs have covered in four of their past five opportunities as a home underdog since 2016, while the Eagles are traveling to Tampa Bay for the first time since 2013. In the last meeting in 2015 at the Linc, the Bucs steamrolled the Eagles, 45-17 as seven-point underdogs, led by Jameis Winston’s five touchdown passes.
Best Bet: Eagles 24, Buccaneers 17
Patriots (-1, 45) at Jaguars – 4:25 PM EST
Jacksonville nearly pulled off the upset of New England in the AFC Championship this past January, but fell apart in the second half of a 24-20 defeat. The Jaguars managed to cover as 7 ½-point underdogs, but missed out on the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, while Tom Brady hit Danny Amendola for a pair of touchdown tosses in the fourth quarter.
Fast forward eight months later and the two squads hook up again, this time at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Both teams captured opening week wins, while the Jaguars won in Week 1 for the second straight year following a dry spell in openers from 2012 through 2016. The Jaguars held off the Giants last week, 20-15 as New York’s lone touchdown came on rookie Saquon Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown in the fourth. Jacksonville picked up the cover as three-point favorites, although running back Leonard Fournette left with a hamstring injury as the former LSU star is a game-time decision on Sunday.
The Patriots held off the Texans, 27-20 to barely cash as 6 ½-point favorites, although New England jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead. Brady threw three touchdown passes in the first half to three different receivers, including an early hookup with tight end Rob Gronkowski, who finished with 123 yards receiving.
New England enters Sunday’s action riding a five-game winning streak in Week 2 action, while winning three of those games on the road by an average of 15.6 points per game. Jacksonville covered in five of seven opportunities as an underdog last season, while winning six of eight home contests. Brady has never lost to Jacksonville in his career in eight starts since 2003, including two victories at TIAA Bank Field.
Best Bet: Patriots 31, Jaguars 17
Kevin Rogers (1-3-1 last week)
Dolphins +2 ½
Cardinals +12 ½
Chris David (4-1 last week)
Seahawks +3 ½
Kevin Rogers (Green Bay last week):
New Orleans over Cleveland
Chris David (Baltimore last week)
L.A. Rams over Arizona
BEST TOTAL PLAY (1-0 last week, 1-0 this season)
UNDER 53 – Chiefs at Steelers
Easily drilled the UNDER last week between the Redskins and Cardinals and going that same route again this week. These two AFC rivals have played every season for the last four years and even twice in 2016. Five of those six matchups have finished UNDER the total, while the Chiefs have failed to bust 16 in the last three meetings. Yes, Patrick Mahomes was not under center for Kansas City in those games as the former Texas Tech standout threw four touchdown passes in last week’s 38-28 victory over the Chargers. However, Los Angeles was limited to 12 points in the first three quarters, while Pittsburgh held a 21-7 fourth quarter lead at Cleveland before the Browns scored two late touchdowns to ultimately tie the Steelers.
TRAP OF THE WEEK
Are the Bills really as bad as they looked last week in a 47-3 blowout loss to the Ravens? Buffalo returns home to host Los Angeles as the Chargers had high expectations placed on them heading into the season. The Lightning Bolts are 0-1 out of the gate after losing at Kansas City, but did rout the Bills last season by 30 points at home. Los Angeles opened as a 7 ½-point favorite at Buffalo this week, as rookie Josh Allen gets the start at quarterback for the Bills. Don’t be too fast to jump on the Chargers, as the Bolts have lost six of their last seven road September games.
BIGGEST LINE MOVE
The 49ers opened as three-point home favorites against the Lions after San Francisco lost at Minnesota in Week 1. However, that line skyrocketed to San Francisco laying six points following Detroit’s abysmal effort in last Monday’s blowout loss to the Jets. The Lions host the Patriots next Sunday night, as Detroit heads to the Bay Area off a 5-3 road record last season.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
Three teams are playing on the road for the second straight week to open the season (Texans, Chiefs, and Seahawks). Kansas City was the lone team to win while Houston and Seattle came up. Why is this important? Teams don’t normally start 2-0 when both games are on the highway as only three squads have conquered this gauntlet since 2008 (2009 Vikings, 2010 Dolphins, and 2013 Dolphins). Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have gone 0-2 twice with both games on the road, as Seattle tries to buck that trend on Monday at Chicago.
Want FREE picks for Week 2 in the NFL? Check them out here for the top six games of the weekend along with other insider selections.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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