There’s nothing better than the first weekend of NFL football and that’s exactly what 85% of the country got on Sunday. I say 85% because I’m not exactly sure what the NFC North did over the weekend qualifies as football, so everyone in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois are now going to have to wait another week to witness an actual NFL game.
The Packers game was a classic example of Murphy’s Law and although I don’t think the law is named after Packers president Mark Murphy, I’m starting to think it might be since everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Packers since the end of last season. I’m actually somewhat surprised Aaron Rodgers didn’t blame Murphy (or his law) for Sunday’s loss since he’s not a big fan of the Packers’ front office.
The only NFC North team that should be happy with how the weekend went is the Lions. Sure, they lost, but they’re also in a tie for first place, which is something I never thought I’d say about the Lions. Surprisingly, it was actually a banner week for cats because the Lions, Bengals and Panthers are all in first place, and also, the cat that was hanging from a rafter at Hard Rock Stadium didn’t die.
Alright, that’s enough cat talk, let’s get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. The reason you should click over and check out the other experts this week is because Will Brinson pulled off the sweep. I thought his only talent was hosting the Pick Six Podcast, but apparently, he can also pick NFL games. He had the most correct picks both straight-up and against the spread.
Speaking of Brinson, he hosts the Pick Six Podcast every day and just in case I didn’t make it clear last week, I’ll be joining him at least three days per week on the podcast — Monday, Tuesday and Friday — for the rest of the NFL season. You can click here to check it out and you can listen to Tuesday’s episode below. The entire episode consisted of us talking about every bonkers thing that happened during the Raiders‘ wild win over the Ravens.
If you’re more of a picks person than a podcast person, I understand. Let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 2 Picks (Crazy streaks I will not be picking against)N.Y. Giants (0-1) at Washington (0-1)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
Washington Football Team
My general rule of thumb when trying to pick the winner in a Giants game is to always pick against the Giants and that’s mostly because in every game they play, there’s a 90% chance they’ll shoot themselves in the foot multiple times before finding a fantastic way to lose and that fantastic way to lose usually involves at least one Daniel Jones fumble.
Jones led the NFL in fumbles in 2019, he led the NFL in fumbles in 2020 and after fumbling against the Broncos in Week 1, he’s well on his way to leading the NFL in fumbles again in 2021. The obvious thing to do here would be to predict that Jones fumbles the ball 11 times on Thursday and that Washington wins. However, nothing obvious ever happens when Jones is playing Washington.
Jones has a career record of 8-19, but here’s the crazy part: He’s 4-0 against Washington and 4-19 against everyone else. I’m not sure how it or why it happens, but every time these two teams play, Jones somehow turns into Tom Brady and the Giants somehow win.
Until Washington proves to me that they can beat Daniel Jones, I cannot pick against Daniel Jones. That being said, I am slightly concerned that the Giants don’t seem to know the rules to football.
The upside for the Giants here is that after embarrassing himself on Sunday, I’m guessing Joe Judge will have the rule book memorized by the time this game kicks off on Thursday night.
My only other concern about this game is whether Washington will have the plumbing situation at its stadium fixed by Thursday (Note: The video below contains some NSFW words, so you probably don’t want to blast it at work or around small children. Also, it contains sewage water, which you’ve hopefully never been covered in.)
I’ve decided I’m going to take that video as a metaphor for how Washington is going to play on Thursday.
The pick: Giants 23-20 over Washington
Crazy streak I won’t be picking against: Daniel Jones is 4-0 against Washington.
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Tennessee (0-1) at Seattle (1-0)
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
As someone who lives in Nashville, I was forced to sit through the entire Titans game on Sunday and what I saw is likely going to fuel my nightmares for years to come. Their offense was so bad that I’m halfway convinced that they didn’t actually have a training camp this year.
Every time Ryan Tannehill dropped back to pass, one of three things happened, and they were all bad: He would either get sacked, and if he didn’t get sacked, he would fumble it, and if he didn’t fumble it, he would throw an interception. The Titans looked absolutely lost and I’m not sure how they’re going to fix things in just one week.
For one, the offensive line was horrible and when I say “horrible,” I mean they were so bad that one of the linemen decided to publicly shame himself on Twitter.
This is the first time someone has publicly shamed themselves since at least 1885.
Also, I don’t think new offensive coordinator Todd Downing watched any film of how this team played last year, because it’s almost as if he decided to ignore everything that they do well. Since Tannehill took over as the starting QB, the play-action pass has been Tennessee’s bread-and-butter. The reason it works is because the opposing defense has to respect Derrick Henry. The Titans used play-action 36.4% of the time in 2020, which was the most in the NFL. On Sunday, they used it 7.6% of the time.
For most of the game, Downing had the same look on his face that I make when I’m trying to solve a Rubik’s cube: Don’t even know where to start and it’s probably going to end badly.
Downing might want to take some notes from new Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who basically decided to steal the Titans playbook from last year and call a bunch of play-actions passes in Week 1.
Seattle’s win over the Colts might have been the first time in football history where Seahawks fans didn’t spend the entire game complaining about their offensive coordinator on Twitter. No one loves to complain about their OC more than Seahawks fans, but there were no complaints on Sunday, which tells you how successful Waldron was in his debut. If Waldron’s debut was a perfect 10 on the 1 thru 10 scale, then Downing’s was a negative 18.
Based on this, you’d think I’m going to predict a Seahawks blowout win, but the Seahawks never blow anyone out in their home opener. Over the past four years, their openers have been decided by 4.8 points per game. Something crazy always happens in Seattle’s home opener and I don’t expect this year to be any different.
That being said, I can’t pick against the Seahawks and that’s mostly because Pete Carroll has NEVER LOST A HOME OPENER during his time in Seattle. The man is 11-0 and I think he pushes that to 12-0 this year with a wild win over the Titans.
The pick: Seahawks 33-30 over Titans
Crazy streak I won’t be picking against: Pete Carroll has never lost a homer opener with the Seahawks.
Kansas City (1-0) at Baltimore (0-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes‘ birthday is on September 17, which I’m only mentioning because I’m 99 percent sure he makes the same birthday wish every year and that wish is to not lose any games in the month of September. I’ve always thought that birthday wishes were a total myth, especially after I didn’t get the turtle I asked for when I was 8, but now I’m a believer thanks to Mahomes.
The man does not lose football games in the month of September. I mean, if there’s one rule to making NFL picks, it’s “Never pick against Patrick Mahomes in the month of September.”
Since he took over the Chiefs starting QB job in 2018, not only is Mahomes UNDEFEATED in September (11-0), but he’s also thrown 35 touchdowns passes and ZERO interceptions. As if that’s not impressive enough, he’s also averaged 331 yards passing in those 11 wins. Honestly, we should just rename the month “Patember.”
The only thing more impressive than Mahomes’ September record is his record against Baltimore. He’s played them three times since Lamar Jackson took over as starting quarterback and he’s 3-0 in those games.
In all three of those losses for Baltimore, the same thing happened: The Chiefs jumped out to a big lead by halftime, which forced the Ravens out of their offensive element. The Ravens are good at getting a lead and then using their run game to stomp on your throat. They’re not so good at playing from behind, which usually isn’t a problem, because they’re so much better than almost every other team in the NFL that they rarely ever have to play from behind. However, that’s not the case with Kansas City.
In the three games between Mahomes and Jackson, the Chiefs have outscored the Ravens by an average of 13.3 points per game in the first half (67-26). Last year against the Chiefs, the Ravens trailed 27-10 at the half and then they had to play catch-up for the rest of the game, which is something they don’t do so well. A vegetarian has a better chance of finishing a plate of ribs than the Ravens do of pulling off a comeback against a good team.
Mahomes doesn’t lose in September and he doesn’t lose to the Ravens and those are two streaks I just can’t bring myself to pick against.
The pick: Chiefs 37-24 over Ravens
Crazy streak I won’t be picking against: Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game in September.
NFL Week 2 other picksCincinnati (1-0) at Chicago (0-1)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
After two years of waiting, the NFL is finally giving us the regular season game that we’ve all been clamoring for: The Andy Dalton revenge game.
OK, so no one is actually clamoring for this, except for maybe Dalton, but this should still be a fascinating game. For one, I’m starting to think I have this backwards and that this is actually a Bengals revenge game so they can get revenge on Dalton for losing so many playoff games in Cincinnati.
The one thing about Dalton is that we don’t even know how often he’s going to be on the field in this game. Bears coach Matt Nagy has decided he’s going to run a two-quarterback system even though he can’t even figure out how to run a one-quarterback system. In the Bears’ loss to the Rams, Justin Fields came in for Dalton multiple times, especially in the red zone. This would be fine if it was working, but when you’re losing games 34-14, it’s not working.
Of course, it’s very possible that Nagy just isn’t giving the job to Fields yet because he doesn’t want to see his rookie get killed. The Bears already have a below-average offensive line and they might be down to their third-string left tackle on Sunday after their top two guys were injured against Los Angeles (Jason Peters and Larry Borom).
Being down to your third-string left tackle is like stripping the brakes off your car and then trying to drive straight down a mountain: You hope you’re never stuck in that situation because there’s no way it’s going to end well.
The Bengals have already beat up on one NFC North team this season and the prediction here is that they when another thriller.
The pick: Bengals 20-17 over Bears
San Francisco (1-0) at Philadelphia (1-0)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
If you would have asked me last week to rank the best games of Week 2, this one wouldn’t have even been in my top 13, which is saying a lot seeing that there’s only 16 games on the schedule. However, after watching the Eagles embarrass the Falcons in Week 1, this is suddenly one of the my three favorite games of the week.
The Eagles offense actually looked good on Sunday and that’s mostly because new coach Nick Sirianni looks like he knows how to use Jalen Hurts at quarterback. Last year, it seemed like the Eagles were so afraid of offending Carson Wentz that they never really took the time to develop a game-plan for Jalen Hurts. Even though he was basically set up to fail last year, he still put up impressive numbers.
My only problem with the Eagles is that I’m just not sure how good they are. I have no idea if the Eagles were that good on Sunday or if the Falcons are just at a level of bad that we usually only see from the Jaguars. My best guess is that it’s somewhere in-between.
On the 49ers‘ end, this is going to be a must-watch team all-season, if only because no one has mastered the art of blowing big leads quite like Kyle Shanahan. I didn’t think it was possible to blow a 41-17 lead in the final two minutes of a game, but the 49ers almost pulled it off in Week 1. Blowing a 24-point lead in two minutes wouldn’t have been a good look for a guy who already has a blown 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl on his resume.
I think the 49ers will jump out to a lead in this game and then almost blow it before somehow escaping with a win.
The pick: 49ers 30-27 over Eagles
NFL Week 2 picks: All the rest
Browns 31-17 over Texans
Rams 27-24 over Colts
Bills 30-20 over Dolphins
Patriots 24-16 over Jets
Cardinals 27-20 over Vikings
Steelers 23-13 over Raiders
Broncos 34-20 over Jaguars
Saints 20-13 over Panthers
Buccaneers 27-17 over Falcons
Chargers 34-27 over Cowboys
Packers 31-21 over Lions
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Bengals would beat the Vikings by three in an upset and guess what happened? The Bengals upset the Vikings with a three-point win. I tried to tell everyone that the Bengals were going to win, but instead of listening, they mocked me, which is how you get a CBS Sports picks page that looks like this.
The most impressive part of the pick is that I actually predicted the exact final score for this game FOUR MONTHS AGO. Back in May, my bosses made me predict the Bengals’ entire schedule for 2021 and I ended up predicting that the Bengals would win the game 27-24. The only way I’ll ever top this prediction is if I somehow make it on the “Price is Right” and end up guessing the exact price of a showcase showdown. Speaking of the “Price is Right,” even they’re on the Bengals bandwagon this year.
I’m not saying you should bet all your money on a Bengals-Saints Super Bowl, but I’m not not saying that.
Worst pick: My worst pick of Week 1 was definitely taking the Packers over the Saints. First of all, I broke the first rule of betting, which is never pick against a team that’s playing a home game in Jacksonville that wasn’t supposed to be played in Jacksonville. The Saints literally hand-picked Jacksonville for this game because they thought it gave them a distinct advantage, which it did, and I still picked against them. The next time the Saints hand-pick a city to play in, I definitely will not be picking them to lose.
Straight up in Week 1: 10-6
SU overall: 10-6
Against the spread in Week 1: 7-8-1
ATS overall: 7-8-1