Congratulations, you won! How do I know this? Well, because everybody won. Sunday’s real upset was the fact that there was no upset.
If you follow the NFL closely, you know that statement alone is as shocking as a 14-point underdog winning outright. The Eagles closed as about one-point favorites in most places yet fell to the Rams 37-19. The Saints were favored by 4.5 in Las Vegas on Monday night but dropped to 1-1 after a 34-24 defeat.
Aside from that, Week 2 was as chalky as a blackboard. Ironically, the two biggest favorites came the closest to upsetting the trend of no Sunday upsets. The Chargers closed around nine-point underdogs and led the Chiefs most of the game. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn eschewed a fourth-and-1 attempt in overtime, opting to give the football back to the best quarterback alive, who needed only a field goal to win the game. Lynn said afterward he was “extending the game.” When you’re facing Patrick Mahomes, you need to win the game, not extend it.
The other close call came as my pick, the Titans, needed a 49-yard field goal in the final minutes to break a 30-30 tie and hold off the Jaguars, who fought valiantly once again as eight-point dogs. Call it the free spot on the bingo card, call it a bye, but you probably won this week. However, that also means the pool of players in your contest was very unlikely to shrink much if at all. As injuries mount at an astounding rate, let’s look at Week 3 options and keep our survivor entries off the season-ending IR.
Indianapolis Colts (-11) over New York Jets
With the highest spread on the board, the Colts will be a popular option against a Jets team that looks like it’s headed for a new coach and a top-5 draft pick, two things to which their fans have become accustomed. The Jets are 0-2 and will be fighting for their season, as an 0-3 start will likely cook not only them but also Adam Gase’s chances of coaching the team (or any team) much longer. Picking against the desperate Jets is still likely a winning formula, but it might be best to save the Colts for a later date. They already have an unexpected loss on their ledger, so let’s stay away from the obvious choice here.
New England Patriots (-7) over Las Vegas Raiders
Why did nobody else have interest in Cam Newton? How did he last on the free-agent market until the summer? Maybe you can answer these questions; I cannot. Newton looks fantastic, and the Patriots seem to have landed on their feet in the post-Brady breakup. However, the defense showed some leaks Sunday night in Seattle, and Bill Belichick teams are typically better later in the year, as opposed to the early weeks where they haven’t peaked. The Patriots are a good option, but better off saving them for some more favorable matchups in the coming weeks.
Cleveland Browns (-7) over Washington
Another tempting choice. Cleveland will have 10 days to prepare, coming off a Thursday night victory in which it ran for over 200 yards. The Browns dominated the Bengals in yards per play, keeping them at arm’s length the entire game but never pulling away. Not a bad choice, but you don’t trust the Browns and neither do I. Pass.
The pick: Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
A classic get-right spot for a team that is probably grateful to be playing without a stadium full of (angry) fans. The Eagles certainly have flaws, but the Bengals are not the caliber of team that can expose them. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will show Joe Burrow looks he’s likely never seen, and that should confuse the rookie into a few turnovers. The Eagles will be focused and motivated, and they will take out two weeks of frustration on a Bengals team that will not be equipped to punch back. The Eagles are the pick to get you home for Week 3.