Against what at one point seemed like insurmountable odds, the NFL pulled off its Week 1 schedule without a hitch.
Week 2 has arrived with eye-catching matchups including the Falcons vs. Cowboys, Lions vs. Packers, Rams vs. Eagles and Ravens vs. Texans tilts, along with a Vikings vs. Colts inter-conference matchup that will see two veteran-quarterback-helmed teams looking to bounce back from disappointing Week 1 outcomes.
NFL Week 2 odds: Opening vs. Closing lines
Here’s a look at the NFL Week 2 opening spreads compared to where they closed.
|Matchup||Opening line||Closing line|
|Cincinnati at Cleveland||Browns -7.5||Browns -6|
|Atlanta at Dallas||Cowboys -7||Cowboys -3|
|Buffalo at Miami||Bills -3||Bills -5.5|
|Carolina at Tampa Bay||Buccaneers -8.5||Buccaneers -7.5|
|Denver at Pittsburgh||Steelers -5.5||Steelers -6|
|Detroit at Green Bay||Packers -6||Packers -7|
|Jacksonville at Tennessee||Titans -10.5||Titans -7|
|LA Rams at Philadelphia||Eagles -4||Eagles -2|
|Minnesota at Indianapolis||Colts -3||Colts -3.5|
|NY Giants at Chicago||Bears -5||Bears -4.5|
|San Francisco at NY Jets||49ers -6||49ers -7|
|Washington at Arizona||Cardinals -6.5||Cardinals -7.5|
|Baltimore at Houston||Ravens -5.5||Ravens -7.5|
|Kansas City at LA Chargers||Chiefs -6.5||Chiefs -8.5|
|New England at Seattle||Seahawks -3.5||Seahawks -4|
|New Orleans at Las Vegas||Saints -4.5||Saints -4|
Thursday, Sept. 17
Cincinnati Bengals (+6) at Cleveland Browns – 8:20 p.m. ET
Two of the bigger-name quarterbacks in recent college football history face off in this AFC North matchup. Each player’s Week 1 performance smacked of a bit of role reversal.
Rookie first overall pick Joe Burrow often performed like a young veteran while facing a savvy Chargers defense. Burrow contributed 239 total yards (193 passing, 46 rushing) and a rushing score while throwing just one pick despite very truncated on-field prep time this summer.
In turn, the Browns’ Baker Mayfield may have swapped out his head coach/offensive coordinator, yet the end results in a loss to the Ravens looked suspiciously familiar. Mayfield and his big-name offensive teammates mostly fell flat while compiling 306 total yards at an average of 4.5 yards per play. Perhaps most deflating for those looking for a stark turnaround from last year’s debacle was ultra-talented wideout Odell Beckham’s 3-22 line on 10 targets. He ultimately looked no better than during a 2019 in which he was hampered by a plethora of injuries.
The oddsmakers are still considering the Browns fairly solid favorites as the game quickly approaches, and there doesn’t seem to be much expectation either offense will be smooth enough to consistently sustain drives and truly light up the scoreboard.
Notably, Mayfield was often frustrated by Cincinnati’s defense last season. He completed just 45.1% of his passes and posted 3:5 TD:INT on the way to Cleveland splitting the season series with the 2-14 Bengals.
Sunday, Sept. 20
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+5.5) – 1 p.m. ET
Neither team’s Week 1 performance was particularly surprising based on preseason expectations. The Bills mostly ran roughshod over the Jets in a 27-17 victory that really wasn’t as close as the final score implies. Bills QB Josh Allen eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the first time as a pro, and coach Sean McDermott afforded his new-look backfield of Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss an exact 50/50 workload split on the ground. Prize offseason acquisition Stefon Diggs encouragingly showed instant chemistry with Allen by leading the pass-catching crew with an 8-86 line.
On the other side, the Dolphins were competitive against the Patriots in Foxboro but ultimately fell short. Although QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has ample experience in new coordinator Chan Gailey’s offense, the rest of his weapons do not, which, when coupled with the early exit of WR DeVante Parker due to a hamstring injury, helped contribute to a spotty performance on that side of the ball. Coach Brian Flores also has some sorting out to do with his backfield. The trio of Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida and Jordan Howard operated in full timeshare mode Sunday, with none logging more than Gaskin’s nine carries.
Despite the home game – which is expected to include a limited amount of fans – Miami is a fairly sizable underdog. It will be interesting to see if there is at least slight movement throughout the week, but Miami did incur a pair of double-digit losses to Buffalo last season. Meanwhile, the modest total reflects Buffalo’s stingy defense.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) at New York Jets – 1 p.m. ET
These two squads will be looking to bounce back from Week 1 disappointments, but only one could truly say their season-opening loss was a legitimate surprise.
The 49ers were at home, albeit in an empty stadium, but still dropped a 24-20 decision to a Cardinals squad that looks much improved. The fact San Fran didn’t have talented wideout Deebo Samuel (foot) at its disposal certainly didn’t help its cause. Nor did losing All-World TE George Kittle for part of the contest with an injury scare. But the biggest story was a defense once again projected to be one of the NFL’s best. The Niners surrendered 404 total yards to Arizona and saw DeAndre Hopkins trample them for a career-best 14 receptions, which he parlayed into 151 yards.
The Jets fell to the Bills, 27-17, in a game that helped shine the light on New York’s lack of offensive firepower. To make matters worse, in what Gang Green’s disgruntled fans likely consider the most Adam Gase thing to do (until the next gaffe), the oft-maligned coach opted to keep a hobbled Le’Veon Bell in the contest. Bell is now likely to miss at least Week 2 with his hamstring issue, which sets up a start for the ageless Frank Gore against the team that drafted him in 2005.
Despite the road game, the Niners are unsurprisingly favored by a touchdown to start the week against a Jets offense that could have even more of a popgun quality to it than Sunday.
Denver Broncos (+6) at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1p.m. ET
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock built up expectations during his five-game audition at the tail end of last season, completing 64.1 percent of his passes (13 of greater than 20 yards) and posting a 7:3 TD:INT. Lock does have a new offensive coordinator in Pat Shurmur to adjust to, so there could certainly be an acclimation period given the overall lack of on-field work this summer. Lock also drew the short straw early in the season by having to first face Tennessee and then getting Pittsburgh’s daunting unit just six days later.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers were winners in Week 1 on Monday night, taking down the Giants 26-10.
NY Giants (+4.5) at Chicago Bears – 1 p.m. ET
The Giants started their season Monday night in a tough home matchup against the Steelers. New York’s star-studded offense mustered just 16 points in a Week 1 loss.
The Bears, meanwhile, opened their 2020 campaign with a rousing comeback against the division-rival Lions. Mitchell Trubisky, for at least a week, proved worthy of the top quarterback job he successfully beat Nick Foles for this summer. The beleaguered fourth-year quarterback led a fourth-quarter comeback that featured three touchdown passes over an 11:45 span in the final period.
Despite his late surge Sunday, Trubisky isn’t what would be considered a trustworthy quarterback. There’s a fair amount of uncertainty about Jones as well, especially against an aggressive defense. Factoring in New York will also be on short rest, and the Bears’ status as solid home favorites is to be expected.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) – 1 p.m. ET
These two teams are looking to quickly put disappointing Week 1 performances in the rearview mirror, which could give this game a solid dose of early-season urgency. The fact each unit is helmed by accomplished veteran quarterbacks helps account for the tight spread and one of the week’s higher projected totals.
The Vikings were embarrassed by the NFC North-rival Packers in Minnesota’s empty home field. The 43-34 final score isn’t truly representative of the extent of Green Bay’s domination. The Pack ran up 522 total yards while averaging 6.9 yards per play. Aaron Rodgers often looked like he was playing against air while compiling 364 yards and four touchdown passes. Minnesota’s inability to slow down Davante Adams (14-156-2) should have Philip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton licking their proverbial chops.
Speaking of the Colts, they’re undoubtedly looking to quickly return to the field after suffering a maddening 27-20 loss to the Jaguars. Ironically, Rivers put up very similar numbers to Rodgers, throwing for 363 yards on 36-for-46 passing in his Colts debut. But, a late interception doomed Indy, which also apparently lost RB Marlon Mack for the season with an Achilles injury. Fortunately for the Colts ground attack, rookie Jonathan Taylor instantly looked like the real deal. The two-time 2,000-yard rusher at Wisconsin made his mark as a receiver with a 6-67 line through the air and now is set for probable lead-back duties.
Given the caliber of both teams, the projected total could see some upward mobility in coming days.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) at Tennessee Titans – 1 p.m. ET
The Jaguars got their 2020 started on the right foot courtesy of a joint effort between Minshew Magic and an opportunistic defense.
The second-year gunslinger completed a record-setting 95.0 percent of his passes on his way to 173 yards and three touchdowns, navigating four sacks in the process. Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s bend-but-don’t-break scheme allowed 363 yards to Philip Rivers but picked him twice, the second time a game-sealing INT with 4:33 remaining.
Meanwhile, the Leonard Fournette/Ryquell Armstead-less running game did enough. Undrafted Illinois State rookie James Robinson didn’t look out of place while compiling 90 total yards.
Los Angeles Rams (+2) at Philadelphia Eagles – 1 p.m. ET
The Rams gave SoFi Stadium a fitting ribbon-cutting Sunday night with an exciting 20-17 win over the Cowboys. The Eagles had no such auspicious start, blowing a 17-7 halftime lead to the division-rival, underdog Washington Football Team.
For a Rams team looking to rekindle some of the offensive success of seasons past, the play of both QB Jared Goff and RB Malcolm Brown had to be particularly gratifying. Goff averaged 8.9 yards per attempt while throwing for 275 yards. He didn’t record his first TD pass of the season, but he did help Robert Woods eclipse 100 yards and spread the ball around to eight different pass-catchers. Meanwhile, Brown – and not rookie Cam Akers – took the ground attack on his shoulders and racked up 110 total yards and two rushing scores. Considering the Rams rather boldly cut ties with three-time 1,000-yard rusher Todd Gurley this offseason, Brown’s effort was a particularly welcome sight.
Philly, particularly Carson Wentz and the defense, has some questions to answer in this tough Week 2 matchup. Wentz started off hot in the first half Sunday but ultimately was guilty of a pair of egregious interceptions and a fumble. The Miles Sanders-less ground attack produced 55 yards at 3.4 yards per carry. No wide receiver had more than rookie Jalen Reagor’s 55 yards, which all came on one reception.
The Week 2 availability of Sanders, which remains firmly up in the air to start the week, should have an effect on this extremely narrow spread when it becomes clearer.
Atlanta Falcons (+3) at Dallas Cowboys – 1 p.m. ET
This conference matchups features a pair of teams that produced mixed bags in Week 1. Atlanta fell to the Seahawks at home despite a pair of 100-yard receiving days from Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. The Cowboys came up short by a field goal against the Rams on Sunday night in the debut of both SoFi Stadium and Mike McCarthy as Dallas’ head man.
The Falcons came into 2020 with high hopes following last season’s 6-2 second half. One of the keys to the late-season success was vastly improved defensive play. Therefore, coach Dan Quinn has to be concerned not much of it was evident against Seattle. Russell Wilson barely saw the ball hit the turf while completing 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Both DK Metcalf (4-95-1) and Tyler Lockett (8-92) got open consistently. RB Chris Carson scored twice through the air. That type of success doesn’t bode well with the trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb on tap.
Dak Prescott turned the ball over on downs against the Rams on Sunday night to seal their three-point defeat, although the possession wasn’t without controversy due to an offensive pass interference call on Gallup. The Dallas offense’s first game under the co-stewardship of McCarthy and Kellen Moore unsurprisingly had some highs and lows, but the talent is certainly there for incremental improvement throughout the season.
The oddsmakers clearly see plenty of points being scored here, understandable given the skill players on either side.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5) – 1 p.m. ET
Two teams that rolled out new starting quarterbacks without success in Week 1 face off in this NFC South battle. Both Teddy Bridgewater and Tom Brady performed reasonably well in their respective debuts, but the latter had some ball-security issues. Brady’s pick-six at the sticky hands of Janoris Jenkins helped sink the Bucs on the road in New Orleans. The Panthers’ issues were more centered on the defensive side of the ball – they allowed the Raiders to put up 372 total yards without a single turnover.
At the center of this contest is the Irresistible-Force-versus-The-Immovable-Object matchup between Christian McCaffrey and Tampa’s elite run defense. The Bucs impressively shut McCaffrey down to the tune of 37 yards on 16 rushes in the first meeting between the clubs last season. They then somehow improved on that performance by limiting him to 31 yards on 22 rushes the second time. McCaffrey got off to a solid 2020 start Sunday with 134 total yards and two rushing TDs against Las Vegas. Bridgewater completed 64.7 percent of his throws, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson.
Brady and his skill-position teammates will undoubtedly try to up their chemistry during the practice week. Some appeared to be lacking in the loss to the Saints in what was the new signal-caller’s first taste of live action with his new teammates. The Panthers could be a cure for what ailed Brady and company Sunday, especially now that they’re without Mike Evans’ personal kryptonite in CB James Bradberry.
Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) – 4:05 p.m. ET
The authors of two of Week 1’s more surprising upsets face off in this Week 2 matchup. Washington surprised Philadelphia with its 27-17 comeback win at home. Meanwhile, the Cardinals wasted no time making good on their offseason hype with a 24-20 victory against the 49ers in Santa Clara.
The WFTs’ victory was a true team effort. Dwayne Haskins threw for just 178 yards but avoided turnovers. Washington’s ground game predictably had a difficult time making inroads against Philadelphia’s stonewall run D, but RB Peyton Barber still fought his way into the end zone twice. The defense notched a pair of key picks on Carson Wentz and sacked him eight times. Second overall pick Chase Young totaled four tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s squad played the NFC-champion 49ers tough in both meetings last season. Therefore, it wouldn’t have necessarily been surprising to see them keep things competitive Sunday. Yet a 14-151 line from newcomer DeAndre Hopkins and 321 total yards from Kyler Murray likely exceeded expectations, considering the caliber of San Francisco’s defense last season. Murray is expected to make one of the bigger Year 2 leaps among NFL sophomores in 2020. That was immediately evident in the form of what seemed to be a more confident quarterback that helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback.
The oddsmakers are showing plenty of faith in Murray and his teammates by making them nearly a touchdown favorite to open the week, a line that may be subject to some movement this week.
ALSO READ: Kyler Murray receiving early NFL MVP love
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (+8.5) – 4:25pm ET
The Chiefs opened 2020 with a surgical 34-20 win over the Texans on Thursday night, a game that featured the spectacular NFL debut of RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chargers served as foils for Joe Burrow’s first NFL start. While the rookie got them for a rushing TD, Los Angeles managed to hold on for a 16-13 win after overcoming a 13-6 fourth-quarter deficit.
The 34 points the Chiefs put up weren’t surprising. Yet the way they went about compiling them was somewhat unexpected. Coach Andy Reid, usually averse to the idea of a high-volume ground game, fed Edwards-Helaire 25 times. The LSU product worthy of the workload with 138 rushing yards and an exclamation point of a 27-yard touchdown run. Patrick Mahomes threw for only 211 yards, but with three TDs and no interceptions, he certainly helped the cause.
L.A. will hope for more efficiency from new quarterback Tyrod Taylor as the season unfolds. However, the first game of the post-Philip Rivers era did result in a win, and Taylor didn’t turn the ball while throwing for 208 yards. Taylor, who was on the roster last season, focused on the three likeliest targets in Hunter Henry, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen to register 13 of his 16 completions. But, Austin Ekeler’s elite pass-catching skills out of the backfield went curiously unused – he saw only one target.
Although L.A. dropped their two 2019 decisions to KC by only seven and 10 points, the Chiefs are better-than-touchdown favorites as the week begins.
Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) at Houston Texans – 4:25pm ET
The redemption-seeking Ravens got right down to business in Week 1 by throttling the Browns, 38-6. The Texans suffered the aforementioned 34-20 defeat at the hands of the Chiefs, although Deshaun Watson and a revamped passing game are likely to improve as the season unfolds.
Lamar Jackson’s quest to take the next step as a passer got off on the right foot Sunday. The reigning NFL MVP boasted 80.0 percent accuracy while tossing three touchdowns. Rookie RB J.K. Dobbins garnered two rushing scores WR Marquise Brown (5-101) and Mark Andrews (5-58-2) were in mid-season form. If veteran WR Willie Snead’s involvement (4-64-1) against Cleveland is a harbinger, Baltimore’s passing game will be exponentially more difficult to defend in 2020.
RB David Johnson operated in Houston’s offense seamlessly in his Texans debut. The veteran reclamation project put up 109 total yards and a rushing touchdown despite game script tilting away from the run game in the second half. Then, the first game for Watson without DeAndre Hopkins was reasonably successful, as he found new No. 1 WR Will Fuller on eight occasions for 112 yards. The chemistry with new additions Brandin Cooks (2-20) and Randall Cobb (2-23) is naturally still a work in progress.
Baltimore trampled Houston by a 41-7 score in Week 11 last season, which, when coupled with Week 1 results, has the Ravens as nearly a touchdown favorite at the start of the week. The robust total of well over 50 points is noteworthy considering the two defenses involved.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks (-4) – 8:20 p.m. ET
The Cam Newton Era in New England began successfully. The Patriots avenged a Week 17 home loss from last season with a 21-11 victory over the Dolphins. The Seahawks picked up where they left off on the road – after posting a 7-1 mark in away contests last season, Seattle toppled the Falcons in Week 1 by a 38-25 margin.
Newton’s first gameplan as the Pats starting quarterback was conservative, but the veteran came close to maximizing it. The 2015 MVP misfired on only four of 19 attempts on his way to 155 passing yards and no interceptions. He showed he had plenty of life left in his legs with 75 rushing yards and two scores on 15 carries. New England’s defense was impressively as effective as last season despite a considerable number of defections via both free agency and COVID-19 opt-outs. They intercepted Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on three occasions and sacked him once.
The Seahawks offense once again heavily centered around four key figures Sunday – QB Russell Wilson, RB Chris Carson and WRs Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The latter trio accounted for 232 of Wilson’s 322 passing yards and three of his four passing scores. With Wilson completing 31 of 35 attempts, the ground attack was almost extraneous. However, veteran offseason addition Carlos Hyde notched his first Seahawks touchdown.
Despite the team’s matching 1-0 records, the lack of the Brady effect is evident – Seattle is a 4-4.5-point favorite to open the week despite a 4-4 home mark in ’19.
Monday, Sept. 21
New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders (+4) – 8:15 p.m. ET
The Saints shrugged off the hype of Tom Brady’s first game in a non-Patriots uniform by tormenting the future Hall of Famer on their way to a 34-23 win over Tampa Bay in Week 1. The Raiders enjoyed season-opening success too with a back-and-forth 34-30 win over the Panthers.
Coach Sean Payton had to be happy with both sides of the ball in the opener. After giving up an opening-drive touchdown to Brady, New Orleans settled in and owned a 17-7 lead by halftime. They protected their advantage in the second half with the help of a pick-six of Brady by Janoris Jenkins. Drew Brees’ usual connection with Michael Thomas was short-circuited to the tune of just three connections between the two, but TE Jared Cook and RB Alvin Kamara (combined 10-131-1 receiving line) made up for the shortfall.
Coach Jon Gruden’s squad smartly focused on getting versatile talented RB Josh Jacobs the ball with considerable success against a Panthers defense that yielded 133 rushing yards per game a year ago. Jacobs totaled 93 rushing yards and three TDs, numbers he complemented with 46 receiving yards on four grabs. Rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs gave a good accounting of himself with 66 total yards (team-high 55 receiving yards, 11 rush yards) and is likely to see his role expand in coming weeks.
Factoring in what’s still considered a shaky Vegas defense, the Saints are solid road favorites and the total opens the week as one of three set at 50-plus points.