CLEVELAND — "It's not how you start, but how you finish."
With a 6-9-1 record, my Week 1 picks could have better, but there's still plenty of time left in the season to get back on track. With that, let's get right to it, with my picks against the spread for Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season.
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Cleveland Browns (-6) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Bengals +6
As documented on Twitter, I made this pick before Thursday night's game and instantly had buyer's remorse. My justification was that the Browns didn't show me anything against the Ravens in Week 1 to justify being a 6-point favorite against anyone. As it turns out, I was right, albeit just barely.
Philadelphia Eagles (pick) vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were one of my best picks last week and I see no reason to hop off the train now. An offseason as unique as this past one lends itself to smart coaches like Sean McVay.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) vs. Carolina Panthers
Pick: Panthers +8.5
I'm not out on Tom Brady and the Bucs yet, but the 8.5 points seem steep. Carolina might be rebuilding, but the Panthers have enough talent to keep this one close.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) vs. Denver Broncos
Pick: Steelers -7
The Broncos couldn't even win a game in which their opponent's kicker missed for field goal attempts. As long as Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, the Steelers offense should only get better.
Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Cowboys -4.5
Dallas' Week 1 loss said more about the Rams than it did the Cowboys. The Falcons' defense -- or lack thereof -- should provide the perfect opportunity to bounce back.
New York Jets (+7) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: 49ers -7
Speaking of bounce backs, I don't see the 49ers having any trouble avenging last week's loss to the Cardinals. And the lack of fans at MetLife Stadium lessens any concerns about a West-to-East road trip.
Miami Dolphins (+5.5) vs. Buffalo Bills
Pick: Dolphins +5.5
Ryan Fitzpatrick has typically been up and down, so he's due for a good game. The Bills' defense is banged up and Josh Allen is always good for a turnover or three to keep things close.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Vikings +3
In a battle between two teams coming off of disappointing Week 1s, I'm far more concerned about the Colts than I am the Vikings. I like the points and Minnesota straight up.
Green Bay Packers (-6) vs. Detroit Lions
Pick: Packers -6
If the Lions struggled to contain Mitchell Trubisky, just imagine what Aaron Rodgers might do to them.
Chicago Bears (-5.5) vs. New York Giants
Pick: Giants +5.5
What from this Bears team have we seen to justify it being favored by 5.5 points? After his disappointing 2020 debut, Saquon Barkley should do enough to at least cover the spread.
Tennessee Titans (-7.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Titans -7.5
This line started at 10 and has crept all the way down to nearly a touchdown. I'm going to need to see more than a win over the Colts, though, to convince me that the Jaguars aren't tanking.
Arizona Cardinals (-7) vs. Washington Football Team
Pick: Washington Football Team +7
The Cardinals are good, but are they a touchdown favorite good? We'll find out on Sunday. Until then, I'll take Washington, its defensive line and the points.
Houston Texans (+7) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Texans +7
The Texans are simply too talented to be laying 7 points at home, even against a Ravens team that looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: Chiefs -8.5
I don't know how many points you'd have to give me to bet against Patrick Mahomes right now. What I do know is that 8.5 points aren't enough.
Seattle Seahawks (-4) vs. New England Patriots
Pick: Seahawks -4
Cam Newton looks like a perfect fit in New England, but it's one thing to beat the Dolphins and another to beat the Seahawks. Another big week for the Patriots and I'll be a true believer.
Las Vegas Raiders (+6) vs. New Orleans Saints
Pick: Raiders +6
I'm hardly sold on these Raiders, but layings 6 points at home -- even without fans -- feels like too many. That rings especially true with Michael Thomas hobbled and unlikely to play for the Saints.