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Ben Axelrod's Week 2 NFL picks: Washington beats Giants, Raiders upset Steelers

3News' Ben Axelrod makes his picks against the spread for every game in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season.

CLEVELAND — Overall, I felt good about my feel for the 2021 NFL season, but only walked away from my Week 1 picks with a slightly underwhelming 7-8-1 record. Let's try to get back on track by taking advantage of some overreactions with my Week 2 picks.

RELATED: More NFL coverage from WKYC

All lines made available via VegasInsider.com

Washington Football Team (-3.5) vs. New York Giants

Pick: Football Team -3.5

The dropoff from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Taylor Heinicke shouldn't be as dramatic as some might think. Plus, this is a pick that's more rooted in Washington's defense vs. the Giants' shaky offensive line and Daniel Jones.

Carolina Panthers (+3) vs. New Orleans Saints

Pick: Saints -3

Looking at Week 1, the Saints might stand out as the most obvious overreaction candidate, but it's not inconceivable that Jameis Winston is an upgrade from 2020 Drew Brees. Meanwhile, Sam Darnold didn't do much to inspire confidence in his Carolina debut.

Cleveland Browns (-12.5) vs. Houston Texans

Pick: Browns -12.5

What kind of world are we living in where Cleveland is not only a 12.5-point favorite, but I'm laying the points? But after a close loss to the Chiefs last week, I expect the Browns to blow off some steam and blowout a Texans team that may very well be the worst in the league.

Chicago Bears (-2.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Bengals +2.5

I refuse to take the Bears so long as they continue to start Andy Dalton over Justin Fields. So I guess I'm taking the Bengals and the points.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Pick: Raiders +6

This line feels like an overreaction to the Steelers' Week 1 win over the Bills. At the very least, I think the Raiders are a quality team capable of playing Pittsburgh close.

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Buffalo Bills

Pick: Bills -3.5

After opening the season with a loss to Pittsburgh, I think Buffalo is going to have a higher sense of urgency on Sunday. Meanwhile, this feels like a letdown spot for Miami where Tua might not be able to keep pace with Josh Allen.

Indianapolis Colts (+3.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams

Pick: Rams -3.5

The Rams looked like the real deal in their season opener and not just because they were playing the Bears. This pick, however, is more about the turnover-prone Carson Wentz going up against an opportunistic Los Angeles defense.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Pick: Eagles +3

The bulk of the 49ers' offense is either dealing with injuries or coming off injuries. At this point, I'm not ready to lay a full field goal on the road against a team with as much offensive talent as Philadelphia.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) vs. Denver Broncos

Pick: Broncos -6

The Broncos have one of the league's top defenses and a competent quarterback capable of distributing the ball to an impressive collection of skill players. Meanwhile, there is already speculation about Urban Meyer's NFL tenure being a short one -- and after last week's opener vs. Houston, it's easy to see why.

New York Jets (+5.5) vs. New England Patriots

Pick: Patriots -5.5

After a Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, the Patriots will be out for blood. Keeping it close with Carolina is one thing, but it's tough to imagine Zach Wilson keeping it close with a Bill Belichick defense in his second start.

Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings

Pick: Vikings +3.5

Considering the Week 1 outcome for both teams, this line seems suspiciously low. I'm going bank on oddsmakers knowing something the rest of us don't.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: Falcons +12.5

I hate backing the Falcons after the egg they laid against Philadelphia, but this line just seems too high. I'll take Tampa Bay to win -- maybe even by more than a touchdown -- but Atlanta to cover.

Seattle Seahawks (-6) vs. Tennessee Titans

Pick: Titans +6

The Titans have too much talent to keep playing as poorly as they did vs. Arizona last week. Tennessee might start the season 0-2, but it has more than enough talent to keep the score close.

Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys

Pick: Cowboys +3.5

The Cowboys' offense looked close to unstoppable in its Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay. A team this talented coming off a long week and the points just seem like too much value to pass up.

Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Pick: Chiefs -3.5

I liked this line a lot better when it was Chiefs -2.5, but the extra point isn't enough to scare me off of taking Patrick Mahomes vs. the Ravens, who appear to be depleted on both sides of the ball.

Green Bay Packers (-11) vs. Detroit Lions

Pick: Packers -11

If the theme of Week 2 is sniffing out overreactions, then Green Bay shouldn't be as bad as it looked last week. I'll take Aaron Rodgers to return to MVP form against a Lions team that will likely finish the season with a top-three pick.

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