NFL Picks for Week 2: Experts’ Top Plays for Sunday’s 1 P.M. Games
Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes (left) and Geno Smith (right).
Week 1 was over before we knew it, so it's already time to make our NFL picks for Week 2 with our experts' top plays for Sunday's 1 p.m. games.
For the 1 p.m. ET slate on Sunday, our staff has identified four spreads (including experts on either side of Seahawks vs. Lions), one total and one player prop.
Let's get into our experts' NFL Week 2 picks for the early slate on Sunday.
NFL Picks for Week 2: Experts' Top Plays
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our NFL betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NFL Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Kansas City played without its two best non-QB players in Week 1 and still should have beaten Detroit if not for some absurd variance and dropped passes that went against them. The Chiefs defense will have its all-pro pass rusher back in the fold and the offense will have Travis Kelce back in the lineup.
As a result, I’m going to buy the Chiefs here, even in Jacksonville. The Chiefs closed as a 9.5-point favorite at home in this matchup in the divisional round of the playoffs. Not much has meaningfully changed now except home field, so why is Kansas City only laying three?
The Chiefs laying more than three is a danger because they love to win close, they get backdoored often and don’t run up the score when leading in the fourth. If Mahomes is laying three or fewer and basically just needs to win the game, he’s a considerably safer bet. The market moved this from -2.5 to -3 off the Jones news, and it might not be far enough.
I certainly wouldn’t lay 3.5 here, but as good as Trevor Lawrence was at times against the Colts, the mistake plays and bad reps came a bit too frequently for me. His highs are a top-five QB level, but his consistency isn’t there yet. There were also real holes in the Jaguars defense evident on Sunday that a better running back and quarterback would have exploited.
Pick: Chiefs -3
Chiefs vs. Jaguars
Mahomes is 13-3 SU after a loss, with every win by at least three and an average winning margin of 15.0 PPG. The Chiefs don't lose often, and when they do, they typically respond immediately. Mahomes has been lights out anytime he's anything shorter than a 3.5-point favorite, at 19-6-1 ATS (76%) including playoffs.
You don't get many chances to bet Mahomes as a short favorite after a loss. Say thanks and place your bet — but if you're new to betting, remember that it makes sense to check out different sportsbooks to see where you can find the best lines. Right now, FanDuel, where you might already be signed up, has the Chiefs at -3.5. A place like bet365, meanwhile, has Kansas City -3. That extra half-point matters.
Pick: Chiefs -3
Seahawks vs. Lions
At the start of the week, I was leaning toward the Seahawks in a natural overreaction type of scenario. They looked awful at home against the Rams, while the Lions went on the road and beat the Chiefs.
However, the more I look at this game, the more I have confidence in the Lions.
Geno Smith was great last season, but perhaps that year was more of an outlier. The offensive line couldn't protect him in Week 1 and are expected to be short-handed in Week 2. The Lions have an improved defense this season and a lot of that has to do with their pass rush.
We know Dan Campbell is going to have his troops fired up for their home opener, and it doesn't hurt that they've had 10 days between games (their opener was the Thursday night game). The Seahawks are missing key pieces defensively and could not stop anything over the middle of the field against a Rams team that was missing their best weapon.
I could see this game getting ugly and don't mind looking at some alternate lines.
Pick: Lions -4.5
Seahawks vs. Lions
By Simon Hunter
This is more a bet on what the Lions aren't than what the Seahawks are.
Detroit simply is not four points better than Seattle. The public already loved the Lions coming into the season. Now, money has been pouring in on them this week after beating the Chiefs in primetime to start the NFL season.
We saw this line reach Seahawks +6 at a lot of books, but you knew the pros would come in and bet this down. I still love it at +4.5 for Seattle.
Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf won't be dropping passes all over the field like the Chiefs were last week. The Seahawks offense matches up very well with what Detroit wants to do on defense, as well.
The Seahawks have talked all week about how they know this is a must-win game. Teams that start 0-2 have an 11% chance of making the playoffs. Give me the desperate 'dog playing the overvalued favorite every time.
I'd bet Seattle down to +4.
Pick: Seahawks +4.5
Seahawks vs. Lions
The roar was restored on Thursday night in the Lions stunning road victory, but I came away from the game lower on Detroit than I was prior to kickoff. Our Action Network luck rankings had them as the second most fortunate team in Week 1, in large part thanks to a tipped pick six in the second half that completely turned the tides.
The Seahawks had excellent early down defense before getting exposed on late downs by some ridiculous play-making from Stafford. That’s unlikely to repeat. The Lions should have success pressuring Geno Smith thanks to the injuries to the Seattle offensive line, but this is a classic Week 1 overreaction line. Seattle lost badly as a home favorite. Detroit won as a road underdog. Now the spread is inflated, and I’ll back the Seahawks.
Pick: Seahawks +4.5
Seahawks vs. Lions
Gibbs stats were a little underwhelming in Week 1 against the Chiefs, but he looked absolutely electric and all signs point to him getting more work going forward.
The Lions coaches mentioned using Montgomery and Gibbs in the offense together more, and I think Gibbs is in for 10+ carries in this spot, which makes this line far too low. Gibbs had seven carries for 42 yards in Week 1 and now gets a matchup against the Seahawks in a game that has Detroit favored by 4.5 points. The Seahawks were near the bottom of the league in run defense last season at 25th in DVOA and 26th in yards allowed per carry.
This game has a high total and last season when these two teams played at Ford Field, 93 points were scored. I would hit this line all the way up to 43.5.
Pick: Jahmyr Gibbs Over 40.5 Rushing Yards
Ravens vs. Bengals
Fairly certain I’ve bet on the Ravens in every matchup against the Joe Burrow Bengals, expect the Week 18 matchup last season. Let’s run it back. Burrow had some of his worst games of the year last year against Mike MacDonald and they’ve consistently had success in slowing down this offense when all of their corners aren’t injured like the end of the 2021 season.
You can equate the Bengals loss on Sunday to rust or typical Bengal Week 1 woes. But don’t expect them to just flip the switch. Joe Burrow missed a lot of time in training camp and preseason. This is one of those rare games where you’d expect the market to open more favorably toward Baltimore after the Ravens won by 10+ and the Bengals lost by 10+ in Week 1.
Instead, the market has moved this game to the point where we now get John Harbaugh catching more than a field goal. Harbaugh is 18-8-1 ATS as a divisional underdog. Lamar Jackson struggled himself in Week 1 and the injury bug has already bitten Baltimore, but I had almost no gap between these two teams preseason and can’t get to this price after Burrow looked way, way off from an accuracy perspective in Week 1.
Pick: Ravens +3.5
Packers vs. Falcons
The world fell out of love with the Packers after Aaron Rodgers left. Then, the world fell back in love with the Packers after Jordan Love showed out in Week 1. The world realized this roster is not devoid of talent, especially on defense, and the Packers will be all all right in the post-Rodgers era.
But the world, and the market, is too in love with the Packers in Week 2.
The Pack did not dominate Chicago. That game was much closer than the final score indicates.
The Bears possessed the ball more than the Packers and generated seven more first downs. They were only out-gained by 18 yards, suffering an 18-point defeat because they failed to recover all three lost fumbles.
Let’s pump the brakes on Love and the Packers a bit. They didn't play that well in Week 1. They’re not Super Bowl favorites just yet.
Meanwhile, I continue to believe the Falcons are criminally undervalued.
I love the defensive spending spree Atlanta went on in the offseason, and the new pieces showed up in Week 1, producing the sixth-best Defensive DVOA mark of any team. I realize it was against a rookie quarterback, but I believe this production level is sustainable. They’re facing another semi-rookie NFL quarterback this week, anyway.
The offense was underwhelming against Carolina, but the Falcons did what they do. They posted a top-10 EPA per Rush and had Desmond Ridder hit their array of skill-position weapons with short, YAC-friendly passes.
Ridder just gonna hit all those playmakers with short passes all year and it'll work just fine pic.twitter.com/mFDXkY9e4y
— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) September 14, 2023
Last year’s Falcons finished the season as a top-10 offense by DVOA, primarily by utilizing the above strategy. They returned all their primary pieces in the offseason, including four-fifths of a dominant offensive line, and added generational running back prospect Bijan Robinson to an electric, fast-paced, rush-heavy attack.
I expect the Falcon offense to inch closer to last season’s production level as the season progresses, starting in Week 2 against the Packers.
I power rate the Falcons much higher than the Packers – I have Atlanta as a borderline top-10 team – and I advise not letting a misleading Packers box score fool me into thinking these teams are close to a pick ‘em.
Pick: Falcons -1.5
Colts vs. Texans
I went all-in on the Texans this season but can't trust the offense right now with as roughshod as the line looks, and now Stroud is banged up, too. I do still like the defense, though, and DeMeco Ryans could unleash this talented unit and make life difficult for Richardson making his professional road debut.
Houston can win this bet with a dominant defensive performance, but you're also protected if the Texans offense just no-shows. Three of the last four matchups have been at 40 or below, and unders went 12-4 in Week 1. Week 2 unders at 40 and below are 47-19-3 to the under (71%) the last two decades.
I like the under because it gives us multiple paths to victory. The Texans scored nine last week, and the Colts offense scored 14 (plus a defensive TD). Trust the talented defensive lines to get the job done against banged-up offensive lines and rookie quarterbacks.