NFL Week 2 Picks, Prediction: Expert Is Targeting the Cardinals vs Raiders Spread
Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray.
NFL Week 2 Picks
The total for this game opened at 46.5, but the market has bet it up to 48.5 thanks to 80% of the tickets and 86% of the money coming in on the over.
It’s not too surprising, considering both of these teams' games sailed over the total last week. The Lions scored a TD on all four of their red zone trips, while the Commanders scored a TD on both of theirs.
I think the market is a bit too excited over two teams that scored a TD on 100% of their red zone drives last week. I would expect both to score around a 55% clip going forward.
The Lions ran the ball at the second-highest rate on early downs in a neutral game script. While they had to abandon that game plan after the Eagles built a double-digit lead, I expect the Lions to stick with a run-heavy game plan against Washington, which allowed the Jaguars to average 6.8 yards a carry last week.
However, the Lions might not be very efficient this week, considering both LG Jonah Jackson and C Frank Ragnow are expected to miss the game. It’s a brutal blow to an offensive line that also lost RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai in early September.
Meanwhile, the Commanders could opt for a more conservative game plan this week after Carson Wentz threw two ill-advised interceptions last week that almost allowed the Jaguars to come back and win. Outside of those mistakes, Wentz looked great. It’s still a reminder that eventually he will make a fatal mistake to put his team into a bind.
I’m expecting a lower-scoring, more run-heavy game than the market does. Plus, I would figure both of these offenses cool off a bit in the red zone.
I’m projecting this closer to the opener of 46.5 and would bet it down to 47.5.
Week 1 was a comedy of errors for the Cardinals.
Not only did they have to face Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, but they also had to do so shorthanded without several key players. To make matters even worse, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph made the inexcusable decision to blitz Patrick Mahomes on over 50% of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the league in Week 1. Sure enough, he paid for it dearly.
I guess the silver lining in all of this is that it’s impossible for Joseph to have a worse game plan than last week heading into a Week 2 matchup against the Raiders.
More importantly, the Cardinals look like they're getting J.J. Watt, Trayvon Mullen and Jalen Thompson back on defense, and LG Justin Pugh is trending in the right direction to suit up after leaving last week’s game with a neck injury. Arizona will be without Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella, but that shouldn’t have much of an impact on the spread as they still have plenty of weapons on offense in James Conner, Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz.
Meanwhile, for the Raiders, C Andre James, LB Denzel Perryman, and safety Trevon Moehrig have all been ruled out.
I’m projecting this closer to Raiders -3 and think they are giving up way too many points here at 5.5.