Schwartz’s Trench Report: Week 2 NFL Bets Based on Offensive Line Play

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

  • Former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz offers his two best Week 2 bets based on the battles up front.
  • It was clear how much the Cowboys missed Travis Frederick in their season opener.
  • So what does that mean for their matchup with the Giants? That's one of two picks for this week's slate.

The Trench Report started the season on fire, going 2-0 in Week 1. So let’s continue the fun!

Below are a pair of Week 2 picks based on the battles up front. We’ll start with the Philadelphia Eagles-Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup in the Sunday early games, then look at Sunday night’s NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.


>> All odds as of 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.


Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Spread: Eagles -3
  • Over/Under: 44
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

The Eagles are above and beyond better than the Buccaneers on both lines.

While the Bucs scored a gazllion points last weekend in New Orleans, they didn’t rush the ball terribly well (they ranked 25th by Football Outsiders for the week). And when they struggle to rush the ball again this week, it will force Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw.

I know, Fitz is coming off the most amazing game of his career. But I don’t expect him to duplicate it. When the Bucs can’t run, it will also allow the Eagles pass rush to tee off on Fitz.

Philadelphia’s offensive line is still ridiculous and is anchored by ageless wonder Jason Peters (he’s actually 36). But he is coming off an ACL injury and missed the entire preseason, yet looked fabulous against the Falcons in the season opener. Couple that with the rest of the unit, and the Eagles should be able to handle the Bucs pass rush, which was seriously lacking last season.

Laying three points on a road favorite might be a square play, but I’m taking it.

The Bet: Eagles -3

 

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

  • Spread: Cowboys -3
  • Over/Under: 42
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBC

I LOVE the under here for a number of reasons, including the trenches.

The total is sitting at 42 as of writing (see live data here), and will probably drop as we get closer to kickoff.  The under has hit in every one of the last four meetings that feature Dak Prescott vs. Eli Manning. It hit easily in two of those games, and it will again this weekend.

The Cowboys offensive line is seriously missing All-Pro center Travis Frederick — more than I thought it would. As I studied Dallas’ Week 1 loss to Carolina, it was evident that the Cowboys’ communication upfront was nonexistent. Opportunities for big plays fell through because of breakdowns up front.

I don’t expect that to change much against the Giants, who have an outstanding defensive line that is anchored by the big man in the middle, Damon Harrison.

 

We know the Cowboys want to run the football, and in their past four games against New York, they have averaged 115 yards on the ground — well under their usual total per game.

Then there’s the Giants revamped offensive line vs. the Cowboys underrated defensive line.

The Giants O-line struggled at times in the season opener against the Jaguars, one of the best defensive front sevens in the game. Ereck Flowers continued to struggle with his move to right tackle, and this week he’ll be up against Pro Bowler Demarcus Lawrence, who will over power Flowers most of the game. And while Saquon Barkley did hit a home run touchdown against Jacksonville, which was fantastic, he was pedestrian otherwise.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, return almost the entirety of their defense that was 11th in Adjusted Rush Defense per Football Outsiders last season. And aside from some long Cam Newton runs — which Manning isn’t capable of duplicating — the Cowboys run defense was stellar in the opener.

Take the under.

The Bet: Under 42