Thursday, December 8 2022

By Geoff Schwartz
FOX Sports NFL Analyst

Now that NFL Week 2 is here, I think we’ll start getting a better idea of how teams really look. It’s tough going from preseason where starters don’t get a lot of snaps to lights, camera, play ball.

With that being said, I’m going to give you all a glimpse into my Sunday football set-up that allows me to keep a watchful eye over all these teams as they establish identities. And of course I’m going to give you all my best bets.

Will Jared Goff exceed the over/under on passing yards? Will the Super Bowl champs bounce back after a nasty loss to the Bills

Keep reading to find out my best bets for Week 2 of the season (odds via FOX Bet).

New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)

On NFL Sunday, I do not like to miss any action. 

I have my three TVs set up so that I don’t miss anything. One smaller television is set to the Red Zone channel so I can make sure I don’t miss any scoring opportunities. The second, smaller screen is often set to a game I have rooting interest in, like a Chiefs game. Finally, on the big television, I pull up the screen that has eight boxes of games. That’s right. I’ll watch eight games at once, sometimes even standing up near the TV to see all the action. This eight-box of action represents the best eight games of the time period, and any game that isn’t deemed exciting enough does not make the cut. 

I feel confident this game will not make the eight-box because on paper it’s boring with a capital B.

The Browns survived against the Panthers even though they dominated in the trenches. The Panthers were able to hit two explosive plays for huge touchdowns, otherwise their offense was stuck in the mud against a stout Browns’ front. The Browns are built on having an offense that runs the football and keeps quarterback Jacoby Brissett out of obvious passing situations.

They are perfectly happy eating clock on the ground, chewing up yards and shorting the game

The Jets lost to the Ravens 24-9, a score that probably does not accurately reflect what happened on the field. The Jets defense came to play. They only allowed 13 Ravens’ first downs and 274 yards for a Ravens offense that can chunk plays with the best. The Jets’ offense was atrocious behind backup quarterback Joe Flacco. He threw a mind-boggling 59 times in this game. I foresee a drastically different game plan this weekend that takes the ball out of Flacco’s hand and puts it back into the hands of the team’s running backs. 

The improved Jets defense and a run game should limit Browns’ scoring and once against shorten the game. The under must be the play here, and I’d buy the half point to get this number back to 41. 

PICK: Under 41 points scored by both teams combined at FOX Bet

Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)

I do not wager on the Falcons, but I have no issue wagering against them. The Falcons just blew a 16-point lead in Week 1 and now travel out West to play an angry Rams team that needs to have a rebound game. 

In Week 1, we saw a handful of teams that did not play their starters this preseason struggle to get their cylinders firing. The Rams are one of those teams and I would expect a HUGE bounce-back game against a poor Falcons team. Atlanta’s roster and coaching staff has no advantage against a Rams team with rest. 

However, I don’t like laying 10.5 points so let’s include the Rams in a teaser. 

The best legs for teasers would be the Packers against the Bears or the Bengals against the Cowboys. You could even throw all three of these together and have a decent teaser ticket. 

Washington Commanders @ Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)

The Lions are a favorite for the first time since 2020 as they host the Commanders in Week 2. Detroit is quickly becoming one of my favorite teams to wager on. They fight until the very end. Down 31-14 early in the third quarter to the Eagles last Sunday, it appeared the Lions would not cover the 4-point spread. But alas! They battled all the way back to lose 38-35 and cover the spread. 

The Commanders, on the other hand, won and covered against the Jaguars in Week 1. They scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from the feisty Jags. Carson Wentz was his usual self. He had some big time throws with terrible interceptions sprinkled into his play. 

With the unpredictable nature of Carson Wentz and then the fact that the Lions seemingly always claw their way back into games to cover, I think a 1.5-point spread does not give an edge either way. However, I do have a wager I like for this game. 

It’s fading Lions quarterback Jared Goff

The Lions do everything possible to avoid Jared Goff being the offense. Even in a game where they are down 17 points, the Lions had only 37 pass attempts and 28 rushing attempts. Jared Goff threw for 215 yards in a scramble to come back. That’s umm, not impressive. They desperately want to control the line of scrimmage and avoid Goff having to be the focal point. So, it’s always a good wager to take Jared Goff under passing yards. 

So that is what I will do here. Jared Goff under. 

PICK: Jared Goff under 249.5 passing yards at FOX Bet

Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC)

I love my Chiefs, but the Chargers getting 4.5 points is too many to pass up. These two teams are heavyweight contenders led by quarterbacks who can sling the rock. 

Justin Herbert has played well in four contests against the Chiefs, including his first NFL start. Since September 2020, Herbert has the highest passer rating of any Chiefs opponent, and he’s thrown for 10 touchdowns. 

But, the Chiefs’ defense has been through a major transformation this past offseason. They are younger, quicker and faster. All of this showed against the Cardinals when they harassed Kyler Murray and made it difficult for him to get breathing room. 

Unfortunately, rookie corner Trent McDuffie is out for weeks, which tests their depth. However, the Chargers will likely be without wide receiver Keenan Allen, so it’s possible these two losses even out. 

Nonetheless, it’s hard to believe the Chargers’ offense will be slowed down in this game. 

In September, Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL. He’s 12-2 while averaging 328 yards per game and a mind-blowing 46 touchdowns in those 14 September games.

However, Mahomes has “struggled” against the Chargers in his career. He has his lowest completion percentage and the most interceptions against LAC. Los Angeles has an outstanding pass rush, and, just like most quarterbacks, Mahomes is not as good when a four-man rush can get home. 

A healthy Derwin James allows the Chargers to slow down Travis Kelce, which, in theory, could slow down the KC offense.  

In the end, the best Chargers defense is an aggressive, high-octane offense, which just happens to be the calling card of Chargers head coach Brandon Staley. Los Angeles can keep pace against the Chiefs, and I like them getting points here.  

PICK: Chargers (+3.5 at FOX Bet at time of pick) to lose by fewer than 3.5 points (or win outright) 

Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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Source: FOX Sports

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