Wed, Sep 20, 2023 4:56 PM
By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer
Fourteen NFL teams are 1-1 and Pro Picks also has an even record through two weeks.
It takes a couple of games for most teams to find their way and to figure it out.
The San Francisco 49ers didn’t need much time picking up where they left off. The Niners (2-0) opened with a pair of road wins and now have won 12 straight regular-season games. Their only loss in the past 15 games was in the NFC championship when they lost both quarterbacks to injury.
Brock Purdy has looked sharp in his return from elbow surgery, Christian McCaffrey has been dynamic and San Francisco is clicking heading into Thursday night’s home opener against the New York Giants (1-1).
After being outscored 60-0 in the first 90 minutes of the season, the Giants rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Arizona last week.
Daniel Jones delivered in the clutch and Saquon Barkley had a pair of scores before injuring his ankle.
New York has no chance without Barkley, who will miss the game. The 49ers are 10 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Pro Picks doesn’t expect a Giants team that has been outclassed in six of eight quarters to keep it close. Looking at the 49ers to kick off a big week for favorites around the league.
Line: Bills minus 6 1/2
Josh Allen successfully played hero ball after an awful opener for the Bills (1-1). Sam Howell was impressive in leading the Commanders (2-0) to a comeback win. Buffalo is 18-2 when facing opposing quarterbacks with 16 or fewer career starts since 2019.
BEST BET: BILLS, 29-17
Line: Raiders minus 2 1/2
The Steelers (1-1) have as many defensive TDs (two) as offensive and can’t stop the run. The Raiders (1-1) are also having problems on offense.
UPSET SPECIAL: STEELERS, 19-16
Line: Vikings minus 1 1/2
A pair of 2022 playoff teams looking to avoid an 0-3 start. The Chargers are moving the ball on offense but Brandon Staley’s defense still stinks. The Vikings are beating themselves with turnovers. Cousins is 6-12-1 in September with Minnesota.
Line: Patriots minus 2 1/2
Bill Belichick and the Patriots are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. New England has to avoid turnovers to win its 15th straight vs. the Jets. New York’s defense failed to step up in the first full game without Aaron Rodgers. Zach Wilson looked like the guy the Jets desperately wanted to replace.
Line: Jaguars minus 8 1/2
Trevor Lawrence and Jacksonville’s offense are out of sync but the Jaguars (1-1) are playing better on defense. Rookie QB C.J. Stroud is exciting to watch but Texans (0-2) are overmatched.
Line: Ravens minus 7 1/2
The Ravens (2-0) are coming off an impressive win in Cincinnati and Lamar Jackson is picking up a new offensive system nicely. QB Anthony Richardson and Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly are in concussion protocol for the Colts (1-1).
Line: Lions minus 3 1/2
The Falcons (2-0) are off to a surprising start and rookie RB Bijan Robinson looks like the real deal. Now they face a team with playoff aspirations coming off a disappointing loss. The Lions haven’t solved their defensive issues yet.
Line: Cowboys minus 12 1/2
The Cowboys (2-0) dominated both New York teams, outscoring them 70-10. Still, Dak Prescott and the offense haven’t fully clicked. The woeful Cardinals (0-2) blew a 21-point lead in the second half against the Giants in what might have been their best chance to get a win anytime soon.
Line: Dolphins minus 6 1/2
Even Sean Payton can’t get the Broncos (0-2) on the winning track, though Russell Wilson at least looks better than last season. Tua Tagovailoa has led a balanced offense for the Dolphins (2-0).
Line: Chiefs minus 13 1/2
Travis Kelce and Chris Jones returned and so did the winning ways for the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (1-1). The Bears (0-2) are headed for their 13th straight loss.
Only question is how many points it’ll take.
Line: Seahawks minus 5 1/2
Bryce Young and the Panthers (0-2) are predictably struggling in the passing game. Geno Smith got the Seahawks (1-1) going in an impressive comeback win at Detroit.
Line: Browns minus 3 1/2
Deshaun Watson hardly looks like a guy worth the $230 million the Browns (1-1) gave him and now he can’t give the ball to Nick Chubb. Cleveland’s defense under Jim Schwartz has impressed. Ryan Tannehill rebounded from an awful game to lead the Titans (1-1) to a comeback win that snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Line: Packers minus 2
The Saints are 2-0 for the first time since 2013 thanks mainly to a stingy defense. They need Derek Carr and the offense to find a rhythm. Injuries have already hit the Packers (1-1) hard. Jordan Love is the NFL’s highest-rated passer.
Line: Eagles minus 4 1/2
Jalen Hurts and the Eagles (2-0) haven’t looked sharp yet they’re undefeated. The Buccaneers (2-0) are better than expected. Baker Mayfield is playing efficient and the team has playmakers on both sides. Eagles look to avenge a playoff loss to Tom Brady and the Bucs in January 2022.
Line: Bengals minus 2 1/2
Hard to believe these two teams met in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. The rebuilding Rams (1-1) hardly resemble the squad that walked away with the Lombardi Trophy. The Bengals are 0-2 for the second straight year but uncertainty surrounding Joe Burrow’s calf makes it difficult to imagine they’ll rebound the same way and end up back in the AFC title game.
Last week: Straight up: 8-8. Against spread: 6-8-2
Overall: Straight up: 16-16. Against spread: 15-15-2.
Best Bet: Straight up: 2-0. Against spread: 1-0-1.
Upset Special: Straight up: 0-2. Against spread: 0-2.
Thursday: Straight up: 1-1. Against spread: 2-0.
Monday: Straight up: 2-1. Against spread: 2-0-1.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl