Best Bets for NFL Week 2, 2015:
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-2.5)
The Giants suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys in their season opener on Sunday night, but there are plenty of reasons to believe they’ll bounce back in their first home game of the year. The Giants’ defense was porous last season, but the Falcons defense was worse. In fact, no team allowed more YPG last year than the Falcons. Victor Cruz will probably not play in this game, but Odell Beckham Jr. should have a career day as Eli Manning’s number one option against Atlanta’s shoddy defensive squad. The Falcons have been terrible on the road since 2013, going 3-12 in their last 15 road contests. The Giants have also had the Falcons’ number of late, as they won their 2014 matchup 30-20, and they beat them in the 2012 playoffs 24-2. Based on this overwhelming data, I feel confident in the Giants.
The pick: Giants (-2.5)
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6)
The 49ers had no trouble handling the mediocre Vikings on Monday night, but there was a reason why the 49ers were home underdogs that night; they had a disastrous offseason and are not a very good team this year. They will play at 1 p.m. (it will feel like 10 a.m. for them) in Pittsburgh as the Steelers look to bounce back off a loss to the Patriots in the season opener. The Steelers are 4-1 ATS as home favorites in their last five games, including wins over the Ravens, Bengals and Texans. I doubt the 49ers defensive unit will have an answer for the Steelers’ offense that was ranked second in the league last year. San Francisco’s air attack looked shaky against Minnesota, and if they try to feed Carlos Hyde the ball he’ll have to deal with the Steelers’ sixth-ranked rush defense from last year. Expect Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game to carry the freight as Le’Veon Bell’s two-game suspension is still in effect. In spite of Bell’s absence, the Steelers should coast to an easy win.
The pick: Steelers (-6)
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-5)
The Cowboys managed to scrape by with a fortunate win at home against the Giants on Sunday night, while Chip Kelly’s Eagles lost a close one in Atlanta on Monday night despite a furious second-half rally. The Cowboys’ top receiver Dez Bryant will be out for a while, so momentum appears to be on the Eagles’ side in this divisional tilt. But here’s why I’m taking the Cowboys and the points. Dallas has won its last eight road games, with three of those wins coming as the underdog. The Cowboys have excelled in the underdog role since 2013, going 7-2 ATS in those contests. Dallas has also won its last six divisional games on the road, going 4-2 ATS in that span. Even without Bryant, I expect Tony Romo to carve up the Eagles defense that was fifth-worst in the league last year.
The pick: Cowboys (+5)
Best of the rest (picks inbold)
New England Patriots (E)at Buffalo Bills
Houston Texans atCarolina Panthers (-3)
Arizona Cardinals (-2)at Chicago Bears
San Diego Chargers atCincinnati Bengals (-3)
Tennessee Titans (-1)at Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions atMinnesota Vikings (-2.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers atNew Orleans Saints (-10)
St. Louis Rams (-3.5)at Washington Redskins
Miami Dolphins (-6)at Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens (-6) atOakland Raiders
Seattle Seahawksat Green Bay Packers (-3.5)
New York Jets atIndianapolis Colts (-7)
Lines are based on a consensus of major sportsbooks.