Updated September 18, 2021 - 1:25 pm
Doug Fitz, @fitz_doug, Systemplays.com
Saints (1-0) at Panthers (1-0)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Saints -3, 44½
Analysis: You could say half-seriously that Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold looked better in last week’s win over the Jets than he did during his entire stint in New York. The Saints pulled off an impressive and surprising blowout of the Packers. I expect New Orleans to regress, as it was evident Green Bay completely fell apart more than the Saints dominated. Take the points on the home underdog in a relatively low-scoring game.
By the numbers: Carolina held the Jets to 252 total yards and sacked Zach Wilson six times. … The Saints averaged only 4.4 yards per play, and Jameis Winston passed for only 148 yards.
Pick: Panthers 21, Saints 17
Texans (1-0) at Browns (0-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Browns -13, 48
Analysis: One thing I know is that generally speaking, laying double digits in the NFL is a risky endeavor. Laying this many points on the Browns is even more risky and bordering on foolish. This number is way too high and has continued to climb. The betting market has misjudged this game.
By the numbers: Houston dominated the Jaguars last week, allowing three touchdown passes from Trevor Lawrence but only one when the game was still in play. … The Browns could manage only a three-point win against the Texans last season.
Pick: Browns 28, Texans 21
Bengals (1-0) at Bears (0-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Bears -2½, 44½
Analysis: Andy Dalton is not the answer to the never-ending quarterback issues in Chicago. On the other hand, Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow is as good as he was in his rookie year before his season-ending knee injury. The wrong team is favored in this one.
By the numbers: Burrow completed 20 of 27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over the Vikings. … The Bears allowed a staggering 7.7 yards per play, were -2 in turnovers and had no tackles for losses in their blowout loss to the Rams.
Pick: Bengals 28, Bears 24
Raiders (1-0) at Steelers (1-0)
Time: 10 a.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Steelers -6½, 47
Analysis: I’m not sure the Raiders can be focused after their dramatic overtime home win over the Ravens on Monday night. Having to travel cross country could be a factor. The Steelers pulled off a great win and second-half comeback against the Bills after looking dead in the first half. This is a weak endorsement for the home favorite.
By the numbers: The Raiders racked up 491 total yards against the Ravens. … The Steelers are 35-17-2 ATS over the last 10 years against teams averaging more than 7.1 yards per passing attempt. … In the Raiders’ last 15 road games after a straight up win, they are 3-12 ATS.
Pick: Steelers 31, Raiders 23
Bills (0-1) at Dolphins (1-0)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Bills -3½, 47½
Analysis: This is a tough one to call. I prefer the under, but it is a division game with both teams coming off impressive games in different ways. In a division game like this, I’ll take the points in a weak endorsement to the ’dog.
By the numbers: The Bills outgained the Steelers by more than 100 yards in a 23-16 loss, and the Dolphins were outgained by the Patriots by more than 100 yards in a 17-16 win. But Miami won the turnover battle. … The Dolphins are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 home games under coach Brian Flores. … The under is 9-1 in Buffalo’s last 10 road games after a SU conference loss.
Pick: Bills 24, Dolphins 23
Rams (1-0) at Colts (0-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Rams -3½, 48
Analysis: I normally would not back a road favorite of more than a field goal, but I can’t see this game going any other way. I don’t know why so many people still believe in Colts QB Carson Wentz. He has shown me numerous times that he is not a capable NFL quarterback. On the other hand, Rams QB Matthew Stafford finally has good wide receivers and a good offense to show off his talent.
By the numbers: The Rams had no turnovers last week and averaged almost 8 yards per play. … The Colts’ offensive line was a disaster, allowing three sacks to Seattle and 10 hits on Wentz.
Pick: Rams 28, Colts 17
49ers (1-0) at Eagles (1-0)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: 49ers -3, 49
Analysis: The late collapse last week by the 49ers, who led the Lions 41-17 with two minutes left in a 41-33 win, concerns me, as it showed a lack of discipline and killer instinct in a game they dominated. The Eagles had an impressive win at Atlanta and looked good. San Francisco lost running back Raheem Mostert to injury for the season.
By the numbers: The Eagles averaged an impressive 5.6 rushing yards last week and held the Falcons to 4.1 yards per play. … Philadelphia is on a 20-5 under streak after a SU conference win.
Pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 21
Broncos (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Broncos -6, 45
Analysis: I can’t back the Jaguars after their miserable performance in a 37-21 loss to a Houston team they were supposed to beat. But this number is too high, and that takes me off this one.
By the numbers: The Jaguars are 1-9 ATS at home in their last 10 games after having a turnover margin of -3 or more. … The early opening number showed the Broncos as a 2-point favorite.
Pick: Broncos 28, Jaguars 14
Patriots (0-1) at Jets (0-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Patriots -6, 43
Analysis: It’s too easy to just assume Bill Belichick’s team will roll after a SU loss to Miami. This is a division game, and Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson is one of the up-and-coming stars despite his subpar performance last week. The Jets can stay within this number.
By the numbers: Carolina held New York to 45 rushing yards and 4.2 yards per play. … The Jets have covered six of their last eight home games against the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots 21, Jets 17
Vikings (0-1) at Cardinals (1-0)
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line/total: Cardinals -3½, 50½
Analysis: The Cardinals dominated the Titans in all aspects of their 38-13 Week 1 win. Arizona QB Kyler Murray is the real deal, and the number looks rather cheap.
By the numbers: The Vikings rushed for only 61 yards and coverted 3 of 14 third downs. … The Cardinals outgained the Titans by 168 yards (416-248) and held Tennessee to less than 4 yards per play.
Pick: Cardinals 37, Vikings 21
Falcons (0-1) at Buccaneers (1-0)
Time: 1:05 p.m., KVVU-5
Line/total: Bucs -12½, 51½
Analysis: It takes no thought to know who clearly is the better team. But the number is high, and this is a division game, so don’t assume Tampa Bay will just lay it on the lowly Falcons. I don’t lay double digits in the NFL, so I’ll take a pass on the spread. But I think it will be lower scoring than the total indicates.
By the numbers: The Bucs are 5-0-2 ATS in their last seven games against poor rushing defenses that yield more than 4.5 yards per rush. … The Falcons are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against an opponent coming off a Thursday game.
Pick: Buccaneers 27, Falcons 17
Titans (0-1) at Seahawks (1-0)
Time: 1:25 p.m.
Line/total: Seahawks -6½, 54
Analysis: I don’t think the Titans are as bad as they looked last week. Ryan Tannehill is still one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks. The number being less than a touchdown tells you the bookmakers feel the same way.
By the numbers: The Titans surrendered 416 yards to the Cardinals and were held to less than 4 yards per play. … The Seahawks averaged more than 7 yards per play in their 28-16 win over the Colts, and their defense had three sacks and 10 quarterback hits.
Pick: Seahawks 24, Titans 21
Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0)
Time: 1:25 p.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Chargers -3, 55
Analysis: I don’t understand this number, as bookmakers and the betting public are vastly overrating the Chargers. Dallas looked spectacular at Tampa Bay and could have won the game. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott looked tremendous, and Dallas has had extra days to prepare.
By the numbers: Dallas forced four turnovers and had 451 yards of offense against the defending Super Bowl champions. Poor play by kicker Greg Zuerlein was their only Achilles’ heel. … The Cowboys are 18-8-1 ATS in the last 10 years after a game in which they had a turnover margin of +2 or better. …. The under is 13-2 in the Chargers’ last 15 games at home after a SU win.
Pick: Cowboys 31, Chargers 10
Chiefs (1-0) at Ravens (0-1)
Time: 5:20 p.m., KSNV-3
Line/total: Chiefs -4, 54½
Analysis: I look for the Ravens to bounce back after their overtime loss to the Raiders on Monday night. The Chiefs are overrated as far as the point spread goes. This should be a high-scoring game.
By the numbers: The Ravens allowed 491 yards last week to the Raiders, but the Chiefs allowed 8.2 yards per play to the Browns. … The trends favor the Chiefs, but the trends will be reversed because of the Ravens’ favorable situation as home underdogs.
Pick: Ravens 30, Chiefs 27
Lions (0-1) at Packers (0-1)
Time: 5:15 p.m. Monday, ESPN
Line/total: Packers -11½, 48
Analysis: Both teams looked terrible last week, but the Lions showed some heart and determination with their fourth-quarter comeback against the 49ers. The number makes this game unplayable for me, so I’ll pass on the side. But I think this will be a low-scoring game, as I doubt the Lions can score often with QB Jared Goff leading the way.
By the numbers: The Packers were held to 229 yards of total offense and had three turnovers in last week’s 38-3 loss to the Saints. … The Lions allowed 8 yards per play to the Niners in a 41-33 loss. … Detroit’s anemic performance looked respectable only because it scored 16 points in the final two minutes.
Pick: Packers 28, Lions 10