Plenty of dogs covered and there were a few surprise endings — like in Minnesota — to open up the NFL season. It was not too bad overall, and the Confidence Pool returns for a second week of action, looking at all 16 games from Thursday night through the two Monday Night games. The goal is to keep favorites higher and upsets lower, at least through the first month of the season. Gaining points on the competition can come from dropping a heavier favorite in the rankings. Remember, this is just about winning the game outright, not covering the spread. Here are the best confidence pool picks for Week 2 in the NFL!
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NFL Week 2 Confidence Pool Picks
Winners are in bold, upsets are marked with **
16. Dallas (-420) vs. New York Jets
There is no Aaron Rodgers, no obstacles in Dak Prescott’s way, no hope for the Jets. Their defense is pretty solid and should travel, but if a team cannot score points, there is no shot of winning. The upset magic was all used up last week with Zach Wilson. Do not expect that again; Cowboys will win rather easily.
15. Buffalo (-380) vs. Las Vegas
The Raiders deserve a ton of credit for working some magic of their own in Denver, but that also will run out this week. Josh Allen was putrid in a losing effort against a backup quarterback, so do not expect that level of play to continue. The Jets defense is more aggressive and just better than the Raiders’. So long as Allen is not trying to hurdle defenders, the Bills will cruise.
14. Kansas City (-155) at Jacksonville
Andy Reid has yet to lose to any of his recent disciples in the playoffs. Taking on another Super Bowl winner in Doug Pederson will not be easy, but Kansas City is just too motivated. Dropped passes, bad routes and just awful concentration did in the Chiefs last week, not Patrick Mahomes. Speaking of the Chiefs megastar, he is now 13-4 straight up in September following last week – that is still good enough to bet, especially after a loss.
13. Indianapolis (-120) at Houston
How about Anthony Richardson? This kid can play, and it is only a matter of time before he figures some things out in his rookie season. The same could be said about C.J. Stroud, but the Texans are not quite there as a team – even on defense. The Colts boast a better quarterback, offensive coaching staff and defense. Not having Jonathan Taylor was not the reason they lost to the Jaguars; it was just a better team with a better coach.
12. Green Bay (-117) at Atlanta
Do not look now, but Jordan Love is ready to play. Desmond Ridder was barely used in a close game for the Falcons and is not expected to break out anytime soon. The Falcons are run heavy but need big chunk plays to secure points. Wearing down the Packers defense on long drives only works if they stop Love and the Green Bay offense. Anything remotely close to last week’s performance by this Packers offense, and it is lights out for Arthur Smith’s run attack.
11. Cleveland (-125) at Pittsburgh
If a team outrushes their opponent by 30 or more yards, it stands a 70% chance of covering the spread. Both teams will look to pass, but there is so much opportunity on the ground. Cleveland was forced to work around some elements last week that made it difficult for Deshaun Watson to pass, but it showed what the run game is capable of each week. The Steelers have a run game, but they are so insistent on requiring Kenny Pickett to make throws, so they should self-destruct even with a healthy T.J. Watt.
10. Detroit (-238) vs. Seattle
Both teams are expected to regress back to the middle following some extreme results. Detroit will win this game but will not look nearly as fluid as it did at times against the Chiefs. Seattle has to play better than last week despite a hammering by the banged-up Rams. What Matthew Stafford did last game is exactly what Jared Goff is capable of doing to the Seahawks defense. Seattle was picked apart by Stafford, but it was backup receivers who made big plays. Detroit has Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is better than anything Los Angeles sent out last week. Pete Carroll is going to be stomping up and down the sidelines in disgust following this one.
9. Philadelphia (-290) vs. Minnesota
It is a short week for both teams, but the Vikings are at a significantly worse disadvantage. Both teams were far from sharp, but only one pulled out the victory. Though the Eagles may have looked sloppy, that was the first week with no preseason action and up against one of the best defensive coaches of all time. Minnesota lost at home, hits the road on a short week and isn’t going to fix major issues overnight. Kirk Cousins is brutal in prime time so no upset.
8. San Francisco (-355) at Los Angeles Rams
This is not about fading the 49ers so much as it is honoring what the Rams could be. They face a much better team in San Francisco than they did last week against Seattle, but there were some positive signs, primarily with Stafford. Brock Purdy looked fine, as did everyone around him, but this is a divisional game on the road against a better defense. Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk will make things tough for any defense, especially with Deebo Samuel lurking, so this is still a 49ers win.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (-160) at Tennessee
This is slowly approaching upset territory, as the Chargers will flirt with a loss in Nashville come Sunday. The Titans were able to hold on and cover despite losing in New Orleans to a far worse quarterback/head coach combo than what they face this week. The Chargers are more than happy to surrender some points — as they continue to give up more points than any other team since drafting Justin Herbert. Any points for the Titans are a bonus, as they seemed to struggle getting acclimated, but they still have a good enough defensive front to apply pressure. Ultimately, Derek Henry can be used to slow down the game and keep it away from the Chargers offense, though the pick is Los Angeles by a nose.
6. Cincinnati (-170) vs. Baltimore**
There is a lot of talk about the weather, it being a divisional game and the first game for Joe Burrow to explain why the Bengals looked awful in Cleveland. Pile up as many excuses as need be, but it will not change the fact that the Bengals are going to be the league’s major underachiever. It starts with a home loss to a banged-up — stop if you heard that before — Ravens team. This is about quarterback play, and while neither was promising last week, Lamar Jackson used the Texans as a tune-up, while Burrow was simply tuned up. This is also a division game with revenge in the air, so expect the Ravens to be aggressive going after Burrow while opening some things for Jackson on the offensive side.
5. Tampa Bay (-142) vs. Chicago**
Nobody here is going to negate or take away anything positive done by Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers. They have earned it. Being 1-0 after a stunning road victory is enough to earn some kudos at the very least. Justin Fields and his Bears team were decimated by the Packers, but they have a better matchup this week at home against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are still down in the quarterback battle despite an awful straight-up record for Fields, but the Bears were simply hammered by a team and coach that knows them better than anyone on the Bucs does. Regression to the middle for Tampa this week means losing a game in which they should never have been favored in the first place.
4. New York Giants (-218) at Arizona
The Giants are probably going to lose this game and start 0-2 on the year. They have more talent and are far better coached, but the Cardinals played Washington tight last week and should do the same with the G-Men. New York was just destroyed by a division foe looking to establish its dominance in the NFC East. Arizona is not Dallas, and its quarterback room does not have a Dak Prescott. Daniel Jones cannot play as poorly as he did, or the Giants will risk being blown out of another building — at least it will not be at home. Narrowly take the Giants, but drop them super low.
3. Denver (-175) vs. Washington**
Sam Howell, Eric Bieniemy and Ron Rivera not getting in the way sounds like a perfect recipe for the Broncos losing at home to a team everyone thinks still stinks. The Washington defense led by Rivera is a fast unit that will put immediate pressure on Russell Wilson. The Broncos quarterback looked far from stellar in their opening week loss to the Raiders. Washington will rely on a balanced run game and ask its quarterback to make efficient throws, not win the game. That is the difference, as Sean Payton will put too much on Wilson’s plate, ultimately making a costly mistake. Washington will win this one.
2. Miami (-136) at New England**
The Patriots looked good against the Eagles after their first couple of blunders. They held the Eagles to four field goals — three of which were 48-plus yards. Mac Jones settled in and was able to make some throws, and New England should be able to run effectively against the Dolphins. Miami is looking to run a track meet, whereas the Patriots are fine just walking — not even speed walking. If New England can live up to its defensive hype following last week, then this game is there for the taking. New England setting the tone on defense and winning the turnover battle is the only way it will win. Expect Miami to oblige.
1. New Orleans (-162) at Carolina**
The Panthers were another team that played better than its results — especially on defense. They limited the Falcons with a pass rush and great linebacker play from Brian Burns. New Orleans has one of the worst quarterback/head coach combos to bet on when laying points, as both Derrek Carr and Dennis Allen are atrocious as favorites, especially on the road. Carolina is better coached and will play smarter at the most important position. Do not bet on Carr.