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NFL Week 2 Predictions: Picks for Chargers-Titans, Dolphins-Patriots and More

We saw some wild things happen in the NFL’s return to action in Week 1. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was supposed to save the New York Jets, went down with a season-ending injury. Several teams who were supposed to look good — the Chiefs, Bills and Eagles — all looked somewhat disappointing. I’ve got picks for several marquee games and have identified a few other sharp spots. Let’s dive into my NFL Week 2 predictions so that we can talk about the best NFL picks for Vikings-Eagles, Chargers Titans and Dolphins-Patriots and more Week 2 action.

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NFL Week 2 Predictions: Picks for Chargers Titans, Jets-Cowboys & Dolphins-Patriots

Vikings-Eagles NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Vikings: +265 | Eagles: -330
Vikings +7: -110 | Eagles -7: -110
Over 48.5: -115 | Under 48.5: -105

For updated Vikings-Eagles odds and picks, check here

The Minnesota Vikings will visit the Philadelphia Eagles in this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football. The jokes about Kirk Cousins and his inability to perform in primetime write themselves — the veteran quarterback is 11-18 in primetime games and averages just 6.6 net yards per attempt (NY/A) in them, down from 55-33-1 with 7 NY/A in early afternoon games. Cousins and the Vikings already got off to a bad start this season, with the Captain turning the ball over three times against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Eagles had a rough Week 1 of their own, but at least they can blame bad weather for some of their struggles — and, despite their relatively underwhelming play, they still managed to cover the spread. Philadelphia had a game to forget in New England, with quarterback Jalen Hurts gaining only 4.3 NY/A in the soggy weather. The Eagles struggled to convert on key downs, going just 4-for-13 on third and 0-for-1 on fourth, and averaged only 4.1 yards per play.

I want action on the Eagles to cover in a prime bounce-back spot. Philadelphia went 8-3 at home last year with an average margin of victory of 11.6 points, second-best in the NFL. The books may be more accurately evaluating them now, but they’d likely be a bigger favorite but for their sloppy Week 1 performance. The Eagles got off a similarly shaky start on the road last year, nearly blowing a double-digit lead to the Detroit Lions, before obliterating the Vikings in their home opener.

Both of these teams are dealing with injuries on a short week. Philadelphia lost linebacker Nakobe Dean, who landed on injured reserve on Tuesday, as well as cornerback James Bradberry, who is in the concussion protocol. Bradberry, running back Kenneth Gainwell and safety Reed Blankenship were all listed as non-participants in Tuesday’s walkthrough. The Vikings listed center Garrett Bradbury as a non-participant while star left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who briefly left Sunday’s contest with an injury, and edge rusher Marcus Davenport were listed as limited participants.

The Eagles would be worse for wear without Bradberry and Blankenship, but their aggressive pass rush that generated pressure on 46.6% of New England’s dropbacks won’t give Cousins much time to take advantage of them — especially if Bradbury or Darrisaw aren’t at full strength. Trust the Eagles to win this one by at least a touchdown. The Eagles were only available as 7-point favorites at the time of publication, and anything at or below the key number of 7 is a good deal.

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Vikings-Eagles NFL Week 2 Pick: Philadelphia -7 -110 at FanDuel

Chargers-Titans NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Chargers: -164 | Titans: +138
Chargers -3: -115 | Titans +3: -105
Over 45: -110 | Under 45: -110

For updated Vikings-Eagles odds and picks, check here

The Los Angeles Chargers head to Nashville this weekend to face the Tennessee Titans. Both of these teams lost winnable games last weekend, with the Chargers falling to the Dolphins and the Titans falling to the Saints. But despite the pair of losses, these teams are trending in quite different directions — the Chargers looked solid, at least on offense, while the Titans struggled to do much other than shut down an already-shorthanded Saints backfield. With the Chargers listed as 3-point road favorites and the total set to 45, I’m backing this one to go over the posted number.

The Chargers may have allowed Tua Tagovailoa to do whatever he wanted, but they managed to shut down the Dolphins’ few rushing attempts — their solid play in the trenches should force Tennessee to pass more frequently. L.A. ranks third in expected points added (EPA) allowed per rush attempt after the first week, which is all the more impressive because Miami ranked a steady 13th in the metric last season and made no major changes to the backfield. The Chargers were fourth-worst in EPA allowed per rush attempt last year, but they bolstered their front seven by signing Eric Kendricks. He complements a group of starters that just arrived in L.A. last year and struggled to gel in Year 1.

The L.A. secondary was a problem in Week 1, which should help Tennessee’s passing offense bounce back. Cornerback J.C. Jackson continues to struggle after signing a monster deal with the Chargers and recorded a dismal PFF grade of 45 in Week 1. However, Ryan Tannehill looked rusty in his return to action for the Titans, leading their passing offense to a dismal 23rd-place ranking in EPA per dropback. Tannehill recorded only 4.9 NY/A and threw three interceptions. But Tannehill wasn’t nearly that bad last year, and some positive regression is likely, especially against an L.A. pass rush that generated pressure on only 11.1% of dropbacks.

The Titans pose a similar problem for the Chargers. L.A. ran all over Miami in Week 1, but the Titans were the league’s best defense by yards allowed per rush attempt last year, and they currently rank fifth in EPA allowed per rush attempt. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore took what he could get on the ground against Miami in Week 1, and I expect him to pivot toward the passing game against one of the league’s better rushing defenses — especially if Austin Ekeler is out or limited. The Chargers rank sixth in seconds per play after Week 1. Moore’s Cowboys offense ranked fourth in seconds per play last year, slightly slower than the third-ranked Chargers.

Chargers-Titans NFL Week 2 Pick: Over 45 -110 at FanDuel

Colts-Texans NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Colts: -126 | Texans: +106
Colts -1: -110 | Texans +1: -110
Over 40: -110 | Under 40: -110

For updated Vikings-Eagles odds and picks, check here

The Indianapolis Colts exceeded expectations in Week 1 with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson at the helm, while the Houston Texans played acceptably with their own rookie quarterback, C.J. Stroud, leading the offense. Richardson completed 64.9% of his passes for 5.24 NY/A and added 40 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Stroud completed 63.6% for 4 NY/A and added 20 rushing yards on four attempts. While Richardson looked better, the Indianapolis offense has a major hole at running back, and it showed on Sunday afternoon.

The Colts enter Week 2 with the NFL’s worst rushing offense by far. They are dead last in EPA per rush attempt by nearly twice as much as the next-worst team. Aside from Richardson’s designed runs and scrambles, the Colts picked up only 25 net yards on the ground. Deon Jackson averaged 1.1 yards per carry on 14 attempts, Jake Funk averaged 5 yards on two attempts and rookie Evan Hull, who is now on injured reserve, averaged 1 yard on 1 attempt. These struggles come despite the Colts’ offensive line ranking eighth in run-block win rate (74%).

The one-dimensional Indianapolis offense won’t be hard for an experienced defensive mind like DeMeco Ryans to figure out. The Texans still have a ways to go before they’ll be considered a true contender, but Ryans’ defense was a bright spot last Sunday. The unit caused problems for Lamar Jackson, limiting him to 38 rushing yards on six carries and sacking him four times for a loss of 14 yards. The Texans pressured Jackson on 29% of his dropbacks and rank sixth in pass-rush win rate (57%). If the Colts can’t find a way to get one of their running backs going, Richardson will face the full force of Ryans’ defensive scheme.

The Texans shouldn’t be home underdogs for Ryans’ first game in Houston. Houston leads Indianapolis in EPA per play, 27th (-0.29) to 29th (-0.34), largely because of the Colts’ failure to get things going on the ground. With Hull now on injured reserve, Zack Moss still getting over an injury and Richardson now dealing with a bruised knee, the Colts are already feeling the pressure created by their lack of depth. Look for Ryans to keep things close enough to cover in his home debut.

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Colts-Texans NFL Week 2 Pick: Houston +1.5 -110 at BetMGM

Jets-Cowboys NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Jets: +350 | Cowboys: -450
Jets +9.5: -110 | Cowboys -9.5: -110
Over 39.5: -110 | Under 39.5: -110

For updated Jets-Cowboys odds and picks, check here

The New York Jets, less than a week after losing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, must get ready to face the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington this weekend. The Cowboys enter this game fresh off a 40-point beatdown of the New York Giants in which they did everything well except move the ball on offense — which may be because they weren’t asked to do that much. These teams own two of the NFL’s best pass rushes, and while both sides have some electric offensive playmakers like Breece Hall, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard, you’ve just got to take the under here after watching these offenses in Week 1.

I’ll start with the easy stuff: the Jets are one of the NFL’s worst offenses when Wilson is on the field. He ranked last among eligible quarterbacks in EPA added per dropback in 2022. While some offseason improvement is possible, he doesn’t have much help in the trenches — New York’s offensive line coughed up three sacks for a loss of 23 yards. The unit ranked a dreadful 32nd in pass-block win rate (30%). Even the New York Giants were credited with a pass-block win rate of 45% despite letting Daniel Jones get sacked seven times for a loss of 47 yards. Tackle Mekhi Becton received a PFF grade of 59.7 for his efforts in Week 1, while guard Laken Tomlinson earned a 40.3.

Let’s turn to a pill that might be more difficult to swallow: the Cowboys did not look all that great on offense. Again, they weren’t asked to do much — Dallas already had a 16-point lead by the second time Dak Prescott began an offensive drive. But Prescott completed only 54.2% of his passes for 5.9 NY/A, which isn’t good, especially since the Dallas offensive line protected him well — Prescott faced pressure on only 16% of his dropbacks. Worse, they’ll now face a Jets defense that ranked sixth in EPA per play allowed last year — far better than the 28th-ranked Giants.

Total bettors may have a bit too much confidence in both of these offenses early in the year, so I advise getting some action down on the under, The post-Moore Cowboys are likely to run their offense much more slowly than before: Moore’s Cowboys ranked third in seconds per play last year, but the last offense Schottenheimer ran, the 2020 Seattle Seahawks, ranked 18th. The Jets rank 27th in seconds per play after Week 1 and are likely to focus on running the ball to minimize Wilson’s chances of making a mistake.

Jets-Cowboys NFL Week 2 Pick: Under 39.5 -110 at FanDuel

Dolphins-Patriots NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Dolphins: -136 | Patriots: +116
Dolphins -2: -115 | Patriots +2: -105
Over 46.5: -110 | Under 46.5: -110

For updated Dolphins-Patriots odds and picks, check here

The New England Patriots may have suffered a tough home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but they’ll get the chance to redeem themselves at home in Week 2. The Miami Dolphins are coming to town, and their high-flying passing attack could crack under the pressure of New England’s defensive front. These teams split their season series last year with the home squad winning both times, but the Patriots are a 2.5-point home underdog for Sunday Night Football. That’s a mistake for several reasons, including some key betting trends and several efficiency stats.

Let’s start with the Dolphins-Patriots trends. Since 2003, the Patriots are an elite 35-23-1 (60.3%) against the spread (ATS) as a home underdog, which ranks fourth in the NFL. The Dolphins are 1-3 (25%) ATS as a road favorite under head coach Mike McDaniel. While it’s worth noting that the Patriots have worsened to 1-5 ATS as a home underdog since 2021, which is when Mac Jones arrived in New England, three of those losses came with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge building the offense. They’re both gone, and a real offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, is at the helm.

Miami’s passing offense was the NFL’s best in Week 1, but they had the easy task of facing an L.A. defense that lacks meaningful talent at boundary cornerback and struggles to generate pressure. Tua Tagovailoa faced pressure on only 11.1% of his dropbacks in Week 1, but the Patriots pressured Jalen Hurts 39.7% of the time. New England’s defense benefited from some bad weather, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see them excel against the pass — the Patriots ranked third in EPA allowed per dropback last year.

While Miami’s offense has a much tougher task ahead in Week 2, New England’s offense gets a reprieve. Instead of facing the Eagles, who ranked fourth in EPA allowed per play last year, they get the 24th-ranked Dolphins. Miami’s defense couldn’t stop the Chargers last Sunday, allowing Justin Herbert to record 199 net passing yards and the backfield duo of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley to add 208 rushing yards on 6.5 yards per carry. The Miami defense ranked 21st in pass-rush win rate (39%) and 32nd in run-stop win rate (18%). They trail the next-worst Lions by 5% in the latter metric.

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Dolphins-Patriots NFL Week 2 Pick: New England +2.5 -110 at DraftKings

Browns-Steelers NFL Week 2 Prediction

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Browns: -130 | Steelers: +110
Browns -2.5: -105 | Steelers +2.5: -115
Over 39.5: -110 | Under 39.5: -110

With two Monday Night Football games on the schedule, you’ll have to pick one to watch. I intend to have most of my attention on Monday’s Browns-Steelers game, which should feature some good ‘ol smashmouth football — and not a whole lot of scoring. While we didn’t get a good look at Cleveland’s offense in Week 1 because of the rain, we did see a major injury along their offensive line, with star right tackle Jack Conklin going down with a torn ACL. The Steelers lost two offensive weapons, tight end Pat Freiermuth and wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Both losses should depress scoring in this AFC North grudge match.

Conklin’s injury is a major blow to a Browns offense that often relies on its line as a strength. Conklin recorded a PFF grade of 74.5 in the 22 snaps he played before the injury. He recorded a steady 66.7 for Cleveland last year and a 78.8 the year before that. Backup Dawand Jones relieved him and recorded a 49.7. Cleveland’s offensive line has plenty of talent at the other four spots, but having a liability on the edge will create opportunities for pass rusher T.J. Watt to exploit. Watt already ranks 10th in pass-rush win rate (29%).

Meanwhile, the Steelers are already down two pass-catchers just one week into the season. Head coach Mike Tomlin has expressed some optimism about Freiermuth’s ability to suit up for Week 2, but if he is limited in any way, they’ll have to trust rookie Darnell Washington and reserve Connor Heyward with larger roles, neither of whom are that valuable in the receiving game. Second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett will have a limited cast of weapons at his disposal, and I suspect the Steelers will opt to emphasize the run, especially after they pummeled the Browns for 248 yards on the ground last year.

These teams combined to score 46 and 42 points last year. The ground-and-pound Browns averaged 30.3 seconds per play across the two matchups, while the Steelers averaged 27.9. These teams ranked right at the league average in seconds per play last year, so with both offenses struggling with major injuries early in the year, the effects of less efficient offensive play will be magnified. Pittsburgh was also 10-7 (58.8%) to the under last year and 5-3 (62.5%) at home. Cleveland was 8-8-1 (50%) to the under and 5-3 (62.5%) on the road. The 39.5 is a rock-bottom number, but it stands to dip further if Freiermuth gets ruled out.

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Browns-Steelers NFL Week 2 Pick: Under 39.5 -110 at FanDuel

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