Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In the Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts section below, you’ll see a line about being a prisoner of the moment when reviewing NFL games.
It’s an easy trap to fall into when you watch football every week, so the important thing is to keep in mind the bigger picture and whether past results are indicators of future ones.
After one week of NFL football, we’ve seen the defenses strong-arm the power away from the offenses, as numerous teams failed to get anything going whatsoever. Bad defenses looked mediocre, mediocre defenses looked good and good defenses looked great.
Of course, anything can happen in a given NFL week, but after watching play, one has to think that this might be the beginning of a significant trend that will last all season. For one more week at least, the prediction is that low scoring continues.
And now I’ve fallen into my own trap and become a prisoner of the moment.
Here’s a look at some Week 2 picks, with a focus on the over/under. All odds below are via OddsShark.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5), 38 O/U
Dalton is certainly not the worst quarterback in the league, but the signal-calling issues on both sides right now foreshadow a low-scoring contest.
Pick: Bengals 14, Texans 13 and the under
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6), 45.5 O/U
If you just look at the 29-19 score of the Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints Monday Night Football game, you might think that the contest was fairly close.
However, the Vikings pretty much did whatever they wanted on offense, and on defense, they largely shut down the Saints running attack and passing attack.
Give the edge to the defenses in this one, as both of them look like top-five units in football.
Pick: Vikings 17, Steelers 13 and the under
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Indianapolis Colts, 44 O/U
It’s easy to be a prisoner of the moment and look at both of these offenses and think that this game is going well under the total. Cardinals running back David Johnson is out, and so is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
This game should be a slog to 20 points, with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald making the difference from the slot 10-15 yards at a time.
Pick: Cardinals 17, Colts 13 and the under
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5), 39.5 O/U
The guess here is that Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer someday leads a dynamic offense with second-year wideout Corey Coleman, but that day is not Sunday against a Ravens defense that shut out the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.
The Browns defense is formidable as well. This should go under the total. Notice a trend?
Pick: Ravens 23, Browns 10 and the under
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5), 47.5 O/U
The Kansas City Chiefs looked dominant in a 42-27 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. Most notably, Alex Smith looked like the best quarterback in football for one week as he threw downfield darts to his receivers.
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt is also phenomenal, as he found gaps in the Pats’ front seven all game.
But the Eagles defense is much better than the Patriots’ at the moment, and their front seven is one of the best in football. The issue is in the secondary, where cornerback Ronald Darby is out with an ankle injury.
However, the prediction is that the front seven gets to Smith, forcing a turnover or two that prove to be the difference.
Pick: Eagles 20, Chiefs 17 and the under
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7), 44 O/U
Yes, Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen dominated in the opener, but the Chicago offense is still missing a solid No. 1 wide receiver to depend on in future games.
Losing Cameron Meredith in the preseason was a devastating blow, and losing rookie Kevin White certainly doesn’t help matters as his progress keeps getting stunted by injury.
The Bucs have some great talent in the front seven, and if they shut down the running game, then this will be a long day on offense for the Bears.
Pick: Buccaneers 17, Bears 6 and the under
Tennessee Titans (-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars, 43 O/U
It’s a little hard to get a read on the Jacksonville Jaguars after a 29-7 Week 1 blowout of the Houston Texans considering that the latter team is somehow in a quarterback controversy in Week 2.
But the Jacksonville defense crushed Houston all game, as the offensive line couldn’t withhold the Jags’ pressure. Combined with the running prowess of rookie Leonard Fournette, the Jags led 19-0 at half and never looked back.
But the loss of No. 1 wide receiver Allen Robinson is going to hurt, and there will be games where the run game isn’t working or the Jags defense isn’t making play after play, leading to a potential stagnant offensive showing.
One of those matchups will be on this day, as Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota does just enough to keep the Jags at bay in another low-scoring game.
Pick: Titans 17, Jaguars 10 and the under
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers (-7), 42.5 O/U
The Carolina Panthers defense looked like its old self on Sunday when it held the San Francisco 49ers offense to just three points.
Carolina has a little of everything: good pass-rushers, solid run-stoppers, fantastic linebackers and an underrated secondary featuring two high draft picks (second-year pros James Bradberry and Daryl Worley) who might become a great duo in the back.
Buffalo is too one-dimensional on offense (in particular, it’s based off the running game led by LeSean McCoy) to hang with Carolina, but the defense should slow the Panthers down a bit.
Pick: Panthers 24, Bills 10 and the under
New England Patriots (-4.5) at New Orleans Saints, 54.5 O/U
I can’t help but have a gut feeling that New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks is going to return to the place he called home before being traded and dominate the Saints secondary all game to the tune of 100-plus yards and a score or two. I’m sure I’m not the only one with the same sentiment.
We’ve seen players come back to old stamping grounds and have great games, and the guess is that Cooks etches his name on that ledger this weekend in a track meet.
Pick: Patriots 37, Saints 33 and the over
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5), 45 O/U
The AFC West has the potential to be the best division in NFL history. It’s not implausible to think that each team could finish with a winning record, with the last-place team coming in at 9-7.
That’s because last year’s last-place team, the Los Angeles Chargers, had terrible luck when it lost so many close games. Of course, that happened again after a blocked field goal preserved a 24-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, but L.A. simply has too much talent on both sides of the ball.
Provided they stay healthy, the Chargers should have a good year and have a few blowout wins on their resume. The first one will be Sunday.
Pick: Chargers 27, Dolphins 10 and the under
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Denver Broncos, 42 O/U
The game of the week will take place in Denver, as the Cowboys travel to face the Broncos.
Somehow, this is only one of three games predicted to go over this week.
The reasoning? First, running back Ezekiel Elliott should give the Broncos run defense fits. As good as the Denver pass defense is, it’s run D is not on par and can be exploited.
In fairness, the Broncos held Los Angeles Chargers Melvin Gordon to just 54 yards on 18 carries on Monday, but running back Elliott is behind one of the best offensive lines in recent memory. The clear edge is to Dallas.
For Denver, quarterback Trevor Siemian might be pretty darn good. He evaded other quarterbacks in an offseason competition for the job and started the year with a 61-percent completion rate against a tough Chargers pass defense featuring edge-rusher Joey Bosa and cornerback Casey Heyward.
He’ll have his success again on Sunday, leading to an exciting battle in Denver. In the end, expect the Dallas ground game to be the difference.
Pick: Cowboys 23, Broncos 20 and the over
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5), 46 O/U
With Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald back in the mix, the L.A. defense should be stout against a Washington Redskins defense that looked pedestrian at best in a 30-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home.
Expect the Washington offense to click later in the season, but for now, a cross-country trip to Los Angeles against a good team defense isn’t a recipe for high scoring.
That being said, the guess here is that the Rams offense isn’t nearly as good as what it showed on Sunday in a 46-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts, especially considering that running back Todd Gurley only rushed for 40 yards on 19 carries.
Give the edge to the under in a close game.
Pick: Redskins 17, Rams 16 and the under
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders (-13.5), 43.5 O/U
The Oakland Raiders defense looked quite good in a 26-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, who on paper have one of the better offenses in football. It’s even more impressive that Oakland traveled two time zones and did this on the road.
Now they are home and facing one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Jets will struggle to score in the double digits, and Raiders wideouts Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper should move the ball downfield in bunches all game.
Pick: Raiders 27, Jets 10 and the under
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5), 43 O/U
It’s not easy to go into Lambeau Field and hold Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to just 17 points, especially when the offense can’t get anything going.
However, the Seattle Seahawks did just that as the Pack struggled against the tough ‘Hawks defense, which might end up being the best in football this year.
Now Seattle gets to face a much weaker opponent that only mustered three points on Sunday, and it’ll do so in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field. Seattle should cruise to an easy, low-scoring win.
Pick: Seahawks 27, 49ers 7 and the under
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5), 53.5 O/U
The 2016 pair of games between these teams have featured 65 combined points each, with the Falcons winning by scores of 33-32 and 44-21.
There’s no reason to think that this game will fail to shoot out once again, as there is simply too much Pro Bowl talent on both offensive sides, led by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Give the edge to the Falcons at home and a big edge to the over.
Pick: Falcons 38, Packers 34 and the over
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3.5), 43.5 O/U
The New York Giants offense showed no signs of life without Odell Beckham Jr. in a 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted that the star wideout should be back for Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
That should spell trouble for the Lions, but the Giants offense is built around one player, and that’s been an issue for a few seasons. This game played out in December last year, with the Giants winning 17-6. Expect a similar result this time considering that the G-Men defense is stellar.
Pick: Giants 17, Lions 10 and the under