Our N.F.L. Week 2 Picks Against the Spread

Our N.F.L. Week 2 Picks Against the Spread


Second-Tier Games

Cardinals at Rams, 4:05 p.m., Fox

A 20-point win punctuated by cornerback Marcus Peters — a prized off-season addition who leapt into the end zone for a touchdown off an interception — gave the impression that the Rams (1-0) were every bit as good as advertised. Before getting carried away, though, it’s worth remembering that the Rams were losing at halftime and ended up allowing 398 yards. That bend-don’t-break defensive approach worked for much of last season, but it was supposed to be improved with the additions of Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh and Peters. It’s possible that the Rams’ slow start on both sides of the ball reflected a decision to rest most of their stars during the preseason. If the Rams truly assert themselves, the Cardinals (0-1) will look even more underwhelming than they already have. Pick: Rams -13

Lions at 49ers, 4:05 p.m., Fox

Both teams would like to forget Week 1. The Lions (0-1) were soundly outplayed by the Jets in all facets, and the 49ers (0-1) saw their golden boy, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, lose for the first time in his professional career. San Francisco is the more complete team, and will most probably prevail at home, but the spread is too generous in its favor. Pick: Lions +6

Dolphins at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS

Miami’s Week 1 win over Tennessee was so drawn out by two weather delays that Kenny Stills’s second touchdown came more than five hours after his first one. The Dolphins (1-0) came away with a win, but they are probably happy to be playing this weekend in New Jersey, where the National Weather Service has predicted a sunny day and temperatures in the low 80s. The Jets (1-0), however, appear to be in transition from a scrappy team that made opponents work to one that might be something approaching good. Pick: Jets -3

Browns at Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

After 31 Browns losses over the previous two seasons, their fans went into Week 1 hoping not to add another. They should have been more specific. Cleveland’s tie with Pittsburgh qualified as its best start to a season since 2004, but after a game that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger kept trying to give away, the Browns (0-0-1) had to be disappointed that they couldn’t find a way to win. To change that this week, they will have to become the second consecutive underdog to beat the Saints (0-1) in New Orleans. Pick: Saints -8.5

Panthers at Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox

The Falcons (0-1) were fairly sloppy in Week 1, with their offense moving the ball but repeatedly faltering in the red zone. They have to hope that it was not a continuation of last year’s failures to punch the ball in, which really should not be an issue for an offense with Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Julio Jones. A home game against the Panthers (1-0) should be a tough test given how well Carolina’s defense swallowed up the Dallas attack in Week 1. Pick: Panthers +6


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