Nick Chubb ran wild over the Bengals defense on Thursday night

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Let's start by checking on the previous week's picks.

The Theory of Continuity (4-3)

Four teams took care of business last week, as expected. Three did not.

Philip Rivers clearly brought his knack for wonky finishes east with him to Indy. Plus, the wound may never heal after all the head scratching I did about the use of Nyheim Hines over Jonathan Taylor.

The Eagles. I have no words. Except this:

My friend, noted Eagles fan, having his yearly break down in Week One.Tyler Austin



How did he know Philly would blow it at noon? Where did my friend find a bar that would serve him during COVID? At 8AM? Is he OK? The answer to all these? I don't know.

Lastly, the Titans. This one is pretty high on the bad-beat-o-meter. If Stephen Gostkowski hit just one of the four kicks (3 FGs, 1 PAT) he attempted. We'd all be residents of Cover City. Instead, I think they should revoke a syllable from his last name for every whiff. You're on notice Stephen __________.

Homedawgs (0-2-1)

The Panthers played this one close and nearly secured the upset, but their run D could've given up 100 yards and a TD to a Roomba (the rumored design inspiration for their stadium).

The Falcons were never in it and should consider a name change to the Garbage Men considering how much work they did during some meaningless football.

Julio Jones dominating another game that ultimately ends in defeat.AP Photo/Brynn Anderson


The Bengals… PUSHED and I will take it. The Chargers will play a lot of close games this season except maybe the upcoming week, but more on than later.

Money line Upset (0-1)

Well, turns out a Heisman/MVP-winning QB that's 12 years younger than your last signal caller might just be an upgrade. Belichick, you did it again!

Week 2

For the most part, betting on continuity worked. Where can we apply those lessons to make us some scratch?

Ravens -7 over Texans

Steelers -7.5 over Broncos

Chiefs -8.5 over Chargers

Saints -4.5 over Raiders

The Ravens played this game last season. Final score: BAL 41 HOU 7. I'm not sure what the line would have to be for me NOT to take them. If I'm being honest with myself, I think 16.5 but you could talk me up to the low 20s. The offense is demoralizing, terrorizing, and, to borrow a phrase reserved for defense, smothering. The Texans look anemic, at best, and due to some cruel scheduling have booked themselves an 0-2 start.

The Steelers could somehow be better on defense. They held Saquon Barkley to six yards, picked Daniel Jones twice, and provided a needed goal line stand early. Big Ben got going, after a year off, and his rapport with JuJu Smith-Schuster looked as lively as ever. Denver showed flashes last week, but don't think their sophomore QB will fare much better against this stout D.

Not to mention, Vic Fangio hasn't quite proven his coaching mettle after letting time run down in the 4th, which set up the Titans' game-winning FG with a handful of seconds left. All the while, the two timeouts in his pocket cried out, never to be heard from, as they were sent straight to Clock Management Hell.

The Chiefs played this game last year at high altitude in Mexico City without Tyreek Hill, Damien Williams, who went out of the game early, and it was the second start for Pat Mahomes after dislocating his kneecap. They won 24-17, and if not for a late Philip Rivers' TD toss and 2 point conversion, it'd have looked even worse. I don't know if KC will cover every game this year, but I'm willing to pay to find out, especially against a Chargers team, who, even with an A- defense, only ever pulls out a C+ game.

Ben Roethlisberger scrambling for a score against the Denver Broncos in a previous matchup.David Zalubowski/AP

The Saints didn't set the world on fire a week ago when they beat the Bucs. Michael Thomas, the world's number one target, had only three catches, and Drew Brees, the NFL's walking record book, threw for a measly 160 yards, yet they won by 11 and didn't make it look hard. The offense will continue to click against a D that allowed 30 to Drew's backup with significantly less impressive weapons. The Raiders run heavy attack should be easily outpaced by a Saints team with sights set on the Super Bowl.

Drew Brees celebrates a successful throw in a victory over the divisional rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Over/Under/Up/Down/All Around

Bills and Dolphins under 41

Josh Allen is one of the most exciting players in football, not a compliment. You never know if he's going to fumble twice or rumble for a score. The Miami offense didn't quite have the Fitzmagic of old in Week One when they managed only 11 points. Both teams are facing better defenses than their previous opponent, so as boring and torturous as it can be to root for, I have to hit the under.

The Dawg in the Fight

Carolina +8.5 over the Buccaneers

The Panthers could have something special on offense this year and that's not just Sir Purr talking. Between Rhule and Joe Brady, the steady hand of Bridgewater, and their array of weapons, it's easy to say the raw talent is there. The D will be a problem going forward, but against Tompa Bay, a team who hasn't gelled offensively, this one should be a lot closer than 8.5 points. The unearned respect by odds makers should be something to monitor because it's one of a few ways to keep winning before they adjust.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

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In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

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Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

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The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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