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 __________.
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!
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
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.
This week, the league's greatest quarterbacks had a chance to battle it out: Tom Brady took on Aaron Rodgers in a surprise blowout win, while MVP candidate Josh Allen lost to Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
The lesson to be learned here is don't count those MVP votes before Week 6 (and never, never slander Tom Brady before a big game).
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Fall is in the air—so are a hell of a lot of changes in the NFL.
Le'Veon went from worst to first, Dan Quinn is out of job, and like college athletes, sports journalists apparently aren't allowed to make money from sponsorships. Meanwhile, coronavirus is running in the background, taking out teams before opponents even get the chance.
Here are the oofs and ahhs in this week's edition of Shots Taken.