John Halpin’s Week 2 NFL Picks

Dammit, Bears. You HAD it.

You were going to make me look smart with my first successful upset selection for Pickwatch. And then … you reminded us that you’re the Bears. Curse you, Jordan Howard.

The rest of the picks were so-so. I should have switched away from the Giants after the news of OBJ’s absence, as I literally didn’t think they’d be able to score. It was a weird week, but we’ll get back on track.


Let’s get to the Week 2 picks, with selections being both straight up and against the spread unless noted otherwise. If you have any questions, catch me on Twitter (@jhalpin37).

(ATS winners in CAPS.)

Week 1 records: 7-8 SU, 9-6 ATS

TEXANS (+6.5) over Bengals

One of these teams is about to be in a big hole. I love the Texans’ defense, but Tom Savage isn’t good, and DeShaun Watson isn’t ready. I think they’ll keep it close, though.

The pick: Bengals win, Texans cover

TITANS (-1.5) over Jaguars

I usually love home underdogs, and was a big Jags’ supporter coming into the season. But without Allen Robinson, there’s nothing at all to fear from the Jags’ passing game. Also, the trendy Titans are just a bit desperate after their Week 1 stinker against the Raiders. Disclaimer: In a confidence pool, this pick would rank near the bottom.

The pick: Titans win and cover

RAVENS (-7.5) over Browns

Should the Ravens and their bad offense be favored by this much over anyone? I’m a fan of the improved Browns, but rookie QB DeShone Kizer is walking into a buzzsaw in Baltimore this Sunday. The Baltimore D is nasty. Give the points.

The pick: Ravens win and cover

PANTHERS (-7.5) over Bills

Never mind that the Bills won in Week 1. They’re basically tanking, and probably only looked good in comparison to the Jets (#suckforsam). The Panthers got the job done in their opener, with a strong D and versatile offensive attack. Sure, I’m a homer. But this one shouldn’t be too close.

The pick: Panthers win and cover

PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Saints

One one hand, Drew Brees has historically played better at the Superdome than elsewhere. On the other, the 2017 Saints appear to be terrible, and the Patriots figure to enter Sunday breathing fire like one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons after their embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. I’ll take the second hand, and the over since the Pats might score 40 of the required 55.

The pick: Pats win and cover

COLTS (+7.5) over Cardinals

Ewww … this game is terrible. The Colts were horrendous in Los Angeles on Sunday, but the Cardinals looked pretty bad in their own right at Detroit. Carson Palmer appears to have aged quickly, and superstar running back David Johnson might be done for the season. You want me to take them and give SEVEN-AND-A-HALF points on the road? The Colts will probably win a few games even if Andrew Luck doesn’t play, and this could be one.

The pick: Colts win and cover. Yes, really.

EAGLES (+4.5) over Chiefs

Yes, the Chiefs were terrific last Thursday. But they lost Eric Berry for the season, and I’m on the Philly bandwagon. Love their defense, optimistic about Carson Wentz’s progress, think they’re gonna win the NFC East. I really want to pick an upset here, but the smarter play is to split the difference.

The pick: Chiefs win, Eagles cover

STEELERS (-6) over Vikings

The Vikings looked very good Monday night, but I can’t say I’m a believer just yet. That’s all I’ve got here.

The pick: Steelers win and cover

BUCS (-7) over Bears

The Bears might be more popular than they should after their inspiring yet unsuccessful effort against the Falcons. But the Bucs look like a playoff contender, with new weapons on offense, and a defense that improved dramatically in the second half of 2016. This one shouldn’t be too close.

The pick: Bucs win and cover

Luke Halpin with his new Joey Bosa Fathead.

CHARGERS (-4.5) over Dolphins

The Chargers may have come up short in Denver, but they’re a pretty good team, with an above-average defense and a talented offense that can move the ball. The Dolphins were mediocre entering training camp, lost QB Ryan Tannehill, and replaced him with Jay Cutler, who apparently didn’t worry about staying in shape during the offseason because he thought he’d be in a TV booth. Finally, my son isn’t going to be happy if his team loses again.

The pick: Chargers win and cover

RAIDERS (-14) over Jets

It’s always scary to pick a two-touchdown favorite. Just remember that the Raiders were a legitimate Super Bowl contender last season before Derek Carr got hurt, and look to be one again after an impressive win at Tennessee in Week 1. Oh, and the Jets are bad. Like, miserably, horrifically bad. Give the points.

The pick: Raiders win and cover

REDSKINS (+4.5) over Rams

Let’s not get too excited about the Rams just yet. Todd Gurley ran 19 times for just 40 yards, the jury is certainly still out on Jared Goff, and they beat the freaking Colts. The Redskins are … mediocre, right? 8-7-1 last season, not so good on defense, better than average on offense. The spread looks like an overreaction to Week 1 on both sides.

The pick: Redskins win and cover

BRONCOS (+2) over Cowboys

Hmm … I’m not sure what to do with this one. Call me a Cowboys hater if you want, but it’s difficult to give their defense too much credit for shutting down such an awful opponent in Week 1. Also, did Dak Prescott just look kinda sorta OK on Sunday night?

The pick: Broncos win and cover

SEAHAWKS (-13.5) over 49ers

The Seahawks beat the Niners by 19 at home last season, and by 16 at home the year before. They also figure to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance at Green Bay.

The pick: Seahawks win and cover

FALCONS (-2.5) over Packers

This one should be fun. The Falcons beat the Pack 33-32 at home in Week 8 last season before destroying them in the NFC Championship game. Though I envision a close game, Matt Ryan & Co. should have a successful opening to their new stadium.

On a related note, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has a location in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it’ll be closed on Sundays per company policy. What happens if the game goes to overtime, extending into Monday morning? Could one get some Chick-n-Minis for the ride home? Mmm … Chick-n-Minis.

The pick: Falcons win and cover

LIONS (+4) over Giants

We’re not yet sure if Odell Beckham Jr. will be able to play Monday night, or how close to full speed he’ll be if he does play. With this being the case, it’s difficult to pick them against anyone, since scoring 17 points would be a miracle greater than Moses parting the Red Sea.

The pick: Lions win and cover. If the weekend news on Beckham is positive and he’s active, I’ll probably change this pick.


I have a strict rule about avoiding road teams in these pools, and I like to save my good teams for as long as I can, even though it means I tend to take early risks more than most.

My Week 1 selection was the Bills over the awful Jets. This week, let’s take the mediocre Ravens at home versus the Browns. The Ravens won’t score enough this season to threaten many good teams, but they should get a win here.

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