Wasn’t that awesome?! After months of agonizing about whether or not we’d even have football in 2020, the regular season came out in full force this past week and delivered a bunch of quality games across the opening slate. Not only did we have a ton of football to consume, but there were a number of intriguing storylines to come out of Week 1, including Cam Newton running all around the field in his Patriots debut, Aaron Rodgers coming into 2020 with a Mt. Everest-sized chip on his shoulder, and Mitch Trubisky (!!!) balling out as Chicago rallied to beat the Lions. 

Of course, we also had some flubs as Philip Rivers seemingly picked up where he left off in Los Angeles with his inconsistent play in the Colts’ opening loss to Jacksonville. Tom Brady also struggled in his Bucs debut and the Browns, well, they were the Browns. 

As we turn the page to Week 2, there are a number of interesting games on the docket, including two must-see quarterback showdowns: Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton vs. Russell Wilson. Both of those matchups found themselves in my locks of the week along with Thursday’s showdown between Joe Burrow and Baker Mayfielld. 

Strap in folks, the 2020 season is just getting started. 

All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook (9/16/2020) 

Locks of the week 

Cincinnati at Cleveland 

8:20 p.m. ET (NFLN)
Point spread: Cleveland -6

Baltimore is going to be a force all season long, but Cleveland looked completely disjointed in its opening loss to the Ravens, scoring just six points on the afternoon. Baker Mayfield and company will get a much softer landing spot in the Bengals, but I wouldn’t sleep on this Cincy squad, especially with Joe Burrow under center. The 2020 No. 1 overall pick was solid in his NFL debut all things considered, and I like the situation they find themselves in on Thursday night. Despite being on a 13-game losing streak on the road, the Bengals own a 8-5-0 ATS record over that stretch and are 8-3 ATS when getting four or more points. Six of the last seven quarterbacks taken with the No. 1 overall pick have also covered in their second career start and three have enjoyed outright wins. 

Pick: Cincinnati and the points
Score prediction: Cleveland 21, Cincinnati 17

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Carolina at Tampa Bay 

1:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
Point spread: Tampa Bay -9

I did have the Buccaneers winning the opener against New Orleans in an upset, but I also wasn’t shocked to see Tom Brady struggle a bit in his Tampa Bay debut. After all, the legendary quarterback was going up against one of the more established teams in the NFL and was doing so with weapons that he has little experience with. It shouldn’t be that surprising that they looked a bit clunky out of the gate. With that said, I like a bounce-back game here by the Bucs and specifically the offense. Carolina’s defense won’t strike fear into any quarterback this season and should be a solid opportunity for Brady — who has never started a season 0-2 in his career — to show out. The last time Brady lost his first two starts ATS was back in 2013. I don’t expect that to happen here. 

Pick: Tampa Bay -9 
Score prediction: Tampa Bay 28, Carolina 10 

Baltimore at Houston

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Baltimore -7

The Ravens arguably look even better than they did a season ago and this club has been an absolute monster ATS. Baltimore has covered in 10 of its last 11 games, including five straight leading into Week 2. In 2019, the Ravens also covered all four of their games when giving away six or more points on the road. Lamar Jackson is also a beast on the road, owning a 9-2 ATS record as a starter. I expect all those trends to continue to roll here in what should be a high-flying game between Jackson and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. 

Pick: Baltimore -7
Score prediction: Baltimore 33, Houston 17

New England at Seattle 

8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Point spread: Seattle -4

Cam Newton and the Patriots impressed in the quarterback’s New England debut, as he rushed for two touchdowns in the Week 1 win over Miami. While Newton was efficient as a passer, the Patriots’ weapons around the quarterback are a bit suspect and may not be enough to keep up with the Seahawks, who are finally letting Russell Wilson cook. Speaking of Wilson, Seattle has covered in 71% of their primetime games since the quarterback made his debut in 2012. They’ve covered 80% of primetime games when favored by a field goal or better over the stretch as well.  

Pick: Seattle -4
Score prediction: Seattle 21, New England 14

Kansas City at L.A. Chargers

4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Point spread: Kansas City -8.5

By my view after Week 1, Kansas City still looks like the most polished team in the league and — given its potent offense — should be favored by double-digits in most of its contests. Los Angeles needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Bengals in Joe Burrow’s first-career start. In Kansas City’s season sweep of the Chargers in 2019, the average margin of victory was just six points. I throw that out the window here and see a double-digit win for the defending champions as they continue to cruise to begin 2020. 

Pick: Kansas City -8.5
Score prediction: Kansas City 27, L.A. Chargers 17

Rest of the bunch

L.A. Rams (-1) at Philadelphia 
The pick: L.A. Rams -1
Score prediction: L.A. Rams 24, Philadelphia 17

N.Y. Giants at Chicago (-5.5) 
The pick: N.Y. Giants and the points
Score prediction: Chicago 24, N.Y. Giants 21

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-9) 
The pick: Tennessee -9
Score prediction: Tennessee 21, Jacksonville 10

San Francisco (-7) at N.Y. Jets 
The pick: San Francisco -7
Score prediction: San Francisco 28, N.Y. Jets14

Buffalo (-5.5) at Miami
The pick: Bills -5.5
Score prediction: Buffalo 20, Miami 13

Denver at Pittsburgh (-7.5)
The pick: Denver and the points
Score prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Denver 20

Atlanta at Dallas (-4.5) 
The pick: Falcons and the points
Score prediction: Dallas 27, Atlanta 24

Detroit at Green Bay (-6)
The pick: Green Bay -6
Score prediction: Green Bay 27, Detroit 20

Minnesota at Indianapolis (-3)
The pick: Minnesota and the points
Score prediction: Indianapolis 23, Minnesota 21

Washington at Arizona (-6.5) 
The pick: Washington and the points
Score prediction: Arizona 21, Washington 17

New Orleans (-5.5) at Las Vegas 
The pick: New Orleans -5.5 
Score prediction: New Orleans 28, Las Vegas 21

Picks Record

Against the spread in Week 1: 6-9-1
ATS overall: 6-9-1

Straight up in Week 1: 8-8
SU overall: 8-8


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