5 picks of the WEEK: WEEK 2

If your fans read and took my advice in Week 1, you probably won yourselves some money. I know I did.

To top it all off, I used 4 of my five picks in a Parlay bet and won a hefty sum. Hefty enough to buy myself a brand-new bicycle on Wednesday. *RING RING*

As of now, my record is 4-1 on the 2023 NFL season. So, let’s keep the good times rolling!

Here’s a short recap of the results from my Week 1 selection:

Recap: Mike went 4-1 with his picks from WEEK 1

Jags covered vs. Colts

-Colts rookie Anthony Richardson was having a decent game and limiting the mistakes (credit the Colts offensive coordinator for the safe play calling). The Colts’ defense was keeping it close and making it difficult for Trevor Lawrence and the Jags’ offense to move the football. But when Richardson was called to throw over 15+ yards, he misfired. One of those throws was intercepted and got the Jags back into the game. 

Falcons covered vs. Panthers

 — Falcons defense had two interceptions on Panthers rookie Brice Young. Similar to the Colts/Jags game, the Panthers’ defense was putting pressure on Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder, but the turnovers were the difference in this game, allowing the Falcons to pull away.

Packers covered vs. Bears

– Packers quarterback Jordan Love needs to be respected. And as I said last week in my preview to this game, Bears quarterback Justin Fields is still prone to throwing bad interceptions and is still playing behind a bad offensive line. This showed as Fields threw a pick-6 right to a defender in the middle of the field, and the Bears O-line allowed Fields to be sacked 4 times. 

Jets covered vs Bills on Monday Night 

— Jets took a huge blow when they lost Aaron Rodgers, but remember, I picked the Jets because of their defense. The Jets defense intercepted Bills quarterback Josh Allen 3 times and forced him to fumble once. Jets took it to overtime, stopped Allen once more, and had a punt return for the win to cover the spread. 

Texans didn’t cover vs. Ravens 

— Texans were keeping it close, and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was looking a little rusty in a new offense. But eventually Ravens caused enough sacks at the right time and started pulling away. The Texans couldn’t get much offense going, and when they did, the Ravens pass rush came after quarterback C.J. Stroud. But that Texans’ defense was making it tough for Ravens to move the ball as well. 

WEEK 2 picks!!!

Packers @ Falcons. Sunday 1 pm. Packers +1

— I have a feeling this game is going to come down to the better quarterback. Who do you trust more, Packers Jordan Love or Falcons Desmond Ridder? For me, it’s Jordan Love. Not only does he look like a good facilitator, but he looks comfortable enough to lead this offense — 245 yards, three touchdowns— and that was without his top receiver in Christian Watson. Meanwhile, Ridder didn’t even eclipse 100 yards against the Panthers. 

Both the Packers and Falcons defenses could keep the score close. The Packers made spectators forget that Bears wide receiver D.J. Moore was on the field last week, and the Falcons safety Jessie Bates III intercepted Panthers rookie Brice Young twice. However, the Packers stopped the Bears’ rushing attack, while the Falcons allowed the Panthers to pound the rock for 154 yards. 

It’s early in the season, but the Packers just proved in Week 1 that they have the potential to stop the Falcons run game, run on the Falcons, and have the better quarterback. 

Raiders @ Bills. Sunday 1 pm. Raiders +8.5

The Raiders travel up to Buffalo to face the Bills. But this point spread is just too much to pass up on. -8.5 points for a Bills team that just went to New York and lost to a Jets team without Aaron Rodgers? Did the nation forget what they watched on Monday Night?

Just a few nights ago, we watched Bills quarterback Josh Allen have four turnovers against a really good Jets defense. The Bills need to find out what’s wrong with Allen and fix it. 

It’s also clear that when Allen doesn’t have Stephon Diggs open, he struggles to rely upon any of his other receivers. Diggs had 13 targets in Week 1, and the next closest receiver had six targets — and that was running back James Cook. Perhaps Diggs getting in Josh Allen’s ear since the playoffs has hampered his quarterback’s performance. 

If Allen thought the Jets pass rush was trouble, then he’s in for another challenge. The Raiders had two sacks and four quarterback hits last week on Russell Wilson. They are led by defensive end Maxx Crosby, who has made 2 Pro Bowls in the last 2 years. 

The Bills defense did a good job slowing down Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who took over for Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers left with a season-ending injury, but that’s not anything to celebrate about. Wilson has a career passer rating of 71.2, and they won’t be facing him again until November. Their upcoming test will be against Jimmy Garoppolo, who had a sharp game in Week 1 on the road against the Broncos (107.9 rating). Jimmy G looked comfortable in his new offense after reuniting this offseason with Josh McDaniels. And Raiders star running back Josh Jacobs should bounce back from a lackluster performance. The Bills better be careful not to let Jacobs run for over 170 yards like they allowed the Jets to do last week. 

I don’t think the Raiders are anything special, but perhaps they pillage and plunder while Allen & the Bills are still having issues. 

Chiefs @ Jags. Sunday 1 pm. Chiefs -3.5

The Jaguars covered last week versus the Colts, but I don’t expect them to do this again. The Jaguars got lucky with a late turnover from Anthony Richardson in a game where the Colts appeared to be the better team for most of the contest. 

I also don’t expect the Chiefs to start the season off 0-2. I have too much faith in Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes— even with their receivers dropping passes. Mahomes is still on the mark, he just needs his receivers to hold onto the ball.

Also, Chiefs star defensive tackle Chris Jones will return for Sunday’s contest after holding out this offseason. If you combine that with a Jags offensive line that allowed Trevor Lawrence to be sacked twice and hit 4 times, that’s a recipe for a tough afternoon for the Jags offense. 

Travis Kelce also returned to practice this week and could very well play in Week 2. That’ll help right the offense for the Chiefs. 

The Jags have so much potential, but most of the time, they leave me wanting. Sometimes, Trevor Lawrence flashes that potential of a generational quarterback talent, but he doesn’t play like it consistently. He’s growing, but he’s not grown. 

The Jags also went 3-12 on 3rd down and 1-3 on 4th down last week. Where’s that Doug Pederson brilliance? 

I’m taking the truly brilliant coach and quarterback — Andy Reid & Patrick Mahomes. 

49ers @ Rams. Sunday 4:05 pm. 49ers -7

The 49ers are much more like the team we saw dominate the Steelers, and the Rams are much less like the team we saw dominate the Seahawks.

Kyle Shanahan is Mr. Irrelevant and a defense that can cause havoc to any quarterback. I have total faith in them to cover this spread. They just did it last week and then some against a Steelers team that was supposed to match up with them very well.

Purdy is like a young Tom Brady right now. He’s fluent in the offense; he’s gaining chemistry with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Meanwhile, Run CMC is off somewhere, running over people. 

The defense is superb, and I expect them to be the turning point in this game. They just sacked Kenny Pickett 5 times, and I expect them to have similar results against a stationary target in Matt Stafford and an offensive line that pushed around a Seahawks defensive front that PFF ranked as one of the worst heading into the season. 

I love Sean McVay and I have a deep affection for Stafford, but they both are missing Cooper Kupp. I don’t expect this lackluster wide receiving corps and this backfield to go up against this defense and do much of anything. 

I know this is a rivalry game, but the 49ers will pummel the Rams back down to earth. Sometimes, you just have to pick a wide spread on a team that you trust. And how can you NOT trust the 49ers?

Browns @ Steelers. Monday Night 8:15 pm. Steelers +2.5

(As I was writing, I didn’t realize this was the only home team I picked for this week. Hahaha. Kind of makes me nervous.)

The Browns are coming off their sloppy game in the rain versus the Bengals. The Browns pulled it off, but no one can say quarterback Deshaun Watson looked like his old self (1 touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown, 1 interception, 67.3 rating). 

The Browns did what the Browns do — and that’s run the football. But the Steelers can combat that, as long as they don’t have an early-game collapse like they did last week versus the 49ers. Coming off last season, the Steelers were 9th against the run. The absence of star defensive tackle Cam Hayward could hurt the Steelers in this area while they face running back Nick Chubb, but I still expect them to find a way to slow down the Browns.

The Steelers have the benefit of the terrible towel and a home crowd attending a vicious rivalry game. Kenny Pickett was under duress last week, but so was Deshaun Watson, both teams could cause havoc on eachother defensively. 

I think the Steelers will get back to form and playing to their strengths, and I’m going to pick the quarterback who looked more comfortable in the offense this preseason — Kenny Pickett.