NFL Week 2 Picks: Final Predictions and Over/Under Odds Before Thursday Night
After a thrilling Week 1 of the NFL season, football is officially back in full swing.
Week 2 features more exciting matchups, starting with a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
Sunday’s slate of 14 games is highlighted by an NFC Championship Game rematch between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. The week ends with a Monday night contest between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.
With Week 2 about to get underway, here’s an updated look at odds and picks for each of the 16 games coming up over the next five days, followed by a closer breakdown of Thursday’s NFC South rivalry matchup.
Week 2 NFL Odds and Picks
Picks are in bold and made against the spread.
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-6.5); Over/Under 49 points
Arizona at Baltimore (-13.5); O/U 46
Buffalo (-1.5) at N.Y. Giants; O/U 44
Dallas (-5) at Washington; O/U 46
Indianapolis at Tennessee (-3); O/U 45
Jacksonville at Houston (-9); O/U 43
L.A. Chargers (-2.5) at Detroit; O/U 48
Minnesota at Green Bay (-3); O/U 44.5
New England (-18.5) at Miami; O/U 48
San Francisco at Cincinnati (-2); O/U 45
Seattle at Pittsburgh (-4.5); O/U 45.5
Kansas City (-7) at Oakland; O/U 53
Chicago (-2.5) at Denver; O/U 40.5
New Orleans at L.A. Rams (-2.5); O/U 52
Philadelphia (-1.5) at Atlanta; O/U 51
Cleveland (-2.5) at N.Y. Jets; O/U 46
Thursday Preview, Predictions
The second Thursday night matchup of the year features a pair of NFC South rivals looking to bounce back from losses in Week 1.
The Panthers and Buccaneers have both switched to 3-4 defenses this season, but that didn’t yield positive results for either in the opening week. Carolina dropped its opener to the Los Angeles Rams 30-27, while Tampa Bay fell to the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.
Although the Panthers and Bucs play in a competitive division that also features the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, there are reasons to believe that each could have strong seasons.
For Carolina, its offense is fueled by running back Christian McCaffrey. In Week 1, McCaffrey got off to a strong start, rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns while also hauling in 10 passes for 81 yards.
Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians praised McCaffrey earlier this week, stating that he thinks the third-year player is the best dual-threat back in the NFL.
“I used to think it was David Johnson, but Christian’s passed him up,” Arians said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). “As a receiver, he’s a hell of a matchup problem, and as a runner, he’s a great runner.”
The Buccaneers will likely need a better performance from quarterback Jameis Winston in order to beat the Panthers on the road. In Week 1, Winston threw three interceptions, two of which were returned by the 49ers for touchdowns.
“That’s what this league’s all about. You can’t have any hangovers, no carry-overs, so he’s just got to stay locked in,” Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said, per AP. “The good thing is we had to [begin preparation] the next day and get to rolling with this game being so quick.”
This game has the potential to be close, but with the Panthers as 6.5-point favorites, it’s more likely that they win by at least a touchdown. Cam Newton should have a bounce-back performance, leaning on McCaffrey to make big plays, while Carolina’s defense should have a better showing than it did against the Rams’ potent offense.
So, bet on the Panthers to pick up their first win of the season, even with the Buccaneers getting 6.5 points, as Carolina will pull away in the second half to take down Tampa Bay handily.