We were all flying blind last week. That includes the oddsmakers who set the lines that instigate a million bets. Twelve underdogs covered the point spread, the most in Week 1 in the entire Super Bowl era. And nine of those dogs won outright — the most in any week in four years. Given all that, I feel almost OK to have come out of Kickoff Weekend 8-8 overall, especially with two of my L’s coming in overtime. And our 9-7 mark against the spread might have merited a doggone parade! Highlights: Nailed two of my three outright upset picks, including my Upset of the Week (Texans over Jaguars) and the Dolphins (+3) winning at New England. Also had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points smile upon me with covers by the Browns, Steelers and Cardinals. Now there’s some tangible Week 1 evidence in the pocket as we foray into Week 2. Let’s see how much it helps. [Note: Thursday night pick was @Washington (-3 1/2) over Giants, 19-17.]
Week 1/season: 8-8, .500 overall; 9-7, .563 vs. spread.
Final 2020: 166-89-1, .651 overall; 130-120-6, .520 vs. spread.
GREG COTE’S NFL WEEK 2 PICKS
GAME OF THE WEEK
CHIEFS (1-0) at RAVENS (0-1)
Line: KC by 3 1/2.
Cote’s pick: KC 30-23.
TV: 8:20 p.m., NBC.
Full transparency: My initial gut feeling was an upset here. Crows shocking the world in their home opener in prime time Sunday. How ‘bout that!? Then reality set in. Baltimore’s defense gave up 435 passing yards to Derek Carr last week, and now here comes the unstoppable triumvirate of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. And KC in four straight wins over BAL has had Lamar Jackson’s number, period. And Ravens have only covered once in past six home games vs. Chiefs. Did I mention the Mahomies are on a 10-1 run away from Arrowhead? Still give Baltimore an upset shot. Wouldn’t bet on it, though.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
COWBOYS (0-1) at CHARGERS (1-0)
Line: LAC by 3 1/2.
Cote’s pick: DAL 37-30.
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS.
“AAAWWWK!” hollers the Upset Bird, soaring like gas prices. “Dallas Cowbaaawwwk!” Like Dallas with the sizable outright road upset coming in with added rest and prep time, although I’d feel a tad better on this if Boys hadn’t lost WR Michael Gallup to injury. But that’s still a big and balanced offense for Bolts to outscore. Boys went on road and gave champion Bucs all they could handle last week, and LAC is only 3-9-1 against the spread in past 13 games as the home favorite. “In Dak and Zeke we trust,” notes U-Bird. “One nation under Gaaawwwk!”
THE REST OF WEEK 2:
Bills (0-1, -3 1/2) over @Dolphins (1-0), 27-20: Buffalo’s big offense got humbled by Steelers last week, while Miami was lucking out a fortunate win at New England thanks to the gift of a late Pats turnover. But into Week 2 comes both the feeling the Bills and Josh Allen are due a breakout game — and the doubt whether the Fins and Tua Tagovailoa can hang with Buffs in a shootout. Miami will need a huge defensive showing in its home opener or unusually big numbers and points from Tua. Gotta have one to stay close, maybe both to win.
@Bears (0-1, -2 1/2) over Bengals (1-0), 23-17: Cincy impressed beating Vikes last week while Bears did not in losing to Rams. New week. Chitown pass rush will celebrate team’s home opener with a sack-feast vs. Joe Burrow, while I see a motivated Andy Dalton performing well vs. his longtime former team as he holds off the fan cry for rookie top pick Justin Fields.
@Browns (0-1, -12 1/2) over Texans (1-0), 31-13: Houston upset Jax in opener but get a whole other level of foe here. See a rout-win by Brownies in their home opener to ease the sting of last week’s blown-lead loss to Chiefs. Cleveland’s defensive front will be a nightmare for Tyrod Taylor.
Rams (1-0, -3 1/2) over @Colts (0-1), 27-20: Indy tempts here as a home dog ... but did last week, too, and fizzled against Seattle. I’m not a slave to trends but that was Colts’ eighth consecutive loss straight-up as an underdog, and Rams are thinking Super Bowl with a top-tier defense and now Matthew Stafford.
Patriots (0-1, -6) over @Jets (0-1), 23-10: Rookie QBs Mac Jones and Zach Wilson give a fresh feel to an AFC East rivalry that sees Pats on a 10-game winning streak. New England got unlucky losing to Miami in opener and will be in bounce-back-big mode. Jets’ Wilson got sacked six times by Carolina last week and now will be missing injured left tackle Mekhi Becton. Ouch.
@Eagles (1-0, +3) over 49ers (1-0), 31-28: Home ‘dog upset! (“Aawwk!”) Niners nearly blew it against Detroit last week while Phils were thumping Atlanta impressively. Now Frans have lost RB Raheem Mostert and top CB Jason Verrett to injury as they try to figure out how to work in in Trey Lance for Jimmy Garoppolo. Birds on an 8-1 series run and solid hunch-play in home opener.
@Steelers (1-0, -5 1/2) over Raiders (1-0), 24-16: Pittsburgh off a really big win over Buffalo and opening at home is a tall ask of a Vegas squad on a short week after winning in OT on Monday night. Big Ben and that defense are not to be dismissed even as the AFC North hype funnels to just about everybody else.
@Panthers (1-0, +3) over Saints (1-0), 23-21: Home dog upset! (“Aawwk!”) Jameis Winston tossed five TDs in upset of Green Bay last week and Sam Darnold looked really good, too. Somebody gonna regress to the mean here with a couple of turnovers. Saints travel party is missing eight members due to COVID-19 including most of the offensive coaching staff. Panthers on an 8-2 run covering as dogs.
Broncos (1-0, -6) over @Jaguars (0-1), 24-13: It’s home opener of the Urban Meyer/Trevor Lawrence era, but hardly an ideal setting. Lawrence is coming off a three-pick debut, and Urban spent the week denying he would be bolting for the Southern Cal job. Jax’s defense gave up 37 points to a bad Houston team last week. Now Denver’s pass rush won’t make things any easier for Lawrence.
@Cardinals (1-0, -3 1/2) over Vikings (0-1), 34-31: Minnesota let one slip to Cincy in OT last week, while Arizona impressed against Tennessee in making a road upset not seem like one. Vikes have beaten Cacti in five of past six meetings. Like Zona in its home opener but hunch Purples keep this one close so we’ll saddle up that extra half point on the bet line.
@Buccaneers (1-0, -12 1/2) over Falcons (0-1), 34-23: Will this game cause Matt Ryan to flash back to the 2015 Super Bowl and watching Tom Brady erase a huge deficit to beat his Falcons? Even if not, Tampa and Brady at home with extra rest is a mountain to scale. Brady swept Ryan last year but Falcs had won previous four trips to Tampa. Crazy hunch ATL covers.
@Seahawks (1-0, -5 1/2) over Titans (0-1), 28-24: Pete Carroll turned 70 this week, only the fourth NFL head coach ever to that milestone. Russell Wilson is keeping him young. Seattle in its home opener makes for a tough visit, but I see Tennessee bouncing back from last week’s disappointing opener to at least keep it within the bet line.
@Packers (0-1, -11) over Lions (0-1), 30-21: Pack’s Lambeau debut feels like Monday night medicine for Aaron Rodgers and company. Gee Bees are on a 14-2 run at home and also have won 17 of past 20 at home vs. division rival Detroit. But Lions on a 7-1 run against the spread vs. Pack and 11 is a bunch to give. See a comfy home win, but not a rout.
[Note: Betting lines are courtesy Caesars Sportsbook as of midday Thursday] .©2021 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.