Chicago Bears' Justin Fields celebrates after an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in Chicago. The Bears won 19-10. Photo by Associated Press
Chicago Bears' Justin Fields celebrates after an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in Chicago. The Bears won 19-10. Photo by Associated Press

Woof.

I’ll be the first to admit, that’s not how I pictured week one playing out. I fell victim to the hype, and picked a lot of heavy favorites I figured would look just as good as advertised. Underdogs fed on the lopsided spreads, kickers shook off some rust and we had our first tie of the season! We had teams getting last minute covers (I’m looking at you, Detroit), and the Bears, one of the biggest underdogs of the week, got an outright win. I didn’t make it to .500, but just as the players need to get back into a rhythm, those of us watching on our couches do as well. At least I wasn't the only one. I'll take comfort in knowing I had the same record as the Associated Press last week.

Before we get to this weekend, we’ve got some really enticing local matchups on Friday night. Warsaw will take its undefeated record on the road to NorthWood while Tippecanoe Valley hosts Rochester in the Bell game. I’ll be providing coverage for the latter. Our two featured games this week showcase teams with combined records of 16-0. This is why we do it, folks!

Both the Tigers and Vikings have looked incredible so far this season, especially on the defensive end. Tippy Valley has allowed negative rushing yards in two consecutive games, and Warsaw hasn’t given up a point in 10 quarters and only 14 in four games. I’m looking forward to seeing how both of these teams progress this year, and hoping each of them continues to win.

Elsewhere, Wawasee and Triton will be at home against Concord and Culver Community respectively, while Manchester and Whitko search for their first wins of the year on the road. Good luck to all of our local athletes!

Before we get into week two, a few things that have been on my mind for the last week:

The White Sox won three out of four games in Oakland this weekend and lost ground in their division race. That sucks.

The Missouri Tigers’ defense still can’t stop a nose bleed and it makes me very sad.

Red Dead Redemption 2 might be the greatest video game ever made. Nothing like riding around on a horse with a pump-action shotgun.

I am LOVING Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings prequel, Rings of Power. It’s also given me an excuse to re-watch the original trilogy again, but then again, I don’t need much of one. Return of the King is my favorite movie of all time.

That’s all I can think of. The key to this week is to do our best not to overreact to what we saw in week one. I don’t think teams like the Rams and Packers are going to continue to look as bad as they did, though I certainly wouldn’t mind if the latter did. Let’s get into it, ladies and gentlemen!

THURSDAY NIGHT

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)


Quick turnaround for two teams that got big wins over 2021 playoff teams in week one. Keenan Allen will most likely be out for Los Angeles after suffering a hamstring injury Sunday. Both offenses looked great in their respective openers, but it was the Chiefs who showed up with the clear message of “we’re not going anywhere.” No Tyreek Hill, no problem for Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City ran 66 offensive snaps on Sunday and had 33 first downs. Travis Kelce looks to remain the best tight end in the league after his eight catch, 121-yard performance, and JuJu Smith-Schuster looks to be a welcome addition to the receivers’ room.

I do think Justin Herbert will be in the MVP race and I do think the Chargers will make the playoffs this year, but only one of these teams can start 2-0. For once, my brain and my gut agree, and are telling me not to overthink this one.

The Pick: Chiefs -4.5

1 O’CLOCK SUNDAY

Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

I am not looking forward to picking AFC South games this season. After week one, no team in the division has a win, and two of the teams played each other. Indianapolis looked dreadful for most of the game before turning it on in the fourth quarter to force overtime with Houston. The team must have used all of its energy, because it couldn’t do anything afterwards. On the flip side, Jacksonville turned it on late and led Washington late in the game before former Colt Carson Wentz put things away.

For games like this, it comes down to trust. I think I may trust Doug Pederson more than I trust Frank Reich, but I trust Matt Ryan and the offensive skill players of the Colts more than Trevor Lawrence and those of the Jags. Matt Ryan picks up his first win for Indy on the road, and the Colts get revenge for being kept out of the playoffs last year.

The Pick: Colts -4.5

Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions (-1.5)

This isn’t the most exciting game to look at on paper, but I think those tuning in to this one on Sunday afternoon are going to be in for a treat. Carson Wentz looked very good with four touchdown passes in his Commanders debut, and the Lions stormed back from down big late to cover the spread against the Eagles in a three-point loss. I mentioned last week that I think the Lions are going to be a significantly improved team compared to last year’s version, and I have to back that up at some point. It won’t be this week though, as I think the defensive line for Washington makes the difference in this one.

The Pick: Commanders +1.5

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-5.5)

The Browns spoiled Baker Mayfield’s Super Bowl in week one, while the Jets struggled to get anything going offensively with Joe Flacco under center against Baltimore. The Browns offense will lean heavily on the run as long as Jacoby Brissett is the quarterback, but as long as the team takes care of the football, they should be tough to put away each week. I still don’t like Joe Flacco in 2022’s NFL, no matter how elite he once was. I have a hard time seeing New York scoring many points, and if Cleveland is able to break off a couple of big plays, they should be celebrating 2-0 on top of new midfield logo Brownie the Elf.

P.S. To my friend Casey, I hope Zach Wilson comes back soon.

The Pick: Browns -5.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at New Orleans Saints

This is one where I think overreactions might get the best of us. The Saints looked REALLY bad for most of their game against Atlanta before kicking a game-winning field goal in the final minute to steal a win. The Bucs looked great defensively on Sunday night, but how much of that was the inability to do literally ANYTHING for Dallas? Tom Brady connected with Mike Evans for a touchdown in the second half, but that was the only TD of the game.

 TB12’s offense is going to look better in week two, but the Saints love showing up for this game, and I think they do so at home.

The Pick: Saints +2.5

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (-2.5)

I’d first like to apologize to the New York Football Giants for writing them off so easily last week. I gave them just a sentence of coverage and they gave me a loss in return. Saquon Barkley finally looked like Saquon Barkley again, and Brian Daboll looked like the leader of men New York has desperately been looking for.

 On the other side, it was a disaster for the Panthers in week one as Baker Mayfield took a little too long to find a rhythm. Like the G-Men, Carolina had a bulk of its offensive production in the second half, which makes this one so tough to pick. Which team is more likely to carry over its successes? I’ll be referring to this game as the BBB, or Bobby-Bailey Bowl, named after two of my good friends who are diehard fans of these two teams. At this point, I don’t have much faith in either quarterback, but I think I trust Baker just a tiny bit more.

The Pick: Panthers +2.5

New England Patriots (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Both teams had tough starts to their respective seasons last week, despite Pittsburgh coming away with a win over the defending AFC Champions. The game could have ended in a tie, and the Steelers could have very well lost the game if not for some untimely kicking despite winning the turnover battle by a hefty margin and jumping out to a two-touchdown lead early in the game. The cherry on top of the expletive sundae was that the team lost 2021 Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt for an extended period of time.

The Patriots didn’t come away with a win, nor did they really even come close in their loss to Miami. The offense looked horrendous, and Mac Jones was banged up after the game. This is another game I’m not really sure which way to lean. Do I really make a pick that would place a Bill Belichick team at 0-2? With Matt Patricia as the offensive coordinator, I’m leaning that way.

The Pick: Steelers +1.5

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)

The Dolphins had a lot of people excited after a pretty solid showing last week. The Ravens also looked good against an outmatched Jets side. This figures to be a really competitive game with a lot of points on the scoreboard. Games like this are the reason Miami traded for Tyreek Hill, and I expect him to compound off of a great first game here. The Ravens love to start off strong though, and I like them at 2-0.

The Pick: Ravens -3.5

LATE AFTERNOON SLATE

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-10.5)

This is where things get really interesting. The Rams are favored by more points in week two than they scored in week one. Yes, the Rams were playing an absolute wagon in the Buffalo Bills, but the team showed a lot of problems that weren’t easy fixes. On the other side of things, Atlanta almost got an outright win over a heavily favored Saints team. I could be totally wrong, and the Rams come out with anger and purpose, but I have a really hard time gifting a double-digit win.

The Pick: Falcons +10.5

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)

Was there anybody that watched these two teams play last weekend and thought the Niners would win by 10? I know the Seahawks were at home and the Russell Wilson homecoming had the team playing out of their minds on Monday night. Geno Smith looked incredible but I don’t know how sustainable that is.

San Fran lost outright as one of the biggest favorites in week one, and lost starting running back Elijah Mitchell for a few months. Trey Lance showed some flashes, but was overall underwhelming. This has the chance to be a total letdown game for the Seahawks, but I haven’t seen enough from Lance that proves he can run away with one.

The Pick: Seahawks +9.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) at Dallas Cowboys

With how dreadful the Cowboys offense looked on Sunday night with Dak Prescott, I can’t imagine how rough it might look with Cooper Rush under center. If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been trying my best to stay away from heavy favorites. Maybe I’m overcorrecting for last week, but I do like the Bengals here. The offense looked better in the second half and OT in week one, and I don’t think Dallas has answers.

The Pick: Bengals -7.5

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-9.5)

The Broncos looked a lot worse than they were expected to Monday night in Seattle. The Texans looked a lot better than expected Sunday afternoon at home, at least for a half. Part of me thinks the Texans won’t look as good in a non-divisional game, but I go back to the ten points. There will definitely be some improvement in the Bronco offense, but Davis Mills proved he can move the ball against a stout defense last week. I like the Texans to hang around.

The Pick: Texans +9.5

Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders (-5.5)

The Raiders wasted no time making new weapon Davante Adams feel welcome, as the star wide out finished with over 100 receiving yards. The Cardinals got absolutely crushed by the Chiefs at home in a game that was never close. One of these two playoff teams from 2021 is starting this season 0-2. I think both teams have a very good chance of winning this game, so it figures to be close. I am aware I said that about the Cardinals last week. I’m sticking to it.

The Pick: Cardinals +5.5

WAITIN’ ALL DAY FOR A SUNDAY NIGHT

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-9.5)


I made a big deal about not overreacting. I was totally prepared to not get too ahead of my Bears being 1-0. I was 100% taking the Packers as long as the spread was reasonable. We got 9.5. I’d be stoked if the Bears could keep it close and play a competitive game, but I remember what happened when the Packers lost their week one game last year. Aaron Rodgers is going to be pissed, and he has his favorite victim coming to town to take it out on. I may just be conditioned to think this way, but I’ve seen this song and dance far too many times.

The Pick: Packers -9.5

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-9.5)


It feels like forever ago, as Thursday night games often do, but the Bills were easily the most impressive team in the league in week one. The team that seemed to be everyone’s preseason Super Bowl pick showed why in a dismantling of the Rams. The Titans started off strong before collapsing in the second half in their loss to New York. The offense looked dreadful, and not even Derrick Henry could change that fact. I know I made a big deal about these crazy spreads, and I expect them to maybe shrink some before Sunday, but I picked against Josh Allen last week and that was not fun at all. Not doing that again.

The Pick: Bills (-9.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5)

I was surprised to see that we had two Monday night games this week, but I will be the last person complaining about it. Now we just need to figure out a way to get games on Tuesday and Wednesday too. Both teams put up a lot of points last week, but it was Philadelphia who gave up far more than Minnesota did. The Birds will be at home, and it’ll be the first road test for Kevin O’Connell and the Vikings. Another game that could go either way, I’ll give the edge to the home team.

The Pick: Eagles -1.5

As always, enjoy the games this weekend! Let’s hope for a little more success this time around. Have a great week, everyone.

RECORD ATS: 6-10

AP RECORD ATS: 6-10