Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Bengals at Browns Betting Lines
Moneyline: Bengals +215, Browns -255
Point Spread: Browns -6
Bengals’ rookie QB Joe Burrow did not post impressive stats in Cincinnati’s home loss to the Chargers in Week 1. However, the former #1 draft pick did get our attention. Burrow was clearly the Bengals’ leader, both on the field and on the sidelines. You could feel the energy channeling through the television set.
The Cincinnati D held its own vs Los Angeles and kept the Bengals in the game. Burrow scrambled eight times for 46 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown on the ground. Many of Burrow’s passes missed the mark, but the young man was poised in the pocket and looked in command.
Burrow completed 23-of-36 throws for 193 yards and threw one interception. There were no passing TDs on Burrow’s stat sheet, but he came darn close late in the fourth quarter. With seven seconds left and the Bengals down 16-13, Burrow fired a laser to WR A.J. Green in the endzone. Green caught the ball for an apparent touchdown, but offensive pass interference was called. On the next play, Burrow watched in dismay as K Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard would-be game-tying field goal.
Tough loss to swallow for the rookie, but Burrow has a bright future ahead of him. Our sportsbook currently lists Joe Burrow’s Offensive Rookie of the Year odds moneyline at +225, second only to Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Week 2 NFL odds cast the Bengals as six-point underdogs in the upcoming AFC North battle with the Browns.
Cleveland got smashed by the Ravens in Baltimore, in a frustrating 38-6 loss. The Browns were dominated on both sides of the ball, the Super Bowl Odds leading Ravens flexing their muscles. It’s a forgettable game for Baker Mayfield and company, who are licking their wounds and hoping for redemption at home.
Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS
Broncos at Steelers Betting Lines
Moneyline: Broncos +280, Steelers -340
Point Spread: Steelers -9
Total: 41 ½
The Broncos are coming off of a hard-luck loss in their home opener against the Titans. Tennessee was in charge most of the game, but the score was still tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter. This deadlock was primarily due to the Titans’ new placekicker, future Hall of Famer Stephen Gostkowski, missing four kicks. Gostkowski missed FGs wide left and right, had a kick blocked, and shanked an extra point. It was truly uncanny.
Gostkowski’s missed extra point came after TE Jonnu Smith put the Titans up 13-7, finally. The Broncos counter-punched with RB Melvin Gordon’s first TD in a Denver uniform. Gordon’s score put the Broncos ahead 14-13, but the Titans had a game-winning drive in their pocket. With under three minutes to play, QB Ryan Tannehill led Tennessee down the field, and Gostkowski drilled the game-winning FG. What are the odds? The Titans escaped Denver with a 16-13 victory, and the Broncos missed a tremendous opportunity to start the season 1-0.
The Pittsburgh Steelers shook off the rust in Metlife Stadium, during a Week 1 victory over the NY Giants. The Steelers D was every bit as harrowing as advertised, sacking Daniel Jones three times and picking off two passes. Business as usual for Blitzburgh.
Stud RB James Conner was surprisingly ineffective for Pittsburgh and then left the game with an ankle injury. Benny Snell Jr. stepped up to shoulder the rushing load in Conner’s absence, racking up 113 yards on 19 carries. Snell Jr. may be the starter vs the Broncos, regardless of Conner’s status.
As it turns out, Big Ben’s elbow still works. Roethlisberger completed 21-of-32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Two of Roethlisberger’s scores went to JuJU Smith-Schuster, who pulled down six passes for 69 yards. Pittsburgh controlled the game for the most part and won by a final score of 26-16. The Steelers are back.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS
Bills at Dolphins Betting Lines
Moneyline: Bills -235, Dolphins +195
Point Spread: Bills -6
QB Josh Allen led Buffalo in both rushing and passing, as the Bills snuffed out the Jets in Week 1. Allen completed 33-of-46 passes for 312 yards and two scores, adding 57 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. However, the Jets were able to stick around in this game, largely in part to Allen’s butterfingers. Allen lost two fumbles, and if Buffalo expects to be truly relevant this season, that trend needs to halt.
Electrifying RB Devin Singletary was relatively quiet, but there’s no reason to panic. New Bills WR Stefon Diggs has settled in nicely, catching eight passes for 86 yards to lead Buffalo in receiving. Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley make for a nice trio of wide receivers. With a rock-solid defense on the other side of the ball, the sky’s the limit for the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills led 21-3 at halftime, before letting the Jets sneak back into the game. The final score of 27-17 doesn’t depict how lopsided the contest really was.
Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins lost a frustrating Week 1 game in Foxboro to the New England Patriots. Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was pretty awful, completing 20-of-30 passes for 191 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. Three interceptions. If Fitzmagic doesn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat soon, it may be “Tua Time”.
With the Dolphins down 14-3 in the fourth quarter, newly-acquired Miami RB Jordan Howard banged in a short touchdown run. Fitzpatrick ran in the two-point conversion, cutting the Patriots’ lead down to 14-11 with 10:31 left in the game. The Miami defense then immediately allowed Cam Newton to march New England right down the field. Patriots’ RB Sony Michel ran it in for a touchdown, making the score 21-11.
Fitzpatrick managed to get the Dolphins in the red zone again, but he threw his third and final interception in the end zone with 1:28 left on the clock. Game over. Fins lose.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1:00 p.m. ET on CB
Jaguars at Titans Betting Lines
Moneyline: Jaguars +320, Titans -400
Point Spread: Titans -9
Total: 42 ½
The Jacksonville Jaguars shocked the NFL world when they upset the Indianapolis Colts in a Week 1 AFC matchup. Most experts figured that Jacksonville was tanking the 2020-21 season, but the Jaguars had their claws out. Philip Rivers threw for 363 yards and a TD in his Colts’ debut, but the Jags D was solid throughout. Jacksonville picked off Rivers twice and generally wreaked havoc on Indianapolis all day long.
Jacksonville QB Gardner Minshew III, almost an afterthought, missed only one throw all game, and it was a drop. Minshew went 19-of-20 for 173 yards and three touchdowns, including a scoring strike to WR Keelan Cole in the fourth. Minshew hit a wide-open Cole in the endzone with 5:56 remaining, putting the Jaguars in front for good. Jacksonville tacked on an FG to complete the epic upset, defeating Indianapolis 27-20.
The Titans survived a God-awful kicking game by future Hall of Famer Stephen Gostkowski, edging the Broncos in Week 1. Tennessee played a strong game overall, besides Gostkowski’s four missed kicks. QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry worked out the kinks and were fortunate to escape Denver with a victory.
The Tennessee defense played consistently well, holding the Broncos to 323 total yards of offense. During the second quarter, the Titans forced a turnover on downs and recovered a fumble by RB Melvin Gordon.
Tennessee will only get better, but we’ve seen what happens when Jacksonville is underestimated and pegged as a massive underdog. This will be a great game.
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Ravens at Texans Betting Lines
Moneyline: Ravens -320, Texans +260
Point Spread: Ravens -7 ½
Total: 51 ½
The Ravens obliterated the Browns in Week 1, flexing their muscles for a 38-6 win in Baltimore. Cleveland was only down 10-6 in the first quarter, despite a Mayfield interception, a botched fake punt, and a missed extra point. After that, it was all Ravens.
Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-25 passing. Jackson also scrambled for 45 yards on seven carries. The Browns’ defense looked schizophrenic most of the game. Rookie RB J.K. Dobbins did most of the damage on the ground, scoring two TDs on only seven carries. Pro Bowl TE Mark Andrews also scored two touchdowns, while hauling in five passes for 58 yards.
The Baltimore defense is just as scary as the offense is, and this nasty group stifled Cleveland’s efforts at every turn. The Ravens D allowed a total of 321 yards of offense and frustrated any attempts at a comeback by the Browns.
The Houston Texans traveled to Arrowhead Stadium in another AFC matchup to face the reigning Super Bowl Champion Chiefs in Week 1. Houston struck first, scoring on RB David Johnson’s first rushing TD in a Texans uniform, a 19-yard scamper. The Chiefs responded by scoring 31 unanswered points, en route to a 34-20 victory.
Once the Texans got behind, Johnson wasn’t utilized as much and Houston didn’t have the offensive firepower to recover. WR DeAndre Hopkins would have come in handy in this spot, but Hopkins was shipped to the desert for Johnson.
Interestingly enough, the Texans only tallied nine fewer yards than the Chiefs did in the game (369-360). Houston just didn’t execute those yardage gains in a way that scored enough points to win the game. The Texans aren’t dead in the water, but there’s serious work to be done if they expect to compete at the highest level.
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Chiefs at Chargers Betting Lines
Moneyline: Chiefs -400, Chargers+320
Point Spread: Chiefs -9
Total: 47 ½
As noted above, the Chiefs pretty much had their way with the Texans in Week 1. The KC defense did a solid job containing Deshaun Watson and company, sacking Watson four times and intercepting him once.
Patrick Mahomes quietly carved up Houston’s defense, throwing for 211 yards and three TDs on 24-of-32 passing. WRs Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each scored, as did TE Travis Kelce. Rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire tore up the field for 138 yards on 25 carries, averaging 5.5 YPC. Edwards-Helaire also scored his first NFL touchdown.
The Chiefs look just as dominant now as they were when they finished the 2019-20 season as Super Bowl champs. It’ll be difficult for the Chargers to slow down that train.
L.A. barely escaped Cincinnati with a victory in Week 1, squeaking out a 16-13 win following Randy Bullock’s missed FG. It looked as if rookie sensation Joe Burrow and the Bengals would be deciding this game in overtime.
However, Bengals’ K Bullock shanked a 31-yarder with two seconds left to play, coming up “lame” afterward. Some might say that Bullock was just embarrassed to lose a game that Cincinnati had fought so hard to win. Anyway, the Chargers didn’t win the game so much as the Bengals lost the game.
The Los Angeles defense played fairly well, but needs to do much better to have a chance against Kansas City. RBs Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley combined to rush for 144 yards on 31 carries, scoring one touchdown. QB Tyrod Taylor was not very accurate, only completing 16-of-30 passes for 208 yards, no TDs, and no interceptions. The Chargers need to juice up their batteries for this potentially disastrous divisional matchup.