What a wild first week of the 2023 NFL Season as there were plenty of surprises, upsets, and unfortunately injuries. Some teams like the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars proved that last year was no fluke with strong wins, while top Super Bowl contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and the Cincinnati Bengals all lost. Most games were close with half of the Week One games were decided by one score or less although some games like Jaguars-Colts and Rams-Seahawks were close for the most part.
Although it is so early into the season, some teams have been crushed with injuries as Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins and star Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers are both likely done for the season. How will the Ravens and Jets adapt as we go on? And is New York's playoff chances in jeopardy?
In Week Two, there is a lot of pressure on the winless teams as starting the year 0-2 will definitely hurt the team's playoff chances. The Super Bowl defending Chiefs (0-1) have a tough road matchup in Jacksonville (1-0) while the Bengals (0-1) and Bills (1-0) have home matchups versus the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.
Last Week's NFL Picks
It was a solid week for my picks as I finished 8-8 and a solid .500 to start the season. My best pick was taking the Cleveland Browns at home over the Cincinnati Bengals. I remembered Joe Burrow's struggles versus the Browns, so I gave Cleveland the edge and it paid off. My worst pick was taking the Pittsburgh Steelers over the San Francisco 49ers. I was so confident in this pick and was shocked how bad the black and gold offense debuted.
My best bet was taking the Cardinals (+7) as they only lost by four to the Commanders. I also found success on Ravens (-10) and Eagles (-4.5). Week One is the hardest week to predict, and Week Two is likely the second hardest week, so let's see who comes through in this week's picks. By the way, my sure pick last week, Baltimore, dominated as expected and I'm looking to go 2-0 in locks.
Thursday Night Football
Minnesota Vikings (+7.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
This game probably is not as exciting as it would have been last season. The Minnesota Vikings (0-1) won 13 games last season, 11 of them by one score. Now the Vikings lost a close game last week to Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers and face the defending NFC champions on the road. The Eagles (1-0) didn't look the best against New England, but Jalen Hurts should have a good day against the Vikings defense.
Pick: Eagles 30, Vikings 23
Green Bay Packers (-1) at Atlanta Falcons
Two undefeated teams clash as the Falcons (1-0) host the Packers (1-0). Both teams have young quarterbacks in Desmond Ridder, who was solid for Atlanta last week, and Jordan Love, who threw for 245 yards and three touchdown passes. The Packers run defense isn't great and will try to stop Bijan Robinson and arguably the best rushing team in the league. But the overall Green Bay defense is really good and should give Ridder struggles all day. Packers take a close one.
Pick: Packers 27, Falcons 23
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
It was a season opener to forget for the Bengals, who took a 24-3 beating versus the Cleveland Browns. This team is a Super Bowl contender and had a rough day against the Browns defensive line. Now Cincinnati hosts another divisional rival in Baltimore, who had a 25-9 win against Houston. The Bengals fear starting 0-2 and should get back into rhythm.
Pick: Bengals 34, Ravens 31
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Chiefs lost by one point without Chris Jones and Travis Kelce in the season opener next week. But now Kansas City should get both back as they head to Jacksonville for a rematch of the divisional round last playoffs. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars will want revenge for that loss, but stopping Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is a tough task.
Pick: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 20
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at New England Patriots
Tua Tagovailoa looks like the MVP leader after Week 1 after throwing for three touchdowns and almost 500 yards in the 36-34 win last week, and now takes on New England who almost got the upset against Philadelphia. This is the second straight road game for Miami, who will pair up its explosive offense against the Patriots elite defense. Tua has never lost to the Patriots in his career and it should be the same story here.
Pick: Dolphins 23, Patriots 18
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
I am so undecided on this game because I think the Browns can and should win this game, but the Steelers rarely start 0-2. Cleveland also has not gone 2-0 in decades as well. A tough road game for DeShaun Watson and the Browns could lead to many taking Pittsburgh, but I was one of the few to back the Browns last week and I will do it again.
Pick: Browns 29, Steelers 24
The Rest Of The Picks:
Bills 24, Raiders 17 (+10)
Lions 23, Seahawks 21 (+6)
Colts 19 (-1), Texans 16
Buccaneers 24 (-3), Bears 10
Chargers 34 (-3), Titans 20
49ers 34, Rams 27 (+8)
Cowboys 35 (-7.5), Jets 24
Broncos 23, Commanders 20 (+3.5)
Saints 28 (-3), Panthers 20
Giants 24 (-4), Cardinals 17
Lock of the Week: Bills over Raiders
Upset of the Week: Bengals over Ravens
*although the Bengals are favored, it feels like the Ravens should win so I call it an upset.
Let's enjoy another great week of football and no more injuries!
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