Skip to main content

Week 2 NFL game picks: Buccaneers edge out Saints; Steelers drop Patriots to 0-2

Gregg Rosenthal went 10-5-1 straight up on his Week 1 picks. How will he fare in Week 2? His picks are below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of Noon ET on Thursday, Sept. 15 unless otherwise noted below.


  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1:00 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: +158 | Ravens: -190
  • SPREAD: Ravens -3.5 | O/U: 44.5

This is the game I'm most excited for on Sunday because I want to see where these teams go next. Both had similar openers, featuring lackluster running games, just enough big plays offensively and suffocating defenses. In terms of pass protection, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has sprinkled his Shanahan dust on the offensive line, but it was a bad sign that Miami couldn't run against a Patriots team mostly playing five defensive backs. 

How Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' staff handle the Dolphins' blitzes will be a great litmus test after these teams' Week 10 meeting last season, when Miami exposed a hole in the Ravens' passing game that wasn't (presumably) plugged until the offseason. Baltimore tried more runs under center last week, without great success, but I'll take Lamar over Tua Tagovailoa if both offenses are in one-dimensional, figuring-it-out mode.

  • WHERE: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland)
  • WHEN: 1:00 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Jets: +228 | Browns: -285
  • SPREAD: Jets +6.5 | O/U: 40

Jacoby Brissett, Joe Flacco and two strong defenses is not a recipe for a lot of excitement or points. Brissett looks out of place in Kevin Stefanski's system, holding the ball and throwing short of the sticks. Flacco looks out of place on an NFL field in 2022. That said, I can't help but be insulted on Robert Saleh's behalf when looking at this point spread. While the Browns' offensive line is clearly more cohesive overall, weird things happen in punt-fests. Saleh, desperate for a win, could see his young defense start to grow up.

  • WHERE: Ford Field (Detroit)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Commanders: +105 | Lions: -125
  • SPREAD: Commanders +1.5 | O/U: 48.5

Antonio Gibson is running hard as hell again. Terry McLaurin suddenly has two running partners with a lot of talent. Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner was in his bag last week, with the versatility of Gibson and receiver Curtis Samuel making pre-snap life tricky for the opposition. The Lions are only going to get better, but I’m worried their defense remains undercooked in terms of generating consistent pressure or staying disciplined. 

  • WHERE: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Colts: -205 | Jaguars: +170
  • SPREAD: Jaguars +4 | O/U: 45

A true revenge game! Frank Reich is 0-4 in Jacksonville and a repeat of last season’s regular-season finale would make life uncomfortable for the veteran coach. This game started as a two-point spread, which felt more appropriate, considering the Colts’ lack of explosive passing talent. I didn’t love how either quarterback played in Week 1 -- both Matt Ryan and Trevor Lawrence were frenetic at times -- but I trust Ryan more to bounce back. The Jaguars’ continued red-zone woes could be the difference in a close one.

  • WHERE: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
  • WHEN: 1:00 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Buccaneers: -145 | Saints: +122
  • SPREAD: Buccaneers -2.5 | O/U: 44

Recent history between these teams should make the Saints the favorite. But I can't shake the feeling this is not the same Saints defense, at least not yet. Dennis Allen's unit was pushed around up front by the Falcons, and the Bucs have just the scheme to bait Jameis Winston into mistakes. Then again, it's not the same Saints offense. Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas proved they are back in Week 1 and will be a problem for Todd Bowles' crew. It's a toss-up. I've changed my mind all week and will probably change it again after this publishes, so try to stay safe out there.

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1:00 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Panthers: +115 | Giants: -135
  • SPREAD: Panthers +2 | O/U: 43.5

It feels cruel to make someone pick this game, as if the outcome won't be entirely decided by chance. Big Blue's vibes are currently immaculate, while Matt Rhule is in a dark place filled with self-serving, self-created stats. The Giants' ragged offensive line performance last week concerns me, as does their linebackers' inability to cover running backs with Christian McCaffrey coming to town.

  • WHERE: Acrisure Stadium (Pittsburgh)
  • WHEN: 1:00 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Patriots: -125 | Steelers: +105
  • SPREAD: Steelers +2 | O/U: 40.5

The Dolphins' defense, led by former Patriots assistant Josh Boyer, was a terrible Week 1 opponent for New England's offense to unveil a new scheme against. Miami blitzed a confused New England offensive line into submission -- and now another former Patriots assistant, Brian Flores, gets to take his turn. It's a confusing time when the Pats have a bad offensive line, bad secondary and can expect to get out-coached when they have the ball. Points figure to be at a premium, but the Steelers' defense has enough juice to win, even without T.J. Watt.

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Falcons: +400 | Rams: -550
  • SPREAD: Falcons +10 | O/U: 46.5

It’s the point of the season where it’s safe to accept how little we know, so any spread over 7 points is a big ask for a Rams squad that looked lost in the opener. Atlanta does not have the front four to expose Los Angeles' suspect offensive line, and coordinator Dean Pees’ blitz-happy scheme plays into Matthew Stafford’s strengths. Then again, Falcons coach Arthur Smith is fired up and bolstered by a group of playmakers that will be awkward to defend. Look for some long drives from the Falcons with Marcus Mariota running the option. Drake London already looks like the truth, which should help unlock Kyle Pitts. Atlanta can keep this one close enough to make Sean McVay anxious. 

  • WHERE: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Seahawks: +320 | 49ers: -420
  • SPREAD: Seahawks +8.5 | O/U: 41

Historical records are only so valuable, but Pete Carroll’s 8-2 mark and four straight wins against Kyle Shanahan mean something. The Seahawks have a short week and inferior personnel, but they tend to bring out the worst in Shanahan’s beautiful system. This one probably won’t be played in a monsoon like the 49ers’ last game, but the final score might look like it. 

  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Bengals: -355 | Cowboys: +278
  • SPREAD: Bengals -7.5 | O/U: 41.5

There is a case to be made for a Cowboys upset; I'm just not going to make it. Even if the Dallas defense maintains the level of play we saw in 2021 and in Week 1 of this season, the endemic problems of the offense go beyond the thumb injury that will keep Dak Prescott out in the immediate future. Those issues began near midseason last year, and that was back when they had Tyron Smith (out until December), La'el Collins (released) and Amari Cooper (traded away). The Bengals have a grown-up defense that makes you earn everything, and there's little reason to think Mike McCarthy, Kellen Moore or backup QB Cooper Rush have answers. 

  • WHERE: Empower Field at Mile High (Denver)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Texans: +360 | Broncos: -480
  • SPREAD: Texans +10 | O/U: 45

Perhaps it’s a Week 1 overreaction, but I’m just not seeing that massive a gap between the bottom of the league and the middle. The Texans will end up near the bottom if Davis Mills continues to misfire on outside throws, but the defense -- buoyed by the ageless Jerry Hughes and a fun, young secondary -- will keep Houston in games. There’s a lot of projection happening to position the Broncos as one of the league’s best teams despite an incredibly inexperienced coaching staff.

  • WHERE: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Cardinals: +196 | Raiders: -240
  • SPREAD: Raiders -5.5 | O/U: 51.5

Kyler Murray can only do so much. The Cardinals enter most games losing the talent matchup on both lines and on the perimeter with passing games on both sides of the ball. The Raiders’ defense quietly showed development last week. Under new coordinator Patrick Graham, Las Vegas is better positioned to change defensive game plans weekly and attack weaknesses. This week, that likely means a lot of testing Murray’s protection with blitzes. 

  • WHERE: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Bears: +360 | Packers: -480
  • SPREAD: Packers -10 | O/U: 41.5

This was my toughest pick against the spread. Ten points is a lot for a Packers team that was so messy on both sides of the ball in Week 1. But the Packers could get both starting tackles and top receiver Allen Lazard back this week against a Bears side that played hard monsoonball last week but is otherwise a mystery. If Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari play, I could see the Packers winning 23-10.


The Titans have scored 76 points in their last two games against the Bills, with both of those Tennessee wins coming pretty early in the season. While the Titans' offensive firepower is diminished, there were more positive signs last week than their final score against the Giants indicated. But this is the Josh Allen fireshow until proven otherwise -- I just cannot pick against the guy in any fashion until he looks mortal again for a game. The Bills' depth of pass rushers should eventually wear out Ryan Tannehill.

The Eagles’ defense was less than the sum of its parts in Detroit, which could be a problem against a Vikings offense that isn’t just running Sean McVay’s old playbook. Kevin O’Connell did a great job blending schemes he’s worked in and finding ways to get Justin Jefferson open against the Packers. Minnesota's defensive line faces a much tougher test here; Jalen Hurts’ ability to create when pressured could be the difference. Hurts is set to have one of the best rushing seasons by a quarterback in NFL history.


  • WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | Prime Video, NFL+
  • MONEYLINE: Chargers: +170 | Chiefs: -205
  • SPREAD: Chargers +4 | O/U: 54

The Chargers will not blitz Patrick Mahomes and play a single-high safety like the Cardinals did a week ago because they know that’s self-harm. Also, Brandon Staley knows he doesn’t have to. With Khalil Mack back to peak powers and the run defense improved, Los Angeles has the scheme and players to slow down Kansas City. I just don’t know if the Bolts can match the Chiefs’ offensive coaching aggression. September Andy Reid is a dangerous man, and while Mahomes and Justin Herbert can both pull off the impossible throws, Mahomes gets easier ones courtesy of Big Red. 

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter.

Visit to learn more about responsible betting.

Related Content