I went 8-7-1 last week, but 3-2-1 on my best bets and 1-3 on the coin flips, so things are moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, while I loved last week's slate, I had a lot of trouble with this one. That is until I started writing it up and just going with what popped into my head. If I've had a flaw in recent seasons (other than reflexive contrarianism and getting too meta with the whole public/sharp gaming-the-system angles) it's being too aware of both sides of the argument. While someone like Walter Sobchak would do well to consider the possibility he's mistaken, maybe I've erred too far in the other direction. Make an assumption that might be unfounded, go with it, see how it turns out. Refine, re-consider, repeat. If I have to smash up the wrong car every now and then, so be it.
My best bets are the Steelers, Buccaneers, Colts, Ravens and Redskins. Coin flips are the Browns-Vikings, Packers-Bengals, Raiders-Broncos and Cardinals-Saints.
Chiefs +3 at Eagles
I like both of these teams so far this year, but the Thursday night game typically turns everything into a random slop fest. Andy Reid can't coach on game day, but usually his squads are prepared. And probably never more so than against the team that canned him. Back the Chiefs.
Chiefs 27 - 23
Chargers +3 at Titans
Two teams that easily could be 2-0 (and both are 2-0 ATS), but keep in mind the Titans haven't yet turned the ball over, and Jake Locker still hasn't shown much. Back the Chargers.
Chargers 24 - 23
Browns +5.5 at Vikings
The Browns are down to their backup quarterback, and the running game hasn't done anything in years. The Vikings should have beaten the Bears in Chicago last week. Back Minnesota at home.
Vikings 27 - 14
Buccaneers +7 at Patriots
The Bucs could easily be 2-0, but for a stupid penalty and an even more idiotic 47-yard FG attempt up one with a minute left. The Pats are getting it done with smoke and mirrors. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs won outright. Back Tampa.
Buccaneers 20 - 17
Texans -2.5 at Ravens
Maybe I'm missing something, but the Ravens won the Super Bowl, led Denver at the half in Week 1 before wearing down in the altitude and beat the Browns by eight. The Texans, meanwhile, were life and death in San Diego and then at home against Tennessee. Back Baltimore.
Ravens 23 - 20
Rams +3.5 at Cowboys
The Rams aren't great, and Sam Bradford might never live up to his pedigree, but the Cowboys are nothing special, and I see this being a coin flip in a venue that confers minimal advantage on the hosts. Back St. Louis.
Rams 20 - 19
Cardinals +7.5 at Saints
Normally, I'd take the Cardinals without a second thought here as they have a pretty good defense, and their offense is much improved with Carson Palmer under center. But the Saints defense has actually been good the first two weeks, too. Still, I'm not buying into New Orleans' defense just yet, and I expect Arizona to show up. Back the Cardinals.
Saints 31 - 24
Lions +2 at Redskins
The Redskins defense has been awful, but I think they're at least equal to the Lions, and they're laying fewer than three at home. Back Washington.
Redskins 33 - 27
Packers -2 at Bengals
I hate backing road favorites, but the Packers are good enough to get it done in this spot, and Andy Dalton looked bad against the Steelers. Cincy will have an easier time against Green Bay's defense, but the better quarterback pulls away. Back Green Bay.
Packers 34 - 27
Giants +1.5 at Panthers
I've backed the Giants the first two weeks and have no wins to show for it, but they killed Dallas but for the turnovers, and the Denver game was 10-9 at the half before more turnovers and a special teams TD put that out of reach too. Carolina is a tough team and easily could be 2-0, but their coach is horrible, and the Giants will channel the desperation more urgently. Back New York.
Giants 24 - 20
Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins
The Falcons are always going to be solid with that offense, but I think these are equal teams, and the Dolphins are laying fewer than three. Back Miami.
Dolphins 23 - 20
Colts +10.5 at 49ers
I like buying the Niners off a bad loss at home against a soft Colts defense, but Andrew Luck rarely seems to go down quietly, and usually Indy's games are close. Unless the Niners really punish Luck, I think he'll exploit their weakness in the secondary. Back Indy.
49ers 28 - 20
Jaguars +19.5 at Seahawks*
I think you have to hold your nose and take the points here. Expect the Seahawks to get drunk on Saturday night while the Jaguars give it their best. Back Jacksonville.
Seahawks 23 - 6
*For a contrary opinion and a quality rant, check out Erickson at 23:30 of this video:
Bills +2.5 at Jets
These are roughly equal teams (both 2-0 ATS), but the Jets aren't laying the full three points despite being at home. Back New York.
Jets 16 - 13
Bears -2.5 at Steelers
This is probably my best bet. The Steelers defense is still good, and while the offense has struggled, it was able to move the ball enough against a tough defense in Cincinnati. The Bears were life and death with the Vikings last week, and they'll face a desperate animal in Pittsburgh Sunday night. Back the Steelers.
Steelers 24 - 13
Raiders +15 at Broncos
I considered laying the points here, but with no Von Miller and no Ryan Clady, Denver is missing two of its top players. Plus, the Raiders should be up for this national game. Back Oakland.
Broncos 30 - 16
We were 8-7-1 in Week 2 to put us at 13-17-2 on the year. Last year we went 121-129-6 on the regular season. From 1999-2012 we've gone 1,810-1,641 (52.4%), not including ties.