NFL Week 2 predictions: Bengals still looking vulnerable

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Home team in CAPS:
Sunday
Ravens (+3.5) over BENGALS
This could well be a three-hour barn burner. Not wholly sold that Cincinnati is finally ready to take that significant next step. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are consistent AFC contenders and reasonably healthy, save for RB J.K. Dobbins.
Dolphins (-3) at PATRIOTS
The Miami gang prepared smartly for their season opener at the Chargers and narrowly escaped, displaying their typical enviable poise and grace under pressure. Led by QB Tua Tagovailoa, head coach Mike McDaniel is not looking to waste such opportunities. Don’t expect the Pats to go down easily, even with McDaniel’s talent advantages overcoming Bill Belichick’s sheer presence.
Joe Burrow USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
Raiders (+8.5) at BILLS
In Buffalo’s favor, it will be poised on a sharp edge after a brutal overtime loss to the ultracompetitive Jets … but even the most fervent Bills followers must be harboring concerns. This may not be a stellar season for loyalists of Josh McDaniels and the late Al Davis, but they’re catching beaucoup points.
GIANTS (-4) over Cardinals
Off the loss to the Cowboys to start the season, the favorites should manage to hold sway against Cards outfit, which might be a tad discouraged at this juncture. Proffered price seems within reason for a Giants side looking to reclaim its sea legs. Giants grind one out.
COWBOYS (-9) over Jets
This Jets bunch could well battle Dallas willfully throughout. Alas, the endgame, which concluded with the Jets eking out their Monday-night win versus Buffalo, must be dealt with mentally. The powerful ’Boys face an infrequent opportunity to complete a Jets-Giants sweep to open the season. With Jets QB Aaron Rodgers on IR, handle with care.
Zach Wilson Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
RAMS (+7.5) over 49ers
The Niners are clearly superior to better than 95 percent of the league, but am giving the Rams a fighting chance to stay within striking distance, even without top WR Cooper Kupp.
Seahawks (+4.5) over LIONS
There simply appears to be too much inherent value in the underdog Seahawks, as currently constituted, to grant them this much of a head start versus these Lions. This game looms as a markedly close call, and must give the nod to the ’Hawks at this early juncture in the long, hard schedule.
CHARGERS (2.5) over Tennessee
The Bolts continue to encounter difficulties winning by any comfortable margins, while the Titans have proven their ability to be resourceful and keep their hand in most games.
Trevor Lawrence Getty Images
Chiefs (-3.5) over JAGUARS
Seldom eager to go versus the mighty K.C. conglomeration, though I’d rather it was healthier than it is now. Despite the Jags’ 10-point win a week ago at Indy, we’ve frequently been frustrated by their underperformances.
Texans (-1) over COLTS
Off brief stints put in by most recent coaches Bill O’Brien, David Culley, and (most recently) Lovie Smith, the Texans take a swing with DeMeco Ryans — who earned his shot with sustained, respectable work in his role as the defensive coordinator for San Francisco. Looms as an intriguing, advantageous call — at current quotations.
Packers (+1.5) over FALCONS
Not looking to go all wild and crazy with QB Jordan Love and the Pack, after opening win at Chicago. Rookie RB Bijan Robinson is gradually making his way anchoring the homestanding Falcons offense, but even with the hosts very possibly getting the best of things, still must embrace the evident value with the visitors.
Bijan Robinson Getty Images
Bears (+2.5) over BUCCANEERS
Chicago has been disappointing, but we’re not expecting any sustained complete disaster. Given that, the Bucs are no particular bargain, and figure road dog can hang in this clash, as hungry as the Bears should be.
BRONCOS (-3.5) over Commanders
Denver gets an early leg up and benefit of some doubts here, with the key ingredient in large part being the Broncos’ hiring of top-reputation coach Sean Payton, who did consistently above-level work in New Orleans. Home side’s roster looks better, though this looms as a close call, either way.
MONDAY
Saints (-3) over PANTHERS
Willing to chase New Orleans at the market, and will lean towards the home chalk, so long as the bourse remains quasi-rational. The Saints are doing enough to maintain momentum. Expect them to make more big plays for coach Dennis Allen, as we lean to the home chalk. Close!
STEELERS (+2.5) over Browns
With Pittsburgh coming off what many wise guys adjudged as a superior draft, looking for the hosts to take a realistic step forward. The Browns broadly improved — if many wise heads are right — and the market appears within reason to those fancying the home side. Pittsburgh needs to throw a big one.
Last week: 7-8
2022 season: 125-119-3.

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