By W.G. Ramirez

So many storylines highlighted Week 1 of the NFL season; it’s hard to imagine pinpointing just one. In fact, while trying to find a spotlight start from this past weekend, and muddling through the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush, Anquan Boldin and the Giants’ wideout trio of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle, doesn’t it seem so long ago that Peyton Manning threw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns?

Yes, that was in Week 1, too.

So how does the NFL encore last week, in Week 2?

The Thursday matchup between the New York Jets and New England Patriots is a good start, as Rex Ryan and his rookie starting quarterback Geno Smith head into Foxborough for a clash with AFC East-rival New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots.

While the Jets were eking out an 18-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady was improving to 11-1 in season openers, the best record among quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era. The Pats needed a late comeback to win their 10th straight season opener with a 23-21 victory at Buffalo. As of Tuesday morning, the Patriots are laying -13 to the Jets, with the total sitting at 44.

Sunday’s card is highlighted by the surprising Tennessee Titans at the Houston Texans in an early AFC South showdown, the Dallas Cowboys visiting the rejuvenated Kansas City Chiefs, the brothers Manning throwing down in Jersey as the Broncos visit the Giants and the day culminating with an NFC West clash in primetime, when the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers visiting the Seattle Seahawks.

The following is a breakdown of the games on Thursday and Sunday, with some betting and fantasy tidbits to get your week started. Be sure to check back next Monday for my Monday Night Primer that will break down the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game.

(All information is for entertainment purposes only) (Lines and totals posted are consensus Las Vegas numbers, as of Tuesday at 7 a.m.)


NY Jets at New England (-12.5, 44) – The Patriots are on winning runs of 5-0 straight-up and 4-1 ATS in this series, though the road team is on a 21-8-1 ATS streak. Under Rex Ryan, the Flyboys are 4-7 as a road pup the past two seasons. In this series, the over is on an 8-0 run, while the Patriots have gone over in 39 of their last 54 and the Jets have soared in 36 of 56.

FANTASY NOTE: Both kickers wouldn’t be a bad grab this week, as New York’s Nick Folk was 3 for 3 on field goals, including a 48-yarder with 2 seconds left in the Jets’ 18-17 win over Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Stephen Gostkowski booted a 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in New England’s 23-21 victory over Buffalo. He also went 3 for 3 on the day.


San Diego at Philadelphia (-6, 53) – After Monday’s night home cover versus Houston, the Bolts have covered 4 of 5 in September and 5-2 ATS after suffering a straight-up loss. The Eagles, meanwhile, are in on ATS slides of 1-5 against losing teams, 1-6 in September and 4-13 overall.

FANTASY NOTE: Pick your poison with the Eagles’ offense. Its 53 plays were the second-most in a first half by an NFL team since 1991. Quarterback Michael Vick completed 15 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while also running nine times for 56 yards and a score. Running back LeSean McCoy rolled to 184 yards rushing on 31 carries, including a 34-yard touchdown. Wideout DeSean Jackson had seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Cleveland at Baltimore (6.5, 43.5) – The under is on a 5-0 run in this AFC North battle. Despite a 3-7 ATS slump in this series, the Browns have covered 5 of 7 when playing in Baltimore. The road team is a perfect 7-0 ATS in this showdown.

FANTASY NOTE: Don’t frown on Baltimore’s defense just yet. Peyton Manning had a monster game, in the Denver Broncos’ home opener. It’s hard to overcome that kind of determination. In fact, gauging by the betting numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both defensive units step up in this game.

Tennessee at Houston (-8.5, 44) – The Titans have lost 8 of 9 to the books in intradivision play. The Texans on the other hand, have covered five straight years in Week 2 and are on a 14-5 ATS win streak at Reliant Stadium.

FANTASY NOTE: Tennessee used a stellar defensive performance to top the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9. After Week 1, the Titans rank No. 2 overall after limiting Pittsburgh to just 195 yards.

Miami at Indianapolis (3, 42.5) – The Fins have covered 4 of 5 in intraconference play and are 11-4 ATS against winning teams. The Colts, who are playing their second-straight home game after beating the Raiders last Sunday, are in on ATS win streaks of 6-1 in Indianapolis, 6-1 after an ATS setback and 9-4 overall.

FANTASY NOTE: Miami receiver Brian Hartline finished with nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s 23-10 victory over Cleveland. Fantasy owners may want to have him active against a Colts defense that allowed 201 yards passing against Oakland.

Carolina (-3, 44.5) at Buffalo – The Panthers traveled well last season, covering 6 of their last 7 on the road. The Bills, on the other hand, have failed to cover in 11 of their last 13 after an ATS cover.

FANTASY NOTE: The Bills’ defense might be something to look at this week. Carolina lost starting right guard Garry Williams to a left knee injury in the first quarter of a 12-7 loss to Seattle, so getting to Cam Newton might be a bit easier. More than anything, the Bills will be out to save face after last week’s late loss to New England.

St. Louis at Atlanta (-7, 47.5) – The Rams have covered six straight with a suitcase in hand and are on 10-4 ATS run against NFC foes. The Falcons have lost four straight to the books in intraconference play. The home team has covered 5 of 7 meetings; while the over has cashed in 8 of the last 9 times these two have met in Atlanta.

FANTASY NOTE: Placekicker Greg Zuerlein was a perfect 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 48-yarder with 40 seconds left to lift the Rams to a 27-24 victory over Arizona. In Atlanta, the Rams may be turning to Zuerlein if they can’t punch it in.

Washington at Green Bay (-6.5, 50) – The Redskins are in on ATS win streaks of 5-1 while toting a travel bag, 4-1 against losing teams and 7-2 overall. The Cheeseheads have covered 9 of their last 11 games after a straight-up loss.

FANTASY NOTE: Solidified by his shoestring catch on the sidelines, Jordy Nelson may end up being Aaron Rodgers’ goto guy, as the wideout had seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay’s 34-28 loss to San Francisco.

Dallas at Kansas City (-2.5) – The Cowboys are mired in ATS losing streaks of 3-7 after an ATS cover and 4-14 after a straight-up win. Kansas City, meanwhile, have lost 5 of 6 at the window after a straight-up win.

FANTASY NOTE: Dallas’ defense finished Week 1 as the third-worst in the league, and that might be indicator to start Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who had 16 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown in Kansas City’s 28-2 win over Jacksonville.

Minnesota at Chicago (-6, 41) – The Vikings are mired in a 2-6 ATS slide on the highway. Chicago is mired in betting slumps of 1-4 in intraconference play, 1-6 at Soldier Field, 1-5 in intradivision play and also overall. Within this longtime Norris division rivalry, the home team has covered 16 of 21 meetings, yet the Bears are a perfect 5-0 when hosting Minnesota since 2008.

FANTASY NOTE: Adrian Peterson finished with 18 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota’s 34-24 loss to Detroit. The problem with what appears to be a solid season debut is 78 yards of that performance came on his first touch – the longest touchdown run on a player’s first carry of a season since the 1970 merger. Now he faces a physical rival. You can’t sit him, but he may need some help with your top secondary guy.

New Orleans (-3, 47) at Tampa Bay – The road team is cashing at 70 percent in this series, as the road team is on a 14-6 run at the window. The Saints have covered 7 of 10 overall in this NFC South battle, while the under is on an 8-1 run when these two get together.

FANTASY NOTE: The Saints’ defense looked better in Week 1 than it did in 2012, but this is always a tough tussle in central Florida. The Bucs’ offense will be in attack mode, and receiver Vincent Jackson, who had seven catches for 154 yards in Tampa Bay’s 18-17 loss to the New York Jets, could be a solid weapon.

Detroit (-1, 47.5) at Arizona – While the high-flying Lions are on an over run of 17-7-1 when hitting the highway, they’re also mired in a 6-16 ATS slide against NFC foes. The home team has covered nine straight times when these two date, including the Lions failing to cover five straight in the desert. The over is on an 8-1 run in this meeting.

FANTASY NOTE: The Cardinals’ defense is on notice after letting the Rams win in the waning moments. The bright spot on the stop unit was Dan Williams’ 2-yard interception for a touchdown in Arizona’s 27-24 loss. If you’re wondering whether to play the Redbirds’ D, take a look at Detroit’s futility in Arizona and utilize your resources.

Jacksonville at Oakland (-6, 39.5) – The Jags come to Oaktown on ATS slides of 2-5 in September, 0-6 in Week 2 and 1-5 overall. The Raiders, meanwhile, are also struggling at the window, having lost 5 of 6 at home and six straight after an ATS cover.

FANTASY NOTE: The verdict may still be out on quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was 19 of 29 for 217 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, but he also rumbled for 112 yards rushing in Oakland’s 21-17 loss to Indianapolis. He could very well have a big game against a Jags passing defense that ranks 26th after Week 1.

Denver (5, 55) at N.Y. Giants – At home, the Giants are a disappointing 12-19-1 ATS versus the line during the regular season dating back four seasons. The Broncos, meanwhile, were 4-1 as the road chalk last season, and are 6-2 when laying points with accompanied by a suitcase going back to 2011.

FANTASY NOTE: After seeing the Giants turn the ball over six times – including three interceptions thrown by Eli Manning – Denver’s defense looks like a strong play in this game after seeing the Broncos play with a purpose last week against Baltimore.

San Francisco at Seattle (-3, 44.5) – Seattle covered both meetings last season and comes into this NFC West showdown on an 18-7 ATS run during the regular season. The Seahawks were a perfect 8-0 straight-up and a near-perfect 7-1 versus the book, as the host last season. Under coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers are 5-2 at the window as a road pup the past two seasons. The favorite has covered 4 of the last 5 meetings, while the home team has covered 6 of 8 meetings.

FANTASY NOTE: If you’re holding Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson, they’re likely playing. The defenses, yes, they’re on your roster for a reason. But the key in this game could be Anquan Boldin, who had 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s 34-28 win over Green Bay. Remember, he played in this division when he helped lead the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. Make sure he is in your lineup.


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