Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season began with a thrilling matchup between the champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. Week 2 will kick off with a more underwhelming matchup between the winless Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.
But it won’t be a surprise if the Browns-Bengals battle is a far more competitive contest than the Chiefs-Texans matchup ended up being. Thursday night’s game is pivotal too—perhaps not in relation to the championship picture, but important nonetheless.
The Browns desperately need to discover whether Baker Mayfield can be a franchise quarterback, if Odell Beckham Jr. will ever work out and if the franchise whiffed again by hiring Kevin Stefanski as head coach. The Baltimore Ravens provided a stiff test in Week 1 but perhaps not a fair measuring stick. On paper, this is a better Ravens squad than the one that went 14-2 a year ago.
Cincinnati should provide a more accurate gauge of where Cleveland is, though the Bengals cannot be considered pushovers. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow did nothing to show that he doesn’t belong in the NFL during Week 1 as he and the Bengals fell to the Los Angeles Chargers by the slimmest of margins.
The Bengals can make a case for Burrow already being the best pro quarterback in Ohio with an upset win. Don’t expect that to happen just yet, however. The Browns should be able to ride their tremendous backfield of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt early and often in a way they couldn’t in Baltimore. They should exit with a fairly decisive victory, though it won’t necessarily quiet concerns about Mayfield’s future in Cleveland.
How else will Week 2 unfold? Let’s examine the latest odds and over/unders from DraftKings Sportsbook, make predictions for each game and dig into some of the top plays of the week.
NFL Week 2
Cincinnati Bengals (+6, 44.5) at Cleveland Browns: 33-24 Cleveland
San Francisco 49ers (-7,42.5) at New York Jets: 30-17 San Francisco
Buffalo Bills (-5.5, 41) at Miami Dolphins: 26-20 Buffalo
Detroit Lions (+6, 49.5) at Green Bay Packers: 31-22 Green Bay
Minnesota Vikings (+3, 48.5) at Indianapolis Colts: 28-27 Indianapolis
Los Angeles Rams (-1, 45.5) at Philadelphia Eagles: 27-24 Los Angeles
Jacksonville Jaguars (+9, 42.5) at Tennessee Titans: 30-21 Tennessee
Carolina Panthers (+9.5, 47.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 34-24 Tampa Bay
Denver Broncos (+6.5, 41) at Pittsburgh Steelers: 27-22 Pittsburgh
Atlanta Falcons (+4.5, 52.5) at Dallas Cowboys: 33-30 Dallas
New York Giants (+5.5, 42) at Chicago Bears: 26-20 Chicago
Washington Football Team (+6.5, 46.5) at Arizona Cardinals: 28-26 Arizona
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5, 47.5) at Los Angeles Chargers: 33-24 Kansas City
Baltimore Ravens (-7, 51.5) at Houston Texans: 31-17 Baltimore
New England Patriots (+4, 45) at Seattle Seahawks: 28-23 Seattle
New Orleans Saints (-6, 50.5) at Las Vegas Raiders: 30-20 New Orleans
Green Bay Packers (-6) over Detroit Lions
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press
The line for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers contest is just under a touchdown. And honestly, that feels a tad low. Green Bay made the Minnesota Vikings defense look about as tough as a dryer sheet in Week 1, while the Lions defense melted down against Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears.
This isn’t to say that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are this year’s version of the Chiefs or that Detroit’s defense cannot close out a game. However, the fact that Detroit is on the road against one of the game’s best quarterbacks—one who’s possibly more than a little miffed about having his replacement drafted in the offseason—makes a blowout entirely possible.
Adding to the issues for Detroit is the fact that No. 1 wideout Kenny Golladay remains out of practice along with cornerback Desmond Trufant.
The Lions are going to have trouble matching points with Green Bay if Golladay cannot go. They will struggle to contain Rodgers and Co. if Trufant is out. Don’t expect a particularly close contest here.
Baltimore Ravens (-7) over Houston Texans
Nick Wass/Associated Press
Sunday’s battle between the Texans and the Ravens could end up being another lopsided contest. Baltimore destroyed Cleveland in Week 1, and that may have been more of a reflection on the victors.
The Ravens boast the league MVP, the top-ranked rushing attack from a year ago, an improved pass rush and a dynamic cornerback tandem with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey.
“Six points against this offense is very, very good,” Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said after beating the Browns, per Ryan Mink of the team’s official website.
The Texans offense may not fare much better than Cleveland’s did. It looked lackluster against the Chiefs—the absence of DeAndre Hopkins was noticeable—and now faces a tougher challenge. At the same time, a Houston run defense that had its hands full with Clyde Edwards-Helaire now must try containing the likes of Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins.
This might be an even uglier game for Houston than last Thursday’s.
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