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February 22, 2024

Week Two NFL picks against the spread

By JONATHAN MISDARY | September 17, 2023



Jonathan Misdary gives his predictions on some of the biggest games of NFL week two.

Over the past couple months, I’ve tried to become more process-oriented, as opposed to results-oriented. I contend that results are a symptom of a successful process and should be regarded as less important. 

With that being said, my picks went 3–0 in Week One: perfection. Flawless results, by virtue of my rigorous process. I hope to keep this momentum while understanding that one subpar week doesn’t define me, just as one perfect week is an equally small piece of the pie. 

Week One was full of surprises, from Joe Burrow throwing for 82 yards, to the 40–0 dismantling of the New York Giants. Week Two betting is all about sifting through what’s real and what’s not to capitalize on market overreactions and deliver another batch of profitable picks. Luckily, I have a scrutinizing metal detector, otherwise known as my depth of football knowledge, which I have used to see what’s gold and what’s closer to scrap metal. Now, let’s make some picks.

Green Bay Packers -1 vs. Atlanta Falcons

Packers fans must be riding high after Week One. Seeing Jordan Love deliver a masterful performance against the pitiful Chicago Bears defense, coupled with the demise of Aaron Rodgers, creates a smoky cocktail of vindication. 

According to Expected Points Added (EPA), a stat that calculates how a quarterback performs relative to the average, Jordan Love was Week One’s most efficient signal caller (USA Today). While some pundits may point to the easy matchup, I think Love is for real. Coming out of college, no one doubted his physical talent. He could effortlessly make any throw, but he needed polishing in terms of footwork and decision-making. In Matt LaFleur’s offense, he mainly works under the gun, relying heavily on play-action concepts Rodgers was averse to. This synergy fully unlocks LaFleur as a play caller and hides Love’s weaknesses. 

On the other side, the Falcons offense performed well in Week One. Desmond Ridder wasn’t asked to do much, throwing the ball only 18 times, but he was efficient in doing so. While I am a little concerned about the Packers’ run defense, as they struggled mightily in 2021, I believe their advantage at quarterback is enough to swing the game. 

The Falcons’ defense benefitted from matching up with rookie quarterback Bryce Young and was not tested. If the Packers' defense is able to provide some semblance of resistance to the fierce Falcons’ rushing attack, they can force Ridder to be in more obvious pass situations where I expect him to struggle. The Jordan Love era is here, and I want to be a beneficiary of it. 

Kansas City Chiefs -3 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This line is indicative of an overreaction of the betting market after Week One. The Chiefs fell to the Detroit Lions primarily due to Kadarius Toney’s inability to catch a football, and the Jaguars capitalized on key mistakes by Anthony Richardson to beat the Indianapolis Colts going away. 

While Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to take a step up this year, he still is no match for the reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs will welcome back star rusher Chris Jones as well as prolific pass rusher Travis Kelce, and I think these additions will be crucial to exploiting the Jaguars’ weakness. Kelce scored twice against the Jaguars last year, and Jones will provide pressure that the Chiefs’ defense as a unit was unable to generate. 

This is a wager on pedigree and the Chiefs not falling to 0–2. They will play with more desperation, and I like Mahomes to restore order in a league he has dominated from his first snap.

New York Giants -4.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals hung close with the Washington Commanders in Week One, and Josh Dobbs was competent, going 21 of 30 passes for 132 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. The Giants were shellacked by the division rival Dallas Cowboys in a game that was over within five minutes. 

This group is not as untalented or poorly coached as the 40–0 final score reflected, and I know play caller Brian Daboll is using the bout as fuel this week in practice. I expect the Giants to be competitive this year, and this game is a must-win to substantiate this claim. The Cardinals are on Caleb Williams’ watch and will be content to be used as a stepping stone to rebuild the Giants’ confidence. Trust Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to execute Daboll’s game plan better than they were able to in Week One.

Final thoughts

In the same way that Week One allows us to make overreactions for the entirety of the NFL season, Week Two is imperative to fact-check what’s true and what’s not. There appears to be a new era of quarterbacks running the NFL after the news of Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles tendon, and they play a free, fun brand of football. It makes for an entertaining watch, and, hopefully, another 3–0 week. 

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