The Patriots go to Jacksonville in week two and Neil Monnery thinks the Jaguars' defense can be the difference. This and more in his week two NFL tips including picking every game against the spread...
"Pittsburgh's opening day tie in Cleveland must be alarming to their fans but even more so, the fact they let a 14 point lead slip away in the fourth quarter is more scary than the result."
The big games of the week
The best game from Week Two might actually be the top game CBS get to broadcast all season. The AFC Championship Game rematch sees New England travel to Jacksonville in a battle of - in my opinion - the two best teams in the conference.
Leonard Fournette is a doubt for the home side with a hamstring injury and should he miss out, it is a serious blow to Jacksonville. T.J. Yeldon is a very serviceable backup but they do like to really pound the rock up the middle with the big bruiser.
In week one the Jags went to New York and played a very impressive game defensively against the Giants. Apart from one long 68 yard YD run, phenom running back Saquon Barkley was largely kept in check as the defensive line consistently penetrated the backfield.
The Pats beat the Texans 27-20 at home last week in a game that wasn't as close as the scoreline suggests. Tom Brady was fine throwing for 277 with three scores and a pick. This game, however, won't predominately be in the hands of the GOAT as the most important match-up is between Jalen Ramsey and Rob Gronkowski.
Speaking to ESPN earlier this month, the second-year Cornerback had this to say about arguably the greatest Tight End to have ever played the game: "I don't think Gronk's good. Let me say, I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is. Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he's had a very bad game and that corner has had a very good game."
It's one thing to have self-confidence but this is off the charts. I just don't think a healthy Gronk can be stopped by just one player.
I've gone back and forth on this one and despite my belief that the Patriots superstar Tight End is going to have a huge game, it is a home win for me at 19/20 on the moneyline but the handicap currently gives the Jaguars a point and it is at Evens.
The other great match-up this week comes from Green Bay where the Packers entertain the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers is questionable for this one and if he can't go, then DeShone Kizer quite simply isn't getting it done for the home side.
At the time of writing, the Betfair Sportsbook isn't offering any markets on this match but the Exchange has the line at Packers -2. Should Green Bay start its backup QB then that line will move instantly to at least -7.
Even if Rodgers starts, I happen to really like Minnesota here. Kirk Cousins is a very good Quarterback who has good vertical options down the field. Defensively they handled Jimmy Garoppolo to the tune of picking him off three times. For all the love and adulation Green Bay gets thanks to the man under Center, the away team are simply better.
Acca of the week
I'm really going around the block on this week's treble. I love the under 45.5 in the Patriots @ Jaguars match at 9/10 coupled with the 49ers leading at the half and winning against the Detroit Lions at 5/6. The real bonus is I'm lumping in the Giants to beat the Cowboys by 14 or more at 11/2 knocking that up to a 22.64 acca on the Sportsbook.
The reason for this is simple - I think Dallas are pretty poor. Even though the Giants lost in week one, it was to a team that has a spectacular defense. Going on the road and beating a rival by that much seems a real stretch but the big play ability of the G-Men has me very intrigued and I'm just not sure how much the home side can do without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Throw in the fact that the Cowboys' revamped o-line isn't the calibre it once was, and it looks like Jerry Jones' team are being considerably overrated.
My underdog special this week comes from the Steel City where I really like Kansas City to win straight up despite being a 4.5pt underdog.
Pittsburgh's opening day tie in Cleveland must be alarming to their fans but even more so, the fact they let a 14 point lead slip away in the fourth quarter is more worrying than the actual result.
The Chiefs went into the StubHub Center and showed everyone that they can score points on a really good defense, and Patrick Mahomes' ability to sling it is extremely exciting for Kansas fans. I don't think that was an aberration for Andy Reid's offense, they might just be this good.
The long-shot of the week
Last week I was one touchdown away from a 150/1 tip coming in but if you'd played my 22/1 safety pick, you'd be quids in.
For that reason I'm going back to the exact same well in the Browns @ Saints game and going both teams to score three or more TDs in each half at 150/1. Last week Tampa Bay did their job but it was New Orleans who let me down with only two scores after half-time. The two or more in each half is another good fallback position at 25/1.
The full picks
Each week I'll pick every game bar the Thursday game according to their handicap on the SBK at the time of writing (home team in caps):
JETS (-2.5) over Dolphins
BUCCANEERS (+3) over Eagles
SAINTS (-10) over Browns
Chargers (-8) over BILLS
Panthers (+6) over FALCONS
Chiefs (+4.5) over STEELERS
Colts (+5.5) over WASHINGTON
Texans (-2) over TITANS
49ERS (-6) over Lions
Cardinals (+13.5) over RAMS
JAGUARS (+1) over Patriots
BRONCOS (-6) over Raiders
Giants (+3) over COWBOYS
BEARS (-3.5) over Seahawks
Vikings @ Packers unavailable to pick as of time of writing.
Last week: 9-6
Season Record: 9-6
Back Jacksonville(+1) to win at Evens on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back Giants by 14 or more, San Fran HT/FT double and under 45.5 in Pats @ Jags at the 22.64 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back Kansas City to win and over 53.5pts at 4/1 on SBK (Sportsbook)
Back each team to score over 3TDs in each half in Browns @ Saints at 150/1 on SBK (Sportsbook)