NFL Week 2 Preview

The new NFL campaign began with a bang and Week 2 of the regular season promises to be no less exciting, with some mouth-watering match-ups. A rematch of the AFC Championship game between Jacksonville and New England is the standout fixture, but that looks a very tough one to call.

Instead, we take a look at two divisional clashes, with a treble thrown in for good measure. We start in the always competitive NFC East, where the New York Giants travel to Dallas to take on the toothless Cowboys.

Shurmur seeks maiden Giants victory

Both Dallas and New York struggled to get going on offence last week, the Cowboys managing just 232 yards in total during their grueling 16-8 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten has left Jason Garrett’s men relying heavily on Ezekiel Elliott, who could only manage 86 total yards against a stout Panthers defence. Dallas didn’t get out of their own territory in the first half in Carolina, and could face similar struggles against a refreshed Giants defence.

Admittedly, the G-men were hardly world beaters themselves on offence, quarter-back Eli Manning looking a little jittery at times in the 20-15 loss to Jacksonville. In his defence, he was facing one of the best defences in the NFL and still managed to put up over 200 passing yards, more than the likes of Sam Darnold and Mitchell Trubisky in week one.

Manning has a plethora of options when compared to opposite number Dak Prescott, with Odell Beckham Jr fit and firing again, while rookie running back Saquon Barkley looks a beast.

The Giants are 1.93 with a +3 handicap, while they are 2.45 on the money line to come out on top and hand Pat Shurmur his first win as head coach, in Sunday’s late game. These game are usually tight and with the lack of offensive power on show, under 42.5 points at 1.95 could tempt.

Ravens to fly high in Cincinnati

Baltimore made the perfect start to the new season with their demolition job of the awful Buffalo Bills and are worth considering at 3.50 to win the AFC North, if Pittsburgh’s problems persist.

They face divisional rivals Cincinnati on the road on Thursday night and look decent value at 2.00 on the money line to move to 2-0. The Bengals were far from convincing in their win over Indianapolis on the road last week and this is a much stiffer test, against a team who blanked them in this same fixture a year ago.

Cincinnati got their revenge by costing Baltimore their place in the play-offs, so the Ravens will feel like they owe them one. These two look evenly matched on paper but with Joe Flacco playing better, a refreshed receiving core and running back Alex Collins due a bounce-back game, Baltimore appeal at their price.

Triple Sunday delight

Finally, the Los Angeles Chargers, LA Rams and Washington Redskins can justify their short-priced favouritism and come out on top on Sunday with the treble on offer at 2.27.

The Chargers had more passing yards and more rushing yards than the Kansan City Chiefs in week one, but somehow found a way to lose the game. They should bounce back in Buffalo against a Bills team with no offensive line to protect a substandard quarter-back. LA won this match-up 54-24 last season.

Super Bowl hopefuls the Rams looked strong when downing Oakland on the road and should tear divisional rivals Arizona to shreds. Last season, LA won both meetings against the Cardinals, who managed just 213 yards on offence, when losing to Washington with a beat-up looking Sam Bradford.

Speaking of Washington, they rode a determined Adrian Peterson to victory last week, the veteran ranking as the sixth best running back in the league, as he ran for 96 yards and a touchdown. Given this week’s opponents Indianapolis struggled to stop the run last time out, Peterson could have another big day and propel the Skins to 2-0.