Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles host Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener in prime time for the second straight season.
Pro Picks doesn’t expect another dominant performance from Philly.
The Eagles (1-0) and Vikings (0-1) kick off Week 2 on Thursday night at rowdy Lincoln Financial Field where the home fans get to see their starters for the first time since a 38-35 loss to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.
The defending NFC champions were rusty and lucky to pull off a 25-20 win last week at New England. The Vikings, who lost a wild-card playoff game at home last season after going 13-4, picked up where they left off with a 20-17 upset loss at home to Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Philadelphia overpowered the Vikings on both sides of the ball in a convincing 24-7 victory on Monday night in Week 2 last season. Hurts threw for 333 yards, the offense racked up 486 yards and the defense held Minnesota to 264 yards. Cousins was picked off three times on his way to losing again under the bright lights. He’s 8-10 with Minnesota in prime-time or stand-alone games.
The Eagles are banged-up on defense. They could be without three starters. The Vikings might be missing two offensive linemen.
Because of Philadelphia’s injuries, the spread has dropped a half-point. The Eagles now are 6 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. That’s still too high.
San Francisco (minus 8) at Los Angeles Rams
With Brock Purdy back healthy, the 49ers (1-0) looked like Super Bowl contenders at Pittsburgh. Matthew Stafford and the Rams (1-0) are coming off the biggest upset of the week but they’re still rebuilding.
BEST BET: 49ERS, 27-16
Chicago (plus 3) at Tampa Bay
Who needs Tom Brady? Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers (1-0) upset Minnesota on the road last week. Tampa’s defense shut down the run but gave up 328 yards passing. Mayfield was efficient but the Bucs still can’t run the ball. Justin Fields had an awful opener, getting sacked four times and tossing a pick-6. The Bears (0-1) are desperate to snap an 11-game losing streak.
UPSET SPECIAL: BEARS, 20-16
Green Bay (minus 1 1/2) at Atlanta
Who needs Aaron Rodgers? Jordan Love and the Packers (1-0) got off to an excellent start in an impressive win at Chicago. The Falcons (1-0) are going to have to depend on their run game behind Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier.
Seattle (plus 5 1/2) at Detroit
Jared Goff and the Lions (1-0) are rested after upsetting the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who were missing Travis Kelce and Chris Jones. The Seahawks (0-1) were embarrassed at home by the rebuilding Rams and are dealing with injuries to both offensive tackles.
Las Vegas (plus 9 1/2) at Buffalo
Josh Allen’s turnover struggles continued in a stunning overtime loss to Zach Wilson and the Jets. The Bills (0-1) are still heavy favorites against the Raiders (1-0). Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. get no respect after a narrow road win in Denver.
Los Angeles Chargers (minus 3) at Tennessee
L.A.‘s offense was balanced and clicking behind Justin Herbert in a shootout loss to Miami. Brandon Staley’s defense needs to improve. The Titans (0-1) can’t keep up offensively but they’ve got a solid defense.
Indianapolis (minus 1) at Houston
Anthony Richardson had a promising debut in a loss for the Colts (0-1) but also learned he better protect himself. Same for C.J. Stroud, who was pounded in his debut with the Texans (0-1).
Baltimore (plus 3 1/2) at Cincinnati
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ new-look offense looked shaky in victory. Joe Burrow and the Bengals (0-1) were dismal in a loss. The Bengals started 0-2 last season. They have Super Bowl hopes and can’t do it again.
Kansas City (minus 3 1/2) at Jacksonville
Doug Pederson tries to beat his mentor, Andy Reid, for the first time in four tries in this playoff rematch as the Jaguars (1-0) aim for another win. The Chiefs (0-1) have Travis Kelce and Chris Jones back. Patrick Mahomes is 13-4 in September with all four losses in the past six games.
New York Giants (minus 6) at Arizona
Coming off a humiliating 40-0 loss at home to the Cowboys, the Giants can’t afford to overlook the rebuilding Cardinals (0-1) with a matchup at San Francisco coming up four days later.
New York Jets (plus 9 1/2) at Dallas
Reality has set in for the Jets (1-0). They won’t have Aaron Rodgers but they still have a stingy defense. The Cowboys (1-0) dominated despite an average performance from Dak Prescott and the offense.
Washington (plus 3 1/2) at Denver
Russell Wilson looked much better in his first game under Sean Payton but the Broncos (0-1) lost a close one again. The Commanders (1-0) barely survived against Arizona.
Miami (minus 3) at New England
Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins (1-0) have a tougher defensive opponent this week. The Patriots (0-1) stifled Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia’s dynamic offense and would’ve won if the offense wasn’t inept.
New Orleans (minus 3) at Carolina
Bryce Young makes his NFL prime-time debut. He’s used to the spotlight. It’ll take a while to get used to the hits. The Saints (1-0) have held opponents to 20 or fewer points in nine straight games.
Cleveland (minus 2 1/2) at Pittsburgh
The Browns are rare road favorites against the Steelers, who were blown out in Week 1. Mike Tomlin should have his team ready to go, but Pittsburgh better find a way to protect Kenny Pickett from Myles Garrett and Co.
Overall: Straight up: 8-8. Against spread: 9-7.
Best Bet: Straight up: 1-0. Against spread: 1-0.
Upset Special: Straight up: 0-1. Against spread: 0-1.
Thursday: Straight up: 0-1. Against spread: 1-0.
Monday: Straight up: 1-0. Against spread: 1-0.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press