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NFL Week 2 – Top games to watch

by Michael McDevit
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Rams (1-0) at Eagles (0-1)

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
 56.9 | Spread: EVEN (45.5)

Eagles Stun the Rams, Playoff Hopes Remain Alive

What to watch for: Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has zero sacks and just one tackle for loss in three career games against Philadelphia. He has a favorable matchup in this one, however, with inexperienced second-year player Nate Herbig projected to start at right guard. Center Jason Kelce will need to chip in on double-teams to prevent Carson Wentz, who was sacked a league-high eight times in Week 1, from having another rough day. — Tim McManus

Bold prediction: Donald will have a monster multisack game to that end. In a season-opening win over Dallas, Donald knocked down Cowboys linemen as if they were bowling pins and recorded his first sack of the season. Now watch for the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year to take advantage of an inexperienced Eagles guard and make it another long day for Wentz. — Lindsey Thiry

Stat to know: This marks the second career meeting between the top two picks of the 2016 NFL draft, Wentz and Jared Goff. Wentz won the first in 2017 with four passing touchdowns. But both enter off underwhelming Week 1 performances. Goff threw zero touchdowns for the fourth time in his past nine games, while Wentz took those eight sacks.

What to know for fantasy: Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert has 6.1 more fantasy points over his past five games than Zach Ertz does.

Betting nugget: Philadelphia is 5-0-1 against the spread (ATS) against the Rams since 2006. 

Thiry’s pick: Rams 24, Eagles 21
McManus’ pick: Eagles 27, Rams 24
FPI prediction: PHI, 53.8% (by an average of 1.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: SoFi Stadium videoboard: ‘Eighth wonder of the world’ targets GenZ … Time is now for the Eagles’ Wentz to turn the corner … McVay’s Rams ‘ecosystem’ a challenging standard — even for its creator … Eagles’ Curry, James have ‘significant injuries’

Falcons (0-1) at Cowboys (0-1)

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
 55.3 | Spread: DAL -4.5 (54)

What to watch for: When these teams met in 2018, running back Ezekiel Elliott had 201 scrimmage yards in the Cowboys’ win. Elliott had 122 yards on the ground and another 79 as a pass-catcher. Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes against the Falcons last week, so you should see some course correction in turns of pass defense, which means Elliott is in for a big day. — Todd Archer

Bold prediction: Falcons running back Todd Gurley will have his first 100-yard rushing game with Atlanta. He hasn’t hit the century mark since Week 13 of the 2018 season, but Gurley does have two 100-yard games in three career meetings with the Cowboys, and the Falcons need to stick with the run. — Vaughn McClure

Stat to know: Since 2011, only four teams haven’t started a season 0-2: the Cowboys (last started 0-2 in 2010), Falcons (2007), Packers (2006) and Patriots (2001). Both Atlanta and Dallas sit at 0-1 entering this matchup.

What to know for fantasy: The longest active streak of games with 75-plus receiving yards belongs to Calvin Ridley (five straight). Julio Jones and Davante Adams are chasing him, as they each have four straight. See Week 2 rankings.

Betting nugget: Atlanta is 4-0 ATS in its past four road games. 

McClure’s pick: Cowboys 28, Falcons 21
Archer’s pick: Cowboys 30, Falcons 27
FPI prediction: DAL, 64.4% (by an average of 5.3 points)

Ravens (1-0) at Texans (0-1)

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
 75.4 | Spread: BAL -7 (50)

The Dossier: Ravens @ Texans, Week 2 - Baltimore Beatdown

What to watch for: Will Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson continue to have success on the run? Both rushed for seven touchdowns in 2019, but they also each scored eight touchdowns (with no interceptions) when passing on the run, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only then-Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw more touchdowns on the run last season. — Sarah Barshop

Bold prediction: Baltimore’s Jackson will rush for at least 100 yards. He showed in Week 1 that he has made great strides as a passer, but let’s not forget he’s among the league’s most dangerous playmakers when scrambling. The Texans have allowed quarterbacks to average 5.6 yards per rush since the start of 2019, which is the second-worst average over that span. Last season, Jackson ran for 79 yards against Houston, including a 39-yard run (which was his second longest of the season). — Jamison Hensley

Stat to know: Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2020 Texans are the second team in NFL history to face the reigning MVP and Super Bowl MVP in each of their first two games of a season (they faced Patrick Mahomes in Week 1). The 2004 Colts are the other, as they faced Tom Brady (Super Bowl MVP) and Steve McNair (MVP) to open their year. They started 1-1 and finished 12-4.

What to know for fantasy: 250 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. Watson led the NFL with two such games in 2018, led again in 2019 with three such games and was one of two quarterbacks (Josh Allen) to accomplish the feat in Week 1 this season.

Betting nugget: The Ravens have covered in five straight regular-season games, and 10 of their past 11. Read more.

Hensley’s pick: Ravens 30, Texans 27
Barshop’s pick: Ravens 34, Texans 23
FPI prediction: BAL, 68.5% (by an average of 6.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Three ways Jackson is better than his MVP season … Texans must quickly figure out what went wrong … All virus tests negative from Texans’ opener … Texans squander chance to show they can thrive without Hopkins

Chiefs (1-0) at Chargers (1-0)

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
 73.5 | Spread: KC -8 (47.5)

Chiefs vs. Chargers: Three reasons the Chiefs defense will thrive

What to watch for: Keep an eye on the turnover margin. In losing five of six games to the Chiefs since Anthony Lynn took over as head coach, the Chargers’ offense has committed 17 turnovers, and their defense has generated only two of them. “That’s ridiculous,” Lynn said. “You’re just not going to beat this team that way.” — Alden Gonzalez

Bold prediction: The Chiefs, who intercepted 15 passes in their past six games against the Chargers, will get a couple of picks against Tyrod Taylor. The Chiefs got consistent pressure on the Texans’ Deshaun Watson last week, and look for them to have similar success against Taylor, who isn’t as prone to throwing interceptions as ex-Chargers QB Philip Rivers but will be forced into mistakes on Sunday. — Adam Teicher

Stat to know: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 8-0 with an 89 Total QBR and 26 passing touchdowns in the month of September, all the best in the NFL since the start of the 2018 season. The Chiefs have won 10 straight games overall (including playoffs), the second-longest streak in franchise history (11 straight in 2015 season).

What to know for fantasy: Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has converted just 15.4% of his career red zone carries (the RB average is 18%), so it’s worth noting that rookie Joshua Kelley had more touches in the red zone in Week 1.

Betting nugget: The Chiefs have covered in their past seven divisional games. Read more.

Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 20
Gonzalez’s pick: Chiefs 31, Chargers 24
FPI prediction: KC, 71.0% (by an average of 7.9 points)

Patriots (1-0) at Seahawks (1-0)

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating:
 73.4 | Spread: SEA -4 (44.5)

Game Coverage: New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

What to watch for: Will the Seahawks continue to let Russell Wilson cook? They strayed from their usual establish-the-run M.O. and dropped back to pass on 11 of their 14 first-quarter offensive plays against Atlanta. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has said matchups will factor into how much the Seahawks throw early, and the matchup this week includes the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore. — Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: Undrafted rookie running back J.J. Taylor will make a play that leads the national television audience to take notice. At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he can play “hide and seek,” according to running backs coach Ivan Fears, who has compared Taylor to Dion Lewis and Darren Sproles in terms of his physical stature. — Mike Reiss

Stat to know: Cam Newton and Wilson have combined for five seasons with at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. The rest of the players in NFL history have combined for four such seasons.

What to know for fantasy: Newton was the sixth-highest-scoring quarterback in Week 1, and his 25.7 points were more than Tom Brady had in any single game from last season. 

Betting nugget: This ends the Patriots’ streak of being favored in 64 consecutive games. Read more.

Reiss’ pick: Seahawks 20, Patriots 17
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Patriots 20
FPI prediction: SEA, 61.8% (by an average of 4.3 points)

Saints (1-0) at Raiders (1-0)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
 67.5 | Spread: NO -5.5 (49)

Saints vs Raiders Spread, Odds, Line, Over/Under and Betting Insights for  Week 2 Monday Night Football

What to watch for: Las Vegas is breaking in a new stadium in the most bittersweet of circumstances. With no fans, there is not much of a home-field advantage to help cover up the Raiders’ injury woes at right tackle, where Trent Brown left the opener with a right calf issue and his replacement, Sam Young, suffered a groin injury. Keep an eye, then, on the Raiders’ willingness to run the ball if they fall behind early. — Paul Gutierrez

Relive the NFL’s greatest games, original series and more. Watch on ESPN+

Bold prediction: Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will end the Saints’ remarkable streak of 44 straight games, including the playoffs, without allowing a 100-yard rusher. But Saints running back Alvin Kamara will have more than 100 receiving yards to fill the void if Michael Thomas (ankle) is out or limited. — Mike Triplett

Stat to know: Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr is completing 71% of his passes since the start of last season, second-best in the NFL to … Saints QB Drew Brees (73%). Carr has thrown at least one passing touchdown with zero interceptions in five straight games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the longest streak of his career.

What to know for fantasy: Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders led the league with four red zone targets in Week 1 and figures to stay busy with Thomas’ role now potentially up for grabs — if he is healthy enough to play himself. See Week 2 rankings.

For complete list go to ESPN.com

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