A huge rematch between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints is the highlight of Week Two in the NFL. Paul Higham selects the best bets from the best games.
New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams
As far as rematches go, they don't come better than this one which sees the two sides who were involved in an epic battle to make the Super Bowl last season go at it again in just the second week of the new campaign - ensuring those Saints wounds are still raw.
A monumental contest in New Orleans was settled in the most controversial fashion as the referees somehow missed a pass interference call in a blunder so bad, the NFL changed the video replay rules to ensure it didn't happen again.
After both teams claimed tough narrow wins on opening day, there's nothing to suggest these again aren't the teams to beat in the NFC, and even this early in the season markers can be put down in the long, hard race to the play-offs.
Home advantage makes the Rams favourites for this one, but the two teams are so evenly matched in almost every department, with tough defences complimented by excellent varied offences with star quality at quarterback, receiver and running back - even the two coaches are both called Sean, with both Payton and McVay offensive innovators.
Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara seem certainties to score, but after Rams back-up Malcolm Brown's two-touchdown performance last week, expect a large does of him from LA to keep star man Gurley fresh.
In the match result, edging with the Rams in a close one seems to be the most likely outcome - they've beaten the spread in their last five home games with the Saints - and although both defences are excellent there's enough firepower to just about eclipse the 55.5-point total on offer.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
A second terrific game in the NFC North as the Packers welcome rivals Minnesota to Lambeau Field in what already looks a crucial battle in the division this season. They suffocated the Bears last week but this Vikings offence is a step up from Mitchell Trubisky.
Kirk Counsins, for one, is a much more seasoned quarterback and in Adam Thielen has an elite receiver, but the pair were relative bystanders last week as Cousin threw just ten times as they rode rejuvenated running back Dalvin Cook, who ran for 11 yards and two scores. The packers allowed just 46 yards rushing against Chicago.
For years, superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been crying out for a defence to help him shoulder the burden - and his smile as wide as Lake Michigan after the win in Chicago told you he feels they've now got a unit that can challenge.
It was Green Bay's offence that struggled in Chicago, especially when converting just two of 12 third downs, but they now seem better equipped than ever to win a defensive fist fight, which this looks like turning into.
Verdict: Under 4.5 touchdowns at 11/10
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Oakland somehow managed to come out on top from the Antonio Brown saga with a high-profile Monday Night Football win, but beating Joe Flacco's Broncos is a different story to Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs. The MVP led a rout over Jacksonville last week and, although he's lost speedy receiver Tyreek Hill for a few weeks, fellow speed demon Sammy Watkins went off in a big way with three touchdowns and just under 200 yards.
Throw in an expanded role for new signing LeSean McCoy and you have all you can handle in last season's top scorers, who should have too much even for what looked an inspired Raiders last week. They may well be galvanised by the Brown saga and have running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Tyrell Williams looking like stars.
It still looks like you can still score on the Chiefs this season, and the raiders look like they can score, but errors have cost them dearly in this match-up in particular, with QB Derek Carr having a career-worst nine interceptions against Kansas City. The Chiefs have plenty in their favour to win this one.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
The Patriots are a whopping 1/16 in this one, hardly surprising when it's the defending champions, who've appeared in the last three Super Bowls, facing a team who were absolutely smashed 59-10 by Baltimore last week who've had half of their team reportedly looking to be traded away!
More surprisingly is the fact new England have lost five of the last six in Miami - last season's loss coming by way of a miracle final play that stunned the entire NFL. Even including that though, the Dolphins winning this would be seismic in terms of shocks. Miami are so bad that even just keeping the defeat down under 20 points would probably count as a good result.
Given the Pats are 19-point favourites, we're going to have to get creative and take something of a leap of faith for anything half-decent and that's coming with an easy two-touchdown victory for the champs coupled with the Dolphins having enough pride to keep the score down while the Pats ease down in the fourth quarter.
Sunday's value treble
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans
They were dancing in the streets of Nashville when Andrew Luck retired as he was unbeaten in 11 starts as Colts QB, now Jacoby Brissett coming to town doesn't hole suite the same fear factor. The Titans impressively burst the Browns' hype bubble last week and with such a strong all-round proposition they're many people's AFC dark horse.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Giants
The Bills play their second straight game at MetLife Stadium having beaten the Giants' room-mates the Jets last week, coming from 16-0 down no less. Eli Manning's time is running out and we've already had a Daniel Jones sighting last week - this Bills defence already settled in these surroundings is not what Eli needs right now. Josh Allen had a career-best 254 passing yards here last week, now he gets a Big Blue secondary that coughed up 400 to Dak Prescott in week one.
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Backing the Bengals is never usually a wise play, but no team came out of a week one defeat with more plaudits than Zac Taylor's men after their surprisingly explosive effort in Seattle last Sunday - piling up 418 yards on the Seahawks will catch anybody's eye. The Niners enjoyed a good win in Tampa Bay last week - but had two touchdowns come off interceptions and if Andy Dalton limits his mistakes, San Francisco's offence will have to play a lot better than it did last week.
NFL Week Two schedule
- Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens
- San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
- Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions
- Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
- New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
- Buffalo Bills at New York Giants
- Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
- Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
- Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos
- New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
- Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons
Monday September 16
- Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
Odds correct as of 1428 on 13/09/19
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