Early NFL Week 2 predictions and picks against the spread: Fallout from injuries to Dak Prescott, Elijah Mitchell, and Keenan Allen

If you're betting on 2022 NFL games -- whether props, DFS, point spreads, or moneylines -- here are our early NFL Week 2 predictions and picks.

If we thought this past week was dramatic, wait until this week. As injuries and underperformances take their toll on many teams, here’s an early look at our NFL Week 2 predictions and picks for all 16 games. The following betting odds are for picks against the spread, as well as moneylines based on DraftKings Sportsbook.

NFL Week 2 picks and predictions

Each week of the NFL season features the expected, the moderately unexpected, and the completely unexpected. When betting on point spreads and moneylines, we need to focus on the first two outcomes.

What are the highest-probability game scripts? Which interesting sub-plots could emerge? For example, we cannot anticipate when a little-used fullback will fall into the end zone twice in one half. But we can assess the likelihood that one team’s backfield will earn more scoring opportunities.

With that in mind, here are our preliminary assessments of how each game might proceed, including two major questions surrounding each team’s execution of its offense.

Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 15
  • Start time: 8:15 p.m. ET

This betting line could shift even more in the Chiefs’ favor depending on Keenan Allen’s health outlook. Kansas City looked locked in on the road against Arizona, while LA racked up only 48 yards in their final five offensive drives versus the Raiders. The Chargers need a nearly flawless performance to push past KC on the road. I’m not seeing it.

Against-the-spread prediction: Chiefs
Moneyline winner: Chiefs

Cleveland Browns (-6.5) vs. New York Jets

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

The Browns looked terrific last season thanks to a run-dominant offense that masked significant shortcomings in the passing game. Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers mirrored that winning strategy.

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As long as Joe Flacco is quarterbacking, the Jets will have only narrow paths to victory. Despite Cleveland’s own QB limitations, they’re good enough to win this one by at least a touchdown.

Against-the-spread prediction: Browns
Moneyline winner: Browns

Detroit Lions (-1.5) vs. Washington Commanders

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

If not for their late-game heroics, the Commanders might be four- or five-point underdogs. The current perception is that Washington is well positioned to compete. But Detroit showed they could keep pace with a tougher Philadelphia unit. I believe D’Andre Swift, Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and the rest of the Lions’ offense will score 30+ again and prevail.

Against-the-spread prediction: Lions
Moneyline winner: Lions

New Orleans Saints (+2.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay’s handling of Dallas Sunday night shouldn’t dismiss the fact that their offense struggled to reach the end zone. The Bucs controlled the clock for nearly 33 minutes. The Cowboys’ defense did their best despite a negative game script and little help from their offense.

That’s not to say the Saints will do much better. But a little better? Yes. New Orleans arguably has a better defense, and they won on the road (granted, against the Atlanta Falcons) despite getting little help from their running game. At full capacity, these Saints can pressure the Bucs in ways the Cowboys couldn’t. New Orleans remains one of the league’s most underrated teams.

Against-the-spread prediction: Saints
Moneyline winner: Saints

New York Giants (-2.5) vs. Carolina Panthers

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

This isn’t a fun game to bet on, because it comes down more to which team will make more mistakes. Neither QB looked impressive on Sunday (or for that matter, in the past two years). Both teams lean heavily on injury-prone running backs. It might come down to turnovers and field position in a game where we might realistically see 8+ punts. For now, New York appears to have the edge, thanks to an RB who appears to be in midseason form.

Against-the-spread prediction: Giants
Moneyline winner: Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5) vs. New England Patriots

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

I would be shocked if the Steelers weren’t favorites by Sunday morning. With Mac Jones questionable and the passing game looking one or two steps below Houston’s, the Patriots face another tough road matchup against a more confident Pittsburgh unit. Whatever the Steelers’ shortcomings, they have the backfield, the receivers, and the defense to overcome Bill Belichick’s questionably talented squad.

Against-the-spread prediction: Steelers
Moneyline winner: Steelers

Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

Imagine for a moment that Week 2 ends with Jacksonville and Houston leading the AFC South. It’s very possible. A little over eight months after these same Jags dashed the hopes of Indy fans everywhere, this rematch features a young Jacksonville squad that can compete with the Colts, provided Jonathan Taylor doesn’t run all over them. I’m bracing for a nail-biter.

Against-the-spread prediction: Jaguars
Moneyline winner: Colts

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 1 p.m. ET

How good is Miami’s running game versus Baltimore’s? Sunday’s contest could come down to which team moves the ball better on the ground.

Keep close tabs on whether Chase Edmonds loses more touches to Raheem Mostert, and whether J.K. Dobbins returns in only a limited capacity. Both teams are strong postseason contenders and will need to establish the run throughout the season. Miami had 18 RB rushing attempts on Sunday, and Baltimore had only 15. I’m expecting those numbers to go up next weekend.

Against-the-spread prediction: Dolphins
Moneyline winner: Ravens

Los Angeles Rams (-10) vs. Atlanta Falcons

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 4:05 p.m. ET

Why the big point spread? The Rams are still the defending champions, and Buffalo’s defense is other-worldly. Surely LA will snap back.

Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota looked better as a rusher than as a passer in his first NFL start in nearly three years. If he can’t adequately feed Kyle Pitts and Drake London, then this game could be over by halftime, with or without the ageless wonder, Cordarrelle Patterson.

Against-the-spread prediction: Rams
Moneyline winner: Rams

San Francisco 49ers (-8.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 4:05 p.m. ET

If the 49ers lose this week, we’ll hear a lot of noise coming out of San Francisco.

“Is Trey Lance ready?” I believe the team will step up big time at home against the beatable Seahawks, especially if George Kittle returns. Jeff Wilson Jr. is more than capable enough to handle RB duties in Elijah Mitchell’s absence, and the defense should be able to contain Geno Smith and Rashaad Penny more effectively than they did Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears’ middling backfield.

Against-the-spread prediction: 49ers
Moneyline winner: 49ers

Dallas Cowboys (+7) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 4:25 p.m. ET

Two 0-1 squads facing more questions than answers. No doubt, Dallas is in more trouble without their starting QB for the next 6-8 weeks. But the Bengals might be without Tee Higgins, and I remain very concerned about Joe Mixon’s 2022 outlook after his 400+ touch workload (including the playoffs) last season.

Still, in a battle between a rebounding Joe Burrow and a backup Cowboys QB, I like Cincy winning on the road. That said, don’t expect Dallas’ strong defense to roll over.

Against-the-spread prediction: Cowboys
Moneyline winner: Bengals

Denver Broncos (-10) vs. Houston Texans

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 4:25 p.m. ET

If large point spreads make you wary, consider if Denver scores first, and then ask yourself, “What are the odds that they cover?” I’m expecting the Broncos to score first, last, and in between.

This team is built to reach the Super Bowl. They’ll face a Texans squad that overachieved against a somewhat surprisingly disjointed Colts offense. Don’t expect Rex Burkhead to save them again.

Against-the-spread prediction: Broncos
Moneyline winner: Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders (-3.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 4:25 p.m. ET

Arizona couldn’t have looked much worse against the Chiefs this past Sunday, and heading to Vegas won’t make things any easier. The Raiders played the Chargers tough on the road despite operating a largely one-dimensional offense that ran through Davante Adams. Expect a more multi-dimensional approach next weekend that includes more Hunter Renfrow and a greater commitment to a running game capable of gnashing the Cardinals’ line.

Against-the-spread prediction: Raiders
Moneyline winner: Raiders

Chicago Bears (+10) vs. Green Bay Packers

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
  • Start time: 8:20 p.m. ET

Never count out Justin Fields. An impressive road comeback against a tough defense should inspire confidence for a squad that did little right on offense, racking up only 204 total yards.

We still don’t have a good sense of Aaron Rodgers’ value without a true No. 1 receiver (he’s always had one). If this becomes a battle in the trenches, where Chicago can slow the game down utilizing a heavy dose of a mobile Fields, David Montgomery, and Khalil Herbert, then this could be a close one.

Against-the-spread prediction: Bears
Moneyline winner: Packers

Buffalo Bills (-10) vs. Tennessee Titans

  • Date: Monday, Sept. 19
  • Start time: 7:15 p.m. ET

As alluded to above, the AFC South remains wide open, and the outlook probably will remain foggy after this next slate of games. That’s because Tennessee will face the first of its many (yes, many) brutally tough opponents — a big reason why I picked them not to win their division this year. Barring something unforeseen, Buffalo should win by 18+.

Against-the-spread prediction: Bills
Moneyline winner:  Bills

Philadelphia Eagles (-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings

  • Date: Monday, Sept. 19
  • Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

A huge early-season test for serious postseason contenders. If Minnesota wins, they’ll be the early team to beat in the NFC North. If the Eagles win, they’ll move a step closer to winning an NFC East title that now seems in their grasp.

Philadelphia left points on the table against Detroit, yet still hung 38 in three quarters on the road. They’re a dangerous, complete team, and I expect them to handle Minnesota.

Against-the-spread prediction: Eagles
Moneyline winner: Eagles

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