After the first week of preseason games, right now every NFL team is either undefeated or winless, a rare occurrence for a pro football league, though wins and losses at this point are meaningless given that these teams are working towards a different goal – to create the deepest of rosters.
There were some major injury scares in preseason Week 1, with the New York Jets QB Zach Wilson tearing his right meniscus and suffering a bone bruise and Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Drake London leaving his game with a knee injury, plus plenty of bumps and bruises to anyone who played some snaps.
Now in Week 2, expect fewer starters to see any time as the backups and undrafted free agents continue to battle for roster spots, with teams having to reduce their numbers from 90 players down to the final 53, a choice made easier when a young player stands out in these games.
Here are our best predictions, picks, spreads, and odds for preseason Week 2 – good luck, win big!
Odds as of 16 Aug, 2022 at DraftKings
|Chicago Bears vs
|+4 (-110)||Seattle Seahawks -4 (-110)
|Carolina Panthers vs
New England Patriots
|-2 (-110)||New England Patriots +2 (-110)
|New Orleans Saints vs
Green Bay Packers
|+3 (-110)||Green Bay Packers -3 (-110)
|Houston Texans vs
Los Angeles Rams
|-3 (-110)||Los Angeles Rams +3 (-110)
|Denver Broncos vs
|+3 (-110)||Buffalo Bills -3 (-110)
|Detroit Lions vs
|-2.5 (-110)||Indianapolis Colts -2.5 (-110)
|Washington Commanders vs
Kansas City Chiefs
|+3 (-110)||Kansas City Chiefs -3 (-110)
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs
|+2.5 (-110)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers +2.5 (-110)
|Las Vegas Raiders vs
|-2 (+110)||Las Vegas Raiders -2 (+110)
|San Francisco 49ers vs
|+3.5 (-110)||Minnesota Vikings -3.5 (-110)
|Pittsburgh Steelers vs
|+2.5 (-110)||Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (-110)
|Dallas Cowboys vs
Los Angeles Chargers
|+3.5 (-110)||Dallas Cowboys -3.5 (-110)
|Philadelphia Eagles vs
|-3 (-110)||Cleveland Browns +3 (-110)
|Cincinnati Bengals vs
New York Giants
|+5.5 (-110)||Cincinnati Bengals +5.5 (-115)
|Baltimore Ravens vs
|-6.5 (-110)||Arizona Cardinals +6.5 (-110)
|Atlanta Falcons vs
New York Jets
|-3 (-110)||New York Jets +3 (-110)
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How to watch: Thursday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN, ESPNDP
The Chicago Bears have a new head coach, Matt Eberflus, who notched his first preseason win last week against the KC Chiefs, a 19-14 game that had the Bears dominating the third quarter when they scored for the first time in the game, with QB Travis Siemian completing seven passes of 13 for 89 yards and two TDs and rookie RB Trestan Ebner breaking a 27-yarder.
The Seattle Seahawks had Week 1’s game with the Steelers wrapped up until a last-minute touchdown gave them the loss, a matchup that showed backup QB Drew Lock’s strong side as he completed 11 of 15 for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and that’s after being sacked twice, this defense ready to buckle down this week at home in front of friendly fans.
The second week of preseason is tricky because of all the undrafted free agents who are given field time, so take the Seahawks at home and expect vet HC Pete Carroll to outwit the Bears.
Seahawks +4.0 (-110)
How to watch: Friday, 7:00 PM ET, NFL NET
After watching the Carolina Panthers beat the Washington Commanders last week, it was still unclear who the starting QB job will go to seeing as both Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold had an okay outing, with Mayfield starting out with a 4-7 45-yard outing while Darnold put the ball in the endzone going 2/3 for 16 yards, neither threw a touchdown.
Week 1 was a decent outing for the New England Patriots who scored three touchdowns and showcased their rookie QB pickup, Bailey Zappe, who threw for over 200 yards and a touchdown but with a pick, the true team backup Brian Hoyer was able to throw for a score without any interceptions on the day, with backup FS Jalen Elliott leading the team with tackles (8).
Tough to win a game in Foxborough unless you are named the Patriots, so expect New England to take care of business as the Panthers continue to try out their favorite scrubs.
Patriots +2.0 (-110)
How to watch: Friday, 8:00 PM ET, NFL NET
The New Orleans Saints second squad took it to the chin against the Houston Texans, 13-17, the defense allowing a second-half touchdown that was the difference, with backup QB Andy Dalton getting his job done going 5/5 for 51 yards and a touchdown and rookie WR Chris Olave getting four targets but only able to bring in one for four yards, a pro wakeup call for sure.
For anyone thinking that Green Bay Packers backup QB Jordan Love is ready to take over the starting reins for that franchise, last week might have been eye-opening, with Love posting a passer rating of just 66 as he went 12/24 for 176 yards, two TDs, and three INTS, although he scrambled well including a 12 yarder, the defense with three sacks on the day.
Always take the Pack at Lambeau Field unless you know a secret, and here expect them to cover the spread against a Saints team that struggled to beat the Texans.
Packers -3.0 (-110)
How to watch: Friday, 10:00 PM ET, NFL NET
Wins in the preseason mean nothing, at least according to anyone who loses, but the long-suffering Houston Texans won last week over the New Orleans Saints and that no doubt meant something to that team who is just glad to be done with the Deshaun Watson saga, now their fate in the hands of the young Davis Mills under the guidance of veteran HC Lovie Smith.
Last week, the NFL Champion Los Angeles Rams let QB Mathew Stafford sit and gave backup Bryce Perkins the job under center, and he posted a QB rating of 122.9 as he completed 10/17 for 123 yards and two touchdown passes with no interceptions, with rookie LB Daniel Hardy generating three tackles and a quarterback hit in that game.
The Rams have a lot of depth and are playing at home so expect them to bring the Texans back down to earth with a win, though anything goes when the second and third team have the ball.
Rams +3.0 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 1:00 PM ET, NFL NET
Most of the Denver Broncos starters got their reps during the week when the team practiced against the Dallas Cowboys, so it was mainly their second team and beyond who earned their 17-7 win during which inside linebacker Jonas Griffin hurt his elbow (questionable), and it’s likely that the second-team-in trend will continue as the Broncos attempt to find their final 53.
It was not a good Week 1 for Buffalo Bills backup QB Case Keenum who managed to complete 11 of 18 passes to his own team for 86 yards while throwing two interceptions to the Indy Colts, making the real hero of the game rookie RB Raheem Blackshear who ran the ball just six times for 11 yards but scored two TDs, a bull out of the backfield who’s tough to tackle.
Expect veteran Keenum to bounce back and prove he belongs on the Bills as they cover the spread at home over a morphing Broncos team.
Bills -3.0 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 1:00 PM ET, TBA
Tough Week 1 for the Detroit Lions who took a last-minute loss to the Atlanta Falcons by giving a passing TD in the final 90 seconds of the game for the 23-27 preseason defeat, a chance for the three backup QBs to take some snaps, with only Tim Boyle throwing an interception, a team whose training camp journey all football fans have been following on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Looks like veteran QB Matt Ryan is going to run the Indianapolis Colts’ offense with seasoned efficiency, completing 60% of his ten pass attempts for 58 yards in his Indy debut, a team that expects rookie receiver Alec Pierce to continue to have solid games like in Week 1 where he caught two of the three passes he was targeted with for 27 yards including an 18-yarder.
Take the home team Colts to cover the spread here even though HC Dan Campbell’s bunch looks like a team that has decided to begin winning.
Colts +2.5 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 1:00 PM ET, CBS FOX
It’s the Carson Wentz era of the Washington Commanders and aside from not throwing any touchdown passes he did well completing 10/13 passes for 74 yards, his backup rookie Sam Howell putting on the real show in the second half going 9/16 for 143 yards with three scrambles for 19 yards and two TDs, showing he could be the future franchise man.
The Kansas City Chiefs might have lost in Week 1, but QB Patrick Mahomes was a completion machine in the time he was on the field, going 6/7 for 60 yards and a touchdown, with rookie backup QB Dustin Crum showing he can scramble by leading the team in rushing yards with 28 on three carries, his longest for fifteen yards.
There is nothing tougher than trying to win in Kansas City if you’re not the Chiefs, so expect them to cover while the Commanders continue trying out young players.
Chiefs -3.0 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, NFL NET
The Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s second and third squad had the Miami Dolphins on the ropes last week, but they lost by a Jason Sanders field goal in the fourth quarter, and in Week 2 of the preseason it should be more of the same as backup QBs Blaine Gilbert and Kyle Trask continue to take snaps while the GOAT Tom Brady prepares for the regular season on the sideline.
It’s not such a big deal that HC Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans got manhandled in preseason Week 1 by the Baltimore Ravens, 10-23, a game that backup QB Malik Willis looked solid in completing 6/11 for 107 yards but no TDs or INTs, while the defense was dominated by rookie ILB Jack Gibbens who had 9 total tackles with four of those solo.
Take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here and expect them to cover the spread, though the Titans will be in front of a friendly crowd so that could help them keep close.
Buccaneers +2.5 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA
The Las Vegas Raiders’ new head coach Josh McDaniels wanted to see all three of his backup QBs and he got that in Week 1, his Raiders earning the 26-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings as QB Nick Mullens threw the only passing TD of the day, and rookie RB Zamir White got some carries taking 5 for just 13 yards averaging 2.6 yards per carry, his longest a 7-yarder.
The Miami Dolphins weren’t too concerned about starting any of their first string and let rookie QB Skylar Thompson take the reins last week, his 20/28 for 218 yards and a TD good enough for the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26-24 on a field goal by PK Jason Sanders, and rookie WR Erik Ezukanma even got a chance to shine with two catches for 18 yards.
The Raiders are on a 2-0 preseason run so take them to do it again against this young Miami Dolphins team that will have the advantage of their hometown crowd.
Raiders -2.0 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA
All three San Francisco 49ers QBs that played in last week’s win over the Green Bay Packers threw for a TD, with Trey Lance tossing a 76-yard bomb to deep threat rookie receiver Danny Gray, a highlight that could be a sign of good things to come, but now they travel to Minnesota to let their backups fight for one of the 53 roster spots that will be available.
The two backups to the Minnesota Vikings starting QB Kirk Cousins both got some snaps in Week 1, with Sean Mannion the number two completing 8/12 for 79 yards and third stringer Kellen Mond tossing for two scores in the second half to give his Vikings a chance, and now fans get to watch rookie RB Ty Chandler impress them in person.
Expect Chandler to have another productive game out of the backfield and give the Vikings the boost they need to cover the spread over the Niners at home.
Vikings -3.5 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA
No telling who the starter under center will be for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it should be a fun battle with Mitchell Trubisky having the edge right now but after rookie Kenny Pickett’s stellar preseason debut (including a game-winning TD pass to WR Tyler Vaughns) the future QB for HC Mike Tomlin’s crew could shift around this season.
Since the Jacksonville Jaguars already had a game under their collective belt, it was no surprise that they were the sharper team compared to the rusty Cleveland Browns, and though QB Trevor Lawrence and company got out to a quick first-quarter lead, the defense crumbled and let the Browns score 24 in the Jags’ second loss of the preseason.
The Steelers have some QB depth now and the Jaguars look like they are still figuring out their game plan so take Pittsburgh to cover the spread here.
Steelers +2.5 (-110)
How to watch: Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, NFL NET
For fans to see the Dallas Cowboys starters in Week 1, they would have had to go to the team’s facility to watch them practice because their joint sessions with the Denver Broncos were considered preseason snaps while the undrafted free agents got credit for the 7-17 loss in Denver, and now it’s a trip to LA to see rookies like WR Jalen Tolbert and LG Tyler Smith.
Last week was the time for Los Angeles Chargers backup WRs to have some fun and Michael Bandy and Joe Reed took full advantage, both scoring touchdowns in that loss while backup QB Eaton Stick had a tough day throwing a pick, an offense that scored 22 points against the LA Rams mostly second team, still not an easy feat to accomplish.
The Cowboys travel well and they have some depth to test so expect them to take care of business away from home and the Chargers continue to try out their best scrubs.
Cowboys +3.5 (-110)
How to watch: Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, NFL NET
It was a short but perfect night for Phily Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (6/6, 80 yds, TD) in preseason Week 1, a wonderful sign for HC Nick Sirianni and company, though they did take the loss and now have to travel to Cleveland where they will practice with the Browns all week and then take them on in front of a hostile crowd, a chance for BU QB Gardner Minshew to shine.
The boos and jeers for Cleveland Browns’ new controversial QB Deshaun Watson came loud and strong in Jacksonville last week, and they were effective as the soon-to-be-suspended veteran playmaker posted horrible numbers (1/5, 7 yards, 0TD), though the young players on the team rallied and earned Cleveland a road win, now with a homecoming matchup on Sunday.
There are no better football fans than Browns fans and they should be on hand to make the Eagles’ life miserable if Cleveland’s strong defense doesn’t do that first.
Browns +3 (-110)
How to watch: Sunday, 7:00 PM ET, NFL NET
Good to see Cincinnati Bengals rookie QB Drew Plitt throw for a TD but even better to see starting QB Joe Burrow running pregame sprints with his teammates, the star still recovering from his appendectomy in July, a young backup defense that let the Arizona Cardinal back in the game with two TDs allowed in the fourth quarter, a sloppy loss that counts for nothing.
The New York Giants’ backups are 1-0 now in the preseason as they took down the Patriots in Foxboro, and journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor did what he does which is run the team without making many mistakes, with RB Antonio Williams having himself a game averaging 6.8 yards per carry on 9 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Take the traveling Bengals and the generous point spread and hope that they play enough starters in the first half to build up an insurmountable lead against the Giants.
Bengals +5.5 (-110)
How to watch: Sunday, 8:00 PM ET, FOX
The Baltimore Ravens took care of the Tennessee Titans last week, 23-10, a home win that featured all three backup QBs including rookie Anthony Brown who completed 10/15 for 117 yards though Tyler Huntley was the only hurler to throw for a TD, the team posting 130 rushing yards in this win led by Nate McCrary’s 6.2 yards per carry on 5 carries.
Must have been quite a feeling for Arizona Cardinals rookie WR Jontre Kirlin to catch his first NFL TD pass even if it was just in the preseason, a five-yard score that was his only target and catch, so expect him to get more targets in this one as backup QBs Trace McSorley and rookie Jarrett Guarantano continue to fight for their spots on this team.
The Ravens have enough depth to win even in this practice game, but they might not cover such a generous spread so take the home team as they continue to master their game plan.
Cardinals +6.5 (-110)
How to watch: Monday, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN, ESPNDP
Last week was a solid last-minute win for the Atlanta Falcons as rookie backup QB Desmond Ridder got in the game and completed ten passes off 22 targets for 104 yards and two TDs with no interceptions, a great sign for the future as is a defense that kept Detroit to just two field goals in the second half of that win keeping the Falcons in the game.
The entire New York Jets fanbase collectively gasped as the team’s franchise QB Zach Wilson left the game last week with a knee injury, and now he is listed as questionable so expect to see a lot of veteran backup Joe Flacco and Mike White, a chance to throw balls to rookie WR Garrett Wilson and have first-year RB Breece Hall get some carries.
We most likely won’t see any more of Zach Wilson until at least the season starts, so in the hands of veteran Flacco expect the Jets to cover the spread over Atlanta’s scrubs.
Jets +3 (-110)
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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