NFL Week 2 Prime Time Top Picks: MNF Doubleheader!

profile image of scottkacsmar

NFL Pick: Steelers Over 9½ First Half Points (-115) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Bovada logo
Steelers Over 9½ First Half Points (-115)
Visit Site

The NFL is still the king of prime time after a couple of Week 1’s most dramatic moments started and ended the week. Thursday night saw the Lions upset Kansas City and then there was Monday night’s unbelievable game between the Bills and Jets after Aaron Rodgers got injured on his 4th snap before New York rallied for an overtime win.

We will see what the Week 2 lineup brings, and keep in mind there is a doubleheader on Monday night with the games overlapping. We have our favorite NFL picks for each of the 4 prime-time games in Week 2, which you will find at the top sportsbooks.

Tua Seeks 5-0 Record vs. Belichick’s Patriots

Believe it or not, Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the only signal caller to win 4 games in a row against Bill Belichick’s Patriots. He avoids the big mistakes against Belichick’s opportunistic defense. Tua was on fire in Week 1 with 466 yards in Los Angeles, but he faces a tougher test on the road this Sunday night.

The Dolphins are a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 47 points. We are focusing on the Miami team scoring total (over/under 23.5).

Saints Look to Shut Down Carolina’s Offense

The Saints were able to gut out a 16-15 win in Derek Carr’s debut against the Titans. Carr was 3-48 with the Raiders when he failed to score at least 17 points, so he must be loving this benefit of having a defense. Bryce Young made his first start for the Panthers and only scored 10 points. He will hopefully have much better days ahead of him.

The Panthers are a 3-point underdog with a total of 40 points, but we are focusing on Carolina’s team total (over/under 19.5 points).

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

Monday, September 18, 2023 – 07:15 PM EDT at Bank of America Stadium

Frank Reich’s Debut

Frank Reich coached the Panthers to a 24-10 loss in Atlanta in his first game after getting fired by the Colts last year. If you recall, the Colts were bad at protecting the ball and scoring last year.

On Sunday, the Panthers were not much better in Bryce Young’s first start. He threw 2 picks to safety Jessie Bates, claiming he needs to see the depth of him better. Hopefully that is just a reference to game speed being different at the NFL and not a height issue, as Young’s height (5’11” at best) was a big talking point heading into the draft. Miles Sanders also lost a fumble in his first game with Carolina.

But the Saints just intercepted veteran Ryan Tannehill 3 times, almost getting halfway to their 2022 interception total (7) in one game. They were good in the red zone too and kept limiting the Titans to field goals.

Young’s Lack of Weapons

Carolina should try to lean on the run here, because the Saints have a much better secondary than the Panthers have a receiving core right now. DJ Chark missed Week 1 with an injury, Adam Thielen did not produce much as he was also questionable with injury, and the team obviously misses No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore after trading him to Chicago.

It is not a good sign when journeyman tight end Hayden Hurst leads your team in targets. The Panthers have some options at receiver, but none are likely to be big producers any time soon. Young averaged just 7.3 yards per completion in Week 1. Young is the first quarterback to average under 4.0 yards per attempt on more than 35 passes in Week 1 since Case Keenum in 2016.

Bet on a Low-Scoring Affair

The last time these teams played in Week 18, it was a 10-7 final won by Carolina. But the Saints have not allowed more than 18 points in 7 straight games. They had the No. 2 scoring defense in the final 8 games of 2022, and they were right back to that level in Week 1 against Tennessee.

Trust this to be a low-scoring, rough game for these division rivals, and one where the rookie quarterback will struggle to score 20 points. Take the team under for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Panthers Team Total Under 19½ Points (-130) at Bovada

Bovada logo
Panthers Team Total Under 19½ Points (-130)
Visit Site

Browns Can Put Steelers in 0-2 Hole

The Browns have finished behind Pittsburgh in the standings in every season since 1990, but they can make a statement Monday night by dropping the Steelers to an 0-2 record. Pittsburgh was awful in a 30-7 loss to the 49ers, while the Browns were strong defensively in a 24-3 upset of the Bengals.

Cleveland is a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 40 points, but we are focusing on the Steelers’ ability to score.

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Monday, September 18, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at Acrisure Stadium

The Preseason Is a Lie

You could almost feel it coming. The Steelers retained offensive coordinator Matt Canada, a very questionable move, but one the team made to ensure coaching consistency for the young offense led by quarterback Kenny Pickett.

No one was complaining about Canada as usual in the preseason when the starting offense went 5-for-5 at scoring touchdowns in August. Pickett looked accurate and fantastic while George Pickens was dominant. Everything was looking great.

But the preseason is not real. The Steelers had to face an elite team in the 49ers, who had the No. 1 defense in 2022. Just like last year when the Steelers faced elite contenders like the Bills and Eagles, they were destroyed Sunday in the worst home loss of Mike Tomlin’s career.

Pickett couldn’t even lead the offense to a first down until the 6th drive, a 95-yard touchdown march before halftime. But there were no other scores for the Steelers, and Pickett finished with just 198 net passing yards on 51 plays.

He now gets to face a Cleveland defense that held Joe Burrow to 82 yards passing on 31 attempts, so this could be ugly again and in prime time.

Give the Steelers a Chance

While Canada is probably going to have to go after this season, let’s not bury the Steelers yet. The 49ers have an incredible roster on both sides of the ball, and they played at a high level on Sunday. The Browns are not as good, and one of the biggest problems is Deshaun Watson has not been able to sustain a passing offense for Cleveland yet.

But this is a pick that is more about Tomlin’s ability to pick the team up after a dreadful performance. For as bad as the Steelers were on Sunday, they still scored a touchdown before halftime. Would it be so crazy to expect them to do that again and sneak a field goal in there too for an over 9.5 point first half?

The Steelers scored 10 points in the first half against Cleveland in Week 18 at home last year. In Week 2 on the road with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, the first half was one of Trubisky’s best moments with the team. The Steelers scored 2 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter before struggling the rest of the game.

If the Steelers faceplant early at home for the second week in a row, the crowd is going to be relentlessly on Canada. Trust some regression to mean in that the Steelers won’t look this pathetic on offense again and the Browns won’t be that great on defense again. Take the Steelers to go over 9.5 points by halftime.

NFL Pick: Steelers Over 9½ First Half Points (-115) at Bovada

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

Sunday, September 17, 2023 – 08:20 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium

Tua’s New England Success

While Tagovailoa has the lofty 4-0 record against Belichick, it is a little misleading. The Patriots since 2020 are a game under .500 after losing the opener this year, so it’s not like he is facing Belichick with multiple Hall of Famers on defense and Tom Brady at quarterback.

Still, Tagovailoa has done well to only turn the ball over 2 times in these 4 games against Belichick’s defense. He only averages 6.7 yards per pass, so it is not like he has been lights out as a passer against New England. He just avoids mistakes and takes advantage of the Patriots making mistakes with a couple of big fumbles returned for Dolphins touchdown in these games.

But Miami has only scored 11, 22, 17, 33, 20, and 21 points in its last 6 games against the Patriots. That means only one game went over the line of 23.5.

Containing Tyreek Hill

The big test for this New England defense is Tyreek Hill, who had 215 yards and 2 touchdowns in one of the best games of his career in Week 1. Jaylen Waddle is a threat too, but the Dolphins have not really developed a great No. 3 receiving option yet.

They must contain Hill, and Belichick’s specialty has been to take away what a team does best. Hill has faced Belichick 7 times with the Chiefs and Dolphins in his career. He was absolutely dominant in the early meetings in 2017-18 when he had 275 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.

But starting with the 2018 AFC Championship Game when Hill was held to a single 42-yard catch, he has not hit 100 yards in the last 5 meetings. He has 2 touchdowns in that time as well.

The Patriots just held Jalen Hurts to 170 yards and A.J. Brown to 79 yards. That may be impossible against Tua and Tyreek right now, but you can trust that the Patriots won’t get shredded like the Chargers did.

Team Total Pick

With New England’s offense finding some chemistry after a rough start in the rain against the Eagles, that unit can keep Tua off the field for a good chunk of the night as this should not be another shootout.

Trust Belichick to give Hill proper attention and not let him explode for another monster game. The Dolphins may very well win another game against the Patriots here, but take their under for scoring on the road.

NFL Pick: Dolphins Team Total Under 23½ (+110) at Bovada

Bovada logo
Dolphins Team Total Under 23½ (+110)
Visit Site

Eagles Look for Repeat of Minnesota Mismatch

With a 2-10 record on Monday Night Football in his career, Kirk Cousins did not do anything to change the narrative that he hates Mondays more than Garfield in a 24-7 loss to the Eagles in Week 2 last year. Maybe Thursday night will go better, but the Vikings have a tough trip to the Eagles on a short week.

The Eagles are a 7-point home favorite with a total of 48 points.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Thursday, September 14, 2023 – 08:15 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field

Eagles Dominated Last Year’s Game

A good early sign of the 2022 Eagle’s dominance was their 24-7 win over the Vikings in Week 2. They scored all 24 of their points in the 2nd quarter while intercepting Cousins 3 times and holding Justin Jefferson to 48 yards on 12 targets.

Jalen Hurts was dynamite with 333 passing yards and 57 rushing yards with 3 total touchdowns. Hurts was nowhere near that good in Week 1 at New England, but he gets a defense that just let Baker Mayfield look good in a Week 1 upset.

The Eagles will want to be sharper after a tough game in New England in the rain. Dallas Goedert did not make a single catch and Hurts only passed for 170 yards. The Patriots almost completed a 16-point comeback.

But look for the Eagles to play much sharper at home where coach Nick Sirianni is 10-3-1 ATS as a home favorite since 2021, the best record in the league.

Vikings: Win Close, Lose Big

A huge reason the Vikings were predicted to regress this year was their record in close games last regular season. The Vikings were 11-0 in close games and 8-0 at 4th-quarter comeback opportunities (having the ball down by 1-8 points). This is why they were the first team to ever win more than 11 games despite being outscored on the season. This incredible record was never going to be sustainable, and sure enough, the Vikings already lost a close game in the wild-card loss to the Giants.

Then they lost their home opener to the Buccaneers, unable to come back late from a 20-17 deficit. Cousins had some issues with turnovers as the running game was shut down by a good Tampa front. The Eagles have an even better front with rookie Jalen Carter already getting his first sack in Week 1 and registering 6 pressures, tied for the most by any rookie defensive tackle in a game in the last 5 years (source: Next Gen Stats).

Our Pick

When the Vikings aren’t in a close game, they are usually getting blown out as evident by their losses last year (24-7 to the Eagles, 40-3 to the Cowboys, 34-23 to the Lions, and 41-17 to the Packers).

There might be some good value on taking the Eagles’ first-half spread (-4.5) in this game if you assume an early rout like last year. But we feel comfortable enough with the short week and mismatches in the trenches that the Eagles will put Sunday’s close call behind them and win this one comfortably.

NFL Pick: Eagles -7 (-105) at Bovada

Bovada logo
Eagles -7 (-105)
Visit Site

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.