NFL Week 2 picks: Chargers beat Cowboys at SoFi; Rams defeat Colts

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs runs in for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday in Las Vegas. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season begins Thursday with the New York Giants taking on the Washington Football Team. The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups.

Farmer's record last week: 7-9 (.438). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 6-9-1 (.400).

Times are Pacific. Lines according to FanDuel (O/U = over/under):

Giants (0-1) at Washington Football Team (0-1)

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke passes.
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke passes during the first half against the Chargers on Sunday in Landover, Md. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Thursday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Washington by 3. O/U: 401/2.

With that abysmal offensive line, the Giants are going to have a hard time scoring. Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke hasn’t looked as good as he has at times, and it’s a short week.

Prediction: Washington 21, Giants 17

Texans (1-0) at Browns (0-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Browns by 121/2. O/U: 481/2.

The Browns are 0-1 after their trip to Kansas City, but they played really well against one of the best teams in the league. The Texans are 1-0, but they clobbered the lowly Jaguars.

Prediction: Browns 31, Texans 20

Broncos (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Broncos by 6. O/U: 451/2.

Teddy Bridgewater is pretty reliable. Even without Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos have playmakers, and that defense is solid. After opener, Jaguars’ Urban Meyer has to be second-guessing his decision.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Jaguars 14

Patriots (0-1) at Jets (0-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Patriots by 51/2. O/U: 421/2.

Mac Jones is the real deal, and he’s hard to fool for a rookie. The ball goes where it should. The Jets’ defense did a decent job against Carolina, but that offense isn’t quite there yet.

Prediction: Patriots 28, Jets 20

Raiders (1-0) at Steelers (1-0)

Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Joe Schobert and T.J. Watt prior to the first half against the Buffalo Bills.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Joe Schobert, left, and T.J. Watt against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard park, N.Y. on Sunday. (Jeffrey T. Barnes / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Steelers by 51/2. O/U: 461/2.

The Raiders are coming off a huge win, and Gus Bradley’s defense looks really promising. But they have to go across the country to face a solid bounce-back team with a good offensive line rebuild.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Raiders 23

Saints (1-0) at Panthers (1-0)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Saints by 31/2. O/U: 441/2.

The Saints aren’t as good as they looked, and Green Bay isn’t as bad. Carolina can rush the passer a bit. New Orleans is going to keep it on the ground and play keep-away. Close, but visitors hang on.

Prediction: Saints, 23, Panthers 17

Bengals (1-0) at Bears (0-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Bears by 11/2. O/U: 441/2.

Is it time for Justin Fields in Chicago? Bears fans certainly want to see him. Cincinnati is coming off an win over the not-bad Vikings, but the Bears find a way to rebound after a loss in L.A.

Prediction: Bears 23, Bengals 21

Rams (1-0) at Colts (0-1)

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrates his touchdown pass.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, left, celebrates his touchdown pass with receiver Van Jefferson in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Rams by 31/2. O/U: 471/2.

Rams might come back to earth a bit after rolling a bad Bears team, but their confidence is cresting with Matthew Stafford. Except for some lousy decisions, Colts would’ve been in Seattle game.

Prediction: Rams 28, Colts 23

Bills (0-1) at Dolphins (1-0)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Bills by 31/2. O/U: 471/2.

The Bills need to prove they can run, and stop the run. The Dolphins are getting receiver Will Fuller back, which should help, but Tua Tagovailoa still has to prove he can consistently get ball there.

Prediction: Bills 28, Dolphins 24

49ers (1-0) at Eagles (1-0)

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Kevin Strong tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Kevin Strong tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle during the second half in Detroit on Sunday. (Duane Burleson / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 713.

Line: 49ers by 31/2. O/U: 491/2.

Losing Jason Verrett and Raheem Mostert really hurts the 49ers, maybe not immediately, but their long-term prospects. Jalen Hurts has made things sunny in Philadelphia ... for the moment.

Prediction: 49ers 27, Eagles 24

Vikings (0-1) at Cardinals (1-0)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Cardinals by 31/2. O/U: 501/2.

The Cardinals looked really strong against Tennessee, and that defensive front was dominant. The Vikings just lost to the Bengals. As long as they’re healthy, the Cardinals are a good team.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Vikings 24

Falcons (0-1) at Buccaneers (1-0)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 715.

Line: Buccaneers by 111/2. O/U: 511/2.

The Buccaneers are rested and ready, and Atlanta’s only chance is Tampa Bay overlooking them. That’s not going to happen with Bruce Arians as coach. This shouldn’t last a half.

Prediction: Buccaneers 38, Falcons 17

Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0)

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert passes against the Washington Football Team.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert passes against the Washington Football Team during the first half on Sunday in Landover, Md. (Al Drago / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 716.

Line: Chargers by 31/2. O/U: 551/2.

Really impressive win for the Chargers at Washington, and they should win their opener at SoFi. Won’t be easy against these rested Cowboys, though. Dallas defense is better than advertised.

Prediction: Chargers 28, Cowboys 27

Titans (0-1) at Seahawks (1-0)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 717.

Line: Seahawks by 41/2. O/U: 531/2.

The Titans have big-name targets, but A.J. Green looks like a possession guy and Julio Jones is a shell of his former self. Russell Wilson has so many places he can go with the football.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Titans 24

Chiefs (1-0) at Ravens (0-1)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Chiefs by 31/2. O/U: 551/2.

Orlando Brown is a liability at left tackle for the Chiefs, but he should be good enough against his former team, as Baltimore doesn’t have great edge rushers. Kansas City keeps it rolling.

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Ravens 21

Lions (0-1) at Packers (0-1)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws from the pocket.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws from the pocket during the second half against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. (Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN.

Line: Packers by 111/2. O/U: 481/2.

Aaron Rodgers at home after such an embarrassing opener? The Lions did a good job coming back, but with Jared Goff coming to town, go with Rodgers in showdown of former Cal quarterbacks.

Prediction: Packers 31, Lions 21

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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