NFL Week 2 betting takeaways: QB injuries force ratings change
The Sunday of Week 2 was exhausting compared to Week 1. Grinding through a really poor slate of early games and into the complete chaos of the four late-afternoon contests left me on empty for the Sunday nighter.
Here are the movers and shakers in my ratings following a busy Sunday, which ended with a few teams losing their starting quarterback.
A bunch of big injuries
Andy Dalton came up lame on a scramble, and the much-hyped Justin Fields came up lame in relief. While the Ohio State product is likely Chicago's future franchise passer, we deal with the present. So despite the team's defense pushing it to a win, the Bears need to be downgraded with the rookie at the helm (43/100 from 49).
In Indianapolis, the high-wire act that is betting on Carson Wentz ended with a tumble into the safety net this week (a loss but a cover against the spread), and the signal-caller suffering an ankle injury. Jacob Eason entered, and "Eason season" was worse than a Manitoba winter. The Colts need to be rated at the back end of their range with Eason leading the club's offense, which for me is 30/100 - especially if opposing quarterbacks are going to shred Indy's defense.
Meanwhile, Tyrod Taylor has already been ruled out for Thursday night after hobbling into the end zone due to a bad hamstring. It's a shame, too, because the Texans were going to get another boost after hanging in there in Cleveland. Instead, we'll see Davis Mills on a short week. Houston is downgraded to the bottom of its range (20), with head coach David Culley's shocking decision-making following an offside penalty contributing to the plunge.
Finally, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left early with a rib injury. The Bills then added insult to said injury, though the scoreboard was somewhat flattering to Buffalo since Miami couldn't do much with Jacoby Brissett under center. The Dolphins must be downgraded if Tua misses time, but a week of first-team practice reps should help Brissett, so I'll just drop them from 62 to 50 and go from there.
The 'Chiefs tax' strikes again
Kansas City didn't get away with it this time. The Chiefs have now covered in just two of their last 14 games, and if the majority of those results hadn't come in wins, we'd be comparing the team's profitability to Jacksonville.
My ratings for the Chiefs and Ravens don't change because they spit out a fair point spread of Kansas City -0.5 before Sunday night. If it ain't broke.
Kicking woes continue
The Vikings proved some things to people who were quick to jump off the ship after Week 1. Then their kicker Greg Joseph speared those of us on the moneyline square in the heart against the Cardinals. I'm bumping up the Vikings a hair and dropping Arizona after its defense couldn't replicate a strong Week 1 performance. These two teams now meet at 60/100, which feels about right after a wild affair.
Randy Bullock seemed to cost Titans backers a cover before totally redeeming himself. In true Week 2 fashion, the Titans aren't as bad as previously indicated, and the Seahawks aren't as good as many were believing after Week 1. Tennessee's rushing offense needs to be effective for the team to play to its rating of 60, as poor pass protection could have resulted in a blowout in Seattle. Next time the Titans might not be so lucky.
Box score reality
The other NFC West teams need to be downgraded, only because those clubs were probably flying too high following solid Week 1 showings. The Rams' defense allowed the Colts to advance inside the 5-yard line twice, but the unit was shockingly able to hold Indy to zero points on those drives. Those results were outliers, and the Colts probably win the game otherwise.
Elsewhere, our hypothesis that the Eagles' defense might be really good this year still stands. But that doesn't excuse the 49ers’ lackluster offense on Sunday, or the 6.0 yards per play given up defensively. They won the high-leverage plays to get the cover, but San Francisco didn't perform like a top-tier team, in part due to injuries that are once again piling up for Kyle Shanahan’s squad.
Falcons stumble again
Another misleading score, and another working hypothesis gets more support.
We've thought the Falcons are - somewhat intentionally - horrendous. While their defense did enough for them to cover 12.5 points against the Buccaneers (yardage totals would suggest the game should have ended in a five-point Falcons loss), a potential ATS win fell apart because no one thinks Matt Ryan is willing to throw more than five yards downfield.
Deflections at the line of scrimmage were plentiful, leading to two soul-crushing late pick-6 interceptions. Atlanta drops further as a result, going from 38 to 35.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on twitter @mrussauthentic.