From Ryan Fitzpatrick’s magic to Tyreek Hill’s video game-like performance to Aaron Rodgers’ incredible comeback win, Week 1 of the NFL season was loaded with memorable storylines. Now the focus shifts to Week 2, as bettors start to handicap the early lines. Here are five important games to keep an eye on:
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Line: Green Bay -1.5
Packers fans experienced a roller-coaster of emotions as they celebrated the kickoff of their 100th season against their oldest rivals with a magical win. While that was impressive, the task becomes far more challenging in Week 2.
The Vikings have dominated the recent head-to-head series between these teams and are coming off an impressive 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. This game will have added significance for several reasons, including the fact that it’s a key NFC North matchup and the fact that Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone against Minnesota last season. Keep an eye on Rodgers’ status as we get closer to Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Pittsburgh -5
Pittsburgh has dominated the recent series between these teams with five straight wins against Kansas City. However, the Steelers are coming off a 21-21 tie with the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 where they coughed up six turnovers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs looked absolutely dominant in a 38-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Patrick Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns without a pick.
This showdown has early significance in the AFC pecking order.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Philadelphia -3
The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles relied heavily on their defense and some timely trick plays in order to scrape out an 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons in their opener. Now they will face a Tampa Bay side that looks a lot more dangerous than expected on paper following a 48-40 win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Saints, but the Eagles defense is an upgrade. This week we’ll find out whether the Bucs were a one-week fluke or have actually turned things around.
New England Patriots @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: New England -1.5
Week 2 will also feature an AFC championship game rematch with the Patriots visiting Jacksonville. The Jaguars are coming off an impressive 20-15 win over the New York Giants on the road and they appear to have avoided a major injury blow after running back Leonard Fournette tweaked his hamstring. However, the fact that Fournette likely won’t be 100 percent healthy will hurt the Jaguars this week.
New England is coming off a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans. The Patriots have won 19 straight games against AFC South opponents, including five straight meetings vs Jacksonville.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Line: Dallas -3.5
While this rivalry might not be what it was a few years ago, there will be a lot on the line for both teams when the Giants visit the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are coming off season-opening losses and suddenly there is a sense of urgency as both teams attempt to avoid an 0-2 hole. Worse yet, both teams showed similar flaws from last season as the Cowboys still can’t pass with any consistency while the Giants offensive line struggled to protect Eli Manning or open up holes for the running game.