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NFL picks, Week 2: Straight up, and considering Survivor pool strategy

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We’re back with more NFL picks, including Week 2 straight up picks, a Survivor pool, and a look at Thursday Night Football against the spread.

Welcome back to another week of straight up picks. I’ll have my picks against the spread later this weekend, and my pick against the spread for Thursday Night Football down below.

The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Carolina Panthers this week. It’s a short turnaround against a team with extended rest. For the second straight season, the 49ers play the Week 1 MNF late game, and face one of the teams that played in the Thursday kickoff game. Good times for Chip Kelly’s squad.

I’m picking against the 49ers this week, because that turnaround is going to be brutal. And facing a Panthers coming off a tough loss in Denver, I don’t think the 49ers will benefit from a Carolina letdown. I have not yet decided what to do with regard to the spread, however. I am inclined to give the 13.5 points because I could see this getting ugly for the 49ers. That being said, this team is better than last year’s team. Is it enough to keep this close?

I’m in an NFL Survivor pool, where you pick a different team each week. You can only pick a team once. You get one grace loss, so if I pick a team and they lose this week, I’m still alive. If I pick a team next week after that loss, and that latter team loses, then I’m done. I’m strongly considering taking the Panthers with my Survivor pick this week. I’d love to see the 49ers spring the upset, but I just don’t see it happening. Too much is going against them. But, if I can run the reverse jinx, I would at least remain alive for another week in my Survivor pool. Win, win?

For tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Jets and Bills, I’m taking the Bills at +1. I came across a study suggesting when a pair of 0-1 teams meet in Week 2, the underdog is often heavily undervalued. This is an ugly matchup, and I don’t see it being particularly high scoring, so I figure I’ll roll the dice on the math and see what happens.

Here are my straight up picks for this week. I was 9-7 in Week 1.

Jets @ Bills: Bills
Bengals @ Steelers: Steelers
Titans @ Lions: Lions
Ravens @ Browns: Browns
Cowboys @ Washington: Washington
Saints @ Giants: Giants
49ers @ Panthers: Panthers
Dolphins @ Patriots: Patriots
Chiefs @ Texans: Chiefs
Seahawks @ Rams: Seahawks
Buccaneers @ Cardinals: Cardinals
Jaguars @ Chargers: Chargers
Falcons @ Raiders: Raiders
Colts @ Broncos: Broncos
Packers @ Vikings: Packers
Eagles @ Bears: Bears