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NFL picks against the spread, Week 2: Cowboys, Rams are good bets this week, seriously

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The Cowboys are three-point underdogs against a Washington defense that’s thoroughly confused about how to use its secondary.

Last week, I advised you that it was safe to bet on the Raiders AND the Jaguars. Hats off to Jack Del Rio for making me look smart. And another cheer for the Jaguars for drafting Jalen Ramsey, giving Blake Bortles a worthy supporting cast and drafting Jalen Ramsey.

It worked. I hit on four of my five picks. The one I missed: Cowboys and Giants. Dallas was a one-point favorite; they lost. But maybe this week, they’ll make a little more effort to get the ball to Dez Bryant, which would also be a tremendous help in the fantasy league I do with my father-in-law.

I don’t like to put the same teams in here from week to week, but this week, with the Cowboys in Washington, I feel like I have to pick that game. Anyway, yeah, I’m betting on Dallas again this week, and you’re certainly free to join me.

All lines come via OddsShark. Home teams in caps.

Dallas (+3) over WASHINGTON

I suspect Washington was so thoroughly embarrassed by not using Josh Norman against Antonio Brown last week that they won’t make that mistake again. No team is more susceptible to pressure from the media than Washington, on the field at any rate.

The problem last week wasn’t really that they didn’t put Norman on Brown; the problem was that the secondary was out-coached.

I’m not trying to disparage Norman here either. Dez Bryant beats all kinds of corners, good corners, and if Washington’s not going to put safety help on him, then he’s going to produce.

RAMS (+6) over Seahawks

The Blaine Gabbert-led 49ers made Jeff Fisher wait for his looming contract extension, one he clearly deserves given his fine coaching over the years. Nobody has coasted longer on one Super Bowl appearance. He’s nine losses away from being the most losing coach in NFL history. But he survives, in part, because among his annual six or seven wins, he makes sure to include beating a vastly superior division rival.

Fisher’s Rams swept the Seahawks last year. Seattle is 1-3 against the Rams over the last two seasons. He may not win, but the Rams will at least keep it close and cover the spread.

I don’t understand it, but I’m pretty sure Monday or Tuesday I’ll be swallowing back my own vomit when news breaks that Fisher has signed a three-year extension to give Los Angeles its least exciting sports franchise.

CARDINALS (-7) over Buccaneers

You’re not going to make any money betting on the Cardinals to beat the Buccaneers in Phoenix. I know the seven-point spread is tempting, but losing to the Patriots without Tom Brady, Gronk and all the other starters New England was meaning to play WILL NOT sit well with Bruce Arians.

Maybe the real action here is the over/under. It’s a mere 50 points. I feel like the Cardinals’ offense is going to explode in anger.

49ers (+13.5) over PANTHERS

I’m just not a big fan of those huge spreads. The 49ers are a scout team compared to the Panthers, but they’re good enough to keep it within 13.5 points at the end of 60 minutes.

STEELERS (-3) over Bengals

The Bengals have lost their last five against the Steelers, including a pretty, um, contentious playoff game back in January. The best revenge for the Bengals would be a win, but I suspect they’ll opt for actual revenge and all the fines and potential suspensions and puddles and puddles of bad blood instead of winning the game.

But three points? Don’t you think they could at least come within three points? They only lost by two points in that playoff game. However, Cincinnati is 1-4-1 against the spread in its last five against Pittsburgh.

I’m siding with precedent here.