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After an opening week that included just about everything, the NFL transitions to Week 2. Although it’s still early in the season, teams that failed to win last week are hoping to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. Out of the last 61 teams to start the season 0-2, only three have made the playoffs.

 

Game of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Favourite: Steelers -3

Two of the top teams in the AFC North, the Bengals and Steelers, renew their rivalry in Week 2. The Steelers have had the upper hand in recent meetings, winning four of the last five matchups.

Some key offensive weapons will be absent in this one, including Bengals Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert, who’s out with an ankle injury. As for the Steelers, they’re still without suspended running back Le’Veon Bell, who will miss two more games.

The Bengals are the underdog in this spot, but they’ve covered 10 of their last 13 in that role.

 

Game with the Biggest Spread

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers

Favourite: Panthers -14

The 49ers’ 28-0 win over the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football hasn’t won over bettors or oddsmakers, but people will be curious to see how the 49ers perform when they hit the road to face the Panthers, who’ve had 10 days to prepare.

This is a matchup of two teams at opposite ends of the NFC spectrum; the Panthers are +600 to win the conference, and the 49ers are far behind at +3300. The 49ers have lost 15 of their last 17 games when they’ve been 10-point (or more) underdogs.

 

Game with the Smallest Spread

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

Favourite: Jets -1.5

Both the Jets and the Bills lost in Week 1, so one of these teams will start 0-2. The Jets will be under even more pressure to win this game because four of their next five games will be on the road.

As for the Bills, their coaching staff and front office are under pressure to deliver results this season. Given the urgency, their Week 1 loss to Baltimore was particularly discouraging. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was just signed to a massive contract extension, managed just 111 passing yards, and the offense produced a mere seven points.

 

Important Injuries

Keenan Allen (SD): The Chargers lost their top receiver for the season last week, making this the second straight year that’s happened. Last year, they averaged 24 points per game over their first eight with him in the lineup, and just 16 points per game in the final eight contests without him.

Robert Griffin III (CLE): Browns starting quarterback Robert Griffin III injured his shoulder and looks like he might miss the rest of the season. Josh McCown, the team’s main starter last season, will take over.

Brian Cushing (HOU): The Texans’ top tackler from last season tore his MCL in Week 1 and will miss six weeks.

 

*Odds as of September 14, 2016