The NFL is back and Mondays are no longer the worst day of the week. DraftKings Sportsbook is here to make this special night even more special. Check out the NFL best bets for the Week 2 double-dose of Monday Night Football matchups. The action kicks off with the Carolina Panthers hosting the New Orleans Saints at 7:15 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers follow at 8:15 p.m ET.
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints -3 (-115)
Bryce Young’s debut went just about as expected. Rookie quarterbacks struggle. Life is especially hard for No. 1 picks. It’s not that Young lacks talent or is overrated. It’s that No. 1 picks aren’t surrounded by talent. The team that picks first is the worst, or at least was the worst in the previous season. So far, it does not look like much has changed in Carolina.
The Panthers’ rushing combo of Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard was serviceable in Week 1, but that’s all that was working for the Panthers. Young threw for 146 yards and finished with a 48.8 quarterback rating against the Falcons. Those statistics are understandable given he faced a 37.5% pressure rate. If his line can’t block and his pass catchers are average at best, then it’s going to be a long rookie season.
If it’s going to be a long season, then it’s going to be a long night. The Saints defense is going to be a headache for the NFC South. Ryan Tannehill was limited to a 28.8 quarterback rating in Week 1. He threw three picks and was sacked three times while being pressured on 45.9% of his dropbacks. That does not project well for Bryce Young on Monday night. It’s hard to imagine that the Panthers will be able to move the ball.
The Saints won’t have to do much offensively with their defense in control, but their offense should be able to do their part to easily cover the spread. Derek Carr wasn’t great in Week 1, but he was above average in his debut against a solid Tennessee defense. Carr threw for over 300 yards and earned a 96.1 quarterback rating. Those numbers should be expected every week as long as his receivers stay healthy. The Ohio State duo of Chris Olave (eight receptions for 112 yards) and veteran Michael Thomas (5 receptions for 61 yards), along with the surprising standout from Weber State Rashid Shaheed (five catches for 89 yards and a touchdown), might be the best trio of receivers in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns -2.5 (-110)
The Browns made defensive changes in the offseason. They added depth to their defensive line and brought in a new coordinator. With the depth, DC Jim Schwartz was able to move Myles Garret all over the field. Grant Delpit was also a versatile asset in Week 1 playing nickel linebacker and safety. The result of this dynamic defense was the Browns shutting down the potent Bengals offense.
This should not be a surprise. After being fired as the Lions head coach, Schwartz wound up as the Eagles’ DC. He turned that team around in one season. In his second season, the Eagles won the Super Bowl. The Browns’ turnaround has begun. In Week 1, they limited Joe Burrow to 82 passing yards and a 52.2 quarterback rating. The Bengals’ rushing attack didn’t do much either (75 rushing yards). When teams can’t gain yards, they often find themselves in third-and-long situations with low probabilities of conversion. The Bengals were 2-for-15 on third down in Week 1.
If Joe Burrow and his Pro Bowl weapons can’t move the ball, then how is Steelers QB Kenny Pickett going to put points on the board. If his line fails to show up again, he’s doomed. Pickett was sacked five times by San Francisco in Week 1. He was under pressure an alarming 45.1% of the time. A part of this was situational. The Steelers were down several scores early. They abandoned the run, and the 49ers teed off on the one dimensional offense.
Excuses can be made for the Steelers’ offense, but the defense’s performance is inexcusable. Christian McCaffrey is tough to stop, but so is Nick Chubb. If CMC can run for 152 yards (6.9 yards per carry), then Nick Chubb (5.9 y/c) can post similar numbers. Chubb rushed for over 100 yards against Cincinnati. It’s not just the Steelers’ porous rush defense that’s a problem. The Steelers could not defend the pass either. San Francisco QB Brock Purdy earned a 111.3 quarterback rating vs. the Steelers.
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