These teams are far removed from Bill Walsh vs. Sam Wyche in Super Bowl 23, but they still have innovative offensive head coaches in Kyle Shanahan and Zac Taylor. The Niners have more juice around Jimmy Garoppolo, and their improved pass rush and secondary carry less concerns against Andy Dalton, who won’t have either A.J. Green or Joe Mixon.
The 49ers have overcome some early injuries. Joe Mixon’s sprained ankle really hurts the Bengals, who are going to have to sling it around. :: MINNESOTA (1-0) at GREEN BAY (1-0) Sunday, 10 a.m. Vikings 31, Packers 27 TV: None. DirecTV: 712. Line: Packers by 3. O/U: 44. The Vikings are legit. They want to run it and want to play defense. It might take a little longer than expected for this Green Bay offense to get going. Aaron Rodgers will come around. Go with the visitors. :: SEATTLE (1-0) at PITTSBURGH (0-1) Sunday, 10 a.m. Steelers 28, Seahawks 20 TV: None. DirecTV: 713. Line: Steelers by 4. O/U: 47. Steelers seldom lose back-to-back, especially when the second is at home. Seattle needs more time to jell. To give up 429 yards to the Andy Dalton-led Bengals in Seattle? Watch for Pittsburgh rebound. :: DALLAS (1-0) at WASHINGTON (0-1) Sunday, 10 a.m. Cowboys 34, Redskins 21 TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 714. Line: Cowboys by 5 1/2. O/U: 46 1/2. The Redskins looked good for a half before Philadelphia roared past them. Strange things can happen in this historic rivalry, but the Cowboys have a good front seven and their most multiple offense in years. :: KANSAS CITY (1-0) at OAKLAND (1-0) Sunday, 1 p.m. Chiefs 27, Raiders 21 TV: None. DirecTV: 715. Line: Chiefs by 7 1/2. O/U: 53 1/2. The Raiders looked good Monday night, especially on defense. Losing Tyreek Hill stings the Chiefs, but Sammy Watkins stepped up in a big way. Kansas City has more firepower, but this is close. :: CHICAGO (0-1) at DENVER (0-1) Sunday, 1:15 p.m. Bears 21, Broncos 16 TV: None. DirecTV: 716. Line: Bears by 2 1/2. O/U: 40 1/2. Mitch Trubisky needs to do more to prove he’s the answer for the Bears. Still, Chicago should be better than in the opener, when it produced a field goal. What happened to the Denver defense? :: NEW ORLEANS (1-0) at RAMS (1-0) Sunday, 1:15 p.m. Rams 31, Saints 27 TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 717. Line: Rams by 2. O/U: 52. The Saints are a different team on the road. The Rams have beaten them in both places. It’s a good bet there’s a Todd Gurley uptick here after he gathered momentum in the second half of the opener. :: PHILADELPHIA (1-0) at ATLANTA (0-1) Sunday, 5:15 p.m. Eagles 30, Falcons 24 TV: Channel 4. Line: Eagles by 2. O/U: 52 1/2. The Eagles started slow but showed something when they stepped on the gas at halftime. The Falcons couldn’t do anything in Minnesota, except when the Vikings dropped safely back on defense. :: CLEVELAND (0-1) at N.Y. JETS (0-1) Monday, 5:15 p.m. Browns 27, Jets 21 TV: ESPN. Line: Browns by 6 1/2. O/U: 44. The Browns have to be better than they showed in the opener, right? Yes, they are. C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams are banged up, which hampers the outstanding middle of the Jets defense. SPORTS NEWSLETTER Get our daily Sports Report newsletter Please enter your email address Subscribe Sam Farmer Twitter Instagram Email Facebook Winner of California Sportswriter of the Year and first place for beat writing by Associated Press Sports Editors, Sam Farmer has covered the NFL for 25 seasons. He has had unique assignments such as climbing Mount Rainier with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, traveling with an officiating crew, spending a week behind the scenes with Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, sitting in the “Monday Night Football” booth, piloting the Goodyear blimp and watching games on Sunday alongside John Madden. Farmer, a 1988 graduate of Occidental College, began his career at small papers in the Pacific Northwest before moving on to the San Jose Mercury News, where he was an Oakland Raiders beat writer for five seasons. At various times, he has also been a beat writer covering the NBA, PGA Tour, and college football and basketball. MORE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES MLS Galaxy LAFC Soccer SOCCER Where do the Galaxy and LAFC stand in the MLS playoff race? 39 minutes ago 464576_SP_0907_ucla_1_RCG.JPG UCLA SPORTS UCLA’s struggles will be a national spectacle against Oklahoma 43 minutes ago Padres Dodgers Baseball DODGERS Dodgers say it’s ‘very unlikely’ rookie Alex Verdugo will be ready for the NLDS 43 minutes ago Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles DODGERS Dodgers’ Rich Hill scheduled for MRI exam on injured knee Monday 1 hour ago LATEST SPORTS SPORTS Letters: Will USC get off the grid-lock in search for athletic director? 1 hour ago CHARGERS Versatile defensive back Jaylen Watkins showing he can ‘handle it all’ for Chargers 2 hours ago USC SPORTS USC vs. Brigham Young: How the teams match up 2 hours ago CHARGERS Elliott: ‘Next man up’ can’t let Chargers down if hope to endure early season injury bug 2 hours ago SPORTS Jaime Munguia and Erik Morales combine to form Team Tijuana
The pendulum has swung from, “the Browns will win the Super Bowl,” to, “same old Browns.” It’s typically wisest to stay centered in the middle during such see-saws. Cleveland has too much talent to not ignite against an opponent soon and an already-banged-up New York team looks like a good candidate.
Jimmy Garoppolo looked like garbage in Week 1. This is a perfect opportunity for him to break through, though, because even though the Bengals hung tough with the Seahawks in their season-opening loss, Cincinnati still lacks talent on defense, particularly at the second level.
The 49ers had two defensive interceptions all of last year. They surpassed that total with three in Week 1. Richard Sherman continues to be a beast. According to PFF, opposing QBs threw at him once every 12.6 targets last season — the best mark among corners. Last week when Jameis Winston did throw at him, he got himself a pick six. Good luck, Andy Dalton.
But the team’s defense, thanks in part to a strong push from its rebuilt front seven, managed three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The Bengals (0-1) were aggressive and productive in Coach Zac Taylor’s first game, but San Francisco looks like a better team.
This line has moved a lot. The look-ahead line at the Westgate, set before Week 1, had the 49ers favored by 2.5. After Week 1, the line opened with the 49ers as a 2-point favorite. It has moved 3.5 points since then. You don’t see that too often in the NFL unless there’s an injury. But why? The Bengals looked a lot better than expected in Week 1 and the 49ers needed a parade of Jameis Winston interceptions to win. But this seems like a prime Week 1 overreaction.
SILVER (0.25 UNITS)
San Francisco is playing back-to-back road games — an early one in the Eastern Time Zone — and if you take away two defensive scores last week, that’s a much different game in Tampa Bay. Also looks like Zac Taylor will be able to cook up some innovative offense every week for Cincy.
The Bengals impressed in losing a close one at Seattle. I think their defense will come up big here again.
Let’s see what Jimmy Garoppolo can do on the road when the opposing quarterback doesn’t throw three interceptions. Even when they finished in last place a year ago, the Bengals went .500 at home.
The Bengals (0-1) really showed something up in Seattle. The 49ers (1-0) looked uneven against the Buccaneers, relying on a pair of pick-sixes to win. Is Cincinnati a mirage after almost beating Seattle, or is this a decent team?
The Bengals threw for 418 yards and put up 22 first downs against the Seahawks and lost. The 49ers had only 256 yards and converted 5 of 13 first downs against Tampa Bay and won. A couple TD interception returns will do that.
Cincinnati was a hard-luck loser in Week 1. The Bengals surprised many with their performance in Seattle. John Ross and Andy Dalton clicked in new coach Zac Taylor's offense. The Niners won behind two interception returns for touchdowns, so this game will be another challenge for the Bengals' offense.