Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and we’re on to Week 2 … aka the “overreaction week.”
“Maybe the Arizona Cardinals aren’t legitimate Super Bowl contenders … You know what? This is the year the Oakland Raiders — with the gutsy Jack Del Rio leading the way — win the AFC … the Browns might go 0-16.”
OK, so the Browns actually might go 0-16, but Week 2 likely will be a step back toward reality — both good and bad — for teams that either played way above their actual level or laid eggs in Week 1.
As for the NESN.com NFL picks column, we pretty much are what we thought we were: pretty average, leaning toward below average.
Here’s how we did in Week 1.
Mike Cole: 7-9. Got a little too cute taking underdogs like Chicago, Tennessee and Cleveland.
Ricky Doyle: 8-8. The early leader wasn’t afraid to back the Texans’ defense against the Bears’ porous offensive line.
Andre Khatchaturian: 6-10. Hit on the Jets pick but crashed hard with home favorites like Kansas City, Seattle and Indy.
Make sure to check back every week for their weekly picks against the spread (in full below), and be sure to watch “The Spread: NESN.com’s Football Picks Show” in the video above and/or subscribe to the audio podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.
On to the Week 2 picks. As always, the lines are courtesy of our pals at OddsShark.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 15
(PK) New York Jets (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1), 8:25 p.m. ET
Mike: Jets. The trends point toward Buffalo, but the Bills’ anemic Week 1 offensive showing, paired with the Jets’ front-seven dominance, is too much to ignore.
Ricky: Jets. Sammy Watkins’ status is up in the air, which is good news for Darrelle Revis, who looked washed up against A.J. Green in the Jets’ Week 1 loss. New York’s defense should reign supreme in this one, with the front seven shutting down LeSean McCoy and Buffalo’s rushing attack.
Andre: Jets. Last year, Tyrod Taylor averaged more than 8 yards per pass attempt, and nearly 20 percent of his passes were 20 or more yards downfield. That changed in Week 1 as Taylor had only one completion longer than 20 yards and averaged just 5.04 yards per pass attempt. The Jets are the better-coached team, and their defensive-minded system should force Taylor to rely on dinking and dunking again.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 18
New Orleans Saints (0-1) at (-4.5) New York Giants (1-0), 1 p.m.
Mike: Giants. The Saints struggle on the road — they’ve lost their last seven September road games as underdogs, 3-4 against the spread — and their defense still can’t stop a nosebleed. Like the Giants but love the over (52) here.
Ricky: Giants. The spread’s a little high, especially with the Giants barely squeaking by a rookie-led Cowboys team in their season opener. But with Victor Cruz healthy and second-round draft pick Sterling Shepard flashing his potential in Week 1, Eli Manning has a couple of viable weapons to take pressure off Odell Beckham Jr. That’s huge, given the Saints’ defensive issues.
Andre: Giants. Eli Manning and Drew Brees combined for 13 touchdowns last season when these two teams met. The difference now is that the Giants have an improved defense. The G-Men held Dak Prescott to 14-of-33 passing after he started 11 of 12. They should find a way to contain Brees late and win.
Tennessee Titans (0-1) at (-5.5) Detroit Lions (1-0), 1 p.m.
Mike: Lions. Shame on me: I underestimated the impact of Jim Bob Cooter on Matt Stafford and the Lions’ offense. Still don’t love them, but they should be good enough to edge the Titans by a touchdown.
Ricky: Titans. The Lions took advantage of a depleted Colts secondary in Week 1. They’ll find it more difficult to score in Week 2 against a Titans defense that shut down Adrian Peterson and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown in a season-opening loss to the Vikings.
Andre: Lions. Matt Stafford was crazy accurate (31 of 39, three TDs) against the Colts’ leaky defense in Week 1. Despite shutting down Shaun Hill and the Vikings, the Titans’ defense isn’t much better than Indy’s. The Lions should win shootouts against teams with bad defenses like the Titans this season.
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) at (-2.5) Washington Redskins (0-1), 1 p.m.
Mike: Redskins. Following the trends here — which admittedly is risky so early in a new season — Washington is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games following a straight-up loss, whereas Dallas is 0-3-1 ATS following a straight-up loss.
Ricky: Cowboys. Considered going with the Redskins based on the theory this could be one of those instances from last season in which they take advantage of playing a bad team. But Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott could replicate — at least to some extent — the success that Pittsburgh Steelers stars Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams enjoyed through the air and on the ground, respectively, in Week 1 against Washington.
Andre: Cowboys. This should be Zeke’s breakout game. The Redskins stunk against the run last year, allowing 4.8 yards per rush attempt. They weren’t much better Monday night against the Steelers, allowing 143 rushing yards to DeAngelo Williams.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at (-3) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0), 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. This rivalry is impossible to predict, so I’m going to side with the home team — the same team that looked more impressive in Week 1, too.
Ricky: Bengals. Pittsburgh’s defense played well last week, but Cincinnati’s offense is more formidable than Washington’s and should have an easier time moving the chains, especially if the Steelers are without linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Bengals also are 8-0-1 in their last nine games against the spread dating to last season. Cincy by a late field goal.
Andre: Steelers. Antonio Brown has 151 receptions and 2,048 receiving yards in his last 16 games with Ben Roethlisberger as the starting quarterback. Both would be record-breaking totals in a single season. A.J. Green should have a day, but the Steelers have more weapons and should ride home-field advantage to victory.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at (-2.5) Houston Texans (1-0), 1 p.m.
Mike: Texans. I love the revenge angle here. KC whooped on Houston in the playoffs last season, but the Texans had Brian Hoyer under center (four interceptions) and J.J. Watt played only one snap. The Chiefs’ O-line is better, but they’ll still struggle with this Texans pass rush.
Ricky: Chiefs. Brian Cushing’s injury could hurt Houston, particularly with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce posting big numbers in his previous two games against the Texans. The Chiefs started slow last week, but several starters appeared to be shaking off the rust after playing very little in the preseason. We’ll go out on a limb here and say Kansas City’s true identity is closer to the team that thrived in the second half last week against San Diego. And we’ll also say the Chiefs’ offensive line will do a much better job containing the Texans’ pass rush than the Bears’ garbage O-line.
Andre: Chiefs. Brock Osweiler shined in Week 1, but that was against the Bears. The Chiefs are the same team that shut out the Texans in the playoffs last season. Alex Smith is looking more like a guy who can win with his arm, and after a slow start, the Chiefs’ defense held Philip Rivers to just 92 passing yards in the second half in their comeback win.
Miami Dolphins (0-1) at (-6.5) New England Patriots (1-0), 1 p.m.
Mike: Patriots. The schedule-makers did the Dolphins no favors. This actually could be a tough matchup for the Patriots if the O-line isn’t any healthier, but they’re the better-coached team. Bill Belichick will make things as easy as possible for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Ricky: Dolphins. It was a lot easier taking the Patriots in spite of their injuries — and Tom Brady’s suspension — when they were getting six points. This smells of a game in which Miami threatens to pull off an upset, only to then be outsmarted late when New England finally flexes its muscle.
Andre: Patriots. It’s crazy how everything seems so easy for New England. The Dolphins have looked for Dan Marino’s successor ever since he retired. The Pats already might have Tom Brady’s successor before he even retires. Jimmy Garoppolo’s Week 1 performance was special — it’s not easy to go on the road against a Super Bowl-caliber defense and an elite head coach, and win. He has the numbers (73 percent completion percentage, TD, no picks and a game-winning drive), the intangibles and the coach to keep him focused after an emotional win.
(-6) Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1), 1 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. That’s a lot of points to give on the road, but I think it might take some time for Josh McCown to get going in the new system. The Browns also have injuries in the secondary, which could be a problem, given Mike Wallace’s sudden resurgence in Week 1 for the Ravens.
Ricky: Browns. I’m sticking with my theory that the Ravens aren’t that good, in which case six points is a lot to be giving on the road … even against the Browns.
Andre: Browns. Is it me, or does Josh McCown seem like an upgrade over RG3? McCown threw 12 touchdown passes and just four picks in eight games last season. His only win? A 33-30 victory on the road at Baltimore. It could’ve been two wins against the Ravens if the Browns hadn’t infamously choked away a Thursday night game. This is a divisional road game for Baltimore. Although they’ll probably win, take advantage of the line shifting nearly two points after the RG3 injury was announced and take the Browns to cover.
San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at (-13) Carolina Panthers (0-1), 1 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. Pretty much everything in the world goes against the 49ers, who are playing on a short week and going to the East Coast for an early game against the defending conference champions, who had an extra three days of preparation.
Ricky: Panthers. The spread scares the crap out of me, given it’s early in the season and we still don’t really know either team’s true colors. That said, the 49ers’ Week 1 beatdown win was a product of the Rams’ incompetence, and the Panthers will have a chip on their shoulders in their home opener.
Andre: Panthers. Carolina has three extra days to prepare after a heartbreaking opening night loss to the Broncos. The 49ers played Monday night and will travel across the country. This is Cam Newton’s first home game since winning the NFC title. Think he’ll be pumped?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at (-6.5) Arizona Cardinals (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. I’d rather have Tampa +7, but 6.5 still is a lot of points for a Cardinals team that didn’t look very good Sunday. They lost Frostee Rucker and might be without Evan Mathis, two potentially very big injuries.
Ricky: Cardinals. Tempted to take the points because the Bucs’ offense could hang and make things interesting. But I have to think Bruce Arians will have his team more prepared in Week 2 after a very disappointing loss to the Patriots in Week 1. Tampa Bay’s defense leaves something to be desired, too, so this could be a breakout game for the Cardinals’ high-octane offense.
Andre: Bucs. This spread is too large, since these two teams are eerily similar. They both have quarterbacks who perform at a high level when they have solid protection, and they both have elite running attacks, a bevy of wide receiver threats and solid defenses. The Bucs are for real and should play the Cardinals close and maybe even eke out a win.
(-3.5) Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Los Angeles Rams (0-1), 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Rams. Let’s get weird. The Rams have one clear strength, and it’s up front on defense. The Seahawks struggle like hell to protect the quarterback. Russell Wilson is expected to go, but he’ll do so with a sprained ankle, limiting his mobility and making him a relatively stationary target for Aaron Donald and friends.
Ricky: Seahawks. The Seahawks’ defense is very good. The Rams’ offense is very bad. I understand the uncertainty surrounding Russell Wilson’s status, but I just can’t see how Los Angeles can put up enough points to stay competitive.
Andre: Seahawks. The Seahawks lost to the Rams twice last season, but the L.A. offense looked inept against a bad 49ers team. However, I can’t see that performance somehow translating into a win against the Seahawks, especially on short rest. Plus, Pete Carroll will return to the Coliseum for the first time since his USC days. It’s basically a home game for him.
Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at (-4.5) Oakland Raiders (1-0), 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. The Raiders’ defense struggled last week, but Week 1 in New Orleans isn’t the best situation for a defense to shine. I think that unit will play much better at home, and Derek Carr will pick apart a miserable Falcons defense.
Ricky: Raiders. I loved Jack Del Rio going for two points and the win last week against the Saints. It might have set the tempo for Oakland’s entire season. Expect plenty of points here, with most of them coming from the Raiders’ high-upside offense against the Falcons’ suspect defense.
Andre: Raiders. The line already shifted by two points in same places, and I don’t really know why. The Falcons stink at pressuring the quarterback (no sacks in Week 1 and dead-last in sacks last year). Derek Carr should have plenty of time to make plays to his talented receiving corps. Despite a tough Week 1 showing against Drew Brees, the Raiders’ defense still is for real.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at (-4.5) Denver Broncos (1-0), 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. What am I missing here? Denver’s defense still is really good (and really mean), while Indy’s offense is Andrew Luck and some duct tape. The Broncos should win this game by double digits, and if they do, the Chuck Pagano firing watch might start.
Ricky: Broncos. Andrew Luck might want to stay down the first time he’s driven into the ground Sunday. Otherwise, it could be a painful afternoon for the Colts quarterback.
Andre: Broncos. The Peyton Manning Bowl! Generally, Andrew Luck struggles against elite defenses and shreds crappy ones. But Luck actually beat the Broncos last season. That said, the Colts blew a 17-point lead in that game against an inept Manning, who couldn’t do anything with the ball until the second half. Something tells me Trevor Siemian will do better moving the ball up the field than Peyton did last year.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) at (-3) San Diego Chargers (0-1), 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Jaguars. The Chargers are just 2-7 ATS (and have lost three of four straight-up) as home favorites. The Jaguars should add to that misery, and Mike McCoy should start updating his résumé.
Ricky: Jaguars. Philip Rivers just lost his favorite target, the Chargers have had some issues at home and the Jaguars showed even in defeat last week against the Packers that they deserve to be taken seriously this season. What am I missing here?
Andre: Jaguars. I have a feeling the Jaguars wouldn’t be underdogs in this game if their name wasn’t the Jaguars. They held Aaron Rodgers to under 200 passing yards, and that’s pretty damn impressive. As for the Chargers, Philip Rivers had just 92 passing yards in the second half. Keenan Allen’s absence might’ve had something to do with that.
(-2) Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-0), 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Packers. The Vikings went in to Lambeau last year in Week 17 and won the NFC North title over the Packers. It’s probably safe to assume Green Bay — with a healthy Jordy Nelson in the mix — is ready to return the favor in the first game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Ricky: Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense won’t cough up the game like Marcus Mariota and the Titans’ offense did against the Vikings’ defense last week. And that’s a fact.
Andre: Packers. The Vikings’ defense bailed them out with two defensive scores against the Titans last week. But that was the Titans. Aaron Rodgers won’t turn over the ball at will, and the Minnesota defense allowed 5.4 yards per play last season (15th) despite being lauded as one of the league’s premier defenses.
MONDAY, SEPT. 19
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at (-3) Chicago Bears (0-1), 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Bears. Nice little debut for Carson Wentz last week, but that was at home against the Browns. It will be a little different going into Soldier Field and winning in prime time.
Ricky: Bears. The Eagles are thin at cornerback with Leodis McKelvin going down in Week 1. That’s good news for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who shouldn’t spend quite as much time on the ground this week with Chicago’s offensive line not having to deal with Houston’s pass rush.
Andre: Bears. Carson Wentz looked great last week because he was playing the Browns. Now he’s facing a real defense and likely will come back down to Earth. Jay Cutler also will receive a break after facing a stingy Texans defense last week.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images