It’s good to be back.
The first week of the NFL season presented a nice return to something resembling normalcy, as we all got to choose to sit home and do nothing after months of having to do so.
Of course, the best part of football season is we’re right back into it starting Thursday night with a full Week 2 slate.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are back at it, too, with their weekly against-the-spread picks.
Here’s how they fared in Week 1.
Mike Cole: 5-10-1
Ricky Doyle: 10-5-1
Andre Khatchaturian: 6-9-1
Here are their Week 2 picks (lines are consensus data).
THURSDAY, SEPT. 17
Cincinnati Bengals at (-6) Cleveland Browns, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: Bengals. I hate myself for picking a rookie QB in a Thursday game on the road, but it looks like Cleveland already has offensive line issues, with both tackles dealing with injuries on a short week.
Ricky: Browns. What better way for Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, to officially announce his NFL arrival than to outplay Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, in prime time? Unfortunately for the Bengals, this is a perfect spot for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to wear out Cincinnati as we see Kevin Stefanski’s first real fingerprint on Cleveland’s offense.
Andre: Bengals. Mayfield has thrown the second-most interceptions in the NFL since the start of the 2018 season, behind turnover machine Jameis Winston. There’s no reason in the world why he should be giving six points in any game. That Browns rush defense can’t stop a nosebleed, either, so expect a big game from Joe Mixon.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 20
Atlanta Falcons at (-4.5) Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
Mike: Falcons. The Cowboys’ injuries already are mounting, and it looks like Atlanta is gonna put up points again this year. If that’s the case, those are two ingredients for a close game.
Ricky: Cowboys. Matt Ryan had all day to throw last week against the Seahawks. He won’t have that luxury this week while trying to keep pace with a Cowboys offense that’s positioned for a bounce-back effort.
Andre: Cowboys. The Falcons’ pass defense hasn’t changed much since last year, as evidenced by its horrendous performance against Seattle in Week 1. Dallas averaged 8.2 yards per pass attempt last season, and it’ll exploit that weak pass defense.
(-5.5) Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bills. It was pretty impressive how Buffalo just completely took care of business last week against the Jets, and there’s no excuse for not doing the same here. The Bills might really be for real.
Ricky: Dolphins. Josh Allen is good one week, then bad the next, right? Isn’t that how this works? If so, the Dolphins will hang around, likely in a low-scored, hard-fought affair decided by a defensive stand (or an offensive miscue).
Andre: Bills. Buffalo allowed 4.8 yards per play last season, fourth-best in the NFL. That defense won’t have any trouble shutting down Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is old and throws too many picks.
Carolina Panthers at (-9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bucs. Get-right game for Tom Brady and Co. Bruce Arians clearly is trying some motivational mumbo-jumbo with Brady, and I believe they’ll rebound to score a whole bunch of points against a questionable Carolina defense.
Ricky: Panthers. This requires more blind faith in Brady and Tampa Bay’s offense. And I don’t have it. It’s possible the Bucs’ defense steps up and makes a statement, but this number is too high without any clear home-field advantage.
Andre: Bucs. Tampa Bay allowed just 3.7 yards per carry last season and kept that strong rush defense going in Week 1, holding New Orleans to 2.4 yards per carry. Christian McCaffrey was held to less than 40 yards in both of his games against the Bucs last season.
Denver Broncos at (-7.5) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. Liked this a lot more when it was just 6.5, but this could be a rout regardless. Pittsburgh has no shortage of weapons, and now Denver’s banged-up defense also will be without cornerback A.J. Bouye.
Ricky: Steelers. Pittsburgh just dominated a sophomore quarterback on the road in Week 1. Why not do the same at home in Week 2? Denver revamped its offense, but expecting immediate results this season is foolish. It’ll take time for that unit to click, if it ever does under Vic Fangio and Pat Shurmur.
Andre: Steelers. That Pittsburgh defense is for real. It allowed just 1.5 yards per carry last week and made young Daniel Jones look like a fool on some plays. Ben Roethlisberger showed he can turn the Steelers from a fringe playoff team into a Super Bowl contender if he can stay healthy, which he is for now.
Detroit Lions at (-6) Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Packers. This line feels like a trap because you’ve got a seemingly rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers at home taking on a secondary that already has been completely ravaged by injury. Seems like a no-brainer … makes ya wonder.
Ricky: Lions. Classic overreaction matchup? Detroit’s injuries are troubling, no doubt. But Matthew Stafford looked good in Week 1, even without Kenny Golladay.
Andre: Lions. The last time Detroit lost to Green Bay by more than one possession? Week 17 of the 2014 season. Yeah, I know. Shocking. Green Bay’s rush defense still is terrible. It allowed a league-high 6.1 yards per carry in Week 1 despite a big win over Minnesota. Adrian Peterson might keep drinking from the fountain of youth in this one and help the Lions keep it close.
Jacksonville Jaguars at (-9) Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jaguars. Tennessee didn’t look especially impressive in Week 1, and I wonder whether the loss of Adoree’ Jackson will be an issue against a Jaguars offense capable of big plays. Also have a lot of problems laying nine points with a team that has kicking issues.
Ricky: Titans. Remember that whole thing about not overreacting to Week 1? Yeah, well, the Jaguars still stink. Indianapolis left plenty of points on the field against Jacksonville last week, going 2-for-5 in the red zone. The Titans were the best red-zone team in the NFL last season, by a fairly wide margin. The kicking woes won’t matter if Tennessee finishes its drives.
Andre: Jaguars. Tennessee’s missed field goal problems from last year continued in Week 1 when Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals and an extra point. It’s tough to give nine points when a team has such horrendous kicking issues.
(-1) Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Mike: Rams. For me, it comes down to the trenches. Philly already lost two linemen, and Lane Johnson is trying to return after surgery, and now here comes Aaron Donald and that game-wrecking front.
Ricky: Rams. Andre scoffed at my preseason suggestion that the Rams will exceed expectations this season. So, I’m therefore pulling for Los Angeles any chance I get. Plus, like Mike said, Philadelphia’s injuries up front are concerning. The Eagles’ Super Bowl window is closed.
Andre: Eagles. It’s easy to overreact from Week 1 results. But never forget the Rams were one bad officiating call from losing that game against Dallas. Philly also had impressive metrics despite blowing a 17-point lead. The Eagles had the second-best yards per play differential in the NFL after Week 1 (small sample size, but still).
Minnesota Vikings at (-3) Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Mike: Colts. There was a lot of buzz about the Vikings’ secondary coming out of Minny to begin the season — and then they got torched by the Packers. Doesn’t get any easier this week chasing around T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell and Nyheim Hines.
Ricky: Colts. This matchup will make your head spin, especially with both teams desperately needing a win after disappointing performances in Week 1. Minnesota’s young secondary, coupled with some defensive turnover up front, is perhaps the diciest ingredient involved, however.
Andre: Colts. Minnesota’s success usually is predicated on Dalvin Cook’s efficiency. The Vikings are 10-1 SU when Cook runs for more than 85 yards in a game during his career. Indy allowed just 4.1 yards per carry last season.
New York Giants at (-5.5) Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Giants. The Lions, led by the ghost of Adrian Peterson, ran for 138 yards against Chicago last week, and now the Bears face Saquon Barkley, who’s looking to get right after a woeful Week 1. As long as Daniel Jones can avoid another back-breaking pick at the goal line, New York keeps it close.
Ricky: Giants. Give Mitchell Trubisky credit. He took advantage of a depleted Lions secondary last week while overcoming a 23-6 deficit. This game has “letdown” written all over it, though, and the Giants are a solid value bet on the road as a result.
Andre: Giants. This is a lot of points. Trubisky had a less-than-stellar completion percentage in his first game, and there’s a good chance he turns the ball over this week. He hasn’t thrown a pick in three straight games, but he’s never gone four straight in his career. Both of these teams had incredible rush defenses last year, allowing fewer than four yards per carry. So, I’ll take the better QB in this one.
(-7) San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. With the amount of injuries San Fran had entering the season, the first few weeks always were going to be tough. The Niners should win this, but it’ll be close.
Ricky: Jets. What Mike said. And what Andre’s going to say.
Andre: Jets. Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t have many weapons. They’re all hurt and now George Kittle is banged up. Both of these defenses are solid. Expect a low-scoring game, making it easier for the Jets to cover.
Washington Football Team at (-6.5) Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 pm.
Mike: Football Team. Kyler Murray was awesome last week, but the offensive line play still wasn’t great, which is the one thing Washington can truly expose. Could there also be some letdown this week for the Cards?
Ricky: Football Team. Washington’s front seven could be really, really good this season, especially if Chase Young is the immediate superstar he looked like in Week 1. Yet no one’s really talking about it. Probably because the organization had other things to worry about over the offseason.
Andre: Cardinals. Washington averaged 3.7 yards per play despite scoring 27 unanswered points against Philly. Dwayne Haskins stinks (54.8 completion percentage in Week 1). Washington also allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks last season. Good news for Murray, who took advantage of San Francisco’s weakness against mobile quarterbacks last week.
(-7) Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. Deshaun Watson was pressured on nearly half his dropbacks in Week 1 against Kansas City, and the Texans converted just four of 10 third downs. Baltimore, meanwhile, held Cleveland to 3-of-12 on third down, and it was just a year ago the Ravens sacked Watson six times in a blowout. More of the same here.
Ricky: Ravens. Not sure anything has really changed with these two teams since last season. If anything, the Texans have gotten worse while the Ravens might be better. That’s scary, since Baltimore’s offense ranked first in yards gained per drive (41.77) while Houston’s defense ranked 31st in yards allowed per drive (37.64).
Andre: Ravens. I’m picking the Ravens until they give me a reason not to. Lamar Jackson has 27 touchdowns and just one pick in his last eight regular-season games. Houston’s defense was one of the worst last season, allowing more than six yards per play. Watson, on the contrary, has seven touchdowns and six picks in his last seven games. Not good.
(-8.5) Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Chargers. Maybe this is where the Chargers really feel the loss of Derwin James, but that defense still is really good. I think they give the Chiefs just enough problems to keep it close.
Ricky: Chiefs. The talent gap at quarterback (Patrick Mahomes vs. Tyrod Taylor) is enough to lean Kansas City. Consider the Chiefs’ recent success against divisional opponents, including the Chargers, and this smells like a blowout. The Chiefs are 10-0 ATS in their last 10 games dating back to last season, winning by an average of 15.4 points. They’ll also have the benefit of extra rest after opening on Thursday night in Week 1.
Andre: Chargers. Kansas City’s weakness is its rush defense. Austin Ekeler averaged five yards per carry in two games against the Chiefs last season. And as Mike mentioned, the Chargers have enough defensively to limit the Chiefs’ potent offense.
New England Patriots at (-4) Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Seahawks. If the Seahawks somehow let the Patriots run wild again, shame on them. Seattle should load up the box to take away the run and force New England to pass, where the Seahawks’ elite secondary holds a decisive advantage over the Patriots’ cast of “meh” receivers.
Ricky: Patriots. The Seahawks have the better quarterback — sorry, Cam — and far more playmakers. They’re also well coached, minimizing that sizable advantage Bill Belichick typically holds. But the Patriots are capable of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides in this matchup, and that’s significant. Russell Wilson will find it much harder to improvise against New England’s secondary.
Andre: Patriots. Seattle plays in a lot of close games. Its 13-point win over Atlanta in Week 1 was its first win by more than one possession in 14 consecutive games. Expect another close contest against an elite Patriots defense that will give even a great QB like Wilson fits. The Seahawks also are not great against mobile quarterbacks. They allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to QBs last year, which bodes well for Cam Newton.
MONDAY, SEPT. 21
(-5.5) New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Raiders. Although it was against Carolina, the Raiders looked a little feisty last week. The offense has some weapons, and Jon Gruden is finding his groove. Maybe there’s some juice for Las Vegas opening a new stadium?
Ricky: Saints. New Orleans already ruined Tom Brady’s season-opening bash. Now, it’s time for Sean Payton and Co. to crash the Las Vegas homecoming party.
Andre: Saints. This line makes no sense. The Raiders allowed 8.3 yards per pass attempt last season and they’re going up against Drew Brees. The disparity in coaching, quarterback and defense is the size of the vast Nevada dessert.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images