The NFL season is off and running, and even the most astute pigskin observers couldn’t have seen what went down in Week 1.
The biggest story, one that sent shockwaves through the entire league, was of course the season-ending injury to Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Hopes of a return to glory for Gang Green likely went up in smoke just four plays into the four-time MVP’s New York tenure when he took a seat on the MetLife Stadium turf.
There’s no rest for the weary, though. The Jets’ first post-Rodgers date is a trip to Dallas for a showdown with the Cowboys that looked a lot better when the schedule-makers released the 2023 slate in the spring. Dallas had its own fun in East Rutherford in Week 1, absolutely pasting the Giants in a 40-0 laugher.
So, obviously, the Cowboys are going to roll this weekend when they return home to host Zach Wilson, right? Perhaps. But therein lies the trick with Week 2. It’s a week that was made for overreactions, which makes navigating these waters even trickier.
Ahead of making their full NFL Week 2 picks, NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle discussed just that topic — and many more — on this week’s episode of “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast.
Before diving into their NFL Week 2 picks, here’s how the guys fared in Week 1.
Here are their full against-the-spread picks for Week 2 of the NFL season.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 14
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5), 8:15 p.m. ET
This line opened at 7.5 and since dropped below a key number, creating a conundrum (or an opportunity) for bettors. The Eagles didn’t look great in a Week 1 win over the Patriots, while the Vikings outplayed the Buccaneers despite suffering a season-opening loss. Philadelphia simply has too much talent — particularly up front on both sides of the ball — and will bully Minnesota at home. –RD
SUNDAY, SEPT. 17
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET
The Packers looked like one of the NFC’s best teams in Week 1, but that was against the lowly Bears. Not only are the Falcons better (largely by default), but Atlanta might be a tough matchup for Green Bay. The jury is still out on the Packers’ run defense, and the Falcons have one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks. It might also be tougher for that Green Bay offense (that could be without Christian Watson and/or Aaron Jones) to get going against an Atlanta defense that is getting rave reviews after just one week. –MC
Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-9.5), 1 p.m. ET
Josh Allen’s turnover woes are becoming a problem for Buffalo, and this is an uncomfortably large number. But would it surprise anyone if the Bills returned home Sunday with a hair across their keister and pummeled the Raiders to atone for Monday night’s Meadowlands misstep? –RD
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5), 1 p.m. ET
In hindsight, probably should have considered the matchups a little more in the Bengals-Browns Week 1 game. Cincinnati is also a slow starter, which makes it slightly more difficult to lay more than a field goal here. But the Ravens won’t put forth nearly the sort of pushback Cleveland’s defense did against Joe Burrow and company in the opener. It won’t necessarily be pretty, but the Bengals find a way to get it done against an already banged-up Baltimore bunch. –MC
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-5.5), 1 p.m. ET
The Seahawks just got defeathered by the Rams at home, whereas the Lions defeated the defending Super Bowl champions on the road. But don’t let perception warp reality: These teams are similarly talented, with Seattle’s wide receiver depth posing a tough challenge for Detroit’s secondary. This game has shootout potential. And it’s hard to imagine Pete Carroll not having the Seahawks ready after they crumbled in their opener. –RD
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Let’s be completely honest: It’s way too early in the season to have a strong opinion on the AFC South basement. This is basically a pick ’em with two rookie quarterbacks and two rookie head coaches. Gonna more or less blindly back the home team. Analysis! –MC
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET
Need a spark? How about adding an All-Pro tight end and an All-Pro defensive tackle back into the lineup? The Chiefs very well could this Sunday, with Travis Kelce (knee) and Chris Jones (contract dispute) — Kansas City’s two most important players besides Patrick Mahomes — trending toward returning in Jacksonville. –RD
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5), 1 p.m. ET
The Bucs were one of four teams that allowed at least 5.7 yards per play last week. The other three allowed an average of 33 points in Week 1; Tampa Bay gave up just 17. Credit the Bucs for forcing key turnovers, but you can’t depend on that. The Bears are bad, yes, but they can’t be that bad. At least I don’t think. — MC
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET
Tennessee isn’t capable of replicating Miami’s Week 1 aerial attack. And while Los Angeles’ run defense long has been an issue, the Chargers actually held their own in that department last week. So long as the Bolts slow Derrick Henry, to an extent, they should be in OK shape. –RD
New York Giants (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET
Only one defense had more sacks in Week 1 than the Cardinals. That team? The Cowboys, who registered seven sacks against … the Giants. New York has some major offensive line issues, and that is more than enough to want to take almost a touchdown with the home team. –MC
San Francisco 49ers (-8) at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET
Just don’t love laying more than a touchdown with the road team in a divisional matchup right here, no matter how dominant the 49ers looked in Week 1. Admittedly, looking to zig while everyone else zags. –RD
New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys (-9.5), 4:25 p.m. ET
Maybe New York has the letdown of all letdowns after losing Rodgers before a miraculous walk-off win in Week 1. Wilson certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence anywhere outside of Florham Park. Yet, it’s not like the Cowboys offense showed much last week — it was mostly defense and special teams — and now they must try to solve one of the NFL’s best defenses. The number is just slightly too high for how good the Jets’ defense is, regardless of who they have playing quarterback. –MC
Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (-3.5), 4:25 p.m. ET
Denver’s defense might beat the crap out of Sam Howell. But at some point, the Broncos need to show more life offensively. The low total (38) for this game tells you everything you need to know. Points will be at a premium, with a late field goal likely to decide it. –RD
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET
If the Dolphins’ offense looks anything like it did last week, this thing is a laugher, as the Patriots haven’t been able to prove they can hang in shootouts during the Mac Jones era. But even if the Patriots are able to keep Miami’s dynamic playmakers in front of them — as New England did against the Eagles in Week 1 — there should be questions about the Patriots offense. Vic Fangio will get some of the defensive things fixed, and the Dolphins’ pass rush could have its way with an extremely shorthanded Patriots offensive line. –MC
MONDAY, SEPT. 18
New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers, 7:15 p.m. ET
Really like the spot: A low total (40) combined with an early-season home divisional underdog coming off a double-digit loss. Of course, that methodology requires turning a blind eye to the inherent uncertainty that surrounds rookie quarterbacks (Bryce Young, in this case). But welcome to the NFC South in 2023. –RD
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m. ET
There has been about a 3 1/2-point swing from the look-ahead line, seemingly based on Week 1. Too much? The Browns roughed up the Bengals, and yeah, they could do the same against a worse Steelers offense. But Cleveland’s offense has major question marks, too, especially now that tackle Jack Conklin is done. Pittsburgh, even without Cam Heyward, should put the pressure on Deshaun Watson, while the Steelers offense can’t get much worse. It could be a nice bounce-back spot for Kenny Pickett, who was very impressive against the blitz last season, against a blitz-happy Cleveland defense. –MC