Just as we all expected, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated Week 1, while Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers looked clueless in Cleveland.
We now have one week of football behind us, and we’re obviously trying to figure out what in Week 1 was real and what won’t last. All the while, we’re trying not to overreact.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian had varying levels of success in the opening week, and now they’re back to make their Week 2 picks against the spread.
Here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 7-8-1
Ricky Doyle: 11-4-1
Andre Khatchaturian: 9-6-1
Here are their ATS picks (with lines courtesy of OddsShark.com).
THURSDAY, SEPT. 13
Baltimore Ravens at (PK) Cincinnati Bengals, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: Bengals. I’m not ready to cede anything to the Ravens because they beat the Bills at home. Going on the road, in the division on a short week? That’s a little different. I think the Bengals eke one out in an ugly, low-scoring game.
Andre: Ravens. I told you to keep an eye out on John Brown last week, and he ended up scoring a touchdown. Expect the same from the speedy, deep-threat receiver, who is exactly the type of guy Joe Flacco needs to be “elite” again. Also, I love the Ravens turnover-hungry defense that had the best turnover differential in the NFL last year and six sacks last week.
Ricky: Ravens. The good news? The Ravens and Bengals both are coming off wins. The bad news? Those victories came against the Bills and Colts, respectively, who might wind up being the two worst teams in the NFL when all is said and done. Give me the Ravens in a low-scored affair, as I trust Baltimore’s defense more than any other unit in this game.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 16
Carolina Panthers at (-6) Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Mike: Falcons. Atlanta, despite all of its issues last season and again into Week 1 this year, was better offensively at home in 2017. They might struggle with that Carolina defense at times, but the Panthers are banged up on offense, losing tackle Daryl Williams and tight end Greg Olsen to injuries in the opener.
Andre: Falcons. The Falcons held the Eagles to just 3.6 yards per play and Cam Newton is a mistake-prone quarterback who has 30 interceptions in his last 31 starts. It’s a big spread, but Atlanta has an average point differential of 9.6 in its last five meetings against Carolina.
Ricky: Panthers. The Falcons’ offense was supposed to be better in Steve Sarkisian’s second year as coordinator, but that hardly was the case in Week 1. Maybe he’s just not very good? In any event, it’ll be difficult for the Falcons to overcome the losses of linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal, especially with an excellent pass-catching running back like Christian McCaffrey coming to town.
Cleveland Browns at (-8.5) New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Mike: Saints. Last week not good at all for the Saints, but let’s not overreact. New Orleans still hung 40 on the Bucs, and if they get their defensive act together in the slightest, they should be able to cruise against the Browns.
Andre: Saints. As Mike stated above, don’t overreact. Last season, New Orleans started off the season allowing more than 1,000 yards in their first two games and finished off with the best yards per play differential in football and seventh-most sacks.
Ricky: Saints. Banking on a bounce-back effort from New Orleans’ defense. The Browns also won’t have the benefit of their opponent turning the ball over six times — like the Steelers did in Week 1 — with Drew Brees taking care of the football better than he has at any point in his career.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. (no line as of Thursday morning)
Indianapolis Colts at (-5.5) Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
Mike: Redskins. Washington might actually be good, especially if Adrian Peterson is going to run for 100 yards per game. What Joe Mixon did last week (17 carries, 95 yards), AP should be able to do the same this week.
Andre: Redskins. Even if the Colts take a lead this season, they’re not going to be able to run the clock out because, well, they can’t run the ball. After taking a 23-10 lead against the Bengals, they couldn’t rush for a single first down and blew the game. Alex Smith is excellent at protecting the ball and shouldn’t have a problem against a Colts defense that allowed 6.6 yards per play against Andy Dalton’s Bengals.
Ricky: Redskins. Indianapolis’ Week 1 collapse actually was a continuation of a trend that began in 2017, as the Colts went 2-7 in games they led at halftime last season. Will the Colts cough up another lead in this one? Probably, although Indianapolis might struggle from the jump if its offensive line can’t fend off edge rushers Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith.
Kansas City Chiefs at (-4) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. The Chiefs looked impressive last week, sure, but they still gave up more than 500 yards to the Chargers. The Steelers, even without Le’Veon Bell are equipped to expose those same issues, especially at home. Ben Roethlisberger just needs to protect the football.
Andre: Steelers. Roethlisberger is 7-0 since 2006 in games after throwing three or more interceptions. He also has thrown one or fewer picks in each of those games. Patrick Mahomes only completed 55 percent of his passes in Week 1 and the Steelers pass rush is still strong, as evidenced by its seven sacks last week.
Ricky: Steelers. Pittsburgh has done a good job of containing Tyreek Hill in the past, which could make life difficult for Mahomes, who leaned heavily on the star receiver in Week 1. Hill had seven catches against the Chargers, while Sammy Watkins (3) was the only other Chiefs receiver with more than one. The Steelers’ Week 1 tie with the Browns should be a wake-up call for Pittsburgh’s locker room.
(-7) Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Mike: Chargers. There’s a lot to like about Buffalo here: hosting a West Coast team at 1 p.m. ET, getting fewer than 20 percent of the bets, and a 7-3 ATS record in their last 10 games as a…