NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

The second week of the NFL season is here, and it's a chance to do two things: observe underlying trends from last week to inform our decisions, while not overreacting to what we saw on the field in Week 1. Are the Browns terrible? They could be! Or are the Ravens just really, really good? Also a possibility. 

Before we get to my picks, here are two key takeaways from Week 1 for me:

Consistency is king

This something I harped on during last week's picks column and something I beat like a dead horse all offseason/preseason on the Pick Six Podcast (our daily NFL pod, full of high-end football coverage and jam-packed with mirth and Kevin Harlan dunk sound drops, subscribe right here): teams who have consistency at quarterback, head coach, offensive coordinator and on the offensive line are going to flourish out of the gate. 

Did you see Tom Brady and Philip Rivers on Sunday? Those dudes have almost 40 years of experience quarterbacking at an NFL level and they didn't have great in-game chemistry with their skill position guys. It takes time to develop that. Brady, in particular, moved to a new offense with new offensive linemen. We shouldn't be surprised when he and Mike Evans aren't on the same page. As Brady Quinn pointed out on Wednesday's podcast, all the reps in the world in shorts won't matter until you can get those on-field, in-game snaps. Without a preseason, these games should provide even more inconsistency for team these teams. 

The same goes for Dak Prescott and Baker Mayfield, both of whom are dealing with new head coaches and changes on the offensive line. Expecting Dallas or Cleveland to come out firing on offense was a mistake (one I made with the Bake show taking the points against Baltimore). 

Lord help the rookie quarterbacks out there the next few weeks. I think Joe Burrow is going to be awesome. Nothing about his Week 1 performance has me thinking anything other than he's a super talented rookie behind a questionable offensive line in a pandemic-shortened offseason. There are going to be growing pains, more so than normal. 

Watch the trenches

These two points certainly dovetail a bit, no? The Bengals could have beaten the Chargers pretty easily on Sunday if Randy Bullock wasn't cramping up mid-kick or if Burrow could hit A.J. Green in the end zone. But Burrow being pressured was a very consistent theme to this game. It should have been more obvious if we consider the matchup: Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram going against a bad/young Bengals offensive line? That's a major problem! 

Likewise, I would point to the Jets and Bills game (got that one wrong) as a spot where, even if we though the Jets could manage to keep pace, they were at a major, major disadvantage in terms of both line matchups. The Jets have a rookie tackle and a bunch of new guys up front, whereas the Bills are a veteran defensive team sending a host of players coming at Sam Darnold, both on the inside and off the edge. On the flip side, New York isn't extremely loaded on the defensive line (although they are actually good at stopping the run) and the Bills have an offensive line that's grown together the last few years. It shouldn't be a surprise Buffalo was able to snuff out the Jets offense early and attack via the pass to build a lead. 

A couple of other matchups that followed this trend included the Steelers-Giants game (Joe Judge and Jason Garrett had a good gameplan offensively but Pittsburgh overpowered them in the trenches eventually) and Titans-Broncos (Tennessee should have annihilated Denver based on the number of plays run). 

The best example of all? Washington's dominance over Philadelphia. The Football Team has a young, inexperienced quarterback learning an entirely new system with a new head coach and minimal help. That defensive line still overpowered a largely continuous offensive unit in Philadelphia -- some rookie wideouts are new, although Jalen Reagor certainly looked the part -- that was lacking personnel on the offensive line. It was a thing in Week 1 because the pandemic shortened offseason, and it will be a thing in Week 2 as well. Keep your eyes off the ball. 

Week 2 is finally here, so who should you pick? Pete Prisco, R.J. White and SportsLine's Kenny White join Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to breakdown their best bets, gambling advice and more; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Bengals at Browns

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
Point spread: Browns -7

Double situation from above here, which explains why the number has cratered on the total, down to like 43 or so while I'm writing this. There are multiple lines of thinking here, but the most important one involves getting inside Baker Mayfield's head. Start by wading through 450 miles of Progressive Insurance ad copy, then all of a sudden you find his brain and realize he's freaking out that Joe Burrow might be better than he is. It's a dark place, man. Baker was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, smashed his first year and now isn't a lock to be on the Browns in 2022 because the Browns are the Browns. This is a monster game for him, Odell Beckham, Myles Garrett and Kevin Stefanski. It creeped up quick. 

Pick: Browns 24, Bengals 14

Jaguars at Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Titans -9

No one actually stayed up to watch the Titans game on Monday night. And if you did, I'm sorry. I was up, and it was awful. 1:30 a.m. ET and Vic Fangio is deciding whether or not he gets to save his timeouts for get a free sub card. The Jaguars beat the Colts last week, so why on earth are they nine-point dogs. I'll tell you why -- the Titans managed to have Ryan Tannehilll throw 43 (!) times and Derrick Henry run 31 (!) times and they still barely won. The offense wasn't rolling or anything, but they're due for a couple big plays in this game from A.J Brown and Henry. Jacksonville is frisky, but let's settle down on the Jaguars winning a bunch of games. 

Pick: Titans 28, Jaguars 10

Panthers at Buccaneers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Bucs -9

Everyone is hammering the Bucs point spread and I have no problem with that. Tom Brady will be pissed off about being embarrassed; he'll want to make sure and find Mike Evans in the end zone once or twice, and the Bucs should win this game. But there shouldn't be a Panthers over/under set below 50 for the next month. Carolina can't stop anyone. Derrick Brown is gonna be great but this defense sucks right now. Take the Over here, and if you want to be greedy you can grab the Bucs too. 

Pick: Buccaneers 35, Panthers 25

Bills at Dolphins

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Bills -5.5

Who can't wait to watch this on CBS? Just kidding, no one is watching these teams play. If you are watching, I recommend checking to see whether you are 1. currently wearing a Dan Marino jersey and have spent the last 732 Sundays crying from 1-4 p.m. or 2. eating a Styrofoam plate covered in chili and cheese and describing it as a local delicacy. Either way, I'm so sorry, you should sue Bill Belichick for emotional damages. Also, don't bet anything here other than the Under. 

Pick: Bills 17, Dolphins 10

Falcons at Cowboys

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Cowboys -4.5

This could be America's "game of the week" but the Falcons won't stop sucking. I think Raheem Morris probably deserves a little more love than he gets, but he basically admitted this week he didn't even plan for the Seahawks to come out passing. That's fair on a historical level, but it's kind of insulting to Brian Schottenheimer, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. Also -- sort of insulting to planning on defense. If you're the Cowboys, you call up the analytics department, ask them what your biggest tendencies are, and you do the literal opposite. He'll never know what hit him! This game should go way over but both teams are bungling enough where I would pass if you don't like the number. Cowboys will cover and Jerry Jones will brag about Mike McCarthy after the game (-325 parlay).

Pick: Cowboys 31, Falcons 24

Vikings at Colts

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Colts -3

Everyone should be on the Vikings here, given how the Colts, you know, lost to the Jaguars. I really want to love the over here -- 48.5 -- but no one hates being smart about passing more than Mike Zimmer. The Vikes were dead last in terms of pass rate on first and second down. Not great! To make matters worse, their defense is bad. Just bad. I think Indy might smash them here because Zimmer doesn't want to get involved in any shootouts and Frank Reich is trying to run no-huddle. My biggest concern is Reich falling prey to a game script that is super negative to what the Colts should do. I'll still take Indy here. 

Pick: Colts 24, Vikings 17

49ers at Jets

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: 49ers -7

Pretty huge point spread for a 49ers team coming off a loss. But how can anyone back the Jets after seeing them in Week 1? They were absolutely awful against the Bills and now will be without Le'Veon Bell and probably without Jamison Crowder as well. There's no one here to produce points or to help Sam Darnold out, even if the 49ers defense won't be nearly as good this season as it was last year. This game is fishy as all get out, but with the 49ers playing not in the haze of a wildfire I'll back the favorite against a very wounded animal. Feels like a Super Random Tevin Coleman explosion game here for me. 

Pick: 49ers 21, Jets 10

Rams at Eagles

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Eagles PK

McVay vs. Pederson? You want to admit that my former colleague [redacted] is correct? No thanks. The entire world is sour on the Eagles right now and everyone believes the Rams have turned a corner because they have Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers. That's a blind fade for me. The WFTs smashed the Philly O-line so what will Aaron Donald do? Everyone expects he wins it by himself, but I think we see a better, fewer-passing-attempts version of Carson Wentz in this outing.

Pick: Eagles 20, Rams 17

Lions at Packers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Packers -6

People are pumped about Aaron Rodgers being back and that's swell, but let's see what Green Bay does offensively in Week 2 before we crown him. Just kidding, he'll have another big game this week, because the Lions defense is completely shredded. It's very possible the Lions are going to shred the Packers back, though. If Kenny Golladay plays, I think the Lions win. Wouldn't bet it and I would just ignore the spread and go hammer this Over if it's below 50. This game will end in 50-plus points more than 90 percent of the time.

Pick: Lions 35, Packers 28

Giants at Bears

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Bears -5.5

Just so I'm clear, the Bears are 5.5-point favorites against someone, right? The implication is the Chicago Bears are expected to beat another NFL team by a touchdown? Get out of here. Hammer the Giants. They're winning outright. Chicago stinks. It showed it last week before everyone got hurt for Detroit, and it will show it this week as well.

Pick: Giants 21, Bears 20

Broncos at Steelers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Steelers -6.5

Two Monday night teams coming off short rest will do battle in Pittsburgh's home opener, and it's hard to not feel bad for Drew Lock in this spot. He flashed at times against Tennessee in Week 1 and I think he can do the same against the Steelers, a la Daniel Jones. But Denver is banged up, on short rest, traveling halfway across the country and about to play an elite defense. I don't think the Broncos defense can hold up against Pittsburgh over 60 minutes. 

Pick: Steelers 28, Broncos 16

Washington at Cardinals

Sunday, 4:05 pm (CBS)
Point spread: Cardinals -6.5

Arizona beat the 49ers but didn't get nearly as much fanfare as the Football Team did for taking down the Eagles in Week 1. This line is pretty inflated on a basic glance, right? But Arizona might just be really good. The Cardinals have a cornerback in Patrick Peterson who can nullify Terry McLaurin and their pass rush should be able to get after Dwayne Haskins. Kliff Kingsbury won't let Kyler Murray get hammered the way Wentz did last week and the Cards can get downhill and run once they get a lead, unlike Philly. 

Pick: Cardinals 28, WFTs 14

Chiefs at Chargers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Chiefs -8.5

Right now Vegas can't make the spreads high enough for the truly elite teams in the NFL, and the Chiefs absolutely qualify. This over/under is way too high for a pair of teams that want to run the ball a bunch -- the Chargers are a stout defensive team but are not necessarily great against the run. I think Andy Reid gets his grind on and we see a lot of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chargers are not built to come back from a double-digit lead and they won't in this one.

Pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 10

Ravens at Texans

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Ravens -7

Same deal here. The Texans are obviously much better, but it's also clear Bill O'Brien wants to force-feed David Johnson and establish the run. That won't work against a Baltimore team that looks ready to smash people all season long. Lamar Jackson has only gotten better as a passer and he'll be able to move the ball against this defense, which stood no chance against the Chiefs in Week 1. Once they get up, the Ravens will lean hard on Houston's front seven, and it might be too much to overcome. Wouldn't be surprised by a J.K. Dobbins breakout game here. 

Pick: Ravens 31, Texans 17

Patriots at Seahawks

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Chiefs -8.5

The Seahawks #LetRussCook in Week 1, but it would be very surprising if they did the same in Week 2, due to the Patriots' strength on the back end of their defense. Bill Belichick utilized Cam Newton in what I'm calling an "Armadillo Offense" -- they had the slowest pace of play in the entire NFL during Week 1. I would expect something similar from them on Sunday night and I would also guess the Seahawks fall for the "trap" Belichick will lay for them and pound the rock. Also, Belichick will probably be a tad more prepared for Wilson possibly passing than Raheem Morris was. Pats steal one here to get to 2-0 and people start taking Cam and Co. very seriously.

Pick: Patriots 17, Seahawks 14

Saints at Raiders

Monday, 8:20 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Point spread: Saints -5.5

No Michael Thomas in a prime-time game with the Raiders debuting their new stadium should get plenty of people onto Las Vegas. I don't think it's the play -- the Saints are an elite team on both sides of the ball and Derek Carr's team is inflated after beating up on a bad Panthers defense. They can't stop anyone on offense, as Carolina and Teddy Bridgewater illustrated. New Orleans is one of the "big three" and I'm not fading them, Thomas or not, until further notice.

Pick: Saints 28, Raiders 17