After a riveting opening weekend full of nail-biting finishes it's on to Week 2, which might as well be known as Overreaction Week in the NFL. Every year at this time, we're reminded things are rarely as good or as bad as they seem. That means it's time to play into some edges created by common misconceptions drawn from the perilous one-game sample size.
Carolina -13.5 vs. San Francisco
Knee-jerk reaction: Super Bowl hangover for the Panthers! 49ers revived under Chip Kelly!
Reality check: The Panthers couldn't ask for a better situation than they have this week, nor could San Francisco have been dealt a worse hand by the schedule makers. Desperate for its first win, Carolina is at home and well rested after a week and a half to prepare for the 49ers. Content to be 1-0, San Francisco travels across the country on a short week. If it's ever appropriate to lay this many points in the NFL, this is the time.
Colin Kaepernick may take a knee for the national anthem but it's Cam Newton who will be kneeling in victory formation as the clock expires, unless he's already tending to more pressing matters of personal hygiene.
L.A. +7 vs. Seattle
Knee-jerk reaction: The Rams won't score all season! The Seahawks' defense will shut them down!
Reality check: L.A.'s Monday night meltdown is fully baked into this line and then some - there probably won't be another game this season with this high of a point spread tied to this low of a total (38 points is the current consensus). Counterintuitive as it may seem, this has the makings of a difficult matchup for the Seahawks, with their biggest weakness in the offensive line squaring off against the Rams' biggest strength in their defensive line.
Pete Carroll is due for a hero's welcome in his return to the Coliseum, but that doesn't entitle him to smooth sailing against a team he hasn't defeated since 2014.
Pick of the Week: Chicago -3 vs. Philadelphia
Knee-jerk reaction: Carson Wentz is legit! Same lousy Bears!
Reality check: While Wentz looked good in making pre-snap reads and throwing downfield in his debut, that it came against the inept and inexperienced Browns is a major grain of salt. Chicago took on a far superior opponent on the road and, despite fading late, showed promise by taking a lead into the second half in Houston.
In Wentz's first road game, first primetime game, and first test against a legitimate NFL defense, the going gets tougher this week for the Eagles. If and when it gets tough enough, we might even see a glimmer of human emotion from the perennially deadpan QB on the other side.
Carolina vs. San Francisco: Week 1 marks the first time of the year that starters see extended playing time, so they need more time to recover. This makes the short week and long travel especially taxing for the 49ers. In the same scheduling spot last season - off an upset win at home in the late Monday night game to close out Week 1, then traveling back east for an early Sunday game in Week 2 - San Francisco was manhandled, 43-18, in Pittsburgh. A similar outcome in Carolina would be no surprise.
L.A. vs. Seattle: The Rams sacked Russell Wilson 10 times in 2015 en route to sweeping the season series. The Seahawks' offensive line may struggle to reduce that sack total in 2016, with a new starter at each position. Wilson's ankle is at less than 100% this week, and any decrease in elusiveness could loom large.
Chicago vs. Philadelphia: The Eagles' secondary comes in extremely thin, giving the Bears a golden opportunity to light up the scoreboard. With Zach Ertz sidelined, Wentz will be without a key tight end weapon that rookie QBs love to use as a safety net, hampering Philadelphia's ability to match Chicago drive for drive.