Ahh, football seasons back finally and so are the weekly picks against the point spread. But it’s Week 1 and Week 1 is all conjecture (more so than the rest of the season). Who are these teams, actually? We have no idea. The excitement is palpable, optimism is high and Week 1 will be only a small glimpse of what’s to come for the season.
There’s not a whole lot to really dissect here so we’ll keep them short and sweet.
I know the Patriots are the defending champs and it’s never great to bet against them, especially when Master Hoodie months to prepare, but the Chiefs have defense and defense keeps games close, and so does Alex Smith’s game managing. I don’t think the Chiefs will win, but I do think they stay within 9.5
New York Jets (+9.5) at Buffalo Bills
The Jets are predicted to be historically bad and that is definitely possible, but what are the Bills? Tyrod Taylor is solid, but their receivers are unproven. Their defense is completely different from last year and unproven and so is the head coach. I don’t think the Jets are going to be any good this year, but I’m not laying 9.5 points with the Bills against anybody.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5) at Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons (+7) at Chicago Bears
I think the Bears are in a bad spot. The Falcons have heard all about the Super Bowl debacle all off season and the Bears can’t hang.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+5) at Houston Texans
Is this the year the Jaguars young talent finally shows out? This is the time of year for optimism.
Colts (+3.5) at Los Angeles Rams
I think the Colts have one of the worst rosters in the league, and I think the Rams defense will overwhelm them. The Colts are without Andrew Luck this week and possibly for the foreseeable future. I think the Rams have talent and if Jared Goff plays better (his play has to go up from last year) could be a solid team.
There is a lot of optimism about the Eagles. The Eagles have a good offensive line, a good front seven, and a talented quarterback. These are three ingredients that are the foundation of a good NFL team. I think the Eagles win this one by more than one.
Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at Detroit Lions
I’m not sure what the Cardinals are this year. This team seems like a team that missed its window and is going to be going through a rebuild. The Lions have the potential for a good offense and hopefully, they can win a playoff game for their fans.
Oakland Raiders (+2.5) at Tennessee Titans
The Titans are poised to be a breakout squad, they have a powerful run game and a smart dynamic quarterback. The defense is also solid.
Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Cincinnati Bengals
I think the Ravens are the better team and will win this outright.
Seattle Seahawks (+3) at Green Bay Packers
The Seahawks are the more talented team, the Packers just have an all-time great quarterback. A quarterback who is terrific at home and this is one of the best games of the week. But all in all, I’ll take the points.
Carolina Panthers (-5.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Panthers by more than 5.5
New York Giants (+4) at Dallas Cowboys
The point spread could change depending on what happens with the Odell Beckham Jr. injury situation, but either way, I like the Giants here. The Giants defense should be one of the best (and hopefully the best in the league). I also think the Cowboys defensive line and all the injuries will play a factor.
This game is a huge test for the Giants offensive line, the team will be facing a star-powerless defensive line and if they can’t get a push in the run game this week it could not bode well for the rest of the season. I also think the Giants strengths match up fairly well with the Cowboys strengths and weaknesses, which is why they were the only team in the league last year to have real success vs the Giants.
I’m also hoping that the Giants addition of Evan Engram will give Eli the safety valve he needs to keep drives churning and more points on the board, a major issue of last year.
Pick: Giants win outright
New Orleans Saints (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Drew Brees getting 3.5 points first that lame-duck Vikings offense? I’ll take the points.
Pick: Saints win outright
L.A. Chargers (+3.5) at Denver Broncos
I’ll take the points here in a divisional game.