It is FINALLY Week 1 of the NFL season. We’ve been waiting for this moment since February. The first NFL Sunday is Christmas morning on steroids. Christmas morning is Pirates Barry Bonds and the first NFL Sunday is Giants Barry Bonds. Everyone goes into this Sunday thinking their team has a chance to make it far. Your fantasy team looks championship worthy and you have the utmost confidence you will win your league. Well now, all of the waiting and pondering turns into reality. It’s going to be a very emotional day for a lot of people on the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks on 9/11. May we never forget those who risked their lives to save others and those who lost their lives in the terror attacks.
Here we go with the Week 1 NFL picks. (All lines courtesy of betdsi.)
Tampa Bay (+2.5) at Atlanta
Jameis Winston is primed for a breakout sophomore season. Their offense is being hyped up and I am buying into it. Atlanta had the 18th ranked passing defense in the league last year so I expect Winston to open it up. I can’t trust Atlanta until they show me that I can. Tampa Bay wins outright.
Prediction: Tampa Bay
Minnesota (-3) at Tennessee
No Teddy Bridgewater? No problem for the Vikings, who had the fourth most rushing attempts in the league last year. Even with Shaun Hill I don’t expect the game plan to change. Give the damn ball to Adrian Peterson and good things will happen. Minnesota is set up this season like the Jets teams that made the two straight AFC Championship games: run the ball, don’t turn the ball over as a quarterback and shut teams down on defense. Minnesota covers.
Cleveland (+3.5) at Philadelphia
Before Sam Bradford was traded, this game was an easy call. Now that the Eagles are starting rookie Carson Wentz, it gets a little more difficult. Very hard to go with a rookie quarterback after barely playing in college and the preseason. Common sense says take the Browns and that’s what I’m doing. Browns outright.
Cincinnati (-2.5) at New York Jets
It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m going with the Jets here. No Tyler Eifer on offense for the Bengals and no Vontaze Burfict on defense, arguably two of their best players on either side of the ball. I expect the Jets to handle AJ Green and force the red rocket Andy Dalton to beat them otherwise. The Jets are the superior team on offense (I can’t even believe I just wrote that) and win by double digits.
Oakland (+1.5) at New Orleans
This has the potential to be a shootout. Oakland is a sexy pick in the AFC West this year and a team many think takes the next step this year. I like this Raiders team and I like them even more against this bad Saints defense. If this becomes a shootout, I still think the Raiders win outright because I trust them more to make at least one stop than the Saints.
San Diego (+6.5) at Kansas City
Kansas City is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. San Diego is my pick to finish last in the division. Philip Rivers doesn’t usually play well against the Chiefs. Away from home though, San Diego seems to play better. I’m picking the Chiefs to win but the Chargers cover.
Prediction: Kansas City
Buffalo (+3) at Baltimore
Two teams with something to prove. The Bills are a hot pick to finish second in the division and to potentially make the playoffs. Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and a (healthy) Lesean McCoy form a potentially lethal offense. Their defense has questions with injuries and suspensions. On the flip side, Baltimore is looking to prove they’re much of anything. A lot of questions on both sides of the ball for the Ravens. Same thing goes for the Ravens as it does with Atlanta, show me that I can trust you. I’m going with the Bills.
Chicago (+5) at Houston
A battle of the unknowns. We have no clue what Brock Osweiler is or isn’t. In the limited time we saw him last year with Denver he performed okay but he also had an all world defense to fall back on. He has a really good offense going with Houston and a really good defense, but not an all world defense. We don’t exactly know who he is, yet he got paid a ton of money. We still don’t know who Smokin’ Jay Cutler is either. Are we going to get really good Cutler or are we going to get four interceptions in the first half Cutler? A lot of unknowns in this game at quarterback. I’m picking Houston to win and cover because they have more offensive weapons and I like their defense more.
Green Bay (-5) at Jacksonville
The return of Jordy Nelson and in shape Eddie Lacy! The Packers offense should be back firing on all cylinders. Plus, they’re the Packers. Can we really expect them to lose Week 1 to the Jaguars? Jacksonville, while filled with a ton of young talent, is still a year or two away from being competitive against the elites of the league. I like the Packers.
Prediction: Green Bay
Miami (+10.5) at Seattle
Miami is walking into a buzzsaw. We all know how good Seattle is at home behind their 12’s. It’s the hardest place to play in the league. The Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders and the Dolphins? Well, they’re one or two really bad games from imploding as a team. Not much to say for this game, I’m taking Seattle out right but I like Miami to cover.
New York Giants at Dallas (PK)
I expect this to be a shootout. Both defense aren’t very good but both offenses are. Dallas is starting two rookies at key positions, Dak Prescott at QB and Ezekiel Elliott at running back, but they are two pretty damn good rookies to be starting at those key positions. Prescott played great throughout the preseason and we saw what Elliott did against that Seattle defense. Eli Manning is still the Giants QB and against this porous Dallas defense, I expect Odell Beckham Jr. to have a big game. I got the Giants in this one.
Prediction: New York Giants
Detroit (+3) at Indianapolis
Another shootout! I love the Lions offense under Jim Bob Cooter as much as Matthew Stafford does. If you take anything away from this whole thing, it’s start Stafford in daily fantasy. No Megatron? No problem. The Lions expect big things from Theo Riddick, Golden Tate and their newest toy at receiver Marvin Jones. The Colts defense is bad and their offensive line isn’t much better. Andrew Luck will be running a lot and not for positive yards. I’m rolling with the Lions in a high scoring affair.
New England (+7) at Arizona
No Tom Brady? Okay their offense is still really good. No Rob Gronkowski? This is not good. Jimmy G in his first start and he doesn’t have one of the best player in the sport at his disposal. I don’t care how good the Patriots are this year. Arizona is another team that has Super Bowl aspirations and they have the team to get there. Before Gronk was out, I thought this was going to be a blowout. Without Gronk, I think this is going to be a bloodbath. Cardinals by a lot.
P.S.-Since I picked the Cardinals by a lot, the Patriots will probably pull some miraculous win off. Just saying. If betting were legal, I wouldn’t bet on this game.