NFL week 1 is here. Picking NFL games straight up is hard enough, but picking against the spread is even tougher. Here are the NFL week 1 picks against the spread. (Spreads are from ESPN as of Wednesday morning)
Last season: 136-124-6, Overall: 94-95-2
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-9)
The reigning Super Bowl champions will open up their season at home against the Texans. For Patrick Mahomes, this is a dream come true. If he can weather the pass rush of the Texans, he will be able to take advantage of a weak secondary.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-8)
Cleveland did a good job fixing their offensive line, but their offense isn’t quite ready to keep up with Lamar Jackson. The Browns are weak at linebacker and are thin in the secondary, so it makes it unclear as to who will be able to stop Jackson.
Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons ended last season on a roll and will look forward to bringing that same energy to the start of 2020. They get the Seahawks at home, which is important, as Seattle is will have to travel across the country. Jamal Adams was a good addition, but still needs more reps on defense for the Seahawks.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-6.5)
Adam Gase is having the Jets talented players shipped off, as he has done in the past. The result won’t be good for the Jets. Buffalo is at home and will likely make the playoffs again this season. Buffalo will cover.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-3)
Before getting injured last season, Matthew Stafford was on fire. With him back healthy now, the Lions should be able to put up a few more wins. The Lions will likely win, but the Bears will keep it close because of their defense.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
The Packers may have had an offseason where they didn’t make many moves to improve their team, but they still have Aaron Rodgers. They can also run the ball effectively. Green Bay should be able to pick apart the Vikings corners, who are young and inexperienced as a group.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6.5)
Bill Belichick has had a lot of roster turnover and players sitting out due to COVID to deal with. The Patriots may not make the playoffs this season, but they will be able to cover against a Miami team that is still developing.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6) at Washington Redskins
The Eagles have a banged-up offensive line, which could lead to a closer game, but Washington has had a lot of issues this offseason. Carson Wentz has decently healthy weapons this season, which could be bad news for the rest of the NFC East, as he dragged an injury-plagued team to the playoffs last season.
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Carolina Panthers
Matt Rhule is rebuilding the Panthers, as he only took defensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft. While they look like they have some good building blocks for the future, they certainly won’t be great on day one. The Raiders should be able to cover on the road.
Indianapolis Colts (-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Whether they admit it or not, the Jaguars are going to likely have the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Colts run the ball and have a good defense, so they will be able to control the game and the clock against the Jags.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is incredible, but he still hasn’t taken an NFL snap. He will also be going up against a solid defense for his first NFL start. With a bad offensive line, Burrow will have to play incredibly well to keep this game close.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
The Bucs have a lot of things to figure out. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski haven’t had any live reps in the offense, they’ve signed new running backs and have to bring the pieces all together. New Orleans has a well-oiled machine ready to go for another Super Bowl run.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-7)
San Francisco has a solid team that runs the ball well. They will win a lot of games this season, but the Cardinals should be able to keep this one close. Kyler Murray had a solid rookie year and the team upgraded both his weapons and offensive line, so major improvement could be coming.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (even)
The Cowboys are favored on the road in this one, which is a little bit of a surprise. They do have great players on offense, but the Rams have the same on the defensive side of the ball. It will be a close game, but the Rams should be able to keep it close or win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) at New York Giants
This is the lesser of the two Monday Night Football games. The Steelers have a great defense and Ben Roethlisberger is back at the helm. Pittsburgh shouldn’t have too many troubles with the Giants, who still have a young and developing offense.
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) at Denver Broncos
With Von Miller out for this game, the Broncos’ defense will take a step back. The Titans will run the football heavily and unleash their own pass rushers on young quarterback Drew Lock. Tennessee will be able to escape with a win in a low scoring game, but should be able to cover.
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